Union Jack India Pale Ale - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Union Jack India Pale AleUnion Jack India Pale Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

1,213 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

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Reviews: 1,213
Hads: 5,874
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 8.02%
Wants: 434
Gots: 1,086 | FT: 12
Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: beerguy101 on 10-09-2003

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,213 | Hads: 5,874
Reviews by rickyleepotts:
Photo of rickyleepotts
3.57/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 2.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

We didn't plan on reviewing two beers today, but when I tore off a page in my daily beer calendar, we didn't have a choice. As I was standing there trying to figure out what beer we were going to review today, I was trying to decide between Racer 5 and Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA. Sure enough, I picked Racer 5 only to find Union Jack IPA on the calendar! So I figured we would review two beers today. The Racer 5 is an American IPA and the Union Jack is… an American IPA. It will be fun to see how they stack up and how they compare. I already know I LOVE the Racer 5, so I am curious to see what the Firestone tastes like. I have had it before, but I spend more time focused on the limited release beers from Firestone Walker. We have a bottle of Sucaba (formerly known as Abacus) in the fridge, too! Oh, and a few bottles of their Anniversary Ale in the cellar. As a matter of fact, we are headed (thanks to Dakine) to a tapping of the Anniversary Ale at the Skeptical Chymist soon.)

I might like hops, but reviewing two of these in one day might be too much. Good luck tasting dinner! If you like hops, toady is your lucky day here on 1001 Bottles!

In the Glass: Sheryl said, "This looks like the last one." It does… sort of. This isn't as impressive in regards to color, but the head is sticking around for a few minutes. It also produces a much thicker/heavier lace. I like a beer that laces well. Is that the right way to say that? Anyway, the beer appears thinner in the glass, but the head is getting me excited.

Nose: That is what an IPA should smell like! I like beers that have a lot of citrus in the aroma, but this guy smells like the woods. I am talking pine cones, dirt, musk, and more. There are two major types of India pale ales… I sometimes have a hard time picking a favorite. I am really digging the aroma on this one, though. Firestone Walker has made a name for big barrel aged beer, but hopefully their IPA will impress me.

Flavor: There are too many bubbles up front, and the finish is too thin. But that is more mouthfeel than anything. The flavor is weak on the front of the palate, and then the expected American IPA hop flavors take over toward the back of the tongue. As with the Racer 5, you would never know this has such a high ABV. Yesterday I was talking with someone that ages a few bottles of IPA each year. They are low ABV beers, too. He said they get better with time. With an ABV this high, maybe time would mellow down the flavors and the bubbles would subside. For me, this is too carbonated to really enjoy.

Mouthfeel: The first thing to hit your mouth is bubbles. From the second this goes in, bubbles take over. Then it mellows out on the back of the tongue, but at first you don't expect so much carbonation. The finish is nice, as it begins to mellow, it doesn't become thick… but it becomes drinkable. The aftertaste is my favorite part about this beer.

Aftertaste: The dryness starts as soon as you swallow, but not as dry as the Racer 5. It has a nice subtle dryness that reminds me of a handful of rye beers I have recently had. As you swallow, the aftertaste morphs into an earthy flavor that some might dislike. It's coming from the hops, and offers no citrus notes… just that musky flavor that I was smelling earlier.

This is a good IPA, but not one I would order again unless it was the only thing on tap besides Bud Light. There are a lot better beers out there in this stye. I will just stick to the big BA beers from Firestone Walker. Oh, BA means barrel aged. Sorry! (3,554 characters)

More User Reviews:
Photo of tectactoe
3.91/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Big thanks to Wowcoolman for hooking me up with some nice Firestone Walker wants, including this one. Union Jack pours with very nice clarity; it's kind of got a median amber color, but ranges from bright, golden yellow to deeper, ruby-brown depending on the intensity of the light shining through it at the moment. The three-finger, off-white cream cap is slow to sink and leaves sick lacing all the way down. Fantastic looking beer.

"Pungent" is probably the best word to describe the aroma of the hop bill in Union Jack. Loads and loads of dank hop oils; weedy, spicy, earthy, herbal. The dank is equally matched with shining grapefruit and tangerine aromas - bitter, tangy, and raw. Despite what many other people say, I felt the malt presence in the aroma was quite high and noticeable; big-time toasted bread notes from start to finish. The bottling date was only about 7 weeks ago, so it's definitely not old.

The flavor follows through with what the nose was promising, although unfortunately I feel that it does so half-heartedly. There's a big, up-front smash of earthy, dirty, and pungent hops including light pine and oily resins. There's also a good bit of citrus peels, less discernible on the palate, however. Some light pepper seems to be sprinkled over everything, too. I mean, I like the taste, but for some reason it doesn't seem as "standoutish" as the aroma did.

Malts are a bit heavier on the palate, I'd say, displaying substantial amounts of sweet bread and toasted crackers. Hard to tell exactly what types of malts were used thanks to the large color gradient, but I'm not getting anything as dark as caramel malt in here. Warming brings out a slight booziness, even at only 7.5% ABV, that I'm somewhat hesitant but forced to identify it with nail polish remover. It never gets overwhelming, though, but it wouldn't be missed if it were gone.

