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: 1,114 |  Reviews: 314
Photo of mdillon86
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of CaptDavyJones
4.84/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful, elegant packaging for this 15th anniversary ale from Firestone Walker.
From the bottle this ale pours a clear cola color and shows dark ruby red hues along the edges once it is in the glass. (Reddish brown transparent color in the glass)
Wow, aroma upfront is all bourbon; strong notes of barrel-wood aged alcohol coming through.
Alcohol warmth is evident the moment this ale touches the tip of the tongue. Lot's of bourbon notes, with dark fruits, raisins/dates in the back. There is just so much going on in this beer. Layers of flavor and aroma which are all woven around strong bourbon notes.
Full bodied with a nice silky mouthfeel. This is a definite sipper; a very, very BIG beer.
Words can't do enough justice to this beautiful blend. Definitely one of those beers that you "must" try. Worth getting your hands on at least one bottle, if not two.
Comes VERY highly recommended.

 900 characters

Photo of CharlieMurphy
3.87/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours like gasoline. Thin orangish brown with minimal foam. Ends up dark like bourbon.

S: haha smells like whole wheat bread most prominently, maybe with a bit of rye. I can't even smell any barreling. Maybe some nuts?

T: Quite unique and awesome. Mellow barreling, sweet taste, yeah lots of dark whole grain bread flavors but in a much more diverse and delicious way. This is actually best at first sips and dulls thereafter with no improvement as it warms.

M: *Smooth* Low carb. lil residual sweetness, little awkward bitterness thereafter, albeit barely mentionable. Very drinkable.

O: Unique, interesting, and weird brew. Overpriced, but awesome. Mixed feelings.

 676 characters

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

15 years of brewing excellence, in bottled form.

Firestone Walker 15 - Anniversary Ale is a blend of some of Firestone's world renowned brews, aged in barrels. Here is a list of the blends;
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.

WOW! Those percents add up to 76% Barley Wine style beers, 19% Stout and 5% Imperial IPA. The real fun is in trying to pick up on all the flavors and styles, challenging too!

15 pours a very deep, dark brown, nearly black with flashes of ruby, all beneath a thin off-white head that dissipates slowly, leaving no lacing. Where to start on the aroma? We picked up hints of bourbon, coconuts, oak, dark fruits (raisins & plums), rum, citrus, alcohol, vanilla, chocolate, and malt, to name a few. Full bodied this brew is crisp, sharp and smooth. The flavor profile matches that of the nose, lots going on and it is easy to become tongue twisted trying to pick everything up. Most notably present is a strong, roasty malt presence followed by vanilla, oak and alcohol. Lots going on here, and it ALL works well. Brilliant brew from a brewery that knows a thing or two about brilliant beers.

 1,501 characters

Photo of ONN8
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of PEIhop
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of yourefragile
3.5/5  rDev -17.8%

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

Poured into a Stella Chalice, this ale has an opaque dark brown color that gets to a dark amber around the edges. There is a minimal amount of light tan head that falls to loose bubbles on the edges of the glass. The aroma is of strong alcohol, coconuts, licorice, coffee, and vanilla. It sort of smells like a blend of coconut rum and bourbon.

The flavor is strong and overwhelmingly intense. Sweet boozy vanilla and coconut start it off while it blends together with dark fruit, candied sugar, and licorice. Getting towards the finish there is a dryer roasted malt espresso flavor mixing nicely with charred oak bourbon. In the end it finishes very smooth with lingering alcohol sweetness.

15th Anniversary Ale is definitely an experience, and I'm glad I had a chance to try this one. With that in mind, as delicious and complex as this beer is, I think it would be very difficult to finish it by yourself, at 12.5%abv in a 650ml bottle, this is a real sipper.

 964 characters

Photo of CasanovaCummins
3.58/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Holy heck! This stuff just hits you over the head with COCONUTS!
Both smell and taste. Surprised the heck outta me. But there it is, the unmistakable signature of coconuts.

These tiny bubbles eventually dissolve into pipe tobacco and chocolate covered cappuccino bean flavors.

A bit watery. And if you let it sit and mellow, you get bourbony figs and buttery mincemeat.

I'm wanting to like this more than the COCONUT will let me. Unique in that fashion, but not the twenty dollars worth of beer I'd like. This one needs to lay down and mellow. Do NOT drink too young. Wait at least a year on this one!

It's like meeting a lady that has no apparent problems, has no kids, is awfully smart and pretty, but you just don't click.

 731 characters

Photo of zeff80
4.39/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out an opaque, dark, dark brown color with a one-finger, tan head of bubbly foam. It left sudsy trails of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled boozy and malty with notes of oak and vanilla. Some piney/resin aromas, too.

T - Good roasty flavor with pine notes. Boozy with oak and vanilla flavors. A strong bourbon taste, too.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A full bodied ale with a soft finish.

O - This is a great beer. An amazing blend brings amazing flavors. It was worth the wait and hype.

 509 characters

Photo of kaelingirl
3.5/5  rDev -17.8%

Photo of SpillyBeers
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of uvm2003
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of barnzy78
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of IPx
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of caskstrength
2.22/5  rDev -47.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

2nd bottle I've had. I wish I had only bought one. (or none)

Pours a cola brown, adequate carbonation. Looks sort of thin.

Smells are dr. pepper with some cheap bourbon (or Southern Comfort) thrown in. Some esters come through (didn't like those in Abacus either). No richness or deep dark smells.

