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 ThickNStout
4.27/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle from jpaco47 (thanks man!). Bottled 6/15/12. Served in a Southern Tier snifter.

Pours shimmery red hued light brown with a quickly receding two fingers of cream head. A good many patches of lace considering the high abv.

A pronounced bourbon boozy aroma on the nose with toffee, caramel, bread, wood and hints of figs/ dates blended in. Interesting.

Right up front there is a significant barrel prescense. Oak, vanilla, toffee, bourbon, bread, the sweetness of dark fruits, caramel, biscuit, rum cake and unsalted nuts. The bourbon is ever present but the base beer holds it's own. There's no denying that this is high abv but there are so many things going on that distract from the near constant slight burn.

Medium thick feel with an almost heavy dose of carbonated fizz. It really plops right down, coating the tongue and sticking around for a lingering woodsy toffee finish.

A unique barrel aged offering. I wasn't sure what to expect but Firestone Walker has another winner here. Lots of sweet malty goodness in this nice slow sipper that. Full of depth and character.

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

22 ounce bomber poured into a snifter. Thanks to SanFranJake for this opportunity!!

A: Pours a somewhat clear burgundy color with a half finger head and minimal lacing.

S: Sweet smelling at first with a lot of vanilla and oak aged aromas. Bourbon is present as well.

T: Much like the smell, but not as smooth. There are vanilla and oak flavors as well as some alcohol, bourbon, and caramel. There is also a slight champagne or white wine aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied with low carbonation.

O: Pretty good, but it would probably benefit from some more aging. Personally, I prefer my Lukcy Basartd and Double Bastards over this one.

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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 claspada
4.17/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, dark burgundy color with a decent size off-white head of bubbly foam that recedes to leave some decent retention and some sudsy trails of lacing behind.

Aromas begin with a ton of vanilla, oak and brown sugar. As it warms you get a lot more toasty bready malt and wheaty bourbon, maple syrup and sweet toffee.

The tastes follow the nose but are a bit more brash. It begins with semi-boozy, sweet maltiness with caramel and toffee joining soon after. Some bourbon spiciness adds just enough bitterness to balance the vanilla sweetness.

The mouthfeel is just below full bodied with a low amount of carbonation. Finish is fairly sweet but the oak and alcohol cuts the sweetness just enough.

Overall this was another great beer from Firestone Walker, but a bit too brash after only six months in the bottle. I feel some more age would be beneficial for the flavors to mellow and mesh and I will be revisiting my other bottles down the line to see how this develops.

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Photo of maximum12
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Siggy125 for this bottle as part of a trade that meant I must have been really good this past year...never met a bottle of FW I didn't like. Bet this won't be the first. 22 oz. bottle split with my wife.

Pour is dark, dark red with hardly a breath of carbonation. Bourbon spreads from the open mouth of the bottle like the best Glade Plug-In ever. Underneath that boozy blanket is a bit of caramel, fruit basket. You had me at bourbon.

Double Double Barrel Ale burns all the way down; as if the brewer not only aged this in the barrels, but they weren't really empty when they splashed a little beer into them. Hard-core whiskey leaves scorched-earth behind. Past that storefront is caramel/toffee & a big swig of sweetness, malt & vanilla. Bare ground pepper right in the end, before the barrel takes over again. Couldn't drink more than a tub full of this, really. OK, maybe two.

This is sexy boozy. The barrel is brings some heat & the base beer slinks up against it like it's a cold night. And it is. Excellent beer that's warming my toes. Kickin' off my slippers. Ahhh.

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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 snaotheus
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a large snifter

Pours cloudy and dirty brown with very little head -- the head that is present is pale, bordering on clear. Lots of extremely slow, extremely fine carbonation. Smell is barleywine -- musty, sweet, alcohol. Woody, wet, and dark.

Taste is sweet and musty again, mild, wet woody. Good, but hard to describe. Not as cloying as I expected from the smell.

Mouthfeel is unassuming. Not too sticky, not too thin.

Overall, this is a quite tasty beer.

2013-11-01: 22oz bottle poured into a large snifter again. 204 12 A1P 1512 is the bottle code. 2013 version. First half of the bottle poured quite clearly, second is a bit cloudy.

Again, this smells great. Fruity and nutty, not so smokey. Very tasty. I might give it higher marks this year.

