Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
California, United States
American Barleywine
Ranked #30
Ranked #1,677
4.27 | pDev: 7.49%
Feb 28, 2023
Oct 21, 2011
Part of the adventure of aging beer in retired spirits barrels is the synergistic interaction of different malt flavors with the oak and spirit flavors from the barrel. Darker beers like stouts and darker barley wines have typically been the favored candidates for barrel-aging, due to their deeper caramel and roasted flavors. Helldorado breaks that mold with a deep golden color from being brewed solely with English and American pale malts. The bready, honeyed flavors of pale malts pull out rich wildflower honey, vanilla and coconut notes from the oak, creating an overall flavor evocative of bourbon-glazed graham crackers that stands as singularly unique in our Vintage lineup.
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Photo of Scotchboy
Reviewed by Scotchboy from Idaho

3.88/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
Sampled 2017, an excellent blonde barleywine, clear coppery color with minimal head; absolutely brimming with barrel character as all FW reserve brews do.
Feb 28, 2023
Photo of Roy_Hobbs
Reviewed by Roy_Hobbs from Connecticut

3.21/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25
2017 vintage. Glowing amber with a good amount of fizzy head with medium retention. Aroma is like a light caramel / traditional barleywine aroma. Fairly muted overall. Taste has plenty of bitterness with some faint caramel. Lots of alcohol. Overall, good not great.
Feb 04, 2023
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Reviewed by MadMadMike from France

4.49/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
2015 24 ounce bottle poured at 48°. Nice ‘pzzzzz’ when opened set the tone right away. Effervescent on the pour, didn’t leave much foam at all.
Smells of barrel right up front, lite toffee and sweet on the nose.
Taste is barrel.,. right now, damn near harsh. Honey lightens the mood. Not overly sweet, which I like. Prune. Sour cherry, just a tad. Everything finishes harmoniously dry and leaves a 13.2% after burn.
Feel is medium, great carbonation given it’s 7 years old.
Enjoyed this sippy beauty after Thanksgiving dinner. It’s a celebration.
Nov 25, 2022
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Reviewed by Rug from Massachusetts

4.2/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
2015 vintage, 13.2% abv

I got this bottle in a BIF from the absolute fucking legend @Eziel along with some other truly awesome stuff. Another beer that’s perfect for the Cellaruary thread. So, a “Blonde Barleywine” to me sounds like a Wheatwine, but will this be as sweet? Let’s pop it open and find out

Pours an opaque brownish orange with a finger of off white head that quickly fades to a ring and leaves minimal lacing

Well it certainly does smell rather sweet, but not in a cloying way. I’m picking up on aromas of burnt caramel, orange marmalade, toffee, sweet honey, toasted oak, golden raisin, and lightly toasted malt

Once again, I’m glad this isn’t overly sweet like I thought it may be, and I’m surprised by the slight boozy bitterness present in this 7 year old beer. On the front end of the sip I’m tasting sweet toffee, brown bread, golden raisin, sweet vanilla, coconut, light oak, and a touch of bourbon. The swallow brings notes of sweet caramel, toasted oak, toasted coconut, earthy bourbon, light cherry, and honey

A medium full body pairs with gentle tingling carbonation, resulting in a hot and sweet beer. Finishes surprisingly dry for what it is

Well this certainly isn’t my favorite Barleywine, (and does lean more into Wheatwine with the sweetness) but it was a fun beer to try. Not sure if I’d necessarily go out of my way to try it fresh but I wouldn’t say no if offered
Mar 01, 2022
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Rated by oberon from North Carolina

4.18/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
2015 bottle.
Feb 10, 2022
Photo of pkalix
Rated by pkalix from California

4.21/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
2017. bitchin' orange marmalade color
Jan 14, 2022
Rated: 4.12 by TMoney2591 from Illinois

Nov 30, 2021
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Reviewed by puboflyons from New Hampshire

4.18/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
From the 650 ml bottle with a 2016 vintage date. Sampled Nov 8, 2021.

The pour is a kind of honey amber tone with yellow hues under the light and a modest, then disappearing off-white head.

The aromas feature boisterous caramel and toffee malts and toasted brown bread aromas. Slight essence of cherry or cocoa and mildly oaked. The booze sensations are low profile.

Medium to full, smooth mouthfeel.

