Firestone 16 - Anniversary Ale
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Firestone 16 - Anniversary AleFirestone 16 - Anniversary Ale
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Strong Ale - American
4.38 | pDev: 9.13%
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Firestone 16 - Anniversary AleFirestone 16 - Anniversary Ale
Notes: 23% Velvet Merkin
22.5% Stickee Monkee
20.3% Double Double Barrel Ale
10.8% Parabola
8.1% PNC
5.4% Helldorado
5.4% Bravo
4.5% Wookey Jack
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Reviews: 174 | Ratings: 1,140 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of BEERchitect
BEERchitect from Kentucky

4.3/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Sherry, meet Stout. Stout, this is Sherry. You two are going to make beautiful beer together. Firestone Walker weaves in several of their love children in barrel aged form creates a worthy of a sixteenth birthday.

With a deep brown, almost stout-black pour, XVI releases a dainty swirling espresso froth before seducing the olfactories with a complex and appetizing blend of coffee, cream, dark fruit, coconut, whisky, smoke, char and port wine. With the very first sip, there's a dry and leathery sweetness that greets the tongue with dark chocolate, light cream, molasses and honey.

As the complexities evolve, the middle palate shows a shift to dryness as the malts tighten into a toasty, roasty and smoky char of burnt toast, Turkish coffee and roasting walnuts. As hints of leather and tobacco follow, so does a fruitier center taste that swirls around fig, date, prune, raisin and plum. As hints of dark grape, cherry and berries evolve, the taste trends bitter, earthy and with a rye-driven grit in finish.

Full bodied but leathery-dry, the extended age of the beer has allowed more mature madiera, sherry and port flavors to come with the dry malts as hints of fortified brandy mingles with a long linger of coffee and toast. Now where to put the candles.

Nov 10, 2021
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GuyFawkes from Illinois

4.09/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

From old, undated notes. Had this on draft.

Dark brown hue.

Tan head; minimal lace.

Coffee & cream nose.

Thick mouthfeel.

Chocolate, coffee & caramel flavor.

Smooth & very tasty, with a satisfying chocolate finish.

Jan 01, 2020
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LiquidAmber from Washington

4.21/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Firestone Walker tulip. Pours a very dark mahogany brown, appearing opaque black in the glass with a thin brown head that dissipates to patches with slight lacing. Aroma of dark toasted malt, dried plum, dates, vanilla, oak and a little oxidation. Flavor is dark toasted and caramel malt, vanilla, milk chocolate, dates, oak and whiskey. Medium bodied with light creaminess. As always with this fine ale, the stout and barleywine characters are dominant, but well balanced. The oak and dry character has dominated this at this point; there is a woody, slightly smoky note and dry finish. Aged this a little beyond its prim, but it has held up well. I will not be aging these this long again. I think this is best with two to three years on it.

Oct 14, 2019
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SHODriver from North Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured into a snifter to a black beer topped by a dense finger of light tan head which fades quickly to a collar around the edge of the glass with minimal lacing.
S: Smells of lightly roasted malts, faint coffee, dark chocolate and some slight dark fruits. Really interesting nose but a little soft with hints of caramel and vanilla
T: Taste is roasted malts, coffee, dark chocolate, slight dark fruits, caramel, a little coconut, hints of oxidation, and a little vanilla. On the swallow this one is very sweet with a lot of vanilla followed by some fruitiness before the roasted malts and oak come in before some dark fruits and chocolate begin to linger once those strong flavors fade.
M: On the palate this beer has a slightly velvety and silky feel with a good heft without being too thick. Carbonation is adequate for the style and right where it should be while the beer has a drying finish.
O: Overall this is a really nice beer with some great flavors and complexity. It's fallen off a little bit and is showing some age but it's still very good. It's time to pop these open if you're still sitting on one.

Jan 19, 2019
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RyanK252 from California

4.3/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle poured into a snifter

A: Pours dark brown with a frothy khaki head that settles to a light layer and leaves some spotty lacing.

S: Big dark sugary nose, brown sugar, smooth bourbon, vanilla, toasted coconut,

T: Sweet barrel candy, brown sugar, vanilla, toasted coconut, nice spice, smooth bourbon, a little milk chocolate, and toffee sweetness.

M: Full body, mild carbonation, just a touch of warmth.

O: Like many of FW's big beers this can get a little sweet, but as a nice sipper with some age on it it's quite enjoyable.