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

Pours a deep, warm shade of amber. Small, light beige head, which dissipates to nothing. Filtered. The aroma is dominated by rich caramel and toffee malt flavors. There's some apricot, coconut, sugar cane, almonds and cotton candy. The taste is sweet and luxurious. It's pretty much a delicious barleywine with light barrel notes. I'm mostly getting vanilla and a light woodiness from the barrel-aging. There's some fairly subtle bourbon in the background, but it meshes into the other notes quite nicely. Some booze in the aroma, but it mostly just warms up the palate once you take a sip. The mouthfeel is smooth and thick, but it never got cloying for me. This is one of the best barrel-aged beers that I've had from FW, probably my second favorite after Sticky Monkey (? - one of the barleywines that was used in a recent FW anniversary beer). It does a particularly good job of showing FW's light touch with barrel-aging. Great stuff.

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Photo of GregSVT
4.62/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into a tulip

A: Pours a hazy reddish brown with an eggshell white head that fades to a ring and leaves a little bit of lacing on the glass.

S: The nose is pretty amazing on this one...loads of vanilla, caramel, toffee, figs, and Belgian candied sugar.

T: The taste is even more impressive! Big flavors of vanilla, caramel, candied figs, and a small hint of hops on the finish. The finish really lasts.

M: The feel is medium bodied and slightly creamy.

O: I was way more impressed by this one than I thought I was gonna be. The aromas and flavors are really great. It's pretty sweet but it's nowhere near cloying.

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Photo of spark3148857
4.17/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a snifter:
Pours dark orange with a frothy off white head that quickly dissipates to a thin ring. Aroma is typical of FW barrels: rich toasted oak, sweet caramel malts, faint dark fruits, toasted coconut. Taste is huge notes of toasted coconut, American oak, and sweet caramel upfront. Middle of the mouth brings some notes of rum soaked dark fruits and slight bitterness to cut the sweet malts. Finish is long lasting and mouth coating. No alcohol is perceptible. Mouthfeel is exceptionally smooth and creamy. Another great FW barrel aged beer. The barrel characteristics are remarkably similar among these beers. Aroma and taste were very similar to Parabola in the barrel notes, until the crafting of the beer takes you in a different direction.

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

Poured from bomber into tulip glass. Pours a solid mahogany and amber color with a thin crown of beige foam. The nose is dominated by vanilla, caramel, coconut and toasted oak characteristics. The taste starts out with lots of toffee, brown sugar, candied date and caramel malt flavors. From the oak, there’s notes of vanilla, bourbon and caramelized sugars. The body is slightly syrupy with soft carbonation and a dry, oaky booze burn finish. Overall, a very nice double strength ale!

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Photo of cfrances33
4.17/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle thanks to Gehrig13, enjoyed in a HF stem.

Pour: Murky caramel color, with a finger and a half of white soapy head. Head recedes for a nice film. Leaves little to no lacing

Smell: Big chewy raisins and figs up front. Lot of candied sugar, caramel and toffee. Sweet bourbon finish.

Taste: Follows the nose but the bourbon sweetness hit first. Chewy raisins and figs, lots of candied sugar and caramel. Finishes with bourbon and caramel.

Mouthfeel: Smooth bourbon heat typical of most FW barrel aged beers. Not too hot. Nice. A definite sipper, and quite chewy.

Overall: I was more impressed with this than I was expecting. Quite good. I probably wouldn't get it over Sucaba or definitely Parabola, but I would have this again.

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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 Googs
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Blind Tiger's VSK event. I was really looking forward to this one. I have a bottle sitting in my cellar and I had a feeling I should wait on it for a while.

A: Dark ruby colored brew with a 1/4 inch had which faded real quick leaving nothing. Some alcohol legs.

S: A nice smelling "American Strong ale", but really has the characteristics of an English Barleywine. Malt forward smell that is sweet, caramel and toffee aroma. There's also oak and vanilla from the barrels. Really not getting much hop aroma on this.

T: Taste of the beer follows suit to the smell. Bready english malts and I'm getting all that rich toffee and sweet malt. Whiskey/oak are subtle but work well. Slight bitterness from the hops but certainly on the English side of the Barleywine category.

M: On the thicker and sticky side, and a bit under-carbonated for my taste. Somewhat smooth but drinkability is on the low side, I had to sip slowly. It is a bit hot right now. No underage drinking for me.

O: Well I must say I was a little underwhelmed, I had higher hopes for this brew. I forgot to mention i was drinking this alongside of a Boltcutter and a 2010 Bourbon County Vanilla Stout, both very different beers, but just as big. It is certainly not a bad beer but I think the taste and mouthfeel could be better. And I'm sure it will be from the bottle conditioning and some age which will help blend the flavors and mellow the alcohol. I'd like to try the base beer too. I'll update my review when I revisit. Another interesting barrel aged concoction from FW and I'm not surprised. Copp a bottle and age awhile.

