Leo V. Ursus: Fortem
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Leo V. Ursus: FortemLeo V. Ursus: Fortem
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American Imperial IPA
4.2 | pDev: 7.14%
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Leo V. Ursus: FortemLeo V. Ursus: Fortem
Notes: Fortem is a new-age imperial IPA that draws upon a range of influences, all while exhibiting DNA from our own forays into the IPA style. As such, it blends newer hop varieties from the Pacific Northwest and Hallertau, Germany along with pale malt, wheat malt and flaked oats for a full body and rounded mouthfeel. Fortem has been left unfiltered for a full hop impact.
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Reviews: 138 | Ratings: 573 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by AzIpaGuy:
Photo of AzIpaGuy
5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

More User Reviews:
Photo of breadwinner
4.59/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Spoiler: this is a phenomenal beer.

Everything is firing from the first pour, the glass glowing like golden orange embers, a gorgeous layer of thick foam atop, leaving tiers of lacing as it goes. With the wheat/oats + massive hopping, it's got haze, to be sure, but it doesn't look like a milkshake. For some, that'll be a demerit, which is really an indication of just how silly the haze craze can be. Because while it may not look like a glass of OJ, this thing is inarguably juicy. The smell nails the style, marrying tropical hops and stone fruit esters, peach and apricot, as well as decided note of sweet malt. Perhaps a very light hop pungency as well, which gives a gentle reminder that this is still Firestone, still West Coast, still for those who aren't afraid of hops. The taste is incredibly approachable and absolutely juicy, drinking almost like tropical nectar, honeysuckle and mango, perhaps canteloupe, along with a very light hop pungency, which continues to give a bit of balance to the sweetness and fruitiness. For my tastes, I prefer something with a bit more bite on the backend, but this is totally to style in avoiding that. The body also nails the style -- in fact, it's probably one of the better iterations of the style on that account, rich, juicy, creamy, yet all without being heavy, filling, or yeasty. Frighteningly easy to drink for an 8+% beer.

For as much of a Firestone fan as I am, I don't automatically love everything they do (the Luponic series being a prime example). That said, this is home run stuff, a brilliant work of art befitting of master craftsmen like FW. While breweries around the country throw flour in the boil or release beers with clumps of hop matter coagulated at the bottom of the can, FW has done things the right way, brewing a beer of thoughtfulness and razor sharp execution (as though they're even capable of doing something sloppy). Fortem is true to the style, giving juicy hop lovers what they want, yet still uniquely FW. Well friggin' done, Firestone.

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

Was somewhat hesitant going into this one . . . the idea of trying to combine the best of both "N.E." and "West Coast" DIPA styles seems tricky at best, gimmicky at worst.

Appearance is typically (for FW) gorgeous; from the golden amber/orange body to the perfectly formed head, it looks like a master brewer brewed this beer. Although unfiltered, it's not hazy/cloudy the way some people think of unfiltered--you can definitely see particulates if you look closely enough, but it's still basically transparent. Aroma is where one is really reminded of the N.E. style: peach, mango, and even lemon dominate, although there's still a pleasantly piney smell lurking around the edges. Taste is phenomenal, better than I was expecting--all of the fruit flavors from the smell, but a nice dollop of resinous pine that keeps it from tasting too candied/fruit juicy, a trap into which too many N.E.-style beers fall. In some ways, in reminds me of a peachy Pliny. Mouthfeel is exactly what you'd think from its appearance: clean, solid, with a lingering presence on the tongue.

In the end, it does a surprisingly good job of presenting a highly drinkable, hybrid DIPA. I'm not sure it outclasses Double Jack, which it replaces in the FW line-up, but I'd easily drink an entire 4-pack if it were put in front of me.

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Photo of darktronica
4.24/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Reviewing the last of a 4-pack which was canned April 15, 2017, so nearly two months ago. Personally, I think this is my favorite can of the bunch, so for my tastes, it hits its prime after a month or two. When fresher, I found a sharper bitterness that was clearly "working as intended," but as that fades over time, more honeyed and malt notes have emerged that I actually prefer.

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Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
4.46/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

There's no denying it. This is one awesome new DIPA coming from CA. One of the best I've had this year. Sticky tropical hops that linger nicely on the palate and well after the finish. A bit of a thicker body on the middle palate and finish without being malty. This one is just under 2 weeks from canning. This is a very, VERY well made tropical west coast IPA. Intense tropical flavor & aroma while not exactly "juicy."

City of the Sun from Modern Times is more NE (juice box) than this one for those of you wondering how "New England" of a beer coming from the west this is. It does start to become a little sweet towards the last few ounces of the 16oz pour, but that's getting a little too knit-picky.

The more I think about it and drink this further, this really reminds me of what a DIPA representation of the Luponic Distortion series would be. I may have under-scored this one. Recommended.

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Photo of donspublic
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from pint can into silipint, nice 2 finger cream colored head, nice retention and lacing. Best I can tell it is a hazy amberish golden. Smells of malt sweetness, citrus (orange, lime) and stone fruit. Taste is initial sweetness with orange and other citrus. Stone fruit, peaches and mango come out in the middle and there is a very mild bitterness on the finish. This beer doesn't have the typical syrupy sweet mouthfeel that some DIPA's suffer from, the malt bill is nailed along with the bitterness to keep this balanced out. This reminds me of Luponic Distortion on steroids. LD has always been a hop forward beer, this one brings some malt to the table

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Photo of Barnoloid
3.77/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had on draft at local restaurant. Found this one to be rather unique in tone and texture. A slightly chalky backdrop for a tropical fruit infusion - lots of ripe mango peel and papaya that tastes straight out of a fruit buffet. I found the bitterness to be somewhat assertive, with almost a minty aftertaste. For my personal taste I wouldn't have minded if the feel was a bit lighter as there are pieces I like here but like a lot of DIPAs, the high ABV muddles the subtleties somewhat.

