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Something about this beer really called to me when I saw it my go to bottle shop by work.  Maybe it was the style, maybe it was the nifty little box, but regardless I brought one home with me.

Beer Name: Helldorado

Brewery: Firestone Walker Brewing Company (Paso Robles, CA)

Style: Barleywine

ABV: 12.8%

Description: Briefly, this was a barrel aged blonde barleywine.  For more of the specs and story behind this you can get the details here on the brewery website.  The price of $10 for the one 12 oz bottle was right around my personal limit for the format but in line with what similar offerings go for in my area.

Appearance: It had an amber colored body through which I could just barely make out my fingers on the other side of the glass.  A thin, fizzy white head formed with the pour and dissipated very quickly thereafter.

Smell: Sweet toffee and honey, with warm oak barrel notes lurking in the back.

Taste: Sweet upfront, with notes of caramel, toffee, brown sugar, and again a bit of honey. The back-end was warm and moderately boozy.  It closed with a fading sweet heat and rising oak barrel notes.  As the beer settled in, the sweetness gradually faded in favor of the heat and barrel influence.

Mouthfeel: The body was slightly and right around medium.  Despite the bubbly head, the overall carbonation level was rather low.

Hype: I’ve come to expect some great things from these boxes Firestone offerings.  

Overall: I’m a bit torn.  On the one hand I did think was a good brew, but on the other it didn’t quite live up to my expectations.  Hard to put my finger on it exactly, but I think with perhaps a slightly thicker body and better blend of sweetness and barrel this would have rated a touch higher for me.