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§ucaba - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,737 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,737
Reviews: 754
rAvg: 4.53
pDev: 8.61%
Wants: 1,008
Gots: 2,101 | FT: 181
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)

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)

(Beer added by: SacoDeToro on 02-21-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of §ucaba Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,737 | Reviews: 754 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jhb138
4.25/5  rDev -6.2%

jhb138, Mar 29, 2012
Photo of Dope
4.45/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 2, very fresh.

A: Deep brown and red pour with a smallish tan head. Fades quickly, leaving only dots of lacing here and there.

S: Intense bourbon aroma up front. Stinging alcohol. Tons of toffee, molasses, brown sugar and caramel with a distinctive oaky vanilla. Perhaps a touch of fig underneath it all. Very big aroma in general.

T: Not nearly as bourbon heavy as I expected (thankfully). Wow there is a lot going on here. Up front there is some stinging bourbon with heavy toffee and oak. Then it sweetens out with lots of caramel and brown sugar. Touch of cocoa in the middle brings just a bit of bitterness. Lingering booze with figs and perhaps dates (perhaps even cherries?) in the aftertaste.

M: Big, thick, syrupy, smooth with a decent bite from the bourbon. At the same time, not too hot.

O: Wow, is all I can say. This is a big bourbon and malt extravaganza. It's boozy, sweet, complex yet surprisingly balanced. I thought the bourbon would overpower it from the smell but it does not, it just compliments all the flavors nicely. By far the best english barleywine I've had.

Dope, Mar 28, 2012
Photo of Holland
4.4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 release - §ucaba/Sucaba.

A: pours brown so dark you can only tell it's brown by holding it up to the light with a minimal head that refreshes with each sip.

S: smell is straight bourbon sweetness and all the oak, brown sugar, and some of the alcohol that comes with it. Slight cardboard smell worried me a bit.

T: bourbon again, with vanilla, oak, sweetness, and even some slight malt taste and dark fruits.

M: silky smooth with medium-light carbonation and a medium-heavy body. Great feeling.

O: great beer overall, and the barrel aging no doubt added to the beer. I'm curious to see how it ages even though the consensus is that one should drink it fresh. ~$15 per bottle.

Holland, Mar 28, 2012
Photo of ZackH
5/5  rDev +10.4%

ZackH, Mar 27, 2012
Photo of calcnerd
5/5  rDev +10.4%

calcnerd, Mar 26, 2012
Photo of animortician
4.25/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Deep Brown with a little hint of red in there. Fairly good clarity. When poured a head didn't have much chance at survival.

S: Rich, Bourbon, Sweet, Malty, not much hops

T: This was my first real experience with a barley wine that isn't hoppy. I was hopping for something that had a backbone to back up the sweet, boosy, bourbon barrel aged flavor. Not the case with this one. Tasted a lot like a bourbon BA stout. Maybe this is just my vigrin taste buds to this style, but I thought it could have had a little more hop presence to round it out and still remain in the bounderies of English Barleywine.

M: Thick, Smooth, low carbonation

O: Great beer. Had a hard time finishing the whole bottle even with the help of a friend. I want to try it again and this time with an open mind and with a better idea of what to expect.

animortician, Mar 26, 2012
Photo of HopHeads1506
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

HopHeads1506, Mar 26, 2012
Photo of crossovert
4.68/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

650ml bottle 2012 vintage.

It pours a dark reddish brown with a fizzy but foamy tan head that actually sticks for a little bit and then recedes with no lacing.

The smell is great. Boozy and boubony, I am beginning to like hotter beers with more of a bourbon kick. This one has an ample malt and barelywine backing though, a ton of dark fruit, rich malt flavors, and a bit of hops shine through. The yeast character is indeed English giving it a profile that isn't often had in big BA barleywines, usually they are more american yeast tinged.

This one is really thick, wow. It has a good vanilla, coconut, and oak vibe that is the main hit I am getting. Instead of boozy this one is as velvety smooth as it gets at first sip. The sweetness is never too cloying but it creeps up with the alcohol as you go. Nice hop, tobacco, and dark fruit flavors as well as a great malt bill. The bourbon itself is readily noticeable lending a spirit-like vibe.

