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§ucaba - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

3,987 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,987
Reviews: 771
rAvg: 4.53
pDev: 8.39%
Wants: 1,101
Gots: 2,207 | FT: 202
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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,987 | Reviews: 771 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of megahurts4
3.97/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Firestone Abacus 2011

Appearance: dark brownish red, small head, and a little lacing.

Smell: malty grain and slight fruit.

Taste: vanilla, heavy malt, faint fruit, and a dry bitterness.

Mouthfeel: medium-light and dry.

This is a good brew. It is very complex, yet dry with a faint bitterness. The flavor comes and leave fast.

Photo of bifrost17
5/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of kaelingirl
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of tobelerone
4.47/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My 600th review and it’s a good one. Finally cracked open my bottle of Sucaba a few months after its release. I’m not the biggest fan of barleywines generally speaking and find myself leaning towards the English style when I do enjoy them. Needless to say this one was exceptional and one of the best in the style I’ve had, period.

Pours a somewhat murky, dark brown color with a small head that settles down fairly quickly. Lacing is sticky and web-like. Complex aroma of rum-soaked raisins; vanilla, oak, brown sugar and caramel, lots of other dark fruits and fumy alcohol.

Delicious flavor! Again there is a wide array of tastes, with prominent booziness and bourbon but not necessarily excessive heat; caramel, toffee, and vanilla, lots of raisins, dates, prunes, and figgy notes. Some nice woody, oaky flavors as well. Bitterness is very moderate with the hops kept mostly at bay by the other flavors, a fact I appreciated.

Sticky and medium-full in body, with moderate, smooth carbonation. Nicely creamy, with lingering booze and sweetness in the finish. A tremendous drinking experience overall.

Photo of vrbulldog22
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of mtlasley
4.52/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Finally broke into it with my friend. Hype'd up but I'm trying to make it past it.

Appearance: Sucaba pours a really dark reddish amber. A slightly muddled mahogany but when held the light it's quite clear. There's almost a purple hue inside. It's quite mesmerizing. A beige finger head is gone in a flash.

Smell:Oak, bourbon, chocolate, coffee and fig are all here and are dissected easily. It's really sweet smelling but the burn of alcohol is still slightly present on the finish.

Taste: The powerful flavors of oak, bourbon and figs stand up front and mix together well while easily being taken apart. As she crosses the center of the tongue, caramel and a flavor of pie crust start to shine. They're quickly cut out but chocolate and oak rounding out the back. The alcohol is just barely there throughout it all. Remarkably smooth for 12.5%

Mouthfeel. There's a lot of substance here. It's quite meaty and full. Absolutely amazing.

Overall: It's good but I've hyped it up a bit much. Still, I'm delighted I was able to get the bottle and it's a wonderful stylistic picture. The folks at Firestone Walker have done it again.

Photo of EzraAtom
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of vitters03
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of ThirstyD
5/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of starrdogg
4.42/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 and 2012 served side-by-side. The scores above reflect just the 2012 bottle, but I will discuss both below.

The two vintages look nearly identical, a dark reddish-brown with a small white head. The smell is where things start to diverge: the 2012 aroma is fantastic, full of oak and bourbon combined with brown sugar and maybe even some dark fruits. The 2011 aroma is nice, but not nearly as impressive. The bourbon and oak are more subdued and instead it's got more of the standard English barleywine aroma of raisins standing out. The 2012 gets a 4.5, the 2011 gets a 4. The flavor follows the nose in both cases. The 2012 had much brighter flavors with the oak and bourbon mixing in very nicely with the dark fruits and malts of the barleywine, while the bourbon and oak really have faded to the background in the 2011. 2011 tastes more like a standard English barleywine with a little bit of age on it, much mellower and more subtle. Again, I'd give the 2012 a 4.5, the 2011 a 4. Mouthfeel is largely the same in both cases, medium-to-full bodied with decent carbonation. Overall, I think the 2012 really stands out as the superior beer here, while the 2011 is merely good, not outstanding. I had the 2011 fresh and loved it, and the beer just has really fallen off over time. I guess the lesson learned here is not to age this beer - drink it fresh!

Photo of Bilco
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of G-Hawk
5/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of BigE90
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of BenH1068
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of williamjbauer
4.85/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottle served in a sniffer

A - Brown garnet with 2 finger khaki head with excellent lacing and great retention

S - Bourbon, molasses, caramel, cherry, dark fruits, oak, heaven

T - Rich molasses sugary flavor with intense bourbon warming notes. Aroma permeates the flavor and the dark fruits are very much present and lovely. Woody oak and a warming alcohol finish. Vanilla, malt, bread, brown sugar, cherry notes to boot!

