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Double Barrel Ale - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Double Barrel AleDouble Barrel Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

2,069 Ratings
THE BROS
82
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,069
Reviews: 672
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 11.75%
Wants: 66
Gots: 197 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
English Pale Ale |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerManDan on 08-24-2002

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,069 | Reviews: 672 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of birdypowder
3.97/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is highly drinkable yet complex. I kept finding new aromas and flavors every few sips, inviting me back to explore further this tasty well balanced ale.

Aroma:
Caramel greets you first, after which you are introduced to the much more shy personalities of citrus, vanilla and some floral hop notes.

Appearance:
Held to the light, Double Barrel Ale glows a radiant orange copper. When sitting patiently on its coaster away from the light DBA turns to star bright amber. Off-white head doesn't last too long and there is no lacing, however I believe my glass wasn't properly cleaned based on what other reviewers said about the head and lacing.

Taste:
Caramel sweetness, mild bitterness, a slight woody taste and hints of apricots. Aftertaste leaves a very mild bitterness just long enough to detect.

Mouthfeel/Body:
Medium bodied leaning towards fullness.

Photo of benito
3.97/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber ales must be the middle child of the American craft brew industry. Ignored by folks who dote on darker, hoppier and stronger beers; similarly maligned by those who prefer light lagers. I bet it was amber ales that got me into drinking craft beer, and to this day, I still find well done amber ales (shamefully rare) to be as pleasurable as any style. Odell's Levity has long been (and remains) at the top of the heap in my mind, but Firestone Walker's Double Barrel Ale comes in a close second.

It's nice to see a more complex amber ale, and Firestone Walker's makes a case here that more breweries out to follow suit. Aged in oak, Double Barrel is complex and very accessible, a beautiful copper brew with a creamy head. The bouquet showcases the oak in favor of typical hop citrus, and it imparts a prominent honey flavor.

Overall, this is an amber that leans heavy toward the malt side of the spectrum; though I would have liked a slightly stronger hop presence, the oaky, earthy malt flavors are rich enough to keep this well-balanced. A very drinkable beer that would be a good offering to a craft beer tyro.

Recommended.

Photo of onewetpaw
3.97/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- A deep malty nose with some slight vanilla, that I assume is from oak. Very slight citrus note.

A- Brilliant deep amber. Scant head.

F- Rich malty flavor with some biscuit and cracker flavors. Light bitterness.

M- Full mouthfeel, especially given the modest ABV, Tannic drying after.

O- This is a very nice sessionable beer. The oak is there, but subtle. The maltiness is upfront, but the beer seems pretty dry overall and seems nice and drinkable.

Photo of Eriktheipaman
3.97/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of KroMagnon
3.97/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

VERY little head - the beer itself, though, is a nice copper color with orange overtones. The aroma is full of malt, and is pleasant, although I expected more hoppy character to it. There is some toastiness as well as a nice full maltiness. The flavor is also dominated by maltiness, and has some of the same characte as the 'regular' pale ale, but this has more toastiness and seems to have a little bit more hop character. (both beers are not as hoppy as I expected but that's not necessarily a knock). The malt character seems both toasty, slightly caramelly, and also full-bodied as well (that kind of German, solid malt character that reminds you of sweet without actually being sweet). This was good, overall, and the malt character is delicious. Very drinkable - although not a hops showcase, that's OK.

Photo of Fatehunter
3.96/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Two fingers of head. Clear, copper colored body.
Smells has a nice dose of caramel and pine. Good.
Taste lets the malt come through nicely. Mildly sweet with just a bit of bitterness. A little citrus.
Texture is smooth, short of creamy. Really nice for a pale ale.
Drinkable and tasty.

Photo of K33bler
3.96/5  rDev +8.2%

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to LittleBreeze for this extra.

