Helldorado - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

32 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 32
Hads: 166
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 2.75%
Wants: 127
Gots: 64 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  13.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: wethorseblanket on 10-21-2011

Honey infused Imperial Blonde Ale aged in Heaven Hill barrels.
View: Beers (84) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Reviews: 32 | Hads: 166
Photo of fox227
4.17/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This beer pours like a golden ale, with very little head, which is expected from such a high alcohol barrel aged ale. The aroma contains notes of stone fruit, musk melon, whiskey, vanilla, and oak. The flavor more or less follows the nose but the totality of the flavor is perhaps not as complex as some of the other Firestone Walker barrel aged offerings. To elaborate, no definite elements of flavors assert themselves in swirling counterpoint (think of J.S. Bach), but rather settle into a shallow pool of muted flavors. The mouthfeel is surprisingly medium in the face of such a big beer. This is a good thing. I find Helldorado to be almost illegally drinkable. I can taste some heat from the alcohol, but not in a detrimental way that would suggest caution in the moderation of consumption. (796 characters)

Photo of ArrogantB
3.79/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle $16.99. Blonde color, not much head. Aroma was bourbon barrel, sweetness. The flavor had a touch of honey and bourbon barrels (or some kind of booze). It has a really good barrel character but I just didn't care for it in comparison to their other boxed proprietor's series beers. I'm glad I only bought a single bottle. (332 characters)

Photo of Beer_Line
5/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours like gold with a sweet vanilla and honey smell

taste is very similar with strong oak, vanilla and fruity flavors. Mouthfeel is not too syrupy which I was very much pleased with.

Another world class offering from Firestone Walker. Such a great variation from a normal BW (278 characters)

Photo of John_M
4.34/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Cracked open a bottle at the 16 tons bottle share last night.

The beer pours a golden amber with good head retetnion and considerable lacing. This is one of those beers that has the look of something that has seen some serious barrel aging (which of course, I guess it has). On the nose, there is a HUGE aroma of fresh clover honey, coupled with considerable vanilla and light bourbon. The flavor profile replicates the nose in this sweet, boozy beer, and mouthfeel is very full, with a long, sweet finish. At this point, the alcohol is very prominent in this beer, and I really think it needs some time to settle down a bit. Frankly, if I were to buy any bottles, I would try to sit on them for a few years, to see if the alcohol integrates into the flavor profile a bit better. Still a very fine beer, but right now, the sweetness and high abv. are a bit overwhelming. (878 characters)

Photo of Impfan
4.77/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Immediately, I was impressed by the shimmering golden hue, the creamy head, and the nose, which is redolent of vanilla, and wildflower honey/lavender.

The body is lighter than I expected, and I consider this a plus, having grown a bit surfeited with syrupy textured barleywines. The flavor contains the same elements as the nose, but also clotted cream, coconut, and bourbon.

The finish was the really pleasant surprise for me, as it it was much drier than I was expecting. There is a bit of excess heat at this youthful age, although I suspect that it well mellow nicely.

Helldorado is a very worthy companion, and also a wonderful counterpoint to the wonderful Sucaba, and a must try for anyone looking for something different in a barleywine. (749 characters)

Photo of maxifunk777
4.03/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Warm this is very much a traditional barleywine in the English style concept. Not similar to Sucaba but definitely has its roots based there. A little boozy for a 13% abv beer. I think this could be a work in progress for FW future renditions will be better. But still all a very good beer almost a great beer but those who love Sucaba will love this as well. Highly interested in the 2016 version already. I got 8 bottles 6 of which are going to the east coast to spread the love. (481 characters)

Photo of crob3888
4.5/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy golden color with a small off white head. Smell and flavors of stone fruits (apricots, nectarines) and honey drizzle with hints of sweet bourbon. Overall a great beer but I think it could use some more time to age so I'm putting a bottle of this away for a while and I may revisit this score later. (311 characters)

Photo of Rollzroyce21
3.9/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

- 2015 vintage
- 22oz. bomber poured into Lost Abbey Teku on 29-Jul-15

Straight up tasted like a barrel-aged high malted DIPA with some heat that could benefit from some aging to settle it down.

Of all the FW BA brews, this one is on the lower tier when fresh. But overall enjoyed the bottle and looking forward to seeing it develop more as it ages. (353 characters)

Photo of itsThatBoyE
4.47/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Bomber snifter pour. Pours a lovely clear amber. Nose is phenomenal. Coconut, vanilla, oak, bourbon. Taste is definitely not your typical barleywine. Honey, oak, some heat. Medium mouthfeel, minimal carbonation. Overall a solid offering. Definitely share this one. (264 characters)

Photo of EdwardAbbey
4.34/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A really nice beer, distinctive for a barrel-aged offering and easy to drink (which is always impressive for a beer of this size), but something short of great. It looks like a DIPA, but smells and tastes like some kind of honey-coconut-vanilla liqueur, with a hint of bourbon and a touch of bitterness. I definitely enjoyed it, but as some others have noted, it's mid-tier by FW's exalted standards. So, still excellent. It just lacks that little bit of richness, complexity and depth that make the upper echelon of Parabola, Sucaba, and their Anniversary Beers so outstanding. Maybe time, a year or two, will help elevate this one to something truly special. (665 characters)

Photo of Catracho5
4.35/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Golden blonde, no head at all, very little carbonation, clear, no lacing, looks thin, looks like liquid honey.

