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: 1,962
Photo of CTbrew32
4.57/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Color is bight caramel with dark red hues. Pours only a very thin head that quickly dissaptes to outer ridges of the glass.

Aroma- Lots of malt sweetness with toffee aromas and a little bit of bourbon sweetness as well.

Taste- Mild bourbon sweetness up front with coconut, vanilla, and toffee showing up. Some oak and herbal hop are subtle, but provide a perfect balance to the sweet flavors.

Feel- Very smooth, mild carbonation, and no cloying malts whatsoever. No alcohol presence as well.

Overall- Definitely a world class beer. The bourbon presence is subtle, but the flavors imparted (vanila, coconut,etc) blend perfectly with the toffee malts and oak. Perfectly balanced, all the flavors enhance each other, and the finish is smooth and clean. Its a shame this will no longer be bottled.

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Photo of Sandalwood
4.36/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013, one year old. Pours a cloudy reddish brown color with a small off white head. The odor is barrel like, coconut, bourbon, dark fruits, fig, dates, raisin, whiskey, slight citrus lemon. The taste is coconut, bourbon, dried fruits, fig, plum, raisin, barrel like, apricot, malty, sugar, slightly honey, barely any alcohol taste, a lot of different notes as warms up, not bitter at all.

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Photo of beerdrifter
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked this up in a great trade with Mike. 2012 vintage. Dark amber-orange pour with a quickly fading two finger beige head with decent lacing. The nose is bold and complex with tons of buttery toffee and caramel along with hints of oak, vanilla, coconut, and subtle dark fruits. The taste mirrors the nose with huge caramel and molasses up front along with hints of vanilla, toffee, brown sugar, toasted coconut, booze, tobacco, and oak. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a nice creaminess and smooth, but warming finish. It gets crazy drinkable as it warms. Overall, this is a bold and flavorful beer that just kept improving as I drank it.

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Photo of breadwinner
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Somehow this one gets lost in the hubbub over Sucaba. To be fair, I've had bottles that weren't so good, others that were fantastic. When it prime form, this thing screams brown sugar, caramel, bourbon, and even coconut (a note that FW seems particularly adept at coaxing out of their barrel-aged brews, and which I adore). Apparently on hiatus for a while now, but I have a feeling it'll pop back up, as it's too good banish forever.

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Photo of TheyCallMeYukon
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%

Appearance: Has a hazy orange glow with some copper tones. Poured totally opaque which is always welcome in a barrel aged beer. Topped beautifully with a creamy copper/orange head which dissipated to nothing very quickly.
Aroma: Smells of dark ripe fruits (figs & Dates), Bourbon whiskey, and slightly sweet from lightly toasted malt.
Taste: Taste mirrors the aroma with some alcohol burn coming in from the 12% and the lighter body of this brew. It has a semi-cloying sweetness that I didn't expect from it. The up front on this beer is smooth and amazing, but the finish sticks in the back of the throat and is a little rough.
Mouthfeel: Nice carbonation upfront that seemed to fade very quickly which is why I'm assuming the rough alcohol burn lingered a little too long on the end.
Overall: I liked it and thought it was fairly impressive, not very familiar with the style but I enjoyed it. My only wish is for a little more carbonation and aging to get the back end a little smoother.

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Photo of Catracho5
4.81/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

22 oz bomber poured into a Firestone Walker 6 oz. brandy snifter

Appearance: A lovely ruby, orange colored beer, clear, shiny, head disappeared fairly quickly, little to no bubbles, a really nice looking beer.

Aroma: Big coconut, candy, toffee aromas on the nose, toasted coconut, macaroons, vanilla, caramel, very sweet aromas, not getting any alcohol on the nose, smells great.

Taste: Like the nose, big toasted coconut, macaroons, toffee, candy, vanilla, sweet malts, there is a bitterness that gives way to all these different sweet flavors, some alcohol burn on the back end, taste really good.

Mouthfeel: medium mouthfeel, dry finish, not a big syrupy beer.

