Jun 28, 2011

Firestone Walker Parabola

What does one do when they run across a beer that’s very near the top of their wish list? Buy as much of it as possible, of course. Well, in my case that would only be two bottles — dang purchase limit.

At any rate, I’m pretty sure anyone who witnessed my exit from the store with these two bottles in hand more than likely saw me skipping to my car like a gleeful little school girl. Yes, I was that excited.

Parabola is a beer that has been around for a few years, but has mostly been utilized in anniversary and one-off blends. Last year was the first time, I believe, that Firestone Walker released it on its own and to great acclaim. I missed out on the brewery’s initial run, but was lucky enough to grab a couple of bottles from the second batch of this 13% ABV Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout. So far, it has blown my expectations out of the water.

Firestone Walker Parabola photoCome to daddy.


With a quickly fading dark mocha head, Parabola sits beautifully in a snifter. It’s dark brown color outlines by a glowing mahogany edge.


This beer smells heavenly. It’s balanced nose is comprised of roast coffee, wisps of smooth bourbon, dark chocolate, a hint of vanilla, a light woodiness and a welcoming touch of booze.


In a word: wow! Super smooth bourbon notes hang around for a good long while from the first moment the it touches the tongue to the lingering, lightly hopped finish. Sweet chocolate, a light cigar character, roast espresso beans and a warming bit of alcohol all come together in all the right proportions before fading slowly to a dry finish that has hints of wood, pepper and hop bitterness. For a 13% ABV product, I’m surprised at how smooth and drinkable this beer it #151; there’s no lingering burn from the alcohol.


This is, hands down, one of the best and smoothest barrel aged stouts I’ve ever enjoyed, and I’ve done my best to drink my fair share. I’m thrilled to have finally had the opportunity to try Parabola, but also a bit bummed as I’m now down to only the single bottle.

Rating: 4.75/5

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