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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

3,736 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,736
Reviews: 754
rAvg: 4.53
pDev: 8.61%
Wants: 1,008
Gots: 2,100 | 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: 3,736 | Reviews: 754 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of HopHead84
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

4/1/2011

Bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Appears deep brown with ruby highlights. Beige head is frothy and rises one inch above the liquid.

S: Intoxicating blend of caramel, toffee, and brown sugar. Prominent wood notes. If you were to take an axe and fell a sapling I think it would it would smell a bit like the wood aroma in Abacus. This young wood note was most apparent around the 55 degree serving temperature, but when I allowed the beer to warm and open up a bit, it finally gave way to notes of bourbon. At this warmer temperature, the blend of vanilla, bourbon, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, wood, fig, and chocolate is absolutely stellar, and immeasurably complex. Alcohol is faint and does the beer credit.

T: Rich caramel malt with robust toffee and brown sugar notes. Quite sugary and sweet, with a decided candied quality on the palate. Bourbon is apparent yet not at all dominating. Nicely done. Alcohol is very well hidden here. There's an upper low level of bitterness as well, with a faint earthiness.

M: Upper medium to lower full in body with upper low carbonation. Mouthfeel is sticky and silky, with substantial alcohol warming on the palate.

Overall: An exceptional bourbon barrel aged Barleywine.

HopHead84, May 05, 2011
Photo of jag21
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark reddish-tinted brown. Not much head

S: Oak, Bourbon, bit of vanilla, brown sugar

T: Sweet, flavors of oak, vanilla, light roasty malts, lots of caramel

M: Creamy with nice playful carbonation

D: This is a sipper, but that's what BWs are for

jag21, May 04, 2011
Photo of Docer
4.13/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 bottle.

Appearance: (3.0)
- Pours a dark ruby brown which as far as I can tell, is clear.. not cloudy. Very quick fizzling light brown bubbles which practically vanished and left what looks to be a port in the glass. Can't say it's an overly pretty beer. Guessing this aspect will be the beers low points. Nice thin oily film in the glass.

Smell: (4.0)
- Fig, prune, esters hit the nose. Thick sweet raisin molasses and brown sugar with a sweet malt presence. Little bit of alcohol, but not much. Overall this smells like a wonderful sweet desert beer.

Taste: (4.5)
- Caramel and molasses come to mind at first.. then a blend of vanilla, earthy oak, burnt brown sugar, and prune show themselves. Very tasty, sweet, and balanced. Not overly loaded with alcohol flavors. Perhaps some earthy and grassy hops. Finishes with a nice spicy touch.

Mouth Feel: (3.5)
- Not as thick as I thought it would be. Plenty carbonated, just doesn't leave any head. Slightly chalky and sticky. Somewhat chewy and drying.

Overall: (4.0)
- Overall this is a killer barleywine. Has a wonderful array of flavors and a desert-like quality that can be rare in such a style. Overall not the prettiest beer, but is quite nice and a bomber worth sharing with some fellow beer advocates!

Docer, May 04, 2011
Photo of orangesol
4.3/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap at Capone's during the Firestone Walker Lunch party. Enjoyed with Dave Walker himself! Served into a snifter.

A - Pours deep brown with a thin film of white head, dissipating down to nothing at all, leaving no lacing down the glass. This was served WAY too cold. Once it warmed up a bit it got a little better.

S - Smells of warm bourbon, vanilla, dark fruits, tobacco, and chocolate sweetness offer some contrast to the typical caramel / toffee sweetness in most barleywines. The heat began to creep in more and more as it came to room temperature.

T - Lots of toffee sweetness up front quickly giving way to a mix of bourbon heat, tobacco, chocolate, and vanilla. Finish is a mix of sweetness and alcohol burn, lingering for some time. This one is still a little raw but I can see it developing over the next few years into something amazing. I need to grab a bottle of this one as soon as I can.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. It was pretty thin at the beginning but it really developed once it warmed up into a rich, creamy, feel with plenty of lingering sweet heat in the finish.

O - Very good beer. It is still pretty hot at the moment but it is still a very easy drinking barrel aged barleywine. I am really glad I made the long trek down to Capone's to try it.

orangesol, May 03, 2011
Photo of Dlish
4.7/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Pours a dark brown with hints of red on the side. Little head, with a crisp amount of carbonation I can hear while I pour it.

