Firestone Walker: Parabola (2012 Vintage) Barrel Aged Imperial Stout

From the Brewery: IMG_3020

“One of our most aggressive and sought-after offerings. Bold bourbon, tobacco and espresso aromas and a hint of American oak greet the nose. Rich, chewy roasted malts, charred oak and bourbon-like vanilla fill the palate and create a seamless finish. A remarkably complex brew that offers a transcendental drinking experience – enjoy with good company.” 13% ABV Russian Imperial Stout

Purchased from the Firestone Walker Brewery in Paso Robles, California in late 2012.

The Pour: IMG_3021

Poured from a 22 oz bomber into a snifter. Parabola is solid black in color, with no light coming through at all. The head is virtually non-existent, just a few scattered bubbles. No carbonation is visible, and no lacing is left on the glass.

The Nose: IMG_3022

Warm vanilla, bourbon-y oak barrel and alcohol aromas dominate, with solid undertones of coffee, bittersweet chocolate and a touch of dark dried fruit rounding out the nose.

The Mouth: IMG_3023

A rich and smooth (almost syrupy) body and mouthfeel. Parabola finishes with a bite of hop bitterness and mild alcohol burn. The flavors begin with dark fruit, bourbon, and vanilla-scented pipe tobacco. The complex aftertaste is of long-lingering roasted coffee/espresso, dark-roasted malts, bittersweet chocolate, and bourbon. Again, alcohol is present, but is likely toned down by two years of cellaring. The multiple layers of flavors that evolve from beginning to end are just incredible. There is so much going on, and every flavor compliments the next.

Final Thoughts: IMG_3024

I’ve been waiting for a while to pop open this bottle, and with the 2014 vintage coming out this week (and also today being Toby’s Beer Reviews’ 1 Year Anniversary), it felt like a great time to enjoy this one. As I was drinking it, I almost regretting reviewing it, as each sip took my palate on a complex flavor journey that begged to be savored. There is a multitude of aroma and flavor layers that are unmatched by any beer not considered “the best of the best.” There is a reason this is regarded as one of the best beers in the world, and I only wish I had more bottles of this vintage to continue to age.

I couldn’t have picked a better bottle to celebrate the anniversary of the site! It’s been an amazing year, and the beer I’ve got to experience (the good and bad) has been a joy. Thank you to all of the loyal followers and new readers for your support. I don’t do this for anything other than sharing my experiences, hoping to help others find truly exceptional beer. Cheers to another year of fun times and discovering great beer, one pint (or bomber!) at a time! 10/10!!!

Firestone Walker Brewery – Paso Robles, California

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

1 Response to Firestone Walker: Parabola (2012 Vintage) Barrel Aged Imperial Stout

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

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