If you recall, I reviewed this beer last year against Ale Smith reforged and while delicious, my main gripes was that the barleywine aspects were dominated by a stout hand and that the mouthfeel was a touch too close to that Central Waters wafer thin scherzo.
Imagine my trepidation when they noted this new one was coming out with parts aged twice as long, up to 24 months. I expected a weaker body and some shop class gone awry lacquer. Welp, it feels good to be wrong.
With increased aging the oak integrated to tame the sweeter stout and roast aspects and the barleywine Phoenix emerged from its 5 hour boil dripping in sticky caramel toffee goodness. The body is by no means some saccharine Cigar City fest but it feels softer and more rounded in a European execution. Almond and prailine work seamlessly with Mr. goodbar tobacco tones. You can kill the entire 500ml in the same grocery store you bought it at. Same trip. Kids ubering home.
People get pissed when I give praise to this brewery and gnash their San Diegan mandibles about ownership status and their barrel program continues to push them directly on the collarbone. Sitting down is the position of compelled malty compliance. What’s a DDB to subbydoo when the beer is legit delicious, not excessively priced, readily available and without stupid release pageantry? If anything, fuck that brewery for giving me nothing to talk about.
The ultra casking came out marvelous and didn’t wipe out the body, it improved it. There’s nothing funny about that.
If you like the FW anniversary series, this will be right in your wheelhouse. Firestone is owned by Gulden Draak or Piraat or something and no one ever gives me shit for praising them. Phenomenal barrel aged beers component blended with care, spillin off the shelves at Walgreens.