beernbourbon (1300) - Iowa City, Iowa, USA - DEC 18, 2011
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle. Pour is lighter than expected deep copper with a small beige head. Aroma is loaded with sugary malt, vanilla, bourbon notes, and alcohol. Flavor is smoother than expected with large toffee malt, vanilla, woody bourbon notes, and a silky smooth sweet finish. Great.
thornecb (4402) - Marblehead, Massachusetts, USA - DEC 18, 2011
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Pours mahogany-tinged black into a snifter. Off-white head with little retention recedes to hug rim. Deep caramel, bourbon and oak aromas. Thick with nutty maple and oak upfront turning to dark chocolate, honey and resin in the lasting burn finish.
48FanInCali (725) - California, USA - DEC 18, 2011
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
On tap. Dark pour with little head and retention. Nose of dark fruit, bourbon, vanilla, coconut, and toffee. Taste follows. Superb on the palate as it is sweet and sticky but light on the mouth. Excellent beer.
Beershine (5218) - The Sunshine State, Florida, USA - DEC 18, 2011
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle. Dark Brown-black, stable tan head. Interesting very smoky aroma, smells savory. Soft velvet palate has just the right amount of sweetness. Stewed prunes. Mesquite. And that German malt drink Mumme. The dark bread malts lend a character like having Grape Nuts with agave syrup. Little vanilla, licorice, and even a little coconut rounding things out. But surprisingly no wood. Iíd really like some tannins here, it would work nicely and add that extra level of umph and depth. It does seem like a strange beer, like itís confused. Also not hot, surprisingly, but for a little drying alcohol in finish. Which is nice. Not transcendent but good. Really smooth.
HonkeyBra (3381) - Lemont, Illinois, USA - DEC 16, 2011
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
22 oz. bottle. Mahagony pour with decent lacing, only a rim of head around the glass. Aroma of orange peel, oak, dust. Lots of toffee and red fruits, plums, honey and booze. A bit of marzipan and cream, some truffle. Bourbon, vanilla, and wood. Flavor has some cherry, some orange, some muted hops. Bourbon barrel, oak, vanilla. Lots of tangerine peel, vanilla, chocolate, pineapple, strong yet muted hop rush. Medium sweetness. Woody, for sure. Nice barrel notes. Some earth and sweet grass. Mild fruit loops. Booze and bitterness starts to creep up on you as you drink this beer. Itís really smooth, easy to drink with a a medium to big mouthfeel. Finishes like a chocolate covered orange. Nice beer. This might be the first beer that makes me believe in blends.
joeneugs (3250) - Livermore, California, USA - DEC 16, 2011
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
On draft at Tap 25 in Livermore. I havenít been as huge a fan of the anniversary series as some. Donít get me wrong I like them a lot, but Iíve never thought the hype lived up to the actual product. This one is the exception. OH MY GOD!! It pours a very dark amber/brown color with a khaki colored head. It looks much different from the other vintages. The aroma is really nice with a lot of nuttiness, vanilla, caramel, wood and alcohol. The flavor is absolutely magnificent. One of the top blends Iíve ever tasted. When I heard double jack was part of this blend, I was expecting a bunch of out of whack hoppiness, roasted malt, and caramel flavors "a la" Stone, but I was wrong. The flavor is extremely warming with caramel, vanilla, nuts, cocoa and some interesting honey notes that seem to brighten it up a bit. The big bourbon flavors are pervasive. Lots of vanilla, caramel, wood and alcohol throughout. After a few sips I pick up more fruitiness. Maybe some plums and citrus remind me of double jack but more so the honey flavors and mouthfeel. In the very finish I pick up the Parabola roasted malts. This is one of the best blends Iíve ever tasted. I definitely pick up the flavors of all the beers that contributed from double IPA to barleywine to imperial stout, yet none of them overpower the others to make a cohesive beer. If you put a gun to my head, I would say this is a bourbon barrel aged barleywine, but it is really a unique beast. It truly exemplifies the art of blending. A real masterpiece.
pantanap (3357) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - DEC 16, 2011
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
22oz bottle picked up at the local store. good to see plenty of it on the shelves actually...poured lighter that it appeared in the glass with a deeper half transparent half opaque reddish mahogany tone with thin to medium barely off white that eventually dissipates leaving a wispy film and ring around the edges.... aroma is deep with an emphasis on vanilla and bourbon heat while chewy caramels mingle with a touch of dark fruit and a woody atmosphere. smooth and silky with prominent barrel notes throughout... flavors continue on a similar bent with a focus on the barrel and its charred woodiness that intermingles with splashes of bourbon, vanilla, toffee/caramel, and a fairly bitter charred backbone that dances around on the tongue and its own right leaving a lasting impression on the palate. the booze factor slowly creeps in while emitting a sense of warmth. interspersed notes of chocolate co-exist in a natural harmony with the aforementioned intricacies. carbonation level is slighty active and sprite while the body is medium in nature, perhaps a touch syrupy but not too full. the bitterness and booze adds a harshness that i donít particularly enjoy but itís nice in its own right.
edwardbass (517) - Illinois, USA - DEC 16, 2011
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Wow. The aging is extremely obvious, but also not in your face. Extremely complex, mostly malt with a hint of hops. Delicious and smooth....drinks a little too easily :) One of the most complex beers Iíve ever tried.
hapjydeuce (939) - San Diego, California, USA - DEC 15, 2011
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle, direct from the brewery pub in Paso Robles. Pours a clear deep burgundy color with ruby edges. Medium tan head and low carbonation. Aroma is wonderful; notes of bourbon, oak, caramel, vanilla bean and a hint of coffee. Kickass flavor that shows off the various barley wine blends with the deep tones of Parabola showing as well. Some light citrus and dry hops on the back end. Solid oak throughout. Warming finish, would be nice if it mellows and blends with age. Firestone delivers yet again!
corby112 (2214) - philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 15, 2011
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
Pours a dark chestnut brown color with a two finger, frothy beige head that slowly settles into a thick, lasting ring. Streaks and spots if lacing left behind.
Complex aroma with a very prominent barrel presence along with some dark malt and a surprisingly strong hop character. Sweet and boost smelling with lots of bourbon, toasted oak, marshmallow and vanilla. The barrel is countered by some roasted malt and a really nice hop presence that gives off hints of pine needle and citrus fruit.
Medium bodied and incredibly complex with a great balance of barrel, sweet, boozy spirits, roasted malt, dark fruit and hops. The barrel character is very prominent with lots of dry oak, vanilla and toasted coconut. Thereís plenty of delicious bourbon but itís perfectly integrated into the flavor without overpowering the other notes or giving off any heat. As the beer warms and I slowly sip, I can pick up elements of each component of the blend. Some leathery malt and lavender from the barleywines, dark roast and sweet malts from the stouts and brown ale and complex hops from the Double Jack and high IBU beers. Sweet notes of caramel, toffee, hazelnut and dark fruit countered by the complex hop profile. Some dry, earthy pine bitterness along with some citrus and tropical fruit notes. Very faint heat in the finish but overall the ABV is excellently masked. I canít believe that this beer is almost 13%!
Overall, this beer is incredible. Complex, flavorful, well balanced and dangerously drinkable. One of the better FW Anniversary blends.