Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Double Double Barrel Ale - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Double Double Barrel AleDouble Double Barrel Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

314 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 314
Hads: 1,880
Avg: 4.25
pDev: 22.12%
Wants: 223
Gots: 897 | FT: 114
Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  12.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: HopHead84 on 06-16-2009

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (83) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 314 | Hads: 1,880
Photo of Donco
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

2014 vintage. First time drinking this FW variety.
Poured into my trusty Stone tulip glass.
Appearance: Rusty gold color. Minimal lacing and carb bubbles.
Smell: Wonderful oak, toffee, bourbon, vanilla. As it warms the aroma is even more pronounced and wonderful.
Taste: Amazingly smooth and mellow for a 12% sipper. Some sweetness is cut by the oak and alcohol. Amazing complexity of vanilla/toffee/buttery/cinnamon/bourbon/dark fruit.
Overall: Great brew and highly recommended. FW is my favorite when it comes to barrel aging and this one is superb. I have another bottle that I'm going to age for at least 6 months to make a comparison. Understand it's going away but hopefully will return someday!

 703 characters

Photo of smakawhat
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass. Until we meet again.. Don't know where, don't know when… Vintage 2014.

American Strong Ale looking like appearance, deep cherry caramel brown and very dark red, fairly glowing and clear. Not much head produced off the pour, a creamy buttery tan yellow, that settles to a good thin and creamy collar that always sticks around. Not as dark as I expected, but a real nice color and looking brew.

Simple nose that hints at good oak. Creamy notes of buttered caramel and toffee. Nice cinnamon like warmth and cherry spices to match. Mild booze warmth.

Palate is interesting, very light bodied and almost crackling biscuit, but with a much rounder oaky feel of course. Small hints of toffee and woody warmth. Some nice vanilla but without the sweetness and a buttery oak quality just keeps coming. Not particularly big on any fruit, minimal caramel and toffee, but also very light sweetness. Mouthfeel is pretty tame but fills nicely. With some time and warmth, a bit more fruity quality of cherry comes out a bit slightly.

Overall it's a decent aged brew but seems to also hint at lighter strong and old ale qualities, which for the heavy hitting oomph dorks out there probably doesn't get to many people excited. Great beer to try, and decent for what it is.

 1,319 characters

Photo of daryk77
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Big vanilla nose, slightly sweet vanilla/barrel taste. Not hot at all. Well balanced for a 12%abv beer. Think ~6 months will put this beer in a good spot. Firestone is truly a master of barrel aging.

 199 characters

Photo of TruePerception
4.4/5  rDev +3.5%

Firestone's Double DBA, barrel-aged imperial special bitter. 12% ABV.

A: Nice smoky haze upon opening. A little less than a finger of lopsided head. Seems to be no lacing. Clear, slightly-orange red, with tiny grey sediment suspended throughout. Golden yellow in the dimple, with more suspended sediment. (4.5)

S: Deep, fruity molasses. Malty. Some bourbon and oakiness, but it's lighter than Firestone's other BA offerings. Lightly browned cereal grain (a la, whole grain Cheerios). I'm having trouble nailing down the fruit smell I'm getting. Something along the lines of fig or tamarind. Toffee. (4.5)

T/MF: Flavor is darker, and with more caramel notes, than the basic DBA. Rich fruity toffee. Dried cherry, plum. More of that malted cereal grain. Slight char note on the back end of all those caramel and toffee notes. Booziness is well masked. Slightly soft mouthfeel. Slight, bittersweet chocolate note. Very slight grassiness, but it very well hidden underneath the other flavors. (4.5/4.25)

Overall: Decent amount of sweetness along with the flavors makes this more of a dessert beer, to me. Quite glad I was able to try this before it was gone!(4.5)

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle, into a Belgian tulip glass.

 1,221 characters

Photo of snowmageddon
4.6/5  rDev +8.2%

A: Pours a dark amber color, with a quickly receding off-white/brownish head.

S: Wow. Lots going on here. Vanilla, oak, coconut, toffee, raisin caramel, earthy hops. I don't want to stop inhaling.

T: Like the nose, Sweet caramel, coconut, and the oaky vanilla notes from the barrel aging stand out. The woody flavor balances with the sweetness very well. There's slight, slight heat from the alcohol, but the high abv is well hidden.

M: moderate carbonation, smooth body.

O: Fantastic beer. Go get it before it's gone. RIP, Double DBA.

 552 characters

Photo of cpetrone84
3.55/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pour is dark copper with a small amount of tan head. Nose is heavy bourbon, light oxidation, brown sugar, faint dried caramel. Full, luscious body, fairly smooth and creamy with just a bit of grittiness. Flavors are sweet with strong bourbon up front, a hint of paper, lots of malt sugar with brown sugar and caramel flavors. Moderately strong carbonation and a dry finish that brings a hint of booziness and a lingering spice to it.

