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§ucaba - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
§ucaba§ucaba

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

3,735 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,735
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
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Ratings: 3,735 | Reviews: 754 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Simmy7000
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber into Founder's Snifter glass

A- Pours a dark brown with a thin tan head that disappears as quickly as it arrived. When held up to light it shines a beautiful dark ruby color. A large amount of floaties are present throughout the beer. No lacing is present as drinking commences.

S- Large oak/bourbon along with dark fruit notes take center stage with some toffee, coffee, and vanilla hiding in the background. Hints of booze to remind you this is a monster of a beer.

T- Extremely complex blend of sweet caramel, chocolate, dark fruits, and coffee all sprinkled over a very large oak/bourbon backbone. A smooth, creamy vanilla is faintly evident throughout each taste. Everything is in harmony with no single component distracting from the others. A great warming presence from the alcohol, leading to a faint burn as the glass makes its way to room temperature.

M- Pretty heavy body but a decent amount of carbonation gives this beer a creamy, smooth mouthfeel. The heavy body and building alcohol warmth/burn as this beer warms make this a great sipper.

O- What a treat it is to drink this beer. A skillfully crafted beer this is very complex and a pleasure to sip on throughout the night. Glad I have a few more to try for the long Chicago winter ahead of me.

Simmy7000, Oct 26, 2011
Photo of afdempse
4.9/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Huhzubendah for the bottle!

Pours a deep ruby color with an espresso crema head. Head retention and lacing are unheard of for a beer of this strength.

Aroma of bourbon, dark fruits, and oak. Very nice!

Extraordinarily complex blend of bourbon, oak, vanilla, tobacco, leather, and more. The flavors swirl together in a way that is completely harmonious and complementary. Alcohol is there, but in a way that enhances completely and never distracts.

Silky smooth and velvety mouthfeel. Creamy, with just enough carbonation. Hops provide a nice balancing support in the back end that keeps things in check and doesn't allow for the sweetness to enter cloying territory.

Overall, one of the most enjoyable beers I've ever had. A shining example of the level of flavor that can be achieved through the use of bourbon barrels. Delicious.

afdempse, Oct 23, 2011
Photo of LiquidBread219
3.68/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A= Dark Ruby, just like the label said. Thin white head that disappears quick no lacing.

S= The nose is pretty complex. Sweet caramel, vanilla, some dark fruit, bourbon, and molasses. It also seems like there is some toasted malt in undertone of this beer.

T= The main thing that jumps out for me is the bourbon and vanilla they are pretty strong in the taste and really come through. I also pick on the molasses and dark fruit like figs or something like that. Nice roasted malt is the backbone in this beer.

M= I would say this is a Full bodied beer, with low carbonation.

O= Overall, I would say this is a very good barleywine and was perfect for a cold Oct. night. This is definitely a sipping beer and gets better as it warms up.

LiquidBread219, Oct 22, 2011
Photo of fsvan
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into New Belgium globe.

A- Dark ruby says the bottle. Seems about right. Rather dark. White thick, smooth head.

S- Caramel, oak, vanilla, bourbon. Slight alcohol. A cherry like tartness

T- Much like the nose. A big dose of caramel. Bourbon, vanilla. The alcohol is present.

M- Thick, mouth-coating. Well carbonated.

O- Pretty exceptional beer.

fsvan, Oct 22, 2011
Photo of OWSLEY069
4.68/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 2011

Pours a deep amber to black in color with a light tan head. In the aroma, bourbon, vanilla, and oak. In the taste, mellow bourbon, and notes of dark fruit, oak, vanilla, and alcohol. A small bite, however mainly smooth, with a medium to bigger bodied mouthfeel, and a dryer alcohol and oaky aftertaste. Big bourbon, although the aftertaste is lacking, but fantastic otherwise.

OWSLEY069, Oct 19, 2011
Photo of draheim
4.43/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle (2011 batch) poured into a snifter. Pours a reddish cola brown with a light tan head that dissipates pretty quickly to a thin film on the surface.

Aroma is bourbon, vanilla, and oak. Booze is really strong with this one.

Taste follows nose. Lots of bourbon, less vanilla & oak. Alcohol is present but not overpowering. Flavors move around a bit, nice complexity.