Overall: I love this beer, FW has the best barrel aged program in the country, too bad this is discontinued, not as smooth as Sucaba, but I think this has a rougher profile than Sucaba, really good, worth $16.99 per bottle, where ever I find it, I am buying and saving it, a must try.

Just finished tasting a two-year old bottle and I would say that this is much better fresh. After two years, the barrel flavors have subsided, there's a slight bitterness that is more prevalent. I prefer this beer fresh or within a year, it's not bad, still world class but it loses some of its punch over time.

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Photo of Beerswag
4.29/5  rDev +0.7%

On tap at Pangea Sacramento. Looks a smooth textured copper to ruby to medium dark brown.
Rich smell of plum, apricot, toffee and butterscotch.. Taste is semi sweet cocoa, toffee, plums, fermented fruit, butterscotch, almond/marzapam and getting lots of bourbon on the finish. Heavy mouthfeel with a sweet, smooth texture and plenty body. Laced the glass like rings at every sip..serve with desserts, vanilla ice cream, flambés, winter dishes, such as roasted kabocha or butternut squash, pumpkin pie; upmost rich-dishes such as anything browned or buttered or candied!!!

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Photo of KYGunner
4.4/5  rDev +3.3%

Smells like a Barleywine should with nice dark fruits, chocolate, toffee and caramel but the maple and molasses I catch are strong on the nose.

This starts with a smooth light sweetness, maple, toffee, caramel and a honey dipped candy flavor. It ends with stronger toffee and caramel sweetness. FW does nothing but impress and this is right along with their best.

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

2014 22 ounce bottle into snifter.

Pours a hazy, medium amber color, small head, no real lacing. Smells terrific. Lots of bourbon and malts, oak, vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, hint of cherry. Taste continues the strong, but not dominant, bourbon, stronger malts than the nose. Also vanilla, caramel, oak. Slightly boozy. Really good. Smooth, rich, full bodied.

Gonna miss this beer. So well blended and flavorful. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of richj1970
4.31/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 22 oz bomber into snifter. 2013 vintage.

A: Pours a rich golden brown with some slight red tones. One finger off white head that settled immediately and almost no lacing.

S: Sweet caramel and toffee. Plum, dates, and cherries. A hint of bourbon and charred oak.

T: Rich toffee, butterscotch, and caramel. Dark fruity Flavors with plum, dates, and cherries. Subtle bourbon and oak flavors at the end.

M: Full bodied with a sweet finish. Fairly lightly carbonated.

O: Outstanding English style barley wine. Sad to see this one go, but at least I have a 2014 bottle yet to enjoy!

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

Firestone usually kills it on any of their special releases, no exception here. So smooth, the body's like liquid silk. Caramel and toffee. Just an outstanding barleywine, and not that far behind Sucuba.

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Photo of Ngntjp
4.75/5  rDev +11.5%

Going into this knowing that we don't particularly love bourbon barrel aged beers, I was stunned. This was such a pleasure to drink, as each sip becomes more and more complex with the temperature of our glasses rising. Beautiful color, nose, taste, and mouthfeel. Overall this is one I expected to be indifferent to, but came out absolutely loving. Should've bought more!

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Photo of PaulyB83
4.54/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 22oz. bomber into a tulip glass. 2013 vintage.

A- Pours a deep amber, the year of aging has settled out a lot of yeast and the initial pours are quite clear, had about a quarter of a finger of off white head that dissipated quickly.

S- Lots of toasted coconut with a bit of marshmallow in there, vanilla, bit of oak, not too much alcohol, and dried dark fruits of date and raisin.

T- Similar to nose, mostly toasted coconut, marshmallow and vanilla with some oak and alcohol on the end. The age has made this beer really smooth. I thought for a second that I was getting a slight English hop note on the finish but I could be wrong.

M- On the lighter side of heavy, slightly syrupy.

O- English Barleywines and Old Ales are one of my favorite styles and when the are barrel aged I usually find them to be amazing and that is the case with this one. I really enjoyed how smooth it was and it really had the same huge toasted coconut and marshmallow that I get from two of my favorites Kuhnhenn BB4D and BCBBW. I hope to trade for more of this in the future.