 433 characters

Photo of MonkeyBread
4.27/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Huge fan of Firestone Walker's barrel program, let's see how this measures up seeing as it's about to be retired from bottling. 2014 vintage.

Appearance: lighter complexion for an English barley wine; a hazy, translucent brown. Looks just like Double Barrel Ale.

Smell: big sweetness, caramel, toasted coconut, molasses, brown sugar.

Taste: similar to nose. Certainly an English barley wine, the malty sweetness is very pronounced. No hop presence. Main taste is molasses with toasted coconut. Slight bitterness on the finish. Alcohol is present mostly in form of bourbon, almost a flavoring of cognac. No alcohol heat though so it works.

Mouthfeel: quite a thick and chewy beer. Very viscous, almost syrupy.

Overall: impressive, but I think I had unrealistically high hopes. Probably a palate issue because the single Double Barrel Ale is one of my least favorite Firestone beers and at its core this has the flavoring of DBA. A nice English barley wine though, especially if you like an after dinner, sweet, sipper.

 1,027 characters

Photo of Celtics17
4.63/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

This is the 2014 vintage.

A big flavor profile. Taste like candy, just a major sweetness. The first sip gives you a sugary caramel, molasses and vanilla taste. A slight coconut, and toffee taste comes through as the beer warms.

It's a shame that this will be the last time this is bottled.

 292 characters

Photo of impending
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25


22oz into a tulip. Pours a polished red stained wood, crystal clear shellac, minor fleeting head, zero lacing.

Sweet sweet sweet aroma. As much an old ale as anything. Time touching wood is obvious. A bit solvent.

The flavor is big and expressive, massive caramel toffee sweet sweet goodness. Boozy but not hot. Long lasting complex aftertaste, evolves significantly, pleasantly. Full bodied oily slick appropriate mouthfeel.

 441 characters

Photo of Goalcam
3.3/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This one packs quite a punch which I normally don't mind in something like a stout but this one tastes more like a liquor than beer. The taste is pretty close to that of a cognac. This is certainly more of a sipping beer than one watching a ballgame. I really wish I had a nice cigar to go along with this one.

 310 characters

Photo of laituegonflable
3.77/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep red colour, amber tinged. Head is off-white, large bubbles. Decent lacing. But a bit thin. Paradoxically though, it looks heavy overall.

Smells like oak. Vanilla, coconut, even bourbon. Smells sweet, kind of cupcake-esque, with a big bourbon hit. Yeah, cupcakes with bourbon. There's an idea. Let's talk, Firestone Walker.

Taste is coconutty. Vanilla, as well, lots of sweetness. American oak, notes of butter, with cake batter, chestnut, coconut, sweet bourbon maybe. Touch of corporeality. Not a huge amount of beer character, just tastes of sweetness with huge bourbon ageing. I like all the characters, but yeah I'd like more nuance. Just tastes like delicious barrel ageing with the beer removed.

Smooth, heavy, has a slight nip of alcohol on the back. Not bad.

Very tasty. But rating it as a beer I'm a bit torn. It's nice, but is there really much beer character left here?

 897 characters

Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.99/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22oz bomber purchased from Healthy Spirits in San Francisco, CA. Brought back to Sydney where I shared it with Sam.

Beautiful reddish-amber colour, very clear and bright in the body. Some slightly sudsy streaking lace. Body is thick and fine, and holds wonderfully slim streams of carbonation. Looks pretty wonderful.

Nose is incredible. Oaky, bright but leavened with a sweetness that keeps it grounded and tethered. The lightness comes from the hops, which are heady, but still tied to a slightly English earthiness—they give a denseness to the beer. Really beautiful stuff.

Taste is similarly good—here, though it has a sweetness that really takes it beyond anything resembling an ESB. That's fine, but the bitterness has a hard time keeping things together. There's a oakiness towards the back that smooths over all of the oddities, but it's hard to deny that all of the weight doesn't necessarily work.

Feel is very smooth and clean, but with a slick, marble-like sweetness always providing a bit of weight.

Overall. This is nice stuff. As part of the big, intense blended anniversary ales, it's clearly a integral part. But on it's own, it's a little bit of an oddity.

