§ucaba | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

BA SCORE
99
world-class
873 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
§ucaba§ucaba
BEER INFO

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

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:
873
Ratings:
4,974
Avg:
4.46
pDev:
8.52%
 
 
Wants:
1,350
Gots:
2,903
For Trade:
278
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 873 | Ratings: 4,974
Photo of WillCarrera
4.47/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a dark, cola brown with ruby highlights, nearly opaque when held to light. A careful pour produces a half-finger of tan head, quickly dissipates to a thin film.

S- Smells very boozey (whiskey), caramel sweetness and vanilla, has some faint chocolate and dark fruit (figs, prunes) notes. Lots going on.

T- Incredible. A big wave of bourbon is the first thing I notice, very alcoholic with some sweet fruity flavors. Oak and vanilla. Towards the end it melts into a sweet, syrup-ey, chocolatey flavor. The alcohol stays on your palate for a while with more dates, figs, raisins.

M- Full bodied, medium carbonation, leaves a sticky, chewy feel on the palate. Alcohol is very warming, it's definitely a sipper.

O- A really outstanding beer, I've never really had anything like this. There's enough going on to keep the bottle changing and interesting the entire time. I bought two bottles and can't wait to break out the second one in a few years.

 958 characters

Photo of Sidebordz
4.01/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to daiceman for bringing a growler of this for a sample tonight! Poured from a growler into a goblet.

A: Thick black oil-like color, no light seen through this. Small, if any head, that dissipates quickly.

S: Smell has a slight alcohol/bourbon scent, and hints of sweetness.

T: Sweet at first, as if there were syrup in it, which quickly gives way to a oakey coffee flavor. as it loses temperature, turns to more of a coffee flavor. Slightest hint of alcohol in the backbone.

M: Medium plus body, with hints of alcohol as you swallow. This beer has a nice feeling in the mouth, and finishes much smoother than one would think.

O: Very good barleywine, which tatses less than the actual ABV, but leaves you feeling nice once the glass is finished. overall a good specimen, would definately try again!

 813 characters

Photo of EricCioe
4.24/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This pours deep mahogany with a small, half finger khaki head rising and falling with no lace. On the nose there are big notes of dark fruits, oak, vanilla, and ethanol. The fruits like raisins and figs definitely provide the basis while the oak and vanilla are more of a frame that the rest of the nose sits inside. In the mouth those same flavors come out with a larger emphasis on the ethanol, though it's never overpowering. The bourbon is definitely a compliment rather than the center stage. It's there for sure, but bourbon doesn't have a fig character that really sits in well with everything else. The body is chewy, viscous, and large with a long finish, the oak and booze giving a dry sensation as time passes.

Overall, this is a fine, fine beer, no doubt. It's a great example in my mind of how bourbon barrels can enhance rather than overshadow a good base beer. That said, for the price I'd probably rather buy a 6 pack of Bell's Third Coast Old Ale. But as an occasional splurge, this is pretty great.

 1,017 characters

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

A: Deep brown black body. Tight khaki head. Quickly receded into a thin collar. No lacing.

S: Bourbon, vanilla, oak, caramel, a little generic alcohol fumes.

T: A very restrained bourbon barrel barleywine. Certainly plenty of flavor from the bourbon barrels, but nothing abrasive or hot about this offering. Lots of oaky vanilla. Rich malt backbone.

M: Silky smooth medium-heavy body. Just a pinch of heat in the finish. Appropriately carbonated.

O: One of the best bourbon barrel barleywines out there.

 507 characters

Photo of thagr81us
4.35/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks goes out to mikesgroove for sharing this one during Hobo Tasting #9! Served from bottle into a Duck-Rabbit snifter. Poured a deep dark brown with a half finger off-white head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, caramel, and booze. The flavor was of sweet malt, citrus, caramel, dark chocolate, and alcohol. It had a heavy feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a pretty good brew. The booziness on this one definitely started to show its face as it warmed up. A very nice flavor on this one. I was worried I wouldn't like this one as much based on the aroma alone, but the flavor was very nice in comparison. Really glad I got the opportunity to tick this one!

 786 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4.62/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Extremely complex, powerful, and gentlemanly, this Barleywine carries a plethora of flavors but without the heavy body that's normally associated with the style. Warm body with amazing drinkability sets this one apart.

Deep garnet in color, the beer allows for only the most supple of light to announce it's ruby-like glow. Low carbonation, the beer forms a creamy light head that disipates early in the session- seemingly very port-like.

