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§ucaba - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

4,205 Ratings

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Ratings: 4,205
Reviews: 809
rAvg: 4.52
pDev: 8.41%
Wants: 1,177
Gots: 2,444 | FT: 240
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: 4,205 | Reviews: 809
Photo of denimdemon
4.25/5  rDev -6%

Photo of chodinheaven
4.68/5  rDev +3.5%
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!

Photo of Jhatwig
5/5  rDev +10.6%

Photo of cgrz
5/5  rDev +10.6%

Photo of CoryR
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

Photo of Evan
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

Photo of paslaugh
4.75/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of zeledonia
4.74/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2011 vintage (the last one called Abacus). Poured into a tulip.

Pours very deep amber. Looks like a typical barleywine on its way out of the bottle, but becomes nearly opaque in the glass. With light behind it, that same rusty amber re-appears. Half a finger of cream-colored head, gone fast, little lacing.

Has that amazing richness, warmth, and sweetness that good barrel-aged barleywines have, but there's something more here. The higher, sharper notes of the bourbon blend smoothly into the big fruity malt base. Plums, cherries, and other dark fruits abound. Vanilla oak notes float above it. Divine. One of those beers that made me say "wow" at first sniff.

Taste is much like the smell, only with some slightly sharper edges. Loads of dark fruits, dates more prominent here. Again it's quite oaky, with an impressively smooth bourbon twist throughout. Delicious, and amazingly mellow for such a big strong beer.

Mouthfeel is excellent. Heavy and sticky, but with more carbonation than I often find in barleywines. That fizz keeps the flavors moving, allowing me to savor them even more.

To date, the best barleywine I've had. Looking forward to drinking a few other bottles I have on deck to compare to it (King Henry, Mother of All Storms), but if they're better than this, I will be thoroughly impressed. I don't generally like barrel-aged beers, but I could drink this stuff for days (if it weren't 13%... is it really 13%? I get no alcohol burn at all). I need to get myself some more of this.

Photo of Jaycase
4.77/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

a: dark mahagony. small tan head which goes away quickly.

s: strong bourbon presence. some vanilla, malts and plum/raisin

t: so much going on here. and impressively at that. bourbon is not as intense as one would think given the aroma presence. starts with the bourbon and vanilla. then a sweetness comes in midway and then finishes with a bit of a malt taste with dark fruits

m: very smooth, low carbonation.

o: fantastic. delicious. incredibly drinkable. so well balanced - it doesn't drink hot at all, which given the aroma is impressive. two thumbs up.

Photo of PEIhop
4.75/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of TheBishopco
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

Photo of Massbmx
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

Photo of DelicateDelirium
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

Photo of brureview
4.82/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I enjoy smelling a beer with cap or cork off,
A powerful plum-bourbon smell arose from the bottle.

Poured in a tulip, the color was a light-brown with hops noticeable on the top. The mouth feel was mild- suitable for a strong alcohol presence, which at 13% is a bit overwhelming.

The finish was a marvelous blend of alcohol, plum, and a fusing of bourbon from the casks. The plum-bourbon finish improves with warming.

I was looking forward to drinking this great beer.
Drink this beer warm- it's the only way to fully experience its subtle intertwining of flavors.

Photo of Elfastball7
5/5  rDev +10.6%

Photo of AApparel
4.75/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of Durb777
4.75/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of ASUBeer
4.25/5  rDev -6%

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.59/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review from 3/2011 notes. Poured into a Nostradamus flute glass. Pours a very dark red brown with a light head and minimal lacing. Very nice aroma of bourbon, malt and oak. Flavor follows with malts, dark fruit, bourbon, vanilla, oaky middle and boozy oaky bourbon finish that melds all the flavors together. Very nicely done. The booze is a little assertive, but I think this will be superb if aging tones down the alcohol. Still delicious and very well made.

Photo of egrace84
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

Photo of n00blar
5/5  rDev +10.6%

Photo of ms11781
4.39/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 2. 22oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours a murky, deep mahogany color. There is minimal foam produced, even from a strong pour. A thin ring does form around the edges of the glass but it doesn't hang around very long.

There is a ton going on in the nose here. And it's strong too. Nice bourbon up front. Really big, but not harsh. There is a huge sweetness, caramel and toffee, almost candy-like. Some light oak and vanilla come through. All the aromas are very well integrated and provide a pretty complex experience.

The taste is equally exceptional as the nose. Very nice bourbon that actually seems a bit more mellow than in the nose, which is unexpected, but not necessarily a bad thing. Some brown sugar is added to the caramel and toffee mix pushing the sweetness about as far as it can go without being unpleasant. The oak and vanilla go hand in hand here as well but they are drawn out a bit more, especially as the beer warms. There is a nice, pleasant warming at the back of the throat with each sip.

The body is huge. Thick and viscous, almost chewy at times. Very low carbonation combined with the body make the beer feel enormous.

This is an excellent barrel aged barleywine. Huge flavors and aromas that are intertwined so that nothing becomes overwhelming and nothing gets lost in the shuffle. Everything seems carefully balanced. I felt the same way about the original bottle (Abacus) when fresh and not so much a couple weeks ago when I had a second bottle. After having this fresh again so close to the aged bottle it makes me realize that the balance is so good when fresh that aging it might not do it any good.

Photo of jhb138
4.25/5  rDev -6%

Photo of Dope
4.44/5  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.

Photo of Holland
4.38/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

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§ucaba from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
100 out of 100 based on 4,205 ratings.