- Style: American Barleywine
- ABV: 11%
- IBU: 26
I’d like to start this out by saying I am a huge Firestone Walker fan. They’re one of my favorite breweries, and I especially love their barrel program. This year was the first year I’ve had their Dark & Stormy, which is a blend of their Helldorado Barleywine, and their Velvet Merkin stout which is then aged in rum barrels with a touch of hand-zested lime, and ginger. Dark and Stormy is also one of my favorite go-to cocktails when at a bar that doesn’t have anything else interesting to drink. Dark spiced rum, good ginger beer, and lime juice…easy, quick, and tasty. Even though I favor the brewery, and the cocktail, I’ll admit I was hesitant to try this.
When I popped the cap I was immediately hit with an explosion of heavy bourbon scents, and I thought maybe this won’t be the tragedy I was thinking it would be. Soon however, I was about to see my hesitation prove right. I poured the beer, and a copper liquid poured out barely forming any sort of head. Strong aromas bursted out the bottle and filled the room with vanilla, booze, spice, dark fruits, oak, and nail polish remover. My first sip and I noticed how thin the body actually was. It was semi-dry with just a touch of sweetness. Flavors of rum, vanilla, spice, raisin, and Coca-Cola all jump out at you but then they fade away extremely quickly leaving you with nothing. Ginger? What ginger? Yeah thats basically non-existent. I didn’t get any of that. There is a very subtle lime flavor that probably wouldn’t really have been noticed unless looking for it. And the bit of citrus I did noticed seemed a bit more from concentrate. The finish was far too short, and it just didn’t leave you excited for that next sip.
It was a great attempt and certainly interesting, however I was totally let down by this beer. I should have followed my gut instinct, or maybe just the other Untappd reviews. It just didn’t come off as what it was suppose to be, so thats where this rating is coming from. If it were a “Rum and Coke” styled beer, then this review probably would have been on the more positive side. The beer had some great aromas that made you a bit excited for this liquid, but once sipped everything just falls short of anything tasty. It was thin, and almost flavorless. This was more on par with a Rum and Coke that had too much ice in it and it all melted, rather than a Dark and Stormy. One pro was that it was super easy to drink, even with the 11% ABV. The heat came through in the aroma, but upon drinking it, you didn’t really experience any burn. Overall my experience with this beer hasn’t been well. Aging one may take away some of that varnish aroma, and possibly may deepen some flavors. If you have one from older vintages or even just have had a more positive experience with this beer I would love to hear about it!