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Double Double Barrel Ale | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

325 Reviews
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Double Double Barrel AleDouble Double Barrel Ale

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

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by HopHead84 on 06-16-2009

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Reviews: 325 | Ratings: 1,925
Photo of stortore
4.46/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2014 22 ounce bottle into snifter.

Pours a hazy, medium amber color, small head, no real lacing. Smells terrific. Lots of bourbon and malts, oak, vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, hint of cherry. Taste continues the strong, but not dominant, bourbon, stronger malts than the nose. Also vanilla, caramel, oak. Slightly boozy. Really good. Smooth, rich, full bodied.

Gonna miss this beer. So well blended and flavorful. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of richj1970
4.31/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 22 oz bomber into snifter. 2013 vintage.

A: Pours a rich golden brown with some slight red tones. One finger off white head that settled immediately and almost no lacing.

S: Sweet caramel and toffee. Plum, dates, and cherries. A hint of bourbon and charred oak.

T: Rich toffee, butterscotch, and caramel. Dark fruity Flavors with plum, dates, and cherries. Subtle bourbon and oak flavors at the end.

M: Full bodied with a sweet finish. Fairly lightly carbonated.

O: Outstanding English style barley wine. Sad to see this one go, but at least I have a 2014 bottle yet to enjoy!

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Photo of ronricorossi
4.16/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Firestone usually kills it on any of their special releases, no exception here. So smooth, the body's like liquid silk. Caramel and toffee. Just an outstanding barleywine, and not that far behind Sucuba.

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Photo of Ngntjp
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%

Going into this knowing that we don't particularly love bourbon barrel aged beers, I was stunned. This was such a pleasure to drink, as each sip becomes more and more complex with the temperature of our glasses rising. Beautiful color, nose, taste, and mouthfeel. Overall this is one I expected to be indifferent to, but came out absolutely loving. Should've bought more!

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Photo of PaulyB83
4.54/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 22oz. bomber into a tulip glass. 2013 vintage.

A- Pours a deep amber, the year of aging has settled out a lot of yeast and the initial pours are quite clear, had about a quarter of a finger of off white head that dissipated quickly.

S- Lots of toasted coconut with a bit of marshmallow in there, vanilla, bit of oak, not too much alcohol, and dried dark fruits of date and raisin.

T- Similar to nose, mostly toasted coconut, marshmallow and vanilla with some oak and alcohol on the end. The age has made this beer really smooth. I thought for a second that I was getting a slight English hop note on the finish but I could be wrong.

M- On the lighter side of heavy, slightly syrupy.

O- English Barleywines and Old Ales are one of my favorite styles and when the are barrel aged I usually find them to be amazing and that is the case with this one. I really enjoyed how smooth it was and it really had the same huge toasted coconut and marshmallow that I get from two of my favorites Kuhnhenn BB4D and BCBBW. I hope to trade for more of this in the future.

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Photo of Roguer
4.38/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Caramel/muted orange translucent ale, some floaties if you look hard enough and let it settle. Head is slow to form, but is strong (if small), pale, with nice, oily retention.

Lovely aroma, full of vanilla, toffee, light caramel, earth, tobacco, tannin, a hint of citric acid, and of course bourbon - very smooth and mild, though.

Unbelievably smooth flavor, with the bourbon ending up a perfect complement. Very mild on the oak presence, but vanilla, bourbon, and toffee are present in spades. A tiny bit of slightly tart grape presence; barely noticeable caramel; a dry, earthy hop presence (extremely mild and smooth). Everything is perfectly blended together for one delicious overall package.

Very smooth mouthfeel; very little sting, but not quite syrupy; smooth and silky. Medium feel, but it's definitely a sipper. Alcohol heat is almost completely hidden.

This is a delicious beer, well worth cracking for a special occasion or a long, slow evening.

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Photo of Nugganooch
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%

On tap at the FW Tasting Room – Paso Robles
Served in a FW Tasting snifter glass – 08/16/2014

A: Double DBA pours a dark and muddled caramel amber color with some reddish brown tint to it. The carbonation invokes about a quarter inch of dark khaki froth with some sufficient staying power. Light broken tracks of tan lace cling onto my glass after every sip.

