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: 1,963
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 GreesyFizeek
3.98/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz boxed bottle purchased at Finger Lakes Beverage Center in Ithaca, NY. Hard to nail down what this style really is. It's a double version of their English Pale Ale, so they list it as a barrel-aged imperial bitter, or something like that. It tastes like an boozy English barleywine or old ale to me.

Pours a golden brown into my tulip. Heads foams up nicely, and lasts a decent amount of time.

Smells very malty, and very sweet. Lots of brown sugar, and alcohol.

Tastes great, but gets a bit cloying and tiresome if you're trying to down the bomber yourself. Tons of malt, brown sugar, caramel, toffee, bit of tobacco. Lots of bourbon flavor comes through as the beer warms up- it becomes the dominant flavor the longer you drink it, making it slightly fatiguing. The sweetness of the bourbon is welcome for about 12 oz, then becomes cloying. I'm not saying it tastes bad- it's just bit too much of too much. Would be much better to share.

Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth. Alcohol is very noticeable. The beer has low carbonation.

Probably the least of the Proprietor's Reserve series I've tried by FW, and this is evinced by the fact it sits on the shelves much longer than Parabola, Sucaba, the anniversary ales, and Velvet Merkin. That being said, it's still a worthy candidate for a nice warming, winter drink with friends. Be careful, it'll sneak up on you quick.

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Photo of Hatzilla
4.46/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reserve Series No. 001, bottled 6/15/12

A - Slightly hazy amber pour with minimal head and scant lacing.

S - Toffee, oak, cherries, bourbon, vanilla, butterscotch, caramel...extremely complex.

T - More toffee, oak, bourbon and butterscotch. Also tastes like marshmallows with some alcohol burn in the aftertaste.

M - Smooth, creamy and a little thin bodied with low carbonation but very drinkable for the strength.

O - A complex, highly drinkable barleywine/strong ale. This was bottled 365 days ago, so I imagine some heat has come off this guy now. Very tasty and worth a try for you barrel-aged fiends. Go grab one if you can. Cheers!

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Photo of davey101
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 vintage, No. 001. 22 oz bomber into a Founders 15th anny glass.

A - Pours a dark red body that is somewhat clear save for a great deal of floaties in the last pour. Really not much of a head to speak of. An initial fingers worth of tan foam fades away quickly to some thin edging. Minimal lacing.

S - The aroma reminds me a lot of Founders Boltcutter. Just a lightly hopped barrel aged barleywine/DIPA hybrid sort of thing. Rich caramel, toffee, biscuits and figs go right into some quasi-grapefruit/piney hops. Vanilla, oak, and brown sugar briefly on the end before it all gets consumed by a wall of ethanol.

T - The taste is very similar to the nose. Toffee and caramel central with some faded hops and a really nice barrel presence of butterscotch, oak, and vanilla. The alcohol is very noticeable but in a somewhat masochistic fashion. It impedes drinkability but half way into the beer I find myself enjoying its smooth burn. The finish really is fantastic. Mouth feel is a bit thin with low carbonation which suits the beer well enough.

O - I did not expect the beer to feel this massive. The booze is incredibly noticeable. Like a barrel aged old ale with a huge fruit presence but not as heavy. I wasn't totally sold initially but I really warmed up to it. Its very unique against the masses of BA barley wines out on the market. BA Imperial Bitter...go figure!

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Photo of RhyminBelmont
4.04/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at the map room in chicago
10oz in a mini-snifter

This will not be a full depth review. Smells thick,slightly sweet,boozy warm. taste is delicious bourbon and caramel, something like a barrel aged ipa. Sticky, super boozy, but in an appetizing way. Finishing a little hot for my taste, but it's working. Kind of struggling to hide the alcohol, reminds me of Old Stock in that way. This is much better. I'd say the strong notes are more refined than that.

