§ucaba | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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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

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Reviews: 863 | Ratings: 4,884
Photo of spacecake9
4.25/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Brought this with me to enjoy on my vacation in Florida.
A - Pours a dark brownish red with a small white head that disappears quickly.
S - Aroma is toffee and booze.
T - Toffee, dark fruits and a lot of booze.
M Medium mouth feel with low carbonation.-
O - This might be the booziest beer I've ever had. Not hidden at all. Wonder if this would have mellowed a bit if I had waited a year. Definitely a slow sipper at this point.

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Photo of SitkaSteve
4.27/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

This was poured into a chalice.
The appearance was a dark ruddy amber to brown color color with a thin wisp of a settling white head. Practically non-existent lacing just slides right on into the beer.
The smell started off with some "tobacco" flavors running into a nice estery fruity to caramel maltiness. Light smoke, butterscotch, vanilla and toffee bleed in for the balance.
The taste was moderately sweet with a stretched dry tingle from that "tobacco" flavoring. It seems like it wants to show balance, but leans towards the sweeter side of the wheelhouse. There's definitely a sweet fruity aftertaste, still nice.
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied with a good sipping quality as the tobacco lingers back to dry things out a bit yet allows some moisture from the malts to lay out nicely on my tongue.
Overall, as an English Barleywine, this was a wonderful offering by Firestone Walker as now I feel just a little bit sad now that it's gone.

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Photo of 303beer
4.37/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2015 vintage
O.G. 26.6
IBU 42.0
F.G. 3.8

Pours a slightly cloudy copper color with a very thin head that turns to a ring. The nose has lots of barrel characters to it. The taste starts with a sweetness then gains flavor of raisens mabey a hint of wine barrels then it all slowly mellows away. A very nice treat.

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Photo of lochraneg
4.18/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Not my favorite Firestone Walker, but their vintage series never ceases to impress. If you are into Barley wines than definitely pick this up. I aged mine for roughly a year. Had another almost immediately after purchasing. The older one was much better

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Photo of SomethingClever
3.81/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

2015 bottle poured into snifter

A: ruby red in color very dark amber with pretty good clarity almost no head just a little lace around the rim

S:lots of soft Bourbon, toffee, vanilla, a little butterscotch some alcohol smells light bits of hops

T: Light bourbon a little vanilla and toffee a touch of oak and a lot of alcohol very boozy on the tongue getting some banana bread taste too

M: very thin and a little watery the beer doesn't even coat the tongue its just watery

O: I have had this beer before the 2013 version and this beer tastes like it has been watered way down and has an odd banana bread taste I don't remember in the prior version. While Firestone can rarely do wrong when it comes to Barrel aging this 2015 is not what Sucaba should taste like. Although the 2013 version was an absolute pleasure to drink.

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Photo of JamesMN
4.35/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2015 vintage, No. 005.

Appearance: Deep mahogany and incredibly murky. Didn't form much of a head, despite a vigorous pour. Just a thin layer of light tan suds.

Aroma: Huge dose of drunken raisins and dried stone fruits. Very sweet. Touch of alcohol.

Taste: Incredible depth of flavor. It starts simple with some light hoppy tones balanced by caramel malt. Then it transitions to oak and bourbon with a heavy dose of raisin/dark cherry liqueur flavor. At 13.3% ABV, the alcohol in the flavor is no surprise and works quite well. A dark chocolate flavor comes through in the finish and there is a final sweet caramel/cherry note before the hops dominate in a bitter aftertaste. Some heat in the throat. I'm sure this ages phenomenally, but it was nice to have it young. It's a bit rough around the edges but still very good.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full in body with more carbonation than I was expecting. An easy sipper.

Final Thoughts: Definitely met my expectations. At $20 a bomber, it's a bit pricey, but worth the cost if you haven't had it and are a fan of the style. Would I drink it again? Yes.

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

2013 Bottle

Pours a tawny chestnut leather with two fingers of light tan head which dissipates to a thin layer.

Peaty oak smell, slightly brackish in profile, combined with dried dark fruits of cherries, plums, raisins and dates soaked in brandy. Hints of cocoa power and leather, reminiscent of an old leather chair.

Smokiness is less pronounced in the flavour, with the leather and dark dried fruits together with cocoa coming to the forefront, although less sweet than expected from the scent. Notes of oak and brandy. Extremely smooth in its finish, with very minimal alcohol presence.

Overall an amazing barley wine, and likely the best I've had.

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Photo of FFreak
4.88/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottle share night out at the campfire. This one brought over by my neighbor and good friend BoldRulerVT. 2012 bottle he received in a trade. Poured into various tulip glasses.

Pours a translucent reddish dark brown with a thin tan head that dissipates for the most part but keeps refreshing a thin ring of bubbles around the edge, with little to no lacing.

