Helldorado | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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94
outstanding
145 Reviews
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HelldoradoHelldorado
BEER INFO

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

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Honey infused Imperial Blonde Ale aged in Heaven Hill barrels.

Added by wethorseblanket on 10-21-2011

BEER STATS
Reviews:
145
Ratings:
643
Avg:
4.25
pDev:
16.71%
 
 
Wants:
168
Gots:
385
For Trade:
65
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 145 | Ratings: 643
Reviews by Auracom:
Photo of Auracom
4.38/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another exciting birthday tick from Brouwer's. 6 oz. served in a flute on November 27th, 2012.

A - This looks akin to nearly every DIPA I've ever had. Deep golden with a thin frothy eggshell head. Good lacing.

S - Heavily bready, with tropical fruits and light oak underneath. I don't pull a dominant barrel flavor.

T - Putting behemoth to shame here. Front end shows that American hoppy profile but it's held in check and doesn't overwhelm the rest of the drink. Mid palate shifts to more sweetness from the malts and the barrel. Light toffee, brown sugar. Slight whiskey. Balance is everything here.

M - Medium body, medium carbonation, lightly tannic, semi-dry finish.

D - I will probably judge American (hoppy) barleywines more harshly in the future. While this needed more barrel notes, the balance was really dead on and showed some cojones on FW's part.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.21/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Was surprised to find this on tap at Strangelove's in Philly. The color is surprising for a barleywine indeed, so light and golden. Smells sweet and heady, all the brown sugar and caramel you expect from a barleywine. Taste follows nose, with some honey, clover and winter spices tossed around. Reminds me of Drambuie liquor.

Mouthfeel is the weakest part of this jawn- thin and a tad watery, with very low carbonation and low body. But overall, this is a lovely brew, so drinkable. I may just like it better than Sucaba because it is less sweet and heavy and a lot more drinkable.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.69/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

2015 release

Apppearance - Pours cloudy with a hell of a lot of sediment (not that I mind) with less than a finger's width of off-white head. Sub-par retention results in a completely bare surface with few clumps of suds around the edge. Virtually no lacing.

Smell - Predominantly boozy, with lesser notes of honey and lemony citrus. Maybe a hint of lemon cake? Hot, sweet and slightly tart booze is the best I could generically describe it.

Taste - Follows the nose. Sweet honey with lesser notes lemon and white bread, quickly met by a punch of bourbon booze and coconut to round out the predominant flavors. Hints of caramel? Rum raisin and oak come through mid-taste and into the finish. Quite hot as it peaks and slowly drifts into the woody, coconut-like aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Full in body with low carbonation. There's certainly a quality of light stickiness behind it, and there's also a moderate level of difficulty with each swallow.

Overall - Not too far off from their usual 'BA brews' but lacks the ideal depth that accompanies their more palatable offerings. Parabola has plenty of flavor outside the Barrel Aging influence. This one? Not so much. If you like your BA brews without the heavy boozy influence, look elsewhere. Like your local creepy neighbor, this one is naked and aggressive. That's obviously a joke, but buyer beware. Do you like straight shots? If so, go for it. I can appreciate the effort, but this one is not for me. Like DDBA and Velvet Merkin, the base beer simply doesn't hold up to the harsh BA process.

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Photo of Catracho5
4.35/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Golden blonde, no head at all, very little carbonation, clear, no lacing, looks thin, looks like liquid honey.

A: Bourbon, toasted coconut, sweet charred oak, honey, definitely smells like a Firestone barrel aged beer, did not get much alcohol on the nose.

T: Bourbon, toasted coconut, toffee, vanilla, charred oak, honey marmalade, some bitterness, lots of alcohol, like other FW barrel aged beers I’ve tried fresh it’s hot, honey moves forward as the beer warms.

M: Creamy mouthfeel for a barrel aged beer, hot, lots of heat on the palate.

O: Another well brewed beer from Firestone Walker, big nose with bourbon, sweetness, honey, and floral aromas. Subtle flavors of honey, floral, oak, vanilla, toffee, caramel. It's hot, I've got one in the cellar to see how it changes over time. Once the heat subsides I believe the other characteristics will move forward.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.24/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2015 bottling... I've had it draft a couple of times now and enjoyed a bottle tonight while doing some late night lawn watering... Draft from PreFunk was pretty great, but seemed a bit hot.. The bottle tonight is cleaner and not nearly as hot.. Sitting back and writing with weird EDM from Radio Boise on the stereo.. Pours mostly clear light orange... Big oaky vanilla hit on the nose with plenty of malty notes, but they don't carry the EtOH at all right now.. Almost a honey note with warmth. Flavor begins with a big vanilla oak hit and moves responsibly into the malty element.. the beer is "big" for sure but never verges on overdone, nice right now, but will do well with some time in the bottle.. The barrel elements are really well done. This is gonna be a killer with a year or so but is too hot right now.