 1,184 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.37/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

a wonderful showcase of the bourbon barrel here. different than all the stouts and thick sticky blends they do, this is a lighter (in color and in roastiness) malt bill than a lot of their big barreled beers. i think it lets the wood and the bourbon flavors really present themselves well. english sort of grain profile to this, sweet and sappy, caramel like, and full bodied. the beer looks about right for what it claims to be, toffee colored beer with bronzed amber edges. not much head from the tap, or at least it settles down pretty quickly. tons and tons of sweet vanilla on the nose, this has very obviously spent a great deal of time resting on bourbon. a sturdy char on the barrel too helps to add depth and mellow what i cant believe isnt hot alcohol. its so well hidden here. there is even some hops in the finish of this one, more than just the requisite english bittering hops, i get a dried straw and corn husk character from them, in addition to just enough bitterness to balance some of the left over sugars in the finish of this. complex and woody, this is a great example of firestone walkers ability to barrel age beers. tons of the whiskey character comes through, and i like the coppery sweet caramel malt. a real treat to drink, it warms up well, and i think its different than what we usually expect from barleywine.

 1,340 characters

Photo of antott0523
4.51/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 Bottle. Poured into a goblet.

A: Opaque caramel color. Moderate carbonation. Static bubbles against the glass. Serious condensation on the outside of the glass as the brew is 38 degrees and my apartment is 78. Thin rim of light brown head around the edge.

S: Toffee, caramel, and figs. Strong booze, but not at all overpowering.

T: Sweet and malty notes of toffee, caramel and vanilla. A smooth tawny port wine. As the beer approaches room temperate I get some more nutty notes as well, such as sweeter hazelnut. The finish is long and powdery.

M: Moderately carbonated and extremely velvety. Boozy warmth.

D: I only bought one due to the price tag, but wish I had cleared the shelf of the three of four boxes they had. This beer does not need any more age, which is good, because I am not sure I could resist. I have been trying to convert my port wine drinking dad to beers for years, and this may be just the one to do it.

 935 characters

Photo of Paul_PABrewNews
4.35/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

2013 Vintage.

This ale was amazing and it will get better with age.

Appearance: Poured a lovely muted orange/amber in hue. Slight bottle conditioning added to a mild cloudiness as the bottle was emptied.
Aroma: was floral booze, bourbon, caramel, soft dark fruits and slight smoky tones.
Taste: Sweet Caramel, Burnt Brown Sugars Touch of Raisins and lovely floral boozy notes.
Earthy woody hops add to the ale with a playful bitterness.
Body: It was soft and smooth, only a hint of a sticky sweetness remained, they abv and hops dried it out a touch at the end.

Overall a wonderful ale, that I know will be even better with age, I hope to track down another bottle soon. Cheers!

 684 characters

Photo of RutgersEng
4.41/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer was bottled 6/12 and cellared for two years, and poured into a tall pint glass.

The beer was an opaque yellow with an orange hue and with a lot of cloudy particles inside. There was no head and some lacing along the sides of the glass.

The smell was what you'd expect from a barrel aged barley wine. Some vanilla, a little oak and a bit of bourbon on the nose.

The taste was what was expected of one of the base beers of Firestone Walker's anniversary ales. It was sweet with a hint of vanilla and toffee balanced by the grains. The alcohol was buried so deep that it didn't give a burn on the back of the throat and I had to read the label again to make sure that it was really 12%. The beer had the FW character, but for some reason the taste of bourbon or whiskey was prevalent, although without the whiskey burn.

I really enjoyed this beer. It was a reminder of any of the anniversary ales that I have enjoyed. It wasn't as sweet and flavorful as SUCABA, but for a barley wine it would hold its own against any others out there. This beer knows how to treat you right.

 1,086 characters

Photo of Louisville-Beer-Reviews
4.58/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Clear ruby color. Not much in the way of lacing or head. Very attractive in the light.

Aroma: Pleasant aromas of vanilla, toasted nuts, and some alcohol.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Strong flavors of caramel, sweet vanilla, toffee, and toasted coconut. Tingly mouthfeel on the tongue, with a bit of alcohol warmth and flavor. Roasted/toasted nut flavors surface occasionally, with a rich finish of toffee and nutty malts. The mouthfeel is tingly, but also has a smooth, buttery texture and flavor that really holds all of the elements together.

Final Word: Buy it on the spot, no questions asked! Firestone Walker beers are rarely available outside of the West Coast, much less a reserve series like the Double DBA, so you may only ever get one chance to taste it barring a move to California (though it’d probably be worth the move). All of the flavors in this beer work in perfect harmony to create a drink that sips like a liquid dessert, but without being too sweet or overbearing. Drink it when the air outside is chilly, and let the warm, roasted flavors wrap you up like a blanket.

 1,097 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.84/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Batch 1. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Deep amber with a few islands of white foam and a thin collar.

Smell - Bourbon. Sweet caramel. Barrel notes behind the sugars. Some faint coconut.

Taste - Sharp bourbon. Oak, vanilla, and coconut. Sweet toffee malts, but a dry, oaky finish.