Aroma is sweet candied dried fruit - very reminiscent of a late harvest zinfandel.

Taste is straight up delicious, with raisin, plum, dark dried fruit, zinfandel and a hint of oak.

Mouth is just right, medium-full, not at all cloying. Very drinkable for a 12% BW.

Overall, this was a treat. It's just a fantastic aged barleywine.

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

Poured from the bottle into a snifter.
Pours deep dark ruby burgundy with a finger of bubbly head.
Aromas are rich, like vanilla toffee and booze.
Taste is insane. A perfect blend of barrel booze and barleywine. Some Trappist notes too.
Mouthfeel is perfect. Chewy and substantial.
This beer is straight up fantastic.

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Photo of ljjpowers
4.04/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Didn't love this one as compared to some of FW's other offerings. Found too many of the flavors to be muted (even after allowing to warm throughout a period of say 45 minutes or so) versus other FW brews like Stickee Monkee and Parabola (which jump right out of the bottle onto the tongue). Solid, but not my ideal cup of tea... or glass of beer.

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Photo of KillerJigger
4.72/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Great barleywine! Not overly sweet which makes it well balanced. Tastes amazing. Not a barleywine guy but this was simply a great tasting beer. Will be getting more bottles.

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Photo of SaisonRichBiere
4.46/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2014 vintage.

Pours copper with some creamy bubbles that hang out on the top. Smells like straight up heath bar. Big creamy caramel notes, a hint of malty booze, caramelized orange peel, and bitter chocolate and toffee notes. Tastes like big nutty toffee, with a hint creamy, roasty, chocolate notes and a hint of cold coffee bitterness. Feels smooth as silk. A Great beer, worth the hype and worth the wait.

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Photo of danh53
3.78/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

2013 vintage. Appearance is medium to dark brown, hazy, and still in the glass. No head, no lacing, and lots of floating particles. The aroma explodes with chocolate, caramel, brown sugar, bourbon, and molasses. Smells like holiday bourbon soaked brownies. Taste brings sweet malts along with oak and a little coconut. Figs and raisins are prominent with chocolate and vanilla. You really Taste the booze and that takes away from the taste and mouth feel. Taste doesn't deliver on the promise in the aroma.

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

2013, about 2.5 years old. Reviewed at cellar temp.

A: Very dark brown. Very light tan colored, frothy head that settles to a thin layer on the beer.
S: Musty, bourbon, cherry, vanilla, caramel, cola, leather. There's a lot going on here!
T: Decadent. Bourbon, cherry, cocoa, toffee, vanilla, caramel. All the desserts.
M: Thick, but also very drinkable.
O: This was a great experience, drank for a special occasion that made it even better. I haven't had it fresh, but the cherry (dark fruits) flavor that I love was helped along with age, I'm sure. I see why this beer is sought after. Very nice.

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Photo of gatornation
4.74/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2014 Vintage pours a dark brown with a hint of amber,a fast receding head with a fresh cap when swirled in glass, smells of date fruit hops and dark fruit some oak and vanilla,caramel malts, taste follows the nose a superb BA is mixed with a delicious base BW each sip is perfectly balanced with the whiskey notes fruits and hops are perfect in this, mouth feel has lower carbonation but this is a sipper smooth mellow BA in each sip, this is a benchmark for BABW so delicious

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Photo of Pourharddrinkslow
4.63/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look - Dark brown, very little head; no lacing.

Smell - Malt, caramel, toffee, oak... all blended together into a very pleasant nose. The only negative (barely) aspect is the slight booziness.

Taste - one of the top 2 tasting BA barleywine's I've had. The first thing I noticed was the excellent balance. super smooth with toffee, malt, and dark fruits upfront followed by a little bourbon and a minuscule hint of vanilla. Not much booze in the taste which in my opinion is the sign of a well done beer, especially of the BA variety.

Feel - Pretty thick for a barleywine, a little sticky, but quite smooth

Overall - This is a sublime beer. One of the 2 best of the style that I have ever had.

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

Amazing, one of the best beers I've ever had.

L- dark Amber color, tan head that quickly dissipated

F - definitely has some body but not too much. Moderate carbonation

S - instantly I knew I would like it once I smelled it. Big vanilla and toffee.

T - similar to the nose. Pretty sweet with the same caramel, toffee vanilla flavors. Some booze but it perfectly balances the sweetness. Finishes with caramel corn, a slight butteriness.

O- I usually don't give out 5* ratings but this deserves it. For me, a perfect BA beer. Only question is what to do with the other 2 I have. My feeling is it will continue to get better, but don't hesitate to drink now.

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.47/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Ruby-brown body, slight haze. Head and lace only appear as faint collars.

