Double Barrel Ale | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

776 Reviews
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Double Barrel AleDouble Barrel Ale

Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: English Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerManDan on 08-24-2002

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Reviews: 776 | Ratings: 2,739
Photo of Jerzdevil1116
4.17/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12oz bottle purchased at Stateline Liquors in Elkton, MD.

A- Clear reddish amber body. Poured with little to no head. Minimal carbonation.

S- Sweet taosted malts, toffee and vanilla. Slightly yeasty and hoppy.

T- Malty and bready beginning. A bit of oak. Very light hops in the finish.

M- Medium bodied. Lightly carbonated.

D- An extremely drinkable beer. Nicely balanced. No single overpowering taste. Light enough in body and alcohol to drink several of these in a sitting.

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Photo of yourefragile
3.46/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at the Chart House in Monterrey, CA. My first Firestone beer. Tasted closer to a brown ale to me than a Nugget Nectar, Red Rocket, Big Hoppy, etc (not to say they taste all that similar to each other)
A: A clear dark amber color with a very thin white head that leaves a tremendous amount of thick lacing.
S: Malt, caramel, not overly strong and some hops but not much presence from the oak here.
T: Clean and refreshing, but as I said above, taste reminded me more of an english brown (slightly thicker) than other ambers. Up front taste of roast malt, slight caramel, a little nutty and breadiness. Finishes with a slight hop taste. Nothing remarkable from the oak present in this. Very easy drinking pleasant beer, but nothing too exciting
M: Medium body, smooth and creamy with high carbonation, clean aftertaste
D: As it warmed up, this became slightly dry with a slightly unpleasant aftertaste like I felt about Duck Rabbit's Brown. Before that I was enjoying this much more. Glad I tried it, but would probably pass on it in the future.

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Photo of largadeer
3.43/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Dark and slightly hazy amber. The head starts off strong but dissipates too quickly.

Smell - Hints of caramel, toast and floral hops. Clean but quite mild; very difficult to pick out any specific aromas.

Taste and mouthfeel - Very bready and caramelly; sort of a bread pudding-like flavor. Notes of roasted nuts and toast. The mild floral hops provide just a touch of dry bitterness in the finish. Full mouthfeel with semi-crisp carbonation.

Notes - Decent stuff. The FW pale ale is much better.

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Photo of WesWes
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark amber/red color with a 1/2" offwhite head that fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice pale malt and burnt toffee aroma that's a bit sweet smelling with just enough roasted character. The taste is good. It has a smooth malty flavor that is complex in nature. It goes down with ease and finishes with a slight oakey aftertaste. The oak works well with this beer. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is my first FW beer. I like the their use of multiple specialty grains as well as the barrel fermenting. It offers up an interesting tasting experience.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.35/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - A clear copper to brown color with a huge head and lots of lacing.

S - Metals - zinc, tin and nickel, a pungent grass (allergy invoking?) some earthy/mossy notes as well, but heavily suppressed.

T - Mild, and far more pleasant than the aroma let on. A mild woodsy and grassy hop with an excellently posed nutty grain flavor meshed with a hint of caramel. The aftertaste is a mild bitterness overshadowed by lingering nuttiness.

M - Smooth, thin, pretty refreshing, although after a few seconds it makes my mouth feel dry.

D - Pretty good. It smells awful, but otherwise nice. I'd definitely have on tap if I find it (and the bar doesn't have a bajillion better things.

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Photo of asabreed
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber into a pint glass.

Appearance: A nice amber color with hints of orange and copper. Head is frothy with huge amounts of bubbles clinging to the side in an odd and nice way.

Smell: I was hoping for some oak here, but still, it's a pleasant aroma of mellow malts and hops, with slight raisins, slight breadiness, vanilla, figs and some light fruit aromas.

Taste: The taste is a bit perplexing, going from mellow, to huge yet a bit unbalanced floral hops, finishing with a bit of fruit and another blast of hops. The finish, though, is long and quite interesting. Not sure what throws off the balance, as the potential is there, but in actuality there's something missing.