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Photo of WickedBeer
4.46/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass from a 1 pint can. Rings in at 8.2% ABV.

Look: Pours a deep orange gold with a thin, half inch head of quickly dissipating foam.
Smell: Powerful notes of Pine and hops. Resinous and wonderful, with just a subtle hint of citrus in the finish. UPDATE* As it warms a bit, the citrus really begins to become more apparent. UPDATE 2* Oddly enough, with the last couple sips of this beer I got undeniable notes of vodka (don't ask me why) ... interesting.
Taste: Again, great punches of piney, pithy hops. More noticeable citrus balance in the taste, specifically tangerine.
Feel: Great seltzery carbonation. Smooth and crisp with a slight resinous stick. Very smooth and very hoppy, with a lingering spiciness that I found enjoyable.

A great Imperial IPA. Crisp and smooth , but packs a powerful hoppy punch that will have any hophead quickly going back for more.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can picked up at the COOP today... Pours mostly clear golden with a nice sudsy white head... tons of citrus and lesser pine... a tropical fruitiness is accentuated by a round mouthfeel and some background maltiness.. Still finishes bitter and hoppy and almost dry... Very nice.

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Photo of frankwynn
4.31/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This beer is Firestone Walker all the way. For those that are familiar with Firestone Walkers IPA's, you will know immediately that you are drinking one of their beers. Its bright and crisp, with a ultra clean citrus and pine finish. I really enjoyed how this Double IPA focused on being hop forward. Drinks much lighter than your typical IIPA. If your a Firestone Walker fan, you won't be disappointed. For those seeking a enjoyable, easy to drink, clean and bright Imperial IPA, with notes of citrus and pine, this is your beer.

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Photo of Roguer
4.57/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I've seen this beer on the forums described as hazy, but that's not particularly accurate for my pour. Translucent, fairly clear in thin glasses, but slightly pulpy in thicker glasses. Nothing like the opaque NEIPA style. Pours a strong, billowy white head, with frankly amazing retention and tons of impressive lacing. Body appears dark golden orange at first, but in thinner glasses with a light background it can be a surprisingly light shade of yellow.

Juicy aroma, with pineapple, mango, and mandarin orange notes drifting across the room. Up close, there's a predictably dank herbal character, as well as a touch of pepper. Intimidatingly dank, in fact. A bit of grapefruit and pine also try to play, but the tropical and herbal notes really dominate. Surprisingly, there's a smooth pale malt presence beneath the hop onslaught.

Flavor is much smoother and more tropical up front, with the dank notes really coming in the second half, and even then restrained and smooth. Papaya, mango, mint, oregano, sugar; giving way to grass, herbs, peppers, and grapefruit peel; finishes surprisingly semi-dry.

Feel is smooth, almost light up front, and juicy. Lively; not the slightest bit syrupy. Crazy easy to drink. Sweet but nowhere near cloying, juicy, dank, shockingly balanced.

This is an absolutely lovely, wonderful beer. This is just as delicious as the juice bombs coming out of New England.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Canned date of 02/24/17

Appearance - Pours surprisingly mostly clear, light golden color with an off-white, finger width head. Fair retention results in a thin, broken layer of suds. Fair lacing, with some broken lines and small spotting.

Smell - Juicy orange, mango, pineapple and some starfruit upfront, with hints of grapefruit sitting beneath the brighter fruit notes.

Taste - Follows the nose, mostly. Notes of orange, prominent but mellowed mango, starfruit and/or pineapple juiciness, a hint of spice and some faint breadiness can be found upfront and into mid-taste. The back end gets a bit more "West Coast" as hints of caramel malt and some grapefruit bitterness enters the fray, helping to deliver a juicy but bittersweet finish to the brew that is nothing short of awesome.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied with fair carbonation. Slick texture before crisp and slightly dry finish; a bit of chalkiness lingers.

Overall - While not quite an NE-Style IPA, Firestone seems to have taken notes from the style while also figuring what's worked best with West Coast classics, combining the two to make a hybrid that is both amazing in flavor and shows a remarkable quality of craftsmanship. It's basically a seamless mix of both coasts' popular styles. Tip of the cap isn't saying enough; if retiring three fantastic beers in Double Jack, Opal and Wookey means you'll be bringing us more amazing brews like this, I say bring it on. It's nice to see a bigger brewery like Firestone-Walker recognizing the current beer trend, pushing their ego aside and attacking the market with a fresh, assertive brew like this. Had Speakeasy done the same they may not have found themselves in the trouble they're in now.

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Photo of CJNAPS
4.67/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Delicious beer for sure, nice cloudy golden in color. Easy drinking for a DIPA, nice soft citrus smell not overwhelming with the hops. I will miss double jack but glad they're gonna keep utting out beers like this. Cheers

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Photo of wvsabbath
4.24/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of papposilenus
3.8/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Sulty
4.19/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Bogdawg
3.7/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of IKR
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: Slightly cloudy straw yellow color with a medium-sized white head that gradually faded. A nice looking DIPA.

Smell: Piney hop aromas dominate with some tropical fruit notes also present.

Taste: The pine notes from the nose are upfront with the tropical fruit notes also present. There are some mild grassy notes also appearing in the taste profile. The beer finish ends with some sweet malt notes and mild bitter hop notes.

Mouth-feel: The body is medium-bodied.with a medium level of carbonation.

Overall: Another good FW beer.

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Photo of Happyyb
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of geryeb624
4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Eddiehop
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of TomStottman
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Jeff_whitman
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of socon67
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of pinballplayer
4.24/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Leo V. Ursus: Fortem from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 573 ratings