Velvet Merkin Firestone Walker

Tasting: January 29, 2014
Style: Oatmeal Stout
Beer #: 514

Velvet Merkin Firestone Walker

© 2014 popsonhops

Velvet Merkin

Over the course of the last three years, I have learned some interesting things purely by chance. But of all the odd things, this one certainly takes the cake. I know a firkin is a quarter barrel of beer and wondered if merkin was somewhat related to a barrel measure. I quickly found out how off target I was as a merkin turns out to be a pubic wig – yes a pubic wig. No secondary definition. A merkin dates back to the 15th century when women or prostitutes would shave their privates clean to either combat pubic lice or cover symptoms of venereal diseases. Today, merkins are used by modest actresses (and actors). So, a velvet merkin would be the cadillac of wigs.

Velvet Merkin the beer, may be as difficult to spot as a merkin as the beer has an elusive history. I’ve seen it as a component ingredient in a number of other Firestone Walker barrel series releases – in particular their anniversary releases. Most recently Firestone Walker’s XVII contained 15% Velvet Merkin and XVI contained 23%. Velvet Merkin is a bourbon-barrel aged oatmeal stout.

Velvet Merkin’s pour is a somewhat transparent cola brown color. I get the barrel-influenced vanilla on the nose. Flavor presents itself in a very mellow complex web of milk chocolate, roasted, some cherry – but certainly dominated by the bourbon influenced vanilla. Velvet Merkin is a little on the thin side and somewhat fizzy. I can understand why Velvet Merkin’s 8.5% alcohol by volume (ABV) would be used as a cutting agent in some of Firestone Walker’s behemoth anniversary blends. I liked Velvet Merkin but I’m not gaga like some people are about this beer. I’ll put it at 88 points. I have another bottle and I’ll age it for a year or so.

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