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: 335 | Ratings: 1,961
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.09/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle pour at Woodshop 7 held at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach, CA.

Pours a slightly murky dark brown with a foamy beige head that settles to small dots of foam on top of the beer. Small dots of lace also form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, caramel, vanilla, wood, and bourbon. Taste is much the same with the bourbon really coming through in the aftertaste. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with a great smell but I think it needs to sit for a little while for the flavors to mesh together a bit better.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.37/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

a wonderful showcase of the bourbon barrel here. different than all the stouts and thick sticky blends they do, this is a lighter (in color and in roastiness) malt bill than a lot of their big barreled beers. i think it lets the wood and the bourbon flavors really present themselves well. english sort of grain profile to this, sweet and sappy, caramel like, and full bodied. the beer looks about right for what it claims to be, toffee colored beer with bronzed amber edges. not much head from the tap, or at least it settles down pretty quickly. tons and tons of sweet vanilla on the nose, this has very obviously spent a great deal of time resting on bourbon. a sturdy char on the barrel too helps to add depth and mellow what i cant believe isnt hot alcohol. its so well hidden here. there is even some hops in the finish of this one, more than just the requisite english bittering hops, i get a dried straw and corn husk character from them, in addition to just enough bitterness to balance some of the left over sugars in the finish of this. complex and woody, this is a great example of firestone walkers ability to barrel age beers. tons of the whiskey character comes through, and i like the coppery sweet caramel malt. a real treat to drink, it warms up well, and i think its different than what we usually expect from barleywine.

edit: just enjoyed a 2014 edition, over two years old now, and it has evolved, mellowed, and matured tremendously well. this is near the high water mark for american made barleywine of any persuasion, as good as it gets!

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Photo of metter98
4.17/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is hazy reddish brown in color and has some yeast particles visible floating in suspension. It poured with a thin off white head that died down but left a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: As the beer begins to warm up, aromas of caramel malts and toffee become noticeable in the nose. These become stronger as the beer warms up.
T: Like the smell, the taste is complex and has flavors of caramel malts—notes of vanilla and alcohol also become noticeable as the beer warms up. There is a light amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. There is some warming from the alcohol in the finish.
O: The complex flavors of this beer make it a nice one to drink but it's not that difficult to consume because the alcohol is relatively well hidden from the taste.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.46/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

When everything is double- it doesn't mean that you get twice the flavor, but it means that the complexity is compounded, thus creating a Frankenstein of an ale that grows to become something more than the beer could even have imagined of being.

This "double-dog" type of beer starts off much darker than the standard "Double Barrel Ale" and goes into a dark bronze world with tawny highlights. Its slowly forming but densely frothed head tops the beer with a sturdy head but in short-statured fashion. Spotted with lace, the beer trails with interspersed dots of foam.

Strongly aromatic with dessert-like scents- the ale kicks off with a abundance of molasses and brown sugar bleed into softer vanilla, cherry and port wine notes. Rummy in its scent the spices of cinnamon is alive in its alcohol scent.

Its taste is sweet and sultry as the expected taste of molasses, brown sugar and overwhelming toffee takes center stage. Its middle is rounded by a light vanilla and almost-coconut flavor while succulent port-like tastes come into play. Figs, dates, raisins and cashew all play a role in the beer's earthy and prolonged finish.

Mid-full on the palate, the beer plays out with little carbonation in order to finish with some semblance of dryness. Its a succulent and savory ale that retains much of its creamy sweetness to extend well into the beer's next sip. Finishing semi-dry, the ale offers a good degree of drinkability but is a tough out for anyone under a party of four.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz, black wine seal enclosure, capped bottle, 2013 vintage. Thanks to doktorzee for extracting this from SoCal for me.

This beer pours a hazy, dark bronzed amber hue, with one hefty finger of bubbly, weakly frothy beige head, which leaves some spectral wave splash lace around the glass as it slowly ebbs away.

It smells of acrid grainy whisky barrel staves, sweet toffee, caramel nougat, and treacle-tinted malt, some earthy, gritty vegetal essence, a bit of buttered biscuit, vanilla extract, brown sugar syrup, and some mildly bitter citrus cream and piney hops. The taste is more malt sweetness up front - caramel candy, biscuity toffee, molasses - followed by a prominent vanillan oakiness, a hint of cinnamon, mixed, understated black fruit, a tame sugary nuttiness, still mild citrus and pine notes, and a sort of red wine alcohol astringency.

