Firestone 15 - Anniversary Ale | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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Firestone 15 - Anniversary AleFirestone 15 - Anniversary Ale
1,125 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.

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Ratings: 1,125 |  Reviews: 317
Photo of micstache
4/5  rDev -8%

Photo of waltersrj
4.92/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2011 Vintage...obviously.

Pour: Completely black, pitch black, like the night. A tiny, bubbly off white (almost tanned) head. Perfect head for a high alcohol beer.

Nose: Complex. Wow. Toasted coconut, toffee, and tobacco from parabola, chocolate covered cherries, vanilla, slight citrus hops, brown sugar, caramel, dark chocolate, and lavender.

Taste: Chocolate covered cherries, leather, tobacco, vanilla, charred oak, dark chocolate, raisin, brown sugar, citrus hops (pineapple and mango), slight smoke, more tobacco, and toasted coconut. This is an amazingly complex profile here. Can't wait for my XIII to XV vert.

Mouthfeel: Moderately thick at first, viscous, and oily but transitions into a velvety and creamy mouthfeel.

Overall: This beer (as always) is an amazingly complex and superbly executed blend. FW does no wrong in my eyes and once again surprises me. I hope they eventually bottle good foot, he'll dorado, or sticky monkey since they do do much in characterizing this beer. Thanks Adam and David! Amazing stuff here.

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Photo of matttttYCE
4.66/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into my Stone IRS Snifter/Balloon glass, the head on this was about a finger high, off white, and very creamy. Color of the brew is a marvelously deep brown, nearing black, but still with hints of ruby and purple when held to the light. Looks very nice.

The smell of this beer is very inviting and very complex to say the least. I'm getting a lot of sweetness, like a sweet liquor, along with vanilla and vanilla custard (almost custard creme filled doughnut), coconut, bourbon barrel juice and light spice, dark chocolate, toffee, dark fruit, prunes, figs, dates, chocolate covered cherries, and brown sugar. Then I sort of realize what else I'm smelling and it's the hoppy notes of citrus, tropical fruit, mango, etc. from the Double Jack. Not only does this have a fantastic aroma, but it's probably one of the more complex I've ever smelled. This smells like a nice and hoppy Barleywine was blended superbly with barrel aged version and with a portion of Parabola.

Taste does not disappoint after such a great and complex aroma. The taste is comprised of milk chocolate, dark chocolate, dark fruit/fig, toffee, caramel, brown sugar, lots of bourbon qualities, vanilla, light coconut, oak, slight leather, and slight tobacco with light notes of the citrus, mango, tangerine hops (come out a little more on the finish I think).

The consistency is silky, nearly velvety, the carbonation is creamy and round, the body is medium-full but not heavy, and the finish is actually pretty light and quick. This is seriously too smooth and drinkable for 12.5% ABV

Overall this beer is phenomenal. The aroma makes me think the beer is going to be Barleywine heavy, or skewed towards Barleywine taste, but the taste is actually extremely balanced, amazingly integrated, and just a little skewed towards a darker beer, like Parabola. I'm not so sure they didn't just blend a hoppy Barleywine with Parabola and call it a day. But seriously, it's an amazing blend of beers that I plan to have again and again after I go buy about half a dozen more bottles.

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Photo of youradhere
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark amber with orange hues, minimal tan head falls to leave nice lacing. Smell is toffee, vanilla, chocolate, loads of caramel and milk chocolate. Sweet toffee and milk chocolate, caramel candy milk duds, figs and rum bread, mild coffee tannin, nice mellow bourbon vanilla- just the right amount. Mouthfeel is medium thick, carries the flavors nicely; carbonation is medium and prickly. Overall pretty damn good, my favorite of the vintages and right up there with parabola batch I.

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Photo of stabzmcgee
5/5  rDev +14.9%

Photo of Abrengle
4.34/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from the 22oz anniversary bottle, poured into a FW tasting snifter...

A: Pours a transparent brown with a 1 inch cream lacing diminishing into a 1.5 finger head.
S: The nose is full of licorice, bitter chocolate, and vanilla with hints of bourbon.
T: The front pallet is full of dark fruits and vanilla, transitioning into a very nice vanilla-bourbon nuance on the mid-palate. The finish is a nice balance of raisin with an ample amount of hops.
M: Medium to heavy with a clear appearance of viscosity from the Brandywine.
Overall: A great brew that entices the palate and offers a multitude of dimension. With a few years, this anniversary ale could be their best yet.