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

2012 Vintage. Bottled on 06/15/12. Poured in to FW tulip.

A - Dark amber with a ruby glow around the edges. Half a finger of taupe coloured head.

S - Sweet up front with dark caramel, brown sugar and toffee aromas dominating. Some lighter raisin, vanilla and toasted oak aromas are also present.

T - Toffee, caramel and brown sugar are dominant. The barrel notes are secondary but very much part of the palate, adding vanilla and toasted oak flavours. There is a warming alcohol presence throughout that perfectly cuts through the sweetness. The background adds lighter raisin and fig flavours.

M - Medium body. Slightly sticky. Low carbonation.

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

2012 vintage. Pours a murky dark brown color with almost no head. Good amount of lacing. Aroma is boozey with some dark fruits, brown sugar, some spices and caramel. Earthy with some nice notes from the barrel. The tastes is earthy booze upfront with some sweet caramel. Vanilla and booze at the finish. Reminds me a bit of a Scotch Ale. Heavy mouthfeel. Pretty tasty slow sipper with a nice boozey, barrel aged flavor. Overall, another hit by Firestone Walker.

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Photo of beerthulhu
4.23/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A coppery pour leads to a dark ruby-ice tea coloring in the vessel. A creamy, frothy tan head is sturdy at one finger high while a head strong carbonation factor showing a rush of golden micro-beads, densely packed and rushing feverishly upward to rebuild the head. Retention was resilient, providing a thick sheet lacing.

S: Nice touch of burbon barell woodiness, tea with some herbal notes and dry malt.

T: Boozy dry caramel, apple, burbon and oak woodiness are the fine highlights here. Warm toasted richiness, toffee, cola, with a hint of toasted coconut and caramel/butterscotch. Alcohol is nicely balanced, evident but not overwhelming with the 12% blending beautifully with the rich malty flavors. Bite of cough medicine alcohol upon warming.

M: Malty mouthful, boozy, lightly syrupy with a slippery smooth texture.

O: Overall, boozy, solidly brewed. clean making for a smooth malt bomb to sip slowly by the fireplace on a wintery night.

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.95/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours amber with very little head. Aromas of bread, heavy sugar and hard candy. Vanilla toffee maybe with some oaky scotch. Slight hops in the smell. I can tell this will be intense. Flavor is very sweet to start, but seems to mellow out to keep it from being too, too cloying. Still a bit overly sweet for my liking. Flavor of brown sugar candy, toffee and vanilla. Ever so slight bitter on the finish, with strong booze lingering a bit. Very much highlights the english malt here. The barrel aging definitely comes out in this one. Heavy slick mouthfeel. Very interesting. Glad I tried it but won’t likely seek it out again. That’s not to say I wouldn’t have it again if offered.

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Photo of TempeBeerMan
4.37/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass.
2012 vintage, bought in September 2012.

A - Pours an opaque liquid caramel color, with a one-finger off white head, which is what I would expect for a beer that is 12% abv. Moderate retention. No lacing to speak of, except for the finest film of bubbles that sink back into the glass when sipped.

S - Powerful aroma of whiskey, wood, date/fig, and carmelized sugars of all sorts. This is probably going to be good.

T - Complex and intriguing. Getting all of the following in no particular order; caramel, malt whiskey, oak, butterscotch, overripe fig, vanilla, coconut, toffee, and brown sugar. Hint of rum-soaked raspberries in the finish. Superb. However, sadly this has one glaring flaw: heat. This sucker is like, just short of liquor hot. I know it's my fault for not aging it, but still...(and I must note that the booziness seemed to decrease as it warmed. Or maybe that was just me starting to care less, haha)

M - Oddly light bodied, with mild carbonation. FInishes the exact opposite of "dry".

O - Man is this tasty, one of the best tasting strong ales I have had. Why, oh why didnt I age this longer? (Answer: it was Thanksgiving and I my resolve crumbled) Besides the flaw of being a little too boozy, I found it could use a little more body as well. But don't let that talk you out of trying it, this is still an exceptional and rare treat. Nice job, FW.

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

Bomber served cellar temperature into a goblet with thanksgiving dinner.

DDBA is a redish amber brown color with a slight haze. The head is thick and creamy and is slow to settle.

Aroma is boozy and earthy, almost like a good scotch, with nice vanilla oak elements.

The flavor is sweet at first with a caramel and toffee. The bourbon barrel brings several qualities. Bourbon of course, but also vanilla, tannin, and maybe a bit of peat.

Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied and a nice low carbonation level.

Overall another very good barrel aged beer from Firestone Walker.

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

Pours a nice looking red with a tan head that stays around longer than I expected due to the alcohol content.

Beers like this make me wish my sense of smell was sharper. I can really tell this is barrel aged, it has a nice smokey wood smell to it, and what I assume is the smell of bourbon. Bit of sweetness and a hint of coffee.

Has a sharp booze bite to it, I don't drink hard liquor, so my best guess is whiskey or bourbon. It is smokey, hints of caramel and coffee and chocolate.

Solid and silky smooth.

This is a big potent beer. Very much a sipper, but really nice. There is a lot going on here, all of it good. Glad I got a chance to try this, another great beer from FW.

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Photo of yamar68
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to quirkzoo for this one!

Pours a murky copper body with bits of sediment, a half finger of off-white head that retains well and leaves a spotty set of lacing.

Toasted biscuit, caramel, french toast, molasses, very warm and inviting, bittersweet, corn bread, brown sugar, faint milk chocolate - beautiful.

More of the same... tons of vanilla, pale toffee, some caramel sweetness, organic wood notes, completely balanced in every way, smooth malts and subdued hops.

Surprisingly drinkable. Smooth.

A delight.

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Photo of Florida9
3.77/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark chestnut brown, but thin, and still quite translucent. Forms a fizzy off-white head that fizzes away as quickly as it forms. No lacing. If it weren't for the fizziness, I'd say this one was flat.

S: Lots of barrel flavors, especially oak, with some vanilla and caramel, but little else.

T: Mildly sweet. Buttery caramel, toffee, raisin, and brown sugar. Then you get the barrel flavors: lots of woody, tannic, oak. Alcohol. Light vanilla and some bourbon. More oak on the finish.

M: The mouthfeel is my problem with this beer. It's medium in body, but between the lack of a malt backbone and the high ABV, the beer ends up feeling thin and watery. There is a fairly appreciable tannic bitterness. Lower carbonation.

O: As the side of the box says, this beer was brewed to be a blending beer, which is exactly what it is. While it certainly showcases the barrel in a way no other beer does, it just seems incapable of existing on it's own, bringing little to the party other than barrel flavor. I have a hard time faulting this beer for being something it was not intended to be. It's like faulting Cook County Stout for not being BCBS. However, the difference is that GI has never bottled and released Cook County Stout as a stand-alone beer.

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Photo of Phelps
3.82/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This one is an Imperial extra special bitter and is the brainchild of Firestone production manager Ali Razi. It's made with first runnings of DBA, hopped with EKGs and Styrian Goldings, fermented in the oak union system, then aged in a blend of new oak and bourbon barrels for ten months. Poured into a snifter.

Deep maroon, fairly clear. The head fizzes away quickly, just to a thin ring. Looks not so lively.

Nice. Sweet. Tons of toffee, buttery. Vanilla, oak. Just a touch of mild, earthy English hops.

Like a piece of buttery toffee. Hops are bigger here, lending a little flavor and more bitterness on the sides of the tongue. Alcohol heat numbs in the same spots. A little broght, sweet cherry like a jolly rancher, some mild orange, caramel, burnt sugar. Soft vanilla, a ton of buttery oak. More of a carrier for the barrels than a show case of the beer flavors. A touch of flowers.

Medium light body. Light. Lot of alcohol heat in the nose, some tongue numbness. Mild carbonation. Almost not there.

Like I said, the beer is just more of an engine to carry the barrel flavors. Which is fine; Firestone does barrels better than almost anyone. Like a mild barrel-aged barley wine.

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

For what it's worth:

OG: 26
IBU: 29
Cases: 1500
FG: 4.7
Yeast: British
Color: Dark

Thanks for the cool info FW!

Served in an Olde Hickory shaped-glass (the other side of the US from FW, according to my calculation).

A: Poured a gold/amber color, along with a slight, ring-like off-white head on the brew. If I didn't know any better, I'd think this was a DIPA.

S: I can tell this is boozy, but still fresh and delectable. Got a bit of coconut, melted Astro Pop, but overall, this was understated.

T: Coconut-like for sure. Seriously, this is definitely the primary taste to my mind. However, I could gulp this ALOT easier than the average BA beer, which told me lots. Imperial - yes, special - yes, bitter - absolutely not!

M: Actually, I found this HIGHLY drinkable for such a high-octane brew. Only splotchy lacing left on the glass, and the sweetness was quite delectable.

O: Man, what a great beer. Not sure the style, but still great nevertheless!

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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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