Monday, December 19, 2011

Beer Review: Parabola

Reviewing the Parabola from Firestone Walker Brewing Company. A hearty thank you to BA user 4DAloveofSTOUT for trading me this one.
Score: 97

2011 vintage bottle shared and served in a snifter glass.

Appearance: Jet black, opaque with subtle ruby highlights at the top of the body. Pours a thin, bubbly, mocha-colored head that settles into a ring around the glass. Pretty good lacing for a 12.5% ABV beer. A very attractive looking Russian Imperial Stout. 4.5/5

Smell: Soft notes of vanilla and oak up front. There is lots of vanilla and oak, but it is not in-your-face-strong. Figs, raisins and cherries pretty apparent too. Creamy chocolate. Some really mellow bourbon notes and a little molasses. Touch of booziness. Very complex and balanced aroma. 4.5/5

Taste: Very smooth, nuanced, complex and balanced! No single flavor is in your face, but there are a lot of different, noticeable flavors here. Brown sugar and creamy, unsweetened chocolate hit first. Then lots of dark fruits. Tons of fig and raisin sweetness on the mid-palate. Vanilla and oak, a little dark rum towards the end. Some bourbon and molasses in the finish with a little alcohol warmth. As the beer layers, I am detecting hints of roasted nut. Plum comes out too, and more bourbon as it layers. More unsweetened chocolate in the finish as it layers. This one is absolutely delicious, and boy does it linger! 5/5

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, thick and oily. Quite viscous, a little chewy, with the perfect level of carbonation. Finish is slightly sweet. 4.5/5

Overall: An absolute flavor bomb that is incredibly balanced. The bourbon builds up as it layers, but neither it nor the dark-fruit sweetness of the beer ever overwhelm. Can't wait to see how age affects this brew.

Recommendation: An absolute must-try beer for all. Not too intense for casual beer drinkers, and loaded with enough complex flavors for even the most jaded beer geek. This is a brew that lives up to its hype. Bottom line: seek this one out.

Pairings: A well-aged steak. This is a special beer that should be paired with a classy meal. Probably would pair well with a fancy warm chocolate cake. Colleen, I'm looking at you.

Cost: $17.99 for a 22 oz (bomber) bottle.

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