Jan 22, 2018
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rmpic82 from Kansas

3.68/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Unfortunately, this beer has slipped into a coma. Lighter brown pour, with little head. Nose has started to go, with an almost sour note. From the profile, one can assume it was a reaaally good beer at one point. This beer has...unfortunately...passed.

Apr 04, 2017
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LXIXME from New Mexico

4.34/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I'm pretty happy I got a hold of 16, 17, and a few other tougher bottles of Firestone stuff. Although it's not the prefect beers they are still way damn decent and I do not know the storage history of this beers. Under perfect storage conditions I'm stupefied to imagine the taste. This makes me want to get on the list of insiders that get bottle and store them as they should be and then I'll relate the true aged tastes of these beers. LOL, where do i sign up.

May 25, 2016
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Rimbimhoot from Illinois

4.24/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2012 Vintage

A: Dark brown with a tan head
S: Bourbon, brown sugar, alcohol, caramel, molasses, dark chocolate, tobacco
T: Sweet caramel, bourbon, molasses, dark chocolate, light coffee, tobacco, light bitterness, coconut
M: Medium heavy but easy drinking
O: I prefer almost all beers fresh but this has held up very well. Definitely a large barleywine presence in this vintage

Apr 03, 2016
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Zythophile from District of Columbia

4.43/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle Date: sometime in 2012
Palate Contaminants: other beer

Three years in, and it's time to crack this one open. Honestly, I'm a little sad that I won't have the bottle anymore, but...

Appearance is a very dark brown, barely letting any light through. It's really only at the edge of the glass where I can detect any light.

Smell is molasses and burnt sugar. A ever-so-little bit of herbs and spices.

First taste isn't particularly impressive, but after waiting a few seconds, very nice. There's cane sugar and some very pleasant woodiness. If smoky rum were a thing and it had a beer cousin, this would be it. There's a slight bit of bitterness that meets the sweetness in the aftertaste. A bourbon flavor increasingly appears as it warms up.

Feel is mildly carbonated, and the mouthfeel is nice and thick. It leaves a coating. And I can hardly detect any straight-up alcohol taste. (I can feel it, though.)

I don't know if this one is still ascending, but I wonder if I should've cracked it last year. I'll never know. And do let it warm up a little.

Feb 13, 2016
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PicoPapa from Connecticut

4.31/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle. Pours a brackish dark brown color with a half inch of frothy light brown head. Moderate amount of lacing. The aroma is Bourbon, vanilla and oak upfront followed by caramel and toffee. The taste is surprisingly smooth right off the bat. Boozey but not overly so with vanilla, oak, brown sugar, toffee, caramel, and a hint of chocolate. Raisins, dark cherries and figs more towards the finish with more Bourbon and wood. Woody, oaky finish with a nice alcohol warmth. Velvety mouthfeel. The anniversary beers never seem to disappoint and this one is no exception. Overall, time has mellowed this one into a very drinkable delicious blend.

Jan 16, 2016
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

4.14/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

You get the pour and its the most stout like viscosity wise since 14. Parabola all up in this. Super thin beige head on it. Tiny. Oily.

Lots of boozy caramel in the aroma. Oak, vanilla, chocolate. Taste dips into the complex realm, no surprise given the amount of different (already complex) beers thrown into these. Some coconut and bourbon comes in. This is pretty similar to Bruery's anniversary beers and their Melange series which uses those beers frequently. Good mouthfeel, never too hot or heavy. Sweet at times. Brown burnt sugar.

All things considered in this day and age, the availability, price and consistency of these beers aren't too bad.

Dec 09, 2015
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Phyl21ca from Canada (QC)

4.4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle: Poured a dark cloudy brown color ale with a medium size foamy head with OK retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of bourbon, vanilla, caramelized malt and toffee is pretty singular and quite enticing. Taste is a super complex mix of an English barleywine with caramelized and toffee malt with light chocolate notes with some strong whiskey with woody and vanilla notes also noticeable. Body is full with medium carbonation and some warming alcohol notes. Quite an enjoyable treat to finish the night.

Oct 26, 2015
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HalfFull from California

3.75/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle poured into a goblet. Pours a deep brown with some mahogany outskirts in the light. Bit hazy on first view. Thin cap of foam settles a bit but keeps a thin cap and ring. A swirl yields a nice aroma of the barrel and a hint of chocolate notes. Touch of brown sugar but not the depth I've come to expect though still fairly solid.

