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Beer Rated A- Reviews

Review: Firestone Walker Parabola 2020

In recent years, we’ve reviewed several offerings from Firetsone Walker’s Proprietor’s Vintage Series (Helldorado, Sucaba, Stickee Monkey, and Velvet Merkin among others). There’s been a glaring omission, however, in the absence of their iconic Russian Imperial Stout, Parabola; although we did review the limited release of Napa Parabola last year. We correct that mistake today with a look at the 2020 vintage release. This Imperial Stout is brewed with nine malts as well as Zeus and hallertau hops and then barrel-aged for a year in a mix of premium Kentucky bourbon barrels (even Pappy van Winkle!). Now in its twelfth year, Parabola continues to be a fan-favorite of the boozy beer-loving masses. Let’s see what all that fuss is about, shall we?

This one pours jet black with minimal carbonation and a thin cocoa head. The nose is classic barrel-aged stout with a balance of Belgian dark chocolate, light roast coffee, and toasty malts. The barrel is nicely folded into the mix with an airy, marshmallow sweet whiskey-infused aroma that brings with it notes of brandied cherry, vanilla fudge, and some caramel sauce. On the palate, it’s just as balanced but lighter than I was expecting. Some Imperial Stouts are syrupy from beginning to end, but this beer is initially quite silky, only really sticking to the palate as the finish approaches. It allows a diversity of brighter flavors to stand out but all of which are still in line with your typical barrel-aged stout. The coffee notes are a bit cold-brewed and the chocolate notes are more milk than dark. Caramel candies, vanilla ice cream, and a bit of spice cabinet make this an almost refreshing barrel-aged stout. Barrel notes arrive on the finish along with a subtle baking chocolate bitterness that lingers. Yep. It’s a winner.

13.6% abv.

A- / $15 / firestonebeer.com

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Firestone Walker Parabola (2020)



Drew Beard

Drew Beard is Assistant Editor and Social Media Manager for Drinkhacker. He has studied and written about beer, whisk(e)y, and other spirits since he first started drinking them, earning several booze-related merit badges along the way, including Certified Specialist in Spirits and Executive Bourbon Steward. In addition to his work with Drinkhacker, Drew is also Spirits Editor for Santé Magazine. A recovering Federal government employee, he is happy to have finally found a career where it is acceptable to drink on the job.

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