Firestone Walker 17th Anniversary Ale

If you are really into hard to get beer, you’ve probably heard about the Firestone Walker 17th Anniversary Ale. If you’re not a rare beer follower, you have no idea what I’m talking about. However, this is a really special beer. It happens to be Firestone Walker’s 17th Anniversary. You also need to know that Firestone Walker is a brewery in California in the middle of the Central Coast wine country. A lot of what they do with their special beers takes advantage of the nearby wineries and winemaking expertise. What they did with this is one is to combine 7 of their beers (all high gravity specialty beers) into one and age it in oak barrels. The oak barrels came from Kentucky and were used to make bourbon, but each barrel is a little different and the results can be slightly different. The beers they used were “Bravo,” an imperial brown ale already aged in bourbon and brandy barrels, “Stickee Monkey,” an English barley wine already aged in bourbon and whiskey barrels, “Velvet Merkin,” an oatmeal stout already aged in bourbon barrels, “Parabola,” a Russian imperial stout already aged in bourbon barrels, “Double Double Barrel Ale,” a pale ale aged in Firestone Union barrels, “Helldorado,” a blonde barley wine aged in bourbon and brandy barrels, and finally “Wookey Jack,” a black rye IPA. The average ABV of the bunch is probably around 11%, but in the combination they are in the final ABV is 13.3% because some of the higher gravity beers make up more of the mix. The beer pours a dark brown with almost no head. It has a big body to it and is almost thick. You might think such a beer would be sweet, but it’s not, probably because of the addition of the IPA and pale ale that have the hops to cut against the sweetness. The most pronounced flavors are the bourbon along with caramel from the malt. The carbonation is low. The alcohol taste is noticeable. It almost doesn’t taste like a beer, but more like a bourbon cocktail, maybe even a bourbon and coke, but not quite as sweet. It drinks very smoothly and pleasantly. I would say it is better to enjoy it slowly. The alcohol does catch up with you, but it also gives it a nice warming effect. I like this beer a lot, but it is hard to get and I found it for $22.99 for a 22 ounce bottle at Norm’s Beer & Wine in Vienna, but I have heard of it costing around $30. If you see it, grab it. When I got it the whole case sold out within 10 minutes of being unloaded from the truck. I give it 5 out of 5 proper pints.

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