Firestone Walker – Parabola 2014 Review

ParabolaAll You Need to Know

Brewery: Firestone Walker
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
ABV: 13%
Cost: ???? (24oz)
Glassware: Snifter, Teku
Temp: 55°F
Availability: March
Purchased@: Beer Trade

Quick Take: While 2014 Parabola is not the pinnacle of the Parabola series (that goes to the boozy complex and black cherry undercurrent having Parabola of 2012), it is an improvement over 2013, being smoother and less boozy. Warm, sensuous, delicious…Parabola is as close to bourbon-aged perfection that I’ve come across. Firestone has crafted and continues to craft one of my favorite liquids of all time.

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Avery Brewing – 5 Monks (Bourbon-Aged Quad) Review

5 MonksAll You Need to Know

Brewery: Avery Brewing
Style: Quad
ABV: 19.4% (boom!)
Cost: $15 (12oz) (also boom)
Glassware: Snifter, Teku
Temp: 55°F
Availability: Limited (Once)
Purchased@: Friendly Greek

Quick Take: 5 Monks, while on the sweeter side, stops just short of cloying to be a sipping warmer with some malt depth that’s made just a touch deeper by the bourbon-aging. Avery is world class when it comes to big beers, so the fact that 5 Monks kills it shouldn’t come as a surprise. Awesome beer and one the dark malted Belgian and bourbon lovers should hunt down immediately.

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Bell’s – Black Note Review (with comparisons to KBS)

Black NoteAll You Need to Know

Brewery: Bell’s Brewery
Style: Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout
ABV: 11.4%
Cost: ???? (12oz)
Glassware: Teku, Snifter
Temp: 55°F
Availability: Nanosecond in Jan, Feb or March
Purchased@: Beer Trade

Quick Take: You certainly don’t need me to tell you that Black Note is a fantastic beer (it is btw). It has a reputation that existed long before this blog and will for as long as Bell’s brews it. I love the combination of the typical dark, malty flavors with the tang of dark fruits that still gives you the mouth feel you want without being too sweet. It’s a top stout for me and one of the most well-balanced, layered bourbon beers I’ve had.

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Firestone Walker – Velvet Merkin Review

Velvet MerkinAll You Need to Know

Brewery: Firestone Walker
Style: Oatmeal Stout
ABV: 8.5%
Cost: $4 (5oz)
Glassware: Snifter
Temp: 50°F
Availability: September
Purchased@: Capone’s Restaurant (Philly Beer Week)

Quick Take: What this lacks in complexity, and it is definitely lacking, it makes up for in lightness and drinkability. This is a well-blended beer that integrates the bourbon to enhance the base beer without overrunning it. Just temper your expectations, especially if your reference point for dark and delicious Firestone beers is the rich, boozy and complex Parabola.

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Thirsty Dog – Wulver Review

WulverAll You Need to Know

Brewery: Thirsty Dog Brewing
Style: Wee Heavy
ABV: 12%
Cost: $12 (12oz)
Glassware: Thistle (Yup, thistle)
Temp: 43°F (Yup!)
Availability: Limited
Purchased@: Iron Abbey

Quick Take: Wulver strikes me as a classic version of the Wee Heavy style that has been expertly aged in bourbon barrels. What it does is take on a difficult style and nail a fantastic beer. It actually makes a bolder statement by brewing this in a conventional way and barrel aging it into a straightforward success that demands your attention rather than getting overly playful and trying to distract with gimmicks.

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