Chad9976 (1334) - Albany, New York, USA - DEC 10, 2011
4.8 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
I split a 22oz bomber with a friend. We each poured it into tulip glasses.
Appearance: Midnight black color, completely opaque with no carbonation visible. Forms a good-sized brown, frothy head which laces and retains very well for such a big beer.
Smell: Potent nose of whiskey, sour grape, black licorice and roasted malt. Sweet, oaky, vanilla qualities with a hint of smokiness. Extremely inviting.
Taste: Barrel-aged imperial stouts are all the rage these days, and for good reason: they’re delicious! Usually, these beers are aged in just one barrel for a year or more, but Firestone Walker Parabola is aged in multiple barrels, including spirits, wines, and previous beers. This creates for a very unique and equally complex palate. Of course, the base brew itself has a lot to do with it and you can tell they went out all on making an imperial stout of the highest quality.
Parabola hits the tongue with a massive amount of pure taste. Red grape, black licorice and toffee and caramel syrups are the most prominent flavors up front. It’s sweet and rich, but in that authentic, all-natural way - nothing candy-like or artificial in the least. The second half transitions to more traditional stout qualities with deeply roasted malt and a strong bitterness to balance out the palate. On the finish comes a rush of wood, vanilla and more whiskey. The aftertaste, however, is remarkable clean. Not lingering bitterness, no cloying or sticky sweetness, either. Interestingly enough, there’s little to no chocolate or coffee flavors in this palate, and instead more vinous and licorice qualities. That’s probably the only thing keeping me from considering it the best beer ever, but my friend Jay seemed to prefer it the other way around.
Mouthfeel: Full-bodied for sure, with a thick, soft, comfortable texture. Noticeable warmth and whiskey sweetness across the tongue and a warming affect in the throat. But no sticky, cloying aftertaste.
Drinkability: This beer is pretty big at 12.5% ABV, but I’ve had smaller beers that felt and drank much more potent than Firestone Walker Parabola. The palate is amazing in that it’s so robust and yet not intimidating at all. It’s amazingly smooth, with a gentle presence of alcohol. A fantastic dessert beer, or something for a special occasion. Drinking an entire bottle alone would be challenging, though.
biggirlpanties (194) - Oceanside, California, USA - DEC 9, 2011
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 15/20
Thick tan head. Great lacing. Aroma is S’Mores sprinkled with cinnamon: y chocolate, marshmallow and graham cracker. Makes me miss my childhood. Taste is much of the same but with some silky dark chocolate in there. Mouthfeel is fluffy and rich. Not at all sticky. One of my favorites.
Embrouille (2831) - SWITZERLAND - DEC 8, 2011
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: DEC 11, 2011 Bottled 65cl. It pours a very dark beer with a small bubbly beige head. The aroma is reminiscent of Hershey’s kisses, niaouli honey, oak, raisin, vanilla, plum and cherry. A lot of chocolate powder, plum and vanilla in the taste. Good bitterness. Full bodied. Warming on the swallow. Remarkably smooth. Great malt profile. Complex. Decent lacework. The hops practically only contribute to bitterness. Dry minty finish with lingering vanilla. Complex and delicious but far from being fantastic in my opinion.
poibag808 (14) - Hawaii, USA - DEC 2, 2011
4.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
poured from bottle into a snifter.
A: Poured black almost oily with very little head. Some lacing on the glass.
S: sweet with hints of oak and coffee.
T: Initially strong dark fruit/raisin flavors. As the beer warmed up a bit I got dark chocolate, roasted coffee and hints of vanilla. Amazing complexity and drinkability as the beer opened up.
M: The colder it was the more syrupy sweet it stuck in my mouth, almost cloying. As the beer warmed up it become much smoother.
Overall great beer, wish I could get my hands on another bottle.
Serving type: bottle
drpimento (2396) - La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA - DEC 1, 2011
4.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Let this bottle warm some out of the fridge. Poured with a tan, smallish head and a little lace. Color is an opaque brown black. Aroma is mild, malt, roast, wine, yeast, dates, figs. Flavor’s like nose, bittersweet up front, enough carbonic tang to balance. Finish is boozy and the alcohol is striking. killer brew.
JoeTheYounger (1155) - Lake Arrowhead, California, USA - NOV 29, 2011
4.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Dark black pour with a dark tan head. Aroma is tobacco burnt cocoa and milk chocolate. Taste is mild bourbon, espresso beans, earthy charred barrel. Great brew
beerisgoodforu (992) - Nørresundby, DENMARK - NOV 29, 2011
4.8 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
2011 bottle. Pours a pitch black color with a tan head. Aroma is super complex, filled with roasted malt, oak, bourbon, vinous notes, vanilla, toasted coconut, liquorice, chocolate, dark fruits and syrupy sweet notes. The flavor follows the nose and is super complex and very sweet, I get bourbon, oak, syrupy notes, vanilla, roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, vinous notes, toasted coconut, dark fruits and a sugary notes. The body is full with a creamy mouthfeel. Overall one hell of an Imperial Stout and probably the best I have ever had! GET IT!!!!
emacgee (4278) - Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA - NOV 28, 2011
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Pours inky black with 1-2 fingers of brown head. Rich nose, lots of molasses and bitter chocolate with a hint of bourbon. Slight burnt grain character and notes of alcohol, super rich mouthfeel and flavor, lots of molasses and burnt sugar with tannic oak and hints of vanilla. Chocolaty with a light medium bitterness. Full bodied and velvety finish. Warming alcohol.
Dixonian (1562) - Plano, Texas, USA - NOV 28, 2011
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
22oz bottle thanks to thirdeye11.
Black brew with a good amount of tan head. Aromas of chocolate, bourbon, graham cracker, and oak. Lots of bourbon in the flavor, almost vinous with lots of roast and chocolate. Vanilla and oak from the barrel aging. Awesome.
changeup45 (1719) - Mount Dora, Florida, USA - NOV 28, 2011
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
2010 bottle from a trade with BOLTZ7555 a while back. Black pour with dark brown edges. A thin mocha head develops on top that fleets off to the sides. Bourbon is certainly noticeable in the aroma but there’s plenty else going on with strong notes of licorice and molasses along with vanilla and dark chocolate. It does smell somewhat alcoholic but not in a bad way. Smooth mocha flavor with not nearly as much bourbon as the aroma suggests. But it’s still there. This is roasty and chewy in the mouth with other noted flavors of charred wood, dark chocolate, and caramel. The alcohol surfaces in the finish with some prickly bitterness. It’s a sipper for sure but a pretty good one. Although something just isn’t quite there to make this all that memorable for me.