Union Jack India Pale Ale - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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Union Jack India Pale AleUnion Jack India Pale Ale

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1,246 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,246
Hads: 6,046
Avg: 4.23
pDev: 9.46%
Wants: 441
Gots: 1,211 | FT: 13
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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Reviews: 1,246 | Hads: 6,046
Photo of Bone53
3.56/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a snifter at around 45°F

Appearance: Golden amber with a one finger off white head

Smell: Funky syrupy hops and sweet malts

Taste: Resiny hops dominate with slight citrus flavors

Mouthfeel: Moderate bitterness. Goes down smooth

Overall: I finally found a Firestone Walker beer in PA! But unfortunately it was 10 months old and the hops were skunked. I taste potential but it's too old to be credible. Hopefully my next Firestone beer is fresh

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Photo of rickyleepotts
3.57/5  rDev -15.6%
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!

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Photo of Damian
3.58/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Drank from a 12 FLUID OUNCE/355 ml bottle
Served in a pint glass
Thanks to errantnight for including this in our trade!

Poured a medium, orangey-amber with a two-finger, off white, bubbly, sea foam head that faded to a thin, resilient cap of froth. Spotty drops of lacing trickled down the glass.

The aroma was hoppy, yet not as potent as I anticipated. Citrusy, with grapefruit coming through strongest. Somewhat powdery and dry.

The taste was hoppy and very fruity. Some caramel malt sweetness came through up front before the hops took over. Spicy, citrusy hops. Tons of grapefruit flavor in the center. Orange peel was apparent as well, along with a touch of tropical fruitiness. The finish was clean, dry and bitter, with noticeable pine and grapefruit flavors.

The mouthfeel was on the thinner side for the style with a moderate amount of carbonation. Not as creamy or smooth as anticipated.

Drinkability was good. This was a well balanced, crisp and snappy IPA that had enough flavor to hold my interest, yet was light and clean enough to keep me coming back for more. The 7.5% ABV was also very well masked.

Overall, this beer was a bit of a disappointment. I expected more of everything (i.e. aroma, body and flavor) from this West Coast IPA. Maybe this is a hoppier version of a British IPA (as the label implies) versus a more typical example of an American IPA.

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Photo of BeerStine
3.62/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours a cloudy orange with medium-light carbonation. Thin white head that disappears rather quickly. Maybe I didn't let the beer warm enough?

S - Faint fruity tangerine hops smell. As the beer warms a slight dank hop smell emerges. Mild biscuit malt smell.

T - Not much flavor on the tip of the tongue but sides of tongue picks up lots of citrusy tangerine flavor. Some lingering bitter aftertaste. Definitely more balanced (read: less hoppy) than most IPAs that I've had.

M - Medium-heavy body. Lightly carbonated.

D - In terms of ease of drinking the beer is definitely drinkable. The taste is somewhat one-dimensional for an IPA. A beer I would not mind bringing to a party and drinking a sixer of. But not a beer that I would savor and look forward to drinking.

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Photo of gatornation
3.63/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle pored an orange/amber color mostly clear with a 1 finger head that dissipated to a fresh white collar and some lacing.. smell was medium citrus and hops with a bread and malt smell..taste was the same nothing huge here hops abound but do not explode on this one ..citrus and pine notes are accompanied by some sweet malts and an alcohol presence..nothing dominates or overpowers this ipa..mouth feel is medium well carbonated..its just not the best of the west IMO..its very drinkable but i will buy other b4 this one

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Photo of thomda11
3.64/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a nice, light copper with a thick head that slowly dissipates. The aroma is pleasant with pine and orange blended with a slightly sweet malt. The orange comes through more strongly as it warms up a bit. Right upfront is a distinct citrus and orange rind flavor, flowed by pine. The palate ends abruptly with a resinous bitterness and a hint of astringency. Not much in the way of malt, unfortunately. Mouth feel is a on the lighter-side--a bit watery. A Good IPA, but not great.

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Photo of beachbum1975
3.64/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This came as an extra from a recent trade with EinWeizenbitte. Thanks again, man!

Below is a summary of notes taken last Friday night.

Poured a clear yellow with a slightly off-white, creamy head that didn't stay long.

Smelled of grapefruits and various citrus flavors. Taste was slightly bitter throughout and much like the nose. Light bodied, medium flavored.

