2017 Proprietor’s Vintage No. 001 Bravo by Firestone Walker

Rating: 6/6

2017 Proprietor’s Vintage No. 001 Bravo by Firestone Walker is a 13.2% ABV Imperial Brown Ale aged in American Oak Bourbon Barrels.

Label:
(Please See Picture Below)

==Introduction==

Since the release of Parabola and the consecutive Anniversary beers from Firestone Walker, I have always wanted to try this one. Bravo is essentially one of the major components of their anniversary beers including Parabola, Sucaba, Double Double Barrel Ale, Helldorado, Stickee Monkee, Velvet Merkin, PNC and others. Up until now, it has only been a tap room exclusive. With the retirement of Sucaba unfortunately, this has paved the way for people start enjoying Bravo. While the smaller bottle personally is something I don’t like since it is less beer, the good thing is the price does drop with it. Unlike some breweries, (like The Lost Abbey, although a favorite of mine) drops the bottle sizes and keeps the same damn price. It is ridiculous really but the reason I still have sources that have 22ounce bottles of some beers like Santa’s Little Helper Bourbon Oak Barrel Aged. Anyways, you came here for a Bravo review and that is what I am going to deliver. Let’s have a whirl at this, cheers!

Aromas:
Cadbury caramel and chocolate cream eggs, dark fruit raisins, currants, blackberries, figs, dates, cherries, dark chocolate, vaniolla, oak, caramel, toffee, mocha, tiramisu, coffee cake, molasses, port wine notes, fruit cake, Toasted coconut, peanut butter notes, Danish cream cookies, Irish cream notes, English cream caramel, Butterscotch and pecan pie.

Flavors:
Dulce de leche caramel, vanilla, oak, bourbon, toffee, pecan pie, marzipan, Rye bread, Butterscotch, Toasted coconut, peanut butter notes, Danish cream cookies, Irish cream notes, English cream caramel, dark fruit raisins, currants, blackberries, figs, dates, cherries, milk chocolate, German Chocolate, Cadbury caramel and chocolate cream eggs, sweetened condensed milk notes, almond joy, cashew butter, milk chocolate, Chocolate truffles, mocha, stone fruit peach notes, honey, tiramasu ice cream, nougat, coffee cake, molasses, port wine notes, bananas foster, maple syrup, capirotada raisin bread pudding and fruit cake.

Aftertaste:
Finishing with rich toffee notes. Slight alcohol in the taste but not detracting from the amazing flavors. Murky amber brown full body, smooth, creamy, velvety and semi chewy mouthfeel with a sipping drinkability.

Overall:
Such a different beer! It’s amazing what Firestone Walker has done with all their beers. This is why they have a world class barrel aging program. Many of their beers are very unique in terms of their flavor profiles with the use of different oak barrels. There is something that makes their barrel aged beer and become coveted. For Bravo, the component that seems to stand out more is the English style sweet flavors. Almost like an English Barleywine but with some coffee notes as well. Overall, I think this is definitely on that world class list and stands great on its own even if it is part composition of the anniversary beers.

Anime Corner:
Tron Bonne from Capcom’s Megaman Legends series was used in this pairing as I wanted to pair it with the aspect of a well made beer. Bravo is expressed for a job well done but also a well made beer. Well made beers are synonymous with well-engineered pieces of work. Engineering applies to anything made including robotics. Since there was a trending theme that I have applied to FW’s special beers and their Anniversary beers, it was only natural to find a character that would follow the trend too. Essentially, the trend is similar to the job class system in RPGs like Final Fantasy. The reason why this is came from the first time I tried their Anniversary beers that usually comes with an in depth analysis of the beers composition using blends of other beers. An analysis like a strategy guide to RPGs. So a combination of the beers is like characters in these RPG games. My personal breakdown is as follows: Parabola=Knight, Velvet Merkin=Black Mage, Stickee Monkee=Monkey Monk, Helldorado=Demon Class, Wookie Jack=Mercenaries (Like Star Wars Solo and Chewbacca), Double Double Barrel=Double Cross Thief class, Sucaba=Maid/Dancer and now Bravo=Engineer/Mechanic. Tron is the Robotics Engineer in this instance.

Sources:
https://secure.static.tumblr.com/8528ef37e773bd5ced7c523c97f5316f/9izxgqz/3X2o3szjj/tumblr_static_tumblr_static_1tiflnb9inpcs8ksk0gokocsw_640.jpg
http://i64.tinypic.com/2efp0ty.jpg
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm289/_ORIONSTAR/324429.jpg~original
http://i.imgur.com/E4RWQc7.jpg
http://www.fightersgeneration.com/nx6/char/tron-bonne-oni-soul.png

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Collaboration No. 6 Barrel-Aged Blend Collaboration by Boulevard Brewing and Firestone Walker

15384523_10103789165219490_3032738358333533454_oRating: 7/7

Collaboration No. 6 Barrel-Aged Blend Collaboration by Boulevard Brewing and Firestone Walker is a 12.5% ABV American Strong Ale Cuvee of Barrel Aged Stouts and Belgian Quads.

Label:
Imperial Stout “X” Tart Cherry
Bourbon Barrel Quad
Stickee Monkee
and Velvet Merkin

For this sixth edition of our Collaboration Series, we invited Matt Brynildson, brew-master of our sister brewery Firestone Walker, to join Boulevard brewmaster Steven Pauwels in our barrel-aging cave. Armed only with their palates, some graduated cylinders, and a bunch of tulip glasses, they arrived at the perfect balance of two barrel aged beers from each brewery. The blend celebrates the individual characteristics of each of the four while creating something entirely new and unique.

COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
The Collaboration series is our way to bring shared beer ideas to life with some of our favorite brewery friends from around the world. This year, we bring you a specially blended, barrel-aged beer with the help of our sister brewery in California, Firestone Walker. With Collaboration No. 6, Brewmasters Steven Pauwels and Matt Brynildson have created a big, bold flavor combination by blending two Boulevard beers and two Firestone Walker Beers in the following percentages:

Boulevard Bourbon Barrel Quad – 45%
Based loosely on the Smokestack Series’ The Sixth Glass, this abbey-style quadrupel is separated into a number of oak bourbon barrels where it ages for varying lengths of time, some for up to three years. Cherries are added to make up for the “angel’s share” of beer lost during barrel aging. Selected barrels are then blended for optimum flavor. The resulting beer retains only very subtle cherry characteristics, with toffee and vanilla notes coming to the fore.
ABV – 11.8, IBU – 19

Firestone Walker Stickee Monkee – 35%
Brewed with Belgian candi sugar and aged in a selection of fine bourbon barrels, Stickee Monkee trailblazes its own category as a “Central Coast Quad.” The name Stickee Monkee is a nod to the Central Coast’s native Sticky Monkey flower, as well as a shout¬‐out to the Belgian monks who pioneered the Quad style. The Belgian candi sugar imparts a signature molasses sweetness to the beer. Meanwhile, maturation in bourbon casks brings ample barrel expression with notes of toasted oak, coconut, leather and cigar tobacco.
ABV – 13, IBU – 45

Imperial Stout X – Tart Cherry (Whiskey Barrel-aged) – 10%
Our special treat for lovers of big, complex stouts, the Imperial Stout “X” series offers a year-long roster of limited releases, each with a significant variation. This riff spotlights the addition of tart cherries to fermentation as well as a lactic souring on the brewhouse. The result is a perfect marriage of robust, smoky maltiness and bracing tartness. Unlike the release version of Imperial Stout X – Tart Cherry, this portion was briefly aged in previously used whiskey barrels.
ABV – 11, IBU – 64

Firestone Walker Velvet Merkin – 10% Velvet Merkin is the beer that almost wasn’t…Indeed, this vintage oatmeal stout’s comical (or is it scandalous?) name went off the grid for several years, but now it’s back due to popular demand. Velvet Merkin is aged for a full year in retired spirits barrels from Heaven Hill, Woodford Reserve and others, yet manages to offer mind-¬boggling balance and restraint. You will wig out when you taste Velvet Merkin’s rich milk chocolate, bourbon and espresso flavors, preceded by aromas of vanilla, coconut, toasted oak and mocha. ABV – 8.5, IBU – 33

==Introduction==

Just when I thought I’d never see something like this, I was really amazed. At first I saw it as a Boulevard and Firestone Walker collab but when I realized that it was a Cuvee of some of both breweries best beers, I realized that this was a must get. I have reviewed each of these beers in the past, except for the Tart Cherry Stout X but the other ones were definitely at that World Class tier beers. So being that Firestone Walker was involved, I knew this would of came up to possibly be one of the best and unique Cuvees. Now, we can only hope that this is the case, let’s have a sip, cheers!

Aromas:
Grilled Bananas, Banana Sunday, clove spice, fruit cake, wine grapes, cinnamon, pecan pie, hazelnut nectar, Rich Dark Cherries, Dark fruit, prunes, plums, figs, raspberries, currants, Dark chocolate, Milk Chocolate, Ferrero Rocher Chocolate, German Chocolate, Belgian Chocolate, Chocolate mousse, tobacco hints, molasses, stone fruits, Oatmeal Cookies, Oreo Cookies and Cream, graham cracker, Marshmallow smores and mocha.

Flavors:
Rich Dark Cherries, Dark fruit, prunes, plums, figs, raspberries, currants, bourbon, whiskey, brandy, oak, Belgian Candi sugar, rock candy, piloncillo sugar cone, maple syrup, waffle cones, vanilla, dulce de leche caramel, Grilled Bananas, Banana Sunday, clove spice, fruit cake, wine grapes, cinnamon, pecan pie, hazelnut nectar, rye bread with mixed berry preserves, Oatmeal Cookies, Oreo Cookies and Cream, graham cracker, Marshmallow smores, mocha, Flan, Sweetened condensed milk, tres leches cake, Dark chocolate, Milk Chocolate, Ferrero Rocher Chocolate, Belgian Chocolate cake, German Chocolate, Belgian Chocolate, Chocolate mousse, Cherry Chocolate cake, walnut pie, toasted coconut, Stone fruit peaches, leather and tobacco hints.

Aftertaste:
Finishes dark cherries, vanilla, dulce de leche, oatmeal cookies, dark fruits, stone fruits, dark chocolate, Belgian candi sugar, marshmallows, tobacco hints and rye. No alcohol in the taste. Dark Crimson Amber full body, smooth, creamy, velvety, chewy and syrupy mouthfeel and sipping drinkability.

Overall:
The Quad aspect takes over more than the stout blend but even that being the case, it does not change this from being a definite bucket lister in my mind. Having Firestone Walker who are experts at barrel aging and cuvee blending, this is no surprise that this came out the way it did. The complexity of the 2 Belgian Quads and the 2 Stouts collide into a super decadent dessert that really has taken things to another level. I highly recommend this one for those that are fans of these breweries, beers and styles! This is one for the masses!

Anime Corner:
Ryuko Matoi from Kill La Kill, Kos-mos from Xenosaga, Yoruichi Shihouin from Bleach and Temari Sabakuno from Naruto were chosen as I wanted to represent the 4 awesome beers blended in this special cuvee to 4 awesome characters. What a better way to pair than to pair with the most epic forms for my favorite 4 girls from anime. In this instance I used Ryuko as the Tart Cherry X Stout as the colors of cherry pair, KOS-MOS is the BBQuad since quads are holy ambrosia of gods and she is angelic, Yoruichi is the Velvet Merkin as she is deep, magical and mysterious and finally, Temari is the Stickee Monkee as she represents the colors of the actual flower that grows along the central coast.

