monkeychugg55 (990) - Joliet, Illinois, USA - NOV 18, 2014
4.7 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
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.
solidfunk (6479) - Washington D.C., Washington DC, USA - OCT 27, 2014
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
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.
jackl (6304) - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA - OCT 25, 2014
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
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.
Scopey (10637) - Croydon, Greater London, ENGLAND - OCT 24, 2014
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
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.
spjensen (97) - Davis, California, USA - OCT 10, 2014
3.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 3/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
Pours a deep dark brown, almost red with a thin brown head. Initial sweet tones of cheery with a heavy, strong oak aftertaste
jinroh (937) - ESTONIA - OCT 5, 2014
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
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.
shoulderbroken (3222) - Tokyo, JAPAN - OCT 4, 2014
4.1 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle, thanks Jonno. Aroma is sticky, toffee, bourbon barrel, booze!
Taste is good, bourbon, dark fruit, black treacle, stickiness. Long long finish. Nice.
djd07 (7177) - Houston, Texas, USA - SEP 29, 2014
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
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.
slowrunner77 (8345) - Reno, Nevada, USA - SEP 27, 2014
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
"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!"
Chad9976 (1538) - Orlando, Florida, USA - SEP 21, 2014
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
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.