Pours a dark brown with red tints, see through. Head is ok, but goes quick leaving big bubbly ring around the glass with some lace. The nose is of malt and suprisingly more hops than I expected. Tastes like west coast and european or english hops with a huge malt backbone. This tastes like an amber/english pale hybrid to me. Kind of strange. Creaminess of malts, but clearly some range of hops in here as well. A little spicy, pepper kick on the finish, hop bitterness is there but is not too terribly strong on the finish. Mouthfeel is nice and creamy, good carbonation. Drinkability is pretty high, but the malt driven taste with the hops still strong makes this one not incredibly drinkable IMO. Good beer, but Ive defenitely had better.

Photo of bradford
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle from a 12-pack bought at local market for $15
Looks okay, amber hue, brown and red when shifted into light
Can't detect much in the smell, lightly hopped, caramel, toffee
Taste is good, not much oak shows through, but if you really tried, you might find it
Mouthfeel is good, a rich, coating beer that doesn't have too much going on so as to ruin it
Drinkability is very high and it is easy to put several of these down
Like the posters around the Central Coast read, "It's what we drink around here"

Photo of Dukeofearl
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tasted on tap at a Mexican Restaurant in Cambria, CA on 12/28/04. Pours a typical amber brown with slight reddish hints with a large, creamy head- much larger than seen on many ambers. Aroma is roasty malty, and the flavor follows through with a nice balance of hops at the end- not strong, but definetly present. Definitely drinkable- nothing outrageously wonderful, but pretty good. I had a chance to pick up a six pack on the way home, but passed, not because I didn't like it; there's plenty of good, similar amber ales around.

Photo of levifunk
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a - light golden color, very clear, off-white head

s - malts and a bit of pine hops.

t - full flavor, vanilla and malts balanced by a light hops. leaves a light bitter finish. getting some, but not much of the wood flavor. I would have expected more with the "double barrel" name.

m - lighter body. good carbonation.

overall - pretty decent pale. surprising to see a 5% pale with that much flavor. very drinkable.

Photo of alamere
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass..

A - Beer looks good. Pours a small head and is carbonated on the low side, which is appropriate for this style in my opinion. Despite the low carb level and lack of foam, leaves lacing down the glass.

S - Sweet smelling, lacks the big hop presence of an american pale ale. Big toffee, carmel nose... really.. a lot different than the pales that I've been drinking recently.

T - Tastes REALLY good. I'm not sure what others were expecting when they tasted this but this is an extremely sessionable british style pale. A bit on the sweet side, and lighter on the hops than the american style pales. Still has that fuggle or Northern Brewer style bitterness that accents the big malt backbone of this ale.
Since I wasn't looking to taste "Barrel" I have absolutely no problem with this beer... in short, I'd rather taste this than "barrel".

M - Carbonation is lighter than normal, but I'm sure it's purposeful as English style pales generally are lighter in carb level. The big malt backbone adds to the smoothness of the sip.. and this beer evolves as it gets warmer.

O - This is not your standard pale. There are layers of flavor here that a normal beer does not possess. There is a toffee and malt backbone that really just makes the beer... and the hops have an almost chocolate quality. After that.. I think the yeast and malt and wood leave an original aftertaste. It's hard to find a fault in it... I'm unsure what others are tasting, but this is really what I'd hoped it would be when I purchased it. Not a ton of wood in the flavor, but.. certainly a great beer, worthy of me trying it and bluntly... I'd be surprised if I didn't purchase it again.

Photo of Clydesdale
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a bright, clear copper-orange color. The head has a faint coppery tint, with a moderately dense, fairly frothy texture. Retention is good, with some nice lacing sticking to the glass.

S: Some toasty, somewhat sweetish caramel malty tones. Hop aromas are leafy and herbal, almost to the point of being minty. Some lightly spicy and fruity English-style esters are also present.

T: A smooth, caramel sweetness is the primary malt flavor, but it is accompanied by noticeable toastiness. There's also a bit of buttery diacetyl, but it's well within range for an English pale ale. Hop bitterness is moderate, with spicy, herbal, and lightly minty flavor. A faint mineral character in the finish.

