Double Double Barrel Ale | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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Double Double Barrel AleDouble Double Barrel Ale

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

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by HopHead84 on 06-16-2009

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Reviews: 336 | Ratings: 1,965
Photo of Amorphousrock
1.76/5  rDev -58.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

2012 vintage. Not sure if it wasn't cellared properly, but it was horrible. I brought it to a bottle share and we couldn't even finish it, it was so bad. I was told that the 2012 were in their prime right now, hope this was a fluke...

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Photo of menkros
2.01/5  rDev -52.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Pours a hazy orange, no head. Smell is apple cider and banana bread. Not hiding the alcohol at all. Not my cup of tea 2oz bomber pours clear deep ruby red with tan head of foam. The aroma offends with robust levels of booze, sweet whiskey, coconut and candy like sweetness. I can’t say that the taste is any different. It is just full up booze and whiskey that gets hot and boozy from time to time. It also has lesser notes of sort of a coconut to candy like sugary sweetness.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.86/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served on nitro-draught into a snifter at the taproom in Paso Robles on its grand opening day. I found it interesting it was on nitro (which I verified with the bartender and by the black nozzle on the tap). I don't know if serving this on nitro was a decision made specifically for the new taproom or not.

A: Pours a one finger head of amazing cream (owed to the nitro-tap no doubt), great thickness, and amazing retention given the high ABV. A mild bubble show entertains the beholder as the head surfaces. Colour is a nontransparent caramel-amber. The head is very appealing.

Sm: Cream, butterscotch, buttery notes, and a hint of milk. Clean malts. A mild strength aroma.

T: Cream, overdone butterscotch (diacetyl?), amber hop notes, clean bright malts, raspberry fruit esters, and bad biscuit malt. Severely imbalanced, compromising the lovely cream with the estery malts. Built okay. The finish in particular is awful.

Mf: Smooth, wet, and creamy (for the first half). It aborts the cream but shouldn't.

Dr: Drinkable but poorly executed, especially for the style. Hides its ABV quite well. I wouldn't have it again. Likely best on nitro-draught.


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Photo of TheEarl
2.97/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I split a bottle of the 2012 Double DBA, poured into a tulip glass, on 8/3/2012.

Appearance: DDBA pours a dark red/brown with a slight and lacey head. There is very little visible carbonation.

Smell: DDBA’s aroma is initially of strong toffee, followed by apple and almond, finishing with almost overwhelming vanilla from the barrel.

Taste: As with the aroma, DDBA’s taste is nearly overpowered by the toffee sweetness from the malts and the aggressive vanilla character from the oak. While these are pleasant flavors, I didn’t find the taste well balanced. The sweetness was simply too aggressive.

Mouthfeel: DDBA is medium/full bodied, quite sticky, and fairly viscous. There is a slight amount of alcohol heat on the finish. For me, the feel of this beer is probably its best characteristic.

Overall: I was disappointed by DDBA. It is certainly a good beer but, it is not a great beer, and I would not buy it again. In this style (barrel aged strong ales), I find Fremont’s Bourbon Barrel Abominable Ale to be infinitely better balanced and more complex.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.12/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Chilled bottle into a glass.

A: This pours a clear, light copper body capped with a finger of off-white head that vanishes quickly.

S: Green apples, bourbon, vanilla, oak; it has an estery nose that initially reminds me of the stone fruit qualities tripel. Alcohol heat that vanishes after a few minutes (or I become used to it).

T: The taste is a letdown. I enjoy the fruity apricot-apple qualities of the base (?) beer, but it lacks the character to stand up to the barrels. The initial taste holds up well, but it devolves into thin oak-tannin juice in the finish. Very bourbon-forward, coupled with substantial heat.

M: This is fairly hot, in part because it's thin. I find it imbalanced and overly tannic, especially in the finish. The aftertaste is nice; I think the astringency helps it to clean up well, at the expense of, well, astringency.

