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§ucaba | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

849 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.50%

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)

Matured for 1 year in a blend of Heaven Hill, 4 Roses, and Old Fitzgerald barrels.

Added by SacoDeToro on 02-21-2008

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Reviews: 849 | Ratings: 4,828
Photo of Rhettroactive
4.38/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From 22oz bomber to glass at Shannon's Big Bad Barleywine Tasting on 4/9/11.
*From notes

A BIG thanks to siege02nd for supplying this one. Cheers, John!

A: Rich mahagoney and rustic autumn leaves in color. It's a beaut. A generous pour yields a 1.5 finger head and thick, sticky lacing.

S: Utter bourbon bomb. Alcohol runs rampant to the point where I'm forced to remove the glass from my nose. This one burns. It's like sitting on the porch of a Kentucky B&B at dinnertime, with a plate of steaming, homemade Hot Browns in front of me. As I get past the whiskey, I find spotty hops and juicy prunes.

T: After the nose, I was a bit scared - as I felt this may be too young for early consumption. Happily, this isn't the case. For as brash as it is, it's addictively drinkable now and deceptively smooth. Massive amounts of malt and barley grains are followed by a Costco sized serving of smokey bourbon. A ghosting of hoppy bite interweaves with overwhelmingly chewy tannins and mild, sweet alcohol on the finish.

M: Rich and thick. I wouldn't go comparing it to an Impy Stout, but it's certainly one of the bigger AB's I've had.

O: Firestone Walker's Abacus is simply awesome. This is a delicious beer. For as drinkable as it is now, I would recommend cellaring this for a dime and basking in it's amazingness.

This one's worthy of the hype. It's one of, if not the best American Barleywine I've had the pleasure of drinking.

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Photo of Blanco
4.3/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lighting was somewhat pour but beer was very dark. Minimal head. Smell was sweet with a light bourbon hint. Taste was similar with hints of vanilla, bourbon, molasses, dark fruit. Very smooth and refined, the mouthfeel was medium bodied. Alcohol presence was very well hidden and almost no warming sensation. Overall, this was a fantastic brew and I was quite surprised how well rounded it was.

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Photo of corby112
4.7/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Draft at Monk's Cafe.

Pours a deep dark copper/chestnut color with dark ruby/mahogany edges and a one finger frothy off-white head that quickly settles into a thin lasting ring. Sporadic small spots of lacing left behind.

Amazing complex nose with a blend of earthy oak, luscious vanilla, sweet boozy bourbon, dark fruit and earthy/leathery malt. The barrel character is very prominent with lots of toasted oak without smelling burnt. Sweet bourbon and lots of vanilla and marshmallow mellowing things out. As it warms the malts become more prominent with hints of leather, toffee, hazelnut and caramel. Slightly vinous with hints of cherry, grape and plum. Smells amazing and the bourbon is well integrated in the nose without overpowering the other elements.

Medium bodied with the perfect balance of earthy barrel character, boozy bourbon, sweet malt and alcohol heat. Very similar to the aroma with a prominent barrel presence up front. Earthy oak that is slightly toasted with sweet bourbon flavor that is prominent but not overly hot. Although the bourbon flavor is strong, it's not overpowering and the other flavors are able to stand out. There are also notes of vanilla and toasted coconut from the barrel, mellowing things out. Slightly hot with some nice burning warmth in the finish but the ABV is pretty well masked at 13%. Underneath there is a nice blend of earthy/leathery and sweet malt flavor. Slightly earthy barleywine flavor with hints of sweet caramel toffee, rye and faint cocoa. Vinous with dark fruit flavor, especially dark cherry as well as some grape, plum, raisin and fig. More heat toward the end of the swallow but this beer is excellently balanced, delicious and dangerously drinkable. One of the best barrel aged beers I've ever had. Amazing!

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Photo of oglmcdgl
4.6/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at one of the best spots on earth memphis taproom. Big ups to Brendan for always being awesome.

A- comes to me with a finger high sudsy ring around the glass that then settles to a thin but solid ring. A good swirl bring a finger of foam up but quickly settles back. Deep chestnut brown in color with a nice deep red glow at the edges when lit from behind.