4/4.25/4.25/4.25/4.25

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Photo of largadeer
4.27/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Draft at Beer Rev. Pale blond body with a thin head that doesn't last long. Sweet butterscotch aroma, completely pale malt and barrel dominant. Big sugary caramel notes, stonefruit, little booziness. Smells great, though perhaps a bit one-dimensional. The palate is good, medium-light in body, rather rich and sweet. Body could use more heft, but it isn't overly thin. Big caramel and butterscotch notes meld with warming bourbon, though this doesn't taste 13%; very clean fermentation here. Finishes sweet with mild tannins, and a bit of lingering dried fruit. Pretty damn good, a little too easy to drink for the ABV.

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Photo of ThickNStout
4.64/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Black foil capped 22oz bottle from LambicPentameter (thanks man!). No bottling date but this is the 2015 vintage, released in July. Served in a Toppling Goliath teku.

Pours a deep gold with orange highlights and a finger and a half pale sand hued head. The bubbles remain as a milky haze across the surface and deposit only a few pin pricks of what I will generously label as lace. The brew it's self is beautiful.

Sweet inviting aromas of bourbon, caramel, oak and cereal grains. The caramel and vanilla quality from the barrel are more pronounced as it warms.

Tastes really opens up and expounds upon the nose. A rich, whiskey caramel reduction note kicks off and becomes a delicious, overarching theme. Additional notes of bourbon, toffee, honey, wheat, cereal grain, vanilla tinged oak, faint berries, a hint of maple and a healthy dollop of booze. The sweet flavors blend beautifully and cover the considerable alcohol quite well. The closer to room temperature this gets, the smoother and more delicious.

Medium full body, somewhere between oily and creamy with supple carbonation. The finish is a rich, delightful mix of caramel, bourbon, wheat and vanilla.

As I had hoped Helldorado, labeled a blonde barleywine, is ever so close to a wheatwine. Looks and tastes like what I expect from wheatwines but it could just be the sweetness from the honey and barrel aging that threw me off. Whatever the style, Firestone Walker has hit this one out of the park.

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Photo of GSThorn
4.87/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2015 bottle served abt. 60 degrees and poured up in a full tulip glass. A beautiful pale gold. The nose is an essence of Highland malt and richer than the color prepares you for. The flavor profile is amazingly complex for a single malt, single hopped brew! I kept thinking... is this really a beer? It drinks like one but tastes like a favored Speyside . I'm just in awe!

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

On tap for the first time at the Daily Pint's FW deconstructed event during LA beer week. A component in the forthcoming 15th anniversary blend.

A: Pours lovely hazy, golden orange with a trace of white head which quickly retreats to the edges of the glass. Faint, barely there lace.

N: Deep and complex combination of: honey, grainy malt, oak, booze, caramel, vanilla, floral, and citrus hop.

T: Somewhat sweet from the honey malt, but not overly so. Follows the nose. Warms to marshmallow, vanilla notes, and boozy. Quite the sipper.

M: Full and rich. Deeply textured. Very well balanced body.

O: A newly rediscovered hop - el dorado was used in dry hopping this creation. Combines the best of centennial, cascade, simcoe, and amarillo. Aged in barrels for 9 months.

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Photo of bgold86
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured into 12 once brandy snifter, pours a lightish orangish, tons of vanilla and caramel sweetness on the nose. Taste is laid back, definitely still a sipper, but pleasant for a bourbon barrel aged barley wine.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.83/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

BOTTLE: Comes in a fancy shmancy cardboard box - probably intended to evoke a fine Scotch. 2015 vintage. 650ml. Brown glass. Classy understated label design. Black papered-over pry-off crown cap.

13.2% ABV. 25.5 Plato. 25 IBUs. 3500 cases produced. 12 SRM.

Served cold into an oversized snifter/tulip hybrid glass and allowed to come to temperature over the course of consumption. Expectations are low given the batshit style and the brewery. Reviewed live.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 1 finger wide. Off-white colour. Decent thickness and creaminess. Recedes fully within 2 minutes. No lacing sticks to the sides of the glass.

BODY: Vibrant gold. No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible within. Clean and filtered.

It's a nice look for a beer in general terms. More bonde ale than barleywine.