M - Medium body with moderate carbonation, smooth, chewy finish.

O - This beer is so complex and wraps around your palate like a warm blanket. Among the finest Barleywines I've tried and would make an awesome gift in the winter. Glad to share this with Vince.

Photo of mfavoino
4.54/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance: Rich brown-ruby color with a small off-white head that receded quickly.

Smell: Big bourbon aroma, dark fruits, cherry, and wood. Aroma jumped out of the glass and was intense. One of the better smelling beers I've had the chance to taste.

Taste: Follows the nose with sweet dark fruits and brown sugar with a distinct bourbon character. Super rich dark malts with a touch of vanilla and caramel to add to the complexity.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full-bodied with low carbonation. Slight alcohol warming and dries as it finishes.

Overall: Tons of flavor here. Peeled off new layers as I went along and felt like the bourbon added a ton to the already delicious flavor. Not too boozy for the abv. Grab a few bottles of this one.

Photo of vobr0002
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of MrVonzipper
4.47/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Almost clear dark ruby color with a pretty nice light tan head with spotty lacing. 

Nose is pretty amazing. Big bright varied fruits. Great Caramel apple character. Just a touch boozy along the lines of brandy. 

Flavor is great as well. Immediately I got caramel apple again to start. Then transitions to mildly sweet then a touch heat from alcohol. Wide range of rum/brandy soaked fruit. Very nice mild sweet toasted sugar aftertaste. 

Mouthfeel is medium, but light bodied IMO for the style. Medium-high creamy carbonation. 

Overall a fantastic barleywine. An easy drink with huge character. 

Photo of 2dogbrew
4/5  rDev -11.7%

Photo of mmurphy525
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of resistdefy
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of sjverla
4.47/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nose: Cherry, vanilla and booze. Very strong, slightly woody. Lots of dark fruits - plum jam and currants.

Appearance: Caramel-mahogany. Hints of bing cherry. No head but a little bit of lacing.

Taste: Surprisingly mellow. Exceptionally smooth. Chocolate and cherry. Semi-dry cocoa powder feel. The alcohol is there, but definitely subdued. Hints of vanilla and bourbon.

Overall: My God! So smooth. Elegant in its simplicity and so well made. This ended up being my 100th review by accident. I had gotten it to celebrate the end of a major project at work - and it just so happened to coincide with completing my first century.

Photo of Koltar
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of rapidsequence
4.22/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle. $16 from Neds. 2012 vintage. Poured into a snifter.

Appearance: Pours a pretty dark, but clear to light, purplish amber color. A bit of a light brown head fades pretty quickly. A few spots of lacing.

Smell: Dark fruit with raisins and cherries. A sweet, cupcake-like bready smell. A bit of cocoa, but no roast. Caramel. Bourbon, oak, vanilla. Very nice.

Taste: Its tasty and complex, but its got some slightly unpleasant heat. Fruity, sweet and cakelike, with big delicious bourbon flavor, but some fairly harsh and hot burning on the back of the tongue. When the heat fades, the aftertaste is fantastic.

Mouthfeel: Starts wonderfully smooth and slick, but the pure ethanol burn is drying and thinning. Again, after its gone, the long finish is nice.

Overall: This is close to being outstanding. Despite the heat and burning, its really damn good. Probably needs a year or three.

Photo of tut2528
4.58/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a extremely dark ruby red with about 1 fingers worth of head formation upon an semi-aggressive pour. Head dissipates rather quickly, thin film remains. Lacing is decent at best

S:Huge sweet toffee, vanilla and bourbon notes dominate. Brown sugar is in nice harmony with darker fruits such as plums, figs and raisins. Oak is present in there as well. A slight burn of alcohol is also noticeable after the initial pour but after it warms up a bit it comes on stronger, but not to a point where its dominating.

T: Huge bourbon right up front. Immediately followed up by brown sugar, caramelized toffee, vanilla and dark fruits of plums, raisins (very similar to the nose). Oak is also in moderate amounts pushing the beer to a more complex level. Towards the end of brew I pick up on some dark cocoa notes which is followed up by a creamy after taste. Alcohol is also evident in the taste throughout the beer (more subtle than the nose).

M: Perfect. Very medium-full bodied and leaves a nice creamy feel in the mouth prompting myself to take another drink

O: I thought this beer was excellent. Very well balanced and the complexity was perfect. The only thing that is holding this one back from all 5s is the noticeable alcohol. However, some aging should do the trick with this one. And since KH is retired, this one will make a pretty damn good substitute.

§ucaba from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
100 out of 100 based on 3,987 ratings.