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Photo of kevwcamp
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of PlinyBubbles
5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served on tap at Draughts in Thousand Oaks, CA in a New Belgium snifter glass.

Deep brown opaque color. Half inch thick head. Gorgeous, with fine, but ample carbonation. Taste is rich, but not overly heavy or sweet. Very complex with oak, vanilla, caramel, and cocoa. Very drinkable considering the alcohol level. Glad I picked up a bottle of this. Curious to compare against having on draft, since my experience seemed better than some of the other reviewers who tasted from bottle. One of the best beers I've had. Maybe shouldn't have had on my lunch break though. Oops.

 574 characters

Photo of Skunkdrool
5/5  rDev +14.9%

Photo of MexicanSkittel
5/5  rDev +14.9%

Photo of beerandcycling88
4.31/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a snifter.

A Pours a nice brown color with some hints of red topped with a tan head.

S Lots of bourbon, vanilla, brown sugar, and some fruity notes.

T To sum the taste up this is what would happen if you ate a vanilla cupcake and drank a vanilla coke with a shot of bourbon. Also a bit of licorice and some sort of sweet fruity note.

M Pretty smooth and velvety.

Overall this is an amazing beer that was well worth the hefty price tag. A complex beer that will require many tastings to get the full complexity. Should be interesting to see how this one ages.

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Photo of doughanson78
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Very dark. Deep blood red when held to the light. One finger, light tan, head with decent retention and great lacing.

S: Big caramel, toffee, coconut, and vanilla. Lighter dark fruits, raisins, figs, tobacco, and leather. A light pine hop aroma. A bit boozy with bourbon. Very complex.

T: Super complex. Caramel, toffee, malty sweetness upfront. Coconut is light but present, along with a very nice vanilla. Not much dark fruits like the nose. Huge bourbon in the finish, with a slight hop bite. Butterscotch is awesome. Pretty boozy.

M: AMAZING. Not chewy. Definitely full bodied. Easily the most velvety beer I've ever had. Slight dryness.

O: Better than 14 in my opinion. Very complex, but would you expect anything else. Awesome beer.

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Photo of DaveHS
3.58/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours light ruby/burgundy with no head, just a few mocha bubbles.

S-Very floral and perfumey. Different from every other FW Anniversary beer. Pink bubblegum, mango and pale malts accented by spruce/pine hoppiness and a light, dry booziness.

T/M-Strange. More bubblegum, mango, and some passionfruit and fresh cut flowers. The finish is boozy and flat. Not much to say about this one. Considering how many different barrel aged beers are blended into this one, I am surprised how little is going on here. Bourbon oak creeps around the edges, but never quite penetrates the flavor profile. Presents itself as a separate layer of flavor.

O-I'm drinking this as part of a 12-15 vertical, and it's definitely a departure from the others. Interesting. Not one of the best of this series.

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Photo of RichBeer
5/5  rDev +14.9%

Photo of barfdiggs
5/5  rDev +14.9%

Photo of jlb502
4/5  rDev -8%

Photo of Retsinis
5/5  rDev +14.9%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.75/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of mthomas84
4/5  rDev -8%

Photo of billshmeinke
4.67/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter.

One finger of bubbly white head. Dark brown, almost black body, some ruby highlights. Really nice color actually.

Smells of leather, tar, brown sugar, caramel, dark fruits, vanilla, chocolate, roasted malt, toasty oak, hints of oats, soft biscuity yeast notes. Hugely complex nose.

Tastes of dark chocolate, dark fruits (raisins, figs), caramel, vanilla, oats, brown sugar, waffles, touch of coconut, touch of licorice, some leather, baker's chocolate, hints of espresso, just the tiniest touch of lavender, earthy and dark roast finish. Hints of bright mango, tangerine peal, and oranges on the finish as well. You definitely get that kick of Double Jack, and it does something quite nice.

Mouthfeel is full, rich, smooth, textured, well carbonated, sticky and viscous, with a nice carbonic bight on the end.

An amazing beer, but I wouldn't expect anything less than that from a Firestone Anniversary beer.

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Photo of Zorro
4.27/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear brown colored ale with a small light brown colored head.

This is considerably lighter in color than any of the previous editions of this ale.