The bubbles are pretty well stamped down, out for the count, the body a sturdy medium-full weight, and fairly squishy in its rampant smoothness - or is that just an awkward creaminess? It finishes still sweet, sure, but tempered enough by the wood, hops, and alcohol to make a serious go of this.

One tasty, complex, and strong version of the style, among the last that I'd suspect to come out of this brewing region, what with their predilection for West Coast hop-pimpin'. Robust, thick, and rather enjoyable, the big-ass ABV well ingrained and generally obfuscated. A nice warm-up for a night on the local arts and lit scene with international sex pundit Dan Savage, methinks.

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Photo of brentk56
3.84/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber color with a respectable head that leaves a few shards behind

Smell: Caramel, oak and vanilla, with Bourbon tones readily apparent; the base fruit and mineral tones of the ESB base are also discernable

Taste: Caramel, vanilla and toasted coconut jut out, with the Bourbon (and perhaps a little English hop flavor) building in the middle; the vanilla returns, after the swallow, with the oak lingering in the finish; it is not until the aftertaste that the base beer tones come through

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low to moderate carbonation; warmth in the gullet

Overall: An interesting beer, with a lot of complexity; really rather sweet, however, and more suitable for an after-dinner nip, as a result

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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 Phyl21ca
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle: Poured a clear copper color ale with a large off-white foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of nice caramelized malt with nice toffee notes and light residual sugar notes. Taste is also dominated by caramelized malt with some toffee notes, light biscuit notes and just the right amount of residual sugar. Body is about average with good carbonation and light warming alcohol. This beer is super well-balanced with just the right amount of complexity and great drinkability.

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Photo of emerge077
3.73/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Rusty sanguine color, a finger of foam rises and settles after a few minutes, leaving behind a threadlike ring of foam and trace wisps of lace in the glass. There is a slight murkiness to it

Deep caramel and vanilla barrel notes, sweet and sticky toffee, trace bourbon.

Drinks pretty smooth, though the numbing alcohol heat is there in the swallow. More caramel and toffee, vanilla, toasted marshmallows. Pretty sweet and sticky on the lips. Medium bodied with a lower level of carbonation. It's a slow sipper due to the sweetness and booze, which lingers a bit in the aftertaste.

Glad to have copped this for cheap, it's not quite on the level as Sucaba and most places charge upwards of $20 for it.

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Photo of zeff80
4.27/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My 3000th different beer, although not my 3000th review.

A - Poured a hazy, burgundy color with a one-finger, off-white head of bubbly foam. Decent retention and some sudsy trails of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled very boozy and malty with a sweet toffee-like aroma.

T - Big bold flavors. Boozy, sweet maltiness with caramel and toffee. Nice spiciness adds just enough bitterness to balance the sweetness.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium to full bodied ale with a fairly dry finish.

O - This is a really delicious, big beer. It wasn't too hard to drink despite its potent ABV. Sipped it slowly over a long sunday afternoon of football.

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Photo of oberon
3.73/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep rich amber with a nicely formed one and a half finger off white head atop,great rich clarity and color to this beer.Darf fruit,vanilla,and sweet acohol dominate the nose,some toasted oak is there as well,smells like a booze bomb.Sweetness is the main flavor component of this beer,sweet dark fruit and bourbon notes mixed with more vanilla and jet fuel-like booze.Wow a little to much boozy sweetness for me,I wanna stay awake to see the Tigers beat the ugly beards!

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Photo of jlindros
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This one thanks to RaulMatisse.

A: A fluffy white head rises and quickly dissipates over an amber reddish auburn brown color that's mostly clear.

N: A nice hoppy aroma, some spicy and floral hops, combined with some caramel malts, some malty flavors, touch of oak.

T: Again with the nice hops, floral, a little spicy and slightly earthy, a decent bitterness. Then more caramel malts, toasty slightly, a slight nutty taste to it too. Somewhat sweet as well, with a little oak and vanilla.

M: Medium to heavier body with decent carbonation.

F: FInishes somewhat bitter with some lingering spicy and floral hops, as well as a little pine. Still somewhat sweet, but dries a bit. A little lingering malt and toasty flavors as well as that barrel and oak flavors. Very drinkable for 10%, you can barely notice the alcohol.