Solid body for an IPA, medium, slick, and toying on the edge of being sticky. Carbonation was on-point, too. Much like Double Jack, I feel this is a bit overrated for what it is, albeit it's still marvelously crafted. They (obviously) have similar hop flavors, so perhaps this particular bill and schedule doesn't completely vibe with my palate. In any case, it was still a very enjoyable IPA. (2,266 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Honey with a large splash of orange juice. The head is polished ivory in color and features loads of sticky bubbles on its upper surface. As those bubbles burst, they leave a delicate array of lace-like lace all over the upper reaches of the glass. A classic look.

And an outstanding nose! There goes any thought that Union Jack is an English IPA. So why the name? The hop bill (Simcoe, Centennial, Cascade, Columbus) is 100% American and the sheer amount of hoppiness is AIPA all the way. Talk about a fantastically bright, perfectly pungent, fresh hop-like nose. Prediction: this is going to be great beer.

That was way too easy. As expected, Union Jack is full-to-bursting with C-hop goodness. Can't forget the Simcoe (S-hop), since they give the flavor profile a distinctly tropical vibe that adds yet another dimension. Killer hop bill. Absolutely killer. It's also nice to see that the brewery didn't allow the little green cones to outpace their malt support.

There's just enough of a barely toasted, caramel maltiness (think SN Celebration Ale) to let the drinker know that hops aren't the only ingredient that's allowed to provide flavor. The good thing is that the caramel doesn't get in the way of the grapefruit, bitter orange and pineapple explosion. 72 IBUs seems about right, but they're a friendly 72.

The mouthfeel stays well within the bounds of the IPA style. Any bigger and it wouldn't work as well. It's as smooth as glass and is lightly creamy in the bargain. Soft-edged carbonation is pretty much perfect.

Firestone Walker Brewing Co. has another winner with Union Jack India Pale Ale. Forget the British flag, though. This beer is Stars And Stripes Forever and is proud of it. I could (and would) drink this stuff by the case if it was available locally. (1,783 characters)

Photo of oberon
4.27/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I have wanted to try this for awhile,glad to get my hands on it.Poured into a standard pint glass a clear medium to full on golden with a thinner but well retained white head.Citric and pine in the nose,I mean just great hop definition,a bit of sweet alcohol as well.The mouthfeel is just a tad thin and prickly but it doesnt take away from the drinkibility really,just me nit picking really.Well balanced with big resiny and citric hop intertwining with a hefty sweet doughy malt base,yeah the hops win out but the malt base holds firm.A great Cali IPA the hops are huge but its not totally unbalanced. (603 characters)

Photo of mojohawk21
3.5/5  rDev -17.5%

Photo of RoyalT
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - This is a delicious-looking clear but heavy orange body with a nice, retentive white head that even left some lacing on the inside of my pint glass.

Smell - The rich, orange-flavored hops are big and heavy. I can pick up a solid sweetish malt base but it's the orange and to some extent pine hops that lead this beautiful bouquet.

Taste - This one is full of flavor. The hops make a magnificent transition from nose to tongue bringing out a massive array of huge hop flavors without being too bitter or harsh and the sweetness from the malts is a perfect compliment.

Mouthfeel - This is a solid medium-bodied ale that is bitter but not punishingly so and just enough carbonation to keep you interested.

Drinkability - This is both big and quaffable at the same time. The balance is superb yet the hopheads will relish the flavors. This is a winner for sure. (874 characters)

Photo of aszatk01
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of cam477
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of Bmm281
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of DavyJones
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of t2grogan
3/5  rDev -29.2%

Photo of MadScientist
3.78/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: A brilliantly clear medium amber beer. The persistant off-white has cream and rocky bubbles that sticky, sort of climbing of the beer and up the glass. Leaves some light lacing as well.

S: A moderately-high citrus, pineapple and tropical fruit hop aroma dominates. There is a light toasty malt aroma with mild esters and a soft alcohol aroma. A slight grassiness from the dry hopping.

T: An assertive hops bitterness with some citrusy hops flavors that are showing their age. There is an interesting twist to the supportive malt flavor that I'm going to chalk up to Firestones Burton Method along with a slight toasted malt flavor. There is light ester, A slight grassy note and soft alcohol sweetness. The balance is definitely bitter with the bitterness lingering long past the dry finish.

M: A medium bodied beer with moderately high carbonation. There is some warmth and a very light prickle on the palate.

O: A strong IPA with an strong bitterness and just enough malt to keep it from going off the deep end. I have got to find a fresh bottle of this as the hops flavor is showing it's age.

Bottled on 04/10/12 (1,125 characters)

Photo of Runs4Beer
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of jono0101
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of brownbeer
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of Tiernan
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%

Photo of ccapurso
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of hopsleeroy
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 Oz bottle from Einweizenbitte-a fantastic extra! Thanks for the opportunity.

A-Orange golden color with some chill haze. Nice white lacing that settlesafter a 2 inch head.
S-Grapefuit, tangerines, sweet citrus, a little bit of pine smell. Citrus is slightly sweet scent. Smells great
T-More pine in taste but upfront hops with citrus, lingering pine on back of tongue on swallow. A little bit harsh on back because of the pine resin flavor-too much chinook? Sweet malt is balanced while drinking with some mild toffee flavor
M-Med in mouth, good carbo, slightly oily and taste of resin on back of mouth
D-The back harshness drops this from a 4.5 to a 4 but overall very nice and I would drink another one. (710 characters)

Photo of tohe9384
4.75/5  rDev +12%

Photo of TimBeaulieu
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of woodchipper
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of Andnkuhn
4.37/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of delaced21
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of SkiBum22
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of beergod82
4/5  rDev -5.7%

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Union Jack India Pale Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 1,213 ratings.