Firestone Walker introduces Parabola 2023 vintage aged in rare barrels
Rare barrels were never used to this extent before, ‘adding a flavorful new twist to the beer’s story’ says brewmaster
– Firestone Walker Brewery is releasing a new vintage of its iconic Parabola imperial stout, which was aged in a rare blend of spirits barrels from Blanton’s and W.L Weller distilleries. The 2023 vintage of Parabola will be available in limited 12-ounce bottles and draft formats in all Firestone Walker markets. Alongside Parabola, the brewery is also introducing a limited edition small-batch spinoff called Paraboloid, which was aged in 20-year-old Elijah Craig bourbon barrels. Paraboloid will be sold for a limited time at all Firestone Walker locations and online at FirestoneBeer.com.
Brewmaster Matt Brynildson said the rare barrels used for the 2023 edition of Parabola were never used to this extent before, and they add a flavorful new twist to the beer’s story. “These barrels are pretty rare, and we’ve never used them to this extent in Parabola,” he said. “I’ve been a longtime fan of Blanton’s, and I’m a more recent fan of Weller, and together they add a flavorful new twist on the story of Parabola.”
Parabola is renowned for its intense flavors of black cherry, dark chocolate, vanilla, and roast coffee, which vary from year to year based on the unique blend of barrels used for aging. For the 2023 edition, Parabola was aged for a year in an equal combination of eight-year-old Blanton’s bourbon and 12-year-old W.L. Weller wheated whiskey barrels. The blend created a rich stout with notes of cereal grain, toasted coconut, and cocoa nibs.
“The wheated whiskey barrels accentuated Parabola’s signature richness with fine notes of cereal grain, while the bourbon barrels imparted their classic notes of toasted coconut and cocoa nibs,” Brynildson said.
Paraboloid was aged in premium 20-year-old Elijah Craig bourbon barrels, complementing Parabola’s flavors with hints of oak, fudge, and chocolate brownie. Brynildson said the beer was aged for 18 months before blending and bottling, resulting in an ultra-smooth mouthfeel. “The rarity of these barrels speaks for itself, we were grateful to secure them. They’re as old as the Parabola recipe itself,” he said. “Their barrels are super consistent and I’m a massive fan of their bourbons—but I’d never seen a 20-year-old Elijah Craig barrel until now.”
Parabola was initially created in 2005 as a component for Firestone Walker’s first barrel-aged Anniversary Ale, Ten. It gained a cult reputation of its own and was finally released as a standalone beer in 2010. Today, Parabola has a perfect 100-point rating on Beer Advocate. Both Parabola and Paraboloid are expected to be popular among craft beer enthusiasts due to their unique aging process and complex flavors.