Mouthfeel: A bit too little carbonation, not that it makes it syrupy or cloying or anything, but it feels watery, then there's a burst of carbonation, and then it goes away. Quite odd, but luckily it doesn't detract too much from the enjoyment.

Drinkability: Again, I get no oak flavors at all from this brew, which I was excited about most. I wonder if the wood's making it more mellow, and if so, what the beer would be like without it. A pretty cheap bomber at around $4 overall, and I did enjoy this, but I'm anxious to see what else this brewery has to offer, as this is my first Firestone Walker brew.

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Photo of AKBelgianBeast
3.95/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to LittleBreeze for this extra.

Pours a dark brown with red tints, see through. Head is ok, but goes quick leaving big bubbly ring around the glass with some lace. The nose is of malt and suprisingly more hops than I expected. Tastes like west coast and european or english hops with a huge malt backbone. This tastes like an amber/english pale hybrid to me. Kind of strange. Creaminess of malts, but clearly some range of hops in here as well. A little spicy, pepper kick on the finish, hop bitterness is there but is not too terribly strong on the finish. Mouthfeel is nice and creamy, good carbonation. Drinkability is pretty high, but the malt driven taste with the hops still strong makes this one not incredibly drinkable IMO. Good beer, but Ive defenitely had better.

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Photo of Jedimaster1
3.98/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving: 22oz Bomber poured into a pint glass.

A: A nice golden-amber color. You can definitely see the oak coloring. Slight carbonation with a head that disappears quickly.

S: Smell of oak and hops can be slightly detected.

T: It tastes of a pale ale, but with a more oaky, malty flavor. It is slightly sweet with hops to balance it out. Oak can be detected in the aftertaste, though not overwhelming at all.

M: Carbonation and smooth ale.

D: This can easily be a good session beer. I drank the bomber in no time. Easy drinker and a good beer selection for a nice night of enjoying a beer.

Overall I was impressed by this brew. After reading the mix reviews here, I wasn't expecting much. But after spending time with it, I enjoyed its rather unique taste. As a result, I look forward to trying other Firestone brews. This beer is definitely worth a try/

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Photo of travolta
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very nice clear amber. Head has barley any retention, but some good spotted remains. Lacing forms in rings and is only decent as well. I gave it a higher score on appearance only because of the color.

Interesting oak and wood chips. A slight bite of spicyness and fruit enter at the end.

Light and smooth mouthfeel on the palate at first, then the carbonation opens up a bit. A tiny bit of syrup lingers pleasantly behind.

Notes: Drinkablility was rated higher than I feel the beer actually deserves, but only on account that this beer is a great beer to introduce people to quality beer. Hopefully this will do for some what Sam Adams did for me, open the door.

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Photo of srroos
3.31/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz Bomber into a pint glass.

A: Pours a clear red-amber with a short lived one finger head.

S: Malty and biscuity with some oak.

T: Nice and malty. Not as oaky as I would have hoped. Only slightly bitter with no noticeable hoppiness. I understand where the folks that relate this to Fat Tire come from, but it is certainly not the same.

MF: Good medium body. Not lots of carbonation, but not flat either.

D: Very drinkable and easy to enjoy. Good beer, commonly available, and inexpensive.

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Photo of rxdrewthejew
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: More brown than red amber, clear a smooth looking. Small bit of head, just about a finger, but quickly fades leaving some film.

S: Not much in the way of smell. Some roasted malt and maybe a touch of oak comes out. Hard to say what this will taste like.

T: Nice rich roasted malt and plenty of oak. I can taste a bit of Belgian strong dark ale in this, probably because of the aging. The flavor is pretty mild overall. Almost no hops that I can detect.

MF: Thin and smooth. Bit of a sweet aftertaste, not really sure where that's coming from.

