Firestone Proprietor's Reserve Series Sucaba - Barrel-Aged Barley Wine Ale (2012)
Special Limited Release.
22 fl. oz. / $13.99 USD / 12.5% ABV
About: This beer was formerly known as Abacus, before a lawsuit in 2012 forced them to change the name. "Big boozy bourbon and American oak aromas combined with soft chocolate malty undertones. Complex malt flavors framed in oak, with hints of dark chocolate, vanilla, tobacco, coconut and just a touch of dark cherry. This is definitely a sipping beer, best served in a brandy snifter. This ale pairs well with dark chocolate and sturdy cheeses. Fermentation: Undisclosed / Malts: Munton's Pale, Crisp Maris Otter Pale, Munich, Dark & Light Crystal, Chocolate / Bittering Hops: Bravo / Late Kettle Hops: East Kent Golding."
Thoughts: This must have sat in my fridge for five or six months. I just couldn't hold out any longer, especially after drinking the Oak Aged Imperial Backburner from Southern Tier last night.
Abacus poured a dark and muddy crimson burgundy with little to no head that was slightly tan.
Damn this smells good! Heavy stuff. Highly toxic. The strength that this these brew exhibits in the scent is an exhilirating experience in itself. I'm getting tons of sweet, dark raisins and some beautiful booziness here. I'm reminded of Lost Abbey's Judgement Day for a moment, but what's this? Semi-sweet chocolate making its way towards the nose, conjuring a goblet of raisenettes drenched in bonfire charred booze. Succulent and indulgent, cold as a dark summer's night by the shore, woodsy, with a subtle whiff of bitter coffee towards the end. Hints of black cherry.
The taste... wow! I was really expecting a sucker punch of harsh booze to the face, but man that first gulp was incredibly smooth and just wonderful tasting. Impressive. A small fire ignites in the belly immediately. Starts off very sweet with dark fruit, tons of plum and cherry, a robust maltiness flows forward and it displays bits of chocolate shavings and a huge amount of that oak just sticking to the mouth. I think my tongue is starting to go numb and I've only had four gulps. Wait, no, that only lasts for a few seconds. This beer is so very rich and flavorful. It's immense and a mutant, all over the place yet at the same time, perfectly contained within itself. How can a beer be milk chocolaty one moment, and the next reminiscent of fucking red wine? Without contradicting itself, it's so many things all at once.
Mouth feel is thick, syrupy, coating and lingering. Without contradicting itself, it's got a somewhat crisp and drying factor to it, but it stops halfway through and still remains wet and satisfying. Strange.
A true sipper brew in every sense of the notion. Aftertaste is a slight burn, oak and vanilla with a gentle hop profile on the back of the tongue. Recommended.