Union Jack IPA | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

6,653 Ratings
Union Jack IPAUnion Jack IPA

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

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

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Ratings: 6,653 |  Reviews: 1,361
Photo of lazymuse
3/5  rDev -29.1%

Photo of beerist
3/5  rDev -29.1%

Photo of chadwicktorres
3/5  rDev -29.1%

Photo of sooner961
3/5  rDev -29.1%

Photo of ThurmondTX
3/5  rDev -29.1%

Photo of Nichols33
3/5  rDev -29.1%

Photo of ineva
3/5  rDev -29.1%

Photo of clfrost
3/5  rDev -29.1%

Photo of 2neardead
3/5  rDev -29.1%

Photo of julielynndubee
3/5  rDev -29.1%

Photo of Clarkson
3/5  rDev -29.1%

Photo of Rmatuszak2
3/5  rDev -29.1%

Photo of bluesplit63
3/5  rDev -29.1%

Photo of LSUPT
3/5  rDev -29.1%

Photo of kpoole25
3.02/5  rDev -28.6%
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 Deetoo
3.04/5  rDev -28.1%

Photo of BcOneSeven
3.04/5  rDev -28.1%

Photo of HalfFull
3.05/5  rDev -27.9%
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 CraftFan5
3.06/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of titus0010
3.07/5  rDev -27.4%
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 paulrwelch
3.08/5  rDev -27.2%

Photo of rabbott2
3.09/5  rDev -27%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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.

 2,334 characters

Photo of RickGrimes
3.12/5  rDev -26.2%
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 fscottkey
3.13/5  rDev -26%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: [4.00] There is a canned on date (06/01/2016). The can also lists the ABV (7.5%). The beer is a light honey color. It forms 1/2 a finger of white head. The head has some longevity and it sticks like crazy to the glass.

S: [3.50] Pineapple, dank resin, lemon rind.

T: [2.75] Pine, tart lemon rind, astringent bitter flavor.

M: [3.50] Good mouthfeel. Nice heft and carbonation. The lingering over-bitterness is a problem on the finish.

O: [3.00] This beer features a flavor that is similar to orange juice after brushing your teeth. It is overly astringent and bitter with nothing to lighten the blow. I am not a fan of the taste.

 644 characters

Union Jack IPA from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
4.23 out of 5 based on 6,653 ratings.
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