Firestone 15 - Anniversary Ale | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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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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Reviews: 314 | Ratings: 1,112
Photo of Beer-A-Lot
4.23/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2011 on tap at Birch.

A - Dark cherry color. Nice.

S - Syrupy, brown sugar smells.

T - Bourbon, sugary in an alcohol kind of way, smooth yet potent. Wam bam.

M - Not the most memorable, maybe a little light.

O - Very potent and tasty. Look forward to the follow-up versions. Enjoyed it much.

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Photo of clayrock81
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured a brownish red with good head that left minor lace ring on top of an almost vinous aroma, at least at first. The oaky, bourbon/whiskey barrel smell, along with alcohol, is potent, as well as good chunks of sweet/spicy (caramel and roasted are my generic go to words) malts and touches of fruity citric hops. A heavy body that still goes down smooth and gives off a strong alkie bite at the end that is damn enjoyable. Beer has a pleasant mix of roasted bready malts that tag team with the bourbon barrel aging along with some spices and sweetness of caramel, molasses toffee. These beer are in cohesion with hops that come across as not only citric but dark fruit/grapefruit esque and it seems the oak/oatmeal stout elements really smooth it out so it's not too harsh/syrupy/watery. For the high ABV and different blends of malts and hops this beer really pulls it off and is dangerously sessionable.

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Photo of tut2528
4.67/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

had this one on tap fresh
opened a bottle on 1/20/12 (Go Niners!)... bottle dated 10/07/11
this review is based off the cellared bottle.

A: Pours a deep milk chocolate brown, no head formation whatsoever, you can see the alcohol sticking to the glass as your tilt it. So rich in appearance, it looks delicious

S: simply awesome. huge, and i mean huge sweet toffee, massive figs/raisins and enormous vanilla, blended absolutely beautifully with one another. the oak presence matches the bourbon characters beautifully and for it being 12.5% there is no aromatic burn. Just pure awesomeness

T: again, massive toffee, big alcohol soaked figs and raisins. the oak and vanilla finish this brew off with a beautiful creaminess. Very rich brew. and the balance is terrific.

M: borderline full bodied brew. it coats the mouth with a rich toffee and vanilla sweetness, yet there is enough alcohol heat to make this extremely enjoyable.

O: a freaking terrific brew all the way around. its rich, complex and beautifully balanced. at 12.5%, this one still has a bit of heat, but it suits the brew perfectly. I think the best aspect of this brew is the mouthfeel.

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Photo of stakem
3.43/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber into a snifter. The brew appears a dark mahogany color with ruby clarity seen when held to the light. A khaki head appears across the top and is quick to fade. Some faint spotty lace sticks to the glass.

The aroma is sweet with vanilla, caramel, toffee and a bit nutty to fruity alcohol inclusion. A bit of toasty coconut blends into some wood notes and herbal to medicinal character.

The flavor includes dark fruity hints of alcohol reminescent of raisin. A bit of oxidation and nutty grain across the middle with a boozy alcohol addition. More sips reveal cardboard, earth and herbs. Some barrel character like vanilla and caramel is noted towards the back.

This is a medium to light bodied brew with a low level of carbonation. I was not really a fan of this. It has some nice barrel presence but the booze comes out and the flavor falls apart with the light body. This is one of those cases where the sum is not as good as the individual parts.

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Photo of beerhunter1
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Comes in a 22oz bomber.
Poured into a nice tulip beer glass with a laser etched bottom resulting with a steady moderate carmel color head and a sweet smell.
Definitely a perfect example of an Oak Aged American Strong Ale/Barley Wine.
At 12.5% ABV It has a bold taste of oak and vanilla to start, with a nice carmel finish. A nice blend of the other Reserve Beers made by Firestone Walker. A very nice beer to age for a year or two and compare with previous anniversary ales or future anniversary ales to come.

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Photo of Bierguy5
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle, 12.5% abv. Big thanks to my brother for this, a birthday gift that I am opening almost 5 months later. A deep amber to near burgundy color, with a fairly thin kakhi head. Head trickles to a thin collar, but leaves some nice spotty lace.

Wonderful aroma here, bourbon, oak, vanilla and caramel. Dark fruit, figs and toffee. Candied fruit in there as well. Very complex.

