lucklys (62) - Chandler, Arizona, USA - APR 11, 2011
3.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
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.
mstrcrwly (436) - New York, USA - MAR 31, 2015
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
12 oz bottle poured into a tulip..dark brown with a nice tan head..aroma of coffee,chocolate,roasted nuts..smooth,dry,roasty..really good.
peterschreurs (70) - Illinois, USA - MAR 19, 2015
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Poured from the bottle. Dark brown with a small lite brown head that faded quickly. Smells like wet oatmeal, coffee, and cocoa. Roasted malt dominates the palate at first but it slowly mellows out with caramel and vanilla. Medium body, nice beer overall.
---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone
rangerred (988) - Johnson City, Tennessee, USA - MAR 16, 2015
4 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Pours pitch black with a medium tan head and just a little bit of head retention.
The aroma is slightly metallic but also has some vanilla and mocha notes.
The flavor is really the showstopper here as it just unleashes mocha, caramel and vanilla along with having a silky (or velvet) smooth mouthfeel. A great example of the style and a wonderful beer.
DSG (7485) - Tel Aviv, - MAR 16, 2015
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
[2/17/15] Draught at Firestone Walker in Paso Robles. Dark brown to black with a tan head. Aroma of roast, chocolate, oatmeal and a bit of coffee. Roasty flavor with chocolate, coffee, some oatmeal and a bitterish finish. Medium-bodied. Pretty nice.
pressboxjoe (275) - , New Jersey, USA - MAR 13, 2015
3.7 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Milky silky chocolate roast. Nice flavorful beer. Smells a little burnt. Nice flavor for the ABV. I was enjoying this one night when I realized how late it was and that I had to go to bed. Left quarter of a glass in my minifridge, what the heck - would lose its carb but still be drinkable. Well it was fine several days later when I went back to it, no carb at all but still good flavor. And now my minifridge smells like it, which is kinda nice.
djd07 (4938) - Houston, Texas, USA - MAR 11, 2015
3.7 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle. Pours a cloudy brown with paperthin tan head that diminishes to nothing. The aroma is bready malt and roast. Thin mouthfeel with strong dark chocolate, roast, with lingering dryness, very good.
pacv27 (53) - - MAR 10, 2015
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Foamy light brown head 3 fingers in depth. Dark brown color w/amber hues. Aroma is oatmeal, barley, coffee with hints of dark chocolate. Taste follows the nose w/ this one with a velvety smooth texture. However, the mouthfeel is a little thin for what I would like i a stout. Would have liked a little more chocolate character with some vanilla thrown in. Still good though.
Luvystypotables (904) - Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA - MAR 9, 2015
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Aroma of coffee and chocolate pours black with a short lasting tan well laced head. Minimal carbonation creamy feel full bodied with a taste of chocolate and coffee with a bitter chocolate finish.
connor0415 (37) - - MAR 3, 2015
3.9 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 4/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Pours dark black with tan head, smells of milky sweetness, coffee and chocolate. Taste is much the same with a touch of bitterness that keeps it in balance, very smooth with a good thick mouthfeel and lively carbonation for a stout but finishes a bit dry with some cocoa lingering on the palate. One of the best oatmeal stouts on the market today
SHIG (3804) - Wasilla, Alaska, USA - FEB 21, 2015
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Draft at GABBF: Poured a brown black with tan head. Aroma was sweet with chocolate. Taste was a pleasant mix of cocoa and strong bitter coffee bean, smooth but dry finish.