They Brew it, I sell it, You Drink it... and so do I..

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

The Beast


I've heard some pretty amazing things about this beer, let's look at the stats:

Firestone Parabola - a 12.5% Imperial Stout aged in Bourbon barrels.

This 2011, No. 002 Reserve Series is aged patiently for 12 months in the barrel before the 3000 cases are packaged. An OG of 29.5 (plato), 82 IBUs, British Ale (house) yeast used and a 167SRM colour rating, (if anyone knows what this colour rating system is I'll be impressed, but apparently 167 is Midnight Black)

This beer smells insane.

Tar, varnish, tobacco, dark rum, dark chocolate, bourbon, oak, vanilla, liquorice, oats soaked in whisky and a bucket load of dried fruits. Quite possibly the most complex aroma I've ever smelled to an Imperial Stout, minus, maybe only a couple.

I've only ever had one beer before from Firestone, which was a lone bottle of the Firestone Walker Pale Ale many moons ago, which I thought was OK, but nothing extra special.

This however, is one of the best beers I've ever drunk from the USA!

It's so thick it's like treacle. You get an immediate sweet oaky bourbon flavour that fills the mouth and dominates the senses. This is certainly a sipper, although the 12.5% is rather masked with lots of rich chocolate and dark malt flavours. Woody with big vanilla essence comes through in the finish. It's strange, for all the flavours I stated in the aroma, this beer is ridiculously balanced, and even the most experienced taster would probably find it hard to get much more from the flavour. That's not me trying to boast about my tasting skillz, that's me stating how amazingly complex but perfectly balanced this beer is, that it really leaves you lost for words.

I thought I'd pair this with some food.....

I know, it's not really my territory, I should leave it to Leigh and Neil, but I thought I'd give it a bash.

My immediate thoughts were drawn to what to pair this beer with. I thought rich meats maybe? Some blue cheeses or maybe even some fine chocolates or the richest of deserts? Any of those would have done the trick I thought.

But then the inner YorkshireMan inside my belly started punching my stomach.

He said to me "Any self-respecting YorkshireMan like yourself knows the ultimate food to go with beer!"

And he was right, I did know the ultimate food for beer, the ultimate food to go with ANY beer. And I'll believe him to the bitter end, I'll eat this with Imperial Stout, with IPAs, with Lambics, with Wheat beers etc....

You know it, you love it, you can't live without it!:



  1. should be mashed tatties ;)

    I'm regretting not getting this, though to be fair I did get the abyss and dissident and the only bottle of holgate empress imperial mocha porter so can't complain too much!

  2. Yeah Yeah Steve, rub it in a bit more... ;) (like you said we need a bottle share!)

  3. I think I might be able to come up with a pairing or three to go with this bad boy. Sounds like it's of a similar ilk to Goose Island Bourbon County Stout & Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch Weasel Bourbon. Is that fair?

    The sheer dominance of sweet vanillins, dark choc, roasted malts and alcohol will bitch slap all but the most resilient of flavours. How about with a chargrilled T-bone rested after a searing on the BBQ? or could go sweet and have it with maple syrup pancakes and affogato or a chocolate fudge cake. What about with some nice and crystalline hard cheese like Mimolette or a vintage Gouda. How many of these suckas have you got left?

    Damn - you've made my thirsty and I've gone and made myself hungry.

  4. Rick - Your very right with the GIBCS, I've not tried the BGBWB yet. I'd agree with all the foods you suggested, perfectly - they'd be a match made in heaven, but I'm a man of too many simple tastes when it comes to my food (not my beverages) and a Steak n Ale pie goes great with any beer in my books. I'll wait for someone with better food tastes than me to prepare me a meal, and I'll bring the beers... asked for now I have one left :)

  5. SRM: Anything over 30 or so is pretty much black, you can can compute the colour on the basis of the malts you're using but, like IBUs, it's not an exact science.

  6. Everything over 30 is pretty much black?? 167 seems a bit over the top then!

  7. Now that's what I call dinner. Food and beer matching made easy: pie with everything.

  8. If someone asked me today what the best beer I've ever had I will say with no hesitation Parabola.

    I was lucky enough to try a bottle that Johnny Burhouse (Magic Rock's money mark, hehe!) brought back from the US.

    It’s a beer of epic proportions and skillful perfection. You can see the neighboring vineyard influence of Matt Bryndleson's brewing here in spades. Blending a beer is no new thing but Firestone's approach dips its toes in both the new and the old.

    This is one of those beers that I have in cupboard, uncertain when I should drink it. Like a found memory that I'll be able to relive, but only once. With this thought I struggle to find the right time to open it scared it won’t be as good or even worse it’s even better and I know I can never have it again.

    So The Leeds Beer-Blogging Mafia continue to Wikio-carry eachother but no link for Rob...the man who told you to buy it and was firmly by your side as you bought the not one but the last two bottles of the rarest beer at the festival. Was it not for me begging Ian behind the bar Parabola may have not appeared during the trade session? Shame on you young ghost.

    Brushed under the carpet because I've got a BD postcode
    (By the way that last bit was a joke before the flame-war starts)


  9. Ah Rob, you do make me smile. There was a few others I could have linked to in the pursuit of name dropping. Zak and Nickiquote certainly know how to match beer with food. I'll get you next time, but I will give you big thanks for pointing this beer out to me, if it not for you this post would not have happened.

    I feel I'm in the same boat now, I have one left and have no inclination to drink it for a fair few years. I shouldn't worry about it being worse than you thought, and asked for finding it again... your certainly one to get your hands on a beer if you want it bad enough Rob. :)

  10. The beers sounds AMAZING! I got a bottle at GBBF. Perhaps I should've bought more than one... I need to get it opened soon while it's tasting so good!

  11. I think it'll be tasting good for the next 20 years Mark heh! ;)