§ucaba - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 3,457 | Reviews: 739 | Display Reviews Only:
4.9/5 rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5
It comes in a rusty copper color.
The aroma is a nutty with sweet vanilla, mellow coconut. It has a familiar aroma to BCBS with its oak and vanilla. The sweetness is quite obvious with dark sugary malt with a heavy malt backbone.
The beer hits you with a sweet caramel and maple syrup flavor. Then the pop of fresh vanilla pods smack you and grows all over the mouth. There is a coconut, dark brown sugar. It keeps exploding and changing in flavors with every sip. The end has a big booze and smokey bourbon flavor. The beer is almost like sweet vanilla malty extract.
The body is medium/heavy with low carbonation. A surprising thing about this beer is the easy finish without a cloying sweetness.
The booziness eventually gets quite obvious and in your face. However, the complexity and flavor is almost unmatchable for any beer style. I generally would prefer hops in a barleywine, but this is world class.
However, having this aged from 2012 on tap at Brouwerij Lane, I prefer this fresh. With age, the booze mellows, but as does the big bold flavors. It becomes less complex and bold. Not that it is not still amazing, but I just prefer the wide range of flavors that the fresh one has.
Serving type: on-tap
05-19-2013 22:53:21 | More by dar482
4.73/5 rDev +4.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75
Appearance- Pours up a good amount of head. The foam is a very light tan/ mocha color that produces big bubbles quickly. A good amount of lacing is left on the first pour. The body is a dark chestnut brown with hints of maroon. It glows ruby at the bottom when held up to the light. Very pretty beer.
Nose- The smell alone is delicious. Coconut is the first thing I get but there's so much more than that. Caramel, vanilla, oak, and tobacco. The coconut is the strongest and if the note is any indication of the palate, I am going to love this beer. Toffee notes with butterscotch and honey. Roasted and nutty notes as well. So much going on here. One of the best aromas I've ever experienced.
Taste- Caramel starts the palate off as it moves into vanilla, oak, coconut, tobacco, and smoke. Chocolate- a very dark chocolate ends this up with cherry notes. This is an amazing beer. The heat is very low key which makes this a very dangerous beer (it does creep up on you a little bit in the end). Some peat notes, also bourbon. I think 3 months has served this beer well. It isn't messy at all but still retains lots of complexity as you can tell from the description. Oakiness starts to present itself more and more but not in an overpowering way like Oak Aged Yeti or Vanilla Oatis.
Mouthfeel- Medium bodied but thinner than I expected. A little zip on it. This is probably the only (slightly) negative aspect of this beer.
Drinkability- For 12.5 %, this goes down very easy. The flavor profile makes it dangerous. Plus it's a bargain at 15 bucks (I think I'm going to have to pick up another bottle). I would pay that much for a bottle of wine and this is better than any wine I've ever had.
Overall- Solid A with inclinations toward A+. This is a must try and a steal at the price. I will not hesitate to pick 2 or 3 or however many I can afford next year.
Serving type: bottle
05-19-2013 03:58:03 | More by artoolemomo
4.68/5 rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5
§ucaba, we meet at last... I have dreamt of this beer for eons, and indeed, finally tasting it has been a journey well waited. Poured into a tulip glass from a 22oz bottle. 2013 vintage. No bottling date, but I know this was released in February.
Pours a deep, almost purple ruby, near opaque appearance when set close to the light, and a dark, ruby-red cloudy appearance when held against the light. The initial head on this thing was marvelous, rising completely in the tulip and lasting a good 10-15 minutes before settling down. A ring aggressively persists at the top, which is great given the high ABV. Extremely viscous - maybe the most viscous barleywine I've seen to date, and that's saying a lot. Lacing coats the glass in large droplets, which is astonishing. Bubbles and slight sediment abound inside this, give this a lively, jubilant appearance in midst of the intimidating, thickened look. A work of art.
At the aroma, you get whacked in the face immediately with sweetened, stinging booze, only to follow with a variety of complex and diverse flavors. Juicy brandy notes, vanilla from the bourbon, a touch of American oak, raisins, vinous, caramelized grapes, a buttery, woody finish, and a persistant sweetness that appears to last a good long while. There's an elevated hoppy profile here, to my surprise, often feeling floral, but the sweetened, syrupy malts are the stars here, only separating themselves from the high booze and woody, bourbon/brandy combo. Not necessarily my favorite thing to sniff on (very astringent and harsh at times), but still exquisite.
However, upon taking my first sip, I'm pretty sure my heart skipped a beat. This is absolutely delicious. At first, you get an initial touch of the brandy/bourbon flavors, coated with dried figs, plums, raisins, vanilla, honey, maybe a touch of coconut, combined with well integrated tannins from the oak. Then, as soon as the initial touch of sweetness and fruity complexity passes, you get a stinging yet exciting boozy sensation, combined with syrupy, toasty malts, a little bit of citrus and grassiness, and then a finish that is enormously buttery, thick, and silky - almost to the point where this feels like it's melting right in your mouth. It could be liked to a blood orange cream sorbet, but it's far more complex than that. Simply put, the vanilla, and brandy and bourbon combo combined with the syrupy toasted malts and fruity, resinous profile is unlike anything I've had before. No alcohol burn to speak of. Sticky, dry, slightly astringent, but definitely full bodied. Absolutely hedonistic and decadent to the highest degree. It's a sipper, no doubt, but it all goes down like a charm no matter how much it warms up.
Wow!! I knew people were head over heels in love with this thing, but now after having it I see why. This transcends the barleywine style as we know it, integrating the best of brandy, bourbon, and American white oak flavors, as well as incorporating a British malty goodness with a West Coast hop grassy profile at the finish. Undeniably complex, and I'm kicking myself for not buying a bottle or two extra to see how a vintage this great would end up tasting in a year or two. Not an everyday beer, but undeniably delicious. Can't wait to try Parabola and DDBA as well, and immerse myself with FW's incredible barrel program! This is pivotal for sure. Every fan of barleywines and barrel-aged beers must check it out.
Serving type: bottle
05-18-2013 05:58:49 | More by magictacosinus
§ucaba from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
100 out of 100 based on 3,457 ratings.