1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

§ucaba (Abacus) - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

§ucaba (Abacus)§ucaba (Abacus)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,987 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2987
Reviews: 717
rAvg: 4.53
pDev: 8.17%

Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  12.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
2011 Reserve Series Bottle Notes:
O.G. 27 Plato
F.G. 4.7 Plato
I.B.U. 42 units
Yeast: British Ale (House)
Cases: 1500 produced
Color: 36SRM (Dark Ruby)

(Beer added by: SacoDeToro on 02-21-2008)
View: Beers (64) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of §ucaba (Abacus) Alström Bros
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 2,987 | Reviews: 717 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of JDV


2.08/5  rDev -54.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2

Pours muddy and with no head. Looks still. Smell is dark fruit, vanilla, and soy sauce in a this Chinese restaurant uses way too much sauce, kind of way. Taste is sweet and dark fruits and soy sauce with a quick finish. At least the booze is hidden very well, but with the lack of almost any carbonation, cloying nature of it and the soy sauce flavor, it was a big disappointment.

Serving type: on-tap

04-21-2014 21:40:03 | More by JDV
Photo of IrishHockey


4.6/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2012 vintage poured from a bottle to Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

The color was great. Dark but a little burgundy showing in the light

Smell was bourbon and typical barley wine. Maybe a little oxidation, but smelled so damn good!

Taste was amazing. I don't even know if I can describe it. If you've had bourbon county barley wine, think a step above. It that damn good

Overall, I'd drink it again, and again, and again

Serving type: bottle

04-20-2014 05:26:41 | More by IrishHockey
Photo of Sandbarunner

South Carolina

4.99/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The quintessential barley wine darkness that you could ever want.

One hundred percent greatness.

Worth the plane ticket to the West Coast to get this beauty. I wish I would've bought about ten more. But I did not...


If you like light fizzy beer... Stay away! This is full body full flavor wholesome goodness!

Serving type: bottle

04-20-2014 04:17:50 | More by Sandbarunner
Photo of jhawth


4.26/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured into Duvel tulip from bottle. Pours a dark brownish red with a thin foamy cap that quickly dissipates to a slight lacing.

Aroma: Vanilla, subtle banana character, smooth bourbon notes, slight alcoholic twinge, rich stone fruits.

Taste: Follows nose almost exactly, bourbon character becomes more apparent as it warms.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, smooth, low carbonation.

Overall: Very nice barrel-aged barleywine. Slight lighter-bodied and perhaps more vivacious than GI BCBW. Undeniably excellent.

Serving type: bottle

04-19-2014 02:58:45 | More by jhawth
Photo of BastardKing24


4.93/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is one of my favorite barleywines, and it never lets you down as far as barrel aged beers and that wonderful vanilla flavor they can impart. This beer goes down too easy for being 13%.
It pours a dark orange color with a very small head that falls to not much.

Smell is toffee, bourbon, caramel, toasted barley, vanilla, and coconut.

Taste is the same, but add in the alc taste that just seems to accompany the beer flavors instead of overpower it. It doesn't taste hot really, but you do notice it. Perhaps gets better with age.

Feel is low carb and full of calories. Just a huge beer.

Get this one while you can. Its world class.

Serving type: bottle

04-19-2014 02:37:38 | More by BastardKing24
Photo of Circles413


4.93/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is huge! I've had a few tastings of this beer & it never disappoints!! Very dark in color, great mouth feel & opens up quite nicely at room temp.

If you're lucky enough to get your hands on this beer I suggest you grab 2. One to try & one to age for 10 months.