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Photo of Roguer
4.38/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Caramel/muted orange translucent ale, some floaties if you look hard enough and let it settle. Head is slow to form, but is strong (if small), pale, with nice, oily retention.

Lovely aroma, full of vanilla, toffee, light caramel, earth, tobacco, tannin, a hint of citric acid, and of course bourbon - very smooth and mild, though.

Unbelievably smooth flavor, with the bourbon ending up a perfect complement. Very mild on the oak presence, but vanilla, bourbon, and toffee are present in spades. A tiny bit of slightly tart grape presence; barely noticeable caramel; a dry, earthy hop presence (extremely mild and smooth). Everything is perfectly blended together for one delicious overall package.

Very smooth mouthfeel; very little sting, but not quite syrupy; smooth and silky. Medium feel, but it's definitely a sipper. Alcohol heat is almost completely hidden.

This is a delicious beer, well worth cracking for a special occasion or a long, slow evening.

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Photo of Nugganooch
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%

On tap at the FW Tasting Room – Paso Robles
Served in a FW Tasting snifter glass – 08/16/2014

A: Double DBA pours a dark and muddled caramel amber color with some reddish brown tint to it. The carbonation invokes about a quarter inch of dark khaki froth with some sufficient staying power. Light broken tracks of tan lace cling onto my glass after every sip.

S: Smells like rich toffee nougat laced with toasted coconut and vanilla spice. This is not distinctively Bourbon forward to me but I do get some of that aged oak presence. Really this has a big caramel malt sweetness accompanied with a dried fruit medley, doughy breads, and a touch of earthy hops surfacing. Some mild alcohol presence as well. Smells warm and inviting with some nice barreling attributes.

T: Taste bares no surprises as the buttery rich toffee malts carry over. Sweet breads with coconut flesh, brown sugar, toasted oak, and some subtle Bourbon vanilla spice all come together. The beer is big and rich yet never gets sickly so. Maintains a nice frothy consistency throughout and there is a lower level of hop bitterness that brings in some nice earthy mineral qualities to round out the other flavors. Finishes with a warming alcohol spiced kick. A lovely sipper for sure.

M: Heavy and filling at times however with a nice upper level of frothy carbonation that lends a nice creamy texture to the beer. Finishes with a bit of a drying lift and some warming alcohol effects.

D: Double DBA is another great barrel aged offering in the Firestone-Walker lineup. While the final blend doesn’t scream Bourbon to me I just can’t get enough of that coconut. I think that balance is the real testament to the brew masters as I appreciate the fact that this doesn’t pummel you over the head with the spirits like a truncheon yielding bobby. A bit sweeter than others so best to take some time with this one or share with friends. Shame they are discontinuing bottles.

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Photo of JMS1512
4.75/5  rDev +11.5%

Poured hard into my Lucifer snifter.

Sight: Lovely hazy, burnished orange with a stark white head. This recedes into a light film on top, delicate speckles of lace.

Smell: Oh God, the malt! Sweet bready, malty, raisin goodness. Just the slightest hint of hop.

Taste: More Heaven in a glass. Sipped while chilled, it offers a great caramel note, playing in concert with a sugary malt and like its aroma, dark fig/raisin characteristic of balanced English style Barleywines. Booze is well hidden for 12%- to me, a great hallmark of well-crafted barleywine. As it warms, the hops are a bit more apparent, but the other flavors still take control. I MAY consider this a "malt bomb."

Mouthfeel: Delicate carbonation, slick oily feel on the tongue. Very pleasing. Smooth, almost to a fault.

Overall: Fantastic offering by FW. And a new "nomenclature" for me: Imperial Special Bitter. Call it what you want, I'll call it malty magnificence.

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Photo of Brenden
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Thanks so much to Benny (styleisking) for snagging me this before it's gone for good.