S- Strong amount of oak, Bourbon, sherry, sweet brown sugar. Cigar tobacco. maybe a hint of cherry and grapes. Maybe a bit of smoke.

T- Very sweet get that grapie or cheery fruity flavor. Lots of brown sugar, or something sweet. Almost a cognac flavor, hints of a traditional barely-wine. Lots of oak at the beginning that is with the sweetness. the middle does have a chocolate malt flavor but much more caramel.

M- Chewy, good amount of carbonation, good amount of prickly going on. It is nice, a little more refreshing and not as over overpoweringly heavy as a remember.

O- I tried very hard to give this a honest review, being I'm a huge ran of Firestone. I was able to have a glass on tap at the tasting room, but this is a review from the bottle I got. I'm glad I have a few more and will be able to let this age! Can't wait to have this again in 2012.

Dlish, May 03, 2011
Photo of ratedz
4.8/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received a few bottles of this gem from MrTopher...thanks again, Chris, I'm really looking forward to this one!

Appearance: Pours very dark brown. Some red highlights appear when held up to the light. About a half finger of off-white head, which faded very quickly.

Smell: Wow, a lot going on here...notes of bourbon, oak, vanilla, and caramel. The bourbon is probably the most dominant smell, but it's not so over the top that it beats everything else into submission.

Taste: Just like the smell, the taste is very complex. Starts off with some sweet caramel when a little oak and vanilla comes into play. A little bourbon hits the back of the tongue, but it isn't nearly as noticeable as I thought it would given the smell.

Mouthfeel: Slightly thick with below average carbonation, which works perfectly for this beer.

Overall: I could have this beer over and over and it would never get old or boring. Crazy complexity and an abundance of excellent flavors.

Edit - Updated scores and notes after having on tap at the Flying Saucer anniversary party on 5/1/2011.

ratedz, May 02, 2011
Photo of Gobzilla
4.18/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: poured a dark brown in color with brown reddish highlights when held to the light and had a very thin head leaving very little lacing sticking to the glass.

S: sweetness was just jumping out of the aroma consisting of caramel, molasses, whiskey, dark fruits, oak, and vanilla to name a few but with mild brown sugar notes as well.

T: the vanilla caramel molasses notes were more potent on the taste with oaky dark fruits notes, a bit of boozy whiskey character and a touch of sweet creme brulee flavor.

M: the brew medium to full in body with a low amount of carbonation which had a sweet, boozy, mild fruity, oaky, and silky, sticky finish.

D: drank really well considering how hot it was at the moment and would welcome some of this brew anytime. Good job firestone.

Gobzilla, May 02, 2011
Photo of ferrari29
4.43/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beer poured from bottle into Snifter glass

A - Dark molasses color, dark; not much head formed (typical of this style of beer); plenty of visible carbonation; not much lacing formed on the sides of the glass though; expected it to be more syrupy with a thicker body

S - Cognac; bourbon; deep caramel scents and sweet; some molasses; oak and high ABV; oak too

T - Sweet bourbon barley wine; oak; deep caramel taste; malt; great taste overall, from start to finish

M - Thin body but very effervescent; not very syrupy; very explosive feeling and taste on the palate; fantastic blend of malts and oak bourbon aging

D - Not much needs to be said about this beer other than it's great; very easy to drink and enjoy (in sips); fantastic; I love this stuff; please give me another!

ferrari29, May 02, 2011
Photo of snpub540
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Have to say this a beer I've been meaning to try for awhile so I was a little worried I had overhyped it in my head. Let's just say I had nothing to be worried about.

Poured a very dark brown almost black hue that was almost totally opaque. Have to say there was no head at all from a very vigorous pour but you can't expect much from a 13% beer that spends almost a year in oak.

Aroma was a very enticing mix of grapes, sweet alcohol, and dried dark fruits.

Taste was extremely complex. There were notes of coffee, dried fruits like raisins, chocolate, vanilla, oak, alcohol and a nice bitterness from the hops. It was incredibly smooth and mellow for all the flavors going on. Nothing overpowered.