A: Bourbon, toasted coconut, sweet charred oak, honey, definitely smells like a Firestone barrel aged beer, did not get much alcohol on the nose.

T: Bourbon, toasted coconut, toffee, vanilla, charred oak, honey marmalade, some bitterness, lots of alcohol, like other FW barrel aged beers I’ve tried fresh it’s hot, honey moves forward as the beer warms.

M: Creamy mouthfeel for a barrel aged beer, hot, lots of heat on the palate.

O: Another well brewed beer from Firestone Walker, big nose with bourbon, sweetness, honey, and floral aromas. Subtle flavors of honey, floral, oak, vanilla, toffee, caramel. It's hot, I've got one in the cellar to see how it changes over time. Once the heat subsides I believe the other characteristics will move forward. (877 characters)

Photo of maximum12
4.26/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle with the inevitably minimalist/gorgeous packaging from Firestone split with my wife. Picked up on vacation at Big Bear Liquor in Pueblo, CO. Damn are we having fun!

The pour – into plastic hotel-room glasses, judge me if you must, boners – is gold with a surprisingly robust head. The smell is light but sweet, with a side of vanilla & strong steel cable of wood holding it up. Not aggressive, but pleasant.

Helldorado is best consumed while reclining at your ultimate destination. Booziness is evident in an immediate 12 degree increase in belly temp, flushing my insides a deep, pleasing red. High clover content honey coats the palate & lends a light, airy delight to what it usually a genre cloaked in heavy, somber tones. Beneath that sweetness is buzz-cut oak, lingering bourbon heat, with sidecars into white pepper, earthy hops, a tequila-like note, & light finishing bitterness. As with all Firestone barrel-aged beers, this is drinkable enough to warrant some kind of red-letter warning.

Well, damn. I was hoping this would be in the good-not-great category so I could avoid lugging a bottle or two more home with me, but I can see that was a hope akin to wishing the Twins into a 2015 playoff berth. Supremely tasty, different take, excellent results. Per usual, I must ask when FW plans on coming to MN & reducing my hefty FedEx bill? (1,369 characters)

Photo of WindUpBird
4.81/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bomber into a tulip.

Rich almost glowing amber, very little head and champaigny bubbles rising to the surface (I know that's not a word, lol).

The aroma is first of vanilla, then other fruits underpinned by a hint of oak

The taste is gorgeous: sweet but not cloyingly so; boozy and substantial...wow I like this! (329 characters)

Photo of BenwayPHD
4.38/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It pours a beautiful hazy amber with a thin white head that doesn't stuck around. The nose is quite impressive. Booze, whiskey, almond, vanilla, and some mild marmalade (might be from the hops). The taste is delicious. It's thick and sweet upfront, then some bitterness comes into play. The heat from the booze is always mildly present. There is a similar cola finish to the Stickee Monkee. This is really great beer. I'm glad I didn't share the bottle. (454 characters)

Photo of TruePerception
3.92/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Firestone's Helldorado, blonde barley wine. 13.2% ABV.

A: Slightly dark orange/sienna. A finger of head; fades to just a thin ring. Decent sheeting. Thin lacing.

S: Deep, warm oaky caramel. Slight earthy/hay note. Toasted oak, toffee.

T/MF: Grassy/vegetal toffee hits around mid-tongue. Subtle, sweet, milky caramel on the tip. Wood pulp on the finish. Interesting collection of flavors. Slight bitterness on the finish. I think it could use some bourbon or anejo tequila to smooth it out. Slight coconut husk.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle, into a Belgian tulip glass. (571 characters)

Photo of neurobot01
4.29/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bomber into a Teku at fridge temp, allowed to warm.

Look: like a beautiful double or triple IPA: rich orange-yellow, though with very little head and minimal carbonation.

Smell: orange creamsicle, oak, booze.

Taste: vanilla, orange bitters, booze, oak, coconut, almond extract.

Feel: alcohol heat, thick side of medium, a little lacking in carbonation.

Overall: this grew on me as it warmed. Middle of the pack in FW's Vintage series... which means, pretty darn good. (472 characters)

Photo of ihazabucket7
4.59/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter. Light cloudy golden color. Very sweet smell and taste. Was a little boozy but with age I bet this beer would be amazing. It is already amazing but with age it would lose that boozyness and it would be left with a sweet, barrel aged goodness that you would cry when finished. Cheers! (310 characters)

Photo of Bsquirrelbrewer
3.93/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On draft at strangeloves.

Very light brown color, almost a pale caramel.

Smell is pleasantly sweet and boozy.

Taste bring a nice blend of sugar and booze, but it lacks the caramel present in sucaba.

Mouthfeel is rich and full bodied. It lingers on the palate.