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2014 06:54:57 | More by Circles413
Photo of mc4z


4.73/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

22 oz bottle, first time in a bottle after several times on tap. The pour is a dark brown, with a solid head at the beginning that fades pretty quickly. The smell is sweet caramel with light vanilla and oak. Surprisingly little alcohol for the ABV. The taste is similar, lots of caramel, minimal booze. I find this a lot less sweet than similar beers of this style (say Bourbon County Barleywine). This is really easy drinking due to the low sweetness and despite the ABV. Definitely my favorite barrel-aged barleywine.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2014 00:46:04 | More by mc4z
Photo of JimLeff


3.8/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Tasted at "Super Kegs" at The Diamond in Greenpoint, Brooklyn

I've got to dissent from the consensus, even though I'm a huge fan of British tootsy-rolly barley wines (one of my favorite styles ever).

Nose was good. Huge vanilla. Soft and nuanced caramel. Some nakedly boozy aromas not really on-style but enjoyable nonetheless.

But in the mouth I found it alcohol-hot, lightly oxidized and relentlessly blasting me with simple, inelegant, almost artificial vanilla (plus perhaps a trace of diacetyl, but that could be my imagination given that FW is usually such a clean brewer). Like a really clever cream soda spiked with rum. There's not much in the way of flavor layering, or variance/progression, or tertiary flavors. Just a big inelegant wallop of front/center vanilla...and booze.

I suspect they warm-age this beer to hasten the maturity. You lose a lot of subtlety and complexity that way.

Serving type: on-tap

04-11-2014 19:23:04 | More by JimLeff
Photo of Darkmagus82


4.06/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from bottle (2013) into a snifter

Appearance – The beer pours a super deep copper color with thick tow finger of tan colored head. The head has a good level of retention, slowly fading to leave a light level of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma of the beer is quite a caramel and toffee smell mixed with a ton of fruit aromas ranging from darker stone fruits to lighter fruits. Apple, cherry, raisin, are the strongest with hints of other fruits within. A good deal of oak and lot of bourbon booziness are there as well creating a very warming smell overall.

Taste – The taste begins big caramel and butterscotch flavor. A big bready and doughy flavor is there as well. A bourdon and vanilla flavor begin working their way onto the tongue along with the caramel and toffee transitions to a molasses and brown sugar flavor. A ton of oaky bourbon booziness hits the tongue toward the middle to the end of the taste with some dark fruit flavors starting to be sensed as well. The booziness gets a bit hot at the very end and is combine with a bit of a herbal and earthy hop flavor to leave a very warming and sweet flavor on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the thicker and creamier side with a carbonation level that is on the lower side. Both are quite appropriate for the style and match the huge sweet and boozy of the flavors rather well, making for a rather slow sipper.

Overall – A bit on the boozy and oaky side with a ton of sweetness. A rather robust Barley wine. Not one I would likely frequent frequently, but a nice on to try none the less.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2014 01:00:45 | More by Darkmagus82
Photo of jmadiadora19


4.89/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This beer is big, bold, and has an absolutely lovely finish. Honestly the best barley wine I have had to date (thoughts are its the bourbon influence). The alcohol is extremely well hidden and the nose is mainly comprised of rich fruits including dates, figs, and plums (brown sugar compliments as well). Firestone has again done a fabulous job with their barrel aging program.

A-deep amber with a slight cream colored head that stays consistently throughout drinking the beer.

S-again sweet with rich fruits and brown sugar.

T-the most balanced bourbon barrel aged beer I have experienced. The alcohol is so well hidden its scary.

M-great level of carbonation. No flavor bullys the others into submission.

O-oh man. This is a top notch beer. Worth every penny. Interested to see how aging a bottle will turn out. Cheers from Oak Street Draft House in Denton, Tx!

Serving type: on-tap

04-03-2014 01:11:13 | More by jmadiadora19
Photo of Beer-A-Lot


4.5/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 vintage.

A - Looks beautiful in the glass. Nice dark brown color with tints of orange and copper. Beautiful, foamy head, thick and tight.

S - Tons of vanilla, caramel, mild pepper. The bourbon is fairly mild but still noticeable after a year of aging.

T - Caramel, mild sweetness, malty backbone. As smooth as a beer can get. Oak flavors still come through.