O: I didn't find the this very remarkable for $14. It's a shade above 'meh.' I just got one and I'll stop there.

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Photo of jethrodium
3.13/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

On tap. Pours a copper brown with a small tan head settles to a ring and leaves some light lacing on the glass. The aroma is lots of caramel, bourbon, vanilla, and toffee as well as some light oak, a bit of nuttiness, and some sweetness. The taste is sweet with lots of caramel, some oak, some light bourbon, toffee, and a light nuttiness. The finish is toffee and some lingering barrel notes. Medium body. Low carbonation.

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Photo of markgugs
3.14/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Perhaps a terrible keg, keg line, pour, not sure, but this looked like muddy water (literally), smelled like alcohol and brown sugar, tasted like whiskey and caramel, and those were the positives. Couldn't finish my 5 oz pour.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.16/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz bottle $14.99 Picked this up off the strength of all teh Anniversary beers, Parabola, and Abacus. I figured it would not let me down but I was mistaken. Dark amber color, scant head. Aroma is booze and oak and more booze, meh. Flavor is just real boozy with notes of oak barrels. It really lacks the toasted coconut character I enjoy in their barrel aged beers. For me (and my friend who split it with me) this was a real letdown. I'm just glad I only bought the one bottle.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.23/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Thanks, Nick! Didn't think I would get a chance to try this. 2013 vintage.

Pours a murky brown color. The head is a finger high and off-white in shade. I don't like the soda-like texture, and its retention sucks. Let's face it, this isn't a good look - when the best descriptor I can think of is "it looks like a glass of something scooped out of a septic tank at Chipotle", you know it's a poor-looking brew.

It doesn't smell like a glass of something that came from a septic tank at Chipotle, thankfully! The textbook barrel character of Firestone Walker is featured here, in full force. Plenty of vanilla meshes with a powerful oak character, and even a touch of coconut. It has a fairly light base (malt and ester wise) when compared to something like Sucaba - I pick up caramel, toffee, brown sugar, apricot, cherry, and peach to go along with the bourbon. There are some additional tones of butter (like DBA) and banana fluttering around. Put simply, it has the depth I look for from a 12% behemoth, though the aromatic strength is a bit timid thanks to the lack of head.

Its flavor opens up with the malt backbone appearing - caramel, toffee, brown sugar, and the like. Stone fruits lurk around the fringes. This certainly isn't another Sucaba, as the whole thing tastes a bit brighter to me. Past the midpoint, the barrel practically explodes on the palate. I start getting tons of vanilla and oak, even a touch of coconut. The profile, unfortunately, doesn't strike me as being terribly deep, nor does it seem well balanced (the bourbon barrel qualities pummel the base). It's not pure tannin water, but it's not far off from that ideology - I really wished the malts were showcased more effectively.

This is quite light on the palate, thanks to how tannic it is. I almost get the sense the oak barrels are pulverizing the base beer as it traverses my palate. Drinkability is excellent, at least, though it does feel fairly harsh going down. Carbonation is medium-low, as expected from the style.

I'm not a big fan of the normal DBA. But an imperialized DBA put in bourbon barrels? It's an improvement...but not a huge one. It's damn good if you like FW's typical barrel characteristics, but me, I want more of a balance between the base and the barrels. On the plus side, it's very easy to down given its strength (and age, to be fair). You know, I'm beginning to think FW's barrel-aged brews not named Sucaba or Parabola are pure hype...

3.23/5: Sucaba does everything this beer does (did?), and far better at that

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Photo of Goalcam
3.3/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This one packs quite a punch which I normally don't mind in something like a stout but this one tastes more like a liquor than beer. The taste is pretty close to that of a cognac. This is certainly more of a sipping beer than one watching a ballgame. I really wish I had a nice cigar to go along with this one.

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Photo of Deltrus
3.35/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving Type: Glass coffee mug (have nothing better)

Appearance: Dark almond color with a slight hue of dark ruby.