A potpouri of aromas erupt from the glass, with the shape of maple, toffee, chocolate, plumbs, grapes, figs, walnuts, oak, bourbon, sherry, vanilla, cherries, and currants- the independent notes seem endless.

Sweeter malty notes show in flavor first with the maple syrup, toffee, vanilla, and chocolate. Very savory and succulent before the alcohol ushers in the powerful flavors of bourbon, rum, cherries, berries, light coffee, mild toast, and oak. Late flavors of alcohol and fruit bring about the strong estery notes and balance of oak, walnut, and bitter alcohols.

Rich and sweet early, the low levels of carbonation allows the full weight of the beer to rest on the taste buds- seemingly heavy and chewy. But the beer's thinning alcohols lighten the brunt of malty character and give a warm and numbing effect on the mouthfeel. Powdery woods and mild tanins give balance late for impressive dryness and palatable weight.

A world class barleywine that makes a statement with intense alcohols and a remarkably dry finish and smooth variety of flavors. Where a mystery flavor seems to emerge with each sip, so does the intensity of alcohols that seem to distract from time to time. This the only reason to keep it from top scores.

Thanks given2flybrewing!

 1,703 characters

Photo of notchucknorris
4.79/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep chestnut and ruby color with almost no head.

S: Huge smell with notes of toffee, coffee, toasted coconut, caramel, raisin, marshmallow and port wine. Wowzers.

T: There's so much going on. I'm speechless. Great, rich mouthfeel with notes of vanilla, caramel, coconut, toffee and butterscotch. There's a slight warmness, but this hides the alcohol pretty well. By far the best barleywine I've ever had and one of the best beers I've had, period. Absolutely worth a try if you can find it.

 498 characters

Photo of bbb099
4.67/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Split with mjyoung.

A - A very dark brown color with mocha-colored head. The head did not have good retention however and dissipated quickly.

S - Bourbon and vanilla with a little smokiness to it. Great aroma that is expected of a barleywine.

T - One of the sweetest barleywines I have had. Vanilla-ish chocolate flavor and bourbon. I did not know the abv beforehand and I would not have guessed that it is 13% as it leaves no dirty alcohol aftertaste.

M - A little heavy but incredibly smooth. Packs a lot of punch considering its abv, you can feel the warmth going down your throat.

O - Fantastic barleywine, probably best I've had so far. Strong flavor that is not too offensive.

 688 characters

Photo of mjyoung
4.52/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Split w/ bbb099. Drank 6/6/11

A: A dark burgundy that lets the slightest bit of light through. Very little head that dissipates very quickly and leaves NO lacing. A very pretty color, but a bit nondescript otherwise. Still, this bodes well.

S: The slightest hint of roasted malt, but that is obscured by the heavy notes of chocolate and vanilla. A bit of oak is there too. Very well-balanced, but slightly on the sweet side. Hard to find the booze that I know lurks in the bottle. Another good sign...

T: Wow. Vanilla vanilla vanilla. Although strongly vanilla, sweet milk chocolate, and an underlying foundation of roasted malt and oak. Very good. The booze is so well hidden that it's hard to discern, even though I'm looking for it. As it warms it gets better and better, with hints of caramel and the slightest beginnings of a traditional barleywine. Absolutely fantastic.

M: Nice and heavy bodied. Thick and caramel-y, with an incredibly smooth finish. One of my favorite parts of this beer.

O: It's hard to describe how much I'm enjoying this beer. A great beer from Firestone. I'm glad they finally bottled it. I'm going to be searching for more.

 1,158 characters

Photo of hamilton23
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle at Hoffer's Cigar Bar

A: Dark brown, nearly black with a finger of tan head.

S: Bourbon, bourbon and some bourbon. There is a little vanilla, but really just alcohol and bourbon.

T: Follows from the nose, hot bourbon and some vanilla. I really wanted this to be a bit sweeter, but it just is not there.

M: Smooth, silky, easy drinking at the high ABV

O: I had high hopes for this beer and while it gets a good rating, I was hoping for just a touch more sweetness and a little less bourbon. By comparison, Alpine Great blows this away in terms of sweetness and complexity.

 599 characters

Photo of dgugliuzza
4.85/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a Bell's tulip.

Pours a deer raisin brown with light tan head. Surprisingly great head retention for a barrel aged beer.

Smells of bourbon, vanilla and sweet malts. Strong caramel aroma that seems to last forever. Finishes with a biscuit like sweetness and more bourbon.

