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Firestone Walker 17 (XVII Seventeenth Anniversary Ale)

Serve in Snifter, Tulip


on tap

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RATINGS: 258   WEIGHTED AVG: 4.07/5   EST. CALORIES: 399   ABV: 13.3%
As a finished beer, XVII is dark, rich and complex. The lead beers of the blend are Bravo, a lean and oak-forward imperial brown ale and Stickee Monkee, a huge brown sugar infused barley wine. These beers are beautiful on their own but together they bring rich molasses drenched oak flavors and cinnamon glazed almond aromas lifted by high alcohol. In the middle of the blend are our two favorite stouts, Parabola and Velvet Merkin, working in concert to provide a dusty cocoa mocha aroma and bitter dark chocolate flavors. Somehow together in this blend I am reminded of Bourbon-soaked chocolate chip cookie dough! Double DBA makes the blend again this year, bringing its signature vanilla-infused crème brulée flavor. Helldorado, our blonde barley wine, helps to bring balance with its honey notes and light leather nuances. Like last year, a dash of Wookey Jack made the cut bringing with it some fresh hop notes derived from bold Citra and Amarillo creating even more interesting complexity. All together I find XVII to be full of soft chocolate and warm spice perfectly balanced by toasted coconut, bourbon barrel notes and smooth creamy malt mellowness. The finished blend is unfiltered and unfined, so there will be a small amount of sediment in the bottom of the bottle. XVII is best enjoyed poured carefully into a half-filled brandy snifter or red wine glass. Allow it to warm to 55F to fully enjoy the pleasing and complex aromas. It takes a while, but as this beer sits and breathes in the glass, more rich chocolate and spice character is revealed as the ethereal spirit characters dissipate - 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 eighth oak-aged blend. The journey continues and it’s just as fun and exciting now as it was back in 1996. Thank you so much for spending a little time with us!

fishonmyplane's rating

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
fishonmyplane (505) - Newington, Connecticut, USA - APR 20, 2014
A very strong, rich ale. For the most part it comes across as an oak-aged stout/barleywine blend, but as noted in the deScription there are several other styles in there as well. It has multiple layers of bourbon, oak, molasses, vanilla, etc. Sweet but not cloying. They are right in saying that the flavors & aromas open up more as it warms to ~55 F. I must admit, I am usually skeptical of the approach of mixing together a bunch of different beers in order to achieve complexity. Nonetheless, this is a great sipping beer and the high ABV has a nice warming quality.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Zakoon (373) - Copenhagen, DENMARK - NOV 30, 2015
650ml bottle enjoyed @ home. Pours very dark brown - cola like with a beige head. Aroma is i boozy, bourbon, vanilla, oak, dark dried fruits, caramel and toffee. Flavour is medium to heavy sweet, medium bitter. Full bodied, oilyish texture, soft carbonation. Finish is boozy, woody and plenty of caramel.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
corby112 (2744) - philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - NOV 19, 2015
Pours a dark chestnut brown color that appears pitch black and opaque in the glass with a two finger, frothy beige head that slowly settles into a thick, lasting ring. Very good retention for the style and ABV, taking a while to settle and leaving streaks of soapy lacing behind. Very inviting aroma with a prominent barrel presence that’s nicely integrated into the characteristics of the various base beers. There’s a decent spirit presence, consisting mostly of sweet and spicy bourbon, but the oak and other barrel notes really stand out. Subtle charred oak but not too harsh or toothpick-like along with some silky vanilla bean, marshmallow and strong toasted coconut. As it warms the bourbon/whiskey stands out a bit more and the tropical coconut presence comes to the forefront. Underneath the barrel, there is a subtle citrus hop presence and a complex malt bill with a nice balance of earthiness, roast and sweetness. Slightly smokey with hints of coffee bean, oatmeal, dark chocolate and toast countered by leather, baker’s chocolate, caramel, burnt sugar and toffee. The brown ale and barley wine elements are the majority of the blend and it shows in the aroma. Not overly roasted or burnt smelling with sweeter, dessert-like and leathery, earthy malts. Also, the Mexican turbinado sugar from the stickee monkey portion is prominent providing additional sweetness that counters the barrel, spirit and more robust malts. The nose of this beer is very complex and appealing with not one element being too strong or overpowering. I would have preferred a little more bourbon, especially since it’s such a prominent part of the blend, but it’s refreshing to come across a BA beer it’s a complete booze bomb. Viscous full body with a strong boozy barrel presence that is perfectly integrated into the complex flavors of the blend. There’s some charred oak and boozy heat but the ABV is very well masked making this complex beer dangerously drinkable. I’m picking up a blend of different spirits but it’s mostly dominated by bourbon and whiskey. Along with the bourbon and oak, there’s a lot of toasted coconut and some sweet vanilla bean. Underneath the barrel flavors, there’s a very nice balance of stout, brown ale, barley wine and black IPA characteristics. Bravo imperial brown ale is the strongest portion of the blend and it definitely shows. There’s a prominent sweet, chocolate malt presence with subtle roast, caramel and toffee. Velvet Merkin and Parabola combine for 30% of the blend and together they provide more bourbon as well as roasted, robust malt and sweet dessert-like sweetness. Burnt toast, bittersweet dark cocoa, coffee bean and oatmeal followed by flourless chocolate cake, fudge and toffee. Stickee Monkee and Helldorado give the blend some more alcohol sweetness but surprisingly, there still isn’t much heat. Just great bourbon/whiskey/brandy flavor. In addition, these barleywines provide subtle earthy hops and a decent amount of leathery malt and a touch of vinous fruit sweetness. Toward the back end of the palate, the earthy hop bitterness and the spicy rye presence from Wookey Jack stand out. The WJ is only 3% of the blend but the spicy rye, resinous hop and subtle citrus stand up to all of the barrel flavors, boozy sweetness and complex malt flavors. Overall, I’m once again very impressed by the blend that FW came up with for this anniversary beer. Amazing barrel flavors that are perfectly integrated into the complex flavors of the base beers and the high ABV is nearly invisible. There is some heat and boozy sweetness but the drinkability is off the charts. I had to slow myself down before finishing the bomber to quickly. Another great beer from Firestone Walker. Highly recommended!

