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12.5% ABV. American Strong Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co. in Paso Robles, California. XV is alive with amazing complexity and yet it is quite possibly the most integrated and seamless blend yet. Looking at a blend of 8 beers on paper at first looks chaotic and potentially disjointed; however, a closer look reveals and interesting theme: 76% Barley Wine style beers, 19% Stout and 5% Imperial IPA. XV introduces a new blonde barley wine, Helldorado, with flavors of lavender honey liqueur. The well established DDBA delivers its signature American toasted oak, English caramel toffee and light leather nuances. 2010 vintage Sticky Monkey folds in brown sugar, maple, cinnamon, ginger and ripe figs. Parabola brings the familiar flavors of roasted dark coco, and chocolate covered cherries. Velvet Merkin carries silky milk chocolate, toasted coconut and creamy textures. Good Foot and Bravo add assertive barley wine warmth and lush barrel derived vanilla bean notes. The game changer this year is the addition of Double Jack to the blend. At just 5% its massive dry hop character brings citrus zest, tangerine and mango aromas making this a completely new beer.
So, with all this being said, I was eager to try this out! This beer pours a clear, dark ruby with a nice off-white head with legs that lasted quite nicely throughout. Brown sugar nose, sweet malts, some of which are tangy. Big sweet, roasty, brown sugar flavor, some bourbon, bread, and wood. Full mouthfeel with fine carbonation throughout. Warm finish with light sting, wood, bourbon, brown sugar. A bit boozy overall, but still lots of surprising pleasant elements peeking through. Loved this one and always look forward to the anniversary series every year!