Tastes of bourbon soaked raisins with a complimentary backing of vanilla and caramel. Another explosion of sweet, biscuity malts with a touch of anise. The balance and flavor are beyond words.

Mouthfeel is soft and creamy. With all the bourbon and sweet flavors this somehow manages to stay medium bodied. The balance is perfect to say the least. It's also adequately carbonated. The 13% abv has no bearing. The beer is so delicious and well balanced, I didn't even notice the alcohol.

Overall this is one of the best tasting and and well balanced beers I've had up to this point. The barrel aging takes it to another dimension. As opposed to dominating, the bourbon serves as the ultimate compliant. Rich, smooth and absolutely delectable. Simply stunning on every level.

 1,081 characters

Photo of muttyd
4.39/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep brown with some dark amber hues. Little head on this one, but some suds form as I swirl it around in the glass. Little lacing on this one, but it looks syrupy.

Aroma is big on the sweet malts, brown sugar, raisins and other dark fruits. I'm surprised by the presence of the bourbon and vanilla too. Although this is a barrel aged beer, I was completely expecting the barrel qualities to be masked behind the massive malt character. The flavor does a beautiful job combining the oaky/woody/vanilla qualities of the barrel with the sugary, dark fruit characters of the base beer. The malt is relentless in this beer (as expected for the style). This beer feels very silky on the tongue with a sticky, sugary caramel finish. Moderate carbonation with very little alcohol presence, even at 13%.

Truly impressed by this beer.

 836 characters

Photo of pitasoup
4.08/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: clear mahogany with a bit of off white head. it is rather dark in the glass but when held to light, shines beautifully with clarity.

S: raisins, caramel, sweet toffee. a hint of vanilla and fusel alcohol on the breath later

T: molasses, caramel, similar to the smells. perhaps a touch of plum and coffee. tannins and oak are sweet and complex. american hop bitterness in the middle, hot on the tongue and warm as it goes down. (that's what she said?)

M: medium full body, nicely carbonated and very hot.

O: delicious and complex, i'd love to come back to this one in say 10 years.

 589 characters

Photo of Gushue3
4.12/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- looks like coca cola in the glass. Dark and transparent, dsrk brown. Not much of a head and no lacing.

S- sweetness, malt, hops. Lighter vanilla scent in there too. Complex nose.

T- malt is huge upfront with a spicyness and hop in the middle. Barrel flavors come through in the middle like vanilla and caramel. The finish is bittersweetness.

M- medium mouthfeel that feels syrupy. Not much carbonation either.

O- very nice complex beer. Nise and taste is big and is very nice.

 484 characters

Photo of bbkd3b
4.89/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The tulip glass provides a nice, thick off-white head on top of th beautiful, burgundy body. A bit hazy, with bits of malt floating around in the glass to reassure that this is gonna be a no-holds-barred sort of brew. Aromatically flawless. Cinnamon raisin bread in scent, kind of. Malts out the ying-yang.

The short version of the nose: Extremely malty, but with a hint of alcohol to provide complexity. In length, it's a sexy combination of dark plums, brown sugar, coffee, and bread that I can't even truly defined. Unbelievable balance in the complexity, and so potent that it's impossible to miss any scent. Each compliments the other in a way that's almost indescribable.

As if to mock me, the flavor is identical. A thick, thick, creamy body carries a wave of malt on to the tongue, with brown sugar and dark fruits being the most obvious flavors of the bunch. Hints of vanilla, brown sugar, and cinnamon round off the palate, giving this beer an overall sweet feel. As if not to feel one-dimensional, though, it finishes with a warm kick of hops that heats up the back of the tongue and lingers for sips-on-end, right to the last drop. Complex, delicious, amazing. This is close to God in a glass.

Overall/notes - I can't be a Jedi, because tonight I experienced a love so passionate that I can't describe it. Lovely beer all around, with only one or two equaling it, and none surpassing. This goes well a good, dark cigar that sweats. Recommended on those special days where you feel as if your life is going in the perfect direction. My God.

 1,554 characters

Photo of stakem
3.98/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber split with some friends and poured into a snifter. It appears a dark amber brown. When held to the light, it shows ruby clarity. A tan cap forms across the top and fades leaving patches of lace across the top and on the glassware. A swirl revives a fingers worth of revitalizing head.

