Firestone “Velvet Merlin”
This oatmeal stout is a seasonal brew released each fall. Aromas are like burnt toast, backed by coffee, dark chocolate, a nice oatmeal accent, and some light hoppy undertones.
Cola flavors initiate the palate with weak sweetness, followed by heavily roasted barley, and some milk chocolate. Brown sugar establishes itself midway, keeping firm as earth-toned Fuggle hops descend with subdued bitterness. Tea leaf flavors mingle with coffee as things come to an abrupt end. Mouthfeel is clean, and fairly creamy at first, then begins to thin out rather dramatically.
Overall, it’s a good stout with a proper balance of bitter and sweet. It takes a subtle approach, but has enough strength in character to set it apart from most other standard stouts. A small showcase of malts come together for a nice little range of flavor. The Fuggle hop variety combines with the malts in a natural, classic way. On the downside, the feel comes off sort of thin, and I think an increase in carbonation would help the beer reach a more creamy potential with a greater sense of body. However, the positives far outweigh the negatives, and this ends up being a pretty solid beer. I recommend it.
Malts: Maris Otter, 2-Row Pale, Roast Barley, English Dark Caramel, Medium Caramel, Carafa Malt, Oats
Paso Robles, California