Rating: 5.5/5 (Just like last years version, harder to explain. Strategy guide included) (https://brewerianimelogs.wordpress.com/2012/10/26/firestone-xv-fifteenth-anniversary-ale-by-firestone-walker/)
Firestone XVI Sixteenth Anniversary Ale by Firestone Walker is a 13% ABV Strong Multi-liquor Barrel Aged Hybrid Blend Ale. If Last year’s beer was the Akira of beers, this beer ascended to another dimension of flavor and complexity. A Goku super saiyan of sorts. Maybe Kaiohken x20 Goku. I should mention by the way. Since this beer is stupidly complex, the flavors change with temperature. Meaning every sip will evolve into different flavors. I kid you NOT!!!. Why the fuck do you think this has a strategy guide :/. Hell, even me, I am not sure if I can explain all the flavors to the fullest. And like the stories where the people visit some mountain or some island or even reach the bottom of the ocean or go digging for archeological treasure a la National Treasure in search if riches or even…the truth, along the way, you may get buzzed enough to lower your senses. Meaning you will not be able to fully find the treasure hidden beneath as you wont be able to taste anything if you finish the bottle. A “Shut up and Take My Money” moment in beerdom. Buy one before they run out!!
The Aging Cellar – The Components
We blended together 226 oak barrels and 8 different beers creating something truly complex and exceptional.
The following are descriptions of key components with their original code names:
Velvet Merkin (8.7% ABV) – Aged in Bourbon barrels
-Traditional Oatmeal Stout (23% of final blend)
OG= 15P FG=5.5 IBU=32.5 Color= Black / 15% Oats / Hopped with 100% US grown Fuggles
Stickee Monkee (12.5% ABV) – Aged in Bourbon and Brandy barrels
-English Barley Wine (22.5% of final blend)
OGP FG=5.4P IBU=45 Color=28 / Brewed with Mexican Turbinado (Brown) sugar
Double Double Barrel Ale (14.2% ABV) – Aged 100% in retired Firestone Union barrels
-Double strength English Pale Ale (20.3% of final blend)
OG=25.0P FG=5.1P IBU=30 Color=16 / A Double version of our flagship created by Ali Razi
Parabola (13% ABV) – Aged in Bourbon barrels
-Russian Imperial Oatmeal Stout (10.8% of final blend)
OG=31P FG=8.5P IBU=80 Color=Black / Hopped with Simcoe, Bravo, Styrian Golding and East Kent Golding
PNC (13.0% ABV) – Aged in Tequila barrels
-American Strong Buckwheat Stout (8.1% of final blend)
OG = 25P FG = 5.0P IBU = 80 Color = 100 / Brewed with Buckwheat
Helldorado (11.5% ABV) – Aged in Bourbon Barrels and Brandy barrels
-Blonde Barley Wine (5.4% of final blend)
OG=24.7P FG=4.5P IBU=24 Color = 8 / Brewed with buckwheat honey & 100% El Dorado hops
Bravo (13.4% ABV) – Aged in Bourbon and Brandy barrels
-Imperial Brown Ale (5.4% of final blend)
OG=26.5 FG=7.7 IBU=35 Color=32 / Hopped with 100% US grown Fuggles
Wookey Jack (8.3% ABV)- 100% Fresh, Dank & Hoppy 100% Stainless Steel
-Black Rye India Pale Ale (4.5% of final blend)
OG= 18P FG = 3.0P IBU = 80 Color =black / Extremely hoppy double dry hopped BIPA
As a finished beer, XVI takes us back to some of the wonderful dark notes (the black keys) that I remember from the original 10 blending. XVI is 42% stout with Velvet Merkin, Parabola and “PNC” working together as three roasty toasty friends that create rich cacao, chocolate and mocha flavors together. “PNC” also introduces tequila barrels into our blend for the first time and brings some interesting south of the boarder spirit notes to the mix – a welcome twist. Helldorado, with flavors of lavender honey liqueur was again a favorite of the winemakers and made the cut adding some flowery notes. DDBA continues to deliver its signature American toasted oak, English caramel toffee and light leather nuances. DDBA was also release on its own in 2012 and is now established as a solid annual brew. Stickee Monkee is fast becoming one of our favorite pieces with its rich maple syrup, spicy cinnamon, and ripe fig flavors which has developed into a bolder cousin of perennial blend component Bravo who carries barrel character and bourbon notes like no other. The additional twist this year is Wookey Jack, Black Rye IPA with its wily citrusy hop notes and spicy rye backbone. The finished blend is unfiltered and unfined, so there will be a small amount of sediment in the bottom of the bottle. XVI is best enjoyed poured carefully into a half filled brandy snifter or red wine glass. Allow it to warm to 55F to fully enjoy the pleasing and complex aromas. It takes a while, but as this beer sits and breathes in the glass, more rich dusty chocolate, stone fruit and crème brulee character is reveled as the rich spirit characters fade – so take your time. If you wait to open your bottle later, store it in a cool dark place. I suspect that this beer will age well and change favorably for years to come. It was an absolute pleasure in the making and I truly hope you enjoy our Seventh oak-aged blend! The journey continues and its just as fun and exciting now as it was back in 1996. Thank you so much for spending a little time with us!
Did you catch all that?? okay good. Now let’s go explore this briny deep. Lets start with the Event Horizon, A.K.A Aromas. Smells like coconut, coffee, Frappucino, bourbon, caramel, vanilla, chocolate, whiskey, bubble gum, bananas, plums, Key Lime pie, hazelnut and agave. I have had agave iced tea (Agave Lechugilla from Guadalajara, Mexico) and tequila. I have also had other Tequila Barrel Aged beers, so I will be looking for these things in the flavors. Right off the bat, you are bombarded by flavors, but stay close, the journey gets rough… Coconut, vanilla, toasted bread, milk and dark chocolate, coffee, raisin, plums, cherries, pecan pie, bananas (like the chunky munky icecream), hazelnut, walnuts, almonds, burnt sugar, nutmeg, capirotada (Mexican pastry with nuts and raisins, sometimes with leche nestle [sweetened condensed milk]) and Danish cookies. As the beer got warmer, it stayed primarily on the banana and pecan pie flavors where at first it had the coffee, whipped cream, cherry and chocolate, more danish cookies, peach, mango, Reese’s dipped in strawberry and blueberry and spread on a French Crêpe with maple. The Coconut, vanilla, bourbon lingers all around. There are flavors of vanilla and cinnamon with pecan pie notes and agave is what stays in the after taste. Maybe the agave was overwhelmed by the other flavors but it sure comes out to shine in the sweet after taste. As the glass goes on (mind you, This is still the first 8 oz glass, it has been more than 30 minutes of waiting and the beer just keeps….EVOLVING. I am semi buzzed at this point so like I was saying earlier, I may not find the truth still…or the treasure of all the flavors presented in the complexity of this beer. My mouth is left with sorrow because the beer evolved into this sweet pastry my mom used to make with Eggs and Leche Nestle 😦 . Now that was true deliciousness . Crusty, oily, super sweet, creamy…. I cannot say anymore. This is a supreme dessert beer. Only reason it did not get a 6 is because I could not find everything and well, When a beer like Black Tuesday, Chocolate Rain, White Chocolate, Sexual Chocolate or even Choklat tell you…this is pure liquid bliss, then you better listen. This beer was way better than last years beer. I will be buying another bottler soon enough. Maybe the aging/evolution process will take it to a 6 or more…who knows :O …Why are you still reading this…. GO FIND THIS GOLD NOW!!!