The smell of this brew is dark and fruity with alcohol esters. Coupled with the sweetness of the toasty caramel malt and smoothness of barrel aging creates vanilla notes that are quite enjoyable. As this brew warms up, there is a faint spiced aspect which reminds me of something like cinnamon. Overall not bad.

The taste is bold with fruity alcohol and toasty malt. The flavors blend into a sweetness of vanilla from the barrel aging. Herbal hops are quite modest and linger long into the aftertaste with an almost resinous oily cling typical of a more hoppy brew. Throughout the tasting experience, I found myself looking for more but the flavors of this brew are quite simple and forward.

This is a bold fruity alcohol forward barleywine that is hurt a bit in drinkability. It is medium bodied and modestly carbonated. Clearly a decent representation of the American style with it's modest hop inclusion. The alcohol is not hiding in this brew at all, it is forward in both flavor and warming factor. It is a solid brew but I was let down a bit. Perhaps my anticipation and hype built this brew up to something more magnificent than it ever could be. Oh well. I have wanted to try this beer for some 2+ years since I first heard about it. Along the way I got to try a small draft sample and that just didnt satisfy my curiosity. I just about gave up hope of ever getting a real taste (since it was at the time draft only.) Then the announcement came that it was going to be bottled. Perhaps a bit fresh at the moment, I intend to revisit this one with some age.

 1,859 characters

Photo of colt45n
4.8/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: pours a dark brown with a dark ruby hue to it, nice light brown head fluffly head that disapates quickly.

S: First scent im getting is all barrel upfront, whiskey is the first thing that comes to might, geeting a little oak and toffee as well.

T: oh wow silkly smooth mouthful, getting the barrel along with good toffee flavor, absolutely loving it!

Overal this has got to be the best barleywine that I have had to date, the mouthful is so creamy and wonderful!

 467 characters

Photo of Yby1acb
4.97/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dark with some red/copper highlights and a light, cream-colored head.

Oak, roasted malt, vanilla hints and choco, and the classic Firestone Oak presence comes through.

I get some caramel/toffee taste as well as subtle oak/wood flavors in the finish. Some chocolate and hints of vanilla. A bit of bourbon and the "Abacus Brownie" served with it was different but nice pairing. Nice touch TapRoom!!!

Nice and chewy well balanced and round.

This beer keeps getting better with age. Very complex, very impressed!!!

 517 characters

Photo of cetherid
3.97/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into a tulip

A.

Beer is a deep dark brown with some ruby highlights. Head is pretty much non-existent, but was expected for a barrel aged barleywine.

S.

Aromas of sweet caramel, vanilla, and bourbon dominate the nose. I can pick up some slight oak and fruit to this as well (cherries perhaps?). The booze might be a little too strong in this, however it still has a solid aroma.

T.

Pretty much similar to the nose but fruits are a little more prevalent. Almost port-like but not as sweet. Bourbon is very smooth. Was expecting it to be very "hot" but pretty tame and expected for the ABV. Still a big beer being 13%.

M.

About medium bodied. I'd prefer it a little thicker but it's still a sipper..definitely a warming sensation but not lip burning. Carbonation low but OK for being a barrel aged beer. Has a slight syrupy feel to it but not so sticky and sweet that it's a chore to get through.

O.

A good BA barleywine but I've definitely had better. This is the second time I've had it (first time I've had it as the first beer of the night) and I think it could definitely benefit from a little aging. As it is now, one person would definitely have some work to do to make it through the whole bottle. Even sharing this with someone else is taking awhile to drink. Not really readily available but I managed to get a few bottles from downtown.

 1,365 characters

Photo of ATPete
4.48/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2011 22oz bottle

Pours a very attractive deep brown color with a medium sized tan/brown head. A wonderful nose of barrel, caramel, vanilla, maple syrup, candy sweet malts and a gentle waft of alcohol. Full bodied, creamy and incredibly easy to drink for its size. Worth the hype, absolutely. Easily my new favorite in the barrel aged BW style.

 344 characters

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

22oz bottle poured into a snifter. Bottle provided by jodan, thanks Jordan!

A - Pours a dark brown with deep red highlights to it, like the color of rosewood. It is hard to see through, but carbonation can clearly be seen streaming from bottom to top and clinging to the glass. A one-fingered, tan-colored head eventually forms, but it fades quickly. Lacing, likewise, clings precariously before falling apart and sinking back into the liquid.

