Parabajava | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 14.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Parabajava ia an ongoing series exploring the infusion of coffee into our Parabola Barrel Aged Imperial Series. This first offering is a collaboration with the famed Intelligentsia Coffee Company, utilizing their El Diablo espresso blend. This beer was crated for our June 16th Father’s Day brunch at Lot 213 in L.A. The coffee brings intense coffee house espress aroma - roasty carmel, toffee, molasses and fresh ground coffee notes. The flavor melds well with the big rich character of the stout - complementary roasty flavors, dark baker’s chocolate, and more caramel which pairs well with Parabola’s rich malt and smokey oak bourbon notes. The finish is amazingly smooth and integrated.

Added by Rau71 on 04-13-2013

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Reviews: 88 | Ratings: 697
Photo of Jeffo
3.46/5  rDev -24%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got this one from vanlingleipa a while back. Cheers man!

From a bomber into a snifter
Vintage: 2015
Imperial Coffee Stout

APPEARANCE: A very transparent dark brown pour yields a two finger, medium looking, creamy, light brown head with good retention. Clear bistre brown body with and absolute shit ton of carbonation. Bubbles all over this place. Absurd for the style, really. Head fades to a thick cap and clings to the sides of the glass. A splotchy wisp remains leaving traces of lacing down the glass. Really light in color for an imperial stout and way over carbonated.

SMELL: Raw coffee beans, oak, some light bourbon, and traces of sweet cream and roasted notes. Definitely raw bean forward. Very heavy on the coffee beans.

TASTE: Lots of raw coffee beans a gain, with notes of oak and bourbon up front. Some alcohol with more wood and bourbon at the swallow, then a bold and lingering finish of oak, sweet cream, some bourbon and toffee sweetness, and lots of raw, bitter and burnt coffee beans. Pretty outspoken.

PALATE: Medium body and medium levels of carbonation. Creamy smooth on the palate, goes down fine with a burn at the swallow and finishes a bit sticky. Some heat definitely lingers as well.

OVERALL: This was good stuff. Not as mind numbing as everyone says it is, but it's certainly high quality. The coffee is very forward and rather raw, for lack of a better word, though the barrel still pokes through here and there. The one real knock I'd give it is that the color is simply too light and transparent for the style. I don't remember earlier batches of Parabola being like this. It's also insanely carbonated, which is odd. Anyways, a solid beer that was fun to drink, though I'm not sure I'd pick it over the regular Parabola, as I found the coffee addition a little too beany, if that makes any sense. Give it a try if you see it though. Definitely worth checking out and FW never disappoints. Cheers vanlingleipa!

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.56/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the barrelhouse. Pours out looking a little lighter than Parabola, but still ultra dark. Head isn't as luxurious either. Aroma was a big disappointment, I expected way more coffee, this was one I was kind of thinking maybe my nose wasn't working, but the hoppy stuff smelled hoppy, so i didn't think it was on me.

Taste, the bitterness is higher and the barrel notes are lower, the coffee flavor is just not jumping for me. Still thick, good viscosity, roast, but at the expense of the oak, bourbon and whatnot.

I dunno, this was one I thought that was clearly a lesser compared to the base version.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.68/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

650 mL bottle. Black with a small khaki head. Smells of sweet chocolate. Big bourbon aroma. Coffee isn't as strong as I had thought. Tastes has more coffee up front. Very sweet chocolate. Oak, bourbon, and vanilla in the finish. Heavy and sweet. I expected more, but it's good.

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Photo of mothman
4/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2015 vintage

Light khaki head. Dark brown color. Black.

A bit of booze up front. Lots of cocoa. Roasted malts and chocolate. Bitter coffee. Bourbon and vanilla.

This beer is still hot after a year. I am not too impressed with it. Not very drinkable.

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Photo of jtirpak22
4.08/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Looks like a standard IS, thick brown and dark, thinnish brown head.

Smell is coffee and a little roasty, some chocolate.

Taste is coffee, moderate, not overwhelming or strong.

Mouthfeel is moderate, thinner than expected.