Just like w/ Parabola, a quick swirl of the snifter brings a bright flash of buttery, caramely bubbles up to the surface. Nice burst of bourbony aroma follows.

Overall a really good barleywine. Really sweet, great for slow sipping on a cold October night.

draheim, Oct 18, 2011
Photo of Reagan1984
4.6/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fun review to write. I’ve had this beer two times before today and I already know I love it. Time to enjoy some and finally post a review. Firestone makes some great beers and this is certainly one of them.

Even with an aggressive pour you still only get a ¼ inch of light tan wispy head. This quickly fades to a thin ring of foam around the edge. Some foam clings to the glass here and there. Almost appears to be more legs vs. lacing…. The beer has that barleywine ruby tone within the deep amber color.

The aroma is heaven. Layers of chewy sweet caramel, vanilla, some dark fruit. And some toasty goodness in the background from some nice malt.

The flavors here are so deep and fairly complex. Lots going on. Vanilla, coconut, again chewy caramel. A hint of dark fruits. Layers of toasty malt again mix with the caramel. Somehow this reminds me of something in the bread basket at an extremely high end restaurant. Sometimes they have a crusty/toasty sweet bread with some dark fruit in it. The different flavor components all meld in a wonderful way here. The warming sense of alcohol is really nice and wonderfully rounds. Not hot, just warming.

Velvet like again warming in your through and heart.

A bottle to share a beer to savor. A treat any time you have the chance.

Reagan1984, Oct 16, 2011
Photo of 1Adam12
4.4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark mahogany color. Strong nose. Lots of vanilla and caramel, bourbon, alcohol. Tastes very good. Vanilla and carmel, quite a bit of bourbon. Nice balance. The bourbon doesn't dominate to dissipate the flavors from the barleywine. Very creamy and full. Slightly carbonated, possibly over carbonated IMO. Overall this was very good. I love that it is balanced and that the bourbon doesn't dominate. My main quarrel with BA barleywines is that the oak and bourbon take away from the flavors of the beer itself. This is nice.

1Adam12, Oct 16, 2011
Photo of bonkers
4.8/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I poured from a bomber into a snifter, dark black pour with a slight white head, light lacing. The aroma has notes of oak , and vanilla, and a ton of dark fruit. The beer was definitely fruity(figs and dates), oak, vanilla, and a pleasant amount of booziness. It has a lingering fruity finish. The beer is full bodied, nice carbonatin and easy drinking for the ABV. An exceptional brew.

bonkers, Oct 16, 2011
Photo of xpimptastikx
3.8/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown, ruby highlights, thin sheet of off white head.
S - Brown sugar, raisins, and alcohol.
T - Molasses, vanilla, figs, leather, and alcohol.
M - Creamy carb and dry, with a warming sensation.
O - A slight let down. The nose is pretty one dimensional, and the alcohol is detected pretty easily. Definitely not the best BA English Barleywine, but pretty good.

xpimptastikx, Oct 14, 2011
Photo of kingcrowing
4.15/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber poured into a snifter. 2011 bottle, batch 001.

Pours a dark mahogany/red with a super small head, basically just some light lacing around the rim. Nose is boozy, malty, rich dark fruit its sweet and earthy.

Taste is amazing, smooth and crisp, not boozy at all, butterscotch all day on the finish, it's rich and complex, dark fruits and candidate sugar flavors, oaky vanilla notes as well, very good.

kingcrowing, Oct 14, 2011
Photo of hdelavega
4.8/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This one was sent to me by BeerThursdays, thanks Jay.
Poured to a snifter, deep brownish red almost a plumb color it held a half finger light tan head for about a minute that dissolved thin film and then to nothing.
Very rich aroma. Very sweet, dark fruits, burnt sugar and carmal. Just a little bit of alcohol.
First sip is I get a lot of sweet flavors blended together. Lots of sweet malt, tart strawberry, tiny bit of bitterness there is defiantly some alcohol in the finish which is paired with oak flavors.
Mouth feel is super smooth, silky, the flavors really envelop the entire mouth.
Overall this is a fantastic beer, defiantly the best barleywine I've had to date.

hdelavega, Oct 10, 2011
Photo of NickRivers
4.93/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A&S - Pours a unique brownish ruby, with a bubbly thin tan head that pleasantly sits on top. Smells of dark malt, alcohol, woodiness, dark cherry, little raisin, nice vanilla, toffee, as well as a few spices.