It's a heavily clouded brown with lighter brown in its outer edges but no highlights to speak of in terms of color. The head is a tan cap that settles nicely to roughly half a finger's height and sticks some moderate to slightly heavier spotting and thin webbing sparsely.
This is a malty beast to be sure. It does manage to show off its English nature in its own way, more particularly in the flavor than the aroma. Otherwise there's a lot of sweetness while refraining from cloying. There's lots of caramel, toffee, brown sugar, molasses, and maybe even a hint of something like marshmallow flashing in there. Vanilla comes clearly through the barrel, which adds plenty of spirituous heat and wood to complement. It comes off as a touch heavy at times, but I'm surprised this monster can be kept in check at all. Earth runs into the middle and on through as it finishes with lots of dark fruits.
It's smooth as good bourbon with a steady carbonation to it. It comes on creamy and eases dry without losing the smoothness, while just a bit of crispness gently nips. It never loses smoothness, and the heat just sort of slides in and into the finish.

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Photo of Donco
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

2014 vintage. First time drinking this FW variety.
Poured into my trusty Stone tulip glass.
Appearance: Rusty gold color. Minimal lacing and carb bubbles.
Smell: Wonderful oak, toffee, bourbon, vanilla. As it warms the aroma is even more pronounced and wonderful.
Taste: Amazingly smooth and mellow for a 12% sipper. Some sweetness is cut by the oak and alcohol. Amazing complexity of vanilla/toffee/buttery/cinnamon/bourbon/dark fruit.
Overall: Great brew and highly recommended. FW is my favorite when it comes to barrel aging and this one is superb. I have another bottle that I'm going to age for at least 6 months to make a comparison. Understand it's going away but hopefully will return someday!

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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 Can_has_beer
5/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2014 on tap at Flying Saucer Downtown Houston.

I don't think there is any way you can improve upon this beer. It looks great, the aroma is heavenly, and it doesn't suffer from the sweetness that some BA barley wines do. I love the taste of it. It's luxurious and entrancing. I think this is perfection of the style.

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Photo of daryk77
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Big vanilla nose, slightly sweet vanilla/barrel taste. Not hot at all. Well balanced for a 12%abv beer. Think ~6 months will put this beer in a good spot. Firestone is truly a master of barrel aging.

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Photo of TruePerception
4.4/5  rDev +3.3%

Firestone's Double DBA, barrel-aged imperial special bitter. 12% ABV.

A: Nice smoky haze upon opening. A little less than a finger of lopsided head. Seems to be no lacing. Clear, slightly-orange red, with tiny grey sediment suspended throughout. Golden yellow in the dimple, with more suspended sediment. (4.5)

S: Deep, fruity molasses. Malty. Some bourbon and oakiness, but it's lighter than Firestone's other BA offerings. Lightly browned cereal grain (a la, whole grain Cheerios). I'm having trouble nailing down the fruit smell I'm getting. Something along the lines of fig or tamarind. Toffee. (4.5)

T/MF: Flavor is darker, and with more caramel notes, than the basic DBA. Rich fruity toffee. Dried cherry, plum. More of that malted cereal grain. Slight char note on the back end of all those caramel and toffee notes. Booziness is well masked. Slightly soft mouthfeel. Slight, bittersweet chocolate note. Very slight grassiness, but it very well hidden underneath the other flavors. (4.5/4.25)

Overall: Decent amount of sweetness along with the flavors makes this more of a dessert beer, to me. Quite glad I was able to try this before it was gone!(4.5)

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle, into a Belgian tulip glass.

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Photo of snowmageddon
4.6/5  rDev +8%

A: Pours a dark amber color, with a quickly receding off-white/brownish head.

S: Wow. Lots going on here. Vanilla, oak, coconut, toffee, raisin caramel, earthy hops. I don't want to stop inhaling.

T: Like the nose, Sweet caramel, coconut, and the oaky vanilla notes from the barrel aging stand out. The woody flavor balances with the sweetness very well. There's slight, slight heat from the alcohol, but the high abv is well hidden.

M: moderate carbonation, smooth body.

O: Fantastic beer. Go get it before it's gone. RIP, Double DBA.

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Photo of Kevinpitts
4.4/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 vintage. Initially thought this was a good beer. Now after aging 2 years, it got very good. Very smooth sweet barleywine. Aged smoothed this out considerably. Glad I have more now!

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Double Double Barrel Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
4.26 out of 5 based on 1,962 ratings.
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