Helldorado | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Liked This Beer
4.27 w/ 844 ratings

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

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.80%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by wethorseblanket on 10-21-2011

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Ratings: 844 |  Reviews: 202
Photo of Nrod
4.23/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of TBoneJones
4.14/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Clear copper/ blondish-amber pour. No visible carbonation or head. Scant lacing.
Smells lightly sweet of malts, vanilla and honey.
It's all in the taste. What a caramelcentric brew, imo, despite the brewery's label description saying elsewise.... The honey and vanilla starts it off and then simultaneously during the burn there's a burst of distinct and delicious caramel that adds sweetness to compliment the bitterness and peppery burn of the finish (the finish is where any of the coconut flavor seems to live).
Feels medium-full mouthfeel and low (nice for the style) in carbonation.
Delicious beer to sip.

 615 characters

Photo of n2185
4.41/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Tcsox
4.35/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of tobelerone
4.23/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Bammer21
4.21/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of ManapuaMan
4.43/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Beer in a box! Still smarting from Sucaba's temporary hiatus but it made me really look forward to Helldorado. I'm a fan of the style in general and FW makes magic with beer and barrels.

Pours a vibrant honey-gold hue with a soft, thin head that fades. What's left is a straw-gold liquid with a light swirl of foam on the surface.

Aroma speaks to the aforementioned magic - oak, vanilla, toasted coconut, candied fruit, roasted grains.

Whereas a non-BA barleywine (like Bigfoot) has big hop-forward tastes of blood orange and pine, this comes with more subtle hints of candied orange, caramel and toffee. The barrel brings the biggest flavors by way of vanilla, oak and boozy, slightly sweet bourbon. Works wonderfully well together.

Warmth, not heat, from the alcohol serves as a backdrop to all the flavors. Smooth and robust, this is a sipper through and through. Never burdensome, hot or sweet. Beautiful.

Gotta say - I'm a fan of the new format. Yes, we lose a little money per/ounce, but the benefits are 1) I can actually enjoy a bottle on my own and 2) seemingly more availability by way of an increased # of bottles. I'm a fan.

 1,146 characters

Photo of Skabiski
3.65/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of bubseymour
4.7/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Very interesting hybrid beer. Sort of a barleywine/Belgian mix. Very smooth and sweet and yeasty. Highly recommend.

118 characters

Photo of Benish
4.05/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured a light amber color with a very light short head. It resembles whiskey without the foam.

Aroma: smells like a sugar cookie with traces of vanilla and butterscotch. As it warmed up the whiskey became much more prominent. It became boozy and sweet, almost intoxicating.

Taste: just like the smell, flavors are of snikerdoodle. It's festive with notes of holiday spices. Then as it warm up, it transform to whisky and the festive flavors become less noticeable. There is a subtle hop bite at the finish.

Mouthfeel: slick and medium bodied. Boozy as it warms up.

Overall: it by no means taste like a barleywine. But whatever it is, I enjoyed it!

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Photo of byronic
4.45/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of BarleyWhyNot
4.8/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Thomas_Wikman
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I just tried this beer for the first time. Helldorado vintage 2017, Barleywine from Firestone Walker, ABV 12.80%, IBU 24.

Look: clear amber, thin bubbly off-white head.

Aroma: caramel, bourbon, some wine

Taste: It's caramel, butterscotch, bourbon, wine, vanilla, honey, some oak, and its a bit boozy but in a good way.

Feel: medium to full body

 348 characters

Photo of Rogerlb
4.1/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Okay, I'll spring $10. for a 12-oz limited run Firestone Barley Wine.

2017 edition. It pours a golden clearish amber. No head but for a thin ring around the top. Alcohol legs obvious when you swirl this guy. Less dark than a run-of-mill barleywine, or a quad, but does have an almost neon tile orange to it. They're calling it "blonde."

Aroma is malt, caramel, slight banana, fruity vanilla. Bourbon. And some floral aspect. Wow.

Taste is candy, malt, with a butterscotch angle. Barrel, date sugar, a sweet that can't quite be attributed to booze. A little wood, and it's got a vanilla/ spice aspect to it. BA user @vixie calls it white cake. Yeah, she's right!

Hops coming in at the end. Not dank; an earthy finish on top of a winey sweet beer. Although 12.8% it's not "hot." A fight between the barley and the wine -- I think wine wins; seriously, I'm getting bourbon cake here.

As it warms, there's a sticky frosting aspect.

Body on this is good, not overly carbed. This is not the best barley wine I've ever had, and at $10 for 12 oz, you have better options, mister. But I'm glad I took the plunge on this, only appears once a year, if only to satisfy my curiosity.

I don't think I will be buying this next year.

 1,226 characters

Photo of BarrelAgedG
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of nyrblue2
4.33/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of aoampm
4.36/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter. Not sure of the bottle date.

Pours a golden straw color with a tiny head that vanishes quickly. Not much carbonation.

Smell has some floral spice to it along with a sweet vanilla-honey like aroma.

Taste is really nice. Has the plum and caramel notes of a Barleywine but has a nice crisp apple to it and even has some pine notes that are very subtle. The flavors are very subdued and don't jump out at you apart from the plum and caramel. I don't pick up any of the barrel except for maybe some vanilla.

Feel is really nice. Light and crisp for a BA beer but it has a certain chewiness to it.

Overall a really well done beer! I had no idea what to expect in a Blonde Barleywine but it was very enjoyable. Probably will pick up a couple more bottles even at the $10 price tag.

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Photo of dream
4.43/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look: honey gold and more fizzy than heady. For the style it's unique. A lighter looking, more refreshing barleywine.

Smell: Caramel, butterscotch, oak, vanilla, bourbon, very very slight banana vibe.

Taste: Translates to the smell nicely.

Feel: medium. Could it be because of the pale malts?

Overall: world class barleywine. Top 10 for me.

 344 characters

Photo of andrewh995
4.18/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a hazy orange gold with almost no head. Smells of malt, toffee, caramel; honey, and spices. Tastes of sweet caramel/toffee, spices (sweeter ones), mild alcohol, and honey. Very heavy body with medium-low carbonation. Overall a very enjoyable and drinkable barleywine.

 273 characters

Photo of polloenfuego
4.46/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours very light for a barleywine, an orange/tan with minimal head. The smell is very appealing, with floral notes and some light sweet notes. The hops, of course, is also present, and the combination of all smells makes you want to dive in. The taste is amazing, It was really nice and mellow, with obvious hops present, but there was also some booze and some sweetness, not the traditional treacle or dark fruit one would expect, but something lighter. The feel was a touch heavy, which is not a bad thing, and the carbonation was minimal. While the ABV provided a nice warm finish.

A fantastic beer, that was shared amongst friends. This is a big beer, and it lives up to that. I would highly recommend it.

 715 characters

Photo of dpgoblejr
4.33/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of SmangTown
4.27/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of CPAles
4.33/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of DanGeo
3.7/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Photo of MJSFS
4.76/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

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Helldorado from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 94% out of 100 with 844 ratings
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