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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 bpasquini
4.68/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A: dark ruby in color, similar to sucaba, a little more carbonation leaving a small half finger head

S: similar to sucaba and parabola, very sweet smelling, vanilla and bourbon predominately, some tart fruit also

T: slight bourbon presence, vanilla, and a little caramelized sugar, tasted a little coconut, and very little earthy hops as well, can tell they aged this in the same barrels as sucaba and parabola, very good flavor to it, would say it is sweeter than parabola, gets a little boozy as it warms

M: feels thick but smooth, almost identical to sucaba, very easy to drink considering %12 ABV

O: very good beer, recommend trying if you can find it, Sucaba and Parabola are better but this still compares to them, a little cheaper than sucaba and parabola, but still very good

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Photo of weonfire
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this on tap at the Local Option in Chicago, IL in a 12oz snifter

A - Golden brown, white fluffy head

S - Coconut, Vanilla, toffe, bourbon and aged fruit.

T - Sweet coconut, vanilla, brown sugar, toffee, more aged fruit, bourbon, chocolate and just a just a booze on the finish

M - super frothy, creamy, obviously full body, but slightly less carbonated.

O - Awesome. The coconut and vanilla made this very different from other American Strong Ales I've had. I loved it. and I normally HATE coconut. Vanilla and bourbon also combine with a very good mouth- to make a very good brew.

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

Thanks to my mother and father in law for this most excellent Christmas gift.

Appearance. Pours a deep, hazy burnt orange with almost a finger of off-white head.

Smell. Rich oak and vanilla, bourbon and sweet caramel malts, some brown sugar and a bit of woody spice.

Taste. Caramel, vanilla, barrel wood and bourbon with a little chocolate and coconut.

Mouthfeel. Medium-full body with medium-low carbonation and some nice smooth boozy warmth.

Overall. A nice big but smooth sipper that actually goes down quite easy.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into snifter. Batch 1.

A: Pours a deep caramel color with a couple fingers of light tan soft head that faded to faint film leaving spotty lace down the glass.
S: Caramel, raisins, toffee, toast, and light vanilla. Boozy.
T: More toast and roast, toasted grains, toffee, boozy barrel, piny hops, and earthy spice. Solid bitterness in the finish with a hint of milk chocolate. The aftertaste is warming, boozy and spicy with hints of vanilla and leather.
M: Full body, thick and slick mouthfeel, bitter, warming, and low carbonation.
O: Very good complexity and flavor. A couple more months of age and I think this beer will be even more awesome.

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Photo of shehateme
4.74/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A ...amber /copper tiny head
S...vanilla ,bourbon carmelized sugar Firestone you've done it again .i don't know what bourbon barrels Firestone uses but they should be the standard for beer aging .Huge bourbon ,vanilla and sugar shine through the perfect boozyness
M...still not sure what mouthfeel is
O...the barrel program at Firestone is heads and tails above every other that I have tried ,and this is no exception this beer seems to sit on the shelves in my area ,and now I'm glad it does will make this a staple in my rotation .

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Photo of jmaharaj
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Translucent brown with a glint of red. Thin off white head that sizzles until it completely disappears. This is meant to be a thick boozy beer and it very much looks the part. Viscous and ominously serene this looks like its going to pack a punch. Big, big malts on the nose. Caramel and swollen raisins just below the boozy tingle. brown sugar and a hint of bourbon and cola. The taste is very much the same. Big, long and complex. Prickly alcohol heat up front that drops into the malts. Each flavor holds it own but they swirl well together. No detectable hop bitterness which is a little disappointing, but an imperial barrel aged bitter was always going to be about the malt. Mouth feel is wonderful, viscous with a light but aggressive carbonation.
Very nice beer. Perfect for sipping. Maybe not exactly suited if want you want is in fact a English pale, but very good.

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Photo of Tucquan
3.93/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on 2012-09-05 in Norristown, PA at Capones (from tasting notes)

A - Brewed tea brown with a short tan head and light lace.

S - Very mild malt. Not much aroma but there were food odors present.

