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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

1,228 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,228
Hads: 5,972
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 8.02%
Wants: 439
Gots: 1,157 | 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: 1,228 | Hads: 5,972
Photo of velmalikevelvet
1.93/5  rDev -54.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

22 oz. chilled bottle, served in 4oz taster glasses.

A: Buttery gold (or, if you ask Carrie, "concentrated, stale mountain piss-colored"), minimal

S: Depending on the nose of the hoes, variously described as "Gewurztraminer", "citrusy" (x2), "apricots", and "bananas, maybe".

T: "Nothing up front, a big marble of bitter in the middle, and then extended breathing-out of the bitter", "no floral and almost no hoppiness", "spicy", "lots of volatile oils; you know, that stuff you scrape off the orange before you zest it".

M: "Thin spicy burning sharp", "light a match & breathe fire".

O: We did not enjoy drinking this beer.

(This was reviewed simultaneously by 5 people from the same bottle.) (701 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
2.32/5  rDev -45.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2.5

Served on draught into a Miller Lite glass at the 9-0 Bar in South Central Los Angeles. Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours a half-finger pathetic head of fair cream, decent thickness, and awful retention. Colour is a semitransparent yellow-copper.

Sm: Bittering hops. That's it. A moderate strength aroma.

T: Bittering hops are present on the climax over top a standard barley foundation. Poorly balanced but decently built.

Mf: Coarse, sharp, and wet. A touch watery (the kiss of death in my reviews).

Dr: The high ABV comes through far more than it should. It's watery and low quality. I won't have it again on draught, but I guess I'd try a bottle of it, hoping it were less watery.

***
01.07.15: Impressions from a bottle. Bottled 11/05/14. Reviewed live as an IPA. Note that the name of this beer per the label is "Union Jack IPA." 7.5% ABV

Served cold into a pilsner glass. Expectations are below average given the brewery.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 3 fingers wide. Beige colour. Soft-looking. Supple. Creamy. Frothy. Full. Light lacing coats the glass as it recedes. Retention is excellent - about 7-8+ minutes.

BODY: Clear translucent transparent pale copper of average vibrance. Clean; no yeasty sediment or hop detritus is visible.

Overall, it looks like a pretty standard IPA. Has no stand-out characteristics. Certainly not unique or special.

AROMA: Rather plain, actually. Pale malts, floral hop character, some untoward tropical fruit character. Hints of resins and hop oils. Hop bitterness is obnoxiously untamed, and rather forward at the expense of balance. Hints of soapiness and detergent off-character don't do this any favours. Slightly bready, with notes of vague fruitcake and sweetbread. Really quite simple.

Aromatic intensity is average. It's a soft aroma which doesn't assault the drinker, but it's just so...derivative?

No yeast character or overt alcohol is detectable (to style).

TASTE/TEXTURE: Rampant obnoxious hop bitterness runs rampant throughout the flavour profile, made worse by the beer's dragging coarse scratchy rough feel, which grates against the palate. The texture is just irritating - and stale to boot. The simple taste is comprised of generic pale malts, some uninteresting tropical fruit notes, and mundane floral hop character. Fundamental imbalance (particularly between malt sweetness and hop bitterness) makes this brew hard to enjoy.

Has a shallow depth of flavour. Average flavour intensity and duration. Poor flavour amplitude. There isn't any real complexity/intricacy, nuance, or subtlety to speak of. The ingredients clash, the choices of hops are poor, and the malt backbone is inadequate. It's a bit of a mess, and has a chaotic unguided overall feel. I struggle to enjoy it.

Additionally, it's overcarbonated and unrefreshing. Not a gestalt build for an IPA by any means. It just never feels like a cohesive whole.

OVERALL: I continue to be perplexed by the hullabaloo surrounding Firestone Walker - at least in terms of their hoppy offerings. This is - at best - a forgettable IPA with no characteristics that would lead the discerning drinker to regard it as world-class. A good beer of any style requires balance, but Firestone Walker has opted to disregard that axiom in favour of assaulting the drinker with an obnoxious loud hop bitterness that will only please adherents to the childish notion that more substantial hop content, higher IBUs, and maximal perceived bitterness are characteristics indicative of quality. IPA brewing is not a dicksizing competition to see who can pack more hop essence into a liquid; it's a craft which requires careful attention to balance and subtlety. This beer industry equivalent of the Loudness War has to stop.