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Photo of chinchill
4.23/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2012 Reserve #001 bottle (with very similar impression from a 2013 bottle in Nov 2014).

Translucent red-copper color; sparkling clear; small but durable off-white head.

Aroma: Big, rich and complex with some evidence of higher ABV. Surprisingly fruity! Hints of oak, caramel, raisins, brown sugar and bourbon.

Taste: Rich, complex and lasting. Bourbon whiskey-oak tones over a very fine barley wine. Has 12% ABV but drinks more like 8%. Lightly sweet and fruity flavor with hints of toffee, butterscotch and brown sugar.

Mouthfeel: Smooth but with some alcohol heat. Excellent for 12% ABV!

O: Exceptional. Perfect for sipping. An ESB transformed into something else altogether.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.07/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2012 Vintage.

A: Pours a murky dark mahogany in color with moderate amounts of white yeast particles in suspension and light to moderate amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a quarter finger tall beige head that redues to a thin film covering the majority of the surface of the beer and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Strong aromas of bourbon, vanilla, oak, and alcohol sweetness from the barrel aging. There are also moderate aromas of caramel malts.

T: Light amounts of caramel malt sweetness upfront followed by moderately strong flavors of vanilla and oak form the barrel aging. There are notes of bourbon.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slight hints of alcohol heat in the finish.

O: The barrel aging likely made improvements to an already good beer - I enjoyed the strong bourbon presence. I had really high expectations for this beer and it feel just a hint shy of them but that is mostly because everything else from the brewery has been really great.

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.17/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to James for this one!

A: Pours a brown color with ruby highlights with a very small off-white head with very little retention or lacing.

S: Some vanilla, bourbon, caramel and toffee dominate the aromas. Some faint raisin and dark fruit aromas mixed in.

T: A nice combination of vanilla, caramel, toffee, bourbon, and oak. There is a faint alcohol flavor right at the end.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation. Slight alcohol presence, but not really off-putting.

O: Even though it is an imperial bitter, it comes off like a poor man's Abacus, pretty good, but I would rather drink the barleywine.

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Photo of billab914
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a tasting glass. It poured a bright copper color with a thin sticky lacing clinging to the edges of the glass. Great color and nice lacing to it.

The aroma shows a lot of rich, toasted malts along with some notes of caramel and toffee. The bourbon and barrel flavors are a little light, but it does add some nice brown sugar and oak flavors. The malts are really showcased nicely in it.

I get more of the caramel flavors coming out in the taste. Toasted malts and toffee are there towards the finish. Again, the barrel flavors are a little light in it but they do add some some nice depth to it.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with carbonation being moderate. Pretty nice beer overall. I thought the toasted, caramel malts were really showcased nicely in it. The barrel flavors could have stood out a little more, but I liked what was there. It came together well and was pretty enjoyable overall.

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Photo of smcolw
4.26/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dome-like head that stick around for a very long time. Leaves a coating of lace. The color is dark amber and very clear.

Sharp spicy hop bite; good malt background.

Rich bodied with a low level of carbonation. Malty start that lasts through the swallow. Good hop to provide balance. The aftertaste mostly bitter but well balanced.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Founders shaker pint glass.

My vote would be to call this a "Quadruple Barrel Ale", as "Double Double" sounds either redundant or too close to a Jeopardy! bonus. This stuff pours a clear sunrise garnet topped by a finger of light khaki foam. The nose comprises vanilla, light oak, light molasses, fig, brown sugar, a touch of wheated bourbon, maple syrup, and sweet toffee. Yup, malts are the name of the game here, and they're out in full regalia. The taste follows very closely in lock-step, but the fig seems to have dropped out a bit, and the oak has gotten bulkier. Still, an awesome complexity reigns. The body is a stolid medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and a smooth feel. Overall, a damn fine brew, one that comes across similarly t a mild oloroso or muscatel sherry. Gotta say, I was more than pleasantly surprised with how well this sat with me...