The taste lines up as very, very sweet and malt forward with a powerful dose of toffee, caramel, Graham cracker and lower earthy hop note. I get a little more of that 12% booze in the flavor. Warming at the end.
Nov 07, 2021
Rated: 4.48 by o29 from Texas

Aug 15, 2021
Photo of Treyliff
Reviewed by Treyliff from West Virginia

4.21/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
taken from notes, 22oz bottle poured into a snifter

Pours an amber color with a one-finger foamy off-white head that has good retention. Smells of oaky bourbon, sugary malts, berry-like hops and caramel. Taste is sweet and malty, giving notes of caramel, vanilla, dried tropical fruit and oaky bourbon. Medium body with moderate carbonation, foamy mouthfeel that turns slightly creamy into the finish.
Jul 11, 2021
Photo of SHODriver
Reviewed by SHODriver from North Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Bottle from 2016

A: Poured into a snifter to a deep golden orange beer which is topped by a dense and slightly rocky two fingers of off white head which fades slowly to a collar around the edge of the glass
S: Smells of caramel, cocounts, faded hops, oak and a touch of vanilla
T: Taste is caramel, honey, faded piney hops with a little citrus, some coconut, oak, toasted malts, a little doughy bread, along with a little vanilla. On the swallow there's more coconut, caramel, faded hops, oak, and some slight lingering vanilla
M: This beer has a body which is on the slightly heavier side with a slightly syrupy feel. Carbonation is slightly effervescent and adequate for the style while the beer has a drying finish due to the ABV.
O: Overall this is a really well done beer. This lighter barleywine brings a lot of complexity to the party along with a really nice amount of balance. The beer has also held up very well for being bottled in 2016. Definitely a nice summery style of a barleywine.
May 23, 2021
Rated: 3.83 by 0x4a64 from Nevada

Apr 10, 2021
Photo of hopley
Reviewed by hopley from Massachusetts

4.78/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
2015 Vintage, Batch 001, drank March, 2021. Best Barleywine I've every had, hands down.

Clear golden color, little head - just looked of quality.

Smelled like candy.

Tasted clean golden honey with a little hops tossed in. Nothing bitter or overwhelming in any direction. Just about as perfect as you can get. Not too sweet or cloying like Aaron. The oak was masterful - think it produced a mellowness that just made this beer.

Mouthfeel just right.

Awesome. Not sure how much the aging helped with, if any, but look forward to trying a fresh one sometime. Just a wonderful Barleywine. Cheers!
Mar 08, 2021
Photo of Alieniloquium
Reviewed by Alieniloquium from Florida

2.93/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75
650 mL bottle. Pours very clear and very pale. Smells of bourbon, oak, booze, and honey. Tastes of booze, oak, bourbon, honey, light fruitiness. Dries out. Oaky and boozy back end. No lingering sweetness at all. Medium body and quite dry. Intense alcohol flavors and nothing to soften them. A little rough.
Feb 21, 2021
Photo of dcotom
Reviewed by dcotom from Iowa

4.5/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
This could change my whole way of looking at barleywines. Vintage 2017, poured at 43°F from 12-ounce bottle into a thin-walled goblet and allowed to warm to 52°F. Slightly hazy, dark orange in color, with reddish-orange highlights here and there. Lovely aromas of vanilla, honey, light toffee, and coconut, with undertones of bourbon and oak. These characteristics obtain on the palate as well. At four years (give or take) from the bottling date, this is superbly mellow and very easy-drinking despite the booziness. This is quite sweet, with a silky mouthfeel and a touch of oaky astringence lingering on the finish. Overall, a very memorable beer that leaves little to be desired.
Jan 30, 2021
Rated: 4.85 by AshBlackstone from Florida

Jan 14, 2021
Photo of MikeWard
Reviewed by MikeWard from Pennsylvania

4.1/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
650ml bottle into a tulip. 2016 vintage, #002.

Looks pretty good in the glass. Golden honey colored body. Initially a lot of carbonation which quickly tapers off. No head, hence no lacing.

Subtle aroma of honey.

On tasting, sweet, warm, some honey. Abv apparent, but very smooth drinking. Nice sipper.

Mouth between medium and full. Finish sweet and slightly boozy.

Overall, smooth drinking beer. Sweet, warm, enjoyable sipper on a cold night.
Dec 31, 2020
Rated: 4.25 by Dharmelink from Wisconsin

Dec 07, 2020
Rated: 3.94 by HopBelT from Belgium

Nov 20, 2020
Rated: 4.25 by KMcGrath from Massachusetts

Oct 16, 2020
Helldorado from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 1090 ratings