This is an exhibition of how to make a bourbon aged beer.

crossovert, Mar 26, 2012
Photo of LockeSD
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

LockeSD, Mar 26, 2012
Photo of mctizzz
4.95/5  rDev +9.3%

mctizzz, Mar 26, 2012
Photo of Stunner97
5/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearnce- dark brown to to dark amber/red/brown, light thin tan head quickly fades away to only the rim of the glass, almost no carbonation what so ever

Smell- tons of vanilla, oak, sweet malts, just such and appeasing appetizing nose can really pull a ton of oak,

Taste- wow just so delicious and so balance, nice faint hops provide a balance at the end with little gentle kiss of alcohol, notes of chocolate and vanilla just so delicious delectable balanced

Mouthfeel- so surprisingly light and smooth makes it go down so easy

Overall/Drinkability- this is overall probably one of the best beers I have had in an extremely long time, its just so incredible balanced even with out any age, the oak has been masterfully integrated into a delicious and smooth ale of high abv. but amazingly drinkable, well worth seeking out I find this to be a master piece, as well as this is rated i find it underrated, seek it and horde it good stuff, almost reviewed this just under perfect but said to myself for the style how could this be better my answer was it couldnt be , this is perfect if not best beer i have ever had in my top 5 and certainly the best of they style, incredible, this beer made me forget the world around me and smile when something can do that its brilliance : )

Stunner97, Mar 25, 2012
Photo of Damian
4.03/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Drank from a 1 pint, 6 fluid ounces (650ml) bottle
Reserve series 2011/No. 001
Served in a snifter

The liquid poured a slightly oily, dark and cloudy, crimson-mahogany color. It actually looked a bit murky and flat in the glass. A thin film of tan colored bubbles coated the liquid. The crown quickly dissipated to a clingy ring of froth.

The aroma was quite impressive. Sweet and boozy. Bourbon notes came through strong. Lots of caramel, toffee and brown sugar. Good amount of vanilla. Some coconut. Dark fruits were also noticeable. Raisins and plums were most apparent. A touch oaky.

On the front end, the flavor profile was quite similar to the nose. Rich caramel and toffee notes dominated. Lots of vanilla. Strong dose of raisins and dark fruits. Somewhat nutty in the center. The beer turned sharper and less flavorful as it moved along the palate. It finished quite hot with an excessive amount of oak and tannins. Slight metallic notes were also detectible. Overall, a bit disappointing.

The mouthfeel was frothy, creamy and smooth, yet much thinner than I was anticipating for the style. The liquid contained a fine, moderate effervescence. As the beer sat, it lost a good amount of carbonation. Toward the end of the glass, the liquid was nearly flat.

§ucaba (Abacus) is a respectable English Barleywine style ale, but it definitely does not live up to the hype surrounding it. Perhaps a bit more aging would help smooth out some of its rough edges.

Damian, Mar 25, 2012
Photo of kdown
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

kdown, Mar 24, 2012
Photo of laxer8811
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

laxer8811, Mar 24, 2012
Photo of dav
5/5  rDev +10.4%

dav, Mar 24, 2012
Photo of homebrewhawk
4.4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 Scuba Steve edition. 22oz bottle served in a snifter. Poured a clear reddish brown with a quickly dissipating head. Lots of chocolate and vanilla in the aroma along with a bit of alcohol and some hops. Really complex flavor with more chocolate and a bit of bourbon from the barrels. Not as boozy as the nose might suggest. Medium bodied without much carbonation. Really long finish of chocolate. Way to easy drinking for 12.5 ABV! Fantastic.

homebrewhawk, Mar 24, 2012
Photo of 3rdto1st
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

3rdto1st, Mar 23, 2012
Photo of cbutova
4.38/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012, batch 2.

A- Dark brown hue into a pint glass with ruby red around the edges. Light tan head forms with a creamy texture and decent retention. Lace is hard to come by but there are a few spots.

S- Smooth for a 12.5% barrel aged Barleywine. Complex mix of caramel malt, butter, mellowed bourbon vanilla oak, roast cocoa malt hints, cherry dark fruit and brown sugar sweets.

T- A bit darker here, the chocolate and roast hints come through. Smooth balance of oak barrel, whiskey, brandy? something like plum dark fruit, caramel, raisin and vanilla. The oak and caramel are what keep coming back to my palate.

MF- Creamy feel to a nice full body. Carbonation is moderate and there is a definite alcohol warmth.

cbutova, Mar 23, 2012
Photo of kojevergas
3.08/5  rDev -32%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Served on-draught into a snifter at Firestone Walker's taproom in Paso Robles (NOT tasting room) on its grand opening day. This was my first beer there as I was really excited to try it given its reputation. Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours no head at all. Not even a floater about the edges. Colour is a murky dark caramel brown-black; maybe black cherry (though that makes it sound far more appealing than it is). Not horribly appealing.

Sm: Fruit esters - perhaps cherry. Mulled wine, spice, a bit of vinegar, and fresh yeast. An attractive aroma. Mild in strength.

T: Black cherry alongside almond, alcohol, caramelized malt, and other clean malts. Decently balanced but far from impressive. Decently built, but nothing to write home about. How did this beer get such a good reputation? Very strange as a barleywine, and not in a good or experimental way. Warm alcohol comes through. Neither complex nor subtle.

Mf: Smooth and wet, suiting the flavours okay. Far from good. Not tailored to the flavours by any stretch. Way too thin for the style. Fails to adequately support the flavours.

