Review: Firestone Walker XXIV Anniversary Ale
Last fall, Firestone Walker released its 15th anniversary ale, somewhat confusingly dubbed XXIV because they actually started celebrating at X with the 10th anniversary. Anyway, as with all past celebratory ales, this one is a blend of various Proprietor’s Vintage offerings created with the help of some of their winemaker friends in California. Safe to say, it’s a party every beer drinker would want to attend. This year’s blend is a combination of six different beers with Velvet Merkin Milk Stout (27%) and Stickee Monkee Central Coastal Quad (26%) comprising over half, only a dash of Tequila Barrel Helldorado Blonde Barley Wine (4%), and the rest a generally even mix of Parabola Russian Imperial Stout, Bravo Imperial Brown Ale, and Smoked Imperial Walkers Reserve, a porter brewed with beechwood smoked malt. Another impressive sounding mix. Let’s see what this thing tastes like!
The beer pours thick with a dark chocolate hue and a light coffee-tinged head, already showing the predominance of milk stout and quad. The nose is big and rich with fresh-baked pastry notes and plenty of sweetness from the Belgian candi sugar in the Stickee Monkee. It’s not all sweet and malty, however, as drier notes of cocoa powder, toasted wood, and a faint bit of smoky incense emerge as the beer warms in the glass. The palate is nothing if not indulgent. It’s rich and creamy with notes of chocolate, black licorice, cinnamon, toasted pecans, and blueberry. The barrel-aged sweetness builds into the mid-palate and lingers with chocolate-covered caramels, vanilla, and Mounds candy bars. Everything recedes into a generally malty conclusion with a touch of sweet pipe smoke, likely from the Imperial Walkers Reserve, offering the last flourish of flavor. Another fitting anniversary tribute from the oak-aging wizards at Firestone Walker.
A / $20 (per 12 oz. bottle) / firestonebeer.com