Taste is smooth and easy yet seems to lack a bit of the direction of years past. Bit muddled in a sense. Bit of chocolate/red cherry on the finish but brief it is. Feel is moderate and blah overall, and particularly given the lineage of this beer. Alas, good yet not my favorite Anniversary Beer by a longshot..

Oct 18, 2015
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Briken from Washington

4.3/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Deep clear brown with red highlights and thin tan head with no retention. Bold vanilla and bourbon oak and chocolate hints. Caramel, vanilla and oak flavors with milk and dark chocolate sweetness. Floral, citrus, and honey in the lightly dry finish. Full mouthfeel with a low carbonation.

Much more dominant in the stout and barrel aged flavors than the delicate, vinous flavors of XV. Still a rich beautiful beer well worth the investment. As usual, their anniversary beer is a feast for the senses.

Oct 02, 2015
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ThrewRedButter from Massachusetts

4.58/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

L - Brown out of the bottle ,but pitch black in the glass. Half a finger of khaki head.

S - Plums, raisins, brown sugar, bourbon, oak, tequila

T - More quad than stout. Figs, raisins, some cherry. Subtle milk chocolate and roasted malt. A sticky molasses taste and hint of vanilla.

F - Thick and viscous. No alcohol at all. Not even a warming sensation.

O - While this is complex as all hell, I can't help but feel everything is slightly subdued. It was probably mind-blowing when fresh, but with age, this is still great and worth your time.

Jul 22, 2015
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SayBoom from Ukraine

4.77/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pitch black in the glass, tan head which soon falls. I felt tons of luscious bourbon, port, dark fruits, caramel and a background of anis. The bouquet is a bit boozy. Taste is a complex mix of a caramelized and roasted malt, chocolate, vanilla, bourbon barrel tones, some rue notes. On the palate: rich, full, smooth and viscous. Drink-ability for the high ABV. The verdict: I'm glad I have 17 – Anniversary)

May 06, 2015
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brentk56 from North Carolina

4.24/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a medium brown color with a nice head; splotches of lace hang around

Smell: Roasty, with chocolate, dark fruit and coffee notes

Taste: Roasted tones and a hint of molasses up front, with dark fruit and chocolate developing; the barrel tones add complexity with just a hint of Tequila on the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low to moderate carbonation

Overall: It has been a while since I have had one of the Firestone anniversary series and I had forgotten how good they are; after a few years in the bottle this is still an excellent beer

Apr 27, 2015
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tprinzing from Texas

4.96/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Consumed 2-15-2015. This is the best beer I've had to date. Extremely complex flavors and smell. I just wish I had more of these. I guess I'm just going to have to wait for my Anniversary 18's to age to get the experience again.

Feb 25, 2015
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SFC21 from Florida

4.03/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Taste is roasty bitterness and bakers chocolate. Huge okay finish with a very boozy aftertaste. Very good but the aftertaste took away from it for me.

Jan 04, 2015
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fox227 from California

4.36/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Consumed on 12/31/14. Full disclosure: This is my first and only Firestone Anniversary Ale, and it's been aging, so I don't have any reference points other than the beer in the glass.

Appearance: dark, small tan head, which soon falls to reveal the underlying abyss...

Smell: I notice whiskey, anise, milk chocolate, and caramel.

Taste: The slight anise aroma does not manifest on the palate, and the initially strong smell of whiskey proves to be rather muted, giving way to a prominence of caramel, toffee, and slight butterscotch, which could be considered a defect from improper storage, but is not deficient here. I also taste pumpernickel, and slight dark raisins.

Mouthfeel: surprisingly thin for a beer of such an intense profile. I also have to note that the ABV is not noticeable, at-all. I would have, however, preferred a thicker mouthfeel.

In conclusion: a fine beer, perhaps mellowed to be overly easy drinking, over a couple of years, but certainly a feast for the senses.

Jan 01, 2015
SPLITGRIN from Kentucky

4.37/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Why drink a wonderfully aged two year gem like this one on a Tuesday night in December? Why not?

Pours to a blackish brown body that only lets a bit of light through on the edges when held to the brightest of flames. Head is a deep tan that stands at nearly three fingers. Retention is a bit short and leaves only a little bit of lace behind.

Nose is spectacular with tons of luscious bourbon, port, dark candied fruits and a background of molasses. There is still considerable alcohol heat to the nose even after two years of aging. The nose is truely enticing.