Figs and toffee up front, in a great complex malt character. Some darker fruit, and almost a maye syrup flavor. Oak, vanilla, caramel and bourbon. So tasty.

Medium body, with very light carbonation. Some heat, but not what I would have expected. Great complexities all around. Another wonderful beer from Firestone Walker!

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Photo of comfortablynumb1
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle.

Shared with my lovely wife...

A - Dark brown with a one finger khaki head. Retention is decent and lacing is spotty...

S - Caramel, oak/vanillla, bourbon, and dark fruit. Bourbon has a fairly strong presence in the scent, but there is alot going on here, and it is in no way overpowering...

T - Caramel and toffee up fornt with a good dose of figs following. Ends with vanilla, lingering caramel, and smooth Bourbon. Very tasty...

M - Full bodied with a moderate amount carbonation...

O - Another excellent barrel aged beer from FW. As expected, this one is very barleywine foward. Although very good, I think 14 was a much better beer...

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Photo of PicoPapa
4.17/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle. Pours a dark brownish black color with no head. Some lacing. Aroma is boozey and oaky with some dark fruits, malts, caramel and earth. The taste mirrors the nose. Boozey oak and malt flavors. Dark fruits and more malts near the end with some sweetness and vanilla. Hints of chocolate. There is alot going on here. While I haven't had all the beers in this blend it tastes most like a barleywine although it is somewhat reminiscent of Parabola towards the end. The big bourbon flavor coupled with the high ABV make this a slow sipper. Overall, Firestone Walker impresses again. Worth buying another one, if I ever get the chance.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.64/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

650 mL bottle poured into a shaker pint. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Small khaki head but it's gone instantly. No foam remains at all. Dark brown with ruby flecks.

Smell - Bourbon, loads of vanilla, and a bucket of caramel. Hop smell, too. Coconut? Boozy, like smelling vanilla extract.

Taste - Bourbon. Insane amounts of caramel. Coconut comes out more. Bitter finish. Dry and a little astringent. Not too sweet, despite the caramel overload.

Mouthfeel - Boozy, but decently hidden for its size. Bitter, but it balances it well.

Overall - It's good, but not great. Rather uncomplex for so many ingredients. Perhaps they all get lost in the blend.

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Photo of jsanford
4.39/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark ruby-brown with a very thin ring of off-white bubbles around the edges. Phenomenal aromas of Bourbon, English toffee, cocoa, caramel, and baked bread. Sweet, oaky, and pleasantly boozy. Taste is similarly sweet, great flavors of sweet caramel and toffee, chocolate, delicious Bourbon, and oak. Needless to say, another winner from FW. Mouthfeel is smooth and sticky, with a medium-full body, low carbonation, and a nice alcohol warming sensation. Great Anniversary offering, perhaps my favorite so far.

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Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very smooth, though not super rich there is a lot of well balanced blending here. Not boozy despite 12.5% Lots of spice, and a nice blend of bourbon, vanilla, Cinnamon and spices. Definitely something special. A barleywine in that is on the somewhat sweet side.

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Photo of Beaver13
3.07/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle. Pours brown with a medium creamy light tan head that goes to a thin film and leaves a little lacing.

The aroma is sweet dark fruits (plum, raisin) and vinous alcohol.

The flavor is sweet sugary dark fruits with some strong harsh alcohol in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and a little watery with low carbonation.

Overall, decent, but too sweet and boozy.

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Photo of Tschnab
4.17/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A ruby red pour almost mahogany with a half inch of khaki head and alcohol legs, spotty lace, little retention.

The aroma is a bourbony oaky vanilla with dark fruits and alcohol heat. The taste has these characters as well as well as a subtle chocolate and a big molasses sweetness, with candy sugar and cherries and alcohol on the finish.

Very enjoyable blend of beer here. I hoped the double jack would lend a hoppiness but I didn't detect that. I did pick up, though, a great example of barrel aging. Awesome stuff.

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Photo of oberon
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Cole's last night.Poured into a goblet a deep dark chocolate brown with a minimal head.Deep oaky and vanilla notes in the nose mixed with deep chocolate and alcohol,it's boozy but not in your face boozy.Mellow and thick in the mouth with chocolate and whiskey flavors dominating,some vanilla and sweet booze linger in the finish.A great sipping beer,complexand smooth.Great stuff!

