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Firestone 15 - Anniversary Ale | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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Firestone 15 - Anniversary AleFirestone 15 - Anniversary Ale
1,118 Ratings
Firestone 15 - Anniversary AleFirestone 15 - Anniversary Ale

Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
18% Helldorado (11.7% ABV) Blonde Barley Wine.
17% Sticky Monkey (12.5% ABV) English Barley Wine.
17% Bravo (13.5% ABV) Imperial Brown Ale.
13% Double Double Barrel Ale (11.5% ABV) Double Strength English Pale Ale.
11% Good Foot (14.3 ABV) American Barley Wine.
10% Velvet Merkin (8.6% ABV) Traditional Oatmeal Stout.
9% Parabola (13% ABV) Russian Imperial Oatmeal Stout.
5% Double Jack (9.5% ABV) Double India Pale Ale.

Added by brew3crew on 11-08-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,118 |  Reviews: 316
Photo of kpattonunc
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of MrDanno96
3.41/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a deep nutty brown in color that is opaque when held to light, revealing some orange hues. A vigorous pour resulted in several fingers of head, but it receded quickly. Some spotty lacing and legs.

S: Very boozy. First beer that has ever actually burned my nostrils upon taking a deep sniff. Almost fusel alcohol. It's not all bad, though. Distinct notes of sweet dark fruit, brandy, and vanilla come through.

T/M: Not as much alcohol as the nose, but still a lot. Very hot, especially on the way down. Distinct flavors of brandy and bourbon and their components of vanilla and oak. Some dark fruit and nuttiness as well, with just a touch of bitterness in the finish. Full bodied, almost syrupy.

O: A little disappointing to be honest, especially at $20/bottle. Definitely a good beer overall, but the alcohol just overpowers it. Perhaps in a few years this will be phenomenal, but for now it is just a little above average for me.

 946 characters

Photo of DanInTheCan
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of srandycarter
4.29/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Coca cola, no head. No lace to speak of. Nada. Second pour nice rootbeer head and cling. Ave the difference.

S - Booze, cooked dark fruits, woody like tannins and vanilla.

T - HUGE flavors. Smell x 2 on all attributes. Very boozy, bittered nicely at end.

M - Medium to heavy, low carb, but enough. Nice balance considering the bigness.

D - Even at this abv and apparent booze, still pretty easy to drop down the gullet.

 428 characters

Photo of angelogarcia3
4.82/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this beer at Sapsuckers Hop & Grub in Huntington, New York. They pour it into a large snifter glass. The beer has beautiful dark amber color and a thin white head. The aromas of bourbon, vanilla, & alcohol are very pronounced on the nose. My first taste is of caramel, bourbon, then notes of vanilla, and carmelization. It is a medium bodied beer that went very well with the Philly cheesesteak on a pretzel roll with a fried egg on top. The combo was a little bit of heaven.

 479 characters

Photo of GilGarp
4.42/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served at cellar temperature into a goblet.

Firestone XV is the first of the anniversary beers to arrive in Colorado so I am excited to try it.

The color is surprisingly pale, more the color of an American brown ale than a stout or barleywine. Good clarity and thick creamy head but the later settles quickly.

Aroma is evident from a distnace. Strong elements of oak-aging, bourbon, red wine, and vanilla.

Flavor is very pleasant with numerous nuances to take in. The fact that all of the beers that went into XV were oak aged is not surprising when you go to taste it. Probably the most vanilla-forward beer I've ever had. Sweet up front with caramel and bourbon, the middle has a little smoke, tobacco, and cherries. It finishes with a strong bitterness and dry alcholic burn. A little more age certainly wouldn't hurt.

Mouthfeel is medium-plus in body and smooth in carbonation. Alcohol is strong but seems about right for a young-ish 12.5% beer.

Overall a really excellent blend of so many good beers. I wish I could try them all alongside the finished product I have here.

 1,083 characters

Photo of Zraly
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap a few weeks ago at The Birch in Norfolk, Va.

Poured a dark brown with deep tan highlights. Soft tan-like head that dissipated after a bit.

