Chad9976 (1583) - 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 – 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 it’s now a rich, intense barley wine. Slightly unbalanced, for sure, though the flavors that remain are highly enjoyable, and the beer isn’t a challenge to drink. That’s 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 there’s 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 there’s a touch of dank, piney, resiny notes, but they’re 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 wouldn’t 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 would’ve prefer to split it). Yes, it’s quite big and intense at 12.5% ABV, and yes there’s plenty of warmth from the alcohol. But no, it’s not hot or slick. The alcohol adds to the palette, it doesn’t distract from it. Also, the mouthfeel is quite soft and calm, leading to a smooth finish. There’s a slightly dry, cloying aftertaste, but that’s fine with me.
MadIndian (2713) - Levittown, Pennsylvania, USA - SEP 20, 2014
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle from SJ notes of cherry, and black berry. Bold barrel, vanilla, honey, wine and wood. Sweet finish, but awesome!!! I’m tits up right now!
ICEatALAMO (1243) - Troy, Michigan, USA - AUG 21, 2014
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle. The pour is a a nice dark carmel color with no head. The aroma has a nice subtle bourbon, with dark fruits. The taste is smooth. My guess is the heat has mellowed and is just perfect now. Very tasty.
---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone
BVery (9172) - Plymouth, Minnesota, USA - AUG 1, 2014
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bomber shared with my brother. Deep mahogany / cola pour. Smaller ring head. This is amazing. Lots of barley wine character. Lots of barrel aged character. Rich. Dark fruit. Killer beer!
DuffMan (8802) - the land of bitumen, beef & beer, Alberta, CANADA - JUL 12, 2014
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle RBAG 2014 prelim, as part of a vertical from XIII to XVI. This was the lightest of the bunch in terms of colour-- reddish brown, quite clear. Similar vinous profile, plummy chocolate, toasty toffee, but less rounded than the earlier ones.
Ron (3389) - Rochester, New York, USA - JUN 26, 2014
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
On tap at MacGregor’s. Pours clear brown with no real head. Aroma of caramel, dark fruit, raisins, malt, prunes. Flavor is moderate sweet and bitter, very well balanced, with more bitterness coming out in the finish. Full bodied with soft carbonation.
Palme (3637) - Bergen, NORWAY - JUN 11, 2014
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
On tap @ Ginger Man NYC. A deep deep dark ruby brown one with a small sidesticking light beige top. The nose is lovely dark and berry infused, not to extreme really, contains of mostly thick sweet malty goodness with concentrated figs and dates, dark fudge and some woody traces in the back. Yeah, you just gotta love it. About average on the carbonation level and the mouthfeel is light sticky and oily. Strong kinda boozy flavors. Not as boozy as the Nr.14 but still. Burned sugar, caramel, dark fruits and a little bit of salty lovely gunpowder and licorice in the finish. Drymouthing aftertaste. It’s undoudebly a lovely creation. 19.06.2013
Stuu666 (9251) - Edinburgh, SCOTLAND - MAY 28, 2014
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle at Craig’s tasting. Pours brown, sweet toffee, berry fruits, dry finish.
50belair (3204) - Florida, USA - MAY 17, 2014
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle. Murky brown pour with a off white head. Big barrel and bourbon bouquet. Somewhat sweet with rich caramel and brown sugar notes up front that lead to the vanilla and oak. The finish is slightly bitter with boozy characteristics. Not so much smooth bourbon, maybe more cheap whiskey and cola. Good mouthfeel and body.
KyotoLefty (8730) - Kyoto, JAPAN - MAY 9, 2014
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottled. Nose of bourbon, caramel, chocolate, vanilla. Flavor of raisins, vanilla, caramel and toffee. Very smooth. Very nice but a bit unsurprising.