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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Ratings: 1,115 |  Reviews: 315
Photo of Beezee
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of PeterMacKellar
4.95/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle poured into pint glass.

A - A rich dark brown, molasses-type coloring. Only a tiny amount of head that disappeared quite quickly.

S - Immediate big notes of oak, whiskey and wine. A bit of vanilla appears after time. The longer it was out of the fridge, the more it really opened up and delivered more of the brown sugar and molasses.

T - The big whiskey smell turns into a much smaller whiskey taste. Also, the vanilla appears later on and with a subtlety. Similar to the smell, the longer it was out the more brown sugar and molasses came through. A rich, full flavored beer. Boozy in a way that you know you're drinking a high ABV beer immediately.

M - Very smooth with a taste that lingers in the mouth, but not in a heavy way or stuck to your tongue. The whiskey notes leave almost a slight, but nice, tingle.

O - This is a great beer, one of the better ones I've ever had. It had been built up quite high by review and the prestige of FW, and it didn't let down in the slightest.

 1,000 characters

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.23/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review #1900 A pretty dark beer, owes more to black than brown about 3/8" head to it, light brown, decent lacing, one of the best looking strong ale blends out there. Aroma was warming alcohol, made me think 'this is what a winter warmer should smell like'. Its a little bit of everything, oak, bourbon, brown malt, brown sugar, molasses, vanilla, cocao, chocolate, caramel. A plethora of smells if you will.

Many of the same aromas come out on the palate, and add a substantial amount of toffee, and a very minor amount of orange zest. Pretty easily put down, but definitely a sipper, the body is a little thinner than you would think from the strength and color of the beer. Moderate sweetness. Glad I was able to pick up multiples of this, the price point is a little up there, but its not like the product sucks or anything, so its going to make a nice treat beer for years to come.

 887 characters

Photo of rfgetz
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice, semi transparent mahogany color, thin cap of tan froth, gone quickly into small spot. Scent brings a big whiff of whiskey and bourbon, notes of oak and vanilla, melted dark chocolate, light watery coffee, molasses and brown sugar, touch of leather, dark dried fruits such as prune and cherry, fruity citrus... lots going on. Taste brings all the complex components of scent together wonderfully, compared to other years, much more old ale flavor than stout. Fuller side of medium bodied, lightly silky and lightly coating. Very good beer again, found myself mentally comparing to 13 and 14 (the only two versions i've had), this year feels lighter, but a little more focused.

 689 characters

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

On tap at Wine Affairs 2/15, I also had Younger, FW 14 and Abacus the same day, one I'll never forget.

Pours a dark brown with some ruby around the edges, just a shade lighter than 14 with about a finger of tan head that dies down quickly with little lacing.

Smell is a great mix of molasses, chocolate & vanilla swirl, dark roasted malt, coffee, a bit of earthy hops and less alcohol than expected.

Tastes like the most complex dessert I've ever had. Dark chocolate blends with vanilla, coffee, tobacoo, coconut, earthy oak tannins balance out brown sugar sweetness. Hints of leather and a good bit of spicy & fruity hops complement fig & bourbon-soaked raisins and a bit of cherry. Alcohol is nicely integrated & gives it a bourbon-like character with some nice heat.

Has a good body that's just a bit lighter than 14 due to the Double Jack in the blend, but still a nice medium-heavy feel to back up the huge layers of flavor. Feels like it drinks at its ABV but in a way that complements the beer and warms the soul. A bit slick on the palate but not quite as sticky sweet as 14.

Overall I like this fresh a lot better than 14, the barrel character stands out more especially the coconut-like flavor that gives it a nice nutty quality. Glad I have one of these to try in a year or so, but I don't think it'll age nearly as well as 14. A great sipper that is more drinkable than it would seem.

 1,401 characters

Photo of bbrochu
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of ezperkins2
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of chilly460
4.67/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured a deep orange/crimson, cloudy and low carbonation showing in the pour. Finger's worth of light tan head doesn't stick around for long, minimal whisps of lacing left behind.

S - Wow, incredible aroma booms out of the glass. Sweet honey and deep rich toffee pervade the first inhale. This is backed up by plenty of the barrels, plenty of vanilla and rich oak in there as well. The booziness isn't matching the bourbon I expected, it's a sweeter brandy type aroma. Some rich butterscotch in there as well, separate from the toffee picked up earlier.

T - This blend comes across as a beautifully crafted BA barleywine to me. Immense flavor throughout this beer. Immediate hit is the rich caramel and toffee flavors. The second layer adds complexity, when the barrel hits and you get a very intense vanilla flavor that is well integrated and "pure" tasting. Here's where it gets good, the beer holds up and hits with it's boozy character, a nice brandy/bourbon mashup with chocolate roast character. I can't say I picked up a distinct hop presence, but it somehow manages to finish clean with all this "sweetness" and is just an incredible tasting beer.