Enters the mouth like bourbon silk. Rich overripe dark fruits are carried by well represented oak smoothness. Alcohol still plays in the flavor profile considerably. There is a building dryness to the back side of the palate that resembles burnt molasses. This brew has a very lengthy and complex body that is best drank at room temperature.

Mouthfeel is a balance between rich sweetness and even dryness. Overall another wonderful anniversary from Firestone Walker.

Dec 23, 2014
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beerdrifter from Germany

4.53/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up from a great trade with Evan! Clear dark mahogany pour with a two finger beige head with great retention and lacing. The nose is toasty and very oak forward with hints of caramel, toffee, molasses, vanilla, subtle chocolate, tobacco and booze. The taste mirrors the nose with tons of oak and caramel along with hints of vanilla, toffee, brown sugar, tobacco, subtle dark fruit, chocolate, maple, coconut, and booze. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, slightly syrupy, perfectly carbonated with great balance and a subtle boozey warming finish. Overall, this is a bold, complex, and flavorful beer with huge drinkability for the ABV. Another awesome beer from one of my favorite breweries! Highly recommended!

Nov 15, 2014
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Nominoe from California

4.25/5  rDev -3%

Drank on tap out of a tulip at Woodstock’s Pizza 10/17/14. The next guy’s tulip tapped the keg. The only thing I can compare it to was a Firestone Walker XVII which I opened right away and thought was too sour and strong. XVI was mellow and delicious.

Oct 19, 2014
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TequilaVoodoo from California

4.75/5  rDev +8.4%

I have hold to this beer for almost two years, this was my very first expensive beer, I think I paid about $20 for one bottle but coming from traditional beer it was pretty expensive.
Nice thick head and deep charred caramel flavor with really nice whiskey hints, body wise it has a nice full bodied texture. Definitely an anniversary beer. Well done fi

Aug 31, 2014
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Jugs_McGhee from Texas

3.31/5  rDev -24.4%

Brown glass bottle with black papered over pry-off pressure cap and paper pull-tab purchased in SoCal years ago and served into an Odell stem-tulip in me friend's gaff in high altitude Fort Collins, CO. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average; I'm skeptical of this brewery's beers but the current 96 rating is interesting.

Served cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: One finger wide. Khaki colour. Nice even smooth consistency. Nicely creamy. Retention is above average - about 2.5 minutes. No lacing sticks to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

BODY: Opaque dark black. Nontransparent; no yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Appears adequately carbonated. Far from unique or special looking for the style.

AROMA: Vanilla, bourbon, and marshmallow. Neutral barrel sugars. My broken nose can't pick up anything else; all apologies.

A pleasant aroma of mild strength.

TASTE: Has a lovely bourbon tone throughout, with some nice vanilla and oak notes. Barrel sugars bleed in. Kisses of dark fruit; they blend in so well I can't isolate them. Caramel. Sticky dark fruits. Maybe a hint of raisin. Toffee. Dark malts. Marshmallow. Treacle.

On the sweeter side, but not boozy.

The oak is lovely, as is the complementary bourbon. It's surprisingly well balanced for a Firestone Walker blend, and boasts impressive complexity as well as some limited subtlety. I like it, and it has some loose cohesion, but it isn't gestalt. Well-executed and enjoyable.

Nice depth and amplitude of flavour. Above average intensity and duration of flavour.

TEXTURE: Fairly chewy. Full-bodied. Aptly thick. Smooth and wet. Has plenty of heft and weight on the palate, but while it's a sipper, it never feels overbearing or unnecessarily heavy.

Not oily, gushed, astringent, scratchy, rough, or harsh. The alcohol is present but doesn't distract. Decently carbonated.

OVERALL: She's a sipper, but she's enjoyable. A nice blend from Firestone Walker. I'm surprisingly happy I picked this up; it isn't as disappointing as most of this brewery's highly celebrated brews. I wouldn't necessarily get it again, but I do like it. Worth trying. I think this made the top 250 list upon release; that's unwarranted, but it is indeed tasty.

As good as it is, though, is all that blending and effort really necessary? Other (i.e. superior) breweries make far better strong ales with far less tinkering. Maybe Firestone Walker should hire staff capable of blending their own good beers without requiring the input of others (and the marketing opportunities associated therewith). Ultimately, it's a bit too sweet, which holds it back.

Low B-

Aug 21, 2014
Firestone 16 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 97 out of 100 with 1140 ratings