Abacus 2011 is part of Firestone Walkers Reserve series beers, this barly wine has been aged in 20 year old bourbon barrels. There were only 1500 of these bottles released. I was lucky enough to have it on draft at a Firestone Walker event back in March at the Boulders on Broadway in Tempe Arizona and now my second bottle this weekend. This really is an amazing tasting beer. I know that there are some out there that really do not like barley wines, but since this one has been aged I would say that alot of the hard edges assocated with barley wines have been mimized.
Now to the beer, it has a really major fig taste, maple syrup sweetness, vanilla with chocolate notes, this beer is 13 % ABV but lacks an over powering alcohol taste. As the name states, it does have a real wine sort of feel to it. The alcohol state is not over powering, it can be felt going down your throat but it does not hit strong at the beginning of the sip. Abacus has a real coco type of smell, as described by a fellow happy hour compatriot, it smells like the coco powder as you spoon it onto the milk, so as you get the wiff of the powder in your nose. There were strong vanilla notes as well. The beer is very thick and blackish red looking. The carbonation is almost non-existent and there was not very much head.
When I say that I mean that it is real light feel in your mouth, many beers no matter their type they have a thick feel. I am guessing that since this beer is aged for 14 months, that may be an effect of the ageing, thinness. To me it seems that the time between tastings has allowed the beer to mature, even in 3 months. Initially it was in a keg and the most recent taste was from a bottle but the barley wine seems to have thinned just a bit. I am curious how this beer will taste in 6 months or a year after it has aged even more. This beer gets much better as it warms.
Beer Advocate has rated this beer as an A and it is very deserving of this ranking. I also found a couple of other review so this beer that you might find interesting.