Highly drinkable and worth a try!

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Photo of RustyDiamond
3.65/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11/13/08 etched into neck of bottle. Poured into my lovely SA beer drinking glass. Opaque bright yellow with a clean looking whitish head. Tropical whiffs of tangerine, kiwi, mango. Bitter and tangy hop flavor noticed on the first sip. Fairly dry in the mouthfeel, lingering dryness on the palate. A strange flavor of tropical hop flavor and chalky hop bitterness. Certainly not bad by any means, just not I would again seek out among all the great IPAs from California.

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Photo of Wisconsinality
3.65/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Arbitrator for this generous extra.
12oz bottle poured into SA perfect pint.

A- Pours a nice clear golden with a hint of orange and maybe the slightest haze to it. A nice two finger's worth of head that leaves a small cap on the beer and really nice lacing on the side of the glass.

S- A nice smell of citrus hops, some orange and maybe even a little bit of apricot. Some nice sweet malt in the background.

T- I was informed this one is not as fresh as it could be but I am giving it a go anyways. A pretty mellow hoppiness, mostly some orange and grassy notes. I think with the age, the hops become more subdued and the malt becomes more pronounced.

M- A nice medium body that has a good amount of carbonation. A little bit of a dry finish but not too bitter. Actually it has a nice smooth feel to it.

D- For being less than fresh, I still find this beer to be really good. Really good balance and good MF. I think I will be trading for some of this fresh to see how it is.

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Photo of jwhancher
3.65/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Guess I should have tried this one first before another of FW's stronger IPA offerings (i.e. Double Jack). Oh well.

A: Poured a straw yellow, slightly dark, with some nice, white foam that clings to the glass.

S: Aromas of hops, mostly piney and somewhat fruity. I get pineapple and orange peels. A little spicy.

T: Lighter malts with a nice hop flavor that comes a little before & after the pale malt tastes.

M: Felt this was a little light in feel, but refreshing nonetheless.

O: Pretty good offering but I'm a little letdown from all the FW hype I've been hearing living on the East Coast. Maybe my expectations got the better of me. I may have to edit my review sometime down the line after trying more FW beers.

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Photo of mithrascruor
3.65/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Callahan's, San Diego

Pours a dark amber color with a light white head that leaves a bit of lacing. Slightly spicy aroma of malts and hops. Similar taste with a bit. of orange too. Somewhat astringent finish and aftertaste. Medium-bodied with moderate tingly carbonation. A nice pale ale, though not exceptional and with a bit more carbonation than I'd generally like.

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Photo of Gyle41386
3.65/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Thanks to realmpel for the hookup.

Orange pour. Small white head drops quickly. Some nice lacing on the glass, though.

Very sweet, perfume-y nose. Caramel and orange sweetness.

Flavor pretty much follows. Very sweet beer. Some toasty malt, then lots of sweetness. The citric (mostly orange) hop flavors seem to contribute more sweetness than bitterness. Really, the only bitterness is in the finish.

Medium bodied. Soft carbonation. Slick, oily texture. A little sweet and lacking in the flavor department, but an easy drinker nonetheless. Very underwhelming for a West Coast IPA, especially after I read comparisons to Two Hearted on the forum. Not even close.

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Photo of Star80
3.65/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Bottled 8/6/12. Pours out a pale copper color with a sticky lacy head. Looks just about right.

S - Smell is very good. Smells resinous and fruity like grapefruit with a touch of tropical fruit aromas. Also detecting some pine notes.

T - Taste is bold and citric with some heavy grapefruit notes. Also detecting quite a bit of malt backbone in the form of some caramel notes. However something is a bit off with the hops like after only month they have lost an edge and developed an off flavor.

M - Mouthfeel is slightly syrupy.

O - Overall a decent strong IPA but nothing jumps out at me. There are a lot of strong syrupy IPA's that have that weird overhopped off-flavor like this one. If I am going to have this style of beer I prefer something from Sierra Nevada or Victory. Their hops just taste better and don't have that weird off flavor.

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Photo of OlieIPA
3.66/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Decided to pick up a six pack after trying this a few times on tap at a couple of local establishments. Poured into a Stella Artois glass at roughly 50 degrees.

A: A nice crisp golden body with a white fluffy head. The lacing is pretty extreme as well...engulfing the glass after each huge gulp.