Overall I'm not sold. The hype train left the station before I tried this and I don't see it. It's a solid if unspectacular beer. I get to drink Fremont Coffee KDS on the regular and there is NO comparison. FW is good but can't stand up. Nice beer though. 4.25/5 for me.

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Photo of W_Des
4.11/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours black from the bottle. The nose is very weak with coffee with more of a sweet chocolate being a more dominant note. The taste is bitter sweet chocolate with very light coffee notes here and there and some bourbon and oak notes fading in and out. Overall very underwhelming.

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Photo of ajm5108
4.16/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Traditional hue, mild carbonation on the pour settles into a pencil thin barm. Aroma was dissapointing to me - perhaps it has sit too long, but there is very little coffee aroma beyond a extremely faint nutty espresso note, and it doesn't compensate with any additional bouquets. A little bourbon wood / vanilla / caramel but you really have to strain for it, and there is a vegatal note floating around in there too.

Palate is more expressive thankfully, though still lacking in distinction. Upfront is a gentle espresso with nutty qualities, and the mid-palate brings some classic FW barrel notes (vanilla, baker's chocolate) and a kiss of bourbon heat. The espresso loses its identity a little once those heftier flavors assert themselves but it is still there as a nice cushion. In a sense I appreciate the beer's subtlety in a world of in-your-face, more-is-more beers, but I just feel like it is lacking a certain crescendo to make it a top-tier brew. That said, it is still an excellent beer and one that has nuances to relish instead of punching you in the face with coffee.

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Photo of Stevem68
4.17/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark chocolate color with a boozy coffee and chocolate aroma. Flavor is a boozy up front with some bitter coffee and chocolate. I had some higher expectations for this but all I get is flavors that needs to be more balanced. Overall this is still a really nice beer but I had hoped for better.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.21/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From notes a ways back…
Not quite jet black, dark head, heavy coffee notes, burnt beans soaked in bourbon. Brown sugar, more coffee, charred barrel, faint booze, not crazy complex but everything’s so intense. Has some weight, enough bubbles to give it some life and very mild heat for 14%

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Photo of danh53
4.22/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The first sip of this beer sort of blew me away. It has intense bourbon character and a ton of dark fruit. I couldn't drink much of it because it was so intensely sweet and boozy. The experience wore on me as it went on and each sip seemed less enjoyable than the last until it warmed and the flavor profile offered more vanilla and chocolate notes. The coffee is definitely there, but you wouldn't think it was included as an adjunct. This is still a very good beer. I wanted to drink this before the coffee faded, but if you're holding a bottle don't worry if you don't get around to opening it for a while. Given the amazing bourbon notes and the booze, this can only improve with age.

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Photo of yesterdayfaraway
4.23/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L: pours light brown, looks dark ruby red in the glass. Pourded with a half finger of head that lingers pretty long.
S: a nice blend of coffee and bourbon. The coffee is bright and fruity vs dark and rich coffee. Smooth bourbon, nice aroma, but not too robust.
T: much like the aroma, fruity/lighter coffee, smooth bourbon. It's lacking chocolate richness.
F: smooth but fairly thin. It's highly carbonated with tingly bubbles...not my preference in ba stouts.
O: good, not great. Let down a bit.

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Photo of SteveB24
4.23/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Part of a tasting session, poured into a snifter;
Color is a brown that is near black, with an oily shine to it, pours a half finger of brown head that quickly settles into a thin ring of lacing.
Smell-Lots of coffee, with hints of oak, vanilla, cocoa, and dark fruit, some booze is definitely there on this one.
Taste-Roasted malt flavors of cake, dark fruit, brown sugar and cocoa are there but subtle, the flavor is dominated by strong coffee, there is a better kick that somewhat compliments the sweet malt notes, sigh bit of booze.
Feel-Full bodied and pretty oily, identical texture to Parabola IMO.
Overall-Really tasty beer, i think i prefer Parabola but this did it justice as an interesting variation.

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Photo of mrn1ceguy
4.25/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Transparent black color with lingering head. Nose is roasty with a hint of coffee. Taste is a bitter coffee with a hint of barrel. Finish is slightly bitter and medium thickness. Overall a solid beer, but nowhere near expectations.