M - Just the right feel, not too full and not too light. Almost a sticky feel, but nice anyway.

O - While aging this may mellow the alcohol, it also probably mellows the sweetness. Almost like a rare bourbon. Just outstanding.

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2014 00:53:56 | More by Beer-A-Lot
Photo of bball208

New Jersey

5/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

All my lifetime boners combined still do not add up to the love I have for this beer.

Looks beautiful. Brown and red, with a trace of white head that dissipates quickly.

The smell is tremendous. You get bourbon, vanilla, tons of oak, toffee, that classic english barleywine style smell.

The taste blew my mind. It follows the nose, times 10. There is absolutely nothing lacking in this beer. It is so incredibly well-balanced with the sweet, the booze, and wood, and mouthfeel. Just to die for.

Overall, don't buy this beer. I want them all.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2014 19:57:30 | More by bball208
Photo of Rope


4.45/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mud, blood, light colored head sticking to the glass in a taunting manner.

Rich and warm, sweet like caramel or toffee. The alcohol slips in and out.

Flavor bomb that follows the nose, and the barrel accents really start to jump out. Once again, the alcohol is deceptive and hides well.

Rich and sticky, like a barley wine should be.

An excellent barleywine, grab it if you see it. A big shout out to my buddy who snatched it up at Hopscotch Bar in Franklin Park, to share with me.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2014 15:28:21 | More by Rope
Photo of pknyc

New York

4.5/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Batch No. 003 from 2013. Opened 03/28/2014.

A: A medium ruby brown color with a 1/2 finger of off-white foam on the pour which quickly becomes a thin head which then settles into no head whatsoever. Its expected. No lacing.

S: Oh my. Toffee and caramel. Vanilla and bourbon oak. A little bit of alcohol, but in a positive way. Behind the barrel, you can pick up notes of dark fruit, particularly figs and plums. Lots of interesting things going on here and very enjoyable. Well constructed.

T: Again with the toffee and caramel. Very nice. The oaky, vanilla, barrel is very nice. The beer is well done, and I find the barrel to be at the forefront of the taste. Not cloying at all. The taste is very complicated and intricate. Many new sensations and tastes as you work your way through a glass. While some alcohol is noticeable, it is crazy to think that this is a 12.5% brew.

M: deliciously silky and enjoyable. Medium full which really compliments the flavors that are working here. The mouthfeel really adds to the enjoyment of the beer.

O: Very enjoyable, and I need to find more bottles of this stuff.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2014 00:39:31 | More by pknyc
Photo of stumac


3.81/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

2014 Vintage

Snagged the last bottle from my local store just hours after it came in. Thanks to my brewing buddy Steve for the heads up. $17 a bomber. Here we go:

Pours up a dark ruby (like the bottle says) with a quickly dissipating khaki crown. Aroma is bourbon up front. Big bourbon. Vanilla, molasses, plums. Not the most broad range of aromas but very big and bold. Very pleasant. Flavor is big. I get all that was in the nose plus leather and diacetyl. Very earthy. Full bodied, very crispy carbo. Not as hot as one might expect a 13.5% brew to taste. Still there is a little fire inside every sip.

Very solid brew. I'll come back and write a little more as my beer warms itself and I up a little.

*1 hour*

In a nutshell, propaganda comes to mind. Price versus Product. Pricey to make yet that doesn't always mean the best product. Leather, swamp, deceit, devil on your shoulder. Ya, not the brewers fault. Reasons beyond....

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2014 01:37:53 | More by stumac
Photo of ricknelson


4/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Firestone's Sucaba (Abacus) came in 6th in my recent beer tasting of Firestone Walker's top beers. Out of the seven BA guys we had at the tasting, Sucaba (Abacus) got and average review score of 4.00 for look, smell, taste, mouthfeel and overall. I was surprised by the low scores and thought it would have finished at least in 3rd place.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2014 23:32:09 | More by ricknelson
Photo of Bedrocker


4.93/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2014 vintage poured from a 22 oz bomber into a snifter.

