Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Firestone Walker Brewing Co. - Abacus
Well, my quest to taste all of the Top 100 beers seems to be going in the opposite direction it should be. In fact, four beers have already dropped off the list since the last Top 100 I tasted. Not to worry, I have a few lined up that should get these numbers heading in the right direction. We'll start with Firestone Walker's Abacus.
Abacus is the top rated American Barleywine on beeradvocate.com and the second best barleywine overall, trailing only Pelican's Mother of All Storms. Overall, it's rated #40 on the Top 100 list, so this one shouldn't be leaving any time soon. At 13%, it's an absolute monster and not a beer to be taken lightly. It was released a few months back and I was able to get a bottle from Beverages 4 Less in Santee. Yesterday, I enlisted the help of Beau and Justin to help me try it.
Abacus pours a deep chestnut and ruby color with almost no head whatsoever. A few wisps of foam clung to the edges of the glass, but other than that there wasn't much of a head. While the appearance may have underwhelmed a bit, the smell did not. The aroma was huge, with notes of toffee, medium roasted coffee, toasted coconut, caramel, raisin, marshmallow and a bit of port wine. Wowzers!
The taste is every bit as orgasmic as the smell. Is this really a barleywine? Usually barleywines don't really do it for me, so I was shocked by how much I loved this one. The 13% is well hidden, despite a pretty thick and heavy mouthfeel. Big notes of vanilla, caramel, toffee, coconut and butterscotch jump out and coat the tongue and there's a bit of a warmness on the way down. I absolutely loved every sip of this beer. This was, without a doubt, the best barleywine I've ever had and one of the finest beers I've ever tasted. Very Top 100 worthy.
Final Grade: A+
Top 100 Beers Tasted: 20