 

Firestone XX Twentieth Anniversary Ale by Firestone Walker

15384465_10103789156182600_7001657447950250330_oRating: 7/7

Firestone XX Twentieth Anniversary Ale by Firestone Walker is a 13.80% ABV World Class Strong Multi-liquor Barrel Aged Style Hybrid Blend Ale.

Description: (Please Click On The Strategy Guide/Letter From Firestone Walker and the Box)
15403827_10103789155943080_7901667826832349357_o 15385525_10103789155953060_5303814540254649810_o 15304091_10103789155978010_2519804774880756425_o
==Introduction==

The time has finally come for another review of some of the best World Class beers out there. Each year, I wait in anticipation for these releases. Many know Firestone Walker for being one of the best breweries when it comes to their barrel program and have maintained that status for many years. Their ability to brew barrel aged beers and create delicious Cuvees has been outstanding from release to release. They celebrate 20 years in business bringing many awesome beers like Double Barrel Ale, Double Jack, Parabola and Velvet Merlin just to name a few. Today I bring their anniversary beer to the site and it is with damn pleasure to see what this 20th year brings. Cheers to many more years!

Aromas:
Rocky road ice cream, almonds, walnuts, hazelnut nectar, rich marshmallows, chocolate smores, oatmeal cookies, oreo cookies and cream, flan, chocolate chip cookies, whiskey, brandy hints, dark fruit raisins, plums, figs, dark cherries, currants, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, prunes, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, Belgian Chocolate, German Chocolate, Chocolate milk shake, bananas, clove spice, honey comb, waffle cone, vanilla, dulce de leche caramel, bourbon, rich oak, toasted coconut, almond joy chocolate, Irish Cream coffee, Danish Cream cookies, capirotada raisin bread pudding and Chocolate Banana Sundae.

Flavors:
Dark fruit raisins, plums, figs, dark cherries, currants, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, prunes, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, Belgian Chocolate, German Chocolate, Chocolate milk shake, bananas, clove spice, honey comb, waffle cone, vanilla, dulce de leche caramel, bourbon, rich oak, toasted coconut, almond joy chocolate, rocky road ice cream, almonds, walnuts, hazelnut nectar, rich marshmallows, chocolate smores, oatmeal cookies, oreo cookies and cream, flan, chocolate chip cookies, whiskey, brandy hints, molasses, anise, leather, tobacco, sweetened condensed milk, port wine, Irish Cream coffee, Danish Cream cookies, capirotada raisin bread pudding, Chocolate Banana Sundae, cinnamon, coriander hints, stone fruit peaches, dragon fruit, passion fruit, pecan pie, hazelnut nectar and earthy hop notes.

Aftertaste:
Finishing with a grand variety of complex flavors ranging from dark chocolate, dark fruits, oak, marshmallow smores, rocky road ice cream, flan, fruit cake, bourbon, banana split, maple syrup, earthy hop notes and wine notes. No alcohol in the taste, crimson pitch black body, silky smooth, creamy, velvety, chewy and slightly syrupy mouthfeel with and easy to moderate drinkability despite the ABV.

Overall:
For being in the business 20 years, they got their stuff down and hands down, this is ridiculously delicious! They have Cuvee experts for years and even getting winemakers to assist with their creations to make something that is nothing but legendary. The best part about this beer and any of their other anniversary beers is that they have sold them to the public in many quantities for many to enjoy. Now it is your turn, seek this one as it is a must experience!
15384580_10103789156122720_2986642552389449490_o
Anime Corner:
Gainax and Trigger Studios Crossover characters were all used to represent all the flavors and all the beers used in this beer but in general all the years of blending awesome beers. Moreover, really for celebration in general. Some of the best characters in Anime are in this pairing.

Sources:
http://cdn30.us1.fansshare.com/image/mahoromatic/ogza-fanservice-1437649123.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/ywcJbAA.jpg

Proprietor’s Vintage No.001 HellDorado by Firestone Walker

11895002_10102786518905740_1442027335416953057_o 11952686_10102786519394760_3009589762244989654_o 11926479_10102786520218110_1514009866648628912_oRating: 6/6

Proprietor’s Vintage No.001 HellDorado by Firestone Walker is a 13.2% ABV Imperial Blonde Barleywine/Wheat Wine Ale

Label:
Since founding our brewery in 1996, we have specialized in the rare art of fermenting beer in oak barrels. In the fall of 2006, we embarked on a program to barrel age a series of vintage strong ales that would later be used as components of a blended beer. That blend would become our first Anniversary Ale, “10”.

After the release of “10”, we released limited amounts of the component beers on draft only. Many of these beers gained a cult following that craft beer fans raved about and begged for us to put in bottle. Helldorado was one of these beers.

We present the 2015 vintage of Helldorado, an Imperial Blonde Ale or Blonde Barley Wine. Helldorado has the lightest color of any of the beers in our barrel program but carries a great deal of interesting barrel character: vanilla, light char and amazing lavender-honey notes.

Rich boozy honey liqueur character and loads of smooth sweet toasted malt to finish. The El Dorado hops dance in the background without playing a dominant role in the flavor profile. This Blonde Barley Wine is a one-of-a-kind sipping beer built to last and will reward careful aging for years to come.

==Introduction==

One of the many components that have been used in many of the Firestone Walker Anniversary ales, they finally released this one out to the public. While it is limited, you should definitely try to get one as who knows now a days when they will release this one again. It goes without saying that such brews stay around for much longer unless they have a cult following. Even so, who really knows because now that Firestone is under the wing of Duvel, we will probably see even more and more beers come to fruition and more readily available than before. Quantity does not really seem to affect the quality of the beers especially when well handled. Take Ommegang for example, world class in Belgians for example, owned by Duvel. So yeah, this maybe a positive thing. Beers like PNC however, are harder to get as they were brewery exclusive. Anyways, let’s take a look at this one, shall we? Cheers!

Aromas:
Caramel, Vanilla, Banana, wheat, Banana sundae, white chocolate notes, stone fruit apricot hints, peaches, white raisins , lemon peel, coriander spice, cinnamon, Danish cream, flan, sweetened condensed milk, honey comb, dark fruit cherries, plums, raisins, bubble gum hints, coconut, bourbon, butter pecan ice cream, marshmallow, graham crackers, waffle cone, passion fruit, dragon fruit, piney and floral hop hints, honey dew melon, citrus, raw orange like the sun, rocky road ice cream, citrus flower honey, almond joy, pralines, apples, raw oranges, rocky road ice cream and pecan pie.

Flavors:
Rich Rich Banana sundae, caramel, rich vanilla, white chocolate, dark fruit cherries, plums, raisins, bubble gum hints, coconut, bourbon, butter pecan ice cream, marshmallow, graham crackers, waffle cone, passion fruit, dragon fruit, piney and floral hop hints, honey dew melon, citrus, raw orange like the sun, rocky road ice cream, pecan pie, stone fruit apricot hints, peaches, white raisins , lemon peel, coriander spice, cinnamon, Danish cream, flan, sweetened condensed milk, honey comb, tangerine candy, citrus flower honey, almond joy, pralines, apples and cookie dough.

Aftertaste:
Rich coconut, Flan, Leche Nestle/Sweetened Condensed milk notes, oak, white chocolate, milk chocolate, almonds, bananas, flowers, citrus and oak. Slight alcohol in the taste but not detracting from the flavor. Gold Crimson light to medium body, silky, smooth, creamy, velvety and syrupy mouth feel and a sipping drinkability.

Overall:
One of the best Wheat Wines/ Blonde Barley wines ever! Along White Chocolate of course. Damn over the top as always with these Firestone Reserve beers. Why does every bottle of a reserve or proprietor’s series taste so exceptional? You really have to pick any of them out to really understand it. For this, yes!! Damn right it is worth the pick up. So much luscious flavors and the scary thing is that the color of it is so misleading with it’s light body. It boggles my mind how this bottle can be the way it is. The devil really is in the details, or in this case, the liquid.

Anime Corner:
Awoken Hera from Puzzle & Dragons was used in this paring as I wanted to pick a character with a class like I chose for the other reserve and proprietor’s series. The pairing was easy, just find a golden shiny devil character as HellDorado pretty much translate to Golden Hell. Easier said than done as many of the characters I looked for did not fit the bill until I found the “Awoken” version of Hera. With her Golden shine and Red Devilish looks, how could I go wrong with this pairing. She looks like a major bad ass which represents the alcohol and complexity of the beer but the sweet flavors and golden body are clearly on how “Hot” she appears in this pairing.

Sources:
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CLZgtnBUsAAH-Fo.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/5FIHXDU.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/Wv87exg.jpg

Proprietor’s Reserve 2013 No. 001 PNC (Publican National Committee) by Firestone Walker

11850738_10102772115849580_6665640499603677096_o 11882380_10102772116288700_2643056241050320290_o 11896528_10102772116822630_838293242918506299_oRating: 6.35/7

Proprietor’s Reserve 2013 No. 001 PNC (Publican National Committee) by Firestone Walker is a 13.7% ABV World Class Imperial Buckwheat Stout brewed with Agave Nectar aged in Tequila Barrels, Bourbon Barrels and retired Firestone Barrels.

Label:
This bold and deliciously complex beer is an Imperial Buckwheat Stout aged in Tequila barrels for 13 months. Only a collection of pioneering, well seasoned, extensively traveled and passionate pub owners could come up with such a notion. A massive grain bill consisting of Pale, Munich and toasted Canadian Buckwheat was blended with pearled drum-kilned barley from Chile, a generous amount of Wisconsin roasted wheat and a slug of British Crystal malts. A couple of lumps of Mexican Turbinado sugar were added for good measure while we loaded the kettle with Styrian Golding hops. This carefully calculated collision of flavors, concocted over copious amounts of Orval well into the night, was laid down in fresh Tequila barrels wrangled over our southern border by the beautiful Meg Gill. W simply call this beer “PNC” in honor of its collaborative creators – The gothic symphony of flavors speak for themselves.

The week that the PNC rolled info Paso was one to remember , but more importantly, the PNC’s role in the Craft Beer Revolution should never be forgotten.

Cheers to the PNC!
Matt and the FW Crew

Ideal Aging Temperature: 45F

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==Introduction==
It has been 2 years since the release of this beer and only at the actual brewery or through trading could this one become available. An elusive beer, yet the one that I really wanted to get my hands on. Thanks to some online sites like www.mybeercollectibles.com, this is a possibility. The one beer of their Proprietor’s Reserver series that was aged in Tequila and a component of the Firestone XVI Anniversary ale (considered on of the supreme best). Who knows if this beers was such a component that took that beer to the awesomeness it became but only here and now will I find that out. That and the fact that it has been sitting in condition for more than 2 years, well, that is just damn amazing. Cheers! To this beauty of a beer!

Aromas:
Tequila, oak, rich agave, sangria vampiro, dulce de leche caramel, rocky road ice cream, dark chocolate, mezcal, pancho pantera milk chocolate shake, bakers chocolate, German chocolate, roasted coffee,bourbon, toasted coconut, honey comb, sweetened condensed milk, capirotada raisin bread pudding, vanilla, mazapan, pecan pie, soy sauce, anise, port wine, dark fruit raisins, black cherries, currants, blackberries, tamarind, smokey marshmallows smores, graham crackers, lechugilla agave juice, sugar cone, cane sugar, rock candy, candi sugar, grilled banana hints, almond joy chocolate, buckwheat roasted, coffee notes, earthy notes, molasses, anise and licorice.