S: Smells like rich toffee nougat laced with toasted coconut and vanilla spice. This is not distinctively Bourbon forward to me but I do get some of that aged oak presence. Really this has a big caramel malt sweetness accompanied with a dried fruit medley, doughy breads, and a touch of earthy hops surfacing. Some mild alcohol presence as well. Smells warm and inviting with some nice barreling attributes.

T: Taste bares no surprises as the buttery rich toffee malts carry over. Sweet breads with coconut flesh, brown sugar, toasted oak, and some subtle Bourbon vanilla spice all come together. The beer is big and rich yet never gets sickly so. Maintains a nice frothy consistency throughout and there is a lower level of hop bitterness that brings in some nice earthy mineral qualities to round out the other flavors. Finishes with a warming alcohol spiced kick. A lovely sipper for sure.

M: Heavy and filling at times however with a nice upper level of frothy carbonation that lends a nice creamy texture to the beer. Finishes with a bit of a drying lift and some warming alcohol effects.

D: Double DBA is another great barrel aged offering in the Firestone-Walker lineup. While the final blend doesn’t scream Bourbon to me I just can’t get enough of that coconut. I think that balance is the real testament to the brew masters as I appreciate the fact that this doesn’t pummel you over the head with the spirits like a truncheon yielding bobby. A bit sweeter than others so best to take some time with this one or share with friends. Shame they are discontinuing bottles.

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Photo of JMS1512
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%

Poured hard into my Lucifer snifter.

Sight: Lovely hazy, burnished orange with a stark white head. This recedes into a light film on top, delicate speckles of lace.

Smell: Oh God, the malt! Sweet bready, malty, raisin goodness. Just the slightest hint of hop.

Taste: More Heaven in a glass. Sipped while chilled, it offers a great caramel note, playing in concert with a sugary malt and like its aroma, dark fig/raisin characteristic of balanced English style Barleywines. Booze is well hidden for 12%- to me, a great hallmark of well-crafted barleywine. As it warms, the hops are a bit more apparent, but the other flavors still take control. I MAY consider this a "malt bomb."

Mouthfeel: Delicate carbonation, slick oily feel on the tongue. Very pleasing. Smooth, almost to a fault.

Overall: Fantastic offering by FW. And a new "nomenclature" for me: Imperial Special Bitter. Call it what you want, I'll call it malty magnificence.

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Photo of Brenden
4.25/5  rDev 0%

Thanks so much to Benny (styleisking) for snagging me this before it's gone for good.

It's a heavily clouded brown with lighter brown in its outer edges but no highlights to speak of in terms of color. The head is a tan cap that settles nicely to roughly half a finger's height and sticks some moderate to slightly heavier spotting and thin webbing sparsely.
This is a malty beast to be sure. It does manage to show off its English nature in its own way, more particularly in the flavor than the aroma. Otherwise there's a lot of sweetness while refraining from cloying. There's lots of caramel, toffee, brown sugar, molasses, and maybe even a hint of something like marshmallow flashing in there. Vanilla comes clearly through the barrel, which adds plenty of spirituous heat and wood to complement. It comes off as a touch heavy at times, but I'm surprised this monster can be kept in check at all. Earth runs into the middle and on through as it finishes with lots of dark fruits.
It's smooth as good bourbon with a steady carbonation to it. It comes on creamy and eases dry without losing the smoothness, while just a bit of crispness gently nips. It never loses smoothness, and the heat just sort of slides in and into the finish.

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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!

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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.

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Photo of Can_has_beer
5/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2014 on tap at Flying Saucer Downtown Houston.

I don't think there is any way you can improve upon this beer. It looks great, the aroma is heavenly, and it doesn't suffer from the sweetness that some BA barley wines do. I love the taste of it. It's luxurious and entrancing. I think this is perfection of the style.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of Kevinpitts
4.4/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 vintage. Initially thought this was a good beer. Now after aging 2 years, it got very good. Very smooth sweet barleywine. Aged smoothed this out considerably. Glad I have more now!

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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.

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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.

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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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Double Double Barrel Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 325 ratings.