§ucaba | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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863 Reviews
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§ucaba§ucaba
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
2011 Reserve Series Bottle Notes:
O.G. 27 Plato
F.G. 4.7 Plato
I.B.U. 42 units
Yeast: British Ale (House)
Cases: 1500 produced
Color: 36SRM (Dark Ruby)

2014 Bottle Notes
O.G. 27 Plato
F.G. 4.7 Plato
I.B.U. 42 units
Yeast: British Ale (House)
Cases: 3500 produced
Color: 36SRM (Dark Ruby)

Matured for 1 year in a blend of Heaven Hill, 4 Roses, and Old Fitzgerald barrels.

Added by SacoDeToro on 02-21-2008

BEER STATS
Reviews:
863
Ratings:
4,882
Avg:
4.46
pDev:
20.18%
 
 
Wants:
1,340
Gots:
2,901
For Trade:
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Reviews: 863 | Ratings: 4,882
Photo of HopHunter19
4.96/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

A - nice dark brown color that's translucent at the edges, head is initially a creamy tan that sticks for a bit but then dissipates eventually and doesn't leave much lacing. The brown color does remind you of nice furniture though.
S - big vanilla, oak, chocolate, tobacco, bourbon, molasses, caramel, butterscotch in a good way
T - bourbon, oak, vanilla , old pipe tobacco, caramel, molasses, milk chocolate, cream, it's not oxidized but it definitely begs to be aged for 5 or 10 years
M - heavy beer, alcohol covered extraordinarily for the abv, aftertaste is bourbon, oak, little boozy
O - a damn good beer. Probably one of the best I've ever had. It's a shame it's so damn hard to get.

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Photo of DaverCS
4.79/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a Mohagony color. Head retention is limited to around the outside of glass. On tap at world of beers.

Aroma is of dried dried dark fruit: plums, cherries, and raspberries all soaked in rum. A nice amount of brown sugar and toffee.

Taste is phenomenal! Dark fruit, rum soaked raisins, brown sugar, and tons of toffee. A little alcohol burn at the end. Very smooth with a nice roastiness. Surprisingly a big amount of cherry and raspberry flavor as well.

Overall, this is a great beer! It reinforces my belief that FW has the best barrel aging program in the US. Drink this beer by itself; no food pairing necessary. It gets a 96/100.

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Photo of CHickman
4.94/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2016 Vintage, Bottled 01/09/16: Pours so dark brown it looks blood red color with a foamy 1 finger tan colored head that was full of bubbles and faded on the quicker side, leaving minimal spotty lacing.

Wow, the aroma is hard to describe, it's so complex; really intense with tobacco, brown sugar, dark rum, dark fruit like raisin, dates, figs and plum, toffee, maple syrup, vanilla, oak barrels, caramel, coconut, wet leather, cinnamon and everything but the kitchen sink that's sweet and malty. Fruity, malty and full of wonderful earthy notes, I find myself stumped at trying to describe this as good as it smells. Summed up, it's wonderful.

Tastes like it smells, with the flavor lingering long after the swallow and tasting just as good as it did when it went down. Flavor starts of rich toffee, caramel, brown sugar, and then is similar to the nose with tobacco, sweet malt, wet tobacco leaf, vanilla, dark fruit like raisin, dates, figs and plum, toffee, maple syrup, oak barrels, coconut, wet leather, cinnamon, mild piney hops, gummy bear candy, sweet malt, graham cracker, bourbon, and minor booze that brings out more flavors and complexities rather than taking away from it. Sweet but not cloyingly sweet as the barrel influence cuts through with smoky and woody accents. So much flavor that my senses were overloaded and shutting down just so I could sip, savor and enjoy this world class brew.

Mouthfeel is creamy and buttery smooth with a medium body that leans towards chewy, average carbonation and one of the best finishes ever as it lingers just as tasty as each sip tasted. This brew hides the 13.4% ABV masterfully while letting some of the booze come through to remind you that this is a classic strong English Barleywine. An outstanding feel that was meant for sipping and easier to drink than it should be.

This lived up to the hype and was so flavorful and excellent that it justifies the steep price-tag. I have another bottle which I plan to age at least another year to maximize the flavor. One of the best overall beers I've ever had. Bourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale is a great English Barleywine, but this takes it to a whole new level.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

'15 Vintage

Appearance - Pours a deep, dark auburn brown with an off-white, half finger width head. Fair retention, leaving a mostly barren surface. Virtually no lacing.

Smell - Equal notes of toffee and bourbon qualities; vanilla and oak. Some nuttiness.