Flavors:
Deep Dark chocolate, mezcal, pancho pantera milk chocolate shake, bakers chocolate, German chocolate, roasted coffee,bourbon, oak, tequila, rich agave, sangria vampiro, dulce de leche caramel, rocky road ice cream, almond joy chocolate, buckwheat roasted, coffee notes, earthy notes, molasses, anise, licorice, dark fruit raisins, black cherries, currants, blackberries, tamarind, smokey marshmallows smores, graham crackers, lechugilla agave juice, brown sugar, aloe, floral hints, fruit cake, toasted coconut, honey comb, sweetened condensed milk, capirotada raisin bread pudding, vanilla, mazapan, pecan pie, soy sauce, anise, port wine, piloncillo sugar cone, cane sugar, rock candy, candi sugar, grilled banana hints and clove hints.

Aftertaste:
Smokey notes, cane sugar, agave, Sangria Vampiro, marshmallow smotes, rocky road ice cream, rich dark chocolate, roasted coffee, dark buckwheat roast, super dark fruits and rich dark rock candy. No alcohol in the taste despite the ridiculous ABV, Dark eternal full body, rich, smooth creamy, syrupy, velvety, mild bite to the mouthfeel and a sipping drinkability.

Overall:
Two years into the aging and I never thought how crazy good this beer could be. It is very rich in dark fruit, oak, mezcal, mild tequila, agave sweetness, licorice and a whole bunch of complex goodies. Distinguishing how much actually went into the Firestone XVI Anniversary is definitely hard but some of the individual flavors of this one are a major component of that one but also the flavors you see in Parabola and Velvet Merkin such as the Rock Road Ice cream flavors. I have no idea how you can get this beer as I don’t see this much anywhere which makes me hope they re-release this great beer again. For now, just hope you can trade for it or buy it if possible.
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Anime Corner:
Ryoko Hakubi from the Tenchi Muyo series was used in this pairing as she is one of my favorite anime characters from when I was growing up during High School. A Bad ass girl with monstrous beauty and strength. Her hair resembles the Agave plants that are harvested for its creation in the world of Tequila. Her space pirate outfit works in conjunction with the dark colors of the stout while the other colors represent the other flavors and complexity such as the Sangria and Mezcal with her yes as gold as the rich honey and hazelnut sweetness. With the other beers from Firestone in terms of their reserve beers, I have always paired them with something that best represent the beers in terms of job class, like a fantasy game. Parabola= Knight, Stickee Monkee=Monk, Velvet Merkin=Sorceress, etc. Ryuko the Space Pirate represents somewhat of an organization acronym. In this case, an organization or Pirates!
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Sources:
https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/58/b8/91/58b891d1e2d2d1652ef2a8f6aa8d0ad3.jpg
http://41.media.tumblr.com/d5f890c2a627a250e1ab60bff82aad7f/tumblr_nrgy7tOSn01s1mohso1_1280.png
http://img01.deviantart.net/13fe/i/2014/020/c/2/ryoko_with_lighthawk_wings_by_tr3s_sss-d730i4o.jpg
http://www.zerochan.net/full/468286
http://i.imgur.com/5R2AP8M.jpg

2014 Black Xantus by Humboldt Brewing

11080913_10102466688727980_8375289657211814382_n 11083643_10102466689281870_2841524481416130756_n 11053261_10102466690105220_3833739091349103959_oRating: 6/5

2014 Black Xantus ((SPECIAL BIRTHDAY REVIEW)) by Humboldt Brewing is an 11% ABV Imperial Stout brewed with Mexican Jobella Coffee Beans and aged in Bourbon and Wine oak barrels.

COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION:
Black Xantus is a rare bird and the first new release from Nectar Ales in Years. It is the First ever “big-beer” to be released under the Nectar Ales line. Barrel aged for 6 months in combination of Bourbon, retired Firestone Union and wine barrels and Infused with fair-trade, organic coffee from local roaster Jobella. Rich bourbon and coffee aromas greet the senses. Complex chocolate and tobacco flavors fill the palate. This beer displays a full-bodied mouth-feel and an overall balanced presentation. It would be a perfect pairing to rich chocolate desserts.
Style: Imperial Java Stout IBUs: 50 Color: Black ABV: 11%

==Introduction==

As with my birthday from last year, I saved a newer bottle of Black Xantus jut for the occasion. Black Xantus is one of my favorite beers that got me into trying different craft beers. I would explain the story behind this beer but it is better explained in my last years birthday review: https://animebeers.com/2014/03/22/2010-black-xantus-special-birthday-re-review-by-humboldt-brewing-brewed-at-firestone-walker/ . So rather than break down into details, let us see what the 2014 version of one of my most favorite beers has turned out to be. Another birthday has come and hope for many years of anime beers! Cheers!

Aromas:
Rich dark fruits like dark cherries, raisins, plums, blackberries, Rich mocha coffee, dulce de leche caramel, coconut, vanilla, oak bourbon, flan, choco flan, dark chocolate, Kahlua, roasty notes, milkshake, port wine notes, hazelnut, marshmallow smores, fudge cake, rocky road ice cream, sweetened condensed milk on bananas, pecan pie, brown sugars, chocolate chip cookies and almond joy.

Flavors:
Rich Black Cherries, Black Cherry yogurt, dark fruits like raisins, plums, dates, blackberries, Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, chocolate milk shake,roasted coffee grains, mocha, espresso, chocolate abuelita hints, vanilla, oak, bourbon, dulce de leche caramel, port wine, coconut, marshmallows, graham crackers, roasted coffee grains, mocha, espresso, chocolate abuelita hints, vanilla, oak, bourbon, dulce de leche caramel, port wine, coconut, marshmallows, graham crackers, molasses. Sweetened condensed milk, Tres Leches cake, anise and mint chocolate chip ice cream.

Aftertaste:
Dark fruits linger along with roasted coffee mocha, vanilla, dulce de leche, flan, bourbon, Black cherry yogurt, dark chocolate and an earthy like finish. No alcohol in the taste even if 11% ABV. Smooth, creamy, syrupy and silky mouthfeel, pitch black Center of a Black Hole dark body and sipping drinkability.

Overall:
Should already be in the World Class category! Next to the best coffee beers in the world, this is outstanding and in many categories, simply dominating. This beer can age forever or drink fresh. It seems fresh you get more of the fresh cherry and chocolate forward while the older version is more dark fruit and oak goodness. With its new label, still the same Black Xantus that I fell for long long ago. These are the types of beers I always go back to, like Trois Pistoles and St. Bernardus Abt 12. Also, this is was beer that made start doing anime beer pairings so if the crazy idea didn’t come from taking pictures, I probably wouldn’t be writing about anime and beers in general. Well, hope we have many more pairings and many more years to go. Cheers everyone!

Anime Corner:
Asmodeus from Shinrabansho is the daughter of Asutarotto from that same card series. Though she may be a demon, she is of pure heart, but though evil women be, this can be said for even the utmost good. She was used in the first pairing of art work that made me try out different beers. Her main relation to Black Xantus has to do with her colors which pair with the Black Xantus background of the Blue Moon and the blue night sky. Xantus, being the humming bird, she rises to impart the great flavors of complex dark fruits, cherries, coffee, chocolate, bourbon and more into the beer. In this pairing she is kicking back and relaxing. That is pretty much what happens after 4 years of just laying down. She gazes into the soul of those who court her and while she may seem seductive and sweet in nature (Like a Rose which the Xantus drinks) she will bring forth a dangerous smite! But… only because she loves you… So basically, be careful with Asmodeus, take her in a sip at a time and don’t take her head on, cuz she may come back with vengeance. Cheers!

Sources:
http://asset-7.soup.io/asset/7112/6946_709f_960.png
http://pic02.nijie.info/nijie_picture/140_20121031015616.jpg

Firestone XVIII Anniversary Ale by Firestone Walker

10373717_10102208031509120_4150461538555173658_n 10802030_10102208031973190_4909364885338193070_nRating: 6/5

Firestone XVIII Anniversary Ale by Firestone Walker is a 13% ABV World Class Strong Multi-liquor Barrel Aged Style Hybrid Blend Ale.

Description: (Please Click On The Strategy Guide/Letter From Firestone Walker)
IMAG7335
38% Parabola (bourbon barrel aged Russiant imperial stout),
16% Helldorado (bourbon and brandy barrel aged blond barleywine),
16% Bravo (bourbon and brandy barrel aged brown ale),
14% Stickee Monkey (bourbon and brandy barrel aged quad),
5% Velvet Merkin (bourbon barrel aged oatmeal stout),
4% Hydra Cuvée (a blend too much of a mouthful to describe here),
3% Wookey Jack (black IPA),
2% Ol’ Leghorn (English barleywine, collaboration with Three Floyds, aged in fresh barrels),
2% Double Jack (Double IPA)

==Introduction==

It has been an awesome year for Firestone Walker beers and with the release of their 18th one, they add some new beers into their final blend. As with every year, this one comes with the strategy guide to basically see if you can figure out what’s what. While this is a difficult task, I try to write down as much as I can and see what new flavors this one is composed of versus the previous releases. It really does not matter sometimes as they have all beer exceptionally world class beers. Yes, don’t take my word for it, try it for yourself. Cheers!

Aromas:
Rich oak, vanilla, flan, bourbon, maple syrup, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, bakers chocolate, Belgium chocolate, German chocolate, ferrero rocher chocolate, toasted coconut, almond joy, dulce de leche caramel, rocky road ice cream, marshmallow smores, oreo cookies, cookies and cream, oatmeal cookies, cookie dough, cocada coconut candy, pilloncillo sugar cone, choco flan, dark fruits like currants, raisins, prunes, raspberry, cherries, currants, blackberries, capirotada raisin bread pudding, anise, molasses, brownies, brown sugar, bananas, clove spice hints, mocha, tres leches/three milks cake, dragon fruit, tangerine, pineapple hints and more!

Flavors:
Very strong oak barrel forward character, rich vanilla, bourbon, toasted coconut, almond joy, dulce de leche caramel, rocky road ice cream, marshmallow smores, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, bakers chocolate, Belgium chocolate, German chocolate, ferrero rocher chocolate, pralines, cookies and cream, oreo cookies, oatmeal cookies, cookie dough, flan, cinnamon hints, brown sugar, hazelnut, macademia nuts, cocada coconut candy, piloncillo sugar cone, dragon fruit, mango hints, pineapple hints, sweetened condensed milk, port wine, maple syrup, dark fruit currants, raisins, prunes, raspberry, cherries, currants, blackberries, capirotada raisin bread pudding, anise, molasses, brownies, brown sugar, bananas, clove spice hints, leather, tobacco, waffle cone, peaches and cream, pecan pie, candi sugars, rock candy, choco flan, espresso, mocha, toffee, tres leches/three milks cake, tangerine and more!

Aftertaste:
Port wine, dark chocolate, maple syrup, dark fruits, rocky road ice cream, oatmeal and oreo cookies, oak, vanilla, coconut, mango, chocolate chips and marshmallow smores with earthy hop notes finish at the end. No alcohol in the taste, Smooth and silky mouthfeel, dangerously easy to drink but should be handled as a sipper and crimson yet pitch black body.