Very difficult to describe everything going on with this ale and it truly is unique in its mouthfeel and composition. It is rich and full-bodied with various notes pushing and pulling about: toffee, creme brulee (particularly burnt sugar), chocolate, apple pie spices, and the distinct flavor of cream. Mouthfeel is silky and smooth, luscious and sensual. Very creamy and very serious. The carbonation does prevent this from going overboard on the palate.

A wonderful after-dinner drink. To be savored.

 661 characters

Photo of CheapBeerBuzz
3.5/5  rDev -19.7%

Photo of Listers
4/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of Wetpaperbag
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of CrellMoset
3.79/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle - same gorgeous packaging we've come to expect, and the only potentially over the top packaging I don't really mind - poured in to a 22 oz. snifter.

Appearance: Pours light, surprisingly light ... for a FW Anniversary beer, that is. Though the base of so many has been Parabola, the base of this one seems to be part blonde barleywine and one part English barleywine, explaining the (relative) translucence. That's not to say it's transparent - it's most definitely not - just that it doesn't become entirely opaque until the snifter is about 50% full. A deep, rich mahogany hue, this one settles out of the bottle fairly quickly, dripping down in to the snifter at a steady pace. The moderately vigorous pour yields a good finger of tawny head with decent retention for a 12.5%, barrel aged brew, though within thirty seconds only a collar of form remains, and after a good 120 seconds, that collar has nearly dissipated entirely. Swirling doesn't do much to this one either, but I'm not disappointed - it's inching up on 13% and spent years (plural, cumulatively) in barrels, so who's complaining?

Aroma: Certainly this beer's weakest aspect. I really get very little out of it, save a harsh astringency and some estery alcohol notes that don't do much for me. Especially while chilled, there isn't much volatilizing off the surface, so all one gets is sweet, light malt notes, faint, high fruits, and harsh chemical notes. Really, the more I stick my nose in to it - even as it warms - the less I get from it. Truly unfortunate.

Taste: A very barleywine heavy flavor, and why not? Moderately roasted malts and a slew of solid hop flavors and bitterness provide the backbone of this beer, balanced by some heavier nutty, toasty, and fruity notes that dance in and out of the edge of one's senses.

First, the two big beers here (in terms of their share of the overall blend) are a blonde barleywine (wonderfully named Helldorado) and an English barleywine, and it's very obvious. This one showcases a slew of brighter, lighter notes up front, not just on the malt front - not just golden honey-like malt, bright, soft, sweet, and simple, but also roastier notes reminiscent of biscuit, cracker, graham cracker, light brown sugar, and caramel. There's also a nice amount of fruityness here, The bitterness associated with the barleywine components here (also, I should not that there's an American barleywine in the mix) lends plenty of balance to the sweetness, with a spicy, leafy, slightly citrusy hop presence that lends plenty of kick.

There are plenty of other notes here: a strong nuttiness abounds, likely the result of the Imperial Brown Ale that's dancing around in here somewhere; darker malt notes, cocoa and prunes and raisins and beautifully ripe plums courtesy of the Parabola and the Velvet Merkin (or Merlin); and understandably a beautiful array of spicy fruit cake notes and earthy, wholesome bourbon overtones. None of it's too strong or powerful, with the two actually balancing one another fairly well and neither providing too much kick or spice. Probably this beer's best aspect.

Mouthfeel: Bright, buoyant, and vivacious, with plentiful but creamy carbonation to counteract the sweetness, but enough sweetness to hold the effervescence together in to a milky, frothy, foam. It works really well, actually - it's always amazed me how smooth blended beer can be, with the sweetness and residual sugars providing enough heft and weight and stickiness to keep the carbonation tight and compact, but the carbonation in turn providing enough lift and airiness to elevate what might otherwise be a fat, heavy mess.