This one is definately a sipper. Sticky thick mouthfeel that coats the entire mouth with every drink. The high alcohol is definately subdued and I was able to finish the entire bottle by myself. Selfish? Maybe a little bit! This beer was definately one of the best beers that I have drank in awhile.

snpub540, May 01, 2011
Photo of BARFLYB
4.1/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On Tap at Memphis Taproom in a tulip. My 2nd time having this.

A- Abacus appears darker than the 1st time I had it on tap with a pretty much black deep dark brown appearence. Some redness with light shining through. A sparse cap of mocha cream colored foam leaving semi streaks.

S- Smell is wowzers, they really mean bourbon barrel when they say it. Heaven Hill barrels times three years imparts a bunch of oak and vanilla and bourbon. Big time malts, cocco powder, coconut, and some alcohol.

T- The bourbon is smooth with vanilla and slight coconut filled in with oak and alcohol. The heat and alc, comes out much more with warming hindering drinkability alot. Toasty mats big time with caramel sweetners somewhat. Yup!!

M- Very full and rich in taste, somewhat coating. The heat towards the end is unavoidable, drink quicker to avoid this. Besides the heat the flavors do not linger much.

D-o- A slow sipper, not something to take lightly, 13% is alot and it shows. FW knows their way around a barrel. 3 years is insane yet this remains a balanced beer and not a booze bomb.

BARFLYB, Apr 30, 2011
Photo of fourplayed
4.58/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours with thin tan head, beyond dark - nearly black.

smell is -whisky, but smooth with vanilla and good sweet notes and spices. I get a nutty pecan smell as well.

tastes better than it smells. alcohol presense is medium plus and not overdone, vanilla and pecan sweetness is smooth. spice notes of cinnamon and nutmeg.

full body, nice carbonation keeps it all mixed together well. Big alcohol warmth without big alcohol taste.

Tried this on tap the first go round and went out immediately and bought 2 bottles. A very good brew for an evening sipper round the fireplace or just in front of the TV. Very worthy brew. Worth treating yourself to this one. comments from others are on the mark. First barleywine I've ever tried...I need to seek more!

fourplayed, Apr 29, 2011
Photo of axeman9182
4.33/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle, allowed to warm before being poured into my Duvel tulip.

Abacus pours surprisingly dark for the style, it's almost stout black. One or two cherry spots do shine through when the beer is held to light though. The khaki colored head is thin and disappears quickly without a trace. The nose is heavy on bourbon (albeit good, smooth bourbon), with toffee and vanilla in the background. Each sip brings forth a fantastic blend of toffee, milk chocolate, vanilla, toasted coconut, and bourbon. No one flavor consistently dominates, every time I bring the glass to my lips any one of these flavors is liable to steal though. If I had to nitpick though I'd say that the bourbon is just a little too boozy right now. The body is full and rich and creamy, without becoming over the top or lending a cloying sensation to the beer. That may be at least in part thanks to a surprisingly active carbonation that feels quite fine on my tongue. It helps give a life to the beer that is lacking any other opposition to malty goodness. Bottled Abacus is quite good at this still young point in time, but it doesn't quite reach the subtle excellence of both the draft version and what I think bottles will turn into in a few years.

axeman9182, Apr 29, 2011
Photo of alalvarez75
4.78/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The real overall should be a 4.75...

A- Dark brown, mahogany, slightly carbonated, not cloudy at all. Pours with a nice head that dissipates quickly.

S- Toasty and slightly of chocolate.

T- Sweet bourbon... does not taste 13% ABV AT ALL!!!

M- Smooth, creamy, VERY light carbonation... WHAT IS THAT? VELVET? ITS BEAUTIFUL!

O- Amazing beer. You can get REALLY drunk from this as the 13% is totally concealed like a ninja, by the amazing taste.

If there were more I'd go get it. There is not... so I will wait until I can get some and when it's here... I'll rush to it.

alalvarez75, Apr 27, 2011
Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Firestone Walker Abacus, 32-oz growler filled at Whole Foods Bowery Beer Room for $13.99 plus tax and the bottle.

Appearance: Served in, yes I know, my Sierra snifter, Abacus pours thick and heavy, with a glug and a gurgle- the sound of good things to come! Nice one-finger head, very impressive for a barrel-aged brew. Poor retention, though, with the head dying soon and only a white rim and a mantle left. Color is the customary black with brown overtones.

