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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.

1,246 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,246
Hads: 6,046
Avg: 4.23
pDev: 9.46%
Wants: 441
Gots: 1,214 | 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.
View: Beers (87) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,246 | Hads: 6,046
Photo of TheWolf
3.89/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Look - what I anticipate my pee will look like when my liver starts to give. A dark orange/brown.

Smell - like the sweater of the the early 50s single lady in the office that is making one last effort. Cat piss and flowers.

Taste - like you took her up on her offer.

Feel - once you get under that hand knit furry sweater your surprised to find a nice body. Great carbonation.

Overall - nice balance. A unique hop profile. appreciate the subtleness. It doesn't try to be something it isn't like all the new ones out there. And it will be around for a while. Enjoyable.

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Photo of Beertsipper
4.48/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce can poured into a pint glass. Light orange in color with a two finger head. Aroma is tropical fruit, citrus, hops. Wow, taste is very delicious. Tropical fruit, citrus, peaches, melon, hops. Finishes clean with a touch of pine at the back end. Will definitely be a staple in my fridge. Wonderful representation of the style.

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Photo of 303beer
3.52/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a yellow orange with a thin white head that dissipates rapidly with some bubbles leaves nice lacing. The nose is straight up IPA hops and citrus. The taste is bitter, citrusy and hoppy at the same time. With a little more bitter lingering into the backend.

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Photo of golf_sierra
4.01/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Definitely west coast hoppy IPA.
Clear, lighter amber color. A bit more carbonated than some IPA, but still has nice mouth feel.
Some tropical citrus, but more resinous bitterness and some slight astringency and dry finish.

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Photo of Kelz87
4.12/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

From 12 oz can into tulip. Can dated 2-27-15

A- a semi-hazy dark gold/ copper color, with about 3 fingers of thick sudsy white head. Not much lacing to speak off.

S- very tropical, citrusy, grapefruit rind (mostly papaya and mango). Little to no malt sweetness

T- nearly identical to the smell, with some clean malt backbone.

M- average to thin mouthfeel, very little CO2 burn. Not really much to talk about here

O- I think it's a pretty good beer. Definitely one of my faves. This is about my tenth one or so since moving back to mainland. Plan to keep on buying more, but would love to try a much more fresh one. Preferably <100 days old

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Photo of FootballAndBeer
3.96/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Had this poured from a 12oz can. Checked this one out due to the reviews I read on here, overall a solid IPA. Very potent smells, I picked up lots of citrus and fruit in the aroma with a tiny bit of malt, and a bit of a piney smell. Loved the aromas. Beer went down easy, I didn't pick up as much of a hoppy bite as I'd hoped, nor did I experience the flavors I hoped to taste from the smell. Clean to drink, tasted mainly a malty backbone. Every time I poured, I got a huge amount of head, even when I deliberately slowed the pour. Overall good beer, but not my style of IPA. Would drink again.

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Photo of ChrisMon02
4.54/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Have been waiting a long time to try this. Serve out of a can and poured into a pint glass at Twisted Spoke Chicago.

Beautiful dark yellow beer with a nice frothy head that leaves nice pacing around the glass.

Smell is yellow grapefruit with a touch of dry malt.

Wow-hop explosion. Pithy grapefruit and just enough malt to balance the beer perfectly. Very Impressed.

Mouthfeel is really nice. This brew moves easily making me want to gulp instead of drink normally.

Overall a world class IPA and worthy of the rating. Wish I could get this in the Cleveland, OH area. Very well crafted and highly recommended.

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Photo of Atlas1
3.94/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Love the Firestone I've had before. Now that we have access to more of their stuff here in SA, I am excited to try newer beers too.

Pours a pretty, rich golden straw color. Decent lace. The nose is easy going grapefruit with a hint of pine and alcohol. Taste is big and hoppy, with strong citrus flavors and chewy grass and pine mixed in. Boozy but not unpleasant. Strong bitter finish doesn't let go easily. Firm mouthfeel.

I really like this beer. Maybe not a great session ale due to the ABV, but I could still put 2-3 back in a sitting without any trouble. Reminds me of the Grapefruit Sculpin from Ballast Point, to be honest, just with a little less citrus; but along those lines. I'll revisit the Union Jack again. Cheers.

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Photo of JackieKu
4.09/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 fl.oz. bottle. Bottled on 05/15/2015.

A: pale amber. Clear. Poured with 3 fingers high head and moderate long retention.
S: Moderate citrus aroma. A little grassy.
T: Intense hops flavor. Moderate to high bitterness. Mildly malty sweet. Finish is semi-dry.
M: Creamy. Medium bodied.
O: Balanced, flavorful, and drinkable IPA.

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Photo of L0ne
3.92/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From backlog. On draft at Gingerman in Houston, February 2015.

Very solid IPA. Lots of citrus hops and relatively nondescript malt background that balances the beer while letting the hops shine.

