Firestone Walker’s XVI Anniversary Ale

2 May

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For my 39th birthday, almost one year ago, I received a 22 of  Firestone Walker’s 16th anniversary ale.  As part of my mission to drink the beer that is now stored in the “food” fridge, I selected this one.  I think I should have read the bottle before cracking the cap, as this big boy clocks in at 13% ABV.  Not really a school night beer.  Who I am kidding, it is going to be summer-like outside and I am going to spend most of the day wishing I wasn’t inside. So being a bit slow in the morning will matter very little.

The beer pours a dark mahogany with no head retention.  The aromas are of toasted coconut, bourbon and vanilla.  And this beer will not let you forget it is 13% – the alcohol is very noticeable.  I am a huge fan of barrel aged beers but they seem to have a very regimented flavor profile and much like the aroma, the coconut, bourbon and vanilla dominate.  Along with these expected flavors on the palate there is a clear sweetness that is nicely balanced by the strong, dry tannic finish.  The alcohol is more felt than tasted.

Overall, this is a very good brew, as expected from Firestone Walker, but it is not breaking any new ground. Just a tasty bourbon barrel-aged English style barley wine.  I would drink another one, just not tonight.

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