Overall:
Exceptionally great. Each release more awesome than the last. I really think this one is the best one by far. If aged, it will will definitely do wonders I am sure. This one seems to have richer flavors which I am sure were due to the addition of the Three Floyds collab and the Hydra Cuvee as well as the Stickee Monkee, Velvet Merkin and Parabola. This beer is insane and it will only get more insane as time goes on. If you can still find this goodie, definitely get it. It is one of the best!

Anime Corner:
Asuka Langley/Shikinami Sohrty, Rei Ayanami, Haruko Haruhara, and many others from Neon Genesis Evangelion and Fooly Cooly (FLCL) were used in this pairing to represent some of the blends represented by this beer. It is something I have done in the past with this series of Anniversary beers. This was a great pic because not only does it show case the colors of potential ingredients used but also how each flavor tries to out do the other. Also, Haruko was used in a previous Three Floyds collaboration this year (Rue D’Floyd) which represented her wacky aspect as “Not Normal”. The addition of Firestone and Three Floyd’s collab beer into this one made it so she can be in this pairing as well. What a bad ass!. Also, Asuka and Rei have been seen in pairings like Firestone’s Double Jack so they are definitely in the right pairing here too.

Sources:
http://articleimage.nicoblomaga.jp/image/64/2013/f/f/ffd9f7487115ef5bb2d6b22dedcca9f69c75e5641373178280.jpg
http://www.zerochan.net/full/39691

Union Jack by Firestone Walker

10689783_10102205530566030_7118609534410742427_nRating: 5/5

Union Jack by Firestone Walker is a 7.5% ABV World Class India Pale Ale.

Box Description:
An aggressively hopped West Coast-style IPA. Union Jack showcases exceptional dry hop character with stunning pineapple, citrus, and pine aromas on the nose accompanies by honey-like malt aromatics. Double dry hopping brings bold grapefruit, tangerine and citrus flavors.

==Introduction==
It really has been a couple of years since I tried this beer. One of the first IPAs during the time that I started doing beer reviews but unfortunately never got the chance to bring forth. When I bought this as part of the Firestone Winter Variety pack, I finally had the chance. I have mainly tried this one on tap which was epic and great but I have not gone back to it since developing a taste for a variety of IPAs. The fact that I am bringing this here to the site is an honor as I will finally take my time to dissect what many have called one of the finest in the west coast-style of IPAs. Cheers.

Aromas:
Citrus, floral grassy piney, grapefruit hops, tropical fruit mango, papaya, guava, kiwi, dragon fruit, honey dew melon, strawberry, honey on biscuit bread, tangerines, lemon peel, Stone fruit apricots, lychee, apples, caramel and vanilla.

Flavors:
Citrus, floral, grassy piney and grapefruit hops, tropical fruits like pineapple, mango, dragon fruit, strawberry, papaya, passion fruit, honey dew melon, biscuit bread, honey, tangerines, guava, lemon peel, Stone fruit apricot, peach, lychee, apples, kiwi, floral notes, mild dank garlicky flavors, and gummy bears.

Aftertaste:
Lots of tropics, citrus, tangerine, grapefruit, vanilla, honey, caramel, biscuit bread and grassy hops linger. No alcohol in the taste, easy to drink, somewhat creamy, crisp and refreshing mouthfeel and a Clear Golden body.

Overall:
One of the finest and perfect examples of IPAs out there. The step below to the Double Jack still standing strong in the front of the many West coast IPAs that come close to it. The tropics in this are strong and is really one of the reason I really loved this beer. It isn’t all about tropical though as you do get some caramel notes and lots of that super hoppy west coast dankness. This is pretty much a commoners gold and if you haven’t tried this one, you are missing out because this one is very underrated and extremely awesome of IPAs

Anime Corner:
Saber from Fate/Stay night and an OC character by genzoman and zander-d from deviant art were brought forth in this pairing to bring forth a bit of what the Union Jack and what the UK is all about. Being inventors of the India Pale Ale style to make beer last through the travels as they were preserve with hops as a natural preservative for soldiers in their journeys. This was the best pairing to represent that about the origins of the IPA.

Sources:
http://genzoman.deviantart.com/art/Saber-Who-Dares-Wins-349352556

Velvet Mocha Merlin by Firestone Walker

10410676_10102205528490190_3598186254737251036_nRating: 5/5

Velvet Mocha Merlin by Firestone Walker is a 5.5% ABV Oatmeal Stout brewed with cocoa nibs and Intelligentsia Espresso Coffee beans.

Label:
Our beloved Velvet Merlin Aged with cocoa nibs and Intelligentsia espresso beans. All of the smooth textures and roasty dark chocolate goodness of our seasonal Velvet Merlin Oatmeal Stout with the added infusion of Intelligentsia Coffee House aromas and cocoa dusted chocolate truffle flavors.

==Introduction==

This beer came as part of the Firestone Walker Winter Variety pack. Since I had tried the Velvet Merlin and Merkin before, there was no way I’d pass this one up especially after my friend Richard told me about this one. While I was debating getting this one at first, it was a good deal as I was able to get 4 22oz beers for around 15$ at Total Wine. Also, the beers included like Union Jack IPA, DBA and Wookie Jack were worth it. Union Jack is one I have not brought to review and now I will so keep an eye out for that one. As far as the whole coffee and cocoa nibs with the original Merlin goes, I could only expect awesome. However, I have to see it for what it is because the original is just as great. So let us see what this one offers. Cheers!

Aromas:
Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, mocha, Espresso coffee, fancy coffee, vanilla, caramel, coconut hints, milk sugar, oreo cookies, chocolate chip cookies, brown sugar, flan hints, molasses, graham cracker smores and marshmallows.

Flavors:
Espresso coffee, fancy coffee, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, bakers chocolate, fudge chocolate,, bananas, chocolate truffles, milk sugar, fancy mocha, caramel, vanilla, coconut hints, oreo cookies, chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal cookies, graham cracker smores and marshmallows, hints of flan, Khalua hints, dark fruit raisins, toffee and molasses.

Aftertaste:
Coffee, dark chocolate, caramel, mild roasted notes and nice dry finish. No alcohol in the taste, smooth and creamy mouthfeel, easy to medium drinkability and a dark full body.

Overall:
Making the Merlin much more to the perfect standard. If it wasn’t perfect already, this one made it so regardless of the base beer. The Oatmeal Stout smooth characteristics with the coffee and chocolate make this one like a rich cold coffee brew. They were right about the whole aspect of smooth and chocolate taking over. Possibly the best one in the pack next to the Union Jack but then again, each of the beers has its great merits. Hope they get a chance to brew this one again or make a Mocha Merkin from this because in all honestly, that would be damn magical. Highly recommend it if you find the winter pack.

Anime Corner:
Twili Midna was used in this pairing because I wanted to show case Merlin and Merkin as in the previous beers as magicians and sorceresses. Midna fits that whole magical aspect and being the Twilight princess melding into the dark and light brings about the rich sweet flavors as well as the dark roasty characters of chocolate and coffee together altogether while being nice and smooth. She can light up the darkness.

Sources:
http://fc07.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2014/023/7/6/7647e254a61d73d87520077effaa393f-d73fp4v.png

Ol’ Leghorn collaboration by Firestone Walker and Three Floyds brewing

10670274_10102069141710390_4260297735774778352_n 10646964_10102069146455880_4706552414182859628_nRating: 4.65/5

Ol’ Leghorn collaboration by Firestone Walker and Three Floyds brewing is a 10.5% Wheat/Blonde Barley Wine.

COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
Ol’ Leghorn was initially brewed by Floyd and Brynildson during last year’s Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest. In a shout-out to Firestone Walker’s and Nick Floyd’s mutual English heritage, this blonde barleywine was brewed with traditional English ale malting varieties—Golden Promise and Optic base malts- with no specialty malt added.

The beer was then racked to a combination of retired bourbon barrels and new American oak wine barrels for aging at Firestone Walker Brewing Company. In fearless 3 Floyds fashion, another batch of dry-hopped Ol’ Leghorn was recently brewed for blending into the aged beer, to add a fresh, hoppy layer to the more intense spirits barrel and oaky character of the initial batch.

The result is a staggeringly hoppy blonde barleywine that will first be unveiled at the 2014 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest in Paso Robles on Saturday, May 31. Additionally, 22-ounce bottles will be available for purchase (six bottle limit per customer) at Firestone Walker’s Brewery Store on Sunday, June 1 starting at 10 a.m., with very limited market release later in the month. Ol’ Leghorn is meant to be consumed fresh in its youth, and vigilantly cold stored in the meantime.
___

This beer was made during the time that 3 Floyds was touring with other breweries this year to create collaboration brews. While hard to come by, I really wanted to bring this beer forth to the site as FW and 3F make some crazy world class beers. So I wanted to see if their collab could truly be remarkable. Well here it is and now we can find out for sure.

Aromas:
Vanilla, oak, honey, citrus, piney and grassy hops, orange preserves, caramel, toffee, butterscotch hints, rich mango, dragon fruit, peaches, apricots, white grapes, peppercorns, rye, coriander spice, clove spice hints, earthy hop notes, graham crackers and marshmallow.

Flavors:
Lots of honey, oak, citrus, vanilla, caramel, toffee, grassy, grapefruit and piney hops, tropical fruit like, mango, pineapple, dragon fruit honeydew melon, stone fruit like peaches, apricot, apples, lemon peel, orange peel, biscuit bread, coriander spice, orange preserves, rye bread, cinnamon, graham crackers, almonds, pecans, earthy hops, graham crackers, marshmallow hints, floral notes and peppercorn notes.

Aftertaste:
Citrus, tropical fruit, caramel, vanilla, piney and floral and earthy hops linger. No alcohol in the taste, syrupy yet smooth mouth feel but sipping drinkability and a light to medium body.

Overall:
A very good Blonde Barleywine / Wheat Wine. This beer seems more hoppy than some of the other barley or wheat wines I have tried for that matter. Then again , White Oak from the Bruery was pretty damn citrucy. They say this beer should be consumed fresh but I think it can withstand some time although the tropical aspects will fade with time and be more rich with sweetness. While this one is very good, I can only say that it is worth a try just once but if not, you are not missing out. There are other Wheat wines just as good if not better. Even if it does have 3F and FW on the label, I can at least say it was very good but don’t bet your hype on it.

Anime Corner:
Erza Scarlet and Mirajane Strauss from Fairy Tail were used in this pairing to represent Firestone Walker and Three Floyds in their collaboration of evil but also to represent the colors of the rooster with the reds and the whites. The power of these 2 collaborators to bring forth such an awesome collaboration is pretty much legendary. I can only state that the idea was awesome but was nothing momentous. So they pretty much represent that. The awesome idea.

Sources:
http://kurogane-raziel.deviantart.com/art/Erza-and-Mira-427735578
http://createapk.com/project/2014/09/kazulkira/mirajane-strauss-wallpaper/image/131282-mirajane-strauss-wallpaper.jpg

Proprietor’s Reserve Double Jack (New Label) by Firestone Walker

10514564_10102019959192550_1809392434859388670_n 1551569_10102019959631670_4121511483512802079_nRating: 5 to 5.2/5* Better Fresher

Proprietor’s Reserve Double Jack (New Label) by Firestone Walker is a 9.5% ABV World Class Triple Dry Hopped Double/Imperial India Pale Ale

COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
A dangerously drinkable Double IPA. Double Jack opens up with bright grapefruit and tangerine American hop aromas. Beautifully crafted undertones of stone fruit are revealed upon first sip, followed by the essence of blue basil and pine. A sturdy pale and crystal malt backbone brings balance to high hop intensity. Complex and aggressively hopped, and flawlessly balanced.

