Jan 31, 2020

Firestone Walker XXII Anniversary Ale

Each anniversary release from California’s Firestone Walker is a beast unique to itself. The brewery creates their annual release through a thorough process of blending different beers (from varying vintages and often barrel aged). For XXII – that’s 22 for you slower folk – we see a fusion of five different barrel-aged beers.

Leading the blend is the company’s Stickee Monkey (aged in Bourbon barrels) at 44% of the overall ingredient list. Using this big Belgian-style Quad as the core of the beer provides a welcome hit of yeast and dark fruity traits that are only complimented by the rest of the beers involved. A Bourbon barrel aged stout (22% Parabola) and imperial brown ale (22% Bravo) are next in terms of their involvement while Rum and Gin-barrel variants of Firestone Walker’s Helldorado wrap up the remaining 12%.

Despite there being a heavy Bourbon barrel influence in the final beer, both the gin and rum shine through surprisingly well, creating a dynamic array of flavors and aromas. The rich, decadent beer is incredibly well balanced, showing that those involved in the blending process took their time.

Often a beer like this – comprised of multiple beers – becomes a muddled mess, confusing the drinker. Firestone Walker XXII doesn’t fall into that trap. This beer displays all of its parts in a cohesive and smooth drinking experience that requires you to take just as much time enjoying it as those involved in crafting it took before it made its way into your hands.

Please note that this review is based on notes I took back in October of 2018.