Serve in Snifter, Tulip


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RATINGS: 396   WEIGHTED AVG: 4.04/5   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 375   ABV: 12.5%
As a finished beer, XV is alive with amazing complexity and yet it is quite possibly the most integrated and seamless blend yet. Looking at a blend of 8 beers on paper at first looks chaotic and potentially disjointed; however, a closer look reveals and interesting theme: 76% Barley Wine style beers, 19% Stout and 5% Imperial IPA. XV introduces our new blonde barley wine Helldorado with flavors of lavender honey liqueur. The well established DDBA delivers its signature American toasted oak, English caramel toffee and light leather nuances. 2010 vintage Sticky Monkey folds in brown sugar, maple, cinnamon, ginger and ripe figs. Parabola brings the familiar flavors of roasted dark coco, and chocolate covered cherries. Velvet Merkin carries silky milk chocolate, toasted coconut and creamy textures. Good Foot and Bravo add assertive barley wine warmth and lush barrel derived vanilla bean notes. The game changer this year is the addition of Double Jack to the blend. At just 5% its massive dry hop character brings citrus zest, tangerine and mango aromas making this a completely new beer. The beer is unfiltered and unfined, so there will be a small amount of sediment in the bottom of the bottle. XV is best enjoyed poured carefully into a half-filled brandy snifter or wine glass. Allow it to warm to 55F to fully enjoy the pleasing and complex aromas. As the beer sits and breathes in the glass, a richer, orange zested, chocolate dusted, vanilla custard character is reveled, 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 Sixth oak-aged blend! Our journey continues and itís just as fun and exciting now as it was back in 1996.

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 19/20
monkeychugg55 (991) - Joliet, Illinois, USA - NOV 18, 2014
Rating #900, 3 yr old bottle. Pours a dark, opaque mahogany with a small sand colored head. The aroma is very complex, with vanilla bourbon barrel notes leading the way. Lots of chocolate, figs, rum raisin, sherry, toffee, brown sugar, cinnamon, toasted marshmallow, some alcohol of course, and a hint of hop resins (like you get from an old double IPA or hoppy barleywine). The flavor is just as complex, if not more. Bourbon and sweet citrus (honey) upfront, with lots of chocolate and stone fruit, some candi sugar in the middle. The wood slowly builds long after the beer is swallowed, with a nice toasted character cutting through. Full bodied and sweet, but not overly so, wood and alcohol finish this one out nicely. One of the best beers Iíve experienced.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
solidfunk (6480) - Washington D.C., Washington DC, USA - OCT 27, 2014
Barrelly, with a lot of different malts going on here. Finishes a little on the sweet side, and too syrupy for my tastes. Pours maroon with ok head and lacing. Different malts mixed in here. Some citrus. Comes together ok, but not the best anniversary beer Iíve had from Firestone. Bottle pour at Churchkeyís 5th anniversary.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
jackl (6357) - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA - OCT 25, 2014
Bottle @ Churchkey. Amber pour with a tiny head. Nose of caramel and raisin. Cinnamon toast crunch. Vanilla sundae. Taste is lovely, nice sweet/hot profile thatís not too aggressive. Full body. Oily. Nice caramel flavor. Pepper. Lovely.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Scopey (10641) - Croydon, Greater London, ENGLAND - OCT 24, 2014
Bottle big thanks to Bruce. It pours deep mahogany brown with a small tan head. The nose is rich, woody, toffee, banana bread, fruit cake, leather, light vanilla, plum, cherry and candy. The taste is smooth, wood, leather, toffee, fruit cake, date, raisin, booze, wood and light bitterness with a slick finish. Full body and fine carbonation. Very drinkable for the style. Well balanced and quaffable.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 3/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
spjensen (97) - Davis, California, USA - OCT 10, 2014
Pours a deep dark brown, almost red with a thin brown head. Initial sweet tones of cheery with a heavy, strong oak aftertaste

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
jinroh (942) - ESTONIA - OCT 5, 2014
Pours dark brown, mahogany. Bit of foam. Aroma is quite soft, has hints of strong liquor - bourbon? Taste fails to surprise me at first - but this is because I am not ready for this, the beer is so complex and doesnít reveal itself already after the first sip. Slowly sipping the beer while it is warming makes the experience more and more memorable, there are hops biting my tongue - or are they alcohol bites? Vanilla, bourbon, whiskey, oak barrel - whole array of different sensations going on there. It has a solid body and the beer is a slow sipper - although 12% ABV is still nicely hidden. Very glad I got to taste this one.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
shoulderbroken (3222) - Tokyo, JAPAN - OCT 4, 2014
Bottle, thanks Jonno. Aroma is sticky, toffee, bourbon barrel, booze! Taste is good, bourbon, dark fruit, black treacle, stickiness. Long long finish. Nice.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
djd07 (7196) - Houston, Texas, USA - SEP 29, 2014
Bottle thanks to Dave. Pours a cloudy amber with paperthin beige head. The aroma is vanilla, raisin, wood. Slick mouth, nice oak, sweet vanilla, hides alcohol well, very impressive.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
slowrunner77 (8376) - Reno, Nevada, USA - SEP 27, 2014
"quite possible itíll be upgraded to a 4.6 when the initial heat mellows a little, but itís already fantastic! FW sure knows how to barrel, and this blend is no exception. Sticky, malty goodness in every sip. More bourbon vanilla prevelant than the other barrels, but you notice the brandy presence as well, and a touch of hops (& chocolate), though this is definitely an after dinner sipper on the sweet side. Should age incredibly well as the previous couple have. 11/11 - upgrade to 4.6 complete after splitting a bottle at around 50-55 degrees. fantastic barleyeine-heavy blend!"

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Chad9976 (1540) - Orlando, Florida, USA - SEP 21, 2014
Firestone Walker XV is essentially a cuvee Ė a blend of barley wine (76%), imperial stout (19%) and imperial IPA (5%), though after three years in the cellar it seems the stout and IPA qualities have faded and itís now a rich, intense barley wine. Slightly unbalanced, for sure, though the flavors that remain are highly enjoyable, and the beer isnít a challenge to drink. Thatís a mark of excellence.

I poured a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass. It was bottled on 10/7/11.

Appearance: Seemingly brown and opaque, but actually a deep shade of burgundy and slightly translucent. Pours to a two-finger, tan, soapy head which fizzles away and leave little lacing.

Smell: Intense aroma of dark fruits and confectionery notes. A hint of pine.

Taste: The engineering that went into making this beer is quite impressive, though the palette itself is actually quite familiar. Rich notes of dark fruits are immediately noticeable; plum, cherry, fig as well as pure toffee and caramel syrups. Through the middle thereís a touch of dark chocolate (probably from the stout component), and fair amount of dry bitterness on the back end. Whatever hop character this beer had initially seems to have faded, but not disappeared. Perhaps thereís a touch of dank, piney, resiny notes, but theyíre completely upstaged by the sweeter, maltier notes. I do detect some vanilla and a general earthy character from both the barrel-aging as well as the alcohol, though I wouldnít describe Firestone Walker XV as a hot beer per se. Complex to be sure, though not quite the mind-blower it should be.

Drinkability: I sat down with Firestone Walker XV on a surprisingly hot autumn evening and had no trouble drinking the entire bottle myself (that being said, I probably wouldíve prefer to split it). Yes, itís quite big and intense at 12.5% ABV, and yes thereís plenty of warmth from the alcohol. But no, itís not hot or slick. The alcohol adds to the palette, it doesnít distract from it. Also, the mouthfeel is quite soft and calm, leading to a smooth finish. Thereís a slightly dry, cloying aftertaste, but thatís fine with me.

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