T&M - Hits super sweet, and immediately you get that dark fruit, cherry vanilla flavor that builds to a wonderful woody alcohol burn that forms this amazing mouthgasm. Very nice alcohol burn and pretty heavy body. After taste is smokey, a little chocolate and toffee, but mostly that bourbon flavor which seems a little too much after a while.

O - Definitely a amazing sipper. Im not a Hard Liquor guy, but if I ever was, this would be my go to beer. I'm gonna cellar one of these as well, however I don't think i'll make it till then. Get you hands on one of these! They're amazing. Top 5 beer for sure! Cheers!

NickRivers, Oct 08, 2011
Photo of rhong187
4.9/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

served in a pint glass at Capone's (notes taken from 2011 Philly beer week)

A - Despite the ABV, still retained a nice finger head that held nicely. dark caramel like color...

S - toffee, caramel, vanilla, with a miniscule amount of spice followed with a decent amount of alcohol.

T - sooo unbelievably smooth. the sweetness hits you right away, followed by a small bit of warming as it goes down.. Whew, this stuff can be dangerous with it's smoothness. Along the way, I can detect a bit of leather as well.. a very pleasurable mesh of flavors.

M- Medium bodied, with just enoughb carbonation.

Easily the best barleywine I've had to date, and another fantastic offering from FW. I'd suggest pciking it up while you can (still see some bottles floating around in SE PA)... cheers

rhong187, Oct 03, 2011
Photo of CuriousMonk
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Abacus is a barrel aged Barley Wine. Four barrels in total were selected for the blend. The base of this year’s offering was aged in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels for 3 years! The resulting beer is strong yet extremely elegant and smooth. Big boozy bourbon and American oak aromas combined with soft chocolate malty undertones. Complex malt flavors framed in oak, with hints of dark chocolate, vanilla, tobacco, coconut and just a touch of dark cherry. This is definitely a sipping beer and one of my favorite barleywines next to Old Numbskull.

CuriousMonk, Oct 02, 2011
Photo of hooliganlife
4.3/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

not sure who brought this, but thanks.

pour was a dark brown with hints of deep ruby. light creamy head. thick body, slight coating on glass.

very rich with sweetness and dark fruit. fairly strong vanilla and oak which blended well together.

very dominant bourbon which was smooth and rich. big dark fruits and sweet malts. lots of vanilla and rich vibrant oak.

very thick with a smooth velvety feel. some heat on the gums.

this was a delicious barleywine, much better than i anticipated.

hooliganlife, Oct 02, 2011
Photo of amphion1065
4.05/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bomber into a Duvel tulip. Reviewed from notes.

Initially, this pours a nearly opaque deep ruby or garnet. But as I slowly made my way to the bottom of the glass, the beer appeared a fairly translucent reddish-brown. Half-finger light brown head filled with loose bubbles lasted less than a minute. A surprising amount of suspended yeast at the bottom of the bottle.

The smell is a rather musky collection of dark fruits. Plums and toffee, with just a little bit of caramel. Curiously, there's not too much barrel presence in the aroma. A touch of wood, maybe some coconut and vanilla, but it's light. Little to no alcohol phenols coming off of this one.

The taste departs significantly from the aroma in a very positive way. There's a ton of booze in this beer, and it is hot going down. The -bal isn't overpowering, but there is a very strong woody character in play. Given how malty this beer is, the barrel-aging does wonders for balance. Prunes, cherries and toffee are all present, but this beer never seems cloying.

The mouthfeel is excellent - I wish all barleywines went down like this. Smooth and rich, with an appropriately low level of carbonation.

I suppose you can't judge a beer by its nose. What at first seemed like a potential letdown turned out to be an excellent barleywine. Though they're obviously quite different styles of beer, Abacus and Parabola are both very barrel-dominant - I think this is the more successful of the two, as the imparted flavors complement the base beer very well. I'll be curious to see if this improves down the road.

amphion1065, Sep 30, 2011
Photo of acemathew
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great dark pour.

Awesome head retention.