REMEMBER: Watch for bottled on dates located on the necks or bottom left corner of the label for each of our beers. Our beer is not pasteurized, so it is best when stored at 44F or below, out of light and within 120 days of the bottled on date…this ensures freshness and ultimately a great Firestone Walker beer!
___

A revisit to my beginnings where my first time with a double IPA was when I first had this beer. Back then when it was on tap, I could only compare it to the double IPA gold standard which became ruination. However, unlike ruination, this beer was more tropical so in essence, this would become one of my first Tropical double IPA before I started buying actual bottles. This beer is such a great IPA that I honestly think it belongs with in the Triple or maybe borderline Triple IPA style as it seems to get there similar to El Segundo Power Plant. While it may not be as epic, it is still a gold standard in my book for tropical IPAs. I brought this one back since I wanted to show case the new label but also to just re-review this one. This beer is widely distributed wherever they sell Firestone Walker beers. Cheers!

Aromas:
Citrus, Piney, Grapefruit, grassy and floral hops, blue basil herbs, biscuit bread, tropical fruits like dragon fruit, passion fruit, papaya, mango, tangerine, pineapple, lemon peel, caramel, toffee, vanilla, peach, apricot hints, guava hints and apple.

Flavors:
Grapefruit, Citrus and tangerine forward followed the the complex piney, grassy floral and mildly earthy hops, lemon peel, tropical fruits like dragon fruit, passion fruit, honey dew melon hints, papaya, mango, papaya, caramel, biscuit bread, vanilla hints, toffee hints, peach, plum hints, guava, apricot hints, blue basil herbs, dank lychee fruit.

Aftertaste:
Citrus, grapefruit, tangerine, blue basil, some tropics and dry piney bitterness linger. No alcohol in the taste. A sipping beer despite the light body, medium mouthfeel, crisp and refreshing wins everywhere.

Overall:
A perfect Double IPA! If it wasn’t anymore tropical, it would surely be at that triple IPA level. Even with the perfect rating, I can definitely see the rating go even higher to a 5.2 at it’s freshest. This beer was pretty fresh bottled about 3 weeks ago. So I am pretty stuck deciding on the rating. This beer is one of the best IPAs out there bar none. It can definitely go toe to toe with some of the best the world has to offer, hell even against pliny the elder, this is pretty much Pliny the 3rd. Go get this bottle now!!

Anime Corner:
Asuka Langley Sohryu/Shikinami and Rei Ayanami were the original characters I chose for this beer in my original review. Now that there is a new label, so be it as in Eva 3.0 they got the new plugsuits. Bad Ass. Now the reason I chose them has to do with the fact that Asuka and Rei have been a team forever. They are some of my favorite Anime characters. The Citrus and tangerine aspect as well as tropical comes from Asuka as well as the bitterness as that is her attitude. The Blue Basil, herbs, floral and piney hop aspect of the beer fits great with Rei as she has the blue hair going on. So the combination makes up the Double Jack you see here. That and the label pairs well with them as well.

Sources:
http://konachan.com/post/show?md5=70397813128c0b70a5c2c131a0e4b6b1
http://i.imgur.com/xT8Mndi.jpg

Proprietor’s Vintage 2014 Double Double Barrel Ale by Firestone Walker

10574325_10101961969140080_8669463688062613703_n 10568898_10101961970711930_5434167109133143264_n 10913_10101961970108140_3879049272280645181_nRating: 5.45/5

Proprietor’s Vintage 2014 Double Double Barrel Ale by Firestone Walker is a 12% ABV World Class Imperial Special Bitter/English Barley Wine.

Label:
Since founding our brewery in 1996, we have specialized in the rare art of brewing beer in oak barrels. In the fall of 2006, we embarked on a program to barrel age a series of vintage strong ales that would later be used as components of a blended beer. That blend would become our first Anniversary Ale, “10”.

After the release of “10”, we released limited amounts of the component beers on draft only. Many of these beers gained a cult following that craft beer fans raved about and begged for us to put in bottle. Double DBA was one of these beers.

It has been said that the only constant is change and the same is true for barrel-aged beers. Cut from a similar recipe each year, Double DBA changes and shows a different face across each vintage; a result of time spent aging in the barrel.

We present the 2014 vintage of Double DBA, a barrel-aged Imperial Special Bitter. Lush toffee and caramel malt flavors combine with light coconut, vanilla graham cracker American oak barrel nuances.

Double DBA is a one-of-a-kind sipping beer built to last and will reward careful aging for years to come.

Ideal Aging Temperature 45° F
___

The final release of this beer has come. No longer will Firestone Walker brew this. Once this is gone it is gone. So definitely stop by the nearest store or online shop and get a couple of these. I had this beer about 2 years ago and since then I have not had a chance to pick it up again to do a re-review. When I heard this was the last time FW was going to make it, I had to get it before it is gone for good and bring it forward for a review. Not sure why they would retire a stronger version of their original flagship beer but they must have their reasons. Maybe some new oddity will come but until then, if you can get this one, definitely get it. For now, here is what you can expect, cheers!

2012 Review (https://brewerianimelogs.wordpress.com/2012/10/31/double-double-barrel-ale-by-fire-stone-walker/)
*Beer rating for 2012 was set before I implemented the new rating system.

Aromas:
Bananas and toasted coconut cream pie,marshmallows, dulce de leche caramel, flan, oak, bourbon, graham cracker smores, brown sugar, toffee, rye bread, dark fruit raisins, plum, honey, maple, oak, pecan pie, hazelnut nectar, chocolate, clove spice, coffee cake, almond joy, apple cinnamon toast, and butterscotch.

Flavors:
Lots of toasted Coconut macaroons, bananas, chocolate, coconut, dulce de leche, coconut cream pie, pecan pie, bourbon, vanilla, honey, maple, rich oak, flan, toffee, dark fruits like raisins, plums, clove spice, coffee cake, brown sugar, almond joy, rye bread, apple cinnamon pie, butterscotch and hazelnut, graham crackers and marshmallow smores.

Aftertaste:
Vanilla, caramel, maple, oak, banana, marshmallow, coconut, brown sugar chocolate hints and butterscotch. No alcohol in the taste, a sipping beer with some smoothness. Medium body with medium mouthfeel.

Overall:
A little more than just, perfect! This beer exceeds a good amount of expectations. This beer is freaking delicious. If you never believed the original Double Barrel Ale could be amplified to a higher atmosphere of flavor, then you will definitely be in for a surprise. The beer has so much . It is really sad to see this one go as this one is one I could easily enjoy just like the other awesome barrel-aged series from FW. Like I stated before, you should really get one or two before they are truly gone.

Anime Corner:
Yuffie Kisaragi and Vincent Valentine from Final Fantasy VII were used in this pairing from the original Double DBA to pair with several aspects of the beer. Yuffie’s costume pairs greatly with the colors of the label. The crimson color of the beer is Vincent’s department. The duo represent the Double aspect while the guns he carries is the double barrels. Yuffie provides the complex sweetness of the beer represented by her love for the colorful jewels called Materia. Vincent’s dark past brings and compliments the beer with the Alcohol content. Together as a team, make this beer a sweet, smooth and delicious success. This may the final time I see Double DBA but damn what a ride it was. Hope to see you again some day…

Sources:
http://www.wallpaperfly.com/thumbnails/detail/20120314/brunettes%20final%20fantasy%20yuffie%20kisaragi%20vincent%201280×1024%20wallpaper_www.wallmay.com_74.jpg
http://the-koko-empire.deviantart.com/art/Stand-by-You-191556373
http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/70/dd/7d/70dd7dd1a9bf58dac898deab7c9e4dd5.jpg

Proprietor’s Vintage 2014 Stickee Monkee by Firestone Walker Brewing

10367160_10101855188798740_2114165657521152561_n 10415632_10101855188424490_8147857933327523719_nRating: 6/5

Proprietor’s Vintage 2014 Stickee Monkee by Firestone Walker Brewing is a 13.4% ABV World Class Central Coast Belgian Quadrupel aged in bourbon barrels.

Label:
Since founding our brewery in 1996, we have specialized in the rare art of brewing beer in oak barrels. In the fall of 2006, we embarked on a program to barrel age a series of vintage strong ales that would later be used as components of a blended beer. That blend would become our first Anniversary Ale, “10”.

After the release of “10”, we released limited amounts of the component beers on draft only. Many of these beers gained a cult following that craft beer fans raved about and begged for us to put in bottle. Stickee Monkee was one of these beers.

We present the 2014 vintage of Stickee Monkee, a barrel-aged Quad. It has been said that the only constant is change and the same is true for barrel-aged Quad evolves and shows a different face each year; a result of time spent aging in the barrel.

Turbinado brown sugar from Mexico adds wonderful molasses flavors that are reminiscent of Belgian candi sugar. It has a full body and lush texture with battle expression all over; toasted oak, coconut, leather and rich cigar tobacco.

This Central Coast Quad is a one-of-a-kind sipping beer built to last and will reward careful aging for years to come.
___

This is very damn special. So special along side some of the best in the world so far. This beer was so coveted that I barely was able to get a bottle for myself. Initially sold at the Firestone Brewery, it saw a very limited distribution. I really wanted to bring this forward for a review here at the site and lucky for me, my chance was answered. If you seek this beer, you may have to trade.

Aromas:
DAMN! Smells like Black Tuesday. This isn’t an imperial stout but damn it has so much complexity going on here. Dulce de leche, grilled bananas with Irish cream, vanilla, oak, coconut, flan, almond joy chocolate, marshmallows, bourbon, pecan pie, hazelnuts, maple syrup, bourbon, molasses, pilloncillo sugar cone, dark fruits like raisins, plums, figs, dark cherries, currants, maple syrup, milk, dark and Belgium chocolates, waffle cone and raisin bread pudding.

Flavors:
Brown Sugar Grilled Bananas with pilloncillo sugar cone, dulce de leche caramel, vanilla, bourbon, toasted coconut, French Vanilla ice cream, oreo cookies and cream, flan, sweetened condensed milk, marshmallow smores, maple syrup, hazelnut nectar, pecan pie, dark fruit raisins, figs, plums, dark cherries, black berries, currants, port wine, capirotada raisin bread pudding, dark cherries, currants, maple syrup, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, Belgium chocolate, candi sugars, waffle cone, clove spice, rocky road ice cream, almond joy chocolate, choco flan, molasses, tobacco, leather, Trappist Belgian yeast, grape nuts, peaches and cream.

Aftertaste:
Caramelized Bananas, chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, dark fruit raisin pudding and pecan pie. No alcohol in the taste, Unbelievably smooth, syrupy mouth feel and extremely dangerous. This is one of those beers that you want to be careful as you can probably finish the whole bottle in one sitting which is not recommended. Take you time with this one.

Overall:
This beer was a fucking mind blow. There is a reason this is a key player in the anniversary ales they release every year. Each year the recipe is different and each one just pushing the edges of what I can give as extra credit. This might truly be the best quad I have ever had, yes even in lines with the Westvleteren. Also the strongest quadruple at 13.4% ABV except for the Agave Maria at 13.5% ABV and Forgotten Island at 15% ABV. Each one is just unique in its own way. I really love this one for reminding me so much of Black Tuesday or Bourbon County but it is a quadruple and its flavor profile really shows.

