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Double Double Barrel Ale - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Double Double Barrel AleDouble Double Barrel Ale

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307 Reviews
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Reviews: 307
Hads: 1,857
Avg: 4.25
pDev: 8.94%
Wants: 219
Gots: 892 | FT: 116
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.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 307 | Hads: 1,857
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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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

Firestone's Double Double DBA came in 3rd in my recent beer tasting of Firestone Walker's top beers. Out of the seven BA guys we had at the tasting, Double Double DBA got a 5 from one taster for look, smell, taste, mouthfeel and overall. It scored and average of 4.19 from all the judges.

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Photo of bball208
4.9/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75


Couldn't believe I was able to find this at a bar for $19, so I got a whole bottle to myself and had a very good night.

It poured a beautiful dark caramel color, with faint traces of beautiful frothy white bubbles. No head, just an outline of white around the glass.
The smell was intense. It was sex. This explodes with toasted coconut, vanilla, and oak. It's like backwoods bastard on crack. Couldn't believe the aroma I was getting. Perfect.

The expectation on the taste was raised very high due to the incredible nose I got on this, and the flavors exceeded those expectations. Coconut, caramel, oak, vanilla, booze, just a sweet beer. I can still remember the taste even a week after having it.

Overall, if you've had founders backwoods bastard, and sweet repute, this is almost like a hybrid between those two flavors. Insanely good.

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

Poured a light apricot color in a snifter. 1/2F head.

The aroma wafted from the glass: a very strong toffee aroma.

Mouth Feel: very carbonated, which transitions well into the taste.

The taste is rich toffee, with some butterscotch(?). The strong alcoholic finish works well with the taste- there is a very pronounced alcoholic bitterness accompanied by a smoothness in the palate.

overall: an excellent beer. Worth cellaring.

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Photo of rlee1390
4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Cloudy deep amber, almost brown, not much carbonation or head.

S-Oak, bourbon, caramel, toffee. Some grassy notes

T-Very malt forward. Oak and bourbon as well. Caramel and toffee. Slight bitterness.

M-Medium in body, slight carbonation.

O-A good beer, nothing special. Age improved it some.

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Photo of TheCuriograph
4.54/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Been sitting on my 2013 for a few months. An unseasonably cold night like tonight seemed the perfect time to pour it. Bomber into a snifter:

A – Refractive, amber brown with a slight head and reasonable amount of lacing. Nice clarity.

S – Strong vanilla and toffee, with an enticing mélange of plum, raisin, lemon zest, and oak and pipe tobacco. Not as robust as something like the BCBBW, but nicely forthright. Rich but unadorned.

T – Caramel and toffee, coffee and figs. A little lemon tartness, but mostly stewed fruit and vanilla bourbon notes. Also, just a hint of bitterness in the back end. Like every other Reserve Series ale I’ve tried, the barrel-aging has accented a strong, flavorful base in a way that adds some pleasing hotness and decadent bourbon notes without overwhelming.

M – Stings just the right amount, with a heavy, sticky feel that lingers on the tongue and cheeks.

O - This is a bloody treat. With this, Sucaba, and Parabola (and to a lesser extent, Velvet Merkin), I’m coming to the conclusion that FW is incapable of a subpar barrel-aged beer.

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Photo of kdahnke123
4.44/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2013 Vintage poured into a snifter.
A - A slightly hazy, carmel color with minimal head.
S - A wonderful carmel smell with plenty of oak and a little coconut.
T - Carmel and alcohol up front with a rich malty middle and just a hint of hops on the end.
M - Smooth, a little on the thin side with minimal carbonation.
O - A very good example of a barley wine. Should age very well.

2014 Vintage poured into a snifter at room temperature.
A - Poured a clear dark amber with 2 fingers of white head. The head dissipated quickly to leave a long lasting white lacing.
S - Carmel and bourbon with lots of sweet malt and a hint of hops.
T - Carmel and bourbon as per the smell with a hoppy middle and the tang of alcohol at the end.
F - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.
O - Similar to the 2013 vintage but a little harsh as it hasn't had as long to age. If you like barley wines hoppy, this is a good one.

This is the last vintage for this one so buy some if you can find it. I will give updates on this and the 2013 vintage in the coming years.

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Photo of Kramerbarthomer
4.55/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2013 vintage

Yet another amazing brew from FW. A hazy dark orange hue gives way to bourbony, sweet overtones through the nose. As the beer warms, the sweetness overwhelmes as strong hints of marshmallow take over.

Truly another world class brew. I will have to try this side by side with Sucaba to determine which is my favorie.

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Double Double Barrel Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 307 ratings.