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§ucaba - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

812 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 812
Hads: 4,553
Avg: 4.45
pDev: 20.45%
Wants: 1,254
Gots: 2,661 | FT: 261
Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  12.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: SacoDeToro on 02-21-2008

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)

2014 Bottle Notes
O.G. 27 Plato
F.G. 4.7 Plato
I.B.U. 42 units
Yeast: British Ale (House)
Cases: 3500 produced
Color: 36SRM (Dark Ruby)

Matured for 1 year in a blend of Heaven Hill, 4 Roses, and Old Fitzgerald barrels.
View: Beers (83) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 812 | Hads: 4,553
Reviews by chodinheaven:
Photo of chodinheaven
4.68/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

As it says on the label, it pours a dark ruby color, beautiful and deep, almost opaque until you look at it through a light, which gives it that dark ruby glow. Tight and silky khaki head on top that dissapates to a thin sheet leaving spotty lacing. Comes in a cool collectible box so that suckered the appearance up to a 5 for me. Deep and bourbanesque nose with some toasty booze-soaked oak aromas coming up through the grainish caramelly malts. Lighter hints of raisins and vanilla come through, as well as a hint of earthy hops, rounding out a very nice nose. The vanilla and booze come out more as it warms.

Lots of complex flavors going on in this one, all of which are very tasty. A lot of the aromas translate very well to the taste, with the barrel aging playing a big part in imparting some whiskey-like flavors and a toasty oaky vanilla flavor that is addicting. That combined with hints of raisins and figs that are not quite juicy, but definitely not dry either, create a satisfying mouthfeel that complements the amazing flavors. Caramelly malts are there in the background, giving a great backbone to this monster of a barleywine. These malts are definitely noteworthy, but outshined by the sheer boozy weight of this beer. This booziness is very close to fantastic in short. It's not cloying at all, and although it's remeniscent of mid-grade whiskey, it doesn't leave very much to be desired. Granted, not nearly as boozy as a straight shot of whiskey, but it does add a certain satisfying burn to the feel, followed by a breath of the booze as well. The only reason the taste isn't a 5 for me is because the aftertaste/afterfeel is that of a cheaper whiskey. If I could give the taste a 4.7, I would because it is so well-rounded for what it is. The hops in this one are almost outshined by the fruit and whiskey qualities, but should not be counted out because they are about as present as the sweetness of the malts and hints of vanilla and raisins. They add that last touch of earthiness to the beer to bring the alcohol down to a well-balanced, albeit very present, state. The mouthfeel is surprisingly smooth despite the prickle of the alcohol and slight burn that it brings.

This beer is pretty amazing and complex, all things considered. Smooth but prickly, sweet and yet dry, boozy and yet balanced in its own way. Even a touch fruity. This is the kind of beer that makes me want to brew a barleywine and barrel age it. This beer is huge and not for all, but if you appreciate a good whiskey, bourbon or even scotch, then give this a shot. Its definitely one of the best barleywines I've had. I wish I had bought at least two bottles, leaving one to age and see what it would be like in a year or two. But I couldn't imagine it being much better than it is now. Great beer, pick at least two bottles up if you see it!

 2,847 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of neurobot01
4.27/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 vintage, bomber into a snifter at cellar temp. Still a fair amount of alcohol heat, but the big surprise was the relative dominance of bitter flavors over sweet. All the standard FW flavors are there, though oak and toffee are at the fore. Very nice mouthfeel. Doesn't strike me as obviously better than fresh, though the barrel influence may have mellowed a bit.

 368 characters

Photo of PSU_Mike
5/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm generally against rating beers as 5s. I don't think there is such a thing as a perfect beer. But I'll be damned if I could find a fault in this one. It has a beautiful clear ruby red pour with a nice white head that lingers for a while. Hints of bourbon, vanilla, brown sugar, molasses, and wood explode from the nose and explode on your taste buds. The bourbon is present but not overpowering like other BBA beers I've had. It still allows the other flavors of the beer to shine. It's incredibly smooth and full bodied with the alcohol incredibly well hidden.

While I am not a huge barleywine fan, I do enjoy them from time to time and I can appreciate the style. This one is head and shoulders above the rest. Hell, it's head and shoulders above anything I've had.

 772 characters

Photo of Ciocanelu
4.65/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Very balanced and extremely drinkable for a barleywine. Alcohol is present only in the aftertaste giving a warming sensation as it goes down. The barrel is very present, along with a lot of caramel and even some hops on the finish. Syrupy body, very easy to drink.

 264 characters

Photo of apasternak
4.1/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of the few FW beers that gets better with age

49 characters

Photo of stortore
4.65/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 vintage, 22 ounce bottle into a snifter.

Have not had this before. As soon as you pop the hood, you know this is something special. Smells awesome- malty, coconut, pineapple. a little licorice when it warms. Tastes truly incredible. Sweet, malty, caramel, still getting the coconut. A little boozier as it warms. Nicely carbonated. Coats the tongue, but still feels somewhat light.

This is just a great beer- no surpise really, coming from FW. Hope I'm lucky enough to get the 2015. Hope you are too.