Anime Corner:
SonSon III was chosen for this pairing for the fact that she is a monkey but she is also a Buddhist Monk. As it applies to the monks in Belgium, those characteristics about her are what worked well in my mind, hence why I chose her. The peaches and cream aspect fit as well as she represents what is sweet about this beer. Her origin is that of the monk Son Goku or Sun Wukong or the Monkey King. She is inspired by the Chinese classical novel of Journey to the West. Her grandfather was the original SonSon. Her power comes of the that of the martial arts and the is Ki attacks. Yes, this beer is very powerful and she makes a great representative. Can you come up with any nice aspects from this pairing?

Source:
http://img3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20080319020048/marvelvscapcom/images/b/bf/Sonson-big-mvc2.jpg
http://johnjoseco.deviantart.com/art/Monkeys-and-Peaches-395292236

Proprietor’s Reserve Series Wookey Jack by Firestone Walker

10173553_10101781318630150_4418797359571381756_n 10314658_10101781317831750_327626267463413322_n 10177943_10101781318465480_7101584681421452723_nRating: 5/5

Proprietor’s Reserve Series Wookey Jack by Firestone Walker is an 8.3% ABV World Class Black Rye India Pale Ale.

COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION:
Wookey Jack is our first foray into the dark outer world of black IPAs. Rich dark malts and spicy rye careen into bold citrus laden hops creating a new dimension in IPA flavor. This brew has been left unfiltered and unfined to retain all of its texture and character. At 60 IBUs, Wookey Jack is gnarly on the outside yet complex and refined on the inside.
___

Considered to the 4th Best American Black Ale in the world by Beeradvocate.com. I have tried the majority of the common Firestone Walker beers but I have always skipped this one for one reason or another. Well, I finally decided to go with it and give it a shot. My friend Aaron recommended I should try it. He’s over there in Texas and I’m in California. Yeah I know, I’ve been living under a rock right? HA! Any ways, here is the review. The cool thing about this one, is that it has that star wars reference too.

Aromas:
Piney, earthy, grapefruit and grassy hops, dark chocolate, rye bread, roasted barley, caramel, slight smoke, tropical fruits like mango, kiwi and papaya, brown sugar, molasses, notes of dark fruits, anise and biscuit bread.

Flavors:
Herbal, piney, earthy grapefruit and grassy hops, anise, caramel, dark chocolate, rye bread, tropical fruits, pineapple, apricot, old mango, papaya, kiwi, molasses, campfire smoke, roasted barley, toffee, biscuit bread, notes of dark fruit plums and oranges.

Aftertaste:
Piney and earthy hop bitterness with surprisingly lingering tropical flavor, caramel, smoke and chocolate. No alcohol in the taste, moderate to sipping drinkability with medium to full mouth feel.

Overall:
One of the best Black Rye IPAs for sure. It really reminds you about the fact that it is an IPA first and foremost before it gives you the dark sweet aspects. While the hops aren’t super dank, they definitely help the beer so it doesn’t feel, too bitter, too sweet or too smokey. Well made beer and definitely one that is underrated. This beer is phenomenal and I hope this review convinces you to try this one. It is a great example of the style.

Anime Corner:
Fran and Balthier from Final Fantasy XII were used in this pairing since I wanted to get the whole Chewbacca and Han Solo aspect of star wars but I wanted to related to anime and video games. Which lead me to Fran and Balthier. It is pretty crazy how good partners they are in the game that you can tell they took the them right out of star wars. Yes, I was going with the whole, Fran is a wookie but not yet she is like Chewbacca partnering with Han Solo. Either way, flavors and label of the beer also compliment their colors as she is a smoking hot chocolate bunny. There I said it lol.

2010 Black Xantus ((SPECIAL BIRTHDAY RE-REVIEW)) by Humboldt Brewing, brewed at Firestone Walker

10013941_10101721214614080_1221267500_n
10151411_10101721219968350_1741906109_nRating: 6/5* One of my first gateway beers, certainly one of my top favorites. 

2010 Black Xantus ((SPECIAL BIRTHDAY RE-REVIEW)) by Humboldt Brewing, brewed at Firestone Walker, is an 11% ABV Imperial Stout brewed with Mexican Jobella Coffee Beans and aged in Bourbon and Wine barrels. Cellared for 4 years.

COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION:
Black Xantus is a rare bird and the first new release from Nectar Ales in Years. It is the First ever “big-beer” to be released under the Nectar Ales line. Barrel aged for 6 months in combination of Bourbon, retired Firestone Union and wine barrels and Infused with fair-trade, organic coffee from local roaster Jobella. Rich bourbon and coffee aromas greet the senses. Complex chocolate and tobacco flavors fill the palate. This beer displays a full-bodied mouth-feel and an overall balanced presentation. It would be a perfect pairing to rich chocolate desserts. 
Style: Imperial Java Stout IBUs: 50 Color: Black ABV: 11%
___

Today is my birthday and as a special treat, I wanted to do a re-review the first blog post I did long ago. Black Xantus is one of my favorite beers that got me into trying different craft beers (Aside from Lost Abbey and Arrogant Bastard) and was one which also got me into collecting beer labels. The first time I tried it was Christmas eve in 2010 after I had saved the this beer for about 1 year and was one that was told to be paired with chocolate dessert. I had saved it in remembrance of my departed mother. Back then when I tried it, it was so damn rich and paired so well with chocolate cheesecake that I knocked out for a bit. Even before the days of Black Tuesdays, Grey Mondays, super barrel aged chocolate beers, this one was one of my special ones. Hence the reason it sits to this day in the center of my beer bottle collection in the wall. I did not know much about barrel aged beers back then but after trying so many different beers but this was still my most favorite. So today, I bring here a bottle, aged for 4 years, to remember my mom and the day she gave birth to me. Today I am 31 years old, the age at which my mom had me. So bringing this beer out makes this even more the special occasion. 

Cheers!!

Aromas:
Rich coffee mocha, dulce de leche caramel, coconut, dark cherries, dark raisins, plums, blackberries, vanilla, oak bourbon, flan, choco flan, dark chocolate, milkshake, port wine notes, hazelnut, marshmallow smores, fudge cake, rocky road ice cream, sweetened condensed milk on bananas, pecan pie, brown sugars, chocolate chip cookies, Kahlua, roasty notes and almond joy. 

Flavors:
Cherries, Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, chocolate milk shake, roasted coffee grains, mocha, espresso, chocolate abuelita hints, vanilla, oak, bourbon, dulce de leche caramel, port wine, coconut, marshmallows, graham crackers, dark fruits like dark cherries, raisins, plums, choco flan, crème brulee, hazelnut nectar, pecan pie, rocky road ice cream, sweetened condensed milk, almond joy, banana notes, reminiscent of chocolate cheesecake, fudge cake, Kahlua, brown sugar and mild anise.

Aftertaste:
Roasty coffee lingers along with the sweet vanilla and caramel bourbon with the cherry and chocolate and finishing earthiness. No alcohol in the despite this thing is probably at 15% ABV after 4 years. A sense of smoothness with a sipping quality a thick almost syrupy mouth feel. Excellent!

Overall:
Right next to Mocha Wednesday is what this is, one of the best mocha chocolate coffee beers out there. After 4 years, it still grew into some great complex stuff. There was no doubt in my mind why this was my favorite in 2010 and the other years I tried it and certainly no doubt why even today, it doesn’t fail to amaze me. Sometimes, when it comes to beers, it is always best to remember where you started. I started trying different beers back then and if it wasn’t for this and beers like Trois Pistoles and St. Bernardus 12abt, I might as well have missed out on Beer, the lost treasure of taste and art!!

Anime Corner:
Asmodeus from Shinrabansho is the daughter of Asutarotto from that same card series. Though she may be a demon, she is of pure heart, but though evil women be, this can be said for even the utmost good. She was used in the first pairing of art work that made me try out different beers. Her main relation to Black Xantus has to do with her colors which pair with the Black Xantus background of the Blue Moon and the blue night sky. Xantus, being the humming bird, she rises to impart the great flavors of complex dark fruits, cherries, coffee, chocolate, bourbon and more into the beer. In this pairing she is kicking back and relaxing. That is pretty much what happens after 4 years of just laying down. She gazes into the soul of those who court her and while she may seem seductive and sweet in nature (Like a Rose which the Xantus drinks) she will bring forth a dangerous smite! But… only because she loves you… So basically, be careful with Asmodeus, take her in a sip at a time and don’t take her head on, cuz after 4 years she may come back with vengeance. Cheers!

Firestone XVII Anniversary Ale by Firestone Walker

1477982_10101531821254890_1963810206_n 1472989_10101531821145110_108429905_n 1470280_10101531821185030_808038373_n 579314_10101531821195010_287334108_nRating: 5.79/5* (Just like last years version, more difficult to explain. Strategy guide included)

Firestone XVII Anniversary Ale by Firestone Walker is a 13.3% ABV Strong Multi-liquor Barrel Aged Style Hybrid Blend Ale

Description: 
“We blended together 220 oak barrels and seven different beers creating something truly complex and exceptional.” – Brewmaster Matt Brynildson
Bravo / Aged in Bourbon and Brandy Barrels / 30% of Final Blend
-Imperial Brown Ale

Sticky Monkey / Aged in Bourbon and Whiskey Barrels / 25% of Final Blend
-English Barley Wine Brewed with Mexican Turbinado (brown) Sugar

Velvet Merkin / Aged in Bourbon Barrels / 15% of Final Blend
-Traditional Oatmeal Stout

Parabola / Aged in Bourbon Barrels / 15% of Final Blend
-Russian Imperial Oatmeal Stout

Double DBA / Aged in retired Firestone Union Barrels / 8% of Final Blend
-Double strength English Pale Ale

Helldorado / Aged in Bourbon and Brandy Barrels / 4% of Final Blend
-Blonde Barley Wine Brewed with Buckwheat Honey

Wookey Jack / 100% Stainless Steel / 3% of Final Blend
-Black Rye India Pale Ale

XVII ABV: 13.3%
___

This year’s batch is very special using. The strategy guide is even longer since they had winemakers assist with the project to get the right types of blends in constructing this beer. Holy shit is all I can say about the information of how much work and effort it took to make this. 

Aromas:
Chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, brandy, port wine notes, dark cherry, raspberry, coconut, oak, caramel, toffee, oatmeal raisin chocolate chip cookies, banana notes, marshmallow, rocky road ice cream, Mexican piloncillo, pecans, hazelnut, raisin bread chocolate pudding, flan, bourbon, rich brandy, candied apples, smoked wood, hint of tropics but very small and other complex fragrances. Crazy part is that it kept changing as the beer got warmer. 

Flavors:
Big Vanilla, toasted coconut, almond joy, toffee, caramel, dark chocolate, espresso, Barley wine, rye bread, flan, hazelnut, pecan pie whiskey, brandy, bourbon, chocolate, rich chocolate chip cookies on rocky road ice cream with cherries, strawberries, hazelnut, ferro rocher chocolate, pecan pie, special oak wood, oatmeal, maple, peach notes, pear, anise, mint, rich rye bread, butterscotch, brown sugar, marshmallows, tropical notes as it got warmer, and lots of other complex flavors. Damn, I ran out of lives, gonna have to start at the last save point.