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Photo of Brabander
4.41/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I took this bottle home after a very nice tasting @ the Kulminator in Antwerps Belgium. Thanks Dirk and Leen for hosting this tasting. I had the bad luck that i could not drink any beers because i had to drive home.

This beer has a very nice touch of the barrel aging. There is no head or other nice thing to see when the beer is poured. Could be that the bottle lost its charm while transporting it.

A good boozy smell. The rest is just as good!

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Photo of cfrances33
4.18/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 10/07/11, enjoyed on 8/14/12. Poured into a FW snifter.

Pour: Deep dark brown that seems clear, but is so dark you can't tell for sure. Mahogany edges. Finger and a half khaki head that leaves a little lacing at first. Definitely some legs on this one too.

Smell: Bourbon banilla, oak, some dark fruits, and a little bit of tobacco.

Taste: Bourbon vanilla, oak, chocolate, sweet figs, caramel, some tannins, and a nice tobacco smokey/sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Lighter body than I expected, with a smooth low heat bourbon taste. Points off for a weird coating I get in my throat.

Overall: Pretty nice, but I definitely prefer Parabola and Sucaba.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a dark brown with some mahogany around the edges and a thin layer of frothy khaki-chocolate colored head. The head fades down very quickly leaving behind a touch of lace.

S - Aroma is full of sweet caramel malts and brown sugar with oak, vanilla, Bourbon, Brandy, chocolate, dark fruit, maple, and a bit of citrus and booze.

T - Starts off with some strong caramel and toffee malts and brown sugar with some roasted chocolate, vanilla, dark fruit, and maple. Through the middle, the oak and toasted coconut flavors come through with some citrus and a bit of honey. The finish is mix of sweet caramel malts, oak, vanilla, Bourbon, with some toasted coconut, dark fruit, Brandy, and booze.

M - Full bodied with mild carbonation. Feels smooth and a bit creamy with a sweet and warming finish.

D - Very drinkable. Very bold, but well balanced and smooth. Very complex flavors that blend together nicely.

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Photo of Tone
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a black color. 1/3 inch head of an off-tan color. Good retention and good lacing. Smells of alcohol, oak, yeast, sweet malt, slight roasted malt, and hops. Fits the style of an American Strong Ale. It is a blend of a Barleywine, IPA, and RIS!. Mouth feel is smooth and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of alcohol, oak, sweet malt, slight roasted malt, hops, and slight yeast. Overall, very strong, but not overpoweringly liquor-centric. Good appearance, aroma, feel, blend, and body.

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Photo of uustal
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep brown with a one-finger, quickly dissipating light brown head. Aroma of vanilla, oak, toffee, dark fruits and mocha with a touch of bourbon. Sweet silky start to the flavor. Vanilla, mocha, and coconut. Followed by a bit of cherry, hint of tartness, and fig before a warming, slightly boozy, bourbon finish. The booze in this one is no way a negative. A great blend of barrel aged beers. I'd describe it as a muted, or successfully aged version of a barleywine, with a bit more sweetness (vanilla, mocha, coco) from the big stouts shining through and lesser boozy and dark fruit notes. Great blend and beer overall.

300th Review

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Photo of Etan
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into a snifter.

A: Pours a deep reddish brown - dark and barleywine-like. Small egg-shell head.

S: Smooth bourbon and oak, marshmallow, vanilla tannins, malty body within. Dried apricot, raisin, fig, sweet brown sugar and squash. Hint of sticky hop. Great aroma.

T: Marshmallow, bitterish oak and bourbon, maple, lots of vanilla and dark fruits, molasses, slight chocolate. Tannic with some hop bitterness in the finish.

M: Medium carbonation, thick body, that usual boozy sting you get with most FW barrel-aged beers.

O: Once again, nice barrel character, but the astringent tannins and booze are a bit much. Seems like the hoppiness from the Double Jack didn't help things either, as the bitterness just seemed to bolster the elements upsetting the smoothness of the beer. Excellent, but could be better.