A - The nose on this just screams malt and barleywine. This definitely packs some sweetness to it, as well as alcohol. The bourbon is smooth but it's forward, and the alcohol does pack some punch as well. The barrel is apparent too, giving off a lot of vanilla and especially oak. I'm also getting a bit of fruit in the back-end, with cherry pits and grapes that gives it an almost sherry-like quality.

T - The flavors of Abacus are really influenced by the barrel, as the oak gives a strong wood flavor. The vanilla and bourbon are also noticeable at the very front, and the fruits moved up to the front. As it warms I'm really getting some of those dark fruits that last well until the end. The malts come next and they give off a sticky caramel note, as well as some milk chocolate. Unfortunately, the alcohol comes through quite strongly in the finish and ends the great flavors on a solventy note.

M - Mouthfeel is moderately heavy-bodied with good carbonation. A little bit syrupy but the flavors and carbonation keep it moving easily. It's fairly smooth, and the lasting impression is alcohol-soaked fruits.

D/O - Drinkability is moderately high. This beer is interesting as the bourbon doesn't punch you in the face, but the 13% at the end sort of does. While the fruits really take this to a new level, the combination of them with the solvent alcohol burn at the end is a bit of a turnoff. Still, it's a great beer that has a nice barrel-aged profile, but don't be surprised when this beer bites back.

 1,960 characters

Photo of MADhombrewer
4.26/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a part of a 7 bottle BA barleywine tasting. Shared with Hopsbreath, Tulipsnifter, and witchesbrew.

Appearance- Clear crimson with a big bubbled head. Little lacing. 4.5/5

Smell- Maple syrup and vanilla. Not much other than that. The alcohol comes out a little when it warms. 3.5/5

Taste- Fruity. Lots of dark fruit flavors. Plumb and figs. Some alcohol heat to it as well. This is a very good beer. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel- Thick and very close to port- like. It sticks with you after each sip. Very nice. 4.5/5

Overall- This is a very good beer. A great winter weather sipper. I assume it will get thicker and sweeter as it ages. I guess I will find out, though. Firestone Walker does it again. 4.5

 706 characters

Photo of jrallen34
4.02/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a dark brown, not glass or shine to it, a little ugly, a light beige head, good retention and lacing... the aroma is decent, not as good as I as expecting, can’t really tell it was barrel-aged at all, molasses mostly, a hint of hops... again can’t really tell this is barrel-aged, a little bourbon, lots of chocolate, caramel, and vanilla, hoppy bourbon finish... good not the greatness I was expecting

 412 characters

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

Poured from a 22oz bomber into two St. Bernardus tulips. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist!

Bottle dated 02/18/11

A: Pours a murky, hazelnut/rust color with about 1/2 a finger of dark khaki colored head on top. Retention was fleeting with just a bubbly collar remaining after about a minute. Lots of suspended sediment was visible in the glass.

S: Killer caramel and coconut nose. Also layered in for good measure are aromas of charred barrel, roasted malt, vanilla, a little chocolate and some cherry.

T: Exactly as above. Excellent! The flavors get deeper and more complex as it warms...as does a strengthening alcohol presence.

M: Sweet, smooth, and velvety with nice balance from the alcohol mentioned above which gives it a slight minty quality.

O: This is a monster of a Barleywine. The alcohol is there but really pretty subdued. Great to be able to buy this off the shelf in the Chi!

 899 characters

Photo of AJacob81
4.45/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very pleased to score this. Poured into my trusty 12-oz. unbranded snifter.

A - Chocolate-mahogany, with deep red highlights. Head and lacing is minimal, but a ring of nougat-colored suds is present throughout.

S - Vaniila, oak, and bourbon on first whiff, then dark cherries, cocoa, and burnt sugar on successive sniffs. Very aromatic, with a sweet caramelly smoothness tying the different scents together.

T - Early on, the first chilled sips are heavy on bourbon and vanilla, and a slight nutty character from the malt. After that, the beer really opens up, revealing cocoa, molasses, French roast coffee, and fine port wine. Buttery caramel, soft dark fruits, and tart cherries in particular rise in the finish and become stronger as I drink, as does a pleasantly warming booziness.

M - Appropriately silky and creamy for a barleywine of this stature, medium in body and moderate in carbonation, but not as decadent as it could be.

If this is what Firestone can do with a barrel-aged barleywine, then my anticipation for Parabola is spiking into the stratosphere. I enjoy the anniversary blends, but I think beers like this really showcase this brewery's mastery of the barrels.

 1,187 characters

§ucaba from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
4.46 out of 5 based on 4,974 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.

    Subscribe