Smell: The wood is beautiful... so subtle and smooth. Vanilla pods of the highest quality, shipped fresh from Madagascar. High-quality bourbon, sugar, a tad of melted caramel at the end. White chocolate. Some spice. Unlike many reviewers, I do not detect any booziness. This is mellow and delicious. Reminds me of Goose Island Vanilla Bourbon or Goose Rare... yum yum! A total treat. Hardly the smell of a barleywine, though.

Taste: Caramel, wood, bourbon, sugar. Toffee, hard candy.

Mouthfeel: Extremely smooth. I mean it. Let me say it again: smooth... fuck fucking yeah. This beer caresses your throat and tongue like the best pussy out there. Full body and flavor, low-and-perfect carbonation. Woodsy and creamy. Delicious and enticing. Well-balanced, only a hint of alcohol at the end.

Overall: I never expected this to be so disgustingly good. They say it is a barleywine... hardly. But whatever it is, oh dear god it is delicious! Smooth and outrageously drinkable, enticing and engaging, just rightly sweet. Woodsy, bourbon-y, beautiful. Seriously, for a 13% brew, this is immensely poundable and delicious. Need. More!

DoubleSimcoe, Apr 26, 2011
Photo of ktrillionaire
4.53/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Big thanks to ericfb18 for the delicious brew(s)

A - Pours a shiny deep cola brown, close to black, with an obvious viscosity. It is capped with a short-lived khaki head that quickly recedes to an encircling collar.

S - The nose is a fantastic assortment of caramelized sugar, creme brulee, candied fruit, amaretto and other cordial liqueurs, vanilla, cinnamon, wood, whisky, and straight-up decadence.

T - The taste is more of the same deliciousness suggested by the nose: buttery oak, notes of rich maple, vanilla, whisky, chocolate, roast barley, dark candied fruits, figs, dates, molasses, creme brulee, jaggery, cinnamon and absolute deliciousness. It could perhaps use a bit of time before it ripens (and loses a bit of heat); if time treats this well, it will be one of the most delicious beers *on Earth*.

M - The feel is silky and softly effervescent for (literally) hours. Not J.W. Lees territory, bjt quite good.

O - This is a phenomenal brew. Thanks Eric. I want more.

ktrillionaire, Apr 24, 2011
Photo of petacutlasaurus
4.85/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

-- First of all, Firestone Walker, how can only five cases of your Abacus make it to my state? After breaking into this beer a week after purchasing it, I almost have to mourn the fact that I won't see it for another year. Thanks, I guess. --

At one of my local haunts, beer-master Al pulled me aside and mentioned he got a case of Abacus. Said it was being called the best barleywine of the year already. Ha, right. That couldn't be true. And even if it is, I don't even really like barleywines.... Well, I supposed if there was going to be one to change my mind, this might be it. But that's pretty doubtful, right? Well, I'll buy a bottle, that'll show him.

Well, a week later, after my girlfriend and I had both had some long days at work, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to bust out this brown-boxed barleywine. Oh, what's this? Neck support for the bottle built into the box? That's clever, but probably just for show, yeah? No bottle deserves neck support, right? Popped the cap, poured the first share into a couple of wine glasses.

And pretenses start to crumble.

What's that smell? Oh, fuck that's good. Maybe it's from the meal.. that meat was pretty well seasoned. Nope, definitely beer. But how can it...? Don't get carried away, Peter, it's probably not that great. Let's see, the taste? Oh... Oh wow. Oh wait, no. No!

It's 10PM. It dawns on me that all the local stores are closed, and that all of those five cases have likely already been scooped up at any rate.

I'm stuck in that unique, but welcome hell that is having a beer that's so fantastic, so age-able, so already-open, and so finite. Guess it's time to enjoy. We definitely stopped what we were doing a few times to marvel about it. Bounce back tastes and try and pin things down - the bourbon, the chocolate, the vanilla, the dark fruit, the balance of all of these working together, captured with just the right gravity. An amazing beer that happily made me eat my words. Now if they can just fix the typos all over that brown box...

petacutlasaurus, Apr 24, 2011
Photo of cjacobsen
4.65/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Barley House

(A) Pours really dark, almost stout or dark porter like. Had a lot of head on it which is surprising for the ABV that this thing carries.

