I was given a wonderful gift from a good friend this last weekend and had to include a review of it. He kindly gifted me a bottle of Firestone Double DBA, or DDBA, a limited barrel-aged release.
Here is what they have to say about it:
Since founding our brewery in 1996, we have specialized in the rare art of fermenting beer in oak barrels. In the fall of 2006, we embarked on a program to barrel-age a series of strong ales that would later be used as components of a blended beer. The blend would become our first Anniversary Ale, “10”.
Over the past several years, we have released limited amounts of the component beers on draft only. Many of these beers have gained a cult following and many requests have been made for independent release. This is one of those components. We present DDBA (Double Double Barrel Ale), a barrel-aged Imperial Special Bitter and the third single component release to come from our barrel-aging program.
DDBA pays a special tribute to our beloved flagship DBA ad is the brainchild of our Production Manager Ali Razi. It is the concentrated first runnings of our DBA recipe, hopped with EKG and Styrian Goldings, selectively fermented in our oak union system. This particular lot was aged in a blend of New American Oak and Bourbon barrels for 10 months. Each barrel has left a unique mark on this beer.
Lush toffee, bright American oak, vanilla, and toasted almond are just some of the complex aromas and f[l]avors you will find in this beer. DDBA is a one-of-a-kind massive yet balanced sipping beer built to last and will reward careful aging for years to come. This beer is a wholehearted cheers to brewers never losing touch with the magic of barrels!
OK, honestly, that is one of the more long-winded descriptions for a beer that I’ve had to read through, but this is a special beer for Firestone, and they are clearly proud of it, rightfully so. So, what did I think?
Well to be honest when I read “bright American Oak” in their description, I was slightly put off. I am not a fan of the ACTUAL woody flavors of oak, and prefer the subtle notes it imparts in beer. Thankfully, there was little “oak” if any in my glass, for which I was especially grateful. I got the toffee and also quite a bit of caramel and vanilla, but what surprised me most was the subtle note of black cherry in the finish. It was almost as if the beer was blended with Chambord.
The beer is thick and malty but not uncomfortably sweet. They did a great job bittering the beer perfectly to balance out the sweetness. I’ve had plenty of aged ESB’s and they were borderline sickly sweet. DDBA is certainly more balanced and was quite a joy to drink. Be aware however, that this is not a session beer. At 12%+ abv, the 22oz bottle packs a whollop. All in all, this was a great beer and I will certainly look for it when I can, with plans to age it and see what more develops. Good work Firestone!