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Friday, January 13, 2012

Firestone Walker | 15th Anniversary Ale

Firestone Walker's 15th Anniversary Ale is a once-brewed beer that is a special blend made from many of their other popular ales. This year's blend consists of:
18% Helldorado (11.7% ABV) Blonde Barley Wine.
17% Sticky Monkey (12.5% ABV) English Barley Wine.
17% Bravo (13.5% ABV) Imperial Brown Ale.
13% Double Double Barrel Ale (11.5% ABV) Double Strength English Pale Ale.
11% Good Foot (14.3% ABV) American Barley Wine.
10% Velvet Merkin (8.6% ABV) Traditional Oatmeal Stout.
9% Parabola (13% ABV) Russian Imperial Oatmeal Stout.
5% Double Jack (9.5% ABV) Double India Pale Ale.

Yeah... that's a lot of stuff, and a lot of STRONG beers. As you might expect, this one is quite heavy (12.5%abv) and rightfully so, is in the style of "American Strong Ale."
 
Poured into a Stella Chalice, this ale has an opaque dark brown color that gets to a dark amber around the edges. There is a minimal amount of light tan head that falls to loose bubbles on the edges of the glass. The aroma is of strong alcohol, coconuts, licorice, coffee, and vanilla. It sort of smells like a blend of coconut rum and bourbon.

The flavor is strong and overwhelmingly intense. Sweet boozy vanilla and coconut start it off while it blends together with dark fruit, candied sugar, and licorice. Getting towards the finish there is a drier roasted malt espresso flavor mixing nicely with charred oak bourbon. In the end it finishes very smooth with lingering alcohol sweetness.

15th Anniversary Ale is definitely an experience, and I'm glad I had a chance to try this one (thanks Chad!). With that in mind, as delicious and complex as this beer is, I think it would be very difficult to finish it by yourself, at 12.5%abv in a 650ml bottle, this is a real sipper. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up before it's gone, and to offset the high price, split it with a friend. Personal 8.5/10, for the style 9/10.

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