T - Rich, rich toffee and roasted malt, spice. Hop oil flavor but not overly-bitter. Rich aftertaste of dark cherry and alcohol.

M - Medium body and light carbonation. Creamy, oily, thick.

O - Very enjoyable. LIked it as well or perhaps a bit more than the DBA.

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Photo of stephenjmoore
4.16/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A- Deep amber body with some reddish tones. Head is a light tan, but does not last long, leaving a ring of bubbles around the edges of the glass.

S- Sweet caramel malt, toasted oak, almost a burnt sugar/ toffee aroma mixed in as well.

T- Lots of toasted oak barrel character to this one. Sweet caramel malts come through and leave some caramel/toffee flavors. A slight hint of a cider-like spice is there, but only briefly. For a big, malt-forward beer, this one is not overly sweet and not overly boozy.

M- A coating sipper, with a slight alcohol presence. Light-medium carbonation and full bodied.

O- It's an interesting beer that is subtle, but strong. Another example showing that Firestone Walker knows how to use barrels.

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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 beerbully
4.39/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into Snifter from 22 oz.

A-Brownish, reddish copper hue. 1/2 inch head that dissipates rather quickly. Moderate lacing that immediately runs down side of glass.

S-Big Sweet Aroma, Cherries, vanilla, bourbon, toffee, butterscotch

T-Follows the nose, First sip produces a big blast of bourbon upfront. followed by slightly burning sweetness. Barrel aging is prominent. Picking up the vanilla, canidied dark fruits, Oak. Alcohol is noticeable but not overpowering for 12%. Blends nicely with the complex flavors. Flavor lingers long after taking a sip. Lingering sweetness quite noticeable as near the bottom of glass.

M-quite a bit more carbonation than I was expecting. warms the mouth, leaves a slight tingle on roof of mouth. Carbonation mellows as beer warms.

O-This does the trick. Big beer with complex flavors that holds the drinkers attention while sipping on a cold day. Drinks more like a spirit than beer. Continues to improve as it warms. Well done.

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Photo of crewfan16
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22 oz bottle dated 06/14/12 poured into a goblet. I'm forgetting which trader got me this,but thanks again.

A- pours hazy mahogany orange color. Light khaki foam recedes quirky, not surprising for 12. Pretty looking beer.

S- get lots of vanilla sweetness and caramel and toffee. Definite bourbon barrel booziness. Just slight bit of fruity hop, but not much. Very complex, as I would expect from Firestone walker specialty brews

T- follows the nose. Barrel character is evident with the creamy vanilla and caramel. Lots of booze. Big malt backbone with just a hint of bittering hops on the finish. Nice complexity.

M- thick and sticky mouthfeel. Not cloyingly sweet. Carbonation is minimum, but seems correct for the style,

Overall, another very good beer from firestone walker. Without much style-wise to compare It to, it's hard to say how truly good this is.

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Photo of dave73ok
4.71/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from bottle, dated 6-15-12.

a- Lovely color and clarity, poured nice, above average carbonation, but no issue.
s- Wow. Raisins, caramel, toffee, bourbon, vanilla.
t- Very complex flavor profile. The barrel effects are very evident, and add much to it. Not too hot, especially once it warmed a bit.
m- Full, thick.
o- This is a great beer. It'll probably put me to sleep, but that's ok!

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Photo of Samuel906
3.89/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

This beer is rich, a cacophony of flavors and smells. It really bares no resemblance to the run of the mill DBA other than it was aged in a barrel. This has a huge, complex smell. Chocolate, bourbon, cherries, shit loads of malt, brown sugar, molasses, vanilla. The taste is equally diverse, but the bourbon flavor really comes though but its not overly boozey. I liked it the most around 58 degrees F. Feel is very smooth with mild carbonation.

Addendum: Opened a bottle that had been aged 1 year. Bourbon flavor is much more evident but all remnants of alcohol warmth and boozeyness are gone. All carbonation gone, becomes a little thin. Not my favorite beer that I've aged, lost a little too much "character".