Smells like figs and prunes. Tons of ethanol on the nose. Perfectly aged smells a little oxidized. Smells smokey and nutty malty with a swirl definite chocolate.

Good balance nice mouthfeel not to bitter not too sweet not too oakey. This is much better than this same beer I had on tap at the Buelton tasting room. Tastes a little hot but what do you expect from 13%?

Good finish nice and clean.

Not too smokey not too oakey not too much hops but not very malty either.

Overall very good.

acemathew, Sep 25, 2011
Photo of MbpBugeye
3.98/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've had this 3 times or so now. Each time is almost a different experience, but the first bottle I had at a tasting provided by boatshoes stuck out as the worst of the lot. I'm not sure what is going on here, but this beer is far from consistent.

Apearance
This is a pretty dark barleywine. Its a deep, burnt ruby with a wispy gray head that throws droopy lacing. The beer looks thick, showing good veining on the glass.

Aroma
The oak is fairly dominate here. Its damp, time worn and bourbon soaked. I can pick up a little notion of pollen or hay dust as well. Caramel, smoothed over by vanilla should be the dominate aroma, but instead is secondary. The bourbon smells spicy, almost like its a rye whiskey instead.

Taste
The taste leads off with that spicy bourbon which is smoothed over by the team of caramel and vanilla. Wood isn't as dominate here, but it is lending it's musty essence.

Mouthfeel
This beer is obviously fairly warm, but it is toned back and well incorporated. This is a sugary beer with a gritty, heavy body that is near impossible for the low carbonation to cut through.

Overall
This beer ranged from a let down to quite good. I had very high hopes for this one though, and it turns out that it didn't quite live up to them. Still though, this is an enjoyable beer.

MbpBugeye, Sep 25, 2011
Photo of CaptainTripps
4.1/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

A: The beer poured a dark brown (maybe a dark ruby?). It came with a small (half a fingers worth) white head that dissipated quickly. Left minimal lacing on the sides of the glass.

S: Big time aromas coming from this beer. Could smell waves of caramelized malt with huge whiskey and vanilla notes. Large alcohol notes coming through with burnt brown sugar and dark fruits. There is also hints of oak.

T: Bourbon bourbon bourbon. Huge booziness on the front followed closely with vanilla, bready malts and burnt sugar. I am also getting some dark fruits on the back end, but some what hard to identify with the large bourbon notes. Good amounts of oak apparent as well.

M: Medium to almost heavy mouth feel. Very silky mouth feel that goes down nicely. Beware though, that bourbon will kick you in the pants if your not ready for it. Very warming all the way down. A little hot, but thats how I like it.

O: A fantastic barrel aged barley wine that was very much enjoyed. Would love to come back to it with a little bit of age. The alcohol was strong, but that is to be expected. One of the better barrel aged barley wines I have had.

CaptainTripps, Sep 23, 2011
Photo of aasher
4.33/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've been wanting to try this for awhile but haven't found the right opportunity to open one. Well, as of 9pm tonight I'm on vacation for four days so the time is now. Thanks to Brian (BrewerB) for this bottle, which I received in a recent box.

This one pours a nice and rich cherried wood in color with a light and fizzy khaki colored head which quickly dissipated. The aromas consist of sweet and ripe dark fruits, figs, light bourbon, oak, vanilla, raisins, and port. It smells pretty good but I could use more bourbon. The flavors are almost exactly what I was looking for tonight. You get a lot of buttery biscuity malt (yet not as intense as a California Chardonnay), light bourbon, oak, vanilla, raisins, figs, and it has a rich and resonating after taste. The bourbon is a little more mellow than I anticipated but it's fine. Overall this is a fine beer and a pretty spectacular barrel aged barleywine. It's an instant favorite and probably my second favorite of the style to only the Mother of All Storms.

aasher, Sep 23, 2011
Photo of mdvatab
4.1/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally getting to try this one! Bought for $20 at The Stable.
Opened the brown Abacus box for the first time, revealing a 22oz bottle with a sophisticated label noting "Batch One" and "2011".
Used a cabernet glass as my snifter.

Aroma: Mmmmm. Carmelized, malty goodness. Pineapple upside-down cake, vanilla, sweet whiskey, and a hint of the booze that awaits. Definitely one to contemplate.

