Firestone Walker: Velvet Merkin (Bourbon Barrel Aged)

From the Brewery:  IMG_2640IMG_2637 IMG_2639

“It’s not a typo and yes, we know what a Merkin is…

Our decadent Oatmeal Stout lovingly aged in Bourbon barrels.  Beautiful chocolate, espresso and vanilla-bourbon aromas hold your nose hostage.  Rich dark chocolate truffle, bourbon and espresso create a dangerously smooth and incredibly drinkable barrel aged Oatmeal Stout.  Hoarding tendencies may occur.” 8.5% Oatmeal Stout

A friend of mine picked up three bottles for me on release day at Firestone’s Barrelworks in Buellton, California. Thanks again, Robert!

The Pour: IMG_2641

Poured from a 22 oz bomber into a snifter. The body is solid black in color. A light brown, bubbly head is poured, which dissipates to a thin semi-covering quickly. Light lacing is left throughout. Faint carbonation is visible.

The Nose: IMG_2642

Warm bourbon/oak barrel and vanilla notes are the main aromas, with undertones of chocolate, coffee, roasted caramel malts, and a bit of alcohol.

The Mouth: IMG_2643

Velvet Merkin has a medium-rich body, and offers a surprisingly smooth and luscious mouthfeel for a bourbon barrel stout of 8.5%. Just a small bit of carbonation is noticeable. Vanilla and bourbon flavors are presented initially, followed by velvety (heh) milk chocolate creaminess as it goes down. After swallowing, bourbon heat tingles the tongue. The lingering aftertaste combination is of chocolate, roasted coffee, bourbon, and very faint brown sugar sweetness notes that blend masterfully.

Final Thoughts:IMG_2644 IMG_2638

Well, I picked a damn good beer to do for my 100th review. I’ve been doing beer reviews for about 8 months, and I’ll be hard pressed to keep up this pace. I’ll probably be more at the pace I’ve been on this last month or so, instead of the frenetic pace I was on when I started. We’ll see how it goes.

On the the beer! Velvet Merkin may be the beer to make me a fan of barrel aging. I haven’t had too many, and the ones I’ve had owned flavor profiles dominated by bourbon/whiskey barrel to the point that no other flavors really come through. That certainly isn’t the case with Velvet Merlin. While the bourbon-y vanilla notes are predominant, the secondary and tertiary flavors come through to compliment and complete the brew very impressively. I’ve got one more bottle of  Batch No. 001, and I’ll likely save it for a year or so to see how it evolves. A very good, complete beer. A beer that reminds me of why I got into reviewing beer in the first place. Discovering good beer, one pint (or in this case, bomber) at a time. Cheers! 10/10

Firestone Walker Brewery – Paso Robles, California

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One Response to Firestone Walker: Velvet Merkin (Bourbon Barrel Aged)

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

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