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4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

$7.25 for a 10 snifter
Sampled 20AUG12

[A] Amber brown with medium depth and a thin tan colored cap on top. Retention is shortly lived, leaving only a crescent shaped collar and an island of film.

[S] Dominantly caramel and toffee-forward upfront fades into mild figs and raisins and butterscotch. Bourbon barrel introduces a subtle counterpoint. Marvelously done.

[T] Big and bold malty flavors with rendered sugary flavors of caramel and buttery toffee dominating. Dark fruits of raisin and dates add complexity and, to take it another step further, the bourbon and barrel flavors bring it all together.

The flavor does, however, take a hit purely on the the completely average mouthfeel alone. This beer deserves better than this. (Note: This, nor the mouthfeel isnt an issue from a bottle serving.)

[M] A more syrupy texture would have benefited this beer immensely. The carbonation is just a tad too aggressive. Body is between full and medium full otherwise.

[O] Fantastic. As far as FW offerings go, and in my opinion of course, Double DBA is a more complete beer than say 14, 15 or Abacus - and every bit as good as Parabola.

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Photo of Jonada
4.6/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2012 Bottle served in a Founders snifter

Appearance: Copper/Orange color with a 1 finger cream colored head. Head dissipates to a thin film and collar around the edges of the glass. Once in the glass, its very hazy. Can't see anything through it.

Smell: Caramel, rum soaked raisins, vanilla, oak, bourbon, butterscotch.

Taste: Toffee, butterscotch, vanilla, sweet malt, hints of coconut and brown sugar. Incredibly complex, yielding different flavors with each sip. Light bitterness in the finish balances out the sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Medium/full bodied, with light carbonation. Alcohol yields a gentile warming sensation going down, but isn't hot. Dangerously drinkable for 12%

Overall: More evidence that Firestone Walker has one of, if not the best barrel program in the world. Incredibly complex and flavorful, while at the same time maintaining a surprising level of drinkability. This one's definitely a winner.

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Photo of joeseppy
4.68/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a dark murky brown. Hazy with little head and decent lacing. 2012 reserve.

Toasted coconut, vanilla, fruit of raisin and prune. Burnt sugar, bready with caramel.

Upfront sweetness with a bourbon head tic. Vanilla, tobacco, toasted coconut and burnt sugar works well with the heat. Sweetness just shines. Just plain crazy and complex!

Classic FSW barrel program. Big malt sweetness, vanilla, toffee and dark fruit. This is a bourbon neat. If you love bourbon and GI BCS, this is a must, esp. the price. $13 is a steal. I'm stunned! Drink now or cellar. Just simply Awesome!!!

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Photo of smcnulty1981
4.88/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: pours with a nice copper color with a 2 finger white head that sticks around for awhile good ammount of lacing on the head and some alcohol legs

S: starts off with a good ammount of coconut bourbon and oak very very little alchol on the nose

T: hints of bourbon flavor and coconut and maltiness that is present in most English bitters no alchol on the taste

M: full bodied mouthfeel that fully Coates the mouth almost sticky

O: another great example of why fw is the best at barrel aging

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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 mooseo
4.39/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into snifter.

A - Deep red-amber with a small bubbly head that quickly dwindles down into a thin, white film.

S - Complex and sweet. Caramel, brown sugar, oak, vanilla. Hints of dark fruit and alcohol.

T - Toasted caramel, vanilla bean, bourbon, and candied dark fruit. There is a distinct nuttiness present throughout. The finish is slightly bitter with strong oak/wood notes and a hint of alcohol.

M - Full bodied, silky and creamy. Mild carbonation, warming alcohol.

O - A very tasty and complex strong ale. Sweet up front but balanced nicely by earthy hops and a spicy alcohol bite. A true delight.

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Double Double Barrel Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
4.26 out of 5 based on 1,963 ratings.
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