D+ (3,755 characters)

Photo of JimiO
2.75/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A classic IPA... and a good benchmark to utilize in measuring other IPA's. Good color and clarity... very easy on the nose... good balance of hoppiness (for an IPA)... sits nice in the mouth.

I tasted it along with Firestones DBA... I preferred the DBA. I am not a big fan of IPA's... I prefer less Hop. But this is a good quality IPA. (336 characters)

Photo of turbine2475
2.91/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Thanks to BrewBakerE for this brew:

A - Transparent honey colored brew with a perfect two finger fluffy white head that hung around for a long time before slowly disipating leaving a heavy lace.

S - Smells sweets with a decent presence of floral and citrus malts with a honey sweet malt.

T - Murky citrus hops and a subtle caramel malt. Not much there. I wonder if I got a bad bottle.

M - Smooth, almost non existant, carbonation and a bitter aftertaste.

D - Not what I had hoped it would be. Would only try another another bottle to re-review it. (552 characters)

Photo of BearsOnAcid
2.93/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured this into a tulip glass. Big white fluffy head after a vigorous pour. Lacing is slightly thick and sticks to the glass. The color is basically what you see on the label for the bottle.

The smell had a nice piney/citrusy hops smell followed by candy. I'm picking up some alcohol as well.

Taste has a hard hit of piney bitterness. The malt flavor is pretty light. Slight caramel and bready flavors in the background. The finish is bitter, alcohol, grassy, astringent. It's a bit thinner than I'd like for an IPA. Carbonation is right. I'd like it more if it weren't for the astringent bitterness. (605 characters)

Photo of jtierney89
3/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a bright copper color with a sizable foamy bright white head. Nice noticeable nose of the traditional american IPA scents, grapefruit, citric and pine. Smells good. Full mouthfeel with lots of carbonation. Bright clean and crisp, flavors follow the nose. Hop bitterness is high. Can get a bit much after a bit, but other wise a pretty good IPA. Not for those who like that intense building bite. The carbonation breaks apart the body a bit on the back end adding to the slightly displeasing finish. I can see others loving this though. (541 characters)

Photo of kpoole25
3.02/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured to a glass. Light brown to orange color, a bit hazy, white head. Pretty typical IPA aromas, citrus and pine. Taste was pretty good up front, nice sweet, rich malt, but the finish really turned me off. There was a combination of flavors that didn't play well together on my palate...a combination of alcohol, the type of bittering hops and...maybe the oak?...just left me saying "not lovin' this." Difficult to finish the bottle. (435 characters)

Photo of HalfFull
3.05/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. Pours a clear golden orange with a thin head. Offers little retention and some random lacing.

Smell is citrusy sweet. Hops and sweet malts intermingle and are a bit confusing. Once you pick one to focus upon things improve, yet I found myself seeking a rather unfamiliar, and seemingly unnatural, odor. Surely just the combination is unfamiliar. Well agitated the beer is rather hoppy, yet this profile plays second fiddle overall.

Taste is similar to the nose; slightly sweet, slightly odd, yet oddly compelling. A viscous mouthfeel tells me that the malts and the hop oils are working together. Lots of orange citrus, and the hops are subdued and buried beneath, or perhaps contibuting to the buttery malts. A sneaky IPA that is probably trying to snatch my wallet. I won't let it happen! In the end the hops are ruined by the 'simple sugar' sweetness of the beer. I find this beer unbalanced and overly sweet for an IPA, particularly given the nature of the malt structure.

Oddly, I've had this on tap on one occassion prior and I recall a very different beer. This one actually reminds me of their IPA Nectar...

Edit....Had on tap again in May '09 and must restate that the draft is a better, and dare I say, a different beer. I'll take the draft. (1,296 characters)

Photo of titus0010
3.07/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.25

Nice amber - yellow color, high opacity.
Smells like a good ipa. Nice hoppiness with some citrus.
Tastes like it smells except with less flavor than I expected.
Very watery mouth feel for an ipa.
Still, a solid brew. (217 characters)

Photo of RickGrimes
3.12/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Maybe not so fresh, but not tasty. Deep amber colour, white frothy head. Smells like malt bomb, a lot of caramalt, grapefruit. The flavour is the saime, citrussy finish. (169 characters)

Photo of travolta
3.14/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Appearance: Perfectly filtered light copper in color with nice retention and a nice sized head. Lacing is something of note, even with a bad pour.

