Helldorado - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
HelldoradoHelldorado

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding

31 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 31
Hads: 163
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 6.18%
Wants: 128
Gots: 54 | FT: 5
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.
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Reviews: 31 | Hads: 163
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 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 largadeer
4.27/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Draft at Beer Rev. Pale blond body with a thin head that doesn't last long. Sweet butterscotch aroma, completely pale malt and barrel dominant. Big sugary caramel notes, stonefruit, little booziness. Smells great, though perhaps a bit one-dimensional. The palate is good, medium-light in body, rather rich and sweet. Body could use more heft, but it isn't overly thin. Big caramel and butterscotch notes meld with warming bourbon, though this doesn't taste 13%; very clean fermentation here. Finishes sweet with mild tannins, and a bit of lingering dried fruit. Pretty damn good, a little too easy to drink for the ABV. (619 characters)

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.42/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap for the first time at the Daily Pint's FW deconstructed event during LA beer week. A component in the forthcoming 15th anniversary blend.

A: Pours lovely hazy, golden orange with a trace of white head which quickly retreats to the edges of the glass. Faint, barely there lace.

N: Deep and complex combination of: honey, grainy malt, oak, booze, caramel, vanilla, floral, and citrus hop.

T: Somewhat sweet from the honey malt, but not overly so. Follows the nose. Warms to marshmallow, vanilla notes, and boozy. Quite the sipper.

M: Full and rich. Deeply textured. Very well balanced body.

O: A newly rediscovered hop - el dorado was used in dry hopping this creation. Combines the best of centennial, cascade, simcoe, and amarillo. Aged in barrels for 9 months. (773 characters)

Photo of HopHead84
4.6/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

1/14/2012

On tap at Hamilton's.

A: Yellow with nice transparency and a white frothy head.

S: Big floral notes with pronounced lavender honey. Malt is rich and complex, reminiscent of toffee, caramel, and bread. Vanilla wafts from the glass with each swirl. Bourbon is light.

T: Caramel accompanies toffee and a firm earthy bitterness. Honey is pronounced. The beer is lightly sweet with hints of vanilla. I get a little bourbon and oak, but I read nothing about this beer being barrel aged.

M: Lower medium body with upper medium carbonation.

Overall: Very impressive. They should barrel age this and release it as their next anniversary beer, forgoing the blend. This is dangerous shit for 12%. It goes down like water. (727 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 Beerandraiderfan
4.55/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the FW tasting room the day before the FW fest. Came with high expectations, one of the dudes from largadeer's crew was like "better than annularity" which, annularity blew my flippin' socks off.

Pours really light, this is definitely a blonde barleywine, equal parts yellow and orange. Thin ring of head on it. Aroma was nice, mild citrus, oak, caramel, toffee. No hops.

Taste is where its at. Exquisite. Honey, caramel, vanilla, coconut. It is indeed, one of those great barleywines, somewhere between annularity and abacus. Mild hop presence shows itself, maybe aged hops, but whatever they did, it works, as the beer is so far from bitter, but tastes so good and relatively complex without throwing a bunch of shit for the sake of doing it. Sweet aspect delivers just the right amount.

I should probably point out how amazingly easy to drink this is given the massive amount of alcohol to it. Just a phenomenal beer to sip, but if you wanted to drink it a little faster, it wouldn't be much of a challenge (now standing and maintaining balance, that might be a challenge). Carbonation was right where it needs to be, a little less than your average beer, but just right for this one. Pretty light body for the amount of flavor going on in this one.

Another stunning beer. Summer 2012 has definitely been the season of the blonde barleywine. This beer makes a trip to Paso Robles worth it in and of itself. (1,425 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 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 FosterJM
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1539th Review on BA
Draft to 6oz Snifter

@Firestone Walker, Paso Robles, CA

App- A mixture of a couple different yellows and golds in the glass. When the server poured it, it looked a bit flat, but with a little bit of swirl some good bubble activity presented and made it look better. The cling was just slight. A bit clearer than I was thinking as well.

Smell- A large beer to say the least. Really a lot going on in the aromatic department. It started with the honey and with me being not the biggest fan of honey I was quite suprised to enjoy the melding of the honey, oak, vanilla, toffee and a slight bitter.

Taste- This is where its at. The ABV on this is very large as is most of the beers that go into the Anniversary blends from FW and this was deceptively smooth and rich. A bit creamy. Larger amounts of the oak shine through as well as the vanilla and a malty candy sweetness. A bit rich and smooth and more atune to a bourbon syrup flavor.

Mouth- A very large medium body with a semi medium carbonation that was a bit prickly. It was deceptively silky on the tounge and drank just amazingly. The residual flavors are the oak, the vanilla and a little dough.

Drink- I was flabbergasted when I saw this on the board. I had made the decision to go to FW on a whim because of the large detour. So glad I did. If you can ever get your hands on this I suggest you do. FW Please bottle this in a reserve series lineup!!! (1,433 characters)

Photo of ehammond1
4.42/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On Tap

Firestone Walker Brewing co.
Paso Robles, CA

Dark yellow and light gold with a small near-white head that leaves dots of lace down the glass. This looks a bit oily, though not at all thick or syrupy--an appropriately pretty blonde barleywine.

The aroma is quite lovely, with expressive amounts of vanilla, caramel, and toffee, along with mild citrus, freshly baked biscuit, and oak.

This is a decadent dessert disguised as a beer: this reminds me of freshly baked shortbread cookies topped with bourbon whipped cream, with just a hint of burning alcohol. There's expressive oak and mild citrus zest as well. Complete.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

Fantastic. If they bottled this and called it Anniversary 16, I'd be happy. (748 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 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 nataku00
4.47/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap poured into a tulip glass. Beer poured a dark golden yellow color, mostly clear, with little to no head. Quite a bit of alcohol legs on this one, and a few bubbles of carbonation floating up every now and then.

Nose is really interesting, lots of vanilla and light caramel, toasted biscuit malts, charred oak woody aromas, and a sweet sugar cookie like aroma.

Taste follows the nose, vanilla sugar cookie describes the flavor well. For a very high abv beer, the alcohol is completely hidden and the beer was very tasty and easy to drink.

Medium body, with some light carbonation, the beer was very enjoyable. I wouldn't mind this being bottled instead of it being a component in some of their blended beers. It is very tasty and easy to drink. (755 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 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 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 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 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)

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 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 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 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 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)

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Helldorado from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 31 ratings.