S- wow what a nose. Deep dark fruits, with dates and figs. Sweet chocolate, vanilla, dark brown sugar. The bourbon character is so well done, just the right hint of booze.

T- opens up with smooth bourbon, sweet caramel and chocolate, dried fruits with dates and raisins taking the lead. There's a vanilla and toffee hit that rolls into a nice bit of very well used booze heat.

M- on the fuller side of body with a touch of sticky slick to it. Nice smooth carb that does just enough to keep it light and moving but understated enough to let you really get into the brew and the brew get into you. There's is some heat I'm not going to lie but hell this is a barrel aged barley wine.

O- I'm totally digging this brew and I had been hoping for good thing and this far exceeded my expectations. One of the best ba bw I've come across. Its super easy to drink yet at the same time you could spend all day picking it to pieces.

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Photo of jethrodium
4.42/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle. 2011 release. Pours a cola brown with a very small light tan head that leaves small spots of lacing around the glass. The aroma is wonderful. Caramel, toasted coconut, light oxidation, vanilla, brandy (not sure if any of this was brandy barrel aged, but I get it in the aroma), some light cherry notes, a decent amount of bourbon, some light alcohol, a light leather note, and a bit of oak. The barrels certainly come through in the aroma. All of the different aromas work quite nicely together. The initial taste is sweet with caramel, brown sugar, coconut, and vanilla. Then a little brandy and a light oxidation comes through as well. Bourbon and a bit of leather on the finish with a light bitterness. A light alcohol heat, but much less than you would expect for a 13% beer. Medium-heavy body. Very smooth mouthfeel. Manages to be sweet without being syrupy. Low carbonation works very well for the beer. Overall, a great beer. Probably the best barley wine I have had so far. The barrels certainly dominate the nose and taste, which I quite enjoy. I found myself not wanting to finish my glass just so I could continue to enjoy the aroma for a few extra minutes.

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Photo of Shumania
4.69/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

10 ounce pour at Rustico in Ballston into a strange. I would have prefered a snifter or tulip but beggars can't be choosers, especially when Abacus is on tap.

a: I expected a dark amber color typical of most barleywines. This was dark black with a slight hue on the edges. No light was getting through this beer.

s: Bourbon hits you immediately. The vanilla and molasses come through as well. You can tell this is going to be a hot one.

t: Again with the vanilla, molasses, toffee and some oakiness. The bourbon warms you up at the end, which was appreciated on a rainy night.

m: Creamy and smooth going down and the ABV is felt, but not overpowering. This is a definitely a beer to sip and enjoy.

If you get the chance, Abacus is absolutely worth the try. The barrel aging makes this beer amazing. I would love the chance to try this with 3 years of age!

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Photo of ChugginOil
4.26/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a snifter @ The Barley House Algonquin. Thanx to Brophmonster for the heads up on this.

Pours a very dark murky brown, almost black, with light cola edging. A thin ring of off white head sits only around the edge of the glass.

The nose offers some faint bourbon accents akin to vanilla, molassess, butterscotch and a touch of cocoa. There is a boozy heat noticed within a short whiff.

The taste is wicked. Some sweet/bready malt is noticed up front and is then immediately surrounded by the barrel aged impressions. The caramel and vanilla is met with some woody characteristics. There is an entire absence of hops here but i'm not complaining. This monster ale packs a punch at 13% ABV and you can taste it. Besides the overbearing heat on this one, it is delicious.

The mouthfeel is very full and satisfying. It goes down smooth and creamy and then bites your palate at the end with high alcohol content.

Overall, impressed and looking forward to tasting improvements with my cellared bottle. Nice bourbon presence that isn't too in-your-face.

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Photo of AgentZero
4.05/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - A very dark brown beer that turns red on the edges with some light yellow on the very outer edges. Nice, slightly off-white head of fine bubbles, side of the glass left clean throughout consumption.

S - Caramel, toffee, some burnt wood, vanilla. It smells very smooth and good, but not quite as complex as I was hoping for.

T - Caramel, little bit of booze, dark fruit. One of the more defining characteristics of this beer seems to be the barrel precense: great oak and vanilla. There is a lot of brown and slightly burnt sugar and a slight nuttyness. Taste is exceptionally smooth. While good, I'm just a little disappointed as I was hoping for epic.