 516 characters

Photo of hopsputin
4.49/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2015 Batch. Drank 3/6/15

a: a murky dark brown color with some deep purple and ruby red notes. no real head, just some off-white bubbles hovering around the side of the glass - probably being kept there by the etching at the bottom of the glass

s: a very rich and luxurious aroma. vanilla, oak, tannins up front. baking chocolate. plums, fig, raisins. dark rich sticky caramel. dark sweet cherries, a very small hint of licorice. ends with the mellow barrel character

t: oak and vanilla tickle the front of the tongue. dark cherries, fig, prunes, raisins. sweet caramel, some of that bitter baking chocolate. there is a tingle of alcohol on the tongue, and it is there on the back end of the flavor along with the (bourbon?) barrel - but it isn't harsh, which is amazing given that this is coming in at 13.3%. very well crafted beer. if left to sit, and the the alcohol mellowed this would be taken to a whole different level

m: surprising light. its medium with a lot more carbonation than i expected. no head, but definitely a bit fizzy in the mouth

o: my impression is that drinking this fresh (as i am) i can tell this beer is extremely well-made, and on its own its really good. very nice base flavors in here that are harmonized well. also the fact that this is 13.3% and drinks as well is it does is super-impressive. well done. i would definitely recommend getting one and sitting on it for at least 1 year. if allowed to blend in the bottle further, this will be something extremely special

 1,522 characters

Photo of Pete_Simpson
3.5/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Too boozy. Need 3 more words to submit review.

46 characters

Photo of MonkeyBread
4.77/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

One of my most sought after beers. Love barley wines. 2013 vintage from the bottle into tulip glass.

Look: box says dark ruby red and that's accurate. Reddish brown, some murkiness, minimal head or lacing. Darker coloring than your typical barley wine.

Smell: amazing! Vanilla, sweet caramel, toffee, coconut, bourbon, tobacco smokiness, leather, can notice a boozy note as well. Very sweet, smells like an incredible dessert laced with liquor.

Taste: burnt sugar, molasses, tobacco, toffee, vanilla, smoke, ripe dark fruits like dates, figs, cherries, bourbon, whiskey, oak. Of the barrel influences the bourbon is most pronounced on the nose while in taste whiskey and oak shines through more. The malt is almost like a scotch whiskey. Most surprising note to me is the smoky, peat-like tobacco flavor, was not expecting that. Really contrasts with the sweetness of the caramel and toffee.

Feel: tad more carbonated than expected. Nice chewy, thick mouth feel. Almost grainy. Pleasant and doesn't get in the way of the many contrasting bold flavors on display in taste and smell.

Overall: the bar was set extremely high here with the top ratings and being a staple of FW's barrel aging program. I think it met those expectations. Perhaps the most complex beer I've had. There's a significant amount of barrel influence in the nose and taste from bourbon, whiskey and oak. And there's a lot of sweetness along with a smoky tobacco flavor that I assume comes from the barrel aging. They all mesh together excellently. This is the top barley wine I've had. FW continues to astound with their skill.

 1,607 characters

Photo of guityler83
4.75/5  rDev +6.7%


A: One finger of head formed when poured from the bomber into a snifter glass and fell in under a minute leaving behind a small ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass. The foam is tan in color and made of medium sized bubbles mostly. Nice alcohol legs are kicked up on the edge of the glass when swirled, but very little foam. The beer is a deep mahogany color and that color only comes through with a back lite.

S: Sweet bourbon dominates the nose with oak and vanilla right behind it, medium levels. Raisins and prunes with sweet plums come next at mild levels. A light spicy hop character. Candy raisins and toffee notes also present. Alcohol is mellow and mostly in the form of bourbon. Nicely developed after the 2 years it was cellared.

T: Wow, beautiful bourbon barrel character. Smooth and tobacco tasting bourbon with vanilla, caramel oak flavor - very developed and up front. Sweetness is kept to a minimum and seems to be reduced by the bourbon. Bitterness is medium with a more neutral hop character. Malty flavors come through as the beer warms up with prunes and plums consistent with the aroma. Some milk chocolate notes come out as well.

M: A big tingly tongue sensation from the bourbon that leads to a nice warming sensation from the alcohol. Carbonation is on the lower side and very complimentary with the style. The tannins from the wood provide a slight drying sensation on the mouth and the body of the beer is in the medium range.

O: Fantastic BA Barley Wine, The barrel is up front with tons of character from the bourbon left over. The alcohol is there, but not offensive or difficult to drink. This beer aged perfectly. I would like to try a fresh version to compare, but as it stands this was superb.

 1,745 characters

Photo of DanGeo
4.19/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of tectactoe
4/5  rDev -10.1%

Photo of DavyJones
3/5  rDev -32.6%

Photo of t2grogan
5/5  rDev +12.4%

Photo of OhioBobcat
4.5/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of CavemanRamblin
4.46/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Runs4Beer
4.5/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of jono0101
5/5  rDev +12.4%

Photo of brownbeer
5/5  rDev +12.4%

Photo of abeerdude
4.75/5  rDev +6.7%

Photo of Schlais
4/5  rDev -10.1%

Photo of cjn40277
4.75/5  rDev +6.7%

Photo of tbryan5
5/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of SanFranJake
5/5  rDev +12.4%

Photo of delaced21
4.25/5  rDev -4.5%

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§ucaba from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
98 out of 100 based on 812 ratings.