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overall
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98
style

bottled
common

on tap
common

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RATINGS: 830   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.73   SEASONAL: Autumn   EST. CALORIES: 165   ABV: 5.5%
COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
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.


lucklys' rating

3.4
   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 Merlinís 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 Ė 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 stoutÖjust not one of my favorites. Iím a fan of many of Firestone Walkerís other delicious brews, so Iím a little disappointed that this wasnít as good as I expected. Perhaps next time Iíll have to try it during the fall or winter, as it may just be because itís 6 months old and fading.


3.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Beerdedone (2964) - Croydon, Pennsylvania, USA - JUL 28, 2015
Bottle. Pours a deep black with a nice tan head. Aroma of roasted malts, coffee and chocolate. Flavor of chocolate, mild coffee, roast, oats and vanilla.

3.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
GarrettB (1223) - San Diego, California, USA - JUL 23, 2015
Date unknown, but Iíve had this quite a lot over the years, and almost perfectly correlated to when it is in stock at Trader Joeís. They sell some good beer, but the Velvet Merlin is at the top of the list at each shopping trip. The color is, noticeably, dark, with a soft, foamy head. With a little alcohol you might try petting it, though thatís not where the velvet hides. The aroma is pretty straight with a burnt charcoal smell, but the taste is where this sessionable treat sits. And when I say sessionable I donít mean that this is a low ABV beer. What I mean is that this is a drinkable brew with a normal ABV, but itís light, tasty and approachable. Over the course of a board game night you will sip this aggressively, and go through sone serious glass. Why? the flavor is dark and chocolatey, but perfectly battered, sweet and slightly burnt, like the interior of a pan of brownies. And the aftertaste is the final treat, saved for last. Deep, supple chocolate all the way to the bottom, and every molecule is worth considering. Itís an awesome brew, not for itís depth, but the clear delivery of great flavor without excessive additions in any dimension.

3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
BeerRenter76 (292) - Texas, USA - JUL 22, 2015
"Pours a dark, deep near black, moderate cap of tan froth. Scent is dark, roasty with some ash and char, notes of spent coffee grinds, bitter cocoa, some leafy hops thrown in. Taste follows scent. Expected a bit more body and smoothness from style. Decent oatmeal stout, doesnít wow in any particular way.

3.2
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
55x11 (34) - - JUL 12, 2015
Bottle to glass. Opaque black with white head. Coffee malty aroma. Smooth taste but finish and aftertaste is too bitter for my taste. ---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone

3
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
HuskerTan (771) - Kearney, Nebraska, USA - JUL 1, 2015
Bottle. A- Roasty, smoke, char, dry cocoa. A- Black color, dark liquid, light brown head. T- Charred, smoke, roasty, dry cocoa. P- Medium body, average texture, average carbonation, dry finish. O- Pretty darn underwhelming. Lots and lots of dry roastiness and a char smokey character to it. Not going to lie. I imagined it to be a lot smoother and more of a coffee taste to it.

4.2
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
katrinaez (589) - norristown, Pennsylvania, USA - JUL 1, 2015
For only 5.5% this is really flavorful and rich. Nice coffee scent and slight bitter but the flavors of chocolate raisin and cassis power through. Thick mouth with velvet and heavy stomach. Tap

4.1
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
BeerFunGuy (845) - California, USA - JUN 1, 2015
This beer pours deep dark black with almost not head coconut and chocolate in the aroma. Great flavor and very rich only thing it had a slightly metallic aftertaste. I think the bottle we were drinking was a little older than intended but still a very very good beer. Decadent flavors and very drinkable.

3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
tastybeer (1847) - Indiana, USA - MAY 21, 2015
Bottle. Pours black, tan head. Little retention/lace. Aroma of chocolate, espresso, roast, light prune. Taste is lightly bitter, dark chocolate, roast, coffee. Palate is slick, lightly bitter finish.

3.7
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
rosenbergh (8580) - Tampere, FINLAND - MAY 12, 2015
Draught at the Firestone Walker Barrelworks, Buellton, CA.
Dark brown colour with a big foamy tan head. Roasted malt, vanilla and mild coffee in the aroma. Roasted malt, dryness and mild coffee in the flavour. A bit thin.

3.4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
asheft (2705) - Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA - APR 29, 2015
On cask at Rattle íNí Hum, NYC. Licorice, soy sauce, and mocha aroma with faint nuts and red fruit. Almost opaque garnet-black under a tan island and ring. Sweet mocha flavour with sweet licorice and horehound. Somewhat weak flavour, low bitterness. Light to medium body, moderate carbonation, smooth.


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