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Photo of aleigator
4.25/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Parabajava '15

Pours almost entirely black, with a dark brown ember hint to it, when hold against the light. Got a very nice, one finger broad, bubbly, light brown colored head.

Appears very sweet on the nose with lots of fudge and rock sugar, together with a roasted, earthy coffee bean aroma, like you'll get from an Espresso. The barrel does not appear overly pungent on the nose, while it certainly adds a gentle, oaken spiciness, enhancing the milk chocolate richness on the nose quite a bit. The coffee got a nice blueberry nuance to it, which adds an unexpected, well fitting twist to the nose.

Has a supersmooth, thick mouthfeel. Utmost enjoyable with a warm, spicy ending, revealing the full body of the beer in a challenging, enjoyable way.

Tastes of Bourbon soaked chocolate fudge, wrapped up by spicy oak and earth. Coffee adds a scorched roast profile to silk, creamy milk chocolate, with a flowery sweet rock sugar quality to it. Got a spicy mid palate, defined by the warming, yet smooth appearing Bourbon, together with toasty, nutty coffee and lots of whipped cream. Finishes with bitter chocolate, dry coffee, which develops a noble hop leaf quality, a soft Bourbon tickle and sugared whipped cream.

Awesomly complex, decadent huge, with a convincing base beer, receiving further complexity from the barrel as well as from the coffee. Firestone Walker seems to never disappoint, this is just extremely well put together, making use of the coffee to counter the sweetness from the barrel. Bourbon in this is huge, almost sharp, with a great spiciness, adding to the beer in an uncomprimising way, while the brew itself is bold enough to take it.

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Photo of Thirsty_In_Chicago
4.26/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Uppers & Downers Festival of Coffee Beers in Chicago - February 2016. Fluffy off-white head. I found the coffee aroma and taste to be pretty subtle. Nice barrel characteristics as always from FW. Mouthfeel was super-creamy, which was the standout for me.

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Photo of eLeMeNOhPee1
4.31/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Just had this beer out of the bottle. In to a tulip. Did not get as much coffee as I was hoping for, not sure if it fell off. Still a great beer, I prefer regular Parabola, again still great.

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Photo of wulfie85
4.35/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Can you honestly go wrong with Parabola and coffee? Pours thick and black with good head and excellent chocolate, barrel and coffee aromas. Perfect mouth feel and great oaky and chocolate flavors blend well with the coffee

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Photo of frasergrove
4.41/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On draft at Barrelworks. Deep brown with a light frothy tan head. Aroma is a pure mixture of cold pressed dark roast coffee, toffee, with vanilla notes. A touch of bright coffee acidity up front and hot alcohol, which quickly mellows to a smooth bourbon mid body. A delicious coffee bourbon stout which will be even more amazing in a few years time.

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Photo of KYGunner
4.46/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lots of toffee and caramel on the front end with brown sugar, hazelnut, maple and bourbonesque cream. The coffee is actually secondary to the much stronger Barleywine characters. Listed as an Imperial Stout I felt this tasted more like a barrel aged barleywine. Despite that this is delicious.

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Photo of wethorseblanket
4.46/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Reviewed from notes from CollaBREWtive Father's Day Brunch event @ Tiatro.

A: Pours a clear golden with a thin (1/4-inch) white head which fades to the rim and leaves a few spots of lace.

N: Roasted coffee, dark cocoa, hint of boozy bourbon,

T: Complex blending of softly mellow, low acidity, coffee with some fruity citrus and toffee. Slight molasses, smokey oak, bourbon.

M: Semi-full body and medium carbonation. Rich, lusciously smoot,h roasted coffee finish.

O: A delight. Keep it coming! Winner.