M - Nice and velvety smooth, carbonation felt spot on. Again, sweet beer but didn't get syrupy.

O - Just a sweet nectar of a beer. Huge aroma and flavor profile, many layers of flavors integrate perfectly for me. Absolutely loved this one and pissed I didn't grab one off the shelves when it was readily available.

 1,482 characters

Photo of dolfan54fl
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of horrorspecialty
5/5  rDev +17.4%

Photo of cthomas78
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of jgoodstein
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.92/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Fancy boxed bottle bought at Walker’s in Lambertville, New Jersey, for $19.99.

Appearance: Served in my Lost Abbey snifter and filled only halfway as the exhaustive brewer’s notes inside the box recommend, XV comes looking like a barleywine (this reminds me of Abacus), with a deep-hazy amber color and barely any head but a bunch of thick soapy bubbles. Weak lacing and low carbonation. A rather pedestrian façade for such a pricey and famed brew.

Smell: Again, Abacus! Lotsa brown sugar, caramel, sweetness. Like a Wee Heavy on steroids. At the end of the whiff, hot chocolate Spanish style (thick and aromatic) and a faint reminder of those Double Jack hops that are part of the blend. Gentle bourbon all around, plus some wood and booze.

Taste: Nuttiness and sweetness, plus braising liquid and reduced wine sauce. Chestnuts, chin nuts and booze. Dirty, swampy hops at the end. Vanilla extract and bourbon in between. Chocolate. Too hot!

Mouthfeel: Shit, this is where this beer fails. Too thin for the style! Full flavor but medium-to-low body. Low carbonation and a prickly-burning finish. FIRE! Too hot as it goes down. Burns and makes me drunk.

Overall: This is good, but unbalanced and “unspectacular”. At this price and presentation and hype, I would expect a killer brew like Parabola and Abacus. This is tasty enough but too alcoholic and fiery. Wish I had another bottle to age and see how it mellows out and develops…

 1,450 characters

Photo of Ryan1423
5/5  rDev +17.4%

Photo of codynevels
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of John11486
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of jimmy82063
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a FW Snifter - This beer is a nice reddish brown when held up to the light. A little bit of a head. From the smell I get caramel and vanilla. From the taste, the caramel and vanilla return but there is also raisin and the barrel oakiness. Sweetness is really there. The alchol is hidden but this beer is to be had at home.

Very good.

 346 characters

Photo of DrinkSlurm
4.62/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap poured into snifter. Deep brown caramel color with sticky foam, but its more like lacing taking over the glass.
Smells of alcohol...raisons, bourbon, vanilla. Taste is fantastic. Vanilla raison dominates. A slight brandy or bourbon aged almost sweet oak stays on the tongue. The alcohol is so in your face but so well hidden at the same time. This is truly a fantastic brew. Worth every penny for sure. I wish I had a bottle to age.

 440 characters

Photo of tjkinate
4.29/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another great anniversary beer from FW!

A: Caramel colored beverage that is toped by a modest head that dissipates rather quickly and leaves only a hint of lacing.

S: Bourbon scents come through nicely and are followed quickly by large amounts of vanilla and toffee. Smelled similar to a Barleywine, but lacked the dark fruit notes making this a unique smelling brew.

T: Very similar to the smell, loved all the vanilla. This brew is well balanced and can't wait to try my second bottle in six months or so.

M: Medium/heavy, soft and creamy, well carbonated.

O: I am very happy with this beer and am glad to see the 15th anniversary really separated itself from last years. I hope this one ages well and I may just have to get myself more bottles!

 752 characters

Photo of Reagan1984
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Always a total treat to break into one of these special Anniversary beers. To this day the XII is probably among my favorite beers of all time.

A pretty tight creamy head forms about a finger thick in my tulip glass, but then fades rather quickly. A fairly deep brown color with a lot of ruby tones. Looks like a dark barleywine.

Aroma is filled with coconut, perhaps some rum soaked raisins. A touch musty with a touch of vanilla.

As usual, the complexity in the flavor is quite awesome. The rum soaked raisins strike again. So does more coconut vs. vanilla. Some cocoa notes in the aftertaste that has a toasty sense to it. It’s really fun drinking these beers. Some nutty notes as well here. The more you play in your glass the more you find.

Velvet like in your mouth, carbonation is just a prickle bringing the flavor to life. Perfectly suited for a cold February day. Hell, who am I kidding… Perfectly suited for any day.

Not sure I’ll ever relive the magic of XII, but this is also just a great beer. My favorite series of beer.

 1,048 characters

Photo of SMason
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of goalie33
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of kpattonunc
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of MrDanno96
3.41/5  rDev -20%
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 +17.4%

Firestone 15 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
4.26 out of 5 based on 1,115 ratings.
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