Velvet Merkin - Pappy Van Winkle Barrel Aged | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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

Style: Oatmeal Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.70%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by KevSal on 02-15-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 4 | Ratings: 17
Photo of russwbeck
4.3/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A Black pour with a thin ring of dark brown head. I can see some bubbles forcing their way up. 4

S The same barrels really have a different aroma for this beer. Vanilla, and not quite as aggressive bourbon are noted, but the oatmeal stout is still there. It's very sweet. 4

T The vanilla is very pervasive on the taste, which I was not expecting at all. The beer goes from vanilla to chocolate to bourbon to roast, back to vanilla and some booze on the backend. A very nicely developing beer with coffe tones at the very end. Not quite as good as parabola, but a really nice surprise. 4.5

MF Not as heavy a body as parabola, but similar carbonation. Very drinkable, but the sweetness will wear on you. 4

Pairing: Again, my allergies came into play here. I got a passion fruit cheesecake with pineapples and sorbet with coconut shavings. It was phenomenal, but the vanilla on vanilla wore on me. The cheesecake was one of the best cheesecakes I've ever had and the sorbet melted in your mouth. Sadly I forgot to take a picture. I will not let this happen again! 4

O The biggest surprise of the night. I very much enjoyed it. This beer is part of so many of their blends I was very happy to finally try it. It's very sweet, but very good. If you can find it, drink it. 4.5

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Photo of MasterSki
4.67/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at City Beer. Served in a snifter.

A - Dark tan foam settles to a partial cap, thick collar, and splotchy lacework. Very dark brown body.

S - Dark chocolate, vanilla, oak, oatmeal, coffee, cherries, caramel, baked goods, toasted biscuits. This smells insanely delicious.

T - Again, plenty of chocolate, oatmeal, molasses, toasted malts, fudge, vanilla, oak, hint of coconut, and fairly mellow bourbon.

M - Soft, smooth, creamy medium body. It really lives up to the velvet mentioned in the name of the beer (can't really speak to merkins, as I've never handled one). No alcohol presence whatsoever, pleasant medium-low carbonation. Perhaps a tiny bit light for 8.7%, but for an oatmeal stout it's plenty hefty.

D - This is superb. If this ever shows up in your city, it's worth skipping work to try, as it's a supremely crushable. I ordered a few glasses of this and I strongly considered skipping other events to return to City Beer for more. Make more, Firestone, please!

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Photo of largadeer
4.79/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at City Beer. Velvet Merkin is already one of my favorite beers, so I was very curious to try this.

Dark opaque brown body topped by a thin tan head that recedes to a collar, leaving little lacing behind.

This has a remarkably subtle and nuanced aroma. Chocolate chip cookies, light roast coffee beans, oats and bready, toasted malt. Caramel and vanilla notes from the barrel are surprisingly integrated. This smells outrageously good.

The palate isn't a letdown, either. Lightly roasty, bready and chocolatey from the Merkin base, with layers of coconut, caramel and vanilla on top. There's virtually no heat to this even though the barrel added nearly 4% ABV to the beer. Sporting a medium body, this could probably use a tad more heft for nearing 9%, but I'm not going to complain. The finish is mildly tannic and roasty with a little lingering toffee.

Overall this beer was a shocking success to me. I was expecting the barrel to completely destroy the base beer, but that isn't the case. It's subtle, complex and very easy to drink.

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Photo of KevSal
4.67/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at City Beer Store valentines day for their Firestone Walker, treated by the lady, (she really does love me!)

Comes paired with a killer chocolate cupcake from the place next door, Pinkies.

A- looks pretty darn good, like regular Merlin with a much smalller head, dissipates quickly.

S- thick chocolately of the base Merlin with a hint of bourbon an vanilla, pretty awesome. I was expecting a a lot more booze on this one, considering how much alch this one picked up.

T- yum this one delivers. The base beer's roastiness comes through surprisingly strong, with a faint hint of bourbon and vanilla softly integrated in the taste. Very smooth, no alch whatsoever.
the bourbon can be picked up quite a bit more as it warms in the finish. fantastic
M- great balance between bourbon and beer come across well on tongue, medium body, about right for 9%.

O- I love velvet Merlin, ive drank quite a lot of it since its bottling last year. this treatment improves what i already like about the base beer. it shows how well the barrel can be intergated even if its a low alch beer. im surprised how much balance there is even when this beer picked up a whopping amount of booze. pappy is just incredible. this treat was a nice icing to an already great valentines day.

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Velvet Merkin - Pappy Van Winkle Barrel Aged from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
4.57 out of 5 based on 17 ratings.
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