Firestone Walker: DBA (USA: ESB: 5.0% ABV)
Visual: Chestnut brown. Thin small bubbled browned head. Low carbonation.
Nose: Fruitcake and Madeira. Shortbread. Whipped cream. Slight chalk. Gingerbread,
Body: Lightly chalky. Fruitcake and cherries. Shortbread. Dates. Lemon cakes. Cream. Sour dough.
Finish: Almonds. Fruitcake. Mild liquorice. Chalky. Slight sour cream. Bitter. Raisins and sultanas. Mild prunes.
Conclusion: Hmm, this tastes like a drier take on Fuller’s ESB – it has that full on fruitcake character but with a dry body that reminds me of the attenuation level on your average APA (Albeit that is pretty much the only similarity to an APA). That dryness comes with a slight matching chalkiness – the two elements combine to make the beer more easy drinking, but also trades that off to make the flavours feel slightly more muted. Overall not a bad thing, but just a different thing.
Flavour wise it digs a bit deeper for the notes than your average fruitcake, sultanas and cherries – there are more dates and occasional slight prune notes in the finish, against slightly muted but it works well to give a distinct character to the beer. There are also lightly creamy hints of wine and spirit notes that I am sure would come out at higher abv, but here are little teases that don’t expand out. Still interesting though.
I’d say I actually prefer the Fuller’s ESB – the more robust character leans towards my preference for the style – however this is very enjoyable, and even ever so slightly muted it is still packed with dark fruit.
Nothing really pushes it to the top leagues, there is nothing unexpected or super polished, however as a general drinking dark beer this is very well done. One for a general drinking quality beer session.
Background: Huh, looks like Firestone Walker is part of the Duvel Moorgat group now. That one had gone under my radar. Never mind, as long as the beers are good and they don’t do any horrid immoral act I’m fine with that. Anyway, had to a quick double check before doing notes on this one – it is “Double Barrel Ale” and I remember doing something with a similar name. Turns out that was Double DBA, or Double Double Barrel Ale, because that naming convention makes sense. Anyway drunk while listening to an English language cover of the “One Punch Man” theme, now I just need the anime to get a UK release.