S: Oak, vanilla, caramel, tons of warming maltiness, some diacetyl, and even a bit of alcohol that is well-integrated.

T: The malt and butter is most prominent, a combo that usually results in a cloying and sickly rich beer, but this is amazingly balanced by the non-harsh oak, vanilla, and coconut notes. Alcohol is nowhere to be seen here- I wonder if just a glimpse of it would add or detract. Either way, it's already incredible.

M: Warm alcohol, full bodied.

O: Amazing balance, and for an arguably straight-forward and heavy style, this one presents its flavors with grace and even just a little restraint, where appropriate. This is my definition of a crafted beer.

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Photo of BradfordStuckey
4.49/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of the best barleywines out there. every sip delivers different oaked flavors. Swetness and sharp notes ranging from tobacco and burnt or smoked wood. All overtaken by the incredble carmel noted of a deep malt bill overshadowing all hop profiles. Happy to see that there is plenty of this great beer out there.

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Photo of drmeto
4.76/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2015 version

-pours a clear ruby with almost no,quickly dissipating head,beige in colour
-low-medium carbonation visible
vanilla,coconut,Bourbon,prunes,caramel,toffee,strawberry jam,brown sugar,dried orange peel,alcohol
-Full body,low carbonation
-alcohol quite present,naturally with 13% abv
A tad too sweet,otherwise a perfect Beer

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Photo of retry4z
4/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Cork and Craft. Caramel and cherries on the nose, some locorice, and alcohol. Color is brownish-amber. Full bodied with moderate to high carbonation. Big malty body with taste or candi sugar and licorice, vanilla, and resin. Alcohol (13.5%) is evident. Comparable to Bourbon Country Barleywine, but has some interesting fruity complexities, and even a hint of sourness. Decent barrel-aged Barleywine, but would have to give it another try to make a better assessment.

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Photo of KevChiTown
4.93/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of the best beers I've had in a really long time. Super smooth and complex. Tons of everything going on but in a balanced approachable way. Highly recommend

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Photo of Sparty1224
4.56/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving: 22 oz. bomber poured into a Founder's CBS snifter. No bottling date, but it's likely just under 4 months old at this point.

A: Pours a deep, dark brown with a reddish hue. A faint 1/4-finger off-white head with an aggressive pour that dissipates quickly. Appears a bit thin.

S: Vanilla, molasses, brown sugar. Plum, chocolate-covered cherries, raisins. Also a bit of a cinnamon french toast quality here as well. Bourbon integrates well here, it's very smooth and has some fruity notes that complement it well. It's not an overwhelming or powerful aroma, but it's still very nice.

T: Lots of sweet molasses, brown sugar, dark fruits. Some maple syrup, vanilla, oak. The bourbon integrates so well with the natural flavors from the barleywine that you almost forget it's barrel-aged. They really play off each other nicely here.

M: This is where the beer falls from elite status for me. It's very, very thin. Almost has the consistency of water, and that's no good. Also, it is extremely boozy. 13.3% is high to start, but there's a way to work it in and it's been done before, but just not here. It's very hot on the finish, almost like a dry red wine.

O: So this is my 2nd review of a "boxed" beer from FW, and I've encountered the same problem twice now: poor, poor mouthfeel. This beer is way too thin and way too boozy. And that's a shame, because it takes away from an otherwise stellar beer. Great, great aroma here. Great flavors, with the bourbon complementing the rich sweetness and dark fruit flavors of the English-style BW. But the mouthfeel just prevents it from getting to that next level for me. I even let it sit for 4 months, and it still came out hot!

Recommendation: Don't let my review scare you, this is still a great beer. Definitely seek it out or trade for it, but maybe let it sit for 6+ months. Maybe at that point some of the heat has faded, making this beer much more drinkable.

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Photo of Boccu
4.96/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

2015 version. Hands down the best barley wine I've come across. Full of flavor all the way through. Gives off amazing aroma out of the snifter.
2016. Cold:Light booze aroma. Coloring is a dark burnt red. Very boozy. Toffee, Vanilla, cherries, orange peel,booze. 1/2 hour later let it sit. Aroma is coconut cherries, vanilla and chocolate. Taste: truly comes alive at room temp. Burnt coconut , cherries, vanilla and dark chocolate light booze finish. This must be room temp when you drink it. Must.

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

2014 vintage. Poured from the bomber Into a wide snifter. Pours a dark brown color with a half inch head that dissipates quickly and leaves very little thin foam at te surface.very little to no lacing present around the glass. Smells of Madeira, port wine and fig. Tastes of dates, figs, caramel, subtle oak, whiskey, port wine. Great mouthfeel, solid malt base, and overall very drinkable for a 13.5% abv brew. Would absolutely seek this one out!


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§ucaba from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
4.46 out of 5 based on 4,884 ratings.
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