Unfiltered Double Barrel Ale | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

very good
50 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: English Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
100% Barrel Fermented.

Added by Zorro on 04-11-2004

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Reviews: 50 | Ratings: 253
Photo of DogFood11
5/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at the Buellton location. I started the evening with the pale ale and the second brew I got was the unfiltered double barrel ale. First sip and I was hooked. They poured it into a pounder glass and it formed a nice 2 finger head that fell to a solid cover.

Lots and lots of woody barrel aged goodness. Hops are still evident enough to keep this baby poppin'. After one serving I couldn't move on to anything else. It was my beer of choice for the evening. Much more complex than its regular version of double barrel. How so? Well the original version is good but it tends to be rather pedestrian and subtle. Maybe the unfiltered version is more for the beer geeks of the world as its a kicked up version of its sister beer. Just think double barrel with something extra. The extra is in the intesity of character. One of the best brews I've had in my life. I don't think this beer can improve. Perfect across the board.

Notes: Loved it fresh on tap. Probably closer to a wide open style like red/amber then a pale but thats splitting hairs. I was able to pick up a case of the 10th anniversary as well.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.92/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

amber with a nice overall fluffy three finger head of lace then rose up above it before settling down to nothing in the end, with just a clear top and no side glass lace. Initially a bit of carbonation streaming up, however this died down rather quickly to be honest.

The aroma was full of grainy malt characters. Not as sweet as I have seen in others, but it had a nice citric hop presence as well. Some nice grassy tones as well. The flavor followed perfectly, really making this quite the hoppy little red ale. The first notes of grains coming through very clearly, but then melding seemlesly with a strong citrus and pine like hoppy punch. Some light notes of caramel coming through now and blendning it all together. The finsih is strong, nice and drawn out with a good amount of hoppiness and bitter flavors riddled throughout. Nice light bodied ale that stayed very well carbonated and had an excellent dry finish to it.

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Photo of ILikeGoodCider
4.82/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on 2/7/09 - a Saturday. Served after Telegraph's California Ale, paired with Seared Ahi Tuna.

A: Nut-brown. Slightly hazy. Nice.

S: Nutty malt. Oak is forward.

T: Very different from the filtered Double Barrel. So smooth & delicious. I really dug this brew. Very flavorful w/vanilla flavors. Sweet fruit flavors abound. If you can taste this brew - GO FOR IT!

M: Creamy & full. Well done.

D: All day.

Hard to come by... I can get growlers for those that would like to trade (express shipping would be recommended - I'll foot the bill there - it's worth it!).

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Photo of Professor_Yeesh
4.75/5  rDev +17.6%

You can taste the difference from the regular DBA. UDBA includes 100% beer coming from the Oak barrels whereas DBA ferments 80% in steel silos and only 20% in the oak barrels for a final mix that goes into DBA.

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Photo of Zorro
4.73/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A special offering only available at Firestone's 2 tap rooms. This stuff can't be bottled.

Pours a cloudy nut-brown brew.

Smell is a nutty malt smell with a strong smell of Oak.

The taste is VERY! Different from the filtered Double Barrel Ale.

The taste of this is very flavorful with a strong vanilla flavor. Lots of peach and apricot fruit flavors in this and a lovely butteryness. This is much superior to the bottled and filtered Double Barrel Ale.

Mouthfeel is very full and creamy, almost milky thick and pleasing.

Drinkability is exceptional!

I asked why this stuff can't be bottled and was told that it would go through a second fermentation and would ruin its taste because of the live yeast.

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Photo of peacebone116
4.67/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this brew on 6/27/12 at the Paso Tap Room from an imperial pint glass.

A: Pours a cloudy light brown, copper-like color, with little off-white head.

N: Sweet malt and aromatic yeast esters and subtle hop florals.

T/M: The taste follows the nose with added oak characteristics. The body is medium to light with a smooth character. The carbonation is present but definitely not overbearing.

This is a fantastic beer. It seems to remind me of the Abacus with its malt tones. This is significantly more tasty than the standard bottled version of Double Barrel. I would love try this on cask. (Can you make that happen, Firestone?)

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.55/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured a medium amber color, some cloudiness to it with a nice bit of carbonation. Small dirty white head to it. Nose is bready and malty. Taste is malty and very sikly smooth. Mouthfeel is very good, velvety, it has some wine like qualities as well. This beer is a pleasure to drink. I have finished half of the growler already and I am not full, tastes excellent, drinkability PERFECT!
3 Nov 08: Another great growler fill and still superb!

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Photo of anchordrinker
4.54/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Pours a medium amber with a little head that dissipates after a few minutes.

S- Sweet caramel malt, as well as floral and fruity undertones dominate the aroma.

T- It has flavors of whole grain bread, mildly citric fruit, some woody-ness, and a somewhat rich sweetness that reminds me of coconut milk. Sounds like a bizarre combination of flavors, but it is very very tasty.

M- Thin to medium bodied, with ample carbonation. Very smooth mouthfeel that keeps you sipping.

