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Union Jack India Pale Ale | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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1,336 Reviews
Union Jack India Pale AleUnion Jack India Pale Ale

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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Reviews: 1,336 | Ratings: 6,485
Photo of Ksmoove27
4.24/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look - poured a light golden with minimal head (give it a 3 month ago date); ok lacing

Aroma - this is beautiful aroma...great balance of hop, floral and citrus...some say pine, but it's moderate to me

Taste - sweet on the front with a very pronounced grapefruit aftertaste...a floral note and moderate hop flavor...I'd say pretty darn complex for a single IPA.

Feel - crisp, light to medium-bodied with ok carbonation

Overall - this is pretty good IPA...It's hard to find on the East Coast (not sure why) but it nudges Sculpin...Firestone does it right.

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Photo of SitkaSteve
4.16/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This was poured into a pint glass.
The appearance was a moderately hazy yellow color with a nice transparency about it. Carbonation could be seen rising at a moderate pace to fill a one finger white foamy head that dissipated nicely. Lacing seemed adequate as there's enough there that slides into the beer.
The smell starts off with bitter citrus rind bleeding into subtle crisp piney notes. There's a delicate spice that I can't quite pick out just yet (for all of the times, I've had this beer, oh sigh, I'll find out some day).
The taste pretty much copies the aroma nicely leading into a sly little bit of the spice into the aftertaste and on into the finish.
The mouthfeel was about light to medium bodied with a great sessionability about it. Carbonation seemed good for this AIPA as there's just enough to show its presence yet still allows the bitterness of the aroma and the taste to be the harshness on my tongue.
Overall, this is a very nice AIPA that I would love to have again and is pretty easy to find as well. Now I just need to figure out that spice.

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Photo of Suds
4.42/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This brew is an absolutely clear, golden IPA. The head is tall and luxurious. The aroma is fruit, backed with pungent hops. Earthy, resin, spicy, and intense. Wood is prominent. The taste is sweet in front, and very bitter beginning in the mid-taste. Lots of fresh hop aroma. Long and powerful finish. Great.

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Photo of jonb5
3.93/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

355ml bottle, poured into La Chouffe tulip.

A: Golden, clear, lots of bubbles, decent sized head, lots of lacing.

S: Citrus, pine, resin.

T: Grapefruit, gummibear, hint of apple, lingering bitter finish.

M: Crisp texture, light body, well carbonated.

O: A beer billed as an English style IPA, packed with Cascade, Simcoe and Mosaic hops. Closer to an American or even Imperial take on the style. Well made, hid the booze but it wouldn’t stand out from the multitude of IPAs on the market.

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Photo of maedhros09
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Lovely hazy golden amber with lots of white head, great lacing and retention. An absolutely delicious and beautiful Ipa. Huge fruity hops aromas, moderate sweetness, sweet citrus and tropical fruit flavors and a pretty mild bitter finish. medium body and slightly thickened mouthfeel. Just stellar - jumped to my list of favorites immediately.

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Photo of vladdswrath
4.77/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a crystal clear gold with a faint pinkish hue and a big sudsy head that retreats quickly lacing the glass with big bubbly webs. Aroma is nice, dank but not particularly swampy, actually more upbeat...like grapefruit and fresh cut grass. Flavor is delicious. Sweet malt , thick oily pine and citrus oil, it is balanced perfectly for maximum depth and blending of flavor. Outstanding

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Photo of youcantmakeme
3.75/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

l: nothing out of the ordinary some yellow with a drop of red.
s: fruit, malt, and a drop of piss.
t: sweet, boozy, and fruity bitterness.
f: medium.
o: drinkable, somewhat smooth malty bitterness, would probably buy again.

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Photo of Auraan
4.49/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a beautiful clear golden body with two fingers of thick white head. Overall impression of appearance is of a very nice IPA. Scents of tropical fruit, mostly pineapple and mango, pine resin at medium-light levels, dank, earthy, weedy hops in the background and light notes of bright citrus. Overall impression of aroma is of an excellent West Coast IPA, very hop-forward and varied. Flavor begins with notes of weedy, dank, vegetal hops with light onion flavors and notes of pine resin at high levels along with notes of mango and grapefruit zest with a pale malt undertone. Middle continues these flavors gaining more weedy, dank and vegetal flavors. Finish is dry and hoppy imparting notes of grapefruit peel, dank, weedy, herbal hops and undertones of pale malt. Aftertaste is pine resin, grapefruit resin and vegetal hops with a light note of pale malt. Overall impression of flavor is of an excellent and varied West Coast IPA. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation and a sticky, resinous body. Overall impression of mouthfeel is of a very good IPA, true to style. Overall this is a fantastic IPA. It showcases a wonderful bouquet and a good amount of flavors on display with a wondrous mouthfeel. This is a very good IPA.

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Photo of thebeers
4.02/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Clear golden-orange color with a thick and lasting near-white head. Floral and juicy grapefruit hop aroma with some tropical notes in the background. They continue to the taste, although less pronounced, with more malt balance than expected and strong hop bitterness on the back end. Still remains fairly light bodied and smooth. It's also one that maintains its character despite a little shelf life. Great beer.

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Photo of gandres
4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

From 12 oz bottle from poured to wine glass Appearance: dark yellow, orange, golden, not a lot of head, no lacing, a bit hazy/cloudy Smell: slight hoppy smell, sweet and fruity Taste: well balance flavor specially the bitterness/alcohol, sweetness really comes out Mouth Feel: Very good Overall: very good beer Drank: February 2014

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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
4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

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 malt 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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Union Jack India Pale Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
4.23 out of 5 based on 6,485 ratings.
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