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 jethrodium
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Firkin at Beer Revolution. Pours a cloudy bronze amber with a small fluffy, white head that has very good retention and leaves a ton of lacing on the glass. The aroma is caramel malt, some earthiness, a decent amount of oak as well as some breadiness. The taste is biscuit, caramel, some earthiness, and a decent amount of oak. It has a bready finish with a light bitterness. Relatively dry. Smooth, creamy mouthfeel with light carbonation. Quite enjoyable. I liked this significantly better than the regular double barrel ale.

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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 beertunes
3.83/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in bubble pint glass at a FW brewers night. I just went and looked at my review for DBA and found that it doesn't reflect how I now view the brew.

This is a very clean, fresh, tasty version of the regular DBA. If you can tell the difference between the regular and cask versions of one your regular brews, that's what this is.

Well balanced between hops and malt, greatly drinkable and just all-around tasty. The cask/firkin version is a must try if you see it.

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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 Krevee
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drank on 05/01/10
Poured from 2L Growler into a Bruery tulip

A - Poured a darker orange/amber color with quite a large head that lingered for quite a bit of time. And it also had lacing that lingered for quite a bit of time.

S - The smell was mostly caramel malts with some hops and a little bit of citrus.

T - The beer had a sweet taste to it with some caramel malt notes. It had a hoppy/bitter finish with notes of oak.

M - The mouthfeel was on the light/medium side of things with a good middle amount of carbonation. And the beer had a smooth feel as it went down my throat.

D - At 5% Abv this beer is sessionable and you can drink a few pints without feeling to buzzed which is nice. IMO it is a beer you sip, but is good and I prefer it over the standard double barrel ale.

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Photo of washburnkid
3.24/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Enjoyed at the brewery. Reviewed from notes.

Just barely hazy light copper/dark amber hues. Not much head retention and minimal lacing at best. Very fruity on the nose, with a huge aroma reminding me of apples. The flavors really fell flat for me here. There is apple and then a lightly toasted malt, but nothing is very prominent and I'm having a really difficult time discerning more flavors. The mouthfeel is thin, and the carbonation is lightly slacking. The brew leaves behind a nondescript film over my palate. I'm a little disappointed with this one. What I tried at the brewery tastes very little like what others have described. It was my first beer of the day, so I know my palate was fresh and ready to discern flavors. I would easily try this again, but that'll have to wait until I can get to the brewery 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 augustgarage
3.89/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hand-pump cask at Blue Palms in Hollywood. Served in a 20oz nonic.

Burnt umber liquid with rust highlights. Superlative retention of the thick beige head. Very good lacing.

Nuts, wheat bread dough, and mild hop aromatics.

Brown bread, a touch of banana, slight caramel, earthy hops, and well water on the palate. Light pepper on the finish. Excellent, though the hops could stand up for themselves a little more.

Slightly chalky mouthfeel; not quite medium-bodied...

Overall, just a touch flat tasting (though not flat bodied), almost like it is diluted with mineral water - but an excellent domestic rendition of a British classic...

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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 Thorpe429
3.73/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark amber color with plenty of head.

S: Lots of bread from the malt with a decent amount of hops.

T: Lots of caramel, brown sugar, sweet malt, and a bit of hoppiness.

M: Nearly full bodied with lots of malt and a good amount of carbonation.

D: A good brew, but not something I'd like to have too many of.

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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 bulletrain76
3.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draught at the brewery tasting room. A touch lighter amber than the regular double barrel, smooth malty aroma with some oak and spicy hops. The flavor has way more oak and some vanilla. Smooth and balanced feel in the mouth. The bartender said that this version is 100% the oak fermented portion that is blended into the normal version, and I think that the extra character and smoothness that this brings sets it above. It's too bad that they don't have the capacity to bottle this.

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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 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 photomike
3.76/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Picked up from the taproom at the Paso Robles brewery.

Pours a surprisingly mostly clear brown with a very nice tall fluffy beige head. Decent retention, a great looking beer.

The smell was pretty underwhelming. Light vanilla, oak and malt, but not very aromatic.

Taste is really surprising. Oak and caramel, toasty malts, but nowhere near as biscuity as its filtered brother. There isn't anywhere near as much flavor as I had hoped from this...not as full as I expected, I suppose. It was a bit watery, but outrageously smooth going down.

So smooth. Two days in the growler left this very lightly carbonated, but the taster I had in the taproom wasn't super carbonated either. Very crisp, not much of a mouthfeel left after it goes down your throat.

A good craft brew to share with those new to the scene (my dad and siblings loved it), but there wasn't enough complexity here to keep me super satisfied. Going down like water, I could have drunk this all day if I wanted to.

Certainly better than the filtered version, and I suppose it has its time or place, but I didn't really care for this one too much.

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Photo of ThirdLap
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On cask at Sacramento Brewing February 16th 2009.

Pours a deep amber with a creamy off-white head. Tons of chunky lacing leaves a thick film covering the glass.

I get vanilla, breadiness, and a slight amount of hops on the nose. Seems to have a distinct vegetable-like characteristic to it.

Taste is mainly caramel, brown sugar, a slight and well-balanced hop and malt presence, and a bit of woodsy oakiness. Finish is smooth and clean.

As to be expected with a cask beer, carbonation is minimal. Body is light to medium. Very smooth on the tongue.

A solid offering from Firestone, although not as good on-cask as I had hoped.

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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 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 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 RidiculedDisplay
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From memory, on-tap at the Buellton Tap Room.

Appearance: A copper-colored beer if I ever have seen one. Very very slight head. Lacing is fizzy and transient but there.

Smell: Picked up the oak a lot more easily than I can in the filtered version. Caramel malts, sweet and slightly citric hops.

Taste: Has much more umph than the filtered version. Oak flavor remains. Caramel, bready yeast malt flavors. Hop bitterness on the back end which is predominately pine-y, but included some citric.

Mouthfeel: High carbonation, but smooth. A little astringent in that "I've been sitting in an oak barrel" sort of way.

Drinkability: Could drink them all day. As I said in my review of the taproom, the experience just left me wondering why they feel the need to filter Double Barrel Ale in the first place - this was not some remarkably strong or heavy duty beer. zorro's review below seems to indicate that this can't be bottled, which I don't understand at all, but maybe there's a reason for it. Still, nice to try, definitely.

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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 MiScusi
3.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Firestone Taproom in Buellton.

Came poured as a dark brown-amber, almost not able to see through with much clarity, and with no head at all. I don't think the lack of head was the fault of the bartender pouring it because swirling to regenerate does absolutely nothing.

The smell is pretty subtle but malty, toasty. The taste is malty and balanced with hops. It was pretty similar to the regular Double Barrel but this one was indeed a bit smoother. Drinkability was a little better as well.

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