D: I've had this on tap a few times, and always feel pretty much the same about it. It's really easy to drink and the flavor is a bit unique because of the barrel aging, but there's so many other good sessionable beers out there that I would probalby only resort to this if there was nothing better on tap. A solid brew, but nothing to jump out of your boots for.

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Photo of canucklehead
4.13/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What a well put together ale with the perfect ruby tinged dark brown colour topped with a creamy white head. Nose is hoppy and almost brewery like. I like the complex hop notes in the finish coupled with a slight oakiness. At 5% this is a great drinking beer that is nuanced more than most of the style.

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Photo of Vancer
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the 2007 secret santa – cartdan!! Thanks mucho!

Very nice start to this one – clear cola brown with some whipped topping of egg ivory. Sticky lace rings around the tulip glass.

Spicy notes in the aroma, and the quaff was a gentle pull of a caramel brown ale – not to rich, not to wimpy. Finishes with a woody and bready note.

Tasty and drinkable, this is a easy session brew.

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Photo of russpowell
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Obtained through liqourama on-line

Pours copper with 3+ fingers of tan head. Above average lacing & average head retention

S: Slight sweet malt, bready notes & that's it

T: Caramel & a bit of dryness up front. As this warms, hops take over; lemons, oranges & a bit of herbal hops as well. Finishes piney with toasted malt, & a bit more caramel sweetness, plus a kiss of grapefruit

MF: Medium bodied with low carbonation, good balance

Drinks pretty easy, a solid, not great session ale

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Photo of dreadnatty08
3.67/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served probably a bit too warm... Pours slightly hazy dark orange color, far from red or amber. Plenty of off white head with great tracing forms. Aromas start off quite fruity with esters blending nicely with sprucy hops. Malt notes are the first item to qualify this as an amber as the toasty, caramel like aromas carry through. On the palate it is a rich malty brew with lots of character, very balanced. The finish is slightly drying and medium thin. Overall it is an enjoyable amber, but nothing noteworthy. I'm glad to try since it seems to have a loyal following, but like Fat Tire, sometimes it just doesn't deserve all the praise.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.95/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thouroughly enjoyed after loosing a lot of money at Pour 24, New York New York Casino, Las Vegas. The beer seems to be a standard ESB, but with some American hops. The caramel flavors stand out along with slight buttery hints, and a big malt profile. The hops give some bitterness, spiciness, and citrus qualities, but also offer perfumy, pungent, pine character as well. The body seems a bit light for anything called 'double barrel'. I should not have expected a big beer. But the beer is nicely textured if you want a standard amber or ESB. All in all, a nice beer.

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Photo of hero27
3.42/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle.
5% abv

Clear amber, off-white head frosts the glass pretty well.
Floral hop aroma with some toffee, fruit, and soft touches of oak.
Sweet caramel & toffee malts lead into a light peppery hop finish.
Certainly an easy amber to drink, nothing that jumps out at you, but a solid beer from Firestone.

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Photo of ThatWineGuy
3.55/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear amber in colour, half finger white head on opening. It seemed there was ample carbonation on opening but that became subdued rather quickly. Minimal lacing. Nose is slightly hoppy, cantaloupe, peach. Lighlty hopped taste and mouthfeel, a bit thin - less than I expected - but seemed very drinkable. The initial impression was that this is a nicely balanced beer that is gently hopped, the flavour a bit restrained but a clean finish, perhaps a bit nutty, unsalted cashews. The label boasts of having used toasted oak barrels. I found that the barrel aging may have smoothed this brew to an agreeable balance making it an attractive mouthfull; alas, it went quite flat soon after and that took away from my overall scores.