M - Smooth, light carbonation, very full bodied.

O - A really good beer and barleywine, the 13% is felt in the buzz, but you don't really notice it while you're drinking. Not as good as I was hoping for, but still a great beer.

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Photo of DNICE555
4.7/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

R Moe Nay. My brother. And now my companion in the search for nerdy beers. He Busted this one out for the big Larse, Denise, Greg, mandate tasting. Cheers.

A: Dark for the style with reddish tints.

S: Oak, malt, chocolate, vanilla. Almost smells like a stout.

T: Caramel, toffee, malt, oak, wood, chocolate, vanilla, bourbon. WOW. Almost like a stout. This is one BA barleywine. My favorite was the SN Bigfoot before... now The ABACUS. This is so bold and beautiful.

M: Very big, so heavy for a barleywine.

D: Smooth, rich, HUGE, and so drinkable for 13 percent. This is a tasty beer.

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Photo of boMD
4.3/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tap @ Bailey's Taproom... Poured near opaque, deep brown with a light, tan head.

Nose had traces of buttercorn, molasses, toffee, and butternut squash. Decent carbonation, a little fizzy on the tongue. Full bodied and thick palate.

Very malty and the alcohol tones played like bourbon whiskey and toasted oak. Buttery toffee (not diacetyl! But imagine cracker jacks caramel buttery sweetness). Characters of burnt sugar, caramel, and creme-brulee. Dark fruits like figs, dates, raisins, prunes and hints of earthy honey sweetness. A little bit floralness crept in to balance the sweetness and a big malted grain finish.

As it warmed the whiskey notes really became more evident.

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Photo of kscaldef
4.66/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Bailey's Taproom

Poured into a snifter with virtually no head. Color is a dark murky brown, with some red showing when light shines through it.

Aroma hits you first with caramel and toffee, then vanilla, bourbon, and a hint of prunes.

On the front of the tongue this tastes like candy, then there's chocolate further back in the mouth and cherry in the finish. This is very, very smooth and not at all cloying. It should be sipped slowly, but it's hard not to drink it faster than an 13% beer ought to be.

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Photo of jminsc76
4.45/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Into a wide-rimmed glass, pours a bright ruby body. Quite vibrant and oh so pretty. Didn't really notice the head too much, but from what I can recollect it wasn't substantial. Look at that ruby body though...

A bouquet of strawberries, hints of toffee, and just a little bit of graham cracker/sweetbread. Intense yet very well-balanced between all of the aforementioned aromas.

The flavors are complex, complex, complex, with the prior-mentioned strawberries and toffee nearly stinging the palate with intensity. Also some biting bitterness, with an overall smoothness that's just right.

Mouthfeel is ebullient upon swishing, thinner without.

Overall, this is a fantastic barleywine. Reminds me very much of Greenflash's Imperial Red, though with a lot more of the toffee and caramel notes that GF's IR just doesn't showcase. I could potentially knock back an entire bottle, though not sure what that would do for my constitution other than make me REALLY happy. OoOo:-]

(Update: had it on draft last week, and it's even better. All of the flavors were amplified, especially the sweetbread, toffee, and strawberries; my inspiration had led me to conclude this ranks with Parabola as FSW's top specialty-release)

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Photo of joshuaseresse
4.62/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received this bottle in a trade with cbeer88, thanks Carl! Split with my girlfriend and served in a snifter:

A - Pour produces a small, thin head at first that dies into thin foam ring around the edges with murky bubbles in the middle and a cloudy sworls in the middle. Eventually, there is just no head or foam at all. Color is nearly black with brownish hues coming from the sides. Light can sort of pass through but when I tip it toward the light there are nice brown and amber/ruby tints come through. No lacing retention.

S - The smell is a bourbon cream with a light roast and chocolate. A little bit of toffee and caramelized brown sugar. The bourbon is not in the forefront but compliments the beer quite nicely. A really great smell.

T - Bourbon and oak. Nice caramel and brown sugar. A bit of sugary candy and chocolate cake. The roast is in the middle and toward the end with the smooth bourbon in the front that levels off toward the end, but there is just a touch of heat but it is expected for 13%. Really delicious.