Mouthfeel - Dry and oaky. Not too sweet, which is nice, but a little astringent.

Overall - Decent barrel and pretty tasty, but monotonous.

 464 characters

Photo of IKR
3.91/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 Vintage

Appearance: Amber colored with ruby highlights. Modest light beige head that slowly faded. Nice looking beer.

Smell: Primarily Bready notes with a touch of brown sugar.

Taste: Toffee, mild Bourbon notes, touch of brown sugar, and mild vanilla notes. Some hop bitterness comes through in the finish. The alcohol is fairly well hidden.

Mouth-feel: on the light side of medium-bodied with a moderate level of carbonation.

Overall: A good beer but I still prefer §ucaba as my favorite FW Barleywine.

 515 characters

Photo of Lothore
4.24/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours a hazy reddish brown color with a small, off white head.

S- Caramel, dark fruit, fig, date

T- Caramel, toffee, dark fruit, which moves into a light bitterness followed by lingering notes of deep, dark fruit.

M- Thick and effervescent.

D- Great barleywine. Excellent sipper that i'm glad I got the chance to try.

 325 characters

Photo of ruckus232
4.36/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 Ounce brown bottle poured into a tulip glass

Appearance: Semi transparent amber color.

Smell: Nutty scent with a little hint of sweetness.

Taste: There is a nuttiness at first that changes into a sweet vanilla taste and ends with something somewhat smokey.

 262 characters

Photo of Seanniek91
4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a 650ml bottle into a Smutty Big beer tulip. 2012 vintage. Cellar temp.

Appearance- Clearer amber with quick bubbly off-white head that left no lacing. Looks to be well carbonated.

Smell- Rich caramel, stone fruits, mild booze, oaky vanilla and tobacco. Fairly typical barrel aged barleywine aromas.

Taste- Much of the nose, but oak is quite prevalent by now. Big caramel and cherry and plums, vanilla, tobacco. No booze taste.

Mouthfeel- Highly carbonated which perturbs me slightly. Other than that, Medium-full body, medium heat at the back of the throat, but over all pretty easy to drink. I would like less carbonation.

Overall- A nice BBA Barleywine. Too carbonated but overall, nicely balanced.

 720 characters

Photo of neurobot01
4.39/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

2012 bomber into a snifter. Served at fridge temp, allowed to warm ~30 mins.

Appearance: Unexpectedly light; I guess I was expecting something more like §ucaba, but this looks more like unfiltered apple cider. Cloudy reddish brown. Basically nonexistent head.

Smell: Now the smell is a lot more like §ucaba—caramel, vanilla, barrel, whipped cream. Maybe it's just because I've got apple cider in my brain now, but I also pick up a lot of bright apple notes. Smells really delicious.

Taste: Follows the nose. Toffee, some coconut, vanilla. I also get the sweet, slightly tart or bitter apple that I picked up in the aroma. A little alcohol burn, but really in the background compared to fresh barrel-aged offerings.

Feel: Fairly syrupy, but brightly carbonated at the same time. I would actually prefer a little lower carb, thought I guess it fits the slightly brighter, apple-y flavor pretty well.

Overall: Mighty fine brew. Haven't had this fresh, but I'm guessing the age did it well in mellowing out the alcohol presence and letting some of the other flavors come to the fore. Not sure where I'd rank this against FW's other widely-available Proprietor's Vintage beers, but not sure I'd care—it's delicious!

 1,221 characters

Photo of Bedrocker
4.71/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2013 vintage poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a dark amber with a small off-white head that sticks around.

S: Smells like bourbon and vanilla, primarily. There's some coconut in there as well as some fruits I can't identify.

T: Follows the nose (especially the oak), with added notes of toffee, caramel, and toasted almonds. Excellent. Finishes with a little bit of hoppiness, but not too much. Oak and vanilla flavors stick around for the finish. Very well-balanced.

M: Thick and full bodied, with just the right amount of carbonation. Little bit of alcohol on the back end.

O: A very well done barleywine. Firestone really knows how to barrel-age beers, and alongside Sucaba and Parabola this holds up very well. Not as deliciously sweet as Sucaba, but this is still an outstanding beer.

 793 characters

Photo of 01001111
4.83/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Caramel with a brilliant red tone that comes through when held up to the sunlight.

S: Toffee, toasted coconut, vanilla, and a very faint, saison-like funk.

T: Following from the smell, an initial hit of toffee and light vanilla followed by a subtle sour apple flavor and finishing with the taste of a strong, English bitter mixed with a bit of bourbon.

M: Syrupy but not cloying.

O: A great beer that transforms from a barleywine to a bitter in your mouth.

 463 characters

Double Double Barrel Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 314 ratings.