The Invitational may have been cancelled for 2020 but the other momentous landmark for Firestone Walker is in the works as the have started the competition for blending bragging rights. This is one of those releases where you buy two bottles and taste one now, make your notes. Then store the other away.
Each year when I buy the latest Anniversary beer from Firestone Walker, I crack open the oldest bottle that I have which is 6 years old at that point. Which means that number 18 is the lucky number. I now only have two of the old school 22oz bottles left before the format went down to 12.
Here is my review of 18 – I get a bit of cola upfront here. Dark brown in color with not much head to it. A bit of spice and caramel come to mind. Does not taste heavy and is probably middle low in carbonation but not silky, more spiky to me. A tiny bit of vinous quality to me as well.
To close out 2016, I pulled out my one and only bottle of the 15th Anniversary blend from Firestone Walker from way back in 2011. The barrel-aged blend pours out a hazy NE brown coca-cola color. This doesn’t taste old at all. Big bourbon oak mixed with rum notes. There is a bit of spice here too. Aroma is vanilla and bourbon. There is a little slickness on the tongue but a skosh bit of carbonation counteracts it. Other notes that I am picking out are coconut and leather. There is still alcohol burn here too. But hot chocolate defines this beer for me.
This edition is made up of the following:
Helldorado – Blonde Barley Wine (18% of Blend)
Sticky Monkey – English Barley Wine (17% of Blend)
Bravo – Imperial Brown Ale (17% of Blend)
Double Double Barrel Ale – Double Strength English Pale Ale (13% of Blend)
Good Foot – American Barley Wine (11% of Blend)
Velvet Merkin – Traditional Oatmeal Stout (10% of Blend)
Parabola – Russian Imperial Oatmeal Stout (9% of Blend)
Double Jack – Double India Pale Ale (5% of Blend)
After stewarding at the Batch 1,000 Home Brew contest at the Bruery, I got a bottle for all of my “hard” work.
I last reviewed Melange # 3 way back in 2011 and I said this, “This is a big boozer. Way too sweet for me. Followed by a big ABV taste that I don’t cotton too. Pours a dusky brown with a big barrel aroma to it.”
The Bruery describes this beer thusly, “Melange #3 is a blend of three bourbon barrel aged strong ales. White Oak Sap, a wheat wine, our Anniversary Series old ale and our imperial stout, Black Tuesday, join forces in this luxurious strong ale that links some of the best characteristics of each of the contributing beers. Chocolate, dark fruits, oaky vanilla and rich toffee-like character reach through the bourbon veneer for an intensely satisfying quaff.”
And now, this is the 2013 updated review of Melange # 3, It pours a dark brown with a tint of red to it. Foamy head disappears somewhat quickly but a big sweet bourbon aroma takes over. I get some coconut and caramel notes in the aroma as well. This is a viscous beer that leaves alcohol legs on the glass and on the palate too. Very sweet. Almost a bourbon coconut ganache. And very strong, their is a bit of an alcohol burn that holds on for awhile.
I have to agree with previous me from 2011. This is just too sweet for me.
The second Bruery beer to be reviewed in December is the Bruery’s take on a Gueuze. Here is my take on the beer….