M: Medium-full body. A bit dextrinous. Carbonation is on the lighter side of medium. Some gradually building dryness towards the finish. It drinks a bit heavier than 5.0% abv.

D: A pleasant, enjoyable pale ale. Not overly exciting, but it gets the job done. A pleasant combination of malt sweetness and spicy hop character provide good balance.

Photo of Tone
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, copper color. 1/3 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and decent lacing. Smells of citrus hops, sweet malt, slight yeast, hint of alcohol, candy sugar, and a hint of pine. Fits the style of an English Pale Ale, but is trending towards an American Pale Ale. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, citrus hops, slight pine, hint of pale malt, hint of yeast, and a hint of caramel malt. Overall, good appearance, aroma, body, blend, and feel.

Photo of BEERchitect
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thouroughly enjoyed after loosing a lot of money at Pour 24, New York New York Casino, Las Vegas. The beer seems to be a standard ESB, but with some American hops. The caramel flavors stand out along with slight buttery hints, and a big malt profile. The hops give some bitterness, spiciness, and citrus qualities, but also offer perfumy, pungent, pine character as well. The body seems a bit light for anything called 'double barrel'. I should not have expected a big beer. But the beer is nicely textured if you want a standard amber or ESB. All in all, a nice beer.

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

With a light amber, clean pour the head starts to rock up a bit. the white foam is slow to form solidly, or maybe I'm too quick to drink it.

A calm aroma, fit for the style. From a brewer who has some heavy hitters, this one isn't one of them. But that's not a bad thing.

For me, the thing I look for in an EPA is an herbal hop presence and/or some hard water feel to it. This one has little of the latter and a splattering of the former. An herbal hop character seems to have some florals to it. Bad? Nope, perhaps to style 100%, but what the hell.
Toasted biscuit and very light caramel make up the malt imput.

A very nice, easy drinking beer

Photo of livewire78
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark orange crossed with brown. Sounds ugly but I think it's pretty. Minimal head but there is some lacing left on the glass.

Smells of what?- hops? How am I smelling hops? They're faint but in there. Other smells of caramel and vanilla.

Starts out with the caramel malts followed by the toffee and ends up with a vanilla hoppiness.

Feels a little thin. I wish there was more carbonation in here. It feels a little flat for me.

This is one of those beers that you could drink a whole bunch of. Eventually, though you'd want something with a little more kick.

Photo of Sean9689
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into imperial nonic.

A - Pours a mirky brown with a very thin off-white head.

S - Malty, very light hops, honey, semi-sweetness.

T - Light honey/sweetness, malty, no real citrus of hops.

M - Light bodied, very smooth, good carbonation.

D - Super easy to drink.

Photo of kbub6f
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Small, off-white/tan filmy head dies fast over a clear, dark amber beer. There are some swoops of lacing. The nose has chocolate and milk. It's slightly grainsy. Nice. Milk chocolate up front, followed by a full-flavored, drakly malty middle. The finish shows bitter chocolate and some not-quite-sweet fruitiness. Bitter aftertaste with crackers. It's good. Quite chocolatey. A nice, full session.

Photo of corby112
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle received as an extra in a recent trade with EinWeizenbitte. Thanks again man!

Pours a clear dark golden orange color with light olden yellow edges and a one finger light yellowish beige head that slowly settles into a lasting ring.

Sweet biscuit/caramel malty aroma with subtle grassy earthy english hop notes along with a wooden/oak presnce. The barrel aging gives off some subtle vanilla as well.

Slightly hop forward medium body with some dry earthy pine needle bitterness that lingers throughout over a prominent malt backbone into a subtle dry finish. Sweet caramel, toffe, biscuity malt backbone provides excellent balance to the earthy bitterness. The oak presence from the aging is very subtle, yet there is a prominent smooth vanilla character. Slightly watered down but still very complex. It kind of tastes like abottled agressively hoppy English cask ale.

Photo of DaftCaskBC
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: 1/2" tan head over chestnut brown liquid with excellent clarity.