(S) Smells fruity with the citrus notes from the yeast beading through. Some biscuit and light malt even up the nose.

(T) The initial taste is sweet. Has light fruit notes like grapefruit and orange but has a nice underlying tone of medium malt. There is a mild hop bitterness. Has a bit of an oak character toward the middle-end of the taste and finishes off with molasses, raisin and butterscotch.

(M) Being so carbonated I expected it to be bitey but its quite smooth. Had an oily feel but its a filling quality in the mouth.

(O) The alcohol is masked very well. You can get a hint of the booze in the nose but you can't really taste it. I expected it to be a heavily hopped, boozy mess but it was well constructed and balanced and extremely good.

cjacobsen, Apr 22, 2011
Photo of yourefragile
4/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours a viscous dark ruby, clear bodied, quickly dissipating off white head, retains a sticky thick ring of lace.

Aroma is a little flat and boozy. Vanilla, oak, sweet plums and sugar dominate, but overall it just smells hot and like alcohol.

Flavor seamlessly transitions from it's start from a sweet, sugary barleywine to an oaky, vanilla sweet barrel finish. Still some faint trace of hops and the finish is extremely hot and raw.

Mouthfeel is very smooth and thick with very light carbonation and not quite as much booze as the nose. Mildly syrup like and much more like a liquor than a beer.

Not quite as ready to go out of the literal box as Parabola was, the heat on this needs time to cool down but this still ehas traces of the typical FW balance and deliciousness of their BA beers.

yourefragile, Apr 22, 2011
Photo of Vdubb86
4.13/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a snifter

Thanks to Alpar for providing me the chance to taste the top rated American Barleywine.

Well this beer sure looks the best of all of the other barleywines set before us. Hopefully it's a sign of things to come. This beer pours a clear dark mahogany color with an ecru finger surfacing this pretty beer. The aromatics are oak barrel, caramel, fig and raisin. It was actually pretty weak on all those fronts as well. Because the smells were so good is the reason it gets the rating it does. The flavor matches the same with the nose. It good mellow, sweet and has all the characteristics you'd look for in a quality barleywine, but it feels so standard. I think it could have been smoother, but it was still really easy to drink. Overall this was a very excellent beer, but it felt like something was missing from making it world class.

Vdubb86, Apr 21, 2011
Photo of dragonWhale
4.47/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this at Kraftwork in Philly. My only beer ever drank in Philadelphia. Not too shabby. Pours a caramel reddish with low carbonation that fades after a time.
By the beard of Zeus! What an outstanding aroma. Big angry booze smacks you across the nose, followed by vanilla and caramel, a little date, tobacco and oak. Blast it all, this is lovely.
It drinks a little on the sweet side, but it is a smooth ride if you don't mind the river of fire flowing through it. Is this tasty! Good mouthfeel even with the low carbonation, very full and enriching to my life. The caramel coats the tongue and inside the cheeks, plunging into the spots between teeth, seeking all the places to hide forever. And I, willing participant, allow it. I do allow it.

dragonWhale, Apr 20, 2011
Photo of cpmichael
4.03/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Cigar City snifter.

A: Pours a medium brown with a nice reddish tint to it. 1.5 finger white foam that faded quickly.

S: Sweet smelling and boozy. Caramel and maple with hints of hops.

T: Very boozy, the caramel comes through nicely, bourbon and vanilla continue to sweet this out, hints of oak smoke and tobacco near the end. hop presence is there, but low.

M/D: Good carbonation and medium bodied. It was overall too sweet and too boozy for me. Tasty and there is a lot going on, but I could have used less booze and more hops to even this out.

cpmichael, Apr 20, 2011
Photo of maximum12
4.2/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to burninator & melliot2811 for sending me bottles of the latest (I presume) Firestone barrel-aged deliciousness. Seriously. I'm convinced they could stick dust bunnies in barrels & make them divine. 22 oz. bomber split with my wife while watching the '11 Twins implode. Infield: Hughes, Tollbert, Casilla, Valencia. No wonder they suck.

