Monday, February 4, 2013

Firestone Walker Double DBA - Gus #40

Today's review is a big one.  I have been saving this bottle for a while.  I guess looking for the perfect moment to pop it open.  Well the other night the temps dropped and it was freezing outside here.  I decided I wanted a big brew to warm me up.  Went to look at my cellar and there she sat.  In her big fancy box just staring at me.  So I grabbed it and sat it in the fridge for maybe 5 minutes.  After that I sat it on the counter for a few more minutes.  Then it was time to pop it.  This is a really big brew.  It comes from Firestone Walker Brewing Company in Beullton, CA.  These guys pop out some great things.  I'm sure this one won't be any different.  I'm talking about their Double DBA.  It's their Double Double Barrel Aged Imperial Special Bitter.  Their flagship brew is their DBA Imperial Bitter.  So they took a double batch and aged it in some oak barrels.  Probably their Union Jack barrels but I'm not sure.  I've been excited to try this for a while.  I guess #40 is a good place to put it!  Let's get it poured and see how it is.


How it rates with others:

YouTube reviews:
This is another one that has been reviewed by a ton of people.  Most give it great reviews.  This made me more excited to try it.
Chris from Beer Geek Nation
Ryan aka StumpyJoeJr
Peter the Master of Hoppets
What Cheers!

ratebeer review:

Information from the website:
About the Beer:
Style:  American Strong Ale
Alcohol by Volume:  12.0%
IBUs:  29
Malts:  Premium Two-Row, Maris Otter Pale, Munich, Crystal, Chocolate
Hops:  Bittering - Magnum;  Late Kettle - Styrian Golding, East Kent Golding;  Dry Hops - East Kent Golding

"DDBA is our flagship beer brewed at double strength.  It is amazingly similar in many ways to our barrel fermented DBA and possesses everything we love about that beer times two.  English caramel malts lend rich toffee character that pairs well with assertive medium toast American oak barrels."

Sounds amazing!

I poured this brew into a large snifter glass.


Appearance:  This one poured out an amber almost red tint.  Really a ruby red glow to it.  It reminded me of some of the bourbons or darker scotches I've had.  Add the red hue and that was really close.  The pour yielded half a finger of head that went away immediately.  I really didn't expect much head being that this brew is 12% ABV and it's barrel aged.  It did leave a ring and an island of bubbles in the glass as I drank it.  Super clear brew and alcohol legs galore.  You can really tell this is one big brew.


Aroma:  First off, let me say that this aroma is HUGE.  Just so much going on in it.  Right at the front you do get some sweetness.  More of a malty, toffee sweetness.  Then slight hints of some cherry.  Then the barrel characteristics come out.  Oak, tannins, vanilla and hints of almost a caramelized raisins are all in there.  At the end you pick up some darker fruits but those are slight.  It was just slightly chilled when I popped it but as it warmed to be room temperature I got more barrel characteristics.  Toasted coconut and toffee took up most of the aroma.  There is definitely some alcohol in there as well.  I do expect that in such a large brew.  Plus it isn't an offensive alcohol aroma.  More of a sweetness like a good blended whiskey.  Really nice smelling brew from Firestone Walker.  More and more excited to taste this one.

Taste:  Same as the aroma this thing was packed with flavor.  The sweeter flavors like toffee and caramelized sugar were really big.  Then the toasted coconut and vanilla moved right in.  The mouthfeel is perfect for  a sipper brew.  Just on the heavy side of medium.  Carbonation is nice and light as well.  There were some hints of a tobacco and woodiness all throughout the sip.  The back of the throat has a nice warming sensation.  Definitely not too hot and overpowering.  The aftertaste has some of the cherry and more of the vanilla in it.  Really complex flavor profile and really nice to sip.  I am realizing that I should have shared this with someone, that's for sure.  12% is a lot to handle by one's self.  

Verdict:  Firestone Walker's Double DBA comes from their Reserve Series.  It really is a special brew and deserves that Reserve title.  All the things I've had from the brewery so far have been great.  This is no exception.  I wouldn't even pair this brew with anything.  I would let it totally stand on its own as an after meal sipper.  Even a late cold night by the fire brew.  If it was easy to seal it back this one would be perfect for those night caps.  It is very much a perfect example of a sipping beer though.  I wouldn't to chug down two pints of this thing back to back.  I'm going to give this one an A.  It is pretty sweet but a brew this big I do look for it to be that way.  It's perfect for bottle shares or for just sharing with a couple other friends after a nice meal.  I'd love to have a couple more sitting in the cellar.  I think when they release it this year I will pick up a few more bottles.

Until the next review guys, cheers!

Gus