Thursday, July 30, 2015

Firestone Walker 16th Anniversary Ale

The Stats
Style: American Strong Ale
ABV: 13.00%
Current Ratings...
- Beer Advocate: 4.29/5
- RateBeer: 4.05/5

Oh, these Firestone Anniversary beers will never get old. I have previously reviewed Firestone 18 which was one of the best beers I had this year, but I have been doing some cellar clearing lately and figured I'd have this just for the hell of it. For those who don't know, the Firestone Anniversary beers are a mind-bottling concoction that blends together multiple Firestone Walker beers in numerous spirit barrels. Teams of winemakers and brewers get together to make their best recipe and the winning formula is chosen to be the Anniversary beer. Firestone 16 is made up of the following...

The Final Blend (% of final blend)
  • Velvet Merkin: Oatmeal Stout - Aged in bourbon barrels - 23% 
  • Stickee Monkee: English Barleywine - Aged in bourbon and brandy barrels - 22.5%
  • Double Double Barrel Ale: Double Strength English Pale Ale - Aged in Firestone Union Barrels - 20.3%
  • Parabola: Russian Imperial Oatmeal Stout - Aged in bourbon barrels - 10.8%
  • PNC: American Strong Buckwheat Stout - Aged in tequila barrels - 8.1%
  • Helldorado: Blonde Barleywine - Aged in bourbon and brandy barrels - 5.4%
  • Bravo: Imperial Brown Ale - Aged in bourbon and brandy barrels - 5.4%
  • Wookey Jack: Black Rye India Pale Ale - Aged in stainless steel - 4.5%

Poured dark brown out of the bottle, but was pitch black in the glass with hints of that brown on the edges when held up to the light. An aggressive pour still only yielded a half a finger of khaki-colored head.

Quad characteristics hit me first on the aroma: plums, cherries, raisins, and some brown sugar too. Oak from the barrels is also prominent as is sweet bourbon. Rounding things out are subtle milk chocolate, roasted malts, and just a splash of tequila.

Like the aroma, the Quad elements shine the brightest. Figs, dates, and raisins remind me of a well-made Belgian Quadrupel. The bourbon is slightly mellowed out and not as sweet or up front as the aroma would lead you to believe, but it still here. A sticky molasses component bordering on maple is also fighting for attention as is milk chocolate, caramel, toffee, and a hint of vanilla. I must say that I can easily pick out all of these flavors, but I can't help but feel that they don't "pop" as much as they would have if this was fresh and not aged.

Like a lot of great stouts, this has a thick, viscous mouthfeel that coats everything in sight. For such a massive, complex beer at 13.00% abv, the alcohol is non-existent. I don't even get warming in my chest and that in itself is an accomplishment. Some residual stickiness is left in the beer's wake, but lingering dark fruits and sweet bourbon are just delicious.

Firestone 16 has a multitude of flavors that can make your head spin. The stout components are not as strong as the dark fruits of the Stickee Monkee or even the caramel and toffee of the Double DBA. I'm not putting it down for those reasons, but I'm just saying that a beer that is 41.90% imperial stout/oatmeal stout/buckwheat stout needs to have more a stout kick. Nevertheless, this continues the tradition of these massive Firestone anniversary beers with tons of barrel character and enough flavors to last you a lifetime...that is until the next anniversary beer.


No comments:

Post a Comment