Overall another solid offering from Firestone! (311 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.4/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

the huge firestone walker beers in barrels is what makes them special. its not the everyday stuff or the wild ales or anything else, its beers exactly like this that keep them above so many other breweries, this stuff is pure magic. honey barleywine, with the honey being present in nose and taste, more than just sweet, its seasonal and earthy and floral and really pretty lightening to the whole thing. some grain weight to this, but no alcohol in the nose at all. the bourbon and the honey go so well together in the nose, with the vanilla picking up the honey sugars and carrying it through to that oaky mature space later on. the flavor follows a similar trajectory, but the beer itself has an english flare. i dont know if its the yeast or then malt, but it is more english than american and not just because there isnt much hops here. the bourbon barrel is dominant in the finish, really nice balance until then though. mouthfeel ranks it higher too, like some of the other huge firestone beers, its thick as jelly, spreadable almost, but slippery going down, as textured as any beer out there, and never getting alcoholically hot in the least. so woody, so much honey, so much bourbon, its a major statement beer. i wish this was packaged and released instead of draft only and stashed for blending. its a beauty to say the least. (1,338 characters)

Photo of abeeronthebeach
4.29/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - Glows orangey gold. Opaque. Surprisingly young and light looking.

S - Honey, sponge cake, vanilla, brandy.

T - Tastes like a freshly dry-hopped english barleywine (this is my first true american barleywine). Brandy alcohol, piney toffee.

M - Resinous and syrupy. Low-medium carbonation.

O - Alcohol is quite prominent. Lacks the depth required to take it to the next level and has more of that fresh, clean IPA feel to it. Bitter toffee. Does not quite have the depth of a true sipper, yet is too bitter and boozy to do approach it in any other way. (558 characters)

Photo of Sumdeus
4.52/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured on tap, a flight with Bourbon County Barleywine, Big Worster and Mirror Mirror.

A: a hazy golden pour with some light cream head. It looks like an unfiltered wheat beer but with less head. Some minor lacing.

S: smells awesome!!! Best smelling of the 4 by far. Great sweet fruity and malty aromas. One of the best beers aromas out there.

T: fantastic smooth citrusy sweetness. Can't taste the booze at all.

M: moderate thickness, low carbonation and smooth and clean finish.

O: fantastic beer, I early wish I could get bottles of this. (547 characters)

Photo of Emberwake
4.69/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

I've had the privilege of enjoying this rare concoction twice now: once at a tap takeover at Harry's Hoffbrau in San Jose, and again at the 2013 Firestone Walker Invitational. While the experience was consistent, I'll base my review on the recent 2013 invitational.

Served in a 6oz tasting snifter (filled to the 3oz mark)

A - Pours a deep, cloudy, gold color with a small, fine head that quickly dissipated leaving tight lacing.

S - Sweet, slightly fruity, and boozy. Very slight oak barrel.

T - Rich, sweet, slightly buttery booze in balance. The hop character is so mellow it can be difficult to pick out at first. No burn despite the 13% abv, and no aftertaste to speak of.

M - Medium-heavy mouthfeel. Very little carbonation. Clean finish.

D - Simply the best barleywine I've ever encountered, and a shining example of barrel aged american ale. Its a shame FW doesn't bottle this. If you ever have the opportunity to try Helldorado, do not hesitate. (960 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.19/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

On tap at the 2013 Firestone Walker Invitational held at the Paso Robles Event Center in Paso Robles, CA.

Pours a hazy orange with a foamy bone head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, honey, caramel, and toffee aromas. Taste is much the same with caramel and toffee flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of woody bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with some great aromas and flavors. (622 characters)

Photo of mhksuccess
4.45/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap at Buelton brewfest poured into my brewfest glass
it is a golden color and my pour had a lot of head which dissipated fairly quickly
the smell is omg smooth and sweet and hard to explain but you know you want more
the taste was not hott but more of a boozy sweet goodness and so easy to drink
at the ABV 13% this could be dangerous cause consuming this was so easy
you could drink a 750 no problem
i was happy to get a few glasses of this and overall think it is a great beer
wish you could get a bottle and enjoy at home (539 characters)

Photo of Auracom
4.38/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another exciting birthday tick from Brouwer's. 6 oz. served in a flute on November 27th, 2012.

A - This looks akin to nearly every DIPA I've ever had. Deep golden with a thin frothy eggshell head. Good lacing.

S - Heavily bready, with tropical fruits and light oak underneath. I don't pull a dominant barrel flavor.

T - Putting behemoth to shame here. Front end shows that American hoppy profile but it's held in check and doesn't overwhelm the rest of the drink. Mid palate shifts to more sweetness from the malts and the barrel. Light toffee, brown sugar. Slight whiskey. Balance is everything here.

M - Medium body, medium carbonation, lightly tannic, semi-dry finish.

D - I will probably judge American (hoppy) barleywines more harshly in the future. While this needed more barrel notes, the balance was really dead on and showed some cojones on FW's part. (867 characters)

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Helldorado from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 32 ratings.