RATINGS: 403   WEIGHTED AVG: 4.04/5   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 375   ABV: 12.5%
As a finished beer, XV is alive with amazing complexity and yet it is quite possibly the most integrated and seamless blend yet. Looking at a blend of 8 beers on paper at first looks chaotic and potentially disjointed; however, a closer look reveals and interesting theme: 76% Barley Wine style beers, 19% Stout and 5% Imperial IPA. XV introduces our new blonde barley wine Helldorado with flavors of lavender honey liqueur. The well established DDBA delivers its signature American toasted oak, English caramel toffee and light leather nuances. 2010 vintage Sticky Monkey folds in brown sugar, maple, cinnamon, ginger and ripe figs. Parabola brings the familiar flavors of roasted dark coco, and chocolate covered cherries. Velvet Merkin carries silky milk chocolate, toasted coconut and creamy textures. Good Foot and Bravo add assertive barley wine warmth and lush barrel derived vanilla bean notes. The game changer this year is the addition of Double Jack to the blend. At just 5% its massive dry hop character brings citrus zest, tangerine and mango aromas making this a completely new beer. The beer is unfiltered and unfined, so there will be a small amount of sediment in the bottom of the bottle. XV is best enjoyed poured carefully into a half-filled brandy snifter or wine glass. Allow it to warm to 55F to fully enjoy the pleasing and complex aromas. As the beer sits and breathes in the glass, a richer, orange zested, chocolate dusted, vanilla custard character is reveled, so take your time. If you wait to open your bottle later, store it in a cool dark place. I suspect that this beer will age well and change favorably for years to come. It was an absolute pleasure in the making and I truly hope you enjoy our Sixth oak-aged blend! Our journey continues and its just as fun and exciting now as it was back in 1996.

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   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Scopey (13323) - Croydon, Greater London, ENGLAND - OCT 24, 2014
Bottle big thanks to Bruce. It pours deep mahogany brown with a small tan head. The nose is rich, woody, toffee, banana bread, fruit cake, leather, light vanilla, plum, cherry and candy. The taste is smooth, wood, leather, toffee, fruit cake, date, raisin, booze, wood and light bitterness with a slick finish. Full body and fine carbonation. Very drinkable for the style. Well balanced and quaffable.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 3/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
spjensen (97) - Davis, California, USA - OCT 10, 2014
Pours a deep dark brown, almost red with a thin brown head. Initial sweet tones of cheery with a heavy, strong oak aftertaste

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
jinroh (1363) - ESTONIA - OCT 5, 2014
Pours dark brown, mahogany. Bit of foam. Aroma is quite soft, has hints of strong liquor - bourbon? Taste fails to surprise me at first - but this is because I am not ready for this, the beer is so complex and doesnt reveal itself already after the first sip. Slowly sipping the beer while it is warming makes the experience more and more memorable, there are hops biting my tongue - or are they alcohol bites? Vanilla, bourbon, whiskey, oak barrel - whole array of different sensations going on there. It has a solid body and the beer is a slow sipper - although 12% ABV is still nicely hidden. Very glad I got to taste this one.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
shoulderbroken (3981) - Tokyo, JAPAN - OCT 4, 2014
Bottle, thanks Jonno. Aroma is sticky, toffee, bourbon barrel, booze! Taste is good, bourbon, dark fruit, black treacle, stickiness. Long long finish. Nice.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
djd07 (12581) - Houston, Texas, USA - SEP 29, 2014
Bottle thanks to Dave. Pours a cloudy amber with paperthin beige head. The aroma is vanilla, raisin, wood. Slick mouth, nice oak, sweet vanilla, hides alcohol well, very impressive.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
slowrunner77 (10766) - Reno, Nevada, USA - SEP 27, 2014
"quite possible itll be upgraded to a 4.6 when the initial heat mellows a little, but its already fantastic! FW sure knows how to barrel, and this blend is no exception. Sticky, malty goodness in every sip. More bourbon vanilla prevelant than the other barrels, but you notice the brandy presence as well, and a touch of hops (& chocolate), though this is definitely an after dinner sipper on the sweet side. Should age incredibly well as the previous couple have. 11/11 - upgrade to 4.6 complete after splitting a bottle at around 50-55 degrees. fantastic barleyeine-heavy blend!"

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
ChadPolenz (1749) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - SEP 21, 2014
Firestone Walker XV is essentially a cuvee a blend of barley wine (76%), imperial stout (19%) and imperial IPA (5%), though after three years in the cellar it seems the stout and IPA qualities have faded and its now a rich, intense barley wine. Slightly unbalanced, for sure, though the flavors that remain are highly enjoyable, and the beer isnt a challenge to drink. Thats a mark of excellence.

I poured a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass. It was bottled on 10/7/11.

Appearance: Seemingly brown and opaque, but actually a deep shade of burgundy and slightly translucent. Pours to a two-finger, tan, soapy head which fizzles away and leave little lacing.

Smell: Intense aroma of dark fruits and confectionery notes. A hint of pine.

Taste: The engineering that went into making this beer is quite impressive, though the palette itself is actually quite familiar. Rich notes of dark fruits are immediately noticeable; plum, cherry, fig as well as pure toffee and caramel syrups. Through the middle theres a touch of dark chocolate (probably from the stout component), and fair amount of dry bitterness on the back end. Whatever hop character this beer had initially seems to have faded, but not disappeared. Perhaps theres a touch of dank, piney, resiny notes, but theyre completely upstaged by the sweeter, maltier notes. I do detect some vanilla and a general earthy character from both the barrel-aging as well as the alcohol, though I wouldnt describe Firestone Walker XV as a hot beer per se. Complex to be sure, though not quite the mind-blower it should be.

Drinkability: I sat down with Firestone Walker XV on a surprisingly hot autumn evening and had no trouble drinking the entire bottle myself (that being said, I probably wouldve prefer to split it). Yes, its quite big and intense at 12.5% ABV, and yes theres plenty of warmth from the alcohol. But no, its not hot or slick. The alcohol adds to the palette, it doesnt distract from it. Also, the mouthfeel is quite soft and calm, leading to a smooth finish. Theres a slightly dry, cloying aftertaste, but thats fine with me.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
MadIndian (2743) - Levittown, Pennsylvania, USA - SEP 20, 2014
Bottle from SJ notes of cherry, and black berry. Bold barrel, vanilla, honey, wine and wood. Sweet finish, but awesome!!! Im tits up right now!

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
ICEatALAMO (1322) - Troy, Michigan, USA - AUG 21, 2014
Bottle. The pour is a a nice dark carmel color with no head. The aroma has a nice subtle bourbon, with dark fruits. The taste is smooth. My guess is the heat has mellowed and is just perfect now. Very tasty. ---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
BVery (9943) - Plymouth, Minnesota, USA - AUG 1, 2014
Bomber shared with my brother. Deep mahogany / cola pour. Smaller ring head. This is amazing. Lots of barley wine character. Lots of barrel aged character. Rich. Dark fruit. Killer beer!

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