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Firestone Walker 15 (XV)

 (RETIRED)
overall
100
99
style
Serve in Snifter, Tulip

bottled
available

on tap
available

Regional Distribution

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RATINGS: 367   WEIGHTED AVG: 4.03   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 375   ABV: 12.5%
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COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
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.


DrnkMcDermott's rating

4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
DrnkMcDermott (2800) - Downers Grove, Illinois, USA - JAN 1, 2012
Draft at the Cellar Door. A little yeasty in the first impression, like a youngish barley wine. Not much alcohol at first. Deep dark brown, thin layer of foam with very little lace. But the taste is all that. Mainly in barley wine territory. Sherry sweetness, but with a thread of alcohol building up. Notes of punch tobacco, brown sugar, maybe a nudge of hibiscus. Sometimes I want to swig this down and let it lay me low, other times I want to treat it like a civilized big beer. Despite the long winded explanation above, itís still a big barley wine. Kind of a coffee note, but totally without roast. Just a nice toasty malt, balanced by bitterness to keep the sweetness from taking over.


4.1
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Chad9976 (1181) - Albany, New York, 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.

4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
MadIndian (2385) - Levittown, Pennsylvania, USA - SEP 20, 2014
Bottle from SJ notes of cherry, and black berry. Bold barrel, vanilla, honey, wine and wood. Sweet finish, but awesome!!! Iím tits up right now!

4.2
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
ICEatALAMO (940) - Troy, Michigan, USA - AUG 21, 2014
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

4.4
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
BVery (6298) - Burnsville, Minnesota, USA - AUG 1, 2014
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!

3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
DuffMan (6752) - the land of bitumen, beef & beer, Alberta, CANADA - JUL 12, 2014
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.

4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Ron (2532) - Rochester, New York, USA - JUN 26, 2014
On tap at MacGregorís. 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.

4.1
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Palme (3382) - Bergen, NORWAY - JUN 11, 2014
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. Itís undoudebly a lovely creation. 19.06.2013

3.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Stuu666 (2299) - Edinburgh, SCOTLAND - MAY 28, 2014
Bottle at Craigís tasting. Pours brown, sweet toffee, berry fruits, dry finish.

3.8
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
50belair (2254) - Florida, USA - MAY 17, 2014
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.

3.8
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
KyotoLefty (6465) - Kyoto, JAPAN - MAY 9, 2014
Bottled. Nose of bourbon, caramel, chocolate, vanilla. Flavor of raisins, vanilla, caramel and toffee. Very smooth. Very nice but a bit unsurprising.


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