Smell: Not very existent, however when freshly poured, the smell blossoms into something more lively, though still lacking. Smell is a sweet tangy smell of bourbon barrels, lacking the smell of hops. If smelled side-to-side, the smell is more of an oak scent and loses its burn of the bourbon barrels.

Taste: Opens with toffee however quickly after swallowing, an overpowering flavor of bourbon takes over and completely diminishes any of the beer's initial flavor. The flavors that Firestone talks about on the box of vanilla and almonds were hardly detectable, if at all there.

Mouthfeel: Smooth unlike bourbon, which is the flavor it leaves the mouth with, thus giving a unique drinking experience. The burn that straight bourbon would give is toned down heavily thus providing a pleasant mouthfeel, however it doesn't last too long.

Overall: My friend and I got this beer for $20 and it feels like we paid little for a bottle bourbon, but it is not actually bourbon. It is an intriguingly flavored beer but it is still a bourbon-flavored beer and if you like bourbon or the taste in general (the after-burn), this is the beer for you, if not, it might be hard to enjoy, because of the strong bourbon smell and flavor.

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Photo of RuckusDu
3.37/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Just picked up this 2012 version to see what its like. Poured into Duvel tulip.

A - A loud finger of light beige head that quickly falls. Body is slightly cloudy. Color is weird. Almost an artificial bright red/amber. Can't remember ever seeing this florescence in a beer before.

S - Yes please. Tons of bourbon, sweet vanilla and lots of oak. A hint of fruit, like red apple, cranberry, and cherry. So much going on and very nice.

T - Just a big mess. Very alcoholic and all over. The oak over powers and just makes it taste woody. Not a whole lot of bourbon, some vanilla. Finishes with some slight hops.

M - The alcohol burns. Body is a little syrupy, but carbonation is good.

O - Maybe I need to compare this to regular DBA, but this is not a balanced beer. Too much wood and not enough smoothness. Weird.

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Photo of ESPNman
3.51/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a coppery brown, it really does look like a slightly darker version of their standard DBA. Slight tan head quickly gives way to a surprisingly steady stream of champagne-like bubbles. Very little lacing.

S - Yep, this smells like a barleywine. Lots of overripe fruit, caramel malts, and an overwhelming whiff of alcohol. This does not smell like a Double DBA, it smells much more like Abacus / Sucuba.

T - Surprisingly it's a very different taste than what the smell would lead you to expect. Definitely a barleywine-type taste, but much more caramel and the slightest hint of floral hop. The alcohol bite present on the nose is very subdued here. It comes through a bit as heat on the finish, but overall they did a great job of balancing the high ABV and impressive malt bill to create something very drinkable.

M - Thin. It has an almost identical mouthfeel to the standard DBA. Overly carbonated and doesn't really leave a presence. I expected something a little more viscous and chewy. Disappointing.

O - Overall, it's not a bad beer, and a lot of my review is based on expectation and price-point. It's a good beer, but for the style and the $15+ pricetag you can do a lot better.

Served in a Stone RIS Snifter

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Photo of drpimento
3.52/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Geez, don't know what happened with this bottle compared to what others seem to have tried. Poured at a cool temperature with a smallish, fizzy, tan head that quicly settled to a couple of dinky islands and no lace. Color is a clear amber orange cherry. Aroma is malt, caramel, hop, solvents, dark ripe fruit. Flavor's similar to nose, sweet and carbonic tang in front, followed by a little bitter and the solvent. Body and carbonation are good. Finish is like flavor, slow taper to a lingering cheap brandy aftertaste accented by the alcohol.

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Photo of hiikeeba
3.53/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Pours up a crystal clear amber with thin tan head that dissipates quickly to a lacy cap on top of the beer.

S - Smells of caramel malt with some bread notes, hints of spiced apple

T - Biscuity malt with caramel notes, a hint of hops in the finish.

M - Feels a bit thin.

D - Extremely drinkable.

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Photo of beerandcycling88
3.53/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bomber into a snifter.