Taste - Oh man. Toffee and toasted oak make up the bulk of the flavor, with lesser notes of vanilla and mild bourbon booze. A touch of raisin comes through in the backend. The finish is mostly toffee with a touch of caramel and light bourbon. Hard to beat this.

Mouthfeel - Medium-to-full in body with low carbonation. Slick texture that gets dry and slightly sticky on the finish. Incredible smoothness for a brew at 13.3%.


Overall - I originally reviewed this beer back in 2013 with a fresh bottle of the '13. I thought it was too hot and bourbon-centric for it to be a truly great beer. Fast forward to a few months ago, and I cracked my '14, finding it having lost too much punch. Tonight I'm drinking the '15, and I think a year of age on this beer makes all the difference in the world. It's beginning to sound a bit like the Goldilocks story, but this one is just right! I've got a '16 in the fridge that won't be opened for a year, and I may snag one or two more to do the same!

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Photo of fireazzi
4.59/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I was really impressed with this beer. One of the better barleywines I have had. It was a 2015 sucaba and I was surprised at how smooth this beer was. Great smell definitely got a lot of bourbon out of this one.

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Photo of BeerStud187
4.94/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Simply put, this is the best beer I have ever had and what I believe to be the best beer ever made. If you have not had this beer, you have not lived and have nothing to judge beers against.

What does it taste like? Butter. Now I know that sounds strange and weird for a beer, but it's true and legit. While this might not sound like what you want in a beer, you are wrong. It's this warm, thick, caramelly, buttery goodness that warms your soul and your dick. I tried this is a flight with several other high quality barrel aged beers and this made them look like Ghetto Black and Tan made out of Colt 45 and Boone's Farm.

If you've over had improperly barrel aged beers and don't understand the hype, try this. If you've ever had awful barley wines that taste like rubbing alcohol and want to discount the whole category, try this. If you are a human and have a tongue, try this.

Like most other reviews will say, this is a super heavy, thick, buttery, rich, complex, smooth, experience. But overall it is this, an experience. This beer changed my life. I don't want to do anything else in life other than drink this beer. If Lexi Belle wants to hang out with me, I hope that she has a bottle of Sucaba with her, because otherwise my attention span may wonder, that's how good this is.

Head is small but thick. Color is fairly light and does not foretell the quality inside. Do not let this ruin your future life changing experience.

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Photo of JohnnyMc
5/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2013 Vintage cellared for over 3 years now!

Pours out a very dark copper with ruby hints and an off-white head.

The aroma is vanilla, coconut, bourbon, caramel, toffee, dark fruits, cherry, oak, barrel char, bit of chocolate and a hint of molasses. Extremely complex with layers and layers of different smells. I could spend all day just smelling this one!

Taste starts off with some sweet bourbon and vanilla, goes into a toasted coconut, caramel and toffee malt base, some milk chocolate and molasses/brown sugar. There's dates, figs and raisins along with cherry notes too and even a touch of a red wine character. Sip after sip presents something new and there are so many layers and so much complexity to this one!!

Fuller side of medium bodied, creamy, smooth mouthfeel and only a slight warming in the chest. The alcohol is hidden quite well. Definitely a sipper, but so smooth.

I very rarely rate anything a 5/5, 10/10, 100/100, etc, but this beer more than deserves it!! An absolute joy to drink and my only regret is that I don't have more. D:

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Photo of ThrewRedButter
4.51/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2011 Abacus!!!

L - Murky brown up front. Ruby red against the light. No head.

S - Complex. A little booze, oak, char, smoke, caramel, butterscotch, toffee, sweet malts ans bourbon.

T - Heavy on the malts and bourbon. Oak and tobacco from the barrel. Also has the sweeter, candy-iike caramel and toffee. Some cherry and honey.

F - Full-bodied. Slighty thick without being syrupy. Malts and bourbon last for days on the tongue. Some minor alcohol taste, but no warming or sting.

O - Just because its "Abacus", does that put it on another level from all releases since the name change? No. that's not taking away from the beer's superb quality. This is a bourbon-soaked ride filled with caramel, toffee, oak, and smoke. Easily one of the best (maybe the best) English Barelywine I've ever had.

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Photo of RyanK252
4.49/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 bottle poured into a New Belgium globe

A: Pours moderately hazy deep copper brown with a khaki head that settles to a nice layer and laces well.

S: Caramel/ toffee, brown sugar, vanilla, toasted coconut, smooth bourbon, faint earthy notes, and hints of dark fruit.

T: Toasty, even lightly roasted malts, caramel/toffee, brown sugar, vanilla, toasted coconut, very nice oak presence, smooth bourbon, a little peppery spice, hints of dark fruit, and a touch of alcohol as it warms.

