Double Double Barrel Ale
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Double Double Barrel AleDouble Double Barrel Ale
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Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
California, United States
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)
Ranked #1
Ranked #1,402
4.29 | pDev: 8.86%
May 28, 2023
Jun 16, 2009
Double Double Barrel AleDouble Double Barrel Ale
Notes: Includes Double DBA; ABV varies slightly by year

DDBA is our flagship beer brewed at double strength. It is amazingly similar in many respects to our barrel fermented DBA and possesses everything we love about that beer times two. English caramel malts lend rich toffee character that pairs well with assertive medium toast American oak barrels.
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Photo of cjgiant
Reviewed by cjgiant from District of Columbia

4.57/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75
The pour is lovely - a clear rusty dark brown with solid head given the beer's strength. A small ring turns into a medium one with a gentle swirl, with some bubbles suspending above the beerline afterwards. The aromas start dark fruity - figs, raisin, and bourbon-soaked cherries, but the alcohol is actually a little on the strong side and its bite brings about an overall impression of spiced rum cake.

The first sip opens as a rich tea paired with a raspberry scone. The bourbon notes tickle the outside of my palate as high tea crosses right down the middle. Subsequent sips lose the anomalous tartness of the first one, returning the fruit flavor to cherry from raspberry - specifically the Luxardo cherries that some use for cocktail garnishes. That last note might help drive my thoughts about the beer overall.

The bourbon in noticeable, and there is a bit of a warm nip from the ABV of the beer. But what I really like about this beer is the dark bread I get from the malt that provides a strong backbone for the whole experience. It pairs with the the bourbon barrel notes to turn things into a rye whiskey feel. In fact, Double DBA actually reminds me of the classic straightforward whiskey drinks - mainly a rye Manhattan.

So a strong barrel influence that has the beer teetering on the edge of being not beer-like, but it stays close enough for me with the tea-like flavors I associate with an ESB. Speaking of that, I do not think this beer is categorized properly here - it should be an American strong ale, and I think it's a pretty good one.
May 28, 2023
Photo of pants678
Reviewed by pants678 from California

3.6/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
Light brown red, off white foam.

Malty, sorta fruity,

Malty but not roasty, distant notes of caramel, bitter but no flavor from hops. Alcohol is apparent but not piercing. Just needs something else.

Easy to get at, very light body.
May 20, 2023
Rated: 4.35 by Cpmitchno1 from Virginia

May 18, 2023
Photo of sjrider
Reviewed by sjrider from California

4.35/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Bottle pour - dark brown/mahogany with short foamy khaki head leaving scattered lacing and a ring of tiny bubbles. Nose is mildly sweet and fragrant with hints of dark stone fruit, brown sugar and barrel woody booze. Taste follows with lingering alcohol creep on the finish.
May 17, 2023
Rated: 4.39 by Thirstygoat from Illinois

Nov 20, 2022
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Reviewed by jrc1093 from Connecticut

4.22/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25
2012 vintage; consumed on 5/21/2022

Pours a crystal-clear deep ruby hue topped with a finger and a half of fluffy, off-white foam; solid head retention leaves a spotty few islands of chunky cap, an expansive, frothy collar, and limited gobs of dense, webby lacing spattered around the walls of the glass.

Aroma opens to cherry cut with residual brown sugar undertones as floral hops burst forth, imparting notes of amaro and light varnish into flambéed grapefruit over the middle, while caramel malts meet a grassy prickle on the back end of the bouquet and musty cocoa lingers.

Taste offers caramel and lighter shades of vanilla upfront, with charry butterscotch finding prickly oak over the mid-palate; root beer tones emerge from a floral liqueur-laced back end, wavering into a delicately boozy orange peel finish.

Mouthfeel brings a medium body with a rounded, moderate carbonation; almost oily/syrupy textures remain slick over the mid-palate, where a quick drying results in a distant prickle, leaving a noncommittal bitterness on the back end and a nearly paper-dry close.

