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Firestone 15 - Anniversary Ale | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding
313 Reviews
THE BROS
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Firestone 15 - Anniversary AleFirestone 15 - Anniversary Ale
BEER INFO

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

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.

BEER STATS
Reviews:
313
Ratings:
1,109
Avg:
4.26
pDev:
21.13%
 
 
Wants:
169
Gots:
738
For Trade:
30
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Reviews: 313 | Ratings: 1,109
Photo of draheim
4.41/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into a snifter. Pours a very dark crystal-clear mahogany w/ a thin head that settles quickly to a surface film. Minimal visible carb.

Aroma is vanilla, bourbon, dark fruit, oak, caramel malt.

Taste is sweet malt, rum-soaked dark fruit, warm bourbon, vanilla, caramel, toffee, oak, and some floral bitter hops.

Mouthfeel is smooth and slick w/ a semi-dry, warming finish.

Overall another solid barrel-aged blend from Firestone Walker.

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Photo of GregSVT
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into a tulip

A: Pours a light brown but darker in the bottle with a nice light tan head that fades to a ring and leaves some lacing on the glass.

S: The nose is weak at first. All I'm really getting is toasted oak, a bit of vanilla, some molasses, and some toffee. As it warms I get some brandy, red apple, and dark fruits.

T: The taste starts with brandy, apple, and bit of molasses with a touch of vanilla in the background. As it warms I get more vanilla, a bit of chocolate, and some cherry as well. The finish is closer to a belgian beer than a Strong Ale which makes this very interesting. Lots of complex flavors that are hard to pick out.

M: The feel is a tad thin but it's nothing horrible. I'd love to see a bit more thickness and creaminess.

O: I actually like this a bit more than 14 but it started out smelling exactly the same. I wish they would add more Parabola to the mix like 13 which would also bump up the mouthfeel a bit more. Not sure how this one will age given the fruit aromas and flavors from the brandy so I'd drink 'em now or within the first few years.

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Photo of kemoarps
4.02/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice mahogany with a bit of head. Minimal lingering and no lacing. Some sediment settling in the bottom.

The nose has some alcohol behind it, more brandy than bourbon. Some raisin and almost a fig?

Taste follows through, raisins, brandy booze, a little brown sugar and some of those dark fruits. Mild hops hidden somewhere.

Very smoothe. A unique blend, but it comes together and works. Tasty. May you be lucky enough to get your hands on some.

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

Poured from bomber into snifter glass. Pours clear, dark ruby with a nice off-white head with legs that lasted quite nicely throughout. Brown sugar nose, sweet malts, some of which are tangy. Big sweet, roasty, brown sugar flavor, some bourbon, bread, and wood. Full mouthfeel with fine carbonation throughout. Warm finish with light sting, wood, bourbon, brown sugar. A bit boozy overall, but still lots of surprising pleasant elements peeking through.

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Photo of Kevlee722
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber into stone old guardian glass, split with my pops for fathers day.
Pours a beautiful mahogany color with ruby highlights on the edges. One finger of khaki head that dissipates quickly leaving a small amount of lace behind.
Nose is huge bourbon, malt and some of the brandy. Bourbon leads the way, definitely the Kentucky spirits chargin hard on the forefront. Great aroma, the barrels show up in an immense and wonderful way.
Taste is equally as delightful, bourbon, oak vanilla and the slightest bite from the hops of the double jack show up. One of the best blends I've ever tasted, Firestone has a way with beer that I can't seem to stay away from.
Mouthfeel is perfection, crisp and carbonated with the right amount of smooth creaminess. A very enjoyable brew.
Very drinkable, smooth, crisp and everything you could want from a barrel aged blend. The work firestone did with the central coast winemakers shows through. This beer is balanced, beautiful and as delicious as they come. One of my favorite anniversary offerings from this awesome brewery.

