firestone dba

2

Firestone “Double Barrel Ale (DBA)”

90 A-


This English pale ale blends one batch that was brewed in traditional stainless steel, then adds 20% of a different batch that was aged in 60-gallon oak barrels (I would love to try this 100% oak brew).


Aromas are like toasted bread, caramel drizzled biscuits, with distinctly English herbal hop notes. On the palate, bubbly carbonation plays off the tongue while caramel washes over roasted, bready malts. Herbal hops quickly rise, transitioning into flavors of red apple, oranges, and other fine earthy notes added from the oak. Malts soon taste like whole grains with a raw, husky quality. The finish is somewhat dry, leaving with a light touch of bitterness. There’s a proportionate bitter-sweetness which I find very agreeable. Mouthfeel is crisp yet smooth, soft on the edges with a lighthearted body.


Double Barrel is an everyday ale that drinks great, and is perfectly suitable for any occasion. I say this is a malt-forward ale, because it’s not that bitter, but it’s not that sweet either. So it ends up being a little sweet up front, fruity in the middle, then leaves with earth tones toward the finish. English pale ales have greater malt complexity than Americans, and I personally find the English hops to be a welcome shift from the typical citrus-focused varieties we’ve all grown accustomed to in the states. When you consider this in the context of the pale ale, this is a solid brew. Although this is unlikely to turn heads, I recommend it.


5.0%

30 IBU

Paso Robles, California


2

Firestone “Double DBA”

96 A+


Double DBA is a limited-release English Barleywine aged in spent bourbon oak barrels. Firestone have deemed this to be an “imperial special bitter,” a non-existent style. The base of beer consists of a doubled up batch of Double Barrel Ale. This was actually just recently retired to make way for a new, as yet undisclosed beer. This review will be based on a 2013 vintage.


Aromas are driven by thick malts that carry sweet impressions of caramel nougat, maple syrup, and brown sugar. Fruity notes resemble fig preserves and cherry. The barrel gives a huge presence of bourbon, vanilla, and a touch of coconut. Alcohol notes come across like amaretto and port wine. Hops add a weak imprint of earth and herb.


The palate is very much like the nose, beginning with caramel and molasses. Fruits fill in the middle-register with notes of figs, dates, and raisins. Bourbon soon becomes the focal point, exposing flavors of vanilla and coconut. English hops add a subtle earthy quality that blends very nicely with woody tannins, followed by a complementary hint of spice. Finishing flavors are reminiscent of root beer (or whiskey and coke). The malt roast develops into subtle suggestions of chocolate. Some fusel notes envelop the aftertaste, but the bourbon flavor is incredibly effective at disguising the alcohol. Mouthfeel remains smooth over a medium-full body that grows sticky just before drying slightly at the end. Carbonation is weak, which when combined with the solvent properties of the alcohol, create an almost thin viscosity. Considering the high ABV, this is dangerously drinkable.


This is a beer for malt lovers, because sweetness dominates the palate. Bourbon has loads of influence, but not enough to dominate by any means. The English hops are quite complementary to the flavor of the malts, so everything ends up tasting very agreeable and whole. Complexity is nice and subtle. Considering Firestone still have their famous bourbon-aged English Barleywine, Sucaba, I’m sure they saw the obvious overlap. July 2014 marked the final release date, so I suggest you hoard any remaining bottles you’re lucky enough to find sitting around. I highly recommend it!


Malts: Premium Two-Row, Maris Otter Pale, Munich, Crystal, Chocolate

Hops: Magnum, Styrian Golding, East Kent Golding


12.0%

29 IBU

Paso Robles, California