AROMA: Honey, booze, butterscotch, faint vanilla (probably from the barrel), pale malts, white oak, creme brulee, and ample malty sweetness.

Aromatic intensity is average. I don't pick up on any overt hop notes or off-notes.

TASTE: Boozy and honey-forward, with traces of lavender and heavy barrel sugar sweetness. Barrel presence tips more towards vanilla/creme brulee than oak, with no real rich white oak or toasted presence. Pale malts disappear beneath the barrel, which overwhelms the beer. Alcohol presence is obvious.

I like the vanilla, but I wish the sweetness wasn't so overt; it throws the beer out of balance. It's built alright, I guess, but it's neither much of a blonde nor much of a barleywine. I don't dislike it, but that alcohol presence is hard to get past. Average flavour duration and intensity. Below average depth of flavour.

TEXTURE: Heavy and viscous on the palate, with a somewhat syrupy presence. Thick and hefty. It's a lot to handle, and the boozy warmth is bothersome.

OVERALL: It's a decent sipper. I'm glad I have company to help me finish it. Far from world class, and not a beer I'd encourage friends to try. I wouldn't buy it again meself. We'll finish it with some effort. I'm not sure why it's so well-regarded, but then I could say that about this brewery as a whole. Overpriced and of subpar quality.

C

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Photo of CraftFan5
4.7/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

How is this one gonna work out? Another shout-out to my opponents on the west coast. Let's go Mets! 22 oz. bottle into a wine glass.

A - A beautiful translucent orange. It's not a light orange by any means, but it almost seems to glow. No head whatsoever, so a ding for that.

N - Smells like pure FW barrel to me. Lots of vanilla and caramel, and a slight bitterness. I even get some tropical fruit, although not hop-wise.

T - Mmm! Not too disimilar from Sucaba, although not quite as luscious. Very sweet, but not too sweet. It's like drinking dried apricots. Exactly that, dried apricots.

M - Hmm, it's somewhat thick, and I get plenty of coating, but it's not really frothy. That's a strange combo. I mean this is really hanging around, like Matt Damon in Rounders. Like I took 30 seconds or so to look up which movie it was, and even now it's all over the place. Very well done.

O - I'm surprised how good this is. The extra ABV really takes the blonde-ness of it to another level. Really enjoyable.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.19/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

On tap at the 2013 Firestone Walker Invitational held at the Paso Robles Event Center in Paso Robles, CA.

Pours a hazy orange with a foamy bone head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, honey, caramel, and toffee aromas. Taste is much the same with caramel and toffee flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of woody bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with some great aromas and flavors.

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Photo of monkeybeerbelly
4.52/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

this was bizarrely amazing! i wasnt sure how to rate the look because it looked like a golden strong ale, beautiful blonde color and sparkles like duvel. smells nothing like it looks with the nice dark barrel aged barley-wine appearance, and none of the color. nice notes of vanilla butterscotch, and toffee coming through.
Tastes divine, again vanilla, bourbon, caramel, butterscotch, and booziness that i hold so dear. Mouthfeel is where this beer really shines, super creamy, like drinking a creamsicle.
A truly enjoyable experience. now i need to get another bottle for a really special occasion

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Photo of Chris_Huston
4.49/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 bottle poured close to 12/2015. I've grown less fond of barleywines, esp. American barleywines, but this one is a keeper.

Immediate vanilla scent when popping the cap. The alcohol also gallops to the nose once poured, reaffirming its barrel quality and backbone, and its status as a proper barleywine despite its "blondeness".

Taste is a proper match to the smell with vanilla and honey sweetness that tames the barrel alcohol that is so often poorly restrained in barleywines, but far from eviscerating it. It adds a dangerous smoothness (at 13% ABV) and sweetness that cooperates superbly with the spirits, making an exceptional drink that I think works even better than its darker English-style cousin, Sucaba.

Great, appropriately medium-light body and smooth feel. This is one smart blonde.

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Photo of t2grogan
4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of SanFranJake
4.56/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of SkiBum22
4.28/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of freshflesh
4.46/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of JayGreezy
4.67/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2013 scores higher. Aged 2 years is perfect

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Photo of JakerLou
4.13/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Hoppity1
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of mmcurran
4.52/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of mctizzz
4.71/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Photo of tigg924
4.58/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours hazy, caution light yellow in color with 1/2 inch head. Taste is caramel, honey, vanilla, and bourbon finish. Amazing combination of flavors. Pure malty goodness.Right up there with FW's best. I would not hesitate to get this again. A big beer worth the money.

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Helldorado from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 145 ratings.
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