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Firestone 15 - Anniversary Ale | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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Firestone 15 - Anniversary AleFirestone 15 - Anniversary Ale
1,120 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: 1,120 |  Reviews: 316
Photo of Thingus
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Out of a bottle into a tulip, live tasting...

Appearance; pours a lovely mahogany brown, ruby along the edges and when viewed through the top down through the beer. One finger off white, light tan head that quickly dissipates.

Smell; brandy, bourbon, brown sugar, maple, vanilla, oak definitely solid alcohol presence on the nose. Some may find it overwhelming but to my nose it nicely offsets the sweet smells I get.

Taste; this is a very forward beer with alcohol, tons of bourbon, brandy, dark fruit, vanilla, oak, and molasses...

Mouthfeel; is very smooth, somewhere between medium to full body with a viscous to syrupy mouthfeel... Getting the body pegged on this one is difficult for me for some reason... It feels thicker than the color would let on.. Very still although not flat, quite similar to a barley wine in my opinion, which would make sense given the barley wine contributions to this beer approach 50% (46% to be exact)

Overall; XV is extremely complex, and there are a ton of aromas and flavors I couldn't decipher in this beer... It is most similar to barley wines that I've had previously... Strong alcohol presence, and I'm curious to see how this beer mellows and matures with age. Certainly a great brew, but at the moment, a little raucous and immature in my opinion, absolutely drinkable and enjoyable but I'm also glad to have another bottle to revisit in a couple years!!

 1,408 characters

Photo of infi
4.22/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber, shared with BAs brun and r0nyn.

Poured into a brandy snifter.

Brown, cola-colored body with blood red hues. Off-white head that leaves speckled lacing upon glass.

Immensely packed with vanilla tannin, barreled oak, sharp boozy heat, caramel and burnt sugars. Incredibly complex and mellow smelling, especially considering the amount of beers in the final blend. Very potent once warmed to room temperature.

Tastes, just like style implies– very strong. Like a brandy to be sipped. Tannins, brown sugary sweetness, molasses and vanilla. Very barleywine like. Smooth, but particularly hot on the palate. Would probably be mellower after six months or more. Definitely one for the cold weather.

Medium body with low carbonation. Silky texture. Worth the buy– consider splitting the costs with someone else.

 828 characters

Photo of largadeer
3.58/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear tawny body with a small but lasting head.

A good mix of bourbon and brandy aromas, quite a bit of molasses, caramel and tropical fruit, along with a rather harsh ethanol character.

Palate is hot but pretty nice, surprisingly quite fruity with a big molasses/brown sugar character. Lots of brandy and bourbon, but not as much heat as the nose implies. The body is medium, a bit thin compared to past blends. Finishes a bit harsh, though I'm not sure if age will really improve this beer. Overall probably my least favorite of the FW anniversary blends.

 559 characters

Photo of usofar
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of metalgdog
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of VelvetExtract
4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours an attractive brown with ruby highlights. Head is frothy, bubbly and sandy in color. Head is standard in size and it leaves consistent yet unconnected lacing speckles.

S-Sweet molasses and burnt sugar that is brilliantly intertwined with oak via the barrel. This beer definitely has its own unique aroma. Has a 'hard-to-describe' component to the aroma. I tend to think that the mixture of the surprising hop scent mixed with the oak creates the uniqueness. Nutty (specifically cashews) and at some points fruity (banana yogurt) as well. Smells in bunches here. Every sniff brings a new component.

T-Wow. This beer is uncannily smooth and complex. Oak is a perfect highlight to the dozens of potential flavors here. Whiskey cake, nuts, banana bread, silky chocolate. This beer also boasts the most noticeable and lasting tobacco flavor I have ever come across. Brown sugar and molasses. Even the hops come out to play here. Staggeringly complex.

M-Heavy body. Booze is noticeable but hidden very, very well. Carbonation is quite mellow but I enjoy its rather low level of intensity. Lack of noticeable carbonation really accentuates the smooth, creamy, slick feel. Feel is rich, to say the least.

