Firestone Walker was founded in 1996 by two Brothers in-law in California. Their beers are truly outstanding and I consider myself lucky that FW distributes to New York. I recently had FW’s newest offering, Wookey Jack, a Black IPA that is out of this world. I was excited when I found out one of their most heralded brews, Parabola, was going to be available in our area.
In 2006, Firestone Walker embarked on a program to barrel-age a series of strong ales that would later be used as components of a blended beer. That blend would become their first Anniversary Ale, ’10′. They would then release limited amounts of the component beers on draft only. Many of the beers were so outstanding, people demanded FW bottle them. Parabola in bottles was born.
This year the batch was aged in a combination of barrels for up to 12 months. Some barrels were used by American spirit producers, some for wine, and other are barrels retired from their Firestone Union.
I purchased this one from Consumer’s on Niagara Falls Blvd in Niagara Falls. I called all around the area, and they were the only ones I could find with some in stock.
I pulled the Parabola out of the fridge and allowed it to sit for about 15 minutes. It’s important to follow guidelines for proper storage and serving temperature for beer styles. Russian Imperial Stouts like this one should be served around 55 degrees fahrenheit. I poured Parabola into a snifter and it glugged very, very dark with a nice 1 finger creamy mocha head. It is truly lovely.
A swirl in my glass released smells of oaky vanilla soaked in just a few drips of bourbon. You can tell that this is a big beer, clocking in at 12.5% ABV. Alcohol is there in the nose as alcohol soaked raisin and sugar. Just a dusting of cocoa dusted espresso beans as well. Complex and sweet.
To me, the taste profile follows the nose in reverse. I get cocoa and alcohol at first, with fruit in the middle. This beer is strong and chewy. A hint of bourbon with the vanilla. Held in the mouth a bit brings out the warmth and oak and a little black cherry. This beer has a large amount of sweetness to it, something that I wish was mellowed out a bit. I would have liked a little more dryness to this one. After the swallow, the beautiful roastiness comes through, with slightly bitter coffee and cream. So, so good.
Mouthfeel is practically perfect. Big and chewy. Thick and viscous. Completely coats your tongue in its gigantic flavor. Very much a slow sipper. No beer I’ve ever had has gone down this slow. A bomber is to share for sure.
Overall, this is a world-class RIS that is full of big huge flavors. Most of the time I found that it was overly sweet and wish it was a tad more dry. I have one to age for a while and I cannot wait to visit this one again in the future with some years in the cellar on it.
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Brewery: Firestone Walker (CA)
Style: Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout
Serving Type: Bottle
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