S: The hop character is less floral/estery, but more bitter and straight forward...if that makes sense. Kind of reminds me of a centennial strain, or something similar to it. The malt aroma has a slightly corn-like character to it as well.

T: A very well balanced IPA...a slight sweet note seems to hit at the same time as the hops do; a beautiful and delicate balance between hop bitterness and malt flavor.

M: Medium body with mild carbonation and slight dry finish.

D: One those brews you'd shard with a non-craft drinker.

Overall: Could have more a punch, but the novelty of the beer is it's ability to hit the mediocre extremely well. A try it beer. Cheers!

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Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.67/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Floydster for this great extra. A beer that I have been looking forward to trying for awhile! 12 oz bottle.

A- Body is a slightly hazy blonde hue. Pours with a 1-2 finger foamy white head that eventually fades to a thick collar and leaves some lacing behind in the glass. I like the haziness of this one-but it is a bit more pale than most IPAs I have come across.

S-The nose is pretty great. Piny hops are the main character with some grapefruit and other citrus coming through as well. The slightest hint of caramel malt comes through in the background.

T- The initial flavor is really good and offers great citrus hop flavors with a barely noticeable pale malt backbone. The finish gets pretty bitter. There are piny hop flavors, citrus rind bitterness, pine hop bitterness and that seltzer-like bitterness going on. What lingers is nothing but a medium strength residual bitterness from the finish.

M- Very high, tingly carbonation and a body that is much akin to seltzer water. Some hop oils can be noticed but are overshadowed by the presence of the carbonation.

D- This is a pretty good IPA and I wouldn't mind trying it again. The high carbonation detracts from it a bit-but maybe there is a way around that-because otherwise this is a great brew.

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Photo of weizenbob
3.68/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I received this 12 ounce bottle as an extra in a trade with Azurescens. Thanks Dan. This is IPA is bottle dated 8/17/10 so I expect the hops to have fallen off the table by now. The alcohol content is listed as a moderately high 7.5% ABV so perhaps the malt bill has held up. Let's see.

An aggressive pour into a goblet yields a frothy off-white two finger-high head. The beer is maize colored and quite clear. Head retention is very good and spotty lacing lines the sides of the goblet.

The instant the seal was cracked on the cap the aromatics of this beer began to manifest. Hops are fairly weak in the equation, but are noted none the less by a bit of grapefruit essence. Tropical fruits are noted as well as a healthy yeastiness. There is some tangerine and a mild caramel scent.

The taste is something else altogether. There an earthy maltiness up front with a rye-like grainy character. Fruit juices taste and feel literal, like somebody squeezed a fresh orange into this beer. There is a slight caramel sweetness attached to a very mellow alcohol note. As expected, the hops have long since clocked out with the exception of some mild lingering bitterness on the backend and aftertaste of this brew. It's something altogether different than an IPA at this point, but still enjoyable for what it is.

The beer is medium bodied. The carbonation seemed pretty active at first but is actually relatively low. The alcohol adds a smooth character that helps everything go down smoothly. This is what one should expect an IPA to feel like in the mouth.

As the bitterness has subsided and the alcohol mellowed, this six-month-old bottle of Union Jack is pretty easy drinking. There is a healthy malt base for this beer to stand on and the alcohol is well hidden in the taste. This is one I'll want to revisit fresh.


The Two-Schlitz Scale™: (see my profile for an explanation)
It's not really fair to put an out of date IPA up against any beer so I'm going to forgo the Two-Schlitz scale for this review. This was a tasty brew but I'm sure it's much different when consumed fresh.

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Photo of Pinknuggets
3.68/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle to hfs sniffer

A: golden amber color but totally translucent with a 1cm white head that stays in a ring around the edge

S: lots of fruity smell melon to oranges I can't really discribe the other smell but its good

T: you can taste that melon flavor from the nose in background the main taste the main taste is malty but not overpowering definitely not hoppy but not bad either

M: thin and very light and crisp especially for an ipa but easy to drink and not too oily

O: I usually don't like malt forward ipas but this one is pretty good nothing to special but real solid and easy to drink

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Photo of beerguy101
3.68/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Medium orange color. Large white foamy head. Aroma is grapefruity and floral. A medium bodied IPA. Malts are nutty and slightly sweet. Hops are grapefruity and piney. A nicely balanced IPA. Slightly more fruity than bitter. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and dry. Aftertaste is slightly bitter

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Photo of jdklks
3.69/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- light golden with a white head. looks more like a mix between an ipa and a lager. the head dissipates quickly an leaves a thin sticky lace. not too impressive.