Stunningly resilient at a decade in the bottle, this ale shines proudly as a successfully amplified iteration of a traditionally milder style; the firm malt backbone is expressive throughout, and the floral hops are persistent and endlessly in tandem with their caramel-leaning counterpart; a polished example of quality brewing built to withstand time.
May 22, 2022
Rated: 4.29 by GaryM6 from New York

Jan 28, 2021
Rated: 4 by TallGuyCM from California

Jun 15, 2020
Rated: 4.45 by jmbeerdude91 from Arizona

Mar 04, 2020
Rated: 3.99 by szmnnl99 from Michigan

Feb 09, 2020
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Reviewed by Huhzubendah from District of Columbia

4.08/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
Bottle shared by Dave. Thanks man!

2014 vintage

Copper crimson body with a half inch of soapy, khaki-hued head. Aromas of oak, vanilla, caramel, sweet bread. This beer has developed with age, akin to a strong English barleywine.
Mar 30, 2019
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Reviewed by ScruffySouthpaw from New York

4.29/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Vintage 2014 bottle served in a tulip glass.

Appearance: Semi hazy amber color with light sediment in the glass with a mahogany tint to the glass. Orange tinted white head with a sticky head which initially rose roughly half a finger's length.

Smell: lighter butterscotch scent. Comes and goes and though great lacks that touch of potency to the nostrils.

Taste: Maltier than most English barleywines, still retains a nice light Woody finish with light feel of whiskey and light toffee.

Mouth: Medium carbonation but sticky beer with a mild bitter finish. I will tell you this, if you can smell with your mouth, there's a lot of body to the brew.

Overall: Good brew, took my time drinking this gem and wouldn't trade it for the world. I treat classics like this they way they should. Salud!
Mar 25, 2019
Rated: 4.25 by paulish from New York

Mar 08, 2019
Photo of GuyFawkes
Reviewed by GuyFawkes from Illinois

4.17/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
2012 vintage; drank 10/10/15 @ Harvest Hop Haus.

Murky orange appearance.

Minimal khaki head; minimal lace.

Cream soda, mild caramel & oak notes in the nose.

Medium thick mouthfeel.

Cream soda & oak flavors up front; caramel notes on the finish. No booze heat. Smooth, rich & tasty.
Mar 06, 2019
Photo of EMV
Reviewed by EMV from Pennsylvania

4.43/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
2012 edition... poured from a bomber into a Dogfish Head tulip

L: Hazed mahogany pour. Thin fizzy white head leaves a thin rim of lacing.

S: Caramel and toffee... sugars and sweets... some fruity notes.

T/F: Sweet toasted grains... big time sugars... caramel and toffee... molassas and booze. Vanilla... lighter fruit and coconut. Warming... sticky on the tongue.

O: A big, big beer... the 2012 version aged fantastically and at 7 years was still super. One to sip on a cold winter night. Very solid effort.
Feb 22, 2019
Rated: 4.1 by crobinso from Colorado

Jan 23, 2019
Rated: 3.75 by PprBurke from Virginia

Jan 12, 2019
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Reviewed by REVZEB from Illinois

3.93/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
Had on tap. So right off the bat the coloring is way too golden for a barleywine, but otherwise fine. The smell of this beer is incredible, vanilla, toffee, large wood notes, brown sugar, malts, caramel, cherry, all kinds of booze and I could swear a little gingerbread. The taste and body fall short of this glorious smell however, as they both feel so disconnected, with all of this various pieces fighting for space instead of creating a cohesive unit together. Perhaps some aging would help meld flavor together? Hopefully because that smell is too good to waste!
Dec 11, 2018
Photo of SHODriver
Reviewed by SHODriver from North Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
2012 Vintage

