Firestone's XVII is one of those beers that fall flat between «excellent» and «first world problems». What does that mean? Well, let's have a look.
This truly is one of those beers that is worth the incredibly steep price tag of $20 (thrifty drinkers would have picked it up during one of Huckleberry's recent sales for a more humane price). When Firestone kicks out one of their special releases, they really do make them just that. Special.
Yet there are things that brings one to pause. A first world problem kind of pause? Certainly. But a pause none the less.
First, the XVII reminds me just a little bit too much of Firestone's Double DBA. The latter is a barley wine; the former a strong ale. I suppose one can argue that the similarity is there by design, and that the high ABV, the sweetness, and the velvet-y mouthfeel inevitably will put the two in the same sphere. One can also argue that this is not a bad thing. They both are very, very good ales.
My point is, for the price, it might be hard for many to justify picking up a couple of both.
Which brings me to the second issue: aging.
Now it's hard to say which way the XVII will go, but the XVI did not fare too well after a year. The flavor had dulled and the mouthfeel wasn't quite there anymore. Was this a one off problem with a single bottle? Who knows? But figuring it out requires opening a precious bottle for investigation.
First world problems indeed, but there they are. Maybe you should just get an XVII or two and enjoy them now? I could think of worse things to do. The velvet-y sweetness is unlike most other beers out there (Double DBA aside).
And it is worth the steep price. The XVII is excellent any which way you look at it.