Nose: Papaya, mango, pineapple. A tiny bot of juicy fruit candy, apple, and lemon.

Taste: Crisp and bitter. Slightly chalky with orange rind. A nice clean finish with nothing really lingering. (341 characters)

Photo of nsheehan
3.14/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Union Jack
Firestone walker
20130812
22oz to modern pint
7.5% ABV
IPA
Bottled on 07/12/13, bought ~08/07/2013

A – A very clear copper, some bubbles rising almost lazily from the bottom. Head reduced to a thin yet full layer. Lacing in the glass is craggy and quite nice.

S – Fruit and hay, a little bit of pine, and some malt to balance it out. Getting papaya, cantaloupe, and honey dew, not much citrus to be had. The smells work together nicely, but it’d be nice to have a bit more oomph from the hop aromas.

T – Similar to the smell, the taste needs more oomph. I like the level of bitterness, though it could be more. First I get the fruits and the hay, then the sweetness comes in to share the palate. The flavors kind of roll over the tongue and eventually leave a grassy honeydew aftertaste. Not a huge fan. As it warms, nothing more comes out, and it seems that just the sweetness strengthens a bit. Even for a pale ale this would be disappointing, but it tastes more like a hopped up bock.

M – Medium bodied, pretty soft, not tingly except for two seconds during the swallow. Wet finish. I’m not really digging this for style. This mouthfeel comes across more as a dinner or dessert beer, thanks to the excess sweetness. To be fair, I have to remind myself that it’s not a DIPA and I should try to separate the taste and mouthfeel.

D – I was excited for this one, but it really didn’t come through. Firestone does great stuff, and this IPA is well-regarded, but I struggle to agree that it is an IPA. As much as I’d like to give it love, I can’t. I’ll probably revisit this one when I can get it fresher in CA in a year or two.
4.25, 3.25, 3, 3, 3; 3.11. (1,692 characters)

Photo of eurekashane
3.17/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a-its like it almost can't decide what color it is (i drank out of 2 glasses to give the benefit of the doubt)

s-oddly bread-like. not the floral bouquet i expect from a 7.5% ipa. the nose gives me nothing to look forward to. that is the best way i can put it.

t-the best part of this beer is the taste, and that is the biggest factor. my overall grade on this beer won't factor high given the individual scores of each component, but if if i was helen keller i could love it. it is more than the sum of it's ba parts. it reminded me to not get lost in the minutiae.

m-it stuck to the rear of the roof of my mouth in a creepy way. really bizarre. i would love to know if this resonates with anyone else?

d-this is the beer equivalent of the girl you would like to f in the dark. when you can't see or smell it, it is awesome... (831 characters)

Photo of b3barron
3.22/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured this into a Bell's pint glass. One of a few hop-focused beers brought back to me from California. My first beer from this brewery.

A - Normal pour produces a thin one-finger, off-white head with very little retention and small traces of frothy lacing. Nice glowing orange color with reddish hues when held up to a lamp.

S - Spicy hops and Caramel Malt. Faint floral hops and a little pine.

T - Malty sweetness giving way to earthy, then piney hops. A nice bitterness balances this beer out while it hangs around through the finish and sticks to the back of my tounge. I actually get some alcohol as this warms.

M - On the fuller-bodied side for an IPA. Could perhaps use just a little more carbonation.

D - Not bad but full body and warming alcohol detracts from the drinkability in a style that I otherwise consider to be very drinkable.

I like to call these "pizza beers". They serve a purpose but would not be an IPA I would buy regularly with many better alternatives available. Glad I had a chance to try it and worth a shot. (1,045 characters)

Photo of ronniebruner
3.25/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Wow! I have never disagreed more with The bros. than on this beer! Usually they are gospel, but I am just not seeing it here with Firestone. It's an extremely average IPA with no memorable qualities. I bought a six pack and it took 2 months to finish them off. Even the Sierra Nevadas and Steinlagers went before the last Firestones. Anyways, i digress.... this beer is not necessarily bad, but then again, its not great. Think of the most average IPA you have ever had across the board and here ya go! (509 characters)

Photo of davexisxrabid
3.25/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass, and these were the results:

Nice fluffy one finger white head graced this slightly cloudy pale amber ale. Rings of lacing were left on the glass as the chugging commenced - nice!