Aftertaste:
Finishing off with like nice chocolate, port wine, maple syrupy notes, dark fruit oatmeal chocolate chips, marshmallows and oaky vanilla. Boozy notes here an there but everything plays well with the flavors

Overall:
Every year much more complex, much more exceptional. Does it beat out it’s predecessor XVI? Well, yes and no. By that I mean, let is age for a while. You see, the early XVI did not but damn, XVI 1 year later was doing complex virtuoso rock solos around my palette. Do not let that fool you though finding the complexities is difficult even if you have Tequila added like when XVI had PNC, “holy shit nice” is what I was tasting. Parabola by itself wins over all of them only because of the extra chocolate push into into the 6/5 range for extra credit for me. XVII was able to get super close to XVI 1 year later and actually beat the younger age one especially because of the Velvet Merkin complexities to have a hug back up. Magic maybe the bloodstream of the universe like Merkin is the bloodstream of this powerhouse beer. Longer strategy guide and all, this beer still kicking your ass .

Anime Corner:
Yui Takamura from the series Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipe is used in this pairing to show the hard work and dedication that was used to make this beer. Also, the colors of her armor are close to the colors of the beer label and box. Along with her companions, they represent the selections of individual beers that were selected in order to bring this beer blend into fruition. The colors may also be used to represent the dark fruit flavors, brandy, bourbon, chocolate and others. The Strength of the alcohol and the hard work are also represented by the Bushido code she follows as a samurai.

Firestone XVI Sixteenth Anniversary Ale (1 year later) by Firestone Walker

1424553_10101488277137650_1745197429_n 1451454_10101488276239450_930836238_n 1459304_10101488277496930_1457209677_nRating: 5.8/5 * This version has been aged for 1 year since it’s release

Firestone XVI Sixteenth Anniversary Ale by Firestone Walker is a 13% ABV American Strong Ale combining several blends of beers all into this fine master piece. I had saved an extra bottle from last year to present during the time that the 17th anniversary was to be released. It was stowed away for the entire year. I will not go into much detail about the label or the strategy guide as I literally wrote a book on reviewing this beer last year. This year the 17th anniversary is around the corner and will be heading to many stores all over. Therefore, I will try and pick up a bottle to bring forth a review. Hopefully better or as good as last year’s review which you can check out on the link below. 

Link the last year’s Review: https://brewerianimelogs.wordpress.com/2012/11/21/firestone-xvi-sixteenth-anniversary-ale-by-firestone-walker/

Today, I want to go over the evolution and differences that I will try and pick up from last year to see what may have changed or reviewed from last years. First thing I can already tell is that it feels boozier from last year. Could have possibly grown to a 14 or 15% ABV. The difficulty in this review is trying to get the development from last years and how the strategy guide is useless here as I cannot tell which of the individual blends has developed more as the complexity has gone beyond my understanding. Either way, cheers and wish me luck.

Developed Aromas are of more dark fruits, more chocolate covered raisins, dulce de leche caramel, rich vanilla, coffee, smokey undertone, dark cherries, agave nectar, rocky road ice cream, ferro rocher chocolate pecan pie, bigger amounts of oak, bourbon, tequila, coconut, a wine grape character, chunky munky banana and cherry ice cream and kahlua coffee

Flavors have developed into more of rich rock road icecream with pecans, coconut, marshmallows, whiskey, agave tequila, wine hints, agave nectar, dark cherry yogurt undertone, raisins, dark and lighter fruits like peach and mango, caramel, kahlua chocolate, almond joy chocolate, banana chunky munky, smokey oak, vanilla, mocha frappuccino notes, more danish cookies, more leche nestle, maple, pecan pie and other complex flavors. 

Aftertaste is of dark fruit, chocolate, roasted coffee beans and distinct liquor booziness. Nothing that is overwhelming or burning. In fact, it almost feels like the beer has mellowed out and gotten a bit smoother too. A definite sipper still though, this is a heavy ABV beer.

Overall:
More spectacular than before. You will get more enhanced flavors like stronger dark fruit and chocolate flavors along with a bigger booziness that plays well with others. You can tell there is a difference in the liquors as well, like the tequila and bourbon. I would definitely recommend it if you missed out on last years as this one was made with PNC. This year’s is made with Velvet Merkin, so I will definitely try my best to bring that beer forward here. Definitely a pick up if you can get it.

Anime Corner:
This is Shiba’i Chuutatsu from the Battle Vixens Series is the main Spoiler Alert Villain, goes by Kentei Spoiler Ends. This character, while deceiving others to be handicap, has no remorse towards others, much less her own comrades in the series. The dragon tatoos on her arms glow as she powers up her chi. She is actually very powerful when she unleashes her dragon stage. Oh yeah, she can play guitar too, go figure.

In the last beer review, I posted most of the cast of Battle Vixens “Ikki Tousen” but I also posted one of Sonsaku Hakufu, the protagonist of the series who also has the spirit of the Dragon. I have only seen he first half of the series but I understand it is her destiny to stop the villain. In both pictures here I wanted to show 2 abstracts. In the first picture I wanted to show how some of the colors of the label fit Hakufu in the picture. The cast of the series is supposed to represent the different beer blends that go into making this beer. In this beer review, we can see how they have “developed” or most of them. The colors of Shiba’i’s outfit were perfect for the label but in contrast with the development of the beer’s dark fruit, chocolate and dark cherry flavors, I wanted to show how the powerful this character was. Also, her hair is pink so that’s another fruit like cherry. You be the judge

Proprietor’s Reserve Series No. 001 Velvet Merkin by Firestone Walker

994600_10101439809452280_289346014_n 1383987_10101439809497190_924111021_nRating: 5.2/5

Proprietor’s Reserve Series No. 001 Velvet Merkin by Firestone Walker is a 8.6% ABV World Class Oatmeal Stout aged in Bourbon Barrels

Label: 
Velvet Merkin is the beer that almost wasn’t; at least in name… After all, it’s not your style to conceive monikers that are confounding scandalous or comical. But in this instance, we inadvertently achieved all three of these things with “Velvet Merkin.” And so the name went off the grid for several years, but now it’s back due to popular demand. If we get asked we’ll say it’s all your fault.

Once in the glass, however, Velvet Merkin is dead serious – The 2013 vintage outpaces its predecessors. Aged for a gull year in seasoned Bourbon Barrels, this decadent oatmeal stout holds your nose hostage with chocolate and vanilla-bourbon aromas. Rich flavors of dark chocolate truffle, Bourbon and espresso ultimately yield a beer that is dangerously smooth and increadibly drinkable. 

Velvet Merkin is one-of-a-kind sipping stout that is built to last, and that will reward careful aging for years to come. Hoarding tendencies may occur. 
___

One of the last bottles I was able to get at Ramirez Liquor stores in Boyle Heights California near down town Los Angeles, this is a coveted beer and a first time bottle release for Firestone Walker. There many stores online that are still carrying this and will ship it to you. Get this one before it is gone for good. While you wait, read this review and let me know what you think of the beer once you get a chance to try it.

Aromas are of oatmeal cookies, oreo cookies, dark chocolate, bakers chocolate, milk chocolate, marshmallows, vanilla, bourbon, graham crackers, caramel, mocha, espresso, roasted barley, oak, hazelnut and ferrero rocher chocolates

The flavors are awesome! Dark chocolate, bakers chocolate, milk chocolate, mocha, oreo and oatmeal cookies, vanilla, caramel, bourbon, marshmallows, rocher chocolate notes, espresso coffee, oak, hazelnut, pecans, cookies and cream and coconut.

The aftertaste leaves with some flavors of vanilla, bourbon, oak, oatmeal, chocolate and. Hidden alcohol and the drinkability is easy to moderate but it goes down very smooth

Overall, this is an awesome beer exceeding a few points of expectation and note. If you love cookies and cream and oatmeal, you will like this one. Not to mention the fact that it is very smooth and close to easy drinking for an 8.5. An outstanding example that a beer need to be over the 10% ABV range to bring about some of the best flavors out there. Simply put, a must get and extraordinarily delicious. Release the Merkin unto thy palate for its magic, the bloodstream of the universe, will take you to some really sweet places.

Pivo Hoppy Pils by Firestone Walker

60757_10101288137234620_1041794758_nRating: 4.5/5

Pivo Hoppy Pils by Firestone Walker is a 5.3% ABV German Pilsner dry hopped in Saphir

COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION (ratebeer.com)
Everything we love about classic German Pilsner with a hoppy Bohemian twist. Pils is a bright straw colored lager beer with playful carbonation topped with beautiful white foam lace. Delicate lightly toasted malt flavors underscore noble German hop character. Hallertau-grown Magnum hops deliver the lupulin foundation while generous amounts of Spalter Select hops bring floral aromatic and spicy herbal notes. As a twist on the traditional Pils, we dry hop with German Saphir for a touch of bergamot zest and lemongrass. A refreshing, light-bodied and hop-driven Pils.
___

Some pilsners can actually be really good. Especially when made right and with good quality ingredients. One of my favorite Pilsners was the Staropramen. This intrigues me because it is hopped up to taste like a pale lager. So on with the show.

Aromas are of light grassy and floral hop notes, pilsnery sugary malts, lemongrass, biscuit bread and peppercorns.

The flavors are of refreshing grassy hops, citrus, lemon peel, peppercorns, biscuit bread, floral hops, herbs and spicy notes 

This is what lagers and pilsners should be like. Very clean all the way through with very nice crisp and refreshing aftertaste with a nice dry and light lemony feel. Well balanced, nothing too intense but something that is so very relaxing. This beer is very sessionable and a great gateway beer for the non-craft drinkers. Awesome stuff

Firestone Walker’s Reserve Porter

945071_10101269314181170_790760088_n 934610_10101269316142240_117215119_nRating: 4.85/5

Firestone Walker’s Reserve Porter is a 5.8% ABV American Porter

Label:
A singularly distinctive beer that represents our finest brewing efforts, Walker’s Reserve is a elegant dark ale featuring robust flavors of toffee, caramel and bittersweet chocolate. This brew employs five specialty malts, as well as oat and barley flakes, for added complexity and flavor.
___

I was in the store yesterday and I figured, why not. I have tried many other FW beers so at least I can have a good profile on this site to suggest to the masses. There are many reviews about this one. Some range it from world class to very good or even great and exceptional. Parabola was off the charts for me, so why not this one right?

Aromas are of mocha, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, coffee, molasses, earthy notes, lightly roasted pecan scent and almost like maple, vanilla, caramel and brown sugar. So far so good

The flavors are of milk chocolate, dark chocolate, mocha, rich expensive coffee roast, caramel, vanilla, Irish cream, a touch of earthy hops and smokiness, slight tobacco, molasses, chocolate brownies, brown sugar, pecans, hazelnuts, hint of mint,a bit of raisins and oak notes.

The beer leaves a mild coffee bitterness with nice notes of the vanilla and chocolate. 5.8% is not a lot of ABV, but this ones does very well. A fine example of what great porters should be. This is not an average porter by no means, this is very delicious stuff. FW knows their stuff.

Parabola Reserve Series No.004 Limited Release 2013 by Firestone Walker

940807_10101156118865490_1418900322_n 484497_10101156119374470_1603328620_nRating: 6/5* In the top 10 best of the world, it sure proved it’s worthiness.

Parabola Reserve Series No.004 Limited Release 2013 by Firestone Walker is a 13%ABV World Class Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Oatmeal Stout. Black Xantus’ Big brother 😀

Description: 
Since founding our brewery in 1996, we have specialized in the rare art of brewing beer in oak barrels. In the fall of 2006, we embarked on a program to barrel age a series of vintage strong ales that would later be used as components of blending beer. That blend would become our first Anniversary Ale, “10”.