O/D-This beer blew me away. I did not really know what to expect. This beer has so many levels of flavor. Absolutely love the stressed tobacco flavor. A big beer that needs to be tried. Sip slowly, not only because its a strong drink, but also because you may miss the depth of this one if it goes down too quick.

 1,522 characters

Photo of gbbass16
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of homebrew311
4.37/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: pours mahogany with auburn highlight, very little in the head department, nice lacing.

S: nose is chock full of toasted coconut and vanilla, notes of honey, some leather and grapeskin

T: flavors are very well melded, decadant coconut and marshmallow, vanilla is there as well, some hints at hops. Great balance.

Mf: medium body, low carbonation

O: this is any expertly blended brew, I can't really pick out the individual base beers due to the exceptional blend.

 469 characters

Photo of mikereaser
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of Ineedabeerhere
3.5/5  rDev -19.7%

Photo of crbooher
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of weeare138
4.62/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appears a dense mahogany with a beige head that slowly fades into a mild cap and collar. Scattered spots of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of oak, rum, bourbon, cocoa, vanilla, caramel, molasses, and brown sugar.
Taste is of the aromas with a huge chunk of nougat and vanilla with caramel and cocoa.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, chewy, ballet, with some heat in the background.

 386 characters

Photo of jophish17
4/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of trxxpaxxs
4.67/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: When held to the light, this beer shows that it is an amazingly deep shade of red. There is only a small amount of white head that settles nicely along the top of the beer. There is minimal lacing as it drinks.

S: This beer smells amazing. It's big on the bourbon and brandy. There are layers of vanilla, oak, molasses, and candied stone fruits. There is a sweetness in there that is perfectly balanced with the large boozy hotness.

T: This beer does not fool around. Everything in the nose comes through in the taste. The alcohol is extremely noticeable, but it's never overwhelming. The vanilla/oak shine throughout as well. It's absolutely fantastic.

M: Full bodied beer. This beer is mega smooth. There is a wonderful sweetness mingling with high alcohol. The lasting remnants remind me a bit of campfires.

O: I'm super impressed with this beer. I think it is outstanding. I'd love to see what this is like in a few years, but I feel it might lose some of it's balance once the booze begins to mellow. I'm glad I have an extra bottle to find out.

 1,057 characters

Photo of MinorThreat
4.97/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served from a 22oz Bomber Poured into Duvel Tulip

A- Deep and dark with a subtle ruby/mahogany hint when held to light.

S- While a bit colder (+/- 50) Oak was the predominant scent with underlying molasses, chocolate orange and vanilla. As it warmed up the sweet chocolate and citrus really became more noticeable.

T-So much going on in this one. Tons of bourbon like qualities such as vanilla and slight spice. The oak is somehow weaved through the great flavors of chocolate, coffee, vanilla, molasses and slight sherry without being too over the top. Very well integrated with the slightest hint of booziness (in a great way)

M-Rich and viscous

O-Exceptional, simply put. I will be aging a few bottles for a year or two but am very happy I was unable to resist the urge to get into one early.

 803 characters

Photo of Jakers90
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of Pellinore1
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of sdhomebrewer
4/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of whahoppened
4.22/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a blend of eight beers, each of which surely has at least three fruits, nuts, herbs, pastries, etc. listed in its tasting notes somewhere. So does this mean I need to drop at least twenty-four names to properly review XV? If so, pre-emptive surrender.

FW builds its brand on barrels, and takes wine-envy a step further by presenting this scarce potion as a clinic in blending. A starting lineup of Central Coast winemakers led by Wine Spectator cover boy Justin Smith are behind the Barleywine/Brown Ale/IPA mashup here, and those of us who haven't tasted all eight component beers can only imagine how they have integrated into this incestuously malty Brady Bunch.