Pours a fiery, almost black shade of garnet that winks from within. Pretty still beer. Like a sleeping rattlesnake. Smell is 94.6% barrel. Titches of sweet maple & malts intrude, but not much.

Abacus. Clearly, this is a Ket translation for "whack bourbon". The alcohol stings up front, a Kentucky-sipper-slap with a lush vanilla offshoot. Rich raisins rolled in brown sugar squirt about. Toasted wood. Lovely toffee emerges from nowhere as the beer warms towards room temp. Heavy malts roll in during the mid-section, & the beer closes out with another whale of alcohol. Weee! At 13% this one should be half as drinkable but twice as wicked, if you get my drift. Damn.

Firestone maintains it's standard of excellence for barrel-aged brews. This is one fine BA barleywine. Glad to have a couple more & very interested to see how this stacks up after a little time in the cellar to cool it off a bit.

maximum12, Apr 20, 2011
Photo of JAXSON
3.73/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle thanks to Mark. Pours a deep, deep crimson with a ring of lace around the edges. Nose is fairly pungent and earthy, of course a lot of bourbon, some wood, and an interesting leafy tobacco note. Not overly bright or expressive. Carbonation is pretty sharp upfront. Flavor profile starts quite hot with darker fruits, segues into a bit of milk chocolate and coffee. Strangely subdued despite a large bourbon heat. Pretty good, does the job, but not an elite example of the style as it's just sort of empty and singular at times. Feel is thick and rich. Good but ultimately uninteresting.

I had this on tap as well and it was about the same, in fact I was hoping the bottle would be better. I was looking forward to this beer for some time but it's kind of a disappointment. I'm not sure age would really help either as the flavors are fairly mellow as it is underneath the hot bourbon.

JAXSON, Apr 19, 2011
Photo of TMoney2591
3.95/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a tulip glass.

Big thanks to Alpar for sharing this bottle!

I haven't busted out an abacus since seventh grade math class. Let's hope this beer tops those memories (not much of a challenge, really). It pours a dark garnet-brown topped by a finger of dirty off-white foam. The nose comprises sharp caramel, mild cocoa, graham crackers, and butterscotch. The taste reunites all of these elements, while simultaneously introducing them to a few newbies: ruby red grapefruit, orange peel, and mandarin orange flesh. The body is a solid medium, with a light moderate carbonation and an oily, sorta syrupy feel. Overall, a more-than-solid b-wine, though I'm not sure it deserves all of the praise it gets. Don't get me wrong: this is some tasty stuff, but there are many better barleywines more readily available.

TMoney2591, Apr 18, 2011
Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.33/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 16oz. growler filled on 4/17/11 at Bullseye Beverage in Smithtown, NY into a Darkness snifter.

A: Standard pour yields a barely rising off-white ring of head that dissipates quickly. Beer is a dark, nearly opaque but clear mahogany. Lacing is spotty and with little cling but beer has exceptional legs. Rather standard but the lack of head or lace really hurts this one.

S: Nose is big and boozy. Sweet dark prunes and plum, caramel, toffee, and brown sugar are all present but the alcohol heat in this one covers all but the most pungent smells. Aromatic but almost not in a good way. Stings the nose a bit.

T: Opens caramel, toffee, and brown sugar. Rich with ample amounts of heat that washes over the entire experience. Middle sees prunes and plums peak their head for the slightest instant before returning to the background. Finish is more brown sugar and caramel with a big alcohol sting right at the finish. Aftertaste is sweet brown sugar and some nuttiness. A lot going on in this one but the predominant alcohol kick covers some of the details. Still, a very intriguing and delicious beer.

M: Medium bodied with low carbonation. Slightly grainy and hot in the mouth with some bubbles going down. I can taste all 13% in this one. The comparably (to its style) body helps a bit though. Finish is messy with an aftertaste that lingers. Overall too much booze here and not enough subtlety.

O: Compared to Parabola (which I realize is a different style), this offering from Firestone Walker is overall a big dissapointment. So hot that the alcohol seems to cover everything in the nose, taste, and feel. I recommend sitting on this one for a very long time. There's a great beer behind that heat somewhere...

SpeedwayJim, Apr 17, 2011
§ucaba from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
100 out of 100 based on 3,736 ratings.