A Pours a dark brown with a creamy white head.

S Vanilla, some woody notes and slightly tart fruit.

T Quite a bit going on with vanilla, some nutty notes, caramel and a hint of tart apple.

M I found this one to be quite thin which really doesn't work with this one.

Overall this is a pretty good beer but definitely not in the same class as Parabola or Sucaba. Worth trying but I'm not sure I would buy it again.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.55/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pour is dark copper with a small amount of tan head. Nose is heavy bourbon, light oxidation, brown sugar, faint dried caramel. Full, luscious body, fairly smooth and creamy with just a bit of grittiness. Flavors are sweet with strong bourbon up front, a hint of paper, lots of malt sugar with brown sugar and caramel flavors. Moderately strong carbonation and a dry finish that brings a hint of booziness and a lingering spice to it.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.57/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at Capitol Beer and Tap Room in Sacramento, CA

Appearance - A semi-hazy, deep reddish copper, served up with a razor thin, off-white head. Too thin to properly judge retention.

Smell - Strong boozy quality. Bourbony. Vanilla. Hints of caramel. Sharp.

Taste - Thankfully, smoother on the tongue than in the nose. Bourbon qualities do dominate the profile, however, and comes across as oaky and vanilla sweetness. Subtle caramel near the finish, then more bourbon qualities punch through again in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Full-bodied with low carbonation. Finishes bone dry.

Overall - Call it what you will, but there are barrel-aged brews out there that don't really do it for me. Often I find too much booziness will get in the way of more subtle, enjoyable qualities of a beer. This one is no exception. It's good, but this just isn't my cup of tea. Take away the bourbon flavors, and this beer barely has a leg to stand on it's own.

Bottled '13 version. cracked 02/23/16

UPDATE: Just cracked a '13 bottle. It's considerably smoother, but the flavor is underwhelming. Moderate notes of nuttiness, vanilla, toffee and faint bourbon qualities. I would score this a 3.8-3.9 at best, and I don't think it'll age any better than how it's drinking now.

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Photo of nimrod979
3.59/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Murky amber color. Virtually no head.

Aroma: Bourbon, oak, vanilla. Mild dark fruit.

Taste: Oak, vanilla, and bourbon are the dominating flavors. Not much heat considering the ABV, but it has a strong flavor. Dark fruits have a presence with some sweet malt. Not getting anything as far as hops.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly smooth given it's high ABV. Caramel & toffee. Its a sipper for sure. Full of flavor but a bit thin on the mouthfeel. Very low carbonation. Lots of bourbon booziness but not much as far as heat that's interesting.

This one sure was fun. Probably best shared because the bourbon flavor becomes a bit much after too long. Took me awhile to finish it. But I did enjoy it. Not my favorite Firestone, would like to give this another shot sometime.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.61/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass, the beer pours with a thick, foamy, dense, off-white head and a crystal clear ruby-copper coloring that is infested with bubbles, a sign of the high carbonation. The beer has caramel sweet aromas, mixed with cut grass and semi-sour notes. Also, slightly toasted characteristics are present. The flavors are toasted, both caramel malty sweet and a hint of bitter hops. Everything has a toasted feel to it. There is also a hint of dark chocolate buried way in the background. The beer itself is dry and crisp in mouth, and the aftertaste is slightly sour and dry. The finish is quick, and there is little to no linger in mouth, making this an easy one to continue to drink. Flavors lack a little body and staying power, and there are other Strong Ales I would lean towards.

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Photo of Docer
3.65/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: (4.0)

- This beer poured a very huge light tan head that was a fluffy 2-3 fingers of thick foamy head over the top of a rather dark and ruby-like copper brew. Thin layers of creamy head reside over the brew while a medium sized ring is left. Solid.

Smell: (4.0)

- Big notes of vanilla and oak with a kiss of bourbon. It's a little hot and would be a nice aging brew. Huge sweet molasses-like malts with a caramel punch. Rather sweet. Bready notes are certainly present as well.

