Friday, June 1, 2012

Firestone Walker DBA review

Firestone Walker DBA Double Barrel AleIt wasn't but a year ago that Firestone Walker beers were first available in Colorado. Their reputation proceeded itself and with the couple of beers I've had already, they seem to be worthy of all their good press. I spotted a single bottle of their Firestone Walker DBA - Double Barrel Ale and knew I wanted to review this beer. Double Barrel Ale is classified either as an English Special Bitter (ESB) or as an English Pale Ale, take your pick.

This beer has a long history of awards since 2002 where it won a Gold Medal in the World Beer Championships. Most recently, it took home a Gold medal at the 2011 GABF. The beer weighs in around 5.0% ABV and is selectively fermented in an oak barrel brewing system. Firestone Walker put in hops at four different points during the brewing process to attempt to give it a nice bitter finish.

The name refers to the 60-gallon (double barrel) American oak barrels that were used during the fermentation process. The wood is supposed to give the beer a better complexity and character. Would I be able to tell the difference with oak in this beer? I wanted to find out.

Appearance: Double Barrel Ale poured a nice looking amber-copper color that seemed to have good clarity, carbonation and head retention. The light tan frothy head built up easily to just over 2-fingers tall and left a nice lacing when swirled.

Aroma: The hops were a nice stand-out in this beer. It had a somewhat spicy, fruity and floral bouquet along with a nose full of sweet malt. I could detect a bit of lemon in the nose as well. The brew seemed to be a light refreshing brew just from the smell.

Taste: Right from the start, this beer drank smooth and easy. It had a semi-sweet malt base that seemed to be balanced well with the mix of hops. The beer had a clean palate with no after taste. It wasn't heavy or harsh at all. The hops were toned down so as to let the malts dance a bit. I loved the sweet bitterness of the East Kent Goldings hops in the finish. It was balanced well, not too sweet and not too bitter either. The 5.0% ABV brew was easy enough to be considered a session beer. I could easily drink a couple of these with no problem.

Overall: Once again, I was impress with what Firestone Walker came up with. While it was difficult to pick up on the oak, there was a mild earthiness to this beer that made it very satisfying. Both the aroma and the taste were immediately acceptable. For those who like a semi-bitter beer, this one is very drinkable. Well worth seeking out if you have this at your local store.

Disclosure: I paid full retail price for this single 12oz beer as part of a build-your-own six-pack.

Video showing the pour of Firestone Walker DBA:

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Related articles:
- Firestone Walker Velvet Merlin Oatmeal Stout review.
- Firestone Walker Double Jack DIPA review.
- Colorado readies for Firestone Walker. (2011)

This article came from FermentedlyChallenged.com - a Colorado beer blog.
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