Off the Wall: Velvet Merkin

Velvet MerkinName: Velvet Merkin (Bourbon Barrel Aged)
Brewery: Firestone Walker Brewing Company
Country of Origin: United States
City & State: Buellton, California
Style: Oatmeal Stout
Alcohol Content (ABV): 8.50%
First Brewed: NA
Price: $14.99

Ricky’s Thoughts

This is a RARE beer… But we managed to secure 3 bottles of this. When this came out, the Scottsdale Total Wine & More had a case before anyone else. I ran over there and grabbed a bottle and waited several days to find another store with bottles. Then The Attic, a sick beer bar we found that has an awesome tap list, managed to grab a keg of it, and even though I wasn’t sober when I tried it, I remember it being good, but not great. Tonight we decided to open a bottle of it.

I plan to age the other 2 bottles for at least a year… As on tap, this beer felt boring and deserves some time on the shelf. I am excited to try this as I saw on Facebook this beer is, “1,000 times better” in the bottle. I am not sure who said that… But I remember reading it. So… Let’s drink! (Google “Merkin” and laugh. You’re welcome.)

In the Glass: This is black as night. The base beer of this is Velvet Merlin, a GREAT seasonal release from Firestone Walker. Maybe one of their better seasonable releases. Imagine that and then age it for a few months. Jazz popped a bottle of this today… At lunch, mind you. Regardless, I am excited to try this in the bottle. Cheers!

Nose: I am getting a TON of bourbon notes here, and a hint of candied sugar/burnt caramel. This smells WAY better from the bottle than it does on tap. Again… I wasn’t sober when I tried this on tap, but I am pumped to taste this from the bottle. It is way too cold, but I am stoked to let this heat up and really open up. I am done talking. I am ready to drink!!!

Flavor: This is not that much better than on tap, but it is better. Again, it’s too cold. But I am getting a ton of bourbon flavors here, and it has a nice caramel finish. Have you ever tried a cube of caramel? The finish on that is what I am getting here. There are lot of hidden flavors here, but the bourbon flavors are apparent.

Mouthfeel: There are a lot of bubbles here, and that is why I want to hold the other 2 bottles we have for a few years. Age will tone this beer down and will rid this beer of the carbonation. I am more focused on the finish than I am on the flavor.

Aftertaste: The finish on this is strong. It is drying but it has a nice polished bourbon flavor that I keep looking forward to. I honestly feel this beer smells better than it tastes. Also, I might make some people mad by saying this… BUT I am not a huge fan of Firestone Walker beers. I like them, don’t get me wrong. But their limited release stuff, like this, Sucaba, Parabola… They just don’t deliver. The best beer I have had from them is the Double DBA. I am going to save the other 2 bottles… But I am not going to look forward to drinking them.

A few months ago, I fell asleep with a glass of beer on the table. I woke up, tried it flat and room temperature, and it was amazing. I want to do that with what is left here. I mean… If a beer tastes good at room temperate, then you know it is a well made beer. Maybe I will leave a few sips in the glass. Cheers!

Velvet Merlin – The bottle says: “NA” The box says a lot… But not the bottle!

Rating:  3.5/5

Sheryl’s Thoughts

I’m tired. I know, that has nothing to do with the beer. I really need to force myself to stay up later so I get more free time. Oh well. Not sure if tonight will be that night.

We have had this beer on tap a week or two ago. It was pretty good, but far from one of the best beers I’ve had. I don’t expect it to really wow me, but it should be at least somewhat good, right? Well, here goes.

The beer looks very dark and thick in the glass with a lot of head. It’s basically black in color and you can’t see anything through the glass. It smells pretty good… I can smell the booziness in it. That’s kind of what I smell the most of in this brew… the high ABV boozy smell. There’s not really much other substance there. Let’s hope there’s more to the taste.

Surprisingly, it actually tastes a little bit carbonated. And not as boozy as I expected. But the booze is still there in the aftertaste. Overall, it’s got some decent flavor, but the other beers I’ve had of this style were a little sweeter or maltier, which I like. This one just doesn’t really have enough to make it special. I might be convinced to buy it again, but I probably wouldn’t spend a lot of money on it.

Rating: 3.5/5

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