Appearance: 1/2 finger head disappears quickly. This one's got legs, but minimal lacing. Body is brown-copper, but dark enough in color to make translucent.

Flavor: Mirrors the aroma profile. Again--sweet, delicious carmelized fruit and vanilla notes that you find in a pineapple upside-down cake. Whiskey flavor also comes through, but is a bit on the hot side yet. Really made me envision how much more fantastic this brew might be with a little more age.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body, medium-low carbonation. Peppery heat from the alcohol comes over the tongue, throat, and sinuses, and is reminiscent of a fortified wine.

Overall: A delicious barleywine that I was glad to have shared with a couple of friends. At 13%, it would have admittedly been a challenge to finish by myself. I can see why so many BA's rave about this one, and look forward to trying it again after it's been laid down for 3 or so more years.

mdvatab, Sep 18, 2011
Photo of billab914
4.7/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. It poured a dark, murky brown color with a thin white head sticking to the edges of the glass. The head faded to a thin ring after a minute or so, but fit the style pretty well overall.

The aroma really balances the barleywine and the bourbon flavors nicely. Both seem to come through equally and really compliment each other. I get a brown sugar, caramel, toffee, dark fruit character to the barleywine while the bourbon, vanilla and oak really add some depth and complexity to itl. fantastic aroma to it overall.

The taste really wowed me right from the first sip. Dark fruits mix with some brown sugar, vanilla, oak, and some fantastic bourbon flavors. Everything integrates perfectly in it, all the flavors shine at one time or another. The bourbony finish is very smooth and complimentary of the malty, sweet, caramel and brown sugar flavors. A little boozy heat in the finish, but fitting for a barrel aged barleywine. This is perfection for me in a barleywine.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side with carbonation being below average. It has a creaminess to it that really works well for it. Overall it was a fantastic beer, and probably the best of the style I've had. MOAS was great, but I liked this one a little more. It was so flavorful, smooth, and everything just works so well together. Fantastic beer overall, I loved it.

billab914, Sep 17, 2011
Photo of Brew33
3.95/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received via trade with Azureoval (Thanks Josh).

Original review is of Abacus, a short footnote and recalculation for Sucuba: A lot of sharp alcohol flavor from Abacus is long gone in Sucuba. I don't know if the recipe changed at all but this version is much smoother and easier to drink. The barrel notes aren't quite as forward and integrated well into the beer. I certainly enjoyed this much more the 2nd time around.

Right out of the gates this beer is darker than I expected. A very dark brown with brick red edges when held to light.

The aroma starts off with bourbon.... a ton of it. Big whisky notes. Vanilla and coconut all over the place! Very sweet and hot. The aroma represents the flavor accurately. Bourbon all over. Ethyl alcohol is very present. The malt bill seems to get lost in the barrel somewhere. I get a lot of vanilla and cocnut in this beer. More so than in almost any other beer I've ever tasted that didn't have vanilla or coconut added. Drinking a bomber of this by yourself isn't really reccomended. It can become a bit much. Boozy, sweet, and surprisingly simple. Lacks a lot of the complexity I had hoped for. The mouthfeel is average for the style and the carbonation was adequate.

Overall, this is a good beer but I think it may have spent a little too much time in the barrel for my personal tastes. I look for a spirit barrel to be part of a beer, not take it over. And unfortunately for me, that was not the case here. If you like you bal aged beers to be bal forward, this is your stuff.

Brew33, Sep 15, 2011
Photo of readbaron
4.1/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a rich clear dark caramel/amber brown with light white carbonation. Darker than I was initially expecting. No lacing, and only a ring of foam.

Smell is straightforward - rich bourbon and sweet caramel, bready malts. Sweet and boozy. Caramel, vanilla, oak, and burnt sugar are all present. Not terribly complex, but quite nice.

Taste follows the nose - smooth, despite the alcohol and bourbon kick. Tons of caramel sweetness and bourbon with subtle bready malts, vanilla, and toffee in the background. Very straight forward flavor profile.

Feel - medium bodied and a bit thinner and drier than I would have thought. Quite nice.

Overall, a very tasty beer - sweet and boozy, but not overwhelmingly so. A lovely slow sipper.

readbaron, Sep 14, 2011
§ucaba from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
100 out of 100 based on 3,735 ratings.