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Photo of tone77
3.53/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. can. Has a dark golden color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is fruity, malty. Taste is big on piney hops, didn't see that coming from the aroma, touches of grapefruit, medium bitterness. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall a solid beer, but I was expecting a little more.

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Photo of LennyOvies
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

L- Tanned yellow body, rich creamy white head.
S- Citrus bomb with hops. Orange, tangerine, pineapple, grapefruit.
T- Hoppy citrus mix. Orange, pineapple, grapefruit, malt, pine.
F- Light, easy drink.
O- This was an 8 month old bottle which, for an IPA, held up incredibly well. Would love to have this fresh.

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Photo of Strat58cat
3.09/5  rDev -27%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.75

This IPA is getting rave reviews.

Okay, it looks good. It's a tawny golden color. Foams up a good head, retains and laces. It's very inviting.

It smells terrific, if you like tropical fruit - a lot! Union Jack is in the running for the best aroma of any IPA.

The taste and feel are as one with this IPA: absolutely unleashed esters and fruit. The sensation is one of absolutely swimming in esters. I honestly have to do a gut check after the first quaff. There is a moment of queasiness that results from this kind of ester riot. Now, I realize these esters are totally controlled and are exactly where Firestone wanted them to be. They also lend complexity to the brew. After you get used to it, you can enjoy it. And yet . . . and yet . . . this IPA is in my humble opinion when craft brewing in general and professional reviewers specifically - who absolutely rave about Union Jack - went over the top. I mean Firestone blew through the top like they were in the elevator in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I know they did it on purpose. I appreciate the achievement of making an ale that's as complex as a wine, and that even really reminds me of wine. Yet, I don't like it. I'll take my Stone, my Lagunitas or a Sierra Nevada pine meadow of a Torpedo any day over this queasy ester riot. I'll splurge on the balanced grapefruit of Total Domination. I'll even take a Rebel and decant it for a few minutes to vent the dry-hop excess, and then enjoy it's grapefruit, or really go nuts and splurge on a Sculpin grapefruit. Now that's actual fruit, not just unchained yeast esters. For me, Union Jack is over the top and I won't buy it again.

How extreme is the taste? I notice Firestone began making an excellent pilsner recently. Imho the move back towards lagers in general and pilsners in particular is a reaction to going over-the-top on IPAs like Union Jack. There's a top, for me at least, in the fruity ester direction at least. This one's over it.

The solution to over-the-top IPAs is not boring brews. It's different IPAs. Stone is bitter enough, but not too much, and never an ester riot.

Now, one may argue that Torpedo is over the top and yet I love it, but Torpedo's a different aesthetic than fruity esters. Also, with Torpedo, I trade off Nooner which makes them both sublime.

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Photo of TheBeerMaster1
4.03/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A deliciously crisp brew with a great balance of tropical fruits in both taste and smell as well as a piney, sticky finish. The malt complemented it well, but I think they could've made this beer elite if they tinkered with the recipe a bit.

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Photo of HorseheadsHopHead
4.44/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a can into a pint glass. Canned on 4/24/15, so it's a little over four months old. Hopefully some of the hop flavors have still held up. With that in mind, I'll review this beer with a grain of salt and re-review if I can find it fresher.

LOOK: Slightly hazy golden orange with steady bubble streams and a finger and a half of creamy white head. Looks delicious.

SMELL: Yes! I can still smell hops. Actually, even for its age this smells delicious. Orange peel and toasted caramel maltiness meets sweet apricot, peach, and pineapple aromas. Yum!

TASTE: Very nice. A nice balance of citrus and tropical fruits with a steady but never overpowering malt backbone. Imagine a mix of Bell's Two Hearted Ale and Sculpin. That's how this tastes. Tangerine and grapefruit juice upfront, toasted and caramel in the middle, followed by apricot, mango, peach, and pineapple, and then finishes with grapefruit pith, bitter pineapple, and light pine. Sweet and juicy, balanced with just enough bitterness. I would kill to get this fresh!

FEEL: Medium, approaching full. Nicely carbonated. Slightly creamy. Super drinkable. Dry on the finish. Refreshing.

OVERALL: Wow. Just wow. This is how I like an IPA, and this isn't even fresh! New favorite IPA...?

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Photo of AllDayIPA23
4.46/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A Want of mine for a long time. Acquired a single bottle in a trade.

Hazy golden appearance, with half finger head.

Tons of citrus and fruits in the smell.

Just like the smell. Great job showing the flavor of all these different fruits. Definitely on the hoppy side.

Medium body with high carbonation. Very fresh feel

Great beer. Glad I was able to try this one. Would love to find more.