M: Full body, mild ot moderate carbonation, with a little pleasant warmth on the back end.

O: This has aged beautifully! Given a little time an already great beer undeniably becomes world class. This was an absolute pleasure to drink.

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Photo of TheElectricOne
4.25/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 2016 vintage into tulip glasses:

Appearance: dark brown and cola-esque in color and consistency, this brew is perrty looking for a high percentage barleywine. Carries a solid, sudsy white head with lots of lacing, especially for a 13% banger.

Aroma: suuuuuuper deep and boozy, with vanilla and caramel being dominant scents here. Doesn't smell "hot" per se, but the barrel definitely carries a heavy presence.

Taste: following the scent, it starts with the barrel, with some solid oaky notes, and is followed by caramel, toffee, and vanilla. Maybe some burnt sugar in there. Either way, it's got lots of heavily sweet notes, but remains well balanced with the boozy barrel and smokey character.

Feel: very viscous, and borderline syrupy, it's a beer to split with a friend or two.

Overall: I'm not always a big Barleywine guy, but this is scrumptious, and worth grabbing whenever available.

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Photo of manfromanotherplace
4.8/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Absolutely incredible....there isn't a barleywine around that can compete with this.Just remarkable.if you are a barleywine fan this is the holy grail.

Caramel, oak, vanilla, bourbon, toasted coconut, leather and tobacco all mingle perfectly together, creamy mouthfeel that coats your mouth and leaves you wanting more and more. As i said before, this is just an incredible achievement in beer making, it only comes 2nd in my opinion to Stickee Monkee.amazing.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.51/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This was courtesy of @SomethingClever.
In a snifter the beer was a dark red/brown color with a miniscule tan head.
Aroma of booze, caramel, and vanilla.
Wonderful taste. Caramel, toffee, bourbon, vanilla. The alcohol was complimentary, not overwhelming.
Incredibly smooth and easy to drink.

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Photo of orcrist_cleaver
4.59/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

2015 Edition

Mahogany-amber. ++++ clarity. Head hangs onto the edge.

Tannin laden sherry. Boozy orange peels. Dry, rough leather, a touch of cherry, vanilla-coconut cream, charred barrel aroma.

Light body for style, but velvety and smooth. Never cloying.

Toasted coconut dusted bourbon bonbons. Bourbon forward with tobacco-brown sugar that coats figs, plums, raisin. Fiery char. Earthy-woody, a touch of burnt sugars, chocolate and carob, but a lesser, latent sweetness than say BCBW.

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Photo of FBarber
4.47/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On Draft - 2016 vintage.

Pours a clear reddish brown with a thin tan head that quickly dissipated. Some slight lacing was noted on the glass.

Smell had aromas of caramel, toffee, plum, brown sugar, and roast malts. Undertones of vanilla, bourbon and a distinctly discernible alcohol are noted. Really a wonderful aroma.

Taste follows the nose with this wonderfully melded array of flavors of caramel, toffee, vanilla, bourbon, oak, brown sugar, plums and dark overly ripe cherries. Finishes with a strong bourbon and alcohol presence that warms the face as you drink.

Feel is very smooth, buttery, and relatively drinkable for a 13%+ ABV beer. Only mild carbonation. The beer definitely warms your face as you sip it.

Overall, this beer was simply sublime. It changed what I think of barley wines (they can be good) and definitely lived up to the "hype"/expectations. Next year, I'll be looking to snag a bottle of this one for the winter months.

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Photo of AppaZappa
4.38/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2014 vintage poured into a snifter. Pours a rich, dark mahogany with a slight off-white head that persists on the edge of the class. Pretty beer. Smell is amaretto, caramel, bourbon, vanilla, malt and booze. Taste is malt, bourbon, slight raisin, oak, and a rather strong alcohol bite. I'm a bit surprised about the sharpness of that here, particularly as that's what lingers on the back end of the taste. Feel is rather light and springy in a pleasant way--its a smooth sipper that I'm taking my time to enjoy.

A fantastic beer and standard setter for the style.

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Photo of Jacobob10
4.11/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

2016 Vintage, 13.4% ABV.
22 oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Beautiful, clear, ruby brown color with a sparse, off-white head. Poor head retention with no lacing, but some nice legs as you swirl it around in the glass.

Heavy vanilla, caramel, toffee, maple syrup, port, and alcohol in the aroma. Simply awesome. Huge bourbon presence comes through in the flavor backed up by caramel and toffee from the malt and brown sugar sweetness.

The body is lighter than I expected, medium-full. A little on the thin side and I think I would enjoy it more if it was thicker or chewier. Carbonation is extremely soft, almost flat, and the finish has a warming quality to it.

