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

Advertisements

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

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.

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.