D- It is difficult to imagine a beer that is more drinkable, between the flavor, which is as complex as it is enjoyable (very), and the soft, smooth mouthfeel, this is a great session beer. Definitely one of the few I've had that balances intricate complexity with great drinkability.

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Photo of HighOctane
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at JJ Brewsky's in Camarillo

Appearance is slighty cloudy with copper-amber hue. Aroma is a faint smokiness with hints of oak though I must admit to have been influenced by the aroma from the plate of BBQ ribs at the table.

Taste is a mellowed version of the filtered DB with a doughy maltiness balancing the hops. Drinkability sets this beer apart from other Pale Ales.

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Photo of Douglas14
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The 100% Oak DBA looks similar to its "regular" counterpart: it has a nice amber color and a slighty off-white head. The aroma is strongly of fresh oak...nice but almost too much. The taste follows the aroma. Lots of oak. This beer is so freaking good in it's original form it's hard for this one to be better, but it's such a nice experience to get to drink this beer unblended. Truly a unique and memorable experience.

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Photo of Brewermeister
4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark orange amber color. Had a nice head with good retention. Tasted sweet and citrusy just like it smelled. Light to medium body; smooth going down. I like the original but this is so much better than the filtered version. I tried some at the end of the brewery tour.

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.27/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On cask during Firestone Night at The Original Spike's (05-13-09).

Served in a pint glass.

Appearance: Looks like it came from a nitro-tap. Seriously, unbelievable! A gorgeous, white, cascading head sits on top of a bright apricot body. I've never seen a head so dense before. Body is very cloudy, but shows golden highlights around the edges. Damn good retention and decent lacing. A work of art.

Smell: Surprisingly faint. What is there - oak and bread dough - smells nice, but that's all there is to it. Bummer.

Taste: Tons of oak sweetness. Pine and floral hops float around and produce little pricks of bitterness. Some odd funk/mold is also present, but works it's way into the beer perfectly. Strength is mild. Flavor is completely unique.

Mouthfeel: Oily with almost no carbonation. Drinks like a cognac without the burn. Buttery. I believe this beer should always be on cask.

Drinkability: Perfect. If I could sum it up into one word: harmonious. But actually, I think I already summed it up with one word, and that was perfect. Hmmm... I think that's about as far as I go. I hope that one day you'll see what I mean ;)

I've always been a fan of Unfiltered DBA, but I never thought it could be this good. If you ever, ever, EVER, come across this, ask for a sip. You'll probably wake up the next day with the happiest hangover ever.

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Photo of BeerBuckeye
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from tap as part of flight at Blue Palms Brewhouse in Hollywood, CA.

A - Hazy amber/copper color, small ring of head

S - Sweet malt, good amount of esters and breads, toffee, and a touch of fruit.

T - Earthy malt base with good amounts of toffee, light fruit hops, and a decent helping of oak. Very nice complexity.

M - Smooth, full-bodied, well carbonated.

Overall - Incredibly good beer by FW. Really enjoyed this one.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.23/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at The Surly Goat, and what a great way to reach beer review #2000, on the same visit I made place review #400! The orginal DBA already has a cult following in the area, and is one of the first craft options I even knew about not named Sam Adams. Now the unfiltered version, and now it's on to the beer:

It's an amber orange colored beer, one with pretty good head retention and more than a few strings of lace clinging to the glass. The nose is a little harder to get. You need to dig it up, but eventually the aromas of earth and woodsy characteristics arrive.

Now we're talking. The flavor comes out in spades, and it's very complex. Flavors of earth, caramel, minerals, oak, woody notes create a beer that is not only flavorful, but also very reefreshing and drinkable. It's medium bodied, somewhat clean, with a pleasant mineral woody and mineral combination in the aftertaste.

Between the original and unfiltered version, it's like night and day. There's so much more going on in the unfiltered DBA. This is one to be on the lookout for.

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Photo of nickd717
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this on cask at Monk's Kettle for a Firestone Walker event.

Pours a cloudy amber color with minimal head from the cask.

Aroma is really interesting. Caramel malt and citrus along with interesting oak and vanilla notes.

Flavor is very oaky, along with vanilla from the barrel and even some coconut milk. Caramel malt and nuttiness from the malt as well, along with some citrusy and tropical fruit hop notes.

Smooth on the palate with medium body and low carbonation.

Wow, what an improvement this is over regular DBA. Drinking this was a thoroughly enjoyable experience, and I couldn't help but down it quickly. This is a really killer English Pale Ale.

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Photo of breadwinner
4.21/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Kind of a misnomer, as Jeffers Richardson has said this beer isn't unfiltered, just totally fermented in FW union barrel system oak barrels, rather than blended with beer DBA fermented in stainless steel. In any case, it's a really tasty brew, highlighting the vanilla/oaky notes the normal DBA has. As I understand it, fermenting fully in the union barrels makes the brew less shelf stable, which is why this is usually just draught brewery-only. Too bad, as it's a cool and unique spin on an English ale that I think a lot of folks would like.

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Photo of Tawnos
4.2/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

I had this when it was on tap at Spike's in downtown San Luis Obispo. Tried it both on their normal taps and during the firkin party.