S- citrus fruity hops with a minimal hint of overwhelmed malts. fruity and hoppy. cant go wrong with those two for an ipa!

T- sweeter than expected from the smell. the hop bitterness is less pronounced on the palate than in the nostril, which is disappointing. those malts that were overwhelmed in the smell put up a better fight here, but still ultimately give way to hoppiness. minimal fruity flavors. very tangy.

M- perhaps SLIGHTLY over-carbonated, but not enough to really bring it down. overall a medium bodied brew.

D- this beer drinks well, especially for a 7.5% ipa. however, i dont know how much more of this i will be buying (on the other hand, it was only 4.99 for the 6er!).

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Photo of stephens101
3.69/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours with one finger of off-white head. Clear brassy in color.

Smells of citrusy hops with a resinous background. Light fruits and yeast follow.

An oily hop blast meets up quickly with a caramel sweetness which is followed by more light fruits, some grass and tea leaves.

Just the right amount of everything makes for a very nice session with this standard bearer.

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Photo of alex_hart
3.69/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pour a clear, golden color with some amber tints to it. Great looking carbonation. A pretty beer.

Smell: A lot of the classic IPA scents. Pine, pineapple, some other citrus, and a hint of grapefruit.

Taste: Goes along with the smell in the same way, but really has nothing extra to it. Not all that exciting.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied with good carbonation. Follows the style well.

Overall: Honestly I think I was just expecting more after all of the hub-bub about Firestone all the time. It is an average IPA, but nothing more.

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Photo of ramseye4
3.7/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A=Pours a transparent golden color, with a one finger head.

S=Smooth citric hops, with grapefruit and and a bit of lemon

T=Mellow hop taste, with orange and some lemon thrown in.A small amount of lime comes through near the end, though it has a bit of a weak aftertaste.

M= Sticky, smooth, and just the right amount of carbonation makes this sit nice in the mouth.

D= Medium body makes this easy to sip on

Overall it is definitely a good IPA, though there are much better out there. I would definitely have this again.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.7/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle served in my SA Perfect Pint. Pours a translucent amber with a loose, quarter inch, off-white head. Head qickly dissipates into a creamy bullseye dollop and a thin, tight band around the shoulders. Spots and spatters of lacing coat the walls of the glass. Nose expresses citrus notes, cat urine (simcoe hops) and a trace of tropical fruit. Taste consistent with nose; however, flavors are a bit more muted. There is also some residual bitterness that lingers between quaffs that is intermingled with the cat urine expressed in the nose. Body is medium-light (but closer to light) with a slightly coarse carbonation as well as some acidity that peaks out towards the back. Overall, a decent IPA with a well-hidden abv, but I don't think it deserves the hype.

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Photo of Dubbercody
3.7/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle thanks to a trade...justn.

Pretty beer, dark golden almost amber, with lots and lots of little tiny bubbles streaming up to the top of the glass. Very dense but thin head, about a finger.

Lots of scents kicking out on this one. Lots in the citrus range, also a bit of malt.

Really packs a nice punch of hops when you drink, leaves a little tingle in your mouth. Leaves a creamy sticky residue that is a nice parting gift.

Pairs very well with Hebrew National All Beef Hotdogs...with coarse stone ground mustard.

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Photo of Chriscrundwell12
3.7/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a bells tulip glass.

A- Pours a frothy white 2 finger head, dissipates slowly, forms big bubbles on the side of the glass, Dark orange brown/bronze color, nice carbonation, nice lacing and retention.
S- Really bready and nutty, slight citrus and pine aromas, but the malts and breadiness take over the aroma.
T- Wow, I am not a fan of malty bready beers but this one is very enjoyable, its very nutty and bready like the aroma with hints of citrus and pine, slight bitterness as well, sweet on the finish.
M- Medium mouth feel, nice carbonation, smooth drinking.
O- Im not sure how fresh this beer is or if its supposed to be like this but it was very malty and nutty/bready. Usually I dislike beers that are like this but this one was rather enjoyable. I’d prefer the hops to be more present but still was impressed. Solid IPA.

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Union Jack India Pale Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 1,246 ratings.