M - Very smooth and creamy. A bit of a tingle from the ABV but pretty well done considering how high it is. A tiny bit of a smokey char that leaves it a tad bit dry.

O - Wow, this is a great beer! So smooth and delicious. I know that this beer is pretty fresh but I am so glad that I have a few bottles to age because I know it is going to get better. Considering the high ABV I am just downing this beer. Great, just great!

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Photo of jimmy82063
4.35/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a brandy snifter. Have had this bottle for about a month.

A) Ruddy brown color, little to no head, mild lacing.

S) Caramel and vanilla, a faint trace of bourbon.

T) Now for the fun, the caramel and vanilla are backed up by a bit of chocolate, this is sweet (of course) but there is a nice balance towards the end with some slight hoppy bitterness and a little "oaky" smokiness!

M) Smooth with just a bit of an alcohol burn. This will age very nicely.

O) Another great beer from Firestone Walker and yet another reason to do my beer shopping other than in Connecticut!

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Photo of CrellMoset
4.05/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. black foiled bottle picked up at Wine Warehouse, Charlottesville, VA. Poured in to a 22 oz. brandy snifter.

Appearance: Pours a brown beer bottle, dingy, russet auburn, transparent at the offset, but - as it begins to fill up the snifter - increasing progressively in opacity until it's entirely devoid of internal light. A fizzy, bubbly, chaotic head - slightly tan, creamy and fine-bubbled albeit severely lacking in the stick and retention normally necessary to coax the descriptor "creamy" out of me - fades to an incredibly fine, thin ring inside ten seconds. An initial burst of carbonation kept the head alive for that brief time, but this burst fades to a stream of slowly creeping effervescence around the periphery of the snifter. At 13.0% with a barrel aged beer, you don't expect much more, but it's still slightly disappointing, given what you would expect to be a pretty high hop protein concentration.

Aroma: Brown sugar, maple, caramel, and toffee toastiness mingle citrus notes, tropical fruits, and a slew of astringent barrel notes. It's a little harsh and a little muddled, nicer when chilled rather than warm, with a few pleasant spicy and sweet coconut, vanillin, cinnamon notes emerging when chilled (as well as an interesting rum-like undercurrent from the booziness mingling with the dark fruits), contrasted with a much harsher nose as it hits room temperature.

Taste: An interesting taste profile - initial impressions, this is one that both soars in places but also stumbles in just a few. First, the malt profile is fat but not over the top. It's about one step past an equal-parts sweet/dry mixture - towards the sweet side, that is. Honey notes blend with intense caramel roastiness which merges seamlessly with darker toffee, brown sugar, and a hint of butterscotch which themselves meld in to a few heavier, toasty notes: cocoa, well-done toast, a few earthy, biscuity, dry notes. There's also plenty of citrus and fruit - a definite mango presence mingles nicely with a slew of vaguely tropical fruitiness, tons of hoppy citrus, pineapple, and, unsurprisingly, coconut (more on that soon). The remaining fruity notes are darker, but they seem to be more subdued - cherries, stronger dates, a little figginess, some pretty pungent raisin notes, hints of plum, and even some slightly tart prunes.

The barrels, on the other hand, are a bit ... well, muddled. Brandy fruity notes, rye spiciness, bourbon sweetness ... it's all a bit lost amidst a barrage of heat, unpleasant spice, and astringency. There are a few pleasant vanilla notes and plenty of toasted, barrel sugar-esque coconut notes that emerge from this party, but the big takeaway is that there's a lot going on here, and most of it doesn't jive with most of the rest of it.

Mouthfeel: Smooth regardless of the carbonation level, and maybe this beer's best quality. About as creamy as you'd want with the hop level and spicy spirit notes and about as erratic as you'd want with the sweet malts and barrel sugars, the end result here is balance. It's not perfect, but it's pretty good.

