§ucaba | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Also known as Abacus

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

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Reviews: 881 | Ratings: 5,004
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.

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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 ManapuaMan
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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Photo of weltywm
4.29/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Devil's Den. Served in a snifter.

Look: Dark reddish black with about 1/2 finger of tan head.

Smell: Pretty muted. Bourbon, chocolate, red fruit.

Taste: Delicious. Bourbon and vanilla, oak, chocolate and espresso, and a bit of warming alcohol to hold it all together.

Feel: Lovely carbonation with a slick, medium to heavy body. A bit chewy. Long finish.

Overall: Great barrel aged barley wine. Balanced and well executed.

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Photo of -Rick
4.05/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2016 bottle

L: pours a dark brown color with a nice tan head.
S: sweet, caramel, molasses, toffee,
T: like the nose, there are toffee, and caramel notes in there. Boozy alcohol taste on the back end
F: the right amount of carbonation, but very thin.
O: I was sadly very disappointed by this beer. I found it to be very thin in both taste and feel. Don't get me wrong, it is a good beer, but I was expecting it to be much more complex and flavorful.

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Photo of Chris_Huston
4.75/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2015 bottling. Poured into a short tulip glass at room temp.

In my early beer days, I was a barleywine fan, but I've drifted from that and don't really care for the style anymore. That said, for the style, this is about as good as it gets. Even at 13.3 ABV, this is stupidly drinkable (so be careful!). Although the nose is, I feel, a touch strong, the balance in the color, feel, and taste is exemplary. Truly world-class. If you are a barleywine fan, this should be a holy grail offering. Beautiful dark leather color. A taste base of leather and light bourbon and malt. Although it's not enough to win me back to the style, it's enough to make me understand and agree with its reputation.

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

This is the most perfect English Style Barleywine I've ever had. This hits all the marks I like and the barrel aged/sweetness and overall balance of flavors is absolutely perfect. Incredible. Joins my perfect 5 group.

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Photo of justintcoons
4.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2016 Vintage, no. 006.
22 oz foil capped bottle poured into a snifter.

Hazy mahogany with ruby highlights. No head to speak of.

Caramel, toffee, bourbon, oak, coconut, vanilla, and tobacco.

Caramel cubes and rich toffee. Sweet cigar-like flavors mingle with bourbon, raisin, and maraschino cherry. Light notes of chocolate, smooth oak, coconut, and vanilla bean.

Full bodied, warming, balanced, and sticky with light carbonation.

A borderline perfect English Barleywine. Some of the best barrel blending around. Incredibly balanced with a deceptive 13.4% abv.

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Photo of brewaddict
4.56/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2016 Vintage in a FW Barrel Works Teku

L - Pours a deep burgundy color with a cream white head that dissipates quickly
S - I get rich sweet caramel, vanilla, oak, and cherries
T - The taste is of brown sugar, caramel, vanilla, and bourbon soaked raisins. There is a spicy almost peppery finish with some heat.
F - Good mouth feel. Maybe a little over carbonated.
O - As with most FW boxed beers, this is all about the balance. Typical for an English Barley Wine, there is a little bit of heat. But I really look forward to some age on this.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.4/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Good hearty red and orange color, 1/2" white head. Aroma was bourbony. Good but not complex.

Taste was a great excursion into hoppy barleywine land meets bourbon barrel without a shit ton of malt to muck it up. Caramel all over this, some oak, brown sugar and vanilla. Its complex and nothing is excessive or out of place. Slick.

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Photo of Xenoreactive
4.43/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sensual. Liberating. Festive. Harmonious. A cornucopia of YES.

Listening to people describe FW's rarer brews, you would think this beer promotes instantaneous orgasms.

I felt a slight tingle, but I think that's from the other beers that are flirting for my attention.

An enjoyable brew for sure if you're willing to put out.

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§ucaba from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
4.46 out of 5 based on 5,004 ratings.
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