A: Pours a burgundy color and leaves a very thin head. Very little lacing.

S: Wow. Bourbon up front, with notes of vanilla, chocolate, and dark cherries. Some other smells in there too, can't quite put my finger on them though.

T: Bourbon notes dominate the palate on this one, but not overly so. Balances perfectly with notes of vanilla, chocolate, toffee, caramel, cherries, and other dark fruits. Some barrel-aged beers are too heavy on the oak notes, but this one is just perfect in my opinion.

M: Despite being highly alcoholic, this beer is extremely smooth. Full-bodied with just a slight bit of alcohol heat. Very drinkable.

O: Fantastic. The smell and flavor of this beer are still fresh in my mind after a week. I drank two bottles this year and am aging another two. I'm excited to see how a bit of age affects this masterpiece. I wasn't too interested in barleywines before I tried this, but they have my attention now. Thank you, Firestone Walker, for another amazing offering.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2014 02:47:12 | More by Bedrocker
Photo of BingCrosby7


4.26/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A This is lighter than I had anticipated--a beautiful burgundy color around the edges, with a deep brown heart. Very interesting color variance with this beer.
S Bourbon barrel is strong on the nose, followed by a caramel almost syrupy aroma. Lightly spiced with stone fruit (plum and cherry) on the backend. Lightly boozy.
T The taste follows the smell--bourbon barrel on the front end with booze following. There's a slight sting, though not in a bad way. Caramelly notes linger in the aftertaste, with a big barley warmth across the palate throughout the entire sip. The booze washes away some of the nuances, which is unfortunately because there are some big notes here. Toffee begins to enter the equation the further into the bottle you get. The cherry notes linger in the end and persevere through the alcohol wash. Much like Parabola, the beer becomes more and more complex the more and more you get into the bottle.
M I'm pleased with the mouthfeel--not too sticky or oily. It is a bit slippery, though the carbonation level is pretty nice and rounds out that aspect of the beer.
O Barleywine is not my go to style; however, this is yet another outstanding offering by Firestone Walker. I love the deep complexity of this beer in that it is not overwhelming or "in your face." It is a subtle, enjoyable drink.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2014 04:31:36 | More by BingCrosby7
Photo of bigbeerfan


4.88/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 220z bomber into an oversized wine glass.

Appearance - Dark mahogany with amber edges. Thin khaki head.

Smell - Sickly sweet vanilla, fig and bourbon.

Taste - Booze. Booze. Booze. Dark fruits and vanilla.

Mouthfeel - Medium to medium heavy with low carbonation.

Overall - This is possibly the best barley wine I've ever had. Definitely a sipper at 13.5%. If you find it... Buy two!

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2014 03:36:32 | More by bigbeerfan
Photo of oldmankoch


4.4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I was simply going to rate the beer but thought it was worth a review after reading a couple others.

I'm not going to go through the review motions and simply wanted to point out that this beer is definitely worth purchasing if it is ever available to you.

I was fortunate to get my hands on this year's 2014 release as my local bottle-shop that I frequent had 5 on hand. (wish they also got parabola which is what I initially asked about) but this is certainly better than nothing!

So the appearance is good but not spectacular. No head and no lacing for me due to very high alcohol.

Smell is killer. Deep caramel, brown sugar, malt, dark cherry, booze, butter, faint bourbon/ oak background.

Tase follows nose excellently.

Mouthfeel is nice thick and chewy with low carbonation.