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Photo of Stoneman78
3.23/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into Duvel tulip glass
A- Pours a deep ruby red/tawny brown hue with slight transparency, head is white, soapy, and mostly diminishing, light lacing on the glass
S- Smooth and crisp aroma characterized by a blend of light caramel malts and floral hops, a touch of tea and oak in there too, underwhelming
T- Initial taste is roasted and caramel malts, but entirely too subtle compared to other ambers, followed by some light hops, nuts, and tea, the finish is slightly sweet and dry, no discernible alcohol presence
M- Light-bodied, thin and watery, not much texture going on at all
D- This is easy-to-drink at 5%abv, however there is nothing exciting or bold about the flavor; this definitely tastes more like a brown than an amber ale due to the watery mouthfeel and thinned out caramel malts, the Reserve was markedly better and I will not pick up this version again in the future.

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Photo of JBogan
4.23/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a medium brown with a light tan one finger head which left quickly.

A slightly malty aroma with a hint of toffee.

Again, malt and toffee come to the fore, with some caramel in there as well.

Very smooth, not much carbonation. Somewhat thick and full bodied.

An easy to drink beer. Not very complex but still quite tasty and worth a try.

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Photo of bradford
3.95/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle from a 12-pack bought at local market for $15
Looks okay, amber hue, brown and red when shifted into light
Can't detect much in the smell, lightly hopped, caramel, toffee
Taste is good, not much oak shows through, but if you really tried, you might find it
Mouthfeel is good, a rich, coating beer that doesn't have too much going on so as to ruin it
Drinkability is very high and it is easy to put several of these down
Like the posters around the Central Coast read, "It's what we drink around here"

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Photo of terrapinchris
4.03/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer holds a special place in my memory for me, so I'm going to make it my first review here. In college I'd purchased six-packs of it, but my palate hadn't really developed to where I could say much about it. However, a few months ago, I had the pleasure of tasting it from a keg at my wedding (best man had purchased it for me). It definitely doesn't fit the profile of the many California brews that are overwhelmingly hopped. It pours a very deep amber, with a head that recedes quickly. The carbonation is very nearly what I would consider ideal for this type of beer. This had a hint of bitterness in the sip, but it seemed to warm in the mouth and finish with a chewy sweetness. The taste reminded me of a good Scottish ale, where the malts complement the bitterness in such a way that it avoids the sort of cloying sweetness that so many amber ales seem to fall prey to. All in all, an excellent beer for a session if you can find it on tap, Less so in the bottle.

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Photo of Wasatch
3.8/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to Solomon420 for this brew.

22oz. Bomber

Pours a nice clean/clear dark golden amber color, nice carbonation, tiny fizzy off-white head, some nice sticky lacing follows. The nose is big on malts/caramel. The taste is slighlty sweet and malty. Medium body. Drinkable, this is a nice amber ale, recommended.

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Photo of geokills
4.22/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Always pleased to find a local brew of value and excellence. Found on many store shelves here in California, and from the tap at many central Californian eateries, this is a handsome ale that pours a caramel brown with light carbonation and a similarly light head that will in all odds fade before you are half way into your glass. Nevertheless, this brew aged in oak barrels grants the imbiber a soft mouthfeel, sweet and nutty flavour, with an ever so delicate hint of hops. If I were ever to call a beer well-balanced, this would be a prime candidate. Tasty, relatively light whilst paradoxically rich and extremely drinkable, this Firestone Double Barrel will oft be found in the fridge at my home, readily offered to beer drinkers of taste who seek refreshment above the average.

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Photo of Overlord
2.11/5  rDev -42.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Wow. What a disappointment. I hear great things about the near mythical Firestone 10 (one of the White Whales here at, and was eager to try this. I actually gave it a whirl in San Luis Obispo, and yipes.

Not much carbonation, perhaps a one inch head. Taste was ... strange. I almost want to say it tasted as though it was flavored with wood chips. Some caramel/malt overtones, but nothing really to balance it out or add complexity. I see that many reviewers note some faint hops ... I detected none. A thin, strange tasting beer that wasn't my cup of tea.

It looked pretty with a nice amber color, though.

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Double Barrel Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
3.68 out of 5 based on 2,739 ratings.
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