Tastes are, not surprisingly, dr. pepper with some cheap brown spirits thrown in. A warm mixed drink sitting on the table you tried a few hours later after the party, just for shits and giggles. Simple brown sugar sweetness with some poorly matched alcohol is not what I was expecting here.

Thinner than it should be, but it matches the thin flavors, so at least it's consistent.

Poured it out. This beer is a failure. I didn't have Abacus fresh, but whatever went wrong with that beer over time went wrong here in spades.
I guess I'm not a Firestone Walker barrel guy, so more for all you.

 897 characters

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

Poured on tap at Sunset Grill in Boston

A - Pours a very dark brown, almost ruby red on the edges. You can see through this one when it is low. About a half finger worth of a quirky disappearing off white head.

S - Deep dark fruits in this one, rum soaked raisins, plums, figs, lots of bourbon.

T - Follows the nose, rum soaked raisins, plums, figs, big bourbon notes, vanilla and dark sugar, ends with a nice sweetness from the alcohol. really fantastic stuff

M - Low carbonation, kind of expected with the abv range. Coats the mouth and very chewy and sticky.

O- For 10 bucks a 13 oz i thought it was worth it. Very delicious and love that i have a bottle in my closet i can sit on.

 689 characters

Photo of DSlim71
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of drabmuh
3.5/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Thorpe, at the time of this review, this is the #15 beer on the "Top Beers - American Strong Ale" list. I've had all of these anniversary ales and this one is a relatively big disappointment for me. Too thin, not enough barrel comes through. They should just make the 13th over and over again.

Beer is brown, dark, but clear, thin lazy head of small bubbles, minimal carbonation, minimal lacing.

Aroma is mildly sweet, a little toffee, interesting yeast character, and some bourbon.

Beer is thin in body, sweet, a little bourbony, not boozy at all, moderate finish. I was expecting something totally different. This should be called FW anniversary light.

 664 characters

Photo of pmlondrigan
4.07/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

15 pours deep purple burgundy. A thin light tan head appears and disappears. A thin ring of tight foam remains, along with an island of bubbles in the center. First impressions of the nose are deeply complex with bourbon and jammy cooked fruits, red wine grapes. White american oak, distant hops. Soft and nuanced, I like it. Lots of bourbon soaked oak, caramel, toffee and burnt sugar flavor. Chocolate makes an apperance married to some port like flavors. Hops are surprisingly present in the finish manifested in their bittering form.
A short finish, and thinner then appropriate. A lingering burnt sugar and bitter taste.
I know I shouldn't be comparing this to 14 but I am in my mind. 15 is complex, but just not as complex as 14. There is great depth of flavor here, but it is not sewed together as well as it could be. Still, damn....tasty.

 848 characters

Photo of gcare02
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of b3shine
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to urbancaver for this one. Deuce to oversized tulip. Looks good; opaque from the barreling. I've been stuffy, so I can't thoroughly enjoy the bouquet, but I can make out scents of bourbon and vanilla. The taste is great. As others have mentioned, you can definitely notice the 5% DIPA, but in a good way.the mouthfeel is great too, especially for 12.5%. Dangerously drinkable. Overall, a great beer that is worth the hefty price tag.

 441 characters

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

Bottle shared by Thorpe429. Thanks Mike.

The beer is dark brown with a thin tan head. The aroma is of roasted malt, toffee, caramels, bourbon, oak, buttery malt, booze. The flavor is good, but not great. Lots of complexities, and well balanced, yet lacking that special something. Alcohol is present, but I wouldn't consider this beer as hot. A lot of oak character. Pretty good.

 380 characters

Photo of searcy
1/5  rDev -76.5%

Photo of PBoegel
4.75/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

It scarcely gets better than this. I was pleasantly surprised when Firestone Walker products started showing up in my neck of the woods in Albany New York earlier in 2011.

I'll spare a tome to Firestone Walker, you can find a great about why this brewery is highly acclaimed and rightfully so across the world wide web.

Often times beers of this nature reach a proportion of hype which simply cannot be lived up too, they are good, but not the type of thing that changes your mind or perceptions. You can choose not to like this beer and perform an anti-hype campaign, but you would be wrong.

Poured from the 22 ounce bottle into a Brooklyn Tulip snifter the beer is stunning in appearance, deep hued brown, ruby the head (as to be expected) is short lived. I actually had to take a picture of the color that refracted through the glass it was that interesting. It looked like a Garnet stone.

Aroma was rich cocoa, vanilla, rum, scotch, some faint hints of piney hops (due to a healthy addition of Double Jack into the blend). No off aromas, certainly an alcohol presence, but one that supports the beer, not detracts from it.

The current taste profile of this beer is a rich layered but highly drinkable strong ale. The alcohol from the stronger beers in the blend combined with the bourbon barrel aged beers creates a rich palate. Everything from dark chocolate notes, to hints of fresh dark coffee beans, vanilla, traces of bourbon and a velvety caramel. The alcohol cuts through the sweetness to balance the beer magnificently.

I did not detect much in the way of hops from the flavor, but there was a very well defined hop bitterness. Full bodied, but also perfectly carbonated with a warming alcohol finish and rich oak character as well.

Hard to imagine there will be many beer experiences much better than this. Looking forward to trying to quell my lust to open the remaining three bottles. Perhaps I'll buy another to deny my sanity.

 1,951 characters

Firestone 15 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
4.26 out of 5 based on 1,114 ratings.
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