The Two Minute Beer Review
The Two Minute Beer Review
Andrew S Burkum
Tasting all the beer two minutes at a time!
S1E50 - Firestone Walker's Velvet Merkin Bourbon Barrel Aged Oatmeal Stout
4 minutes Posted Jul 8, 2019 at 9:44 pm.
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    It’s the Two Minute Beer Review!
    I’m Andrew Burkum, and once again I’m your companion as we face down that massive craft brew aisle in search of the hidden treasures we’ve been missing out on all along.
    This week we’re taking a look at Velvet Merkin Bourbon Barrel Aged Oatmeal Stout by Firestone Walker brewing in Paso Robles, CA. Does this one cover all the necessary. . .areas? Let’s find out!
    Velvet Merkin is a limited release from Firestone Walker—so fancy that it comes only in a 12-ounce bottle concealed within its own cardboard box. Removing it from the box and pouring it into the glass we find a black and creamy beer that swallows all light that attempts to pass through it. Sniffing the beer I smell charred wood and deep caramel with ton of malt backbone and a little bit of vanilla. The scent is complex, intriguing and makes me want to dive right in.
    But what about the taste? Velvet Merkin comes on a little less aggressively that I was expecting based on that powerful aroma. There is coffee and some nuttiness right up front. These two flavors resolve into something that resembles a dark toffee flavor with maybe just a little bit of chicory in the background. The beer drinks smooth and not overly thick, which is a pleasant surprise as well. The oatmeal keeps it nice and smooth so that it’s not dense, just mellow enough to drink the full twelve ounces without needing to stop for a rest break. It’s also not too sweet which is a nice surprise considering all of the candied notes that are present throughout. It’s also not acidic, though there is just enough coffee bitterness to keep the beer balanced throughout.
    Velvet Merkin is a luxury beer. Drinking it is like driving a really nice car—it’s going to be hard to go back to your old ride after this one. That being said, it also comes at a luxury price. It will run you about ten dollars for the twelve-ounce bottle. But if you’ve got a little extra coin to spend, this is hands down one of my favorite stouts of all time. There is a strange little discrepancy in terms of the ABV. Firestone Walker’s website lists it as 8.5% but the bottle I drank listed it as 7.8%. Either way, it’s exactly strong enough. It appears that this one is going to be around a bit longer, though the “vintage” will change as the batches are barrel aged for one year. Nonetheless, don’t sleep on it and grab yourself a bottle before it’s retired again!
    Well that’s all for this week, but I hope you’ll join me next week as I stay with Firestone Walker to try out their XXII Anniversary ale. Does this one stand up to the pretention of being named with Roman numerals? We’ll find out next week. Look for links to this week’s beer and brewery in the show notes.
    Don’t forget to let me know what you’re drinking and what you’re thinking about the show. Tweet me @2minutebeer with the number two or drop me an email at And if you’re listening to the show on your favorite podcasting app, be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss an episode and leave a review to help other people find the show.
    That’s all for now, but I’ll see you next week as we continue on our quest to taste all the beer!
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    Music: River Meditation by Jason Shaw used under Creative Commons License
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