After the release of “10”, we released limited amounts of the component beers on draft only. Many of these beers gained a cult following that craft beer fans raved about and begged for us to put in bottle. Parabola was one of these beers.
We present the 2013 vintage of Parabola, a barrel-aged Imperial Stout. It has been said that the only constant is change and the same is true for barrel aged beers. Cut from a similar recipe, Parabola evolves and shows a different face each year; a result of time spent again in the barrel. 

Chocolate, charred oak, vanilla, black cherry and coffee are just some of the complex aromas and flavors you will find in this beer

Parabola is a one-of-a-kind sipping beer to last and will reward careful aging for years to come. 

Ideal Aging Temperature 45F 

OG: 29.5p [plato] 
IBU: 82 [high] 
Cases: 3500 produced [LTD] 
Aged: 12 mo [time in barrel] 
Yeast: British Ale [house] 
Color: 167SRM [black]
___

The mess I had to get in to find this beer. Just amazing. Even for Black Tuesday and Chocolate Rain I had to trade for it but it was easier to get than this beer. I almost left work early when I heard the new of it’s release. Driving on the freeway like a mad man, which is really something I have never done for a beer like this. In fact I wouldn’t do a lot of things for certain beers, even when they released Westy 12 in December 2012 I could care less. But this one was something that I really set my eyes on and was damned to get it. It was so hard to get that by the time I got there, it was literally the last one at a Ramirez Liquor in Boyle Heights, California. I was glad I made it on time. No limits for this release either when sold at their store. Maybe one day I will get another to age but now that I will review this for the masses, it may inspire those to go seek this black liquid gold for themselves, even if online. 

Fragrances of this beer are very complex. Hershey’s milk chocolate, almonds, Mexican “cocada” coconut candy, oak, vanilla, bourbon, marshmallows, dulce de leche caramel, sweetened condensed milk, flan, roasty sweet burnt notes, crème brulee, Kahlua coffee, cherries, raspberries, prunes, raisins, capirotada raisin bread pudding, molasses, hazelnut, brownies and a slight cola like smell that reminded me of a Port Wine like Trois Pistoles. Damn, this is very complex.

The Flavors are insane!!: You get a ridiculous amounts of chocolates like sweet, milk, dark, bakers and slight Abuelitas chocolate followed by vanilla, dulce de leche flan, bourbon, cocada coconut candy, roasted coconut, espresso, mocha, crème brulee, dulce de leche, raisins, cherries, raspberries, prunes, hazelnut and walnut capirotada raisin bread pudding, chocolate syrup, cocoa powder, molasses, chocolate chips ahoy cookies, oatmeal, sugar cream of wheat, marshmallows and slight port flavors.

Best way to describe this chocolate cake frosted coffee cake sprinkled with coconut, nuts, dipped in bourbon, made with portwine, dipped in bourbon, vanilla caramel glazed, mixed with fruits with Rocky Road Ice Cream on top  and well, just a complete and utter dessert. Should I remind that the bitterness actually comes from the roasted coffee notes.

The insane part is that it is very balanced, very drinkable and un-overpowering, very smooth, and its freaking amazing as it it goes down. Like a nice chocolate and chewy syrup that coats the back of your throat but then becomes like a milk chocolate. The craft beer Holy Grail. This is not Black Tuesday or Chocolate Rain or even White Chocolate. However, this beer proved that it can actually transform with every sip. It’s evolution is insane. Which reminds me of why something like this would be called Parabola. (Skip this if you don’t like math 😛 ) If there was a graph depicting a change of flavors with every try, I would say it fits into the definition of a Parabola. The flavors change going from a bourbon coconut to an extreme chocolate upper limit, then back to a bourbon coconut. Ofcourse the flavors keep changing as you go along to what I described earlier. Also the temperature is in charge of these changes as well. Gets way better as it warms up. Yeah, even if you have to go out of your way to get this, I would recommend it by all means to anyone who has not tried this. Also, apparently, from past years, what may have also contributed to the high rating is the fact that even the Brewmaster said this is the best version yet. So there you have it. Get one for now, cellar one for later.

§ucaba (Abacus) 2013 Limited Release by Firestone Walker

625438_10101070283415420_515264557_nRating: 5.25/5

§ucaba (Abacus) 2013 Limited Release by Firestone Walker is a 12.5% ABV Barrel-Aged Barley wine. Considered by many to be the best barleywine in the world. I have never tried this beer and I almost didn’t grab if it wasn’t for the fact that Total Wine had one final box. I’ve seen it in downtown L.A though. It truly is limited unfortunately. So if you can get this one, get it.

Label:
Big boozy bourbon and American oak aromas combined with soft chocolate malty undertones. Complex malt flavors framed in oak, with hints of dark chocolate, vanilla, tobacco, coconut and just a touch of dark cherry. This is definitely a sipping beer, best served in a brandy snifter. This ale pairs well with dark chocolate and sturdy cheeses.

Note: Sucaba is the beer formerly known as Abacus until the Winter 2012 release.
O.G. 27 Plato 
F.G. 4.7 Plato 
I.B.U. 42 units 
Yeast: British Ale (House) 
Cases: 1500 produced 
Color: 36SRM (Dark Ruby)
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Upon opening the beer, it some really nice and overwhelming fragrances. Reminiscent of some of the other barrel-aged beers I have had from FW in the past. This beer has strong aromas of bourbon and barley. Coconut, vanilla, oak, dark fruits like raisins and cherries, chocolate, coffee notes, baked bread, toffee, flan, dulce de leche caramel, bananas and marshmallow creme. The Flavors are of bourbon, coconut, chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon, brown sugar, flan, Leche Nestle (Mexican Sweetened Condensed milk), barley, lemon, toffee, raisin and pecan bread pudding, cherries, bananas, small underlying earthy hop bitterness, light citrus, honey, maple, barrel oak, campfire smores with the marshmallow, graham cracker and dark chocolate and butterscotch. The after taste stays with you for awhile so you can really take your time and enjoy it as you go. My god, I am not sure if there is any barley wine out there like this one. I have never had a barrel-Aged barley wine but this is extremely amazing. Definitely should not be passed up if you can find it. Barley wines are not my biggest favorite of styles but this is really delicious and a must get for sure.

Double Barrel Ale by Firestone Walker

67440_10101000887021350_237952427_nRating: 3.75/5

Double Barrel Ale by Firestone Walker is a 5% ABV British Pale Ale.

Description:
Our patented Firestone Union uniquely incorporates 60-gallon American oak barrels into the fermentation process that yields beers of extraordinary character and complexity. This system improves the fullness of the palate, balances hop character and lends a clean briskness to the finish. The influence of the toasted oak also imparts unique hints of smokiness and vanilla, as well as a subtle fruitiness to the flavor profile. 
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Aromas are of mild citrus, grassy and earthy hops, biscuit, caramel, butterscotch, and a slight smoke or campfire oak. The flavors of this beer are of caramel, anise, slight grapefruit hops, slightly citrusy, earthy, smokey, oak, toasted bread and black tea. I think this beer speaks better in the taste than its fragrance. Not quite as nutty as an amber ale but leans more towards an amber ale that is lightly oaked and smoked. For a beer that is 5% ABV, way better than an average lager. Definitely above average beer with some great flavors to keep stuff interesting. Served all year long.

Velvet Merlin by Firestone Walker

184485_10100950627002830_2109471633_nRating: 4.8/5

Velvet Merlin by Firestone Walker is a 5.5%ABV Oatmeal Stout. This is the second time I try this beer so I figure I give it another review.

Label:

A decadent Oatmeal Stout brimming with cocoa and espresso aromas. This beer features a rich, dark chocolate and roasted coffee flavor with a creamy mouth feel and wonderfully dry finish. The addition of U.S. grown fuggles hops contributes the perfect amount of bitterness to this exceptionally balanced beer.
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Velvet Merlin is a pretty good stout. The fragrances of this beers are anywhere from dark and milk chocolate to Espresso and coffee aromas. There is also some nice roasty notes as well. The flavors of this one are of sweet coffee, mocha, milk and dark chocolate, sweet biscuit, some caramel and toffee are strong along with of that malt o meal or oatmeal grain feel. The beer feels sorta buttery, smooth and creamy which is is nice. I guess hence the name, velvet. The after taste leaves dry but sweet. It is a different type of sweetness though. Still more like actual oatmeal with coffee and chocolate. Breakfast in a bottle. It is amazing as this is a 5.5%ABV beer. Very drinkable and quite delicious. People that like stouts will fin this one to be not as overwhelming or complex but yet still full of a lot of flavor. Definitely worth the second round.

2011 Review:
A nice stout that is not too overwhelming with flavor allowing more than one bottle…emphasis on coffee flavors as well as other magical flavors only merlin can provide…lol

Firestone XVI Sixteenth Anniversary Ale by Firestone Walker

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!!

Label:
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!!!

Double Double Barrel Ale by Fire Stone Walker

Rating: 5/5

Double Double Barrel Ale by Fire Stone Walker is a 12% ABV Imperial Special Bitter Barley Wine. It is twice the strength in terms of flavor and alcohol as the original DBA. The DBA is aged for about 10 months in real oak barrels with British yeast. This beer reminds me so much of rich toffee found in many barrel aged beers. However it is a dulce de leche type. Flavors range from dulce de leche caramel, vanilla, honey, maple, toasty coconut, toffee, almonds, oak, bourbon, apples, raisins, plums and toasted bread. It is more sweet than bitter really. The flavors and levels of masking and balances are good here. It is not as strong as the Barrel Aged Blockhead, but it is similar in flavor although this has other flavors not found in that beer. It has some minor quad aspects to it so that is why I like this as well. Barley wine and barrel aged beer lovers find this one and give it a try. It is a damn good and delicious beer 😛

Black Xantus Imperial Stout by Nectar Ales/Firestone Walker

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Rating: 5/5 

Black Xantus Imperial Stout by Nectar Ales/Firestone Walker is one of my favorite all time beer. The first batch was Christmas 2010 in remembrance of my beloved mother. I remember that day since I had aged the ale for about a year to increase the alcohol content from 11% to 13%. I am actually doing so again and will have what will be my 3rd batch along with my friend Chino and his bro. Since this beer is hard to find, I was able to find it once again and did not dare miss out on the opportunity to try the beer as is at 11% alcohol. I wanted to see how things have changed since I first started getting into different beers. This beer has been with me since Lost Abbey so I figured now that I am more rounded in the arts of taste, I had to try the beer again to see what my taste buds can find. To start off, this beer is made with roasted malts and actual Mexican Jobella coffee beans. Where most stouts get the chocolate/coffee flavors from roasted malts, the nice dark expresso like flavors comes is nice and strong, just like I remember. Bourbon and Vanilla flavors are actually in this beer as well as flavors of dark cherries, plums, blackberries and other dark fruits. There is alot of hoppy yet nice bitterness to the brew that hits you good inside. Very unique beer and a simple yet most important treasure of mine. The original bottle still stands in my wooden book shelve next to my Lost Abbey art collection. I can’t wait to try the 13% over all aged one. This beer is a dessert beer and is best had with a chocolate cake. I will knock you out like it did to me back in 2010….LOL since I found this beer hidden at the Bevmo, I sure as hell did not want to pass the opportunity to try it once more before diving head on to the 13% one which will knock me out..but it is SOOOOOOOO WORTH IT….