Union Jack IPA | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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Union Jack IPAUnion Jack IPA
BA SCORE
4.23/5
Exceptional
6,697 Ratings
Union Jack IPAUnion Jack IPA
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
California, United States
firestonewalker.com

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by beerguy101 on 10-09-2003

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#862
Reviews:
1,372
Ratings:
6,697
pDev:
9.46%
Bros Score:
4.5
 
 
Wants:
522
Gots:
1,743
Trade:
13
HISTOGRAM
 
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Ratings: 6,697 |  Reviews: 1,372
Photo of Sammy
3.87/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Orange aroma, thought it was Amarillo, rather commercial description: it was Simcoe bittering hops; Centennial, Cascade and Tomahawk for flavoring; aroma hops are described as a "blend of C's."

Orangey bubbly Caesar head. Hoppy for what I thought would be a British style IPA, after all the name. Very drinkable, and citrus flavour.

 333 characters

Photo of kylehay2004
4.49/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: thin head on a slightly hazy golden with slight amber hue body.

S: classic orange peel and grapefruit hop aroma. very nice degree of sweetness.

T: nice degree of malt presence. the hop variety is excellent. very complex and variable as its consumed. hop notes include floral, herbal, grapefruit, melon and pineapple. very nice.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: this is a very nice beer. The hop character is excellent for a standard IPA. I could drink this all the time.

 494 characters

Photo of acurtis
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of jaydoc
4.28/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.09/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy but clear light orange with a 1 inch white head that fades to a thin cap. Nice rings of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smells of grapefruit juice, citrus zest, and some tropical fruit. Taste is of grapefruit juice and citrus zests with some tropical fruit flavors and a sweet malt taste coming in at the end. Mild hop bitterness on the palate quickly fades after each sip. Good carbonation makes for a crisp yet slightly sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good IPA with some very nice fruit smells and flavors. A good choice when you're in the mood for a "fruity" IPA.

 603 characters

Photo of GRG1313
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

real nice big ipa. pours a lighter than the taste golden hay color with a big bad white foam head. smell is sweet hops, citrusy and in your face. falvor is fruity hops. im picking up grapefruit and clementine (jam). the mouthfeel is as good as an ipa can be, its creamy and expanding. it makes this beer. the hops just grows and grows as you hold it in, heavenly. medium bodied but it feels light, cloud nineish. perfect bitter carbonation and then enduring wet finish. the mouthfeel is the ticket here. great ipa, i like it better even than their doublejack. 7.5& too. magic

 575 characters

Photo of spycow
3.25/5  rDev -23.2%

Photo of kjkinsey
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of Knapp85
4.58/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This poured out as a really nice looking yellowish gold color with a white foamy head on top. The retention is good with a very impressive amount of sticky lacing on the glass. Them smell of the beer is very nice, fresh hop aromas with the subtle malt aroma in there as well. The taste of the beer is excellent. Easily one of the best IPA's on the market. Lots of beautiful citrus flavors in there with a very mellow malt presents. The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied and very drinkable, Nicely carbonated and smooth. Overall... Awesome. This is something I'll be buying more of.

 583 characters

Photo of nmann08
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of oriolesfan4
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of metter98
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is crystal clear deep amber in color with no visible carbonation. There is a thin layer of bubbles on the surface.
S: There is a moderate, pleasant aroma of piney hops in the nose.
T: There is a good amount of bitterness from the hops, but this is not overpowering due to a good balance with the underlying malts. There are some notes of caramel malts.
M: It feels medium-bodied and very crisp on the palate; there is some dryness in the finish.
D: The beer is very easy to drink and the alcohol is well hidden. I would definitely have another of these.

 565 characters

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

Aah, Union Jack- where have you been all my life? Your classy IPA taste would have won me over long ago with your bright citrus hop character and your supple malty-dry palate. Regardless, I'm glad that we are finally graced with this introduction.

Its bright golden color hints toward amber but ultimately shies just short. Capped with a dense blanket of ivory-white foam, its retention is long-lasting and its lace in spottily intricate.