The first pour out of the bomber stank of bourbon, a ragged vanilla/dill that is the guarantee of sloppy-seconds American wood. As oxygen set in this outcast integrated, ingratiated, complementing the sticky caramel and oloroso sherry flavors that are reminiscent of unfermented wort.

Shit, I wish I had decanted this beer an hour before drinking it. It's an infant and needs a slap on the posterior to begin gasping air and embracing life.

In blends, elements come together only to disappear. And to beget new elements, promises and problems that would never have had a chance in eight different bottles. Bottom line is that XV is delicious. The only frontier left for this indispensable brewery is to apply the winemaker's conceit of "terroir" to beer. Fire walk with me.

 1,453 characters

Photo of Pahn
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Free pour yields a half inch offwhite head that dissipates quickly leaving a couple spots of lacing. Pours a clear but dark red brown, and leaves occasional spots of lacing.

Smell: From the bottle: caramel-y bourbon and piny hops. In the glass: more hops, citrusy and a bit dank. Coconut-y oak and bourbon influence present as a background that grows to dominance in short order. Spicy bourbon notes beyond just creamy oak type aromas. More caramel. Dark fruit somewhere between grape and cherry comes out as a welcome mainstay in the aroma as well.

Taste: First sip: surprisingly and impressively smooth and integrated. Somehow slightly herbal and citrusy hops swim around in caramel and vanilla oak and bourbon. Next sip has a more chocolaty bite.

Early on, my thoughts are: this beer is great. It's got deep, "decadent" flavors, but it comes across as more refreshing than decadent, due to the healthy carbonation plus vibrancy and lightness from the hop flavors. It's not a dessert beer, but it highlights many of the flavors that epitomize dessert beers. Interesting (and good!) stuff.

Lots going on in each sip. Sugary fresh American-made English barleywine hard candy flavors (like in Brooklyn Monster Ale or Founders Curmudgeon), the grape/cherry from the nose, caramel, some fresh bread dipped in chocolate, occasional oily and citrusy hop flavors that don't come across as dissonant. Finish is long and very reminiscent of drinking actual bourbon (it's hot, but active and spicy). Every so often has elements from a sugary, east coast DIPA, but they're tamed and highlighted by oak and bourbon.

This year's Firestone Walker Anniversary beer is a great blend. I like it better than last year's.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied. High side of moderate carbonation. Smooth, approaching creamy. Decent bitterness.

Overall: This beer is a success; a one of a kind, deep, enjoyable barrel aged beer formed out of blending several great beers. Looking back, I had trouble justifying the $25~ I spent on FW14, but I have no qualms with the $20~ I spent on FW15. It's worth paying premium for a beer like this. I'll greatly enjoy killing the rest of this bottle over the next hour or two.

 2,233 characters

Photo of BARFLYB
3.31/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On Tap at Blue Monkey

Firestone fifteen is dark shoe polish brown with dark red tints in color with a centimeter or two of dark coffee brown foam. Leaves minor sticks and has pretty nice retention. It does look rather inviting. Smell takes at least 15 minutes to come out off the tap. Toasted oak, wet wood, bourbon scent, vanilla, almonds and some citrus zest from the double jack. It smells like 14 with DJ basically. Letting this sit for a while, I get citrus from the DJ up front backed by what im guessing is the blong barleywine. Oak plays a big part with faint wood mixing in with the bourbon. Faint coconut and almonds in the taste with a nice roasty taste from the malts, velvet? More citrus seems to round this one out.Im not all that thrilled about it. A nice firm body approaching full. A slight syrupy vibe on certain sips and I find the carb to be a bit lacking. The body is a step down in strength from fourteen. A longish aftertaste. I had a bottle of this and find the tap improves it slightly in texture and taste, but all together I think Im done with this beer.

 1,082 characters

Photo of brez8791
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of mhaugo
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of sjstraub
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of krause316
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Firestone 15 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.36 out of 5 with 1,120 ratings
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