Helldorado | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.80%

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: 813 |  Reviews: 191
Photo of Mdaniel723
4.06/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of cryptichead
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of eifster82
4.24/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of csmrx7
4.03/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of anteater
4.26/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of clayrock81
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured a cloudy orange body with minimal head that died slow and the aroma struck me w/ some floral notes as well as honey and coconut. Sticky, boozy, woody smoothness, yet unlike other barleywines this beer has a light body and the sweetness is less dark fruit/caramel malt derived and more of a floral, honey-like sweetness with some dry spiciness and minimal bitterness. Easy to drink and the booze is well-hidden and this was too easy to drink.

 450 characters

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

Photo of cmbeddoe7997
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of Pro_Magnon
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of jtransel
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of farrago
3.97/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Aggressive pour produces a thin dusting across the surface, while it does not last long there is a sizzle at the edges, no lacing as in zero lacing. Reddish orange rust hued liquid, deepened by a pervasive silt throughout, meager amount of visible bubbles and tiny at that. Mellow oak of vanilla, caramel, butterscotch, coconut, manages the booziness well, challah bread, grilled nuts with an interesting fruit profile of green apple, pear and green grape scents, tactfully does not overstay its welcome. In the mouth it’s full-bodied if not heavy, the lack of carbonation allows the overall sweetness to accrue as well as the booziness to steep. On the whole it’s clean with the barrel treatment dominant, vanilla, milk chocolate, coconut custard and caramel. At times minty to floral, the citrus tastes like those orange jellied candy wedges. The weight does relent a bit through the finish which helps flavor clarity. Blends in peach, apricot, pineapple, golden raisin to the apple, pear fruit base. Does a good job of letting the blonde ale profile fight through the oakiness. Lots of personality, however, it is in many respects monochrome and a bomber is pushing the limit of what one person may want to consume of it.

 1,228 characters

Photo of WickedBeer
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Photo of elemenohpee1
3.51/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of shelby415
4.18/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Lone_Freighter
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This was poured into a snifter. The appearance was not of this world, but just like Firestone Walker says on their bottle, yes, this is a blonde barleywine. A finger’s worth of white foamy head dissipates fairly quick. Lace is barely there. The aroma starts off with a thick sweet honey, vanilla, toffee, caramel, cashews, roasty chestnuts, slight floral hops (there’s the bitterness). The flavor is what leans honey sweet embracing a refined dry toffee/caramel backbone hitting it’s aftertaste full and appropriate with a clean mature slightly oaky dry finish. On the palate, this one sat about a medium bodied. Sipping quality yields a soft carbonation that feels really nice and low. Overall, hmmmm....my final thoughts on this one, well, American or English, well, that leaves a bit up to moderation since it’s color is no where close nor do any tobacco-esque hops come out to play. What we have here is not a failure to communicate to everyone who rates to style but to show the creative blessings of Firestone Walker yet still showing some of the Barleywine features in this beer.

 1,094 characters

Photo of wiescins
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of lanedlr
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Jsalz21
4.49/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Tspesak
4.71/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2016 Vintage Batch No. 002

Look: golden blonde, thin white head that dissipated quickly.

Smell: heavy oak and vanilla up front, followed by sweet malts, kinda graham cracker smells, definitely raw honeycomb weaving in and out. Definitely caught my interest to taste....

Taste: so much magic happening. Oaky and whiskey booze to start followed by great vanilla and honey sweetness to round it out before definitely getting some butterscoth candy in there; and am I crazy or do I get some floral notes in the background?

Feel: perfect carbonation for everything that's happening; medium body subtle carbonation. Great beer to wind down the stress of the day.

Overall: almost perfection. Poured at 42° and at first the whiskey booze was a little much, as the beer warmed closer to 50°-52° it got better with every sip; the heavy boozy feel wasn't too forward but definitely still present. Picked this up because I was intrigued by a barrel aged blonde. Will definitely be returning to stock pile my beer fridge.

 1,019 characters

Photo of Zuidman
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Gatch
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 06/10/16, 2016 Vintage, Release No. 002.

This is the FW beer that I've been waiting more than a decade to drink! Don't know why. Ever since I saw the blend beers they put into the Anniversary beers, Helldorado has stood out as the one to try. Sadly it didn't blow my mind as I expected. And not as good as Bravo Brown that I drank last night.

Gorgeous look. Hoppy, boozy, woody nose. The barrel character isn't up to par. Hoppier and sweeter than I expected for its age. Really gotta let it war up. A tasty barley wine and definitely delicious but not outstanding. Worth the $18 for the bomber? Probably. This was for a special occasion. The last beer I'll be drinking for a long time.

 695 characters

Photo of AlexFreudenberg
4.21/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of brentk56
4.09/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours amber colored with a slight haze; the head builds to one finger but fades quickly, leaving clumps and dots of lacing

Smell: The malts dominate, bringing honey, graham and butterscotch tones; underneath, there is an herbal, somewhat lemony aspect; wafts of Bourbon intermingle

Taste: Unlike the aroma, the herbal, lemony tone asserts at the outset, with the sweeter malt flavors building in intensity through the middle; honey, butterscotch, coconut, vanilla and graham cracker round out the malty sweetness; after the swallow, the Bourbon takes a bow, bringing a rather boozy finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation; warmth in the gullet

Overall: I get what they are going for but I can't get excited about it; well-constructed, like all Firestone Walker barrel aged beers, but I prefer their other offerings to this one

 865 characters

Photo of Duff27
3.97/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of MonkeyBread
4.03/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

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Helldorado from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
4.24 out of 5 based on 813 ratings.
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