Smell is sweet and fragrant with lots of fig aroma. Coconut and chocolate with papaya and Cinnamon. Bourbon and vanilla scents are present but much tamed from previous years. Strong cherry scent with some more earthy scents of tobacco and leather. Quite good when does the aftershave of this come out?

Starts out sweet and boozy with a big coconut flavor. Papaya and vanilla with cherries comes next. Bourbon and oak come on in a big way after awhile. Medium bitterness level. Tasty beer still a touch hot, needs a year in the bottle. I could almost give this a 5 here but the alcohol is noticeable.

Mouthfeel is full.

Overall damn tasty but not yet at its peak. Still no reason at all to enjoy some now. Just be sure to age a bottle or two.

Technical Data Time.

8 Beers in this mix.

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 (American Barley Wine (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.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.12/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Chilled bottle into a glass, courtesy of Nanoslug. Thanks!

A: Pours a dark maroon body with good clarity. A half-finger of tan head develops upon the pour, but it doesn't retain or leave lace.

S: A dark fruit-dominated beer, giving off a bouquet of figs, plums, dates. Bourbon barrels are prominent, as well as a treacly port note. Brown sugar, caramel, molasses. Some orange zest. This reminds me heavily of Firestone XIV on the nose. It's pretty hot, with a noticeable singe.

T: The taste is more muddled than the nose. Dark fruits meld together, blending into washes of bourbon, brandy, and caramelized sugar. I miss the coconut and bold vanilla character that define some of the best Firestone blends. Plenty of alcohol with a brash, nose-singing spicy burn. I'm concerned about how this will age. In my experience, sharp, bold flavors with a lot of heat are the best criteria for aging candidates. This has a lot of heat, but the flavors themselves are mellow and flow together. I suspect it will only become dull with time.

M: Medium-bodied; it's a bit thin, but it coats the tongue and leaves slick flavors. Unfortunately, the blending hasn't served to make the flavors distinct and layered, the way I would expect from a refined and well-blended beer. This one tastes slightly harsh and unpolished. It's young.

O: I am glad to have tried this. If it's around in a year and is receiving strong recommendations, I might buy a bottle. But as I said above, I don't think this beer will be a good candidate for aging. And it's not particularly impressive right now. Too bad.

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Photo of DovaliHops
4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Weighs in at 12.5% ABV, not 11. Pours a very dark amber red/brown color with a small off-white head that disappears quickly. Scent is VERY sweet. I immediately get chocolate covered cherries. Smells more like a liqueur than a beer. Hints of chocolate with dark fruits and booze. Very faint orange zest aroma with some brandy. Taste is immediately faint tobacco and leather, immediately followed by cherries and some lovely dark fruits. Then you get some brown sugar in the middle of the tongue, with some lovely brandy and bourbon characteristics toward the back of the tongue. Some maple syrup and cinnamon linger as the beer warms. Delicious vanilla, chocolate, and oak characteristics throughout each tasty sip. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium-light carbonation. A sipper that is VERY COMPLEX. Drinkability is fairly high, as this is a big beer with some very sweet flavors that may get overwhelming after too much...much like a dessert wine. Overall, this is the most complex anniversary beer of the last three years IMO (I've only had 13, 14, and 15). Very tasty and love the chocolate covered cherry aspects. Got more bottles to see how this one develops.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Bottle shared by Jason, thanks!

A: Dark brown with a reddish tinge and a small tan head.

S: Fig and plum with grape and date. Quite fruity. Notes of brandy and bourbon are present, and brown sugar blends with oak. I get a little molasses as well. No booze. Caramel comes out with warming.

T: Lightly boozy with pervasive brown sugar. An even blend of bourbon and brandy, with molasses and date. Very smooth and sweet. Light vanilla with chocolate and a touch of caramel. Sherry oxidation is evident.

M: Medium body with matching carbonation.

Overall: Unique for the anniversary beers with all the dark fruit and quite good. Very mellow, I can't see this aging well.

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Photo of brew3crew
4.97/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On Tap at the brewery in Paso Robles

A- Carmel color body with little to no head

S- getting lots of oak, burbin and vanilla. Smells like I am in for a treat. Exceptional

T-follows the nose. Absolutely phenominal. Not one thing dominates and it all compliments each other.

M-medium body and smooth. Oh so very smooth

O-excellent beer, went back in for #three more glasses. Bought 7 bottles too. This is absolutely great fresh, can't wait to see it age!

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Firestone 15 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.35 out of 5 with 1,125 ratings