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Photo of BostonHops
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle served in a snifter.
bottled 10/07/11 (wish i could get double jack this fresh. not that this is exceedingly fresh but the most recent batch of double jack on the shelves around here is-, ok, sorry i digress. but we're talking ~6 months.)

pours a mahogany tone, sits a borderline black in the glass; yields a short-lived tan head. as anticipated the nose is heavily malt-forward. bourbon is clearly showcased, along with notes of vanilla and caramel and hints of chocolate and molasses.

flavor is intriguing, a lot more going on than i expected going solely off the aroma. vanilla, caramel, and molasses pull through (along with bourbon of course), but there's also a slight citric presence - as others have noted likely coming from the double jack - some raisin, and a touch of chocolate. complex and tasty. definitely on the sweet side but not overly sweet for me, though i can see where it might be for others. alcohol presence is there but not nearly as imposing as you might expect for a 12.5% ABV beer... medium-plus bodied mouthfeel with below-average carbonation.

overall i'm right in-between an A- and a solid A on this one, with A- seeming a touch low and A striking me as a hair too high. forced to choose, i'll give it the .5 bump. a really enjoyable beer.

(originally reviewed: 12-07-2011)

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Photo of bcostner1
4.87/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A: Deep, rich mahogany brown with some dark garnet undertones present. Thin tan head which quickly dissipates (not surprising given the high ABV).

S: Intoxicating. Vanilla, molasses, brown sugar, caramel. Faint EtOH present as well. This really is a fantastic smelling beer.

T: Outstanding. Follows the nose with heavy vanilla and caramel. Some definite molasses and brown sugar present as well. Mild, smooth bourbon. Rich figs. All brought together by the underlying woodiness of the barrel aging. Ridiculously delicious. Reminds me a lot of the Shmaltz Vertical Jewbelation (which is one of my favorite beers of all time) but this one may even be slightly better.
So complex. I think I could drink this over and over again and get something different every time.

M: Smooth. Ever so slightly on the thin side perhaps(?) The alcohol is detectable...faintly so but definitely there. Overall, very easy to drink.

This beer is phenomenal. I am becoming convinced that these blended, barrel aged brews (like this one and the before mentioned Vertical Jewbelation) are one of my top 3 favorite styles when done well. And this one is definitely done well to say the least. I am glad I bought 5 bottles of this (and would have bought more if it were available in my area and not so pricey). Still, this is an almost indescribably beautiful beer and I highly recommend it.

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Photo of RuckusDu
3.75/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Just sent a couple of these out so I thought I would see how its tasting. Into Duvel tulip at about recommended temp.

A - Maybe a half finger of light beige head that quickly falls. Body is clear but a deep amber that is more red than brown. Almost no lacing.

S - Sweet and very similar to an english barleywine. Caramel, some chocolate, and just a hint of dark sour fruits. Cherry and prune mix.

T - Starts with a sour bite that sticks throughout as the beer develops. Then the faint flavor of harsh hops show up, but because it is faint, the harshness doesn't take away from anything. Last is the Parabola which I get a lot of.

M - Gets you in the back of your mouth with some sour. Good carbonation and medium body. Very barleywine like.

O - The flavors are complex and a lot going on, but it ends with that Parabola flavor and just makes me want one of those.

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Photo of Bendurgin
3.82/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared by Andy and poured into a tulip. This one pours a dark brown with just a thin cap of foam.

The aroma has a nice rich aroma with some hints of toffee and chocolate with a little bit of dark fruit. Rich chocolate and hints of coffee and dark fruit on the pallet.

The body is thick and chewy with soft carbonation. Overall this one is pretty tasty. A little bit more barelywine characters than I remember from yeast; this one is very good.

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Photo of andrewinski1
4.04/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip. Not much of a head here; just a few bubbles from a vigorous pour. The color looks black at first, but it's really very dark amber.

The aroma is rich with toffee and caramel. Subtle notes of vanilla come through as well.

The taste starts out sweet and malty. There is a great vanilla, sweet malty flavor. There is subtle barrel characteristics, mixing with the chocolatey malt flavor.

This is rich, thick, with soft carbonation. I really enjoyed this. Doesn't quite have the booziness of years past. This also is less stoutlike and more barleywine like. Yum.