Overall awesome beer that I really enjoyed and found worth the purchase ($18 at my shop)

I did want to say that as amazing as it is a beer less expensive still retains the top spot for me for English Barleywines. Our Finest Regards by Pretty Things Brewing while not barrel aged represents the top of this style for me to date.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2014 23:20:46 | More by oldmankoch
Photo of kdahnke123


4.35/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2014 Bottling - 004 In Series - 13.5% abv
Poured into a snifter at cellar temperature.
A - Pours a very dark carmel color with almost no head. Very thick, coating the glass well on tipping.
S - A very rich carmel smell, toasted oak, vanilla and a little marshmallow.
T - Boozy! Less sweet than the nose. Carmel, rich medium roast malt and a bite of hops and alcohol at the end.
M - Medium viscous with a moderate amount of carbonation. More so then the pour would indicate.
O - A very good barley wine. A tongue numbing amount of alcohol but very pleasant. Don't plan on doing much after polishing off 22oz of this!

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2014 23:17:40 | More by kdahnke123
Photo of Hophead717


4.21/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Bomber, poured into a CBS snifter.

A: Dark, shows ruby when held to the light. No head, thin lacing along the edges of the glass.

S: Sweet, raisin, significant bourbon, nice.

T: Bourbon upfront, with raisins and dark fruits mid-sip. The finish is a lingering of bourbony-alcohol and raisin.

M: Medium bodied, with moderate carbonation.

O: Not very complex, but what's there is quite tasty.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2014 03:05:54 | More by Hophead717
Photo of deadonhisfeet


4.9/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2012 bottling. Poured from a bottle into a Lost Abbey Teku. The pour is very clear, yet very dark as well. The color is a deep mahogany with intense ruby-red highlights. It sports a thin head (not unusual for barrel-aged beers) which quickly dies down to a thin lace. The nose is spectacular. Lots of rich malt, sweet toffee, vanilla, bourbon, and oak. It's so sweet and rich and full, it defies description. It's like you're standing in a candy factory.

The beer has a very full body and a massive, sweet flavor profile. Up front are intense malt and caramel flavors, quickly followed up by bourbon, vanilla, hazelnuts, cocoa, and molasses. All the sweet flavors associated with the style just unfold perfectly on the palate, but the flavors never get so intense or rich as to betray the drinkability. There is a nicely metered alcohol warmth that greets you at the finish.

Overall, this is an amazing beer. There's nothing else I can compare it to except Bourbon County Brand Barleywine. In a head-to-head, I think I'd choose this one right now. The BCBBW is so unbelievably rich, it's difficult to drink. This one is also rich and intensely flavored, but much more smooth, refined, and balanced. With a little age, BCBBW might be more like this one, but right now it is not and I have to give a tip of the cap to this beer; my own personal champion of English-style Barleywines.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2014 23:59:47 | More by deadonhisfeet
Photo of spinrsx

Ontario (Canada)

4.28/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bomber from the Whole Foods Las Vegas NV for $17 - 2012 edition

Appearance - Hazy brown colour with a good size frothy beige coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some good lacing. The head lasted for around 5-6 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, caramel/butterscotch, dark fruits, leather, anise

Taste & Mouth - There is a below average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, butterscotch/caramel, and dark fruits. There is also some vanilla and a bit of chocolate.

Overall - Love this stuff. My favourite style of beer and an array of flavours to keep it interesting. I'd like a little more barrel flavour, but maybe the taste has faded a little. Pricey, but definetly worth it to try it once at least.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2014 00:31:49 | More by spinrsx
Photo of 4thelvofbeer


3.28/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Opened a 2013 vintage bottle on 18 March 2014.

This beer is good, but not great and in my opinion nowhere near a 100 rating.

Pours a very nice translucent deep brown red. Smell is ok, nothing really outstanding here.

Taste is muted, I can definitely tell it is a barleywine, but other than that nothing that really distinguishes it from your average "good beer". Taste is a bit watery from what I was expecting with this. It would be nice if this beer was a bit thicker.

Overall, very average, nothing really spectacular here. When I see a 100 rating backed up by so many reviews, I expect the beer to be a wow! This beer is nowhere near wow!

This beer is massively overrated and should rate somewhere around the low 90s.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2014 21:32:54 | More by 4thelvofbeer
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
§ucaba (Abacus) from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
100 out of 100 based on 2,987 ratings.