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
mstrcrwly (787) - New York, USA - NOV 10, 2015
Bottle poured into a tulip..amber/copper pour with a medium off-white head..aroma of caramel, bourbon,vanilla,oak,brown sugar,molasses..taste of caramel,vanilla,bourbon,oak,toffee,molasses, brow sugar..boozy but not overbearing..was worth the wait..superb.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
anders37 (20473) - Malmö, SWEDEN - NOV 4, 2015
Draft @ Max’s Taphouse, Baltimore. Pours a black color with a small off-white head. Has a fruity malty woody bourbon caramel chocolate hoppy aroma. Fruity malty woody spicy bourbon caramel flavor. Has a fruity malty spicy caramel woody bourbon finish.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
vyvvy (5016) - Florissant, Missouri, USA - OCT 30, 2015
Pours dark brown with a tan head. The aroma has dark chocolate, oak, coconut, vanilla, dates, figs, warm alcohol and bits of bourbon. It has a medium full smooth velvety body with soft carbonation. The flavor starts with nuttiness, coconut, oak, vanilla, warm alcohol, chocolate and a rounded smoothness to it. The finish has some earth and wood. Excellent stuff here.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
tiong (5407) - Espoo, FINLAND - SEP 19, 2015
650ml bottle from Bier-Deluxe

Pours dark brown with a smooth brown head. Nice and complex aroma with loads of wood, oak, vanilla, toffee, syrup, roasty malts, ripe fruits, berries and bourbon. Taste is complex, heavy and sweetish with loads of wood, oak, bourbon, vanilla, toffee, syrup, hints of roasty malts, ripe fruits, berries and chocolate. Finish is smooth, complex and sweetish with loads of oak, vanilla, bourbon and hints of toffee, syrup and chocolate. Quite complex and balanced.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
olio (8206) - Tampere, FINLAND - SEP 19, 2015
65 cl bottle. Rating #8000. BBE 30.10.2018.
Pours deep dark red color with a small off-white head. Lots of roasty malts and chocolate on the aroma, sweet resinous hops, caramel, molasses, licorice notes, some faint ripe fruit sweetness, bourbon-y vanilla and wood. Flavor is somewhat sweet with caramel malts and chocolate, subtle coffee bitterness, cocoa, vanilla, faint bourbon, licorice and ripe fruit sweetness, some wooden tangyness on the finish. Alcohol warms a bit. Very complex and tasty, refined. Excellent.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
lusikka (7622) - Tampere, FINLAND - SEP 19, 2015
650 ml bottle. Pours a black colour with a small white head. Aroma of toasted malts, licorice, bourbon and quite strong fruitiness. Flavour is rather rich with very deep bourbon notes, heavy toffee sweetness, strong bitterness, tart wood, a bit of tannine and dark chocolate. Full bodied. Complex, rich, dry finish. Brilliant. Maybe an even heavier body would do the trick.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
laiti (7744) - Helsinki, FINLAND - SEP 19, 2015
65 cl bottle @ home
Aroma is rather sweet and heavy with ripe fruits and sweet bourbon aromas; vanilla and wood. Flavour has bourbon notes, vanilla, licorice, wood and sweetness-balancing alcohol. Rather long aftertaste. Too sweet and sticky to be enjoyed in large quantities.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
jackl (6118) - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA - SEP 11, 2015
Bottle @ Hoffbro’s. Deep brown with a tight tan head. Leather and rich Cocoa. Red apple fruit leather. Rich. Taste is similar. Cocoa. Pepper. Graceful barrel accents. Boozy butterscotch and vanilla. Well integrated. Thick and full, oily. Great.

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