Drinkability: Is this the best FW Anniversary Ale? Most definitely not. In fact, I imagine that when the chips fall, this will have received the lowest rating that I've given any of them (and I've had all save the X), and I don't believe that's a byproduct of palate maturation. A huge discrepancy between the nose and the mouth on this one - if they'd tweaked the nose and made it a bit more robust and less harsh (and the two likely would've gone hand in hand) - and, indeed, this beer was really all over the place in a number of ways. Usually, I'll identify a beer that's all there in terms of recipe (the aroma and taste are out of this world), but the process has fallen short (and the appearance and mouthfeel are shot). Or, the opposite problem will happen, and someone will have the process down pat, but the substance sucks. This one seems to exemplify some of the challenges associated with blending beers well - the final result is going to be a little all over the place, with the pros and cons of all the base beers, in conjunction with the pros and cons of all the secondary and tertiary interactions amongst the constituent components. That being said, it's still a pretty solid beer (though perhaps not at the price point), but for any fan of the series I'd suggest it a worth addition.

 4,959 characters

Photo of faucd531
4.62/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Portion of a 22oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A:XV pours a light almost tranparent color with a thin soapy bubble quality and tan head that quickly recedes.

S: Smell of pit fruit and alcohol from the barrels. I also detect vanilla and brown sugar.

T: A wonderful bourbon tast that coats the mouth. A sweatness that stays with you in the after tast. I pickup alot of the english barley wine in this one. Also a hint of the pit fruit and vanilla that I picked up in the smell.

M: Medium body with just the right level of carbonation for me.

O: An orgasim in your mouth!!

 575 characters

Photo of trancesk8er
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of SkiBum22
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a deep dark mahogany, slight head, decent lacing. A great looking beer.

S - Caramel, vanilla, oak and cherry. Mild bourbon.

T - Caramel, vanilla and bourbon just like the nose. Light oak notes. A nicely blended malt and hop character. Perfect balance.

M - Very smooth and with light creaminess. Barely any carbonation. Goes down quite smooth for the booziness in the nose.

O - Wow, I really enjoyed this beer. I can't see were all the negativity is coming from on this one. It is a little pricey but I think it's worth it. I can't wait to see this beer in a year. Should be an A+ then.

 599 characters

Photo of SoCalStout
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of claytong
4/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of DrBier
4.75/5  rDev +8.9%

Photo of AngusOg
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of JAHMUR
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of nickhiller
3.5/5  rDev -19.7%

Photo of 2dogbrew
3.5/5  rDev -19.7%

Photo of BeerImmediately
4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz at cellar temp into widemouth glass.

Pours with a short tan head - thin & soapy. Very dark amber body but decent clarity when held to the light.

Aromas are a little lighter than expected for the size. Very bourbon barrel soaked. Raisins. Toffee sweetness. Dark fruits, plus oranges.

Flavors are wild. So much going on here. I picked up dark chocolate, vanilla beans, burnt caramel / creme brulee, whiskey AND tequila, and decent roast throughout. Pretty damn smooth on the mouthfeel, given the style and ABV. Much less thickness than expected.

Overall? This one is dangerous.

 586 characters

Photo of waiting4lunch
3.5/5  rDev -19.7%

Photo of alpinebryant
4.27/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Its that time of year again to open a bottle of Firestone Anniversary Ale.

A: This poured a surprisingly nearly transparent color for what I remember last year to be a lot more opaque. Poured at room temperature, a tiny hiss when the cap was popped and then just a frothy looking tan head at the edges.

S: Aroma of booze and bourbon barrels, american oak, caramelized sugars, toffee and molasses. A nice roasted burnt sugar scent as well.

T: Lots of bourbon and oak off the bat kicking this into the boozy realm which I appreciate for an American Strong Ale. A whole cluster of roasted caramelized sugars that mix with fig flavors, sweet cotton candy flavors from the blonde barley wine sugar caramelization. One thing is for certain though and that is that this barrel aging program is definitely one of the best going in the brewing industry. I dont know that these are $24 good and I hate to see single bomber bottles priced at this point however the fact that it is available on a shelf instead of a long line on a limited release day makes it a little more bearable.

M: With an imperial brown Ale, a few different barleywines, an oatmeal stout and a traditional oatmeal stout in here, the body is great. It is lightly carbonated and for a beer of this style it is just right.

O: Of course I would drink this again. It is slightly boozy and could use some age but the anniversary line has succeeded again from Firestone.

 1,430 characters

Photo of dudeabides76
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Firestone 15 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.36 out of 5 with 1,118 ratings
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