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Photo of T_Hass
4.46/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle I brought from California into my Teku glass. Did a side by side with 2014 BCBCS. The beer is smooth as can be but I have to say I expected more coffee from this beer. The coffee is there but its subtle. The flavor and the scent come through a bit more as it warms up. Comparatively BCBCS was more slightly more viscous and was a bit more peppery. Both were fantastic brews and I'm not sure one beer was better than the other. Overall I wish I would have tried Parabajava sooner to see if more of the coffee came through. I hope FW makes this a regular release.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.46/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

650ml bottle, 2016 release. Served in a snifter glass. Pours a dark brown body, nearly black, opaque with a nice bubbly one finger offwhite head, good retention, even a bit of lacing. Smells of rich bourbon, chocolate, brownies, fair bit of espresso, vanillin, oak. This is a very impressive aroma; the coffee doesn't seem to come across as strongly as say, BCBCS, but it seems to play more of a complementary role here. Flavour is similar; the coffee is there but it's not overpowering, it adds to the complexity of the base Parabola with plenty of brownies, milk chocolate, oak, touch of leather, vanillin, even a touch of bitter, earthy dark chocolate. Mouthfeel is medium-fuller bodied, creamy with good carbonation and solid effervescence. Overall, a nice complex dessert beer with a touch of espresso. It's not a huge coffee bomb, be forewarned, but you aren't going to miss that too much if you enjoy the base Parabola.

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Photo of ragnar3
4.46/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2016 vintage, poured into a tulip. Well balanced integration of coffee into the Parabola base of bourbon, chocolate and dark fruit. A step up from regular Parabola.

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Photo of superspak
4.47/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

5000th review! 22 ounce bottle into snifter; 2015 vintage, bottled on 10/20/2015. Pours nearly opaque dark brown/black color with a 1-2 finger dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a light amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of huge nutty dark roast coffee, dark chocolate, cocoa, caramel, toffee, molasses, fudge, vanilla, cream, toasted oak, bourbon, and dark bread; with lighter notes of dark fruit, smoke, charcoal, leather, and roast/oak/toasted earthiness. Touch of booze in the aromas as it warms, but really minimal. Incredible aromas with amazing balance and complexity of dark/roast/bready malt, coffee, and bourbon barrel notes; with great strength. Taste of huge nutty dark roast coffee, dark chocolate, cocoa, caramel, toffee, molasses, fudge, vanilla, cream, toasted oak, bourbon, and dark bread; with lighter notes of dark fruit, smoke, charcoal, leather, and roast/oak/toasted earthiness. Moderate roast/char bitterness and bourbon/oak spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of nutty coffee, dark chocolate, cocoa, caramel, toffee, molasses, fudge, vanilla, cream, toasted oak, bourbon, dark bread, light dark fruit/smoke, and roast/oak/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt, coffee, and bourbon barrel flavors; with a great roasted bitter/sweet and bourbon/oak spiciness balance; with zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light dryness from roast bitterness and oak spiciness, lightly increasing through the glass. Light-medium carbonation and fairly full body; with a very smooth, creamy/silky, and fairly sticky/chalky/tannic balanced mouthfeel that is awesome. Alcohol is very well hidden; a small pleasant warmth lingers after the finish, with minimal barrel booziness. Overall this is an insane BBA imperial coffee stout! All around incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt, coffee, and bourbon barrel flavors; very smooth and dangerously easy to sip on for the huge ABV. The balance of malt, coffee, and barrel flavors is pretty much perfect; with some nice underlying complexity from the age of the bottle. This felt far more aromatic and less boozy than the base beer when I originally had it. A highly amazing offering all around.

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Photo of John_M
4.5/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at 16 tons last night.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with excellent head retention, and very fine, almost creamy lacing. This beer looks spectacular (but then what would you expect?). On the nose, this really is just a coffee version of Parabola. It has all the same characteristics of the regular parabola (milk chocolate by the boat load, vanilla, bourbon and milk duds), but with a huge coffee presence as well. The flavor profile replicates the nose in this rich, sweet, impressive BA stout. The coffee tended to drown out the bourbon and sweetness somewhat, but it still wasn't at all overwhelming. Mouthfeel was very full, and like the regular parabola, the beer was long, fairly soft, and very smooth on the palate. Parabajava seemed to be a bit less boozy than parabola, but this is still a big beer.

Excellent stuff, obviously.

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Parabajava from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
4.55 out of 5 based on 697 ratings.
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