Firestone Walker Velvet Merlin

2011 Silver Medal – San Diego International Beer Festival

From the Brewery: Merlin1 Merlin2

“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.”

The Pour:  Merlin3

Poured aggressively from a 12 oz. bottle into a standard American pint glass. Jet black in color, with a massive bubbly khaki head. Left a fair amount of lacing on the glass.

The Nose: Merlin4

Immediately get lots of sweet malts. Very rich, molasses, milk chocolate and syrupy scent. No alcohol or booze on the nose. As it warms, more chocolate and toffee undertones begin to come out.

The Mouth: Merlin5

Begins with mild bitterness on the tip of the tongue, and then some medium roastiness comes through. A small amount of bitter/astringent hops come through right at the end, very characteristic of Firestone Walker. Delightful dry, dark chocolate flavors mixed with malty sweetness on the back of the palate, with a hint of coffee. Very nice mixture of sweet and bitter chocolate in the mouth coating. Medium drinkability, a little harsh on that front…about a 5 or 6 of 10 in drinkability. No discernible alcohol or booze taste.

Final Thoughts: Merlin6

Well, there is good and bad about this beer. It is solid out of the bottle, if not on par with Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout (which is one of my favorite beers of any variety). Unfortunately, I’ve been to the Firestone Walker brewery, and have had the pleasure of enjoying this beer extremely fresh and on tap. The transition to the bottle diminishes this brew just enough for me to long for it on tap yet again. The creaminess described isn’t nearly as prevalent in the bottle, and that’s a bit of a shame. That being said, still a very enjoyable seasonal stout, and I give it a 7.5/10. On tap, a conservative 9/10 score is easily reached.

Firestone Walker Brewery – Paso Robles, California


This entry was posted in Beer Reviews, Stouts/Porters. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Firestone Walker Velvet Merlin

  1. Pingback: All Beer Reviews | Toby's Beer Reviews

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