S: Oak and caramel malt.

T: Oak and caramel malt and some nuttiness.

M: Thin viscosity and medium fine carbonation.

O: Good English Pale Ale compared to many, the mouth feel was lacking compared to most American craft beer; but is still head and shoulders above traditional English Ales.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bright coppery orange with maize colored accents. Exceedingly fine carbonation slowly rises to a light gold, orangish beige cap. The foam has a solidity about it that promotes a slow, somewhat rocky, descent and results in a decent showing in the lace department. Several concentric rings are seen at midglass when the beer is nearly gone.

The nose is hoppier than expected. I would never confuse it with an IPA, or even a hoppy APA, but it's nice to run across what appears to be a hop-dominant amber ale. There's still a toasted malt background keeping the aroma grounded. The spicy, herbal (probably English) hops are where the action is however.

I like Double Barrel. There's a moderately sweet, whole grain toast-like malt structure that is firm without being unyielding. It's still pretty hoppy, but is more balanced than anticipated after the sniff test. This beer reminds me of an English pale ale or an ESB, and a pretty good one at that. The flavor profile is clean and is anything but shy. I get the sense the brewers hit the flavor target they were shooting for.

The medium length finish manages to keep a fair amount of bitterness in contact with the taste buds after the beer is gone. Dry and bitter is as good a way to finish as any other. The mouthfeel is on the light side of medium, although I'm sure the active carbonation is somewhat responsible for that impression.

Firestone Double Barrel Ale is a good one. It has no real faults and is as well-constructed as any amber ale that I've had in a while. I could definitely make a session out of a few of these and I'm sure they would go well with a wide variety of foods. This isn't quite a head turner, but it is a delicious, satisfying ale.

Photo of Pahn
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into Duvel tulip. Thanks to BA morningthief for giving me this bottle. Bottled on 1/4/12, drank 5/13/12.

Appearance: Free pour yields a 2 inch fluffy offwhite head that dissipates steadily leaving no lacing. Pours an almost translucent brownish orange, leaving a few streaks of lacing.

Smell: Effervescent. Bready malt, very slight East Kent Goldings aroma (we're at about the tail end of the beer's "drink by" time, according to the brewery, so not too surprising that the hops are muted). Nice oaky vanilla note comes out with time, along with a little more grassy hoppiness.

There isn't any one particular soaring note here, but the overall aroma is very pleasant.

Taste: Bready malt, faint oaky vanilla, minerally from the middle through to the finish, with re-emerging white bread notes at the end.

The oak influence is very interesting... it's a few steps above being "possibly placebo," but it's not very assertive. The flavor breakdown is: Fresh white bread malt in the foreground, hard water, then equally mild oily floral hops cutting through the middle of the beer and vanilla oak kind of underpinning the entirety of each sip.

These different elements make for a very quaffable beer (I hate that word 'quaffable', but that's what this beer is). Great, easy-drinking balance, neither bland nor bold.

Mouthfeel: Light side of medium bodied. Slightly creamy. Moderate carbonation. Semi-dry, pretty clean finish. Good but unremarkable.

Overall: Very well designed beer, where every element but the mouthfeel is greater than the sum of its parts. It's easy to drink a lot of beers like this. The flavor is unique and complex enough to keep you interested, but never overwhelming in any way.

Photo of Roguer
3.94/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Beautiful firm creamy head with excellent retention and sticky lines of lacing. Brew is a flat copper hue, transparent.

Dry earthy aroma, bitter, floral hint, bit of barrel.

Impressively smooth flavor: light crystal malt and bread, subdued hop flavor, wrapped in oak and vanilla. Bit of grass and earth.

Smoothness applies to the feel, as well, which is creamy with moderate sting.

I didn't know what to expect going into this, but this is s very easy drinking and satisfying beer. Very approachable, and tons of flavor for 5% ABV.

Photo of CraigTravor
3.94/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Double Barrel Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
83 out of 100 based on 2,069 ratings.