It looks somewhat cloudy, as is to be expected from an unfiltered beer. Light refracted off the yeast particles, making this one glow in the pub.

Smelled of bread, definitely more yeast smell present than their regular DBA.

The taste is amazing. It's literally liquid bread, hearty and wholesome. A "breadier" version of the regulard DBA, and better for it.

Unfortunately, the yeast leaves a bit of a dry/gritty taste to the beer. This might be because I was towards the bottom of the firkin keg, but the usual smoothness wasn't there. Thinking of it as a an unfiltered though, it's average. Nowhere near as smooth as some of the unfiltered oatmeal stouts I've had.

I could drink this (okay, I did drink this) all night. At 5% ABV, it's not killer to put away a few pints, and the chewy breadiness makes you take them at just the right speed.

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Photo of Floydster
4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pint at JJ Brewsky's yesterday for six dollars, have been patiently waiting to try this for years now after seeing here at Paso Robles a few times

A-Golden amber color, 1 1/4 inch foamy slightly off white head that lasted around five minutes, some lacing towards the top of the glass
S-Wood, both floral and piney hops, caramel, mild citrus, some sweet malt, bread, biscuit, whole grains, and
T-Floral hops at first that are pretty subtle, caramel and bruned bread in the middle, more bitterness in the finish to go along with a good amount of oak, warms up with some mild citrus but mostly hops mixed with wood which would seem a little weird but worked very well
M-Slightly dry and sweet, bready, and chewy, quite enjoyable mouthfeel, medium bodied, low level of carbonation, taste does not last too long but still good and fitting for its overall feel
D-I could drink several of these, very light overall, low ABV allows you to have even more, smooth and crisp, mine was served too cold but after warming in my hand, this stuff went down with minimal effort

This is a great beer, simple but awesome, much different than the standard version with a more noticeable oak and hop character, I already want more, recommended

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Photo of MisterClean
4.16/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On cask at Sac Brew. Woo-hoo

A - Poured copper orange with 2 fingers orange-white head. Doesn't dissipate and leaves beautiful lacing. Wow oh wow.

S - Notes of honey, nectar, and flowers.

T - Only differs from the smell with a hint of oakiness.

M - Full bodied, well balanced, but malt dominated. Leaves a smooth, sweet, but lighlty dry aftertaste.

D - Great session beer. Could have done several, but the wallet was getting thin.

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Photo of charlzm
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Consumed July 1st, 2012 at Firestone Walker Taproom, Paso Robles, CA.

Hazy copper/amber colored beer. For a head, this one sports only a fine little crown that sticks to the edges of the glass.

Restrained aroma: just a mild toffee.

Flavor: toffee and caramel and some sweet peach. Finishes with a tea-like flavor. Oak in the background. Zero bitterness. A little more complex and certainly more tasty than this description gets across.

Mouthfeel: a bit on the thin side and a little tingle on the tongue.

I could have a few of this one. Outstanding!

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Photo of denver10
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours a hazy translucent yellow with an amber hue, a nice thickish off white head, and solid retention. Aroma offers some sweet bread and toffee, the oak from the barrels are present, and just a touch of some grass. Flavor is similar; malt is very influential with some sweet breadiness and some toffee, there is a nice dose of the oak barrels (much more so than in the regular DBA, that is for sure), a hint of a little sweet fruits, and slight hints of grass. A creamy, medium bodied. Overall, FW with another winner. Tons of great flavor packed into 5%...consider me impressed. Would happily drink again.

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Photo of JBogan
4.06/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Firestone brewery. A hazy orangeish brown with a small head which quickly receded and left minimal lacing.

Caramel malt aroma, with a hint of citrus.

Taste was also mainly caramel, with a hint of vanilla and citrus. Not especially complex but it was enjoyable.

Mouthfeel was slightly thinner than I remember their "regular" version of this being. Still it was very smooth and somewhat creamy.

Overall this wasn't a huge departure from their "standard" DBA. It was nicely drinkable and worth a try if you ever happen to come across it.

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Photo of DocJitsu
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a medium dark cider color with a perfectly formed white head. Head retention is better than any other FW brew I've had. The beer is extremely cloudy. I like how home brewy the appearance is. The nose is so reminiscent of Christmas pull candy from back home. The flavors are very smooth with oak and vanilla. I like this beer a lot. I'll be having a lot of it.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On cask at Blue Palms,

A: Pours a cloduy amber-orange, with a finger of white head, good lace.

S: Sweet malt, oak, sugar.

T: Tasty sugary, oaky malt upfront which was really inviting. Complex malt character with a light hop in the finish.

M: On the lighter-bodied side, very low carbonation.

D: A real nice beer from Firestone Walker, certainly better than the DBA, a fascinating beverage.

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Photo of DaverCS
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma is of citrus, pretty hop-forward, good malt backbone.

Taste is of smoky/roasted malt, light citrus, battle between rich and bright. Mildly hoppy. Alright.

It gets an 80/100.

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Unfiltered Double Barrel Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
4.04 out of 5 based on 253 ratings.
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