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Photo of SawDog505
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a 16 oz snifter. Pours a very dark brownish black, with a half inch of off white, that leaves some patches of lace. Smell is vanilla, carmel, bourbon, and dark fruit. Taste is so well balanced, most dominant is vanilla, and maybe some leather in the finish that my nose didn't detect. Body is medium, the amount of carbonation you would expect from the size of the ABV, not dry, and very approachable for its size. This is magnificent as always from Firestone.

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Photo of OStrungT
5/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a mohogany color with a thin but fluffy brown head. the head fades slowly, leaving a decent lacing.

This beer has a great aorma. I get vanilla up front with some chocolate. I detect some bourbon as well. Sweet caramel and roasted malts mix in. All the aromas are mild and blend well.

This beer tastes just like it smells. So well blended. Caramel, vanilla, chocolate, bourbon. This beer is amazing.

The beer is smooth and full bodied. Carbonaton is low, fitting the style. The alcohol is well hidden throughout this beer.

This beer might make a decent session beer, but with a 12.5% ABV, I wouldnt recomend it.

Overall: This beer is a great beer. I decided that I couldnt think of a better day to drink it than on the eve of the first annual Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest. Hopefully they have it on tap tomorrow.

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

22oz. bomber poured into a Cigar City snifter.

Heavy pour creates a thin, light caramel colored head with poor retention. This one's different than the other anniversary beers but still very solid. Dark brown and amber. Not opaque black. Lacing is spotty and stringy. Great legs.

Nose is caramel, toffee, brown sugar, dark fruit, and a crisp, fresh, sap hop presence. Real sweet. Barrel and molasses make up the background. Chocolate, roast, and other stout flavors conspicuously missing. Real robust and deep.

Caramel, toffee, and a sweet, sap hop presence. Hints of brown sugar, honey, and molasses at the middle with a deep nuttiness. End is more sweetness with some barrel booziness coming through. Finishes sticky sweet molasses with the same aftertaste. Good complexity. Nice.

Medium to full bodied with low to moderate carbonation. Some bubbles in the mouth and hot going down. Sticky finish with a lingering aftertaste. Real solid for the style.

This one's very different from its predecessors as the barelywine component comes through a lot more in this blend. There's more dark fruit, caramel, brown sugar than there is chocolate, roast, and fudge. Still, a very good beer overall and I hope FW experiments with showcasing more other components with their anniversary series in the future.

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Photo of russwbeck
3.95/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A Semi-clear deep red brown pour devoid of head. 4

S The smell is amazingly malty. Anton of vanilla with slight bourbon. It's oaky, but the amount of barrel aging makes it hard to determine what's going on. Boozy, but blended and mellowed very well. 4

T The taste is pretty boozy, but the bourbon and oak take over towards the backend. The vanilla and sweet maltiness are pervasive, but the barrel aging balances it out. This beer is becoming exceedingly difficult to describe. It's all barrel and sweetness. The finish is slightly hoppy. It's not bad, but I think Parabola and Velvet Merkin were better. 4

MF Heavy body with a low carbonation. Pretty drinkable, but the alcohol and sweetness gets to me a bit. 3.5

Pairing: This was the finishing beer. The nail in the coffin if you will. I wanted something to snack on, but I'm pretty sure I've run the gammet with delicious food. 3

O This is a great beer, but probably not worth the price tag for a bottle. It's good, but didn't blow me away 4

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Photo of arizcards
4.59/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bomber from BevMo at the end of November for $21.99. I took the advice of BA's to drink young and not age too long.

Beer poured brown with an OK head upon initial pour.

Nose is wonderful; vanilla, bourbon, ripe dark fruit, hints of dark chocolate.

I have to admit that instinctively the booze from the barrels tell me to age this. Taking advice i cut the aging process short. Here we go...Taste is perfection, a light oaken vanilla bourbon theme provides the backbone. Dark ripe fruit and cocoa blend in nicely. Citrus and pine hops balance the huge flavorful backbone perfectly.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth.

Overall this is an awesome beer, one of the best blends i have had. This is a beer that has been professionally aged by the fine FW brewers. I would concur that should be drank as "fresh" as possible!