The aroma was of a fruit forward chardonnay. Citrus and floral scents were immediately detectable, along with a sweeter malt characteristic and alcohol.

The taste was honestly, a bit of let down compared to the aroma. The sweeter characteristics were muted; I was not expecting that from this IPA; it was more of a hoppy citrus and slight grapefruit flavor, all in all, a little too much on the hops part that left the flavor unbalanced.

There is a lingering bitterness on the tounge that isn't like most other IPA's - instead of being pleasant, this one was a little too bitter. It did however, have nice carbonation that lightened it up a bit.

I wouldn't say this is a sessionable beer because at 7.5% abv, it might takes it toll on you if you choose to pound these away all night. It's a little heavy on the palate and the hoppy characteristics made it difficult for me to have more than just one. I would prefer their Double Barrel ale to this anyday. (1,180 characters)

Photo of AWolfAtTheDoor
3.28/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Fist commercial brew in a while, been plowing through a lot of awesome home brew. I'm still trying to figure out the fascination with this brewery. After complete disappointment with their DBA, I wanted to give this one a shot.

Clear light coppery color in my pint glass. Not a huge head, but the bottle was fairly cold. Lacing is reasonable, but not blowing my socks off.

Shitload of hops in the nose. And apparently Shitload is a word, because Fire Fox isn't telling me that I spelled that word wrong. Awesome. Anyways, kind of a citrus piny smell. I'm almost positive that it is Simcoe. My first thought when I smelled this was "Stone" and their affinity for Simcoe in their IPAs.

Taste mirrors the smell, albeit a bit lighter. While apparently the hop monkey at Stone only knows how to throw Simcoe into the kettle, there is at least some sort of an attempt to balance it out here. But with that said, I'm getting a lot pine and a bit of grapefruit on the mouth. Overall it's honestly fairly watery for a 7.5% ABV IPA. That's it! Eureka! It tastes like a watery Ruination.

Mouthfeel is mediumish. Hoppy flavor is clining to the back of my throat, the way that sweet drinks tend to accumulate there.

Eh, it's no where near a drain pour, but probably one of the crappier IPAs that I've had. Velvet Merlin is the only thing I'd ever buy from Firestone again. (1,364 characters)

Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.28/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. No freshness dating noted. Pours clear and golden bronze in color with a white head of about one finger in size. Some bits of lacing remain on the glass.

Aroma is all hops. Piney and fruity, but mostly piney.

Flavor was nice but not my cup of tea. Rather sweet and overly fruity. The pine notes are noted in the finish but this one is full of fruity flavors and sweetness. The bitterness is left way behind. The bitterness is there at the very end but not much in the flavor up front.

A bit watery on the mouthfeel with low carbonation. I just didnt enjoy this one that much. It looked good and smelled good but the taste and mouthfeel were not pleasing to me. DRinkablity was low but certainly wasnt anything gross. I wouldnt purchase this again. (797 characters)

Photo of jethrodium
3.31/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap. Pours a clear light amber with a one finger white head that has good retention and leaves a large amount of lacing on the glass. The aroma is pine hops, a bit of grapefruit, caramel, and sugar cookie. Smells pretty sweet. The initial taste is sweet with pine and grapefruit, then some sugar cookie and a bit of caramel. Pretty sweet overall. The finish has a light bitterness. It would probably benefit from some more bitterness. Medium body. Low carbonation. A bit too sweet overall. (492 characters)

Photo of tr4nc3d
3.33/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22fl oz bottle into my pint glass

Pours a pretty light amber color with a very fluffy and marsh mellow like off-white head. Huge bubbles scattered around all on top of the foam. Great head retention with soapy lacing all throughout the glass. Very terrific looking.

Very mild citrus smell with slight hints of floral notes in there and that nice biscuit/caramel malt smell coming through. Smells exactly like the style calls for it. Looking good so far.

