Brewery: Firestone Walker Brewing Company (Paso Robles, CA)
Style: Stout- Imperial/Double
9.2% ABV / 0 IBU
By the time you are reading this, you should have accomplished two important actions: Stopped writing 2022 on your checks and made the switch to dark beers. Get that goddamn session IPA out of your hand and don’t let that gose touch your lips—you need a higher octane choice to carry you through the holiday season. As stouts go, Firestone Walker’s Parabolita is perfect. They’ve taken what is generally considered to be a world-class imperial stout (Parabola) and aged it in bourbon barrels with a mix of vanilla beans, cocoa nibs, and sea salt to create a “salted caramel” flavor profile—an enhanced stout experience.
Technically, Parabolita showcases Firestone Walker’s brewing and blending prowess, as it also includes some of the brewery’s flagship Velvet Merlin milk stout. Having sampled both Parabola and Velvet Merlin on numerous occasions, I prefer what’s going on with Parabolita—although that is less about the blend and more about the warming effect created by the gentle barrel-aging and the sweet/ bitter balance of the vanilla and cocoa notes. For fans of the cult favorite Kentucky Breakfast Stout—incidentally, the very first beer reviewed in this column—from Founders, Parabolita will perhaps be a bit muted, but the one-year aging process supports, not threatens, the integrity of the stout base.
Parabolita will be a bit of a revelation for fans of vanilla. It’s everywhere in this imperial stout—strong on the nose, equally strong as you sip it, and a medium sort of finish that showcases the interplay between the vanilla and the cocoa nibs. Parabolita also has a really nice creamy mouthfeel, which is perfect as an accompaniment for s’mores or hanging out by a fire pit. Perhaps then most exciting thing is that this is the first Firestone Walker blend available in 16oz pounder cans. Not only do you not have to wait for a bottle share to get a taste; you don’t even have to share.
For more info on Firestone Walker Brewing Company, please head here.