Vividly aromatic, its large floral bouquet is chocked full of citrusy grapefruit, orange zest, and bright pine sap. Herbal, grassy and flowery- its scent is backed by a quick caramel, grain-derived graham cracker and nutty scent; all giving the hop fruit notes a riper and dripping juiciness.

And as that thin caramel and graham cracker, biscuit and crusty-sweetness glides across the early palate, a swift whack of hops come charging through- red grapefruit, ripe oranges, citrus peels, and lightly pithy bitterness sets in the middle portion of taste. Finishing resinous and deeply bitter, notions of fresh sawn pine, cut grass and exotic botanical flavors decorate the periphery of taste.

Its mid-light body is pleasantly sweet to texture early, but is also pleasantly fast-fleeting as the carbonation is quickly shed and the sweetness is foregone in favor of dry malt texture, resinous dryness, and moderate alcohol warmth. Spicy like ginger, the beer closes on a snappy and earthen bitter note that resonates in extended aftertaste.

Union Jack is the epitome of the "West Coast" IPA- it discloses a malty-sweet balance early on, but as the rug is swept from the taste buds, I'm left falling into an uncontrollable dry and bitter ride thereafter. There's a resistance to simply "tag along" but that resistance is, of course- futile.

 1,780 characters

Photo of biboergosum
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 16oz pint at Henry's Tavern in the Pearl District of Portland - no time to do them all, so yeah, gotta be choosy!

This beer appears a clear, medium copper amber colour, with one fat finger of puffy, filmy, and somewhat creamy off-white head, which renders some limestone rockface lace around the glass as it all duly sinks away.

It smells of bready and gently crackery caramel, weak biscuity toffee, red grapefruit and orange citrus, and a not so subtle piney, leafy, and grassy green hoppiness. The taste is bitter, yet engaging pine oil, blood orange and mixed grapefruit rind, some sturdy caramel/toffee malt sweetness, and yep, more generic, but still heady (in THAT way, yes) green hop bitters.

The carbonation is quite understated in its meek, and somehow supportive frothiness, the body a decent enough middleweight, and mostly smooth, with a tame creamy character, one borne of patience, and nothing else. It finishes on an even keel between the bitter and sassy hops, and that sweet-ass lingering maltiness.

Overall, sure, this is one finely rendered, and damned fine Yankee IPA (so why allude to the English in yer name - just asking for a friend) - balanced, yet still intense. Lots of crazy flavours kicking about here, so you best be ready for one egregious ingress on your frontal palatal, er, thingamabob.

 1,330 characters

Photo of kojevergas
2.32/5  rDev -45.2%
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 emerge077
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of WillieThreebiers
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of brentk56
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy light amber color with a rocky head; decent retention and lacing

Smell: Toffee malt blends in with citrus smells

Taste: Opens with the toffee flavor from the aroma, but it doesn't take long for the bitterness to build; very citrusy, with plenty of grapefruit and other tropical fruit flavors (mango, papaya and a hint of pineapple); after the swallow, the fruitiness gets even stronger, though all the while there is some residual malt sweetness on the tip of the tongue

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: More than just an AIPA, this is close to a DIPA; designed for those who want a low alcohol DIPA (although it tastes bigger), and that is worth a little chuckle

 739 characters

Photo of oline73
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a mostly clear golden amber color with a finger of fluffy off white head that sticks around for a while and leaves some really nice lacing on the glass.

Smell: Some sweet, light malt with very nice fruity notes. The hops show up and mix with the sweetness for a nice balance.

Taste: Light and hoppy, quite easy to drink given the abv. Just enough sweet malt to back up the hops. I'm getting juicy citrus fruit along with some citrus peel bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with lots of tingly carbonation and a very dry finish.

Overall: This is an extremely well done IPA. The balance is perfect and I really enjoy the hop profile. I would have more given the chance.

 755 characters

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Union Jack IPA from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.23 out of 5 with 6,697 ratings
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