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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Ratings: 1,967 |  Reviews: 337
Photo of hermit990
4.58/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2013 Vintage. 650 mL bottle poured into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours a mahogany color with a thin layer of a khaki-colored head which gradually recedes into a film. Some spotty patches of lacing on the glass. Slight presence of alcohol legs. A small amount of carbonation bubbles rising through the liquid.

Smell: The nose is immediately hit with a huge barrel presence - notes of oak, vanilla, coconut. This followed by some heavy, malt character - some bready notes, sweet toffee and caramel scents. Some definite alcohol presence on the back of the aroma. Smells excellent.

Taste: Big sweetness at the front of the tongue - brown sugar and dark fruits (raisin) mix well with caramel and toffee malts. This is mellowed as the barrel characteristics start to shine through, those vanilla, coconut and wood flavors of the nose come through. This fades into a breadiness, almost graham cracker flavor with a bit of earthy spiciness, and a bit of an herbal character as it warms. Some more of that alcohol coming through at the end. Very rich, deliciously sweet.

Mouthfeel: Coats the mouth and tongue well, medium body to it. Very smooth, velvety texture here. Some definite warming coming through the mouth and throat from the alcohol.

Overall: This is an excellent beer. Such a complex aroma and taste to this one, it's a shining example of barrel aging quality. This is one to sip, savor and experience. It can run a bit expensive ($14.99 per bomber in this area), but it's definitely worth the price tag. Pick this one up while it's available.

 1,550 characters

Photo of Evarigan
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of Mattco
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of JRod1969
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of warnerry
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of mikeburd1128
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of kristougher
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of sacrelicio
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of mbw314
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of Cynic-ale
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of Jslay013
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of BA_Berto
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of wolf_switzer
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of wiltznucs
3.75/5  rDev -12%

Photo of drinkinmiles
4.75/5  rDev +11.5%

Photo of Hopheadhiker
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of JoeDurp
5/5  rDev +17.4%

Photo of jimmmmeeerrsssss
5/5  rDev +17.4%

Photo of justforrazors
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of magictacosinus
4.52/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I wanted to wait to try out the different bottled versions to see how this varies over time (I have a 2012 vintage that I plan on opening eventually), but after seeing the 2013 vintage on tap at Mikkeller Bar SF recently, I knew I had to see what this was all about. I loved §ucaba, so I expected this to be equally impressive. Poured on tap into a 20cl wine glass.

Pours a thick, reddish amber color complete with a small modest light amber head. Very viscous and thickened, as expected, but head retention at hand doesn't hold on too long. I'm going to blame the glass on this one - nevertheless, it leaves behind some lacing and shows itself to be very syrupy, shiny, and viscous overall, as I would expect. In a snifter this should look quite similar to §ucaba, although not nearly as dark or intense. This definitely looks like an appropriate cross between a barleywine and bourbon (or Scotch) as a result, and it's terrific for it.

The aroma is marvelous, becoming a cross between wonderful malty sweet aspects of English barleywines, bourbon, brandy, and Scotch. At first there's an immediate sweetness no doubt from the bourbon, resembling vanilla, coconut shavings, caramel, toffee, baking spices, nutmeg... And there's an undeniable fruitiness from the barrel flavors and malts at hand, resembling cherries and bittered stone fruits. The hops do come in, although it's more in an herbal, grassy sense that melds with tobacco-y notes from the barrels to produce something that, in the words of my homebrewing buddy who was with me that night, smells like "Kentucky." Far more rustic and raw than §ucaba (which in my view is more refined and fruity), but definitely glad it has something different going for it.

Why should I even bother describing the flavor in great detail? This, just like their other barrel-focused beers, is delicious! There's an immediate blast of sweetness from the bourbon at first, with coconut, vanilla, charred caramel and toffee, and oaky dried tannins, but soon it melts in a buttery manner to open up the fruity notes from the beer and barrel, often resembling raisins, cherries, currants, tobacco, citrus peel of all sorts, and the bittered stone fruits once more (although more subtle this time around). Finishes super buttery and juicy, with herbal bittered notes similar to that of Scotch, with light smoke and spices, as well as a fruity aftertaste found often in brandy. It's impressive what they've done to DBA here - it's totally a different beer here and the base of caramel and toffee sets a solid foundation for the beer. The feel is perfect for the style - well carbonated, thick, creamy, and bready. You could chew this thing. World class stuff once again from FW.

As someone who's had my fair share of barrel-focused beers, barleywines, and spirits, it's hard not to go nuts over a beer like this. It's superbly made and blended, and you can tell a lot of care was put into the blending and choosing of the barrels, as well as the flavor profile that makes this beer up. This is hard and costly stuff to make - and it's nothing short than impressive that FW has managed to make a beer like this affordable AND accessible to all in their distro. This vintage is drinking great - it's going to be tempting not to open my 2013 bottle!

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Photo of ISmith87
4.86/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Recommended to me by willbm3. Picked up a bomber at Sun Devil Liqours in Mesa, AZ. Poured into a stout/porter glass.

A - 4.5 - Nice warm brown color, little bit hazy. Very thin film of bubbles on the top with a nice ring around the edge, leaves a light lacing. Bottle is cool, "reserve series" style that comes in a nice box that makes you feel like you're drinking a vintage wine or something.

S - 4.75 - caramel, oak, bourbon, honey, vanilla. Smells sweet and smooth. It smells like a really good whiskey.

T - 5.00 - Damn. Huge smooth bourbon flavors with absolutely no harshness, I'm baffled at how they even managed this. Vanilla, toffee and butterscotch on the finish. Definitely some wooden barrel flavors in there too. It's beautiful.

M - 5.00 - I can't believe this is 12% ABV, the taste of the alcohol is completely covered. It's got a nice full mouth feel to it but then it leaves no aftertaste other than the slightest hint of whiskey.

O - 4.75 - I guess I should have expected this to be amazing for a twenty dollar beer, but god damn. It really doesn't taste like anything else I've ever had. I haven't really gotten into aging beers yet but my guess is that aging this one would only make it better. I've always been one to avoid spending over 6-10 dollars on a bomber or six pack but this completely changed my attitude. Absolutely amazing. The only thing I could ask is a little bit more head, but hey, at 12% what are they supposed to do?

 1,464 characters

Photo of I_heart_beer
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of hagbergl
4.59/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance (4.25/5): Deep caramel color, garnet almost. Minimal head.

Smell (4.5): Caramel, toasted coconut, some booziness, berry scents, cinnamon.

Taste (4.5/5): Huge huge barrel flavors--vanilla, coconut--in the beginning. Then the massive caramel malt backbone kicks in with some great bready notes complimenting it. Some subtle hoppy bitter notes in the finish too, but the barrel character is what defines the beer. The flavors really pos as it warms up. Alcohol definitely plays a role in the flavor–it's there, but it helps to cut the considerable sweetness. Definitely does not detract from the beer's flavor.

Mouthfeel (4.25/5): Double DBA has finish for days. A thick, chewy mouthfeel that comes from the loads of caramel and vanilla flavors. Slightly resinous. This beer, because of its high alcohol and strong flavors is definitely a sipper. That works in the drinker's favor though, since the flavors shine brighter as it creeps towards room temperature.

Overall (4.5/5): Double DBA is an excellent example of why Firestone Walker is one of the best breweries in the country. I'm blown away by the barrel character on this beer. Here is a rich beer worthy of the most special occasion. Excellent stuff that really is worth the $18.99 price tag.

 1,267 characters

Photo of SUP3RDAV3
3.75/5  rDev -12%

Double Double Barrel Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
4.26 out of 5 based on 1,967 ratings.
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