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Photo of Chcshammonde
4.57/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Yard House Santana Row. L: gold, shiny yellow. No head as pint glass was full from server. S: hard to tell as I like to have a full head on my beers to get the full smell. But from what I can smell, medium malts, bitter and piney hops. T: spicy hop profile which I really enjoy, bitter finish but not overly so, medium malt profile brings it all together nicely and adds touch of sweetness to pair with bitterness. F: perfect IMO. Nice, rich feel that almost coats the mouth. O: really impressed. Will be purchasing bottles of this.

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Photo of spamNeggs
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is the rating for bottles I picked up not far from the brewery. I'm gussing, they could have been a bit fresher since the aroma was fruity, a bit of pine, and maybe a bit muted from what I had expected. Look forward to getting this at the brewery itself. Otherwise delicious, well moderated.
Overall a very good and well balanced beer.

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Photo of TomChiari777
4.04/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is one of my favorites, ever since I have had it. A great IPA/IIPA. Something about the first sip always turns me off a little bit, but then it really hits the spot. Golden amber color. Great lace, sweet aroma, dank hops, love it. After that it is nothing but sweet and blissfully harmony. When I see these at the store I generally buy all the bottles I can.

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Photo of bsonk
4.74/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA- 7.5% abv.

A: a lightly toasted amber brown with bubbly head which recedes to a still boisterous amount of white foam.

S: mad fruity, I get pine and peach and pineapple.

T: hop bite with the fruit juiciness, basically like it smells- pineapple peach, but with orange peel and sweet grain backing.

M: juicy as hell, with lots of hop bite and sweet malt syrupiness. Kinda chewy but drinkable.

O: A big West Coast IPA that is very well balanced despite having as much alcohol as Olde English 800. Very delicious and goes down quick. One of my go to beers. It's got everyday-beer distribution here in Portland, so it's a good option for those of us who can't always get to a bottle shop to find other famous IPAs. I've never had Heady Topper but I bet a lot of Vermont drinkers have never had this. 4.7/5.

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Photo of Preston
4.42/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A classic that deserves to be in the IPA pantheon, but I think it comes up just a bit short of other titans, including Cigar City Jai Alai, Southern Tier 2XIPA, and Smuttynose Finest Kind.

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Photo of drmeto
4.19/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

-pours a clear deep golden with a medium to big,frothy,white head
-medium carbonation visible
-pineapple,grapefruit,orange zest,tangerines,mango,passionfruit,slight pine,faint banana,peach
-grapefruit,peach,pine,resin,orange zest
-medium to high carbonation
-medium body
Damn good IPA

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Photo of dacrza1
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

DATE TASTED: August 2, 2015 ... GLASSWARE: Barley Creek pint... OCCASION: watching Naked and Afraid XL... APPEARANCE: quintessential golden amber body with a scarcity of effervescence--surprising...not surprisingly, the head is creamy, thick, white as snow and lacing beautifully as it eases its way to the body ... AROMA: the grapefruit rocks the nostrils; spruce, coconut, fresh biscuit and perfurmed flowers give this beer a tremendously varied profile...the draw alone is an experience ...PALATE: alive with carbonation, with a sizzling finish from teeth to throat that streaks and holds ...TASTE: as promised, grapefruit overloads the senses and dominates the other citrus fruits vying for attention; melon and lemon are detectable; the resinous pinecone is undeniable late; the malt base counters the hops deluge and dams the intensity with biscuit... OVERALL: just another in the long line of West Coast IPAs that could be a ritual with me if I were married to the idea of one style; the flavor crushes the experience through an intense wall of hops...at 7.5 ABV, a perfect balance of strength and sipability...

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Photo of JamesStreet
4.24/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Been refraining from reviewing this one because of way-out-of-date bottles.. But finally found one that was less than a month old. WOW! what a difference freshness makes! Pour is nice and golden with excellent lace. The smell is of citrus and floral hops. So much more pungent from the malt-messes that I've had before. The taste follows the nose with notes of lemon zest, orange, and dank pininess. The feel is excellently balanced. I so glad I finally got a fresh one and now see the worthiness of the score for this beer. As always, very good Firestone Walker.

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Photo of drexeldan
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I came across this at a local Craft Pub in Thorndale Pa. The joint tends to be a bit overpriced, by craft standards, (e.g., when they first opened I walked in, saw Boulevard Tank 7 on tap, and ordered it. I had paid $7 for one at another spot a few weeks earlier, was surprised when the tab came in at $10 for that one.) in any event, I perused the beer list and saw that they had Union Jack for $5 a pint. I like IPA's and hadn't had this one. So...

It presented with a head about 3 inches. The taste was richer and somewhat less sharp then most of this variety. I think that it's actually one that a Belgian brew afficianado could appreciate. Personally, I like Belgian brews but am more of a British Isles descent beer drinker. However, this is very nice stuff, among the upper echelon of the IPA's that I've had, and there have been a few. Union Jack is hearty and flavorful without sacrificing what a hophead needs. If I had to pick a group of core beers, it would be one of them.

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