Helldorado by Firestone Walker Consumer demand.

Helldorado Blond Barley Wine Ale by Firestone Walker

(C) 2017 popsonhops

Tasting: March 19, 2017
Style: Barley Wine
Beer #: 1,044
ABV: 13.2%

Helldorado

A few years ago, I sent an email to a soup company about reducing the size of their can. It went from 20 ounces to 19 ounces. The price was the same, I just thought it shouldn’t go unnoticed. I did get a reply from the company. They stated that “consumer demand” was behind the move. Who were these consumers? They must have been liquored up at some focus group to agree with giving people less for the same price is a good idea. Must have been a group of politicians.

Speaking of being liquored up. While most would applaud moving to a larger bottle or can of beer.  I was not a fan of Goose Island moving Bourbon County Brand Stout from a 12 ounce bottle to a 16.9 ounce bottle. The single 12 ounce bottle price was about $5. At 16.9 ounces, it went to about $10. That’s 42 cents per ounce moving to 59 cents per ounce (a 40% increase). In a karma moment, the first release after the size change was tainted by infected barrels and massive recalls.

My big issue with Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout, was moving something that boozy into a larger bottle. I don’t think that move was in the consumer’s best interest. I think the ideal move for “stronger” beer is to move to smaller cans or bottles. Of course, my expectation is that I’ll pay about the same per ounce. It just makes sense.

I guess Firestone Walker listened to consumer demand and announced in January that all of their proprietor’s vintage beers would now be released in 12 ounce bottles. One other bonus is that there are more units of their limited releases available. I just picked up their latest proprietor’s vintage release a 12 ounce bottle of Bravo for $8. That’s a fair deal. I’m hoping that next month’s release of Parabola is comparable.

This bottle of Helldorado is 22 ounces and checks in at robust 13.2% alcohol by volume. That’s just too much for one person to enjoy responsibly in one sitting. Thankfully, I have a friend that helped me out. I’ve aged this bottle for about a year and a half and had hopes that the booziness would mellow a bit. Well, Helldorado is still boozy but it has a bright pop of raisin and brown sugar. More of a traditional English barley wine here. Boozy character and all, 88 points.

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