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Photo of jmarsh123
3.77/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to drewba for the bottle!

Pours murky deep brown with a thin beige head and slight legs on the glass.

Smells of chocolate, coffee with a little caramel, booze and dark fruits.

Sweet toffee malts come through more on the flavor along with dark fruits. A bit of booze and barrel, but it's not overpowering. The barleywines components seem to dominate. I wish there were a bit more of the chocolate from the nose.

A bit thinner bodied than I'd prefer. Booze is present, but fairly mellow and well integrated for the ABV. Medium carbonation.

Solid and enjoyable, but I'd rather have a Parabola. This one is a bit sweet and could use some roasted malts or a little more bitterness to balance somewhere.

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Photo of rodkin
4.34/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Three Kings.

Pours a dark reddish brown, kind of a cola look. Almost no head.

Smell is oak, molasses, brown sugar, vanilla, bit of chocolate, bit of coconut. Tiny bit of roasty bitterness. Maybe a faint hint of hops. Really, really nice.

Taste is big chocolate, oak, and vanilla upfront. There's some coconut in there, too. Not as noticeable as it was fresh in the bottle, but it gets more noticeable as it warms, especially in the finish. It's really rich and decadent, but there's some heat from the alcohol that keeps it in check, so it never becomes cloying. Maybe a bit of dark fruit in there too? Raisin or plum.

Mouthfeel is just a touch thicker than medium. It coats the mouth nicely. Not too much carbonation, just about what you'd want from a beer of this size.

Really smooth, really drinkable, just delicious. Great beer.

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Photo of PeterIngemi
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a duvel glass.

A: body's beer is almost black with touches of deep
Mahogany around the edges.. Almost two fingers of slightly browned head that dissapates nicley and leavs some nice sticky lacing.... Looks delicious.

S: booze, burbon, vanilla, oak, dark fruit, Very very complex and delicious. Loads of caramel and brown sugar, layer of deliciousness continue to develops as this brew warms.

T: caramel and dark fruit, raisin, brown sugar, prune, oak, burbon, booze, burbon, vanilla, toffee, light coffe and chocolate notes. I feel like this blend is deffinatly more dominated by barleywine, but the other components are deffinatly noticeable as well. This is an incredibly delicious and complex blend.

M: medium to heavy bodied with medium carbonation that keeps this brew from being to slick.... Its velvety,lush and delicious.

O: this is an incredibly unique and delicious beer. It is amazing how all these brews can blend together to make such a delicious whole, so much complexity, deffinatly a must try for any fan of barrel aged beers.

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Photo of vfgccp
4.74/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Relatively loose off-white head with ok retention and lace. Deep mahogany body with cherry cola highlights.

S - Stellar nose. Vanilla, milk chocolate, brown sugar, dried plum, cappuccino, touch of cinnamon, booze, nutmeg, bready grains. The only think keeping this from a 5 is that it's just a shade too boozy. BA needs a 4.75.

T - Stellar balance and integration. Cadbury milk chocolate, oak, vanilla, molasses, warm booze, black cherry, cream, medium roast coffee, pumpernickel, almond milk.

M - Warm, incredibly smooth, and full bodied.

O - Possibly the most drinkable 12%+ brew I've ever had. The flavor profile, complexity and balance are fantastic.

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Photo of Briken
4.73/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Clear sherry colored and a thin tan head with no retention. Caramel, oak, and toffee with hints of citrus. Sweet barley, caramel, vanilla initially. Evolves to caramelized sugar and custard and darkening in the middle to chocolate and earthy citrus notes. Light molasses and bourbon all around. Light bodied smooth, vinous feel.

A beautiful colored beer is heavy on caramelized sweetness but opens up to a ridiculous amount of flavor at a warmer temperature. The oak flavors and dryness don’t dominate but they are always present creating the impression of a very drinkable and complex bourbon. Alcohol flavors aren’t present, only a gentle warming. It is very apparent this is a beer blended by wine makers. This is certainly one that MUST be enjoyed at a warmer temperature and if you have a friend who prefers wine complexity, then this is one to share with them. It’s expensive but I say it’s worth it at least once.

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Firestone 15 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
4.26 out of 5 based on 1,112 ratings.
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