Drinkability: I was a little underwhelmed by this beer. It's no Parabola - it's hotter, more astringent, and a little less flavorful. And at 13.0%, it's going to kick your ass if you're not careful ... and maybe even if you are. Drink this one with food (specifically, with dessert), and don't drink it alone if you can help it. I think this beer could be a lot more if they became a little more focused with the barrel aging, and maybe even a little more focused with the baseline malts and hop profile ... thinking back on the "big picture" of this beer makes it even a little more hazy. Regardless, on the whole it's definitely an above average brew, one I'm glad to have tried, though I question its price tag.

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Photo of glazeman
4.23/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Split with the trusty airohead2001.

A: medium dark brown with some dark amber hues when held to light. There was a ½ finger light brown head that faded into a crown and oily swirl.

S: The main smells I get are butterscotch and alcohol that comes through with a smell like that of acetone. There's a little bourbon, but not much. Also of note, the beer is devoid of dark fruits, caramel, but has a little bit of vanilla.

T: Thankfully a lot better than the smell. The bourbon comes through very well and is smooth, not overpowering. The main flavor I get is butterscotch, but it doesn't stop there. There are nice layers of oak, caramel, and a pinch of molasses. The alcohol is fairly well hidden, but a get a mediocre amount of "hotness" at the finish.

M: Nice level of viscosity, appropriately low level of carbonation for the ABV and a pretty good after taste give this a great mouthfeel for the style.

O: Overall I'm glad I was able to find several of these to lay down in the cellar as I really feel this will get better with age. Definitely one of the better bourbon barrel barleywines out there.

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Photo of airohead2001
4.31/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks glazeman.

Appearance is pretty standard for a barrel aged barleywine. Dark brown/red with a small head that fades to bubbles that line the edge of the snifter.

The smell is buttered popcorn, toffee, vanilla, booze, and a little bit of piney hops. Outstanding.

Taste is so rich, complex, and delicious. Wow - I was not expecting something this good. Butter toffee, coconut, and caramel up front with a nice bourbon sugariness through out. The finish is a combo of harsh roasts, harsh hops, and a whole lot of painful EtOH burn, just to remind you that this is a 13% ABV brew.

Mouthfeel is sticky, which is nice, but is just a little too thin.

Overall, this beer is what I would hope and expect a Harry Potter Butterbeer tastes like. It is sweet, nutty, and buttery. I had no idea that this beer would be this good. It is far better than Mother of All Storms and is much more on par with my favorites, Kuhnhenn BBBW and Central Waters BBBW. The EtOH burn is prominent in this one, but I would love to drink a bottle or two with Hermoine Granger and see where the night takes us. Excellent brew.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.45/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage on-tap at Track 84. Served in a tulip. Pours the color of mahogany with ruby highlights around the the base. Half-inch head is frothy, tan-colored and embedded with pinpricks. Head eventually dissipates into a swirl of foam that coalesces around the edges. Thick swaths of lacing are exposed during the tasting. Nose is incredible - sweet and malty with brown sugar, a dominant toffee character and vanilla notes. Taste follows nose - a little alcohol acridness pleasantly breaks up the sweetness. There's also a hint of cocoa or milk chocolate and perhaps a nuttiness quality (hazelnuts?) as well as a rum or whiskey character. Mouthfeel is medium-light with a lively effervescence that is slightly too assertive for the style and abv. There's also a slight viscosity and some residual alcohol heat at the finish. This is a dangerously drinkable beer at 13% abv. Possibly my favorite example of the style. Definitely a beer that has great cellaring potential. I'd love to see how this beer rounds out with perhaps three years on it.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle shared by Huhzenbendahahaaha, thanks other Matt.

Beer served in a snifter, beer is ruby red, dark, thin off white head, some lacing, low carbonation, looks good.

Aroma is great, sweet, bourbon, some fruitiness, mild oak, smells awesome.

Beer is the most drinkable beer I think I've ever had. I'm not the biggest barleywine fan out there, but this is an incredible beer. Sweet, not a dry finish, great liquor character, nice body, creamy smooth, you can hold the beer in your mouth for a long time without any alcohol bite or any heat. Wonderful, truly wonderful.

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Photo of Phelps
4.49/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed from the tap at Tops, served first in their new 10-ounce stange-style glasses, and then out of a little snifter, because I wanted more.

Deep amber-tinged crimson with very slight haze. Atop, a foamy, one-finger cream-colored head, slowly becomes very thin ring.