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Photo of StlHopHead77
3.87/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Pours out a dark brown body with maroon edges and a thin,quickly dying head of light tan that left thin but sticky sheets of lacing.

S-Strong notes of bourbon,caramel,molasses,vanilla,plum,raisin and fruity alcohol.Nice baked sugar sweetness on the nose.

T-Toffee,vanilla,slightly off-putting tinny note,bourbon filled chocolates,caramel,date and slight leather.

M-Sweet but not cloying with decent complexity but a lingering "dirty" bourbon finish.

O-Good but not great.

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

Pours darker than any barleywine I have ever seen that's for sure. The color is dark dark brown, but clear with dark ruby hues along the edges. There is a thin khaki head of small bubbles, that recedes fairly rapidly leaving some spotty lacing.

Aromas begin quite barrel forward with oak, vanilla and coconut opening up. There is a mildly sweet maltiness next mixed with a lot of nougat, a little toffee and a cocoa powder characteristic that opens up more and more as it warms. More dark caramel and an ever-so-slight dark fruitiness as you continue to smell; the best part of these FW blended beers is that you can smell them forever and you will always pick up new nuances. Booziness (which is extremely minimal) dissipates after a couple minutes and everything comes full circle and you once again get sweet coconut, cocoa powder and vanilla.

The taste doesn't quite live up to the nose but is quite decadent none-the-less. Layers upon layers of flavor, with a progression ranging from caramel, milk chocolate, coconut and vanilla, up front, with a hint of light bourbon and dark fruit in the middle; after the swallow, some oakiness bring up the finish, with some light coffee (or maybe hop) bitterness lingering in the aftertaste.

The mouthfeel is medium-heavy bodied with medium-low carbonation. Exactly where is needs to be for this style of beer. Flavor profile starts sweet from the bourbon and barleywine maltiness but ends nice and dry from the oak and higher ABV.

Overall this is my favorite of all the FW anniversary ales I have been fortunate enough to try (all but the 10th). In my opinion each year they keep getting better and better. Earlier examples were boozier (maybe they had fallen off with time) but this and the 14 were really tops in my opinion. I wish I would have not waited so long to try this so I could have seen (tasted) how hoppy it originally was 6 mo ago, but I will sacrifice that for the much more mellow (less hot) flavor profile that probably exists now.

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

light tan / cola colored frothy head dissipates quickly, only leaving a scattered film. Dark brown / deep amber, very clear.

smells of chocolate, caramel, cherry, vanilla, brown sugar, and alcohol warmth

sweet creamy caramel, sharp oak, vanilla, surprise fruity/citrus undertones, light dark fruit. well bittered. finish is a balance of sweet and dry, leaning towards the sweeter side, with an oaky cinnamon lingering finish that continues into the aftertaste.

medium-full body, medium to medium-low carbonation. High residual sweetness, leaves a sticky finish. Creamy and smooth. medium alcohol warmth.

this was a fabulous, complex, rich and bold beer. Blending is an art, and they have mastered it. Flavors and aromas came out independently strong, but also in a harmonious marriage. A sipper of a beer, that can be a little sweet or a little warm at times, but it was drunk fresh. I am very excited to see how this ages, and am glad i have 3.

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Photo of rlee1390
4.17/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Clear deep ruby red almost brown, one finger head that doesn't last long.

S-Coffee, chocolate, caramel, oak and toffee.

T-Coffee, chocolate, caramel. Oak as well. Similar in many respects to a barleywine. There is some bitterness in there as well.

M-Medium to heavy, some carbonation and very smooth.

O-Glad I pulled the trigger on this one, not sure about getting another to age.

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

Cheers to Bilco for sharing this beer

Review adapted from notes taken 3/31/12

Appearance: Brown with some dark red - off-white, little head, retains a nice ring

Smell: Simply put, "barrel magic" - wood, vanilla, caramel malts, caramel (sugar), chocolate, some alcohol

Taste: Nicely balanced and very interesting - caramel malts, caramel sweetness, wood, vanilla, chocolate, coffee, some dark fruits, toffee, and a touch of booze, so many flavors going on

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body, adequately carbonated, smooth, dry

Overall: Firestone Walker = masters of barrel aging

Certainly different than Firestone Walker XIV, and interesting in its own way. This was a bit lighter than I expected, with a big emphasis on caramel. And as mentioned above, this is about as good as barrel aging gets.

