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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Day 331 Drink: Firestone 14 Anniversary Ale

Firestone Walker Brewing started making beer in California in 1996. It is truly one of America's greats having been been selected as the best mid-sized brewery at the 2003 and 2007 Great American Beer Festivals, and the top mid-sized brewery at the 2004, 2006 and 2010 World Beer Cup competitions.

Firestone Walker created the Anniversary Series to celebrate the brewery's 10th birthday using a blend of barrel-aged beers, releasing the first beer in the series in 2006.

Firestone Walker Brewmaster Matt Brynildson and a panel of winemakers and industry experts tasted a selection of barrel aged components to build Firestone 14 Anniversary Ale. The final blend in Firestone 14 is Double Double Barrel Ale (31 percent), Sticky Monkey English Barley Wine (29 percent), Parabola Russian Imperial Oatmeal Stout (27 percent), Velvet Merkin Oatmeal Stout (7 percent), Good Foot American Barley Wine (3 percent) and Black Xantus Coffee Infused Imperial Stout (3 percent). The last four beers were aged in ex-Bourbon barrels, while the Sticky Monkey was aged in former Bourbon and Brandy barrels.

Firestone 14 Anniversary Ale is a complex brew with a true depth of flavors. It pours a dark brown color with a tan head. The common thread in this brew is the Bourbon barrel aging, which shows in both the aroma and the flavor. Right off the bat the mouthfeel presents an enveloping texture. The aroma features vanilla, a hint of coffee and some dark skin fruits. The flavor has a cocoa base, sun dried raisins, vanilla, molasses and oak. This is one of the richest brews I've tasted in years.

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