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Photo of mdfb79
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to pmarlowe for sending this to me as an extra. 2012 vintage, poured from a 22 oz. bottle into my Cigar City snifter.

a - Pours a hazy reddish brown color with one inch of tan head and moderate carbonation evident. Head leaves quickly, looks pretty good.

s - Smells of bourbon, sweet dark fruits, oak, molasses, caramel malts, and toasted malts. Pretty nice, better as it warms up.

t - Tastes of bourbon, molasses, dark fruits, sweet sugar, oak, toffee, caramel malts, toasted malts, and bready malts. Little more alcohol here than in the nose. As it warms up some vanilla as well, and it gets better.

m - Medium to full body and moderate carbonation evident. Smooth, some light alcohol heat.

o - Overall I thought this was a very good beer, but a tiny bit hot. Definitely let it warm up a bit as it gets a lot better, though the bourbon is still a bit strong. Worth checking out and would like to get a second bottle of this to hold onto for a little bit.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.84/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Batch 1. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Deep amber with a few islands of white foam and a thin collar.

Smell - Bourbon. Sweet caramel. Barrel notes behind the sugars. Some faint coconut.

Taste - Sharp bourbon. Oak, vanilla, and coconut. Sweet toffee malts, but a dry, oaky finish.

Mouthfeel - Dry and oaky. Not too sweet, which is nice, but a little astringent.

Overall - Decent barrel and pretty tasty, but monotonous.

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Photo of vfgccp
4.34/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 2013. Opened sept 2013.

A - Deep mahogany color. Tons of suspended sediment, even after a few days of rest. Thin, low, off white head. Ok retention and low lace.

S - Brown sugar, soft oak, maple syrup, caramel, apple pie, touch of cognac, nutmeg.

T - Awesome integration. Desert like sweetness. Honey, maple syrup, caramel, nutmeg, apple strudel, vanilla, warm bourbon booze.

M - Outrageously smooth. Creamy, full frame.

O - A dessert beer to be sure, but it is one hell of a dessert beer.

P - balaclava, or honeyed Greek yogurt with pistachios.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Bottle from Bert's
Pours a touch hazy reddish amber color with a decent sized tightly bubbled tan head that shows moderate retention. Aromas of caramel, brown and caramelized sugar with lots of juicy pitted fruit. Vanilla with a hint of woodiness. The flavor is sweet sugary malt with hints of oak and vanilla and a somewhat overly present alcohol heat. Hints of pitted fruits and a light smoked toffee round the flavor out. Thick body light carbonation, sticky syrupy with an alcohol burn. Very flavorful but shows all of the12% abv. could use a bit of time to mellow but I wouldn't hesitate to pick up another given half a chance.

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Photo of smakawhat
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass. Until we meet again.. Don't know where, don't know when… Vintage 2014.

American Strong Ale looking like appearance, deep cherry caramel brown and very dark red, fairly glowing and clear. Not much head produced off the pour, a creamy buttery tan yellow, that settles to a good thin and creamy collar that always sticks around. Not as dark as I expected, but a real nice color and looking brew.

Simple nose that hints at good oak. Creamy notes of buttered caramel and toffee. Nice cinnamon like warmth and cherry spices to match. Mild booze warmth.

Palate is interesting, very light bodied and almost crackling biscuit, but with a much rounder oaky feel of course. Small hints of toffee and woody warmth. Some nice vanilla but without the sweetness and a buttery oak quality just keeps coming. Not particularly big on any fruit, minimal caramel and toffee, but also very light sweetness. Mouthfeel is pretty tame but fills nicely. With some time and warmth, a bit more fruity quality of cherry comes out a bit slightly.

Overall it's a decent aged brew but seems to also hint at lighter strong and old ale qualities, which for the heavy hitting oomph dorks out there probably doesn't get to many people excited. Great beer to try, and decent for what it is.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.09/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on-tap at City Beer Store in SF. Served in a tulip glass.

A - This is not the most attractive brew. Minimal foam over a hazed light brown-orange-red messy looking body. Just looks kind of sludgy. Still, not going to punish it too much as the appearance rating is overweighted here and it's a high gravity brew.

S - Much better! Dark fruits and raisins, caramel apple and burnt sugar malts, light vanilla and bourbon character, and a touch of booziness.

T - Very similar to the smell - burnt sugars, dark fruits, light woody and earthy notes, but without the touch of fusel alcohol in the smell. Odd case where it tastes a little better than it smells.

M - Medium-thick body, viscous and super sticky, low carbonation. Surprisingly clean finish with minimal tannic character and charred sugar sensations (like most malty high gravity brews).

D - Minimal heat, great flavor, very easy drinking for a 10% brew. Reminds me a little of Struise Rocking Horse but without the amazing hop flavors.

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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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Double Double Barrel Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
4.26 out of 5 based on 1,961 ratings.
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