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Photo of Jeffo
4.04/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to Doodler for sending this beer over the pond and while back. Doopie, Pasqual and myself lined up the latest three FW anniversary beers a couple weeks back. Good fun guys. Bonjour 18 ans...

From a bomber into a snifter

APPERANCE: Pours a small, medium looking, off-white head with lousy retention. Color is a slightly hazy ruby red and no carbonation is evident. Head quickly fades to only a ring, which remains until the end but leaves no lacing down the glass. Nothing special.

SMELL: Heavy bourbon barrel smell for sure. Bourbon, oak, vanilla all over the nose, with some caramel and toffee aromas from the base beer probably. Bold, enticing, and demands attention.

TASTE: Follows the nose, but with an added push of caramel and toffee sweetness up front. Lots of the sweet malts, with an impressive bourbon barrel added to the mix. Bourbon, oak, and vanilla of course, with and strong barrel dominated aftertaste lingering on the palate. Some sweet caramel lingers alongside the barrel flavors as well.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Not overly creamy on the palate, but goes down fine and finishes slightly sticky. Carbonation is actually a touch prickly perhaps. Some heat lingers on the palate.

OVERALL: Really tasty stuff. A little too much heat and a bigger, creamier palate would have helped, but as far as bourbon barrel dominant beers are concerned, this is one of the better ones out there. Really glad to get a shot at this one, and it was fun to line up three years of the anniversary series at once. Thanks again for the bottle Doodler. This one comes highly recommended.

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Photo of samie85
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a ruby-tinged cola color with a finger and a half of off-white head.

Big bourbon notes with sweet caramel and some chocolate, and some dark fruit.

Follows the nose with huge spicy bourbon notes and light caramel and a hint of chocolate.

A little hot with medium body with and very low carbonation.

This one could use a little more time in the bottle... still a little hot; unless you prefer your beers with alcohol heat.

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

Poured into New Belgium Globe Glass

A: Half-inch off-white almost light khaki head, golden-brown color, little bit of lacing

S: Bourbon, caramel, citrus, dark fruits, as it warms to room temperature vanilla comes out

T: Bourbon, toffee, orange peel, oak, chocolate, mango

M: Creamy, warming, good carbonation, not too thick, but full-bodied and put together nicely

O: This beer is awesome and interesting, you look at the beer styles that went into this blend and then you start to pick out everything you are smelling and tasting. Firestone has a lot of good beers

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

Bottle courtesy of the immortal BrewerB, who also sent me the 14th, massive thanks once again Brian!

This beer pours a medium bodied, dark brown with copper and amber highlights and a one finger off white head. The nose is like a cross of American barley wine and old ale. There is plenty of malt, oak, light bourbon, some vanilla, and toffee. It has a nice nose and it what is to be expected from this line, barrel and malt. The flavors are more assertive than the nose. There is plenty of caramel, toffee, vanilla, oak. Bourbon barrel, and slight dark fruit. It has old ale written all over it. It is complex for the style and I appreciate how the wood shines through all this sweet matinees. It drinks medium in body and sweet, with the alcohol absent in both the nose and flavor. There is a good amount of residual sugar. The aftertaste is really nice and this is where the barrel aging shines. Overall I think this is much better than the 14 and much more complex. I really like this. It drinks like a barrel aged old ale and I appreciate that. This is a fine beer. Perhaps I should have chased another...

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Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.92/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: 1/4" cream colorued head over cola coloured liquid.

S: Chocolate, oak, bourbon, roasted barley, caramel, vanilla.

T: Creamy caramel, vanilla, bourbon, oak, roasted barley, and toasted malt. Beautiful.

M: Medium to thick viscosity, and a medium level of carbonation.

O: Very drinkable, creamy, and smooth.

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Firestone 15 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
4.26 out of 5 based on 1,109 ratings.
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