I set this one aside for enjoying after passing my PE exam and it while its complexity was impressive, I was left slightly underwhelmed. Maybe my expectations were too high but it just left me wanting more. I'm still extremely happy I got the chance to try this and have no regrets spending the money on its hefty price tag.

#81 Top 250 Beers; #2 English Barleywine; #13 Pacific and California.

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Photo of anon
4.67/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Hoped to age this but just could not wait, will obtain another to do so. Deep Ruby/garnet hue to this beauty, small amount of sediment and floaties in the haze. Small tan coloured head that dissipates to near-nothing, with no lace. The smell of this one blew me away with huge aromas of grain, cereal, malt, caramel, vanilla, cherries, plum, bourbon is subdued and balanced, which is usually a big factor in these brews.

Massive amount of malt and yeasty breadiness, grains and cereal, giving it a lush forefront, with some nice roast and slight coffee undertones. Sherry, vanilla, plum, fig, prune, peach. Malty sweetness in the end with a lick of brown sugar and woodiness. Finishes earthly, smooth and clean. 13.4% ABV is kept at bay amazingly well, with just a slight booziness and barrel presence lingering in the end.

For me this was a complete win. Has all the things I love in a BW and the bourbon just brings it to another level. Firestone Walker delivers yet again.

 979 characters

Photo of SayBoom
4.84/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Sucaba 2014 vintage vs Bourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale 2014 vintage.
L: Sucaba <BCBBw.
S: Sucaba >BCBBw. Amazing bourbon, oak, vanilla, caramel, pleasant alcohol notes. Has a more impressive odor.
T: Sucaba <BCBBw.
F: Sucaba >BCBBw. Medium to heavy body. Super long finish, warming and balanced.
O: Sucaba=BCBBw. Two outstanding barleywine. Balanced and well executed, overall.

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Photo of Longhorn08
3.68/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Yeah, not sure I get what's so great about this beer.

L- light brown, transparent, even looks thin with a half inch of white head.
S- buttery barrel, hints of dark fruit.
T- buttery barrel, fruits are gone.
F- think with appropriate carbonation.
O- lack luster. I've never had it before, now I have. Check it off the list and move on to better beers.

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Photo of FriedSlug
4.54/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Amazing beer with vanilla bourbon oak raisin toffee mocha. The nose and taste on this is amazing. A tiny touch boozy but a stellar beer. Reddish brown with a light tan head, great mouthfeel. What a beer.

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Photo of Jjski
4.03/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sorry to be contrary, but I'm not a fan this year or last. In the world of barrel aged BW, I much prefer Arctic Devil, Old Conundrum, Hand and Seal, Mirror-Mirror and yes the retired Double DBA. These have more "leathery" ,sweeter, deep aged flavors.
I offer that 2016 Sucaba is unique in its completely dry finish and sherry-like presence but lacks much flavor and has hot astringent alcohol presence that is unpleasantly burning in the nostrils. I should have let it age at least 2 years. That said, my cellar contains many cherished bottles of FW Double DBA and Stickee Monkee in various states of age. The class and refinement that FW seeks with Sucaba is commendable but my palate is seeking more richness in a $20+ bottle of fine ale. For this same reason, I also no longer buy Parabola.

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Photo of Chcshammonde
4.71/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

The 2016 vintage; a fantastic offering from FW. A few steps above BCBBW. Highly complex, smooth, nutty, caramel, leather, bourbon burn, oak, raisin. Delicious and memorable. I downed 2/3 of the bomber myself and could have kept drinking it. I was thinking about how delicious this was the next day!!

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Photo of rorykanderson
4.75/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2016 Vintage. Lost my fucking mind drinking this - so damn good. I'm a fan of the style and this hits all the notes that I look for and ones I never even knew to look for. Garnet, light head that slowly fades. Fig, raisin, plum, cherry, big malt, bourbon, oak, vanilla, toffee and caramel. Rich, velvet smoothness follows up the complex melange of flavors. Alcohol brings warmth not heat. World class all the way.

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Photo of Awolter
4.68/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Absolutely delicious carmel carmel syrup taste and smell. Malty with hints of vanilla, oak, and bourbon. Hides the alcohol, and is sweet but not overbearing or cloying. Certainly recommended if you like barleywines.

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Photo of Buck89
4.35/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2015 vintage. Chestnut brown color with a thin tan head. Faint aromas of toffee, cherry, and vanilla oak. The taste is just lush: full-bodied, malty, sweet, stone-fruity, and rich vanilla flavors. Full0-bodied and easy drinking. Gentle warming with an understated alcohol presence. A great sipper.

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§ucaba from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
4.46 out of 5 based on 4,882 ratings.
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