bb (6784) - Alamo, California, USA - APR 25, 2008
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Draft. Blackish beer with a light tan head. Chocolate, roasty, light spice aroma. Big chocolate, roast, vanilla, bourbon flavor. Medium bodied. Lingering vanilla, bourbon, malt, earth, spice, and a bit of oat coming in at the end.
JohnnyJ (4226) - San Diego, California, USA - MAR 20, 2010
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
UPDATED: MAR 26, 2010 On tap at Churchills. Dark amber/brown pour. Malt, belgain/fruit notes, light chocolate, oak, bourbon, Interesting blend, well balanced and enjoyable.
nickd717 (3464) - San Francisco, California, USA - FEB 20, 2010
3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 11/20
Ok, I initially entered this review under Velvet Merkin on 1/26/2009, but after having Velvet Merkin, Iím almost certain the beer I had was Saucerful of Merkins. So here it is:
Oh man I hope that guy from Toronado doesnít read this. So I was there the other day discussing beers with a friend and this one came up, at which point the guy jumped in and said something like, "You have to get the Merkin! Itís great! If you donít like it Iíll have to kick your ass." So I ordered it and tried it and was less than impressed. Nose of coffee, chocolate, roasted malts, and bourbon. Flavor of bourbon. Lots of it. Also some roasted malt, dark fruit, vanilla, and mocha. But mostly bourbon. If I wanted that much bourbon, I would have ordered bourbon. It just didnít go great with the rest of the flavors. It wasnít bad overall, but it was definitely a little off-balance. So the next time I set foot in Toronado, I expect that guy to have read this review and to be there waiting to give me my well-deserved beatdown. Have mercy, Merkin Guy.
WeeHeavySD (3360) - San Diego (Hillcrest), Oregon, USA - FEB 28, 2008
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
1st rating of this beer. Cask @ The Linkery for their 3rd Anniversary. I called about this beer all week last week and they finally put it on cask tonight! My girlfriend Cyn had some, and I saw Darkelf there too. This beer according to emails is 15% Belgian Strong Ale (Saucerful of Secrets), 85% Bourbon Barrel
aged oatmeal stout (Velvet Merkin). As such it is certainly weird and pretty much a strange beer, but all in all its tasty and interesting. Pours black with a 1 finger light brown ring. Nose is sweet ruddy, with notes of dry malts, some wood and a bit of bourbon. Taste is sweet and bourbony, with a bit of an imperial oatmeal stout quality to it. The dark Belgian in this beer really does come through in here. Also as darkelf nicely pointed out the bourbon is there but it is not omnipresent it is a flavor in the mix of other flavors. This is different, sweet, chewy and all together tasty. Nice work Firestone Walker, and thanks to the Linkery for having it.
wetherel (1836) - Encinitas, California, USA - DEC 6, 2008
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 18/20
On tap the 2008 Strong Ale Festival. Ive been eager to try this. Dark amber color. Sweet. Hint of banana. Very good. Some buttery barrel aged goodness.
AgentSteve (1614) - SF Bay Area, California, USA - APR 25, 2008
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: APR 26, 2008 On tap at the City Beer Store. Wonderful aroma of Bourbon and oak, with a touch of chocolate malt. The flavors of strong Belgian and smooth, oat Impy blend very nicely. Smooth, creamy mouthfeel. Just the right amount of oak and bourbon to bring the complexity up. Could have been a train wreck, ended up being a smooth ride. Even though served cold, the flavors were open and smooth, blending nicely. I wish it was bottled.....
tokyogoat (1503) - San Diego, California, USA - JUL 17, 2010
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
A damn fine beer, I would drink it until my liver gave way. Nothing offensive at all, just beer bliss. Would get again fo sho.
kind of hot, but overall just taty, roaty, chocolatey, but a tad thin.
doubleo (1433) - San Diego, California, USA - APR 14, 2008
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
On-tap at OíBriens. Pours dark brown with red highlights, thinnish light brown head with a bit of lace. Smells of oats, fish, and booze. Tastes of oatmeal, bourbon, booze, and oak on the finish. Medium, almost thin body. Subdued, smooth carbonation. This brew is a little thin and a little bit of a mish-mash of flavors to me.
Lagunitasfan (1313) - San Diego, California, USA - MAR 10, 2010
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
On tap at Churchillís. Loviní this one. Great bourbon and malt nose. Looks great. Nose to first taste draws a smile. Nicely sweet in the mouth. Light cocoa and maltiness comes through. Not very much bourbon besides the sweetness. Nice one!
BrotherGrendel (787) - San Diego, California, USA - AUG 23, 2008
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
On draft 4/11/08 at O’Brien’s to kick off an early start to Craft Brewer’s Conference/World Beer Cup here in San Diego.
Tom Nickel’s description for this beer: "It is a combination of a Belgian dark strong ale named Saucerful of Secrets and a bourbon barrel aged Oatmeal Stout named Velvet Merkin.".
Appearance is a pitch brown hue, minimal off-white head dissipates mostly, very slight lacing on the glass.
Smell is an intense mix of chocolate and roasty malts with a dominating oak/wood presence, cherries and vanilla linger and the alcohol aroma is stiff.
Taste is uniquely hybrid (which makes sense), initially dominated by the chocolate roast malts, woody oak, and whiskey (from the Merkin), and transitions to dark fruits, grains, spices, and yeast (from the SoS), finishes with a mix of sweet malts and warming alcohol.
Mouthfeel is quite full-bodied, thick and viscous texture, low carbonation levels.
Drinkability is moderate yet limited by the overall richness and booziness of this beer, the blending of styles works well here, it would be interesting to try compare each of these separate beers to the blend, this seems like a limited/special event release and I doubt many people will get to try it anytime soon.