A: Poured into a snifter to a deep bronze topped by a dense finger of cream colored head which fades slowly to a collar around the edge of the glass with minimal lacing
S: Smells of intense stewed fruits with some coconut and oak with some toffee
T: Taste is toffee and stewed dark fruits with that coconut, oak, vanilla, and caramel from the barrels. Slight spicy wood notes going on as well with this one along with some faded hops. On the finish this one is slight vanilla, stewed dark fruits, and lingering toffee with a touch more oak.
M: This beer has a fairly full body but it isn't excessive. It's just slightly chewy and far from over the top. Carbonation is effervescent without being excessive while the beer has a drying finish from the style and abv.
O: Overall this is a fantastic British Barleywine. The flavors are right what you would expect and the barrel aging adds a really nice touch to the beer. Complexity of flavors and everything is very well integrated. No major hints of excess age either.
Dec 01, 2018
Rated: 4.35 by tsgooch79 from Kentucky

Nov 13, 2018
Rated: 4.58 by JamieDuncan from Maryland

Sep 30, 2018
Rated: 4.58 by bubseymour from Maryland

Sep 30, 2018
Rated: 4.5 by dafla67 from Pennsylvania

Jul 16, 2018
Photo of Treyliff
Reviewed by Treyliff from West Virginia

4.31/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
2014 vintage poured into a teku

A- pours a deep amber brown color with a one-finger foamy off-white head that has short retention

S- big malty notes of molasses, caramel, dried cherries & figs. Earthy tobacco & leather, undertones of bourbon barrel that adds a hint of vanilla, just a touch of oxidization

T- big malty sweetness up front with notes of caramel & toffee, molasses & brown sugar. Mid-palate brings out a bit of barrel character that adds some vanilla and a trace of toasted coconut. The finish is earthy & fruity, with notes of pipe tobacco, rum soaked raisins and dark cherries

M- medium body with moderate carbonation leads to a slightly foamy mouthfeel and a somewhat chewy finish

O- as expected, big malty sweet notes throughout, complimented by some nice dark fruity notes
Feb 19, 2018
Rated: 3.59 by Sellen from Connecticut

Feb 04, 2018
Rated: 4.28 by deonreds from New York

Dec 26, 2017
Photo of adidaswp
Rated by adidaswp from Illinois

4.75/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
2012 vintage on 3/17. Was drinking great!
Dec 12, 2017
Photo of Sound_Explorer
Rated by Sound_Explorer from Washington

4.35/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25
Had 2014 version.
Nov 23, 2017
Rated: 4.75 by mitch3114 from New York

Oct 15, 2017
Rated: 4.49 by thoglund from New York

Aug 16, 2017
Rated: 4.42 by Reinmogard from Idaho

Aug 12, 2017
Photo of NolaHopHead
Reviewed by NolaHopHead from Louisiana

4.43/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
2014 bottle. Pours murky medium brown, thin white head. Great woodsy Bourbon aroma. Sweet n toasty, boozy. Great lasting boozy finish. Outstanding brown ale.
Aug 02, 2017
Photo of Zoomslowik
Reviewed by Zoomslowik from Illinois

4.29/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25
2012 vintage.

L- Dark amber color with some head that doesn't last. A few bubbles are visible.

S- Caramel and toffee. A little booze. Some vanilla.

T- Similar to the nose. Smooth and balanced. Caramel and toffee, just a little booze. Some vanilla.

F- It's fine. Smooth, medium thickness. Slight alcohol burn. Decent carb.

O- Solid and tasty. Good balance and easier to drink than you would expect at 12%.
Jun 22, 2017
Rated: 4.85 by BlunderfulGuy from Nebraska

Jun 14, 2017
Rated: 4.21 by MI_beerdrinker from Texas

Jun 12, 2017
Rated: 4.1 by Mikexw from New York

May 22, 2017
Rated: 4.13 by mdlb44 from California

May 01, 2017
Rated: 4.59 by ummswimmin from New Jersey

Apr 23, 2017
Photo of Radcpa
Reviewed by Radcpa from Washington

4.29/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
2014 ventage. Reddish amber appearance with a slight tan/white head that desipates quickly. Mild bourbon and fruity aroma. Mild bourbon and fruity taste without any alcohol aftertaste.
Apr 06, 2017
Rated: 4.25 by rodmanfor3 from Vermont

Mar 26, 2017
Double Double Barrel Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 2005 ratings