Dr: Drinkable but not exceptional. Hardly hides its ABV at all. I expected far better given its reputation. I wouldn't have it again. People pay $20.00 a bottle for this? Trade your bottles away, lads. Get something worth your time.

I really hope this gets better with age. This isn't worth seeking out. As a fan of barleywines, I'm very disappointed.


kojevergas, Mar 23, 2012
Photo of JebediahScooter
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

JebediahScooter, Mar 23, 2012
Photo of Marty30
4.48/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip at 55 degrees. First edition Abacus (2011).

A. Dark brown a little bit muddy looking. 1 finger of off-white head reduces to a spotty cap. No lacing on the glass.

S. Nice bourbon notes come through with an underlying scent of figs and dates. Sweet brown sugar and a touch of vanilla.

T. Bourbon soaked ripe fruit. Kind of sweet but certainly not overbearing at all,very well balenced. In the finish I get a bit of vanilla and oak.

M. Full bodied creamy feel,nice and heavy. Leaves a pleasant aftertaste but it does not linger long.

Overall this is a homerun in my eyes! Awesome beer,very balenced and not to sweet slight bit of alchohol heat. I hear this is best fresh I can only imagine how awesome if this is true!

Marty30, Mar 22, 2012
Photo of PeterIngemi
4.73/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured the 2012 vintage from its 22 oz bottle into a duvel snifter.

A: pours beautiful and dark dark brown, almost amber brown hues can be seen around the edges when the glass is held to a light. Nice almost finger with a off white caramely-brown head that dissapates nicley and leaves a bit of lacing, looks deep dark and sticky!

S- Very deep, and alluring , I detect some burbon right off, but it is not as dominant as I expected, but rather a nice blend with all the other aromas, chocolate, toasty vanilla, hints of caramel, a faint touch of smoke... Dark cherry, alcohol, so complex...

T- just as amazingly complex... If not even more so then the nose. It Seems here that the burbon steps out a bit further then it did in the nose, blending with caramel and toasty vanilla. To me it progresses like this, dark caramel/toffee into a toasty vanilla, with a you h ooze and dark cherry on the finish. A nice warm roasty oak comes through in the middle with the vanilla leaving an almost coconut note as the warming alcohol kicks in. I could go on for days.... Phenomonial

M- medium bodies with lower carbonation, bit not as sticky and syrupy as inexpected... In a good way.... Finishes dry, velvety and slightly viscous. For what it is I feel as though this beer, as much as it is a sipper is incredibly drinkable.

O- at this point I would have to say this is THE BEST barrel aged barleywine I have ever drank.

PeterIngemi, Mar 22, 2012
Photo of VelvetExtract
4.65/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a darkish brown with crimson highlights. This is truly a beautiful beer. The overall coloring is splendid. Also, the head is well-formed. Head does die down but still manages to retain most of its former glory. Plentiful amounts of lacing...

S-The bourbon is extremely pronounced. Oak, vanilla, and plenty of sweet additions a la caramel, brown sugar, molasses, and liqueur-dipped fruitiness. A very strong nose. Alcohol is more than evident. Extremely aromatic. Sweet, ultra-complex, and downright enticing.

T-My lord what a delicious flavor. As if someone dipped the richest caramel into a vat of Pappy Van Winkle. The flavor is very concentrated. Oak and vanilla extract. Just such a rich, loaded flavor. It is exceptionally enjoyable. The barrel-aging has made this brew a masterpiece.

M-Big, luscious body. Carbonation is mild. Alcohol is drying, akin to a liqueur. Sweet and creamy. Great feel. Body matches the flavor.

O/D-This is an excellent big beer. Incredibly rich, incredibly complex, and incredibly flavorful. One of the best beers I have had in recent memory. Perhaps the best Barleywine I have ever had.

VelvetExtract, Mar 22, 2012
Photo of roblund
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

roblund, Mar 21, 2012
Photo of Drinkerofales
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 Reserve Series No. 002

Pours clear dark brown, with serious purple-red streaks in the light. A light tan head forms from very tiny bubbles that leave no lacing, but that's no surprise at 12.5%.

Smell is bourbon right off the bat, rich, a bit of vanilla, smoky wood, some deep malt hidden in there, with some booze, and a touch of leather.

Flavor is huge, with some sweet caramel malt, wood, hint vanilla, and a bourbony finish.

Feels velvety smooth with a touch of alcohol burn, appropriate for this beer. It's almost thick and viscous, and warms my stomach as I progress.

Almost all bourbon on the nose, but more subtle in the flavor. Great balance and an awesome beer. Perhaps this should be shared, as a bottle to myself made me sleepy, and gave me lingering effects the next day.


Drinkerofales, Mar 20, 2012
§ucaba from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
100 out of 100 based on 3,737 ratings.