Damn, well hops have faded quite a bit on this, as you can tell from the slightly mild bitter taste upfront with the caramel malt being dominant in this. Nothing more(unfortunately)

Medium bodied with minimal carbonation. Sweet caramel malt in the aftertaste.

Well this f**king sucks to tell you the truth. I do not know how fresh the bottle is since the damn brewers like to put no date or make it a treasure hunt to find it and decode it. All in all I heard good things about this and I'm sure it would be good if it was fresher. But I have to call it like it is and speak the truth whether it be fresh or old. (1,086 characters)

Photo of gnarlsbarley
3.34/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Color: dark golden hazy appearance. Pleasing

Smell: subdued hoppy smell with slightly sweet background

Taste: slightly sweet amber ale character up front, hop flavor comes on in the middle and finishes with a mix of bitter hops with light sweet malt

Thoughts: I prefer a stronger hop flavor/aroma. Mild tasting for an IPA. I do like the bitter aftertaste it leaves.

Comments: My favorite part about it is the hop bitter aftertaste. Otherwise, I prefer my IPAs with more more carbonation (I did have a cold bottle) and greater hop flavor and aroma. If you have a sweet tooth and like IPAs, you might like this one. (618 characters)

Photo of Avantyawn
3.34/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 Ounce bottle, aggressively poured into pint glass

A: Finely filtered , very clean, clear orange. Frothy white head, with retention as the head goes down. I like my IPAs to not look so clean so points off for over manicured filtered look. It looks rather unextraordinary.

S: Fruity sweet smells, peach, mango, white grape juice with a touch of booze. It smells very potent, yet not altogether enticing. Potent but not masterful.

T: Burned malty grain, too much booze flavor for 7.5 unfortunately, sloshy sweet malts. I find that the alcohol flavor takes away from what should be a robust hop flavor here. I have to admit, I am underwhelmed by the taste of this beer.

M: The beer is filtered so finely that the mouthfeel is a bit vacant. It's a strong ale surely, but it drinks too quickly because it doesn't feel like there is much for your mouth and tastebuds to grab onto. Also, the carbonation is too low, and it ends up feeling thin AND syrupy at the same time, an odd and unattractive combo in my book. Almost like flat champagne...

O: Overall , this is not a bad beer per say, but it is underwhelming and with so many awesome IPA's out there this will not be a go to for me. The batch is fresh, brewed in June, so freshness is not the issue here. I feel the beer needs a bit more grit and balls, it is too smoothed over without enough drama to the flavor. It's odd because Double Jack is one of the best beers I've ever had the pleasure of tasting, so robust in hop aroma and flavor, and this just doesn't seem to come close on any level. Once again, not a horrible beer, but not even close to as good in flavor and taste as the Mission Street IPA they make for Trader Joe's! I think the APV is way too high for the flavor component here, the flavor is subtle, but with 7.5% you need a big flavor to distract the palette from the booze. When I drink this, I keep thinking of white grape juice and flat champagne... (1,928 characters)

Photo of beertunes
3.35/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in straight pint glass. Poured a clean and clear golden amber with about an inch of slightly off white head that dissipated very quickly and left more than moderate lacing.

A floral hop aroma, backed with some pine, hits the nose upfront. The malt that , by definition, must be in beer has no presence. Yup, you guessed it, the flavors are dominantly pine and flowers.

Body and drinkability are average for the style. Overall, while this is a very enjoyable beer, I've now had a couple and look forward to more, it's just your basic California IPA. Very tasty, worth having several of, but does not stand away from the pack. (634 characters)

Photo of MisterClean
3.36/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Shared at a brew tasting.

A - Golden light head, dissipates moderately leaving a decent trail of lacing.

S - Alcohol, malts, and flowers.

T - Malts, flowers, and alcohol.

M - Tangy and sweet. Needs more bittering hops.

D - Good, but there is little balance in the beer and could age a little longer. (304 characters)

Photo of atomicbeer
3.4/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

On tap pint at the Yardhouse in Las Vegas. Clear copper color with persistent tan head that laced nicely on the way down. Delightful aroma of pine-grapefruit- floral that I could whiff all night. The taste is hops out the ass like chewing on grapefruit skin. Mouth is too bitter for me, surprising with the 7.5% ABV. (316 characters)

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Union Jack India Pale Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 1,228 ratings.