Taste: (3.5)

- Big sweet molasses and caramel notes with a lovely grassy and earthy hop bitterness present as this beer is fresh. Light heat flavors from the alcohol. Lovely vanilla dessert with an oak bottom. Solid brew, but for me doesn't touch a lot of other barrel aged beers. The flavors are great from the aging process, but i am not sure if the beer is.

Mouth Feel: (3.5)

- Medium bodied, slightly sticky, a nice chewy flare, and well carbonated. Curious what this would be like without the use of a standard British Ale yeast. It's not too syrupy at all from the aging which is nice. The base beer must have been. Overall not a bad feel.

Overall: (3.5)

- This beer is nice after the whole process. I doubt that I would like the base beer that much, and to be honest I don't care much for the basic DBA beer from Firestone. I find most to be too malt forward. This however is a nice dessert beer with a nice sweet touch. The malt, caramel, and vanilla is solid, but I would still like a little more bitter rather than dry heat from the alcohol... though I'm reviewing this beer a tad fresh. Got another in the cellar.

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Photo of SweetBrown
3.65/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The auburn color of this local beer fooled me! The light taste of the dark pour was surprising once it hit my palette. I expected a bitter and hoppy brew but was instead met with a light refreshing taste that complimented my oysters very nicely. You want to know how surprising? I reacted to the taste the same way I acted when Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon got together. I was like SAY WHAT!
Yum yum all the way around!

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Photo of Pahn
3.65/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle into a tiny goblet. Best glassware I could find where I'm staying at the moment.

Appearance: Careful pour yields a half inch frothy bone white head that dissipates quickly. Pours a hazy chestnut and leaves a few streaks of lacing now and then.

Smell: Slightly citrusy hops, dark grape-like malt aroma, with some oaky caramel in the background. Stays pretty consistent. Is pleasant with a nice balance.

Taste: Oak, oak, oak. Midpalate, mild, smooth malt flavors speak up a little bit over the oaky vanilla din, before caramel oak notes fight them off. Long, boubon-like hot alcohol finish.

Some mild cola flavors emerge up front, as well as a tiny bit of that hard water character of regular DBA. Also like DBA, the overall effect of the beer is very smooth, rather than showy or complex. It's a good flavor, but for the ABV I think it comes up short in the depth department. While it works beautifully as a component of their anniversary beers (which is, if I'm not mistaken, originally the whole point of brewing DDBA in the first place), for drinking on its own I wish Firestone Walker hadn't been quite so literal in making "double" DBA. These flavors could be done--and better--at 8% ABV.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied. Slightly watery, but not unpleasant. As unremarkable as the mouthfeel of regular DBA.

Overall: Tasty beer. Sort of Abacus/Sucaba-light (this description originally brought to you by BA morningthief). I would buy it again, but I'm also a sucker for strong American oak flavors.

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Photo of homebrew311
3.68/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into Duvel glass. Appearance is toffee colored gold with heavy visual weight and minimal head retention. Nose has intense rush of bourbon up front with heavy carmel malt character to follow. Notes of honey and pine come through at the end. Taste starts with rich molasses and plenty of malty sweetness. Vanilla and oak come next with a sharp boozy punch at the end. Mouthfeel is heavy with moderate carbonation. Overall, this is quite the bourbon bomb, the base beer doesn't seems to hold up the flavors as well as a stout or barleywine. Also a bit hot.

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Photo of gmagness
3.7/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Yard House in downtown Denver.

A: Clear red/amber/copper color. One finger head, slightly off-color

S: The sharpness of strong ale comes through, with the aroma being pleasant but unremarkable.

T: Starts malty, but quickly becomes dry with alcohol in the finish. Fruity flavors are subdued.

M: Carbonation and body are appropriate for a strong ale.

O: This is a good strong ale, although I prefer more complexity. If allowed, I would score all categories at 3.75

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Double Double Barrel Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
4.26 out of 5 based on 1,965 ratings.
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