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RATINGS: 906   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.73/5   SEASONAL: Autumn   EST. CALORIES: 165   ABV: 5.5%
A decadent Oatmeal Stout brimming with cocoa and espresso aromas. This beer features a rich, dark chocolate and roasted coffee flavor with a creamy mouth feel and wonderfully dry finish. The addition of U.S. grown fuggles hops contributes the perfect amount of bitterness to this exceptionally balanced beer.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
lucklys (62) - Chandler, Arizona, USA - APR 11, 2011
The Velvet Merlin poured a velvety dark chocolate brown with no visible carbonation; sparkling ruby highlights shone from the liquid near the bottom of the glass when situated in front of the light. Through a tame pour, a nice 3-finger thick head of fallow colored foam built and held with great retention and slowly melted into a creamy softness. It left minimal threads of clean beige lacing along the glass. * * * In the nose, there was a good amount of thick dark chocolate, lightly roasted coffee, gently toasted malts, hints of a dark caramel toffee, and dusty oatmeal. The aroma was slightly bitter, but also quite sweet, and a very faint vanilla aroma rose as it warmed and aided in keeping the overall scent on the smoother side. There was nothing complex or intimidating about Merlin’s scent, and I found it to be much lighter than most other stouts, oatmeal or not. With all of the bitter-sweetness and smoothness emanating from the nose, however, I was really looking forward to trying it. * * * Unfortunately, the first few sips tasted primarily of a chalky burnt coffee and were rather unappealing, but after a few more swallows, the chalkiness smoothed into a bittersweet chocolate covered in dusty oats. Toasted malts and something charred came up a little later in the background and lasted throughout the drink, hints of a caramel toffee and wood notes also became present, but stayed fairly well hidden. The aroma was definitely more promising than the taste, what with the body being a little on the thinner side with a moderate amount of carbonation – which kept it creamy, but also slightly diluted in mouthfeel. There was virtually no aftertaste due to the thinness of the beer, and it left my mouth pretty dry and hoping for more. Overall, it was a little more acrid than I would have liked, especially after distinguishing all of the sweet smells, but I guess that comes with the territory. I also would have liked to see it with a little more body, but with the low alcohol (5.50%) and even lower IBUs (30) , it was a fairly quaffable stout…just not one of my favorites. I’m a fan of many of Firestone Walker’s other delicious brews, so I’m a little disappointed that this wasn’t as good as I expected. Perhaps next time I’ll have to try it during the fall or winter, as it may just be because it’s 6 months old and fading.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 15/20
TimE (5092) - Tokyo, JAPAN - APR 8, 2011
smooth lots of dark chocolate and oatmeal. Dry. Well balanced. Not bitter. Excellent.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
DJMonarch (9179) - Northwich, Cheshire, ENGLAND - APR 3, 2011
From the Jug at the GABF, Colorado Convention Center Denver 18/09/2010 Coffee roast aroma. Dark coloured a little rich on the palate strong in alcohol hoppy and fruity with a hint of dryness in a bitter coffee roast finish.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 15/20
chibuck (3510) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - MAR 30, 2011
12oz extra given to my Craytonic, served in a Bruery tulip...A dark brown pour with a brilliant light tan head. At least six fingers of head rises and stays forever, tightly compact bubbles on this are great. Unbelievably thick lacing. This is a looker...A fairly muted aroma, lots of oatmeal, a little roast and bitter, pretty sweet. A little alcohol and the sweetness bring my score down a touch, not balanced enough...The taste is pretty muted as well, disappointed. Light roast, oatmeal, a little sweet chocolate cake. Better balanced, just not strong enough. The more I drink it the more I like it as its so easy to drink, yet flavorful. A nice full feel. Above average oatmeal, worth a shot.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
FudgeSociety2 (311) - Florida, USA - MAR 28, 2011
UPDATED: APR 1, 2011 Smells like an oatmeal stout, tastes like an oatmeal stout; distinct coffee component. Very good example of a style I really like. Not getting any barrel character though. Goes down almost as easy as water.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Savvy1982 (1705) - Lethbridge, Alberta, CANADA - MAR 27, 2011
Bottle at home. Pours clear black, with a slight reddishh flash, thick tan head, lacing is spotty to good. Aromas of fresh oats, cocoa-roast barley, nice licorice and graphite here too. Further nosing reveals a certain smokiness and minerality that I didn’t notice at first. Flavours of mouthfilling oats, very similar to the St. Ambroise, which I consider to be high praise. Nice inky, oaty, lightly roasty flavours, that persist into a long, slightly smoky finish. The oats and smoke finish it off 45 seconds later. A really classy stout that doesn’t try to do too much.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
Fred82 (2143) - Québec City, Quebec, CANADA - MAR 27, 2011
Sample at EBF 2011.
Appearance : Dark clear black with a small creamy head.
Aroma : Nice coffee and nice sweet caramel. Very light bourbon.
Taste : Lots of coffee with light caramel. Finish has lots of coffee and some nice roasted malt. Nice dark chocolate too.
Overall : Very nice sweetness. Nice light bourbon. Quite drinkable and tasty. Nice coffee.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
deyholla (10216) - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA - MAR 27, 2011
Bottle thanks to somebody, I forget but thanks! Pours black with a gray head that dissipated quickly to the edges. Aroma has a nice roasted malt note with a good amount of oat and just a bit of bourbon backing. Flavor starts with roasted malt and a bit of oats that blends nicely with the backing bourbon note. A nice beer.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
Gooney (389) - Portland, Oregon, USA - MAR 25, 2011
12 oz bottle from Whole Foods - Pours a rich, dark black with a tan, foamy head. Very smooth. Starts out sweet and has a bitter aftertaste. Bourbon scent is evident. I think I got the tail end of this one, since it is already March, but it is still really good.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Sledutah (7069) - Utah, USA - MAR 20, 2011
12oz bottle from Plaza Liquors
Appearance: Clear dark brown, almost black, with a medium sized beige head and some lacing
Aroma: Smokey, roasted coffee and dark malts
Taste: Roasted coffee, dark malts and ashy A very nice and enjoyable.

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