Such an incredible nose. Dark sweet cherries, vanilla, toasted coconut, oak, fig. Barrel notes definitely command the aroma, but the barrels are gooood. Also of note is the perfect integration of all the different aromas. I want to make a shampoo out of it.

The flavor is a nearly perfect reflection of the nose, though perhaps with a tad more cherry sweetness. Tons of barrel character emerges in notes of charred oak, vanilla and coconut, while the "barleywine" nature of the beer shows itself in a blast of sweet dark grapes and even some syrupy orange before the swallow and the slightly drying finish. So complex, but so well-blended.

As in the bottle, the mouthfeel is perfection. Creamy medium full body, very soft fizziness. The carbonation seems lighter here, but still works. Alcohol is picked up on the tongue and throat, but seems more like 8 percent than 13.

I hate to be that guy, but Abacus is even better from the tap being granted a cherry sweetness I didn't much pick up in the bottle. Incredible.

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Photo of foogerd
4.2/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown when held up to the light you can see some dark red, some light caramel colored head that dies down.

Caramelized raisins with brown sugar with some booze.

Dark fruits raisins dipped in rum, powdered chocolate, some spicy hops add a nice dimension to this Barleywine. Highly carbonated.

Overall I think its a great Barleywine that deserves a try, very complex with lots of layers to the flavor.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.07/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured on tap into a small snifter at Church Key DC as part of the official Firestone Walker DC Launch Party.

No head was poured, but the body of this brew is a fairly clear but real nice dark brown to red cherry body. Light tan color noticing other pours, and bubbles are present, and there does manage to be a minimal collar left even while finishing.

Bouquet is a real pleasant soft silky milk chocolate almost Belgian chocolate tasting. Vanilla, hints of powdered hot cocoa with slight powdered sugar. A sense of dry feeling, but not entirely.

Taste brings a real nice Belgian chocolate, with silky feeling. However, there is a very prickly carbonation that is noticeable and subtle. I would prefer this to be a lot smoother. No hint of alcohol boozyness, but gives a slight lingering numbness on the finish.

Overall this is pretty dang good, but I wish it wasn't so prickly and carbonated. Very chocolaty I must say. It's excellent but I am not blown away by it.

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Photo of Kinsman
4.3/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Rather dark for the style with a dark brownish-red body that is just a few shades short of black. Capped by a modest cream colored head that looked good while it lasted.

Sweet caramel malty tones on top of an underlying vanilla and oak wood character. Picking up on slight hints of chocolate too

Lots of wonderful flavors swirling around. The combination of these malts and the oak barrels give it strong caramel and vanilla sweetness at first, like putting caremel syrup on your ice cream. Other flavors get the chance to come through with a bit of a chocolate note and some tobacco flavors in the finish.

Thick and chewy with a bit of a boozy kick to it. Overall, another excellent example of barrel aged beers from the guys (and gals) are Firestone Walker.

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Photo of Impfan
5/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Incredible barleywine with beautiful dark chocolate, cognac, pitted fruit and unpitted fruit skins, tobacco, leather, subtle bourbon (well integrated) cardamom, clove, and surprisingly dryish in the remarkably lengthy finish. Impeccable balance from sniff to aftertaste. Simply one of the most amazingly sophisticated barleywines I've ever tasted. In another six months when the heat has subsided, this will be a true masterpiece. Edit: After only a few days resting, the heat has almost totally vanished, the carbonation is softer, and the flavors are already more married. Kudos, Firestone!

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.13/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap 4/3/2011 at Track 84 in Warwick, RI served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark reddish brown color, large off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains candy sugar, dark fruit, caramelized malts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out very sweet with strong flavors of brown sugar, caramel & dark fruit. The malt character is very hearty and there's some chocolate in the background. There's also a mild alcohol sting which is to be expected with a 13.00% ABV. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings some balance. The after-taste is likewise sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium-to-heavy body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down dangerously easy, slightly filling, very strong kick, good representation of style, for a high-gravity sipper this is a good beer to drink for as long as you're able to handle it.

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§ucaba from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
99 out of 100 based on 849 ratings.