Wookey Jack | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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Wookey JackWookey Jack
BEER INFO

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

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.30%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by barleywinefiend on 03-11-2012

BEER STATS
Ratings:
4,609
Reviews:
702
Avg:
4.23
pDev:
8.75%
 
 
Wants:
341
Gots:
983
For Trade:
15
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Ratings: 4,609 |  Reviews: 702
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A good drinking bomber, spot on black IPA solid offering. Very good, another solid FW offering. Black bodied, assertive carbonation. Above average mouthfeel. Solid hops, solid roast,anise. Rye spice adds some edge. Roast aroma.Significant grapefruit.

 250 characters

Photo of acurtis
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of kylehay2004
4.42/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: 1.5 finger off white head on a very dark body with some light getting through.

S: very hoppy with pine and grass predominantly with some tart citrus character as well. The roasted malts are very mild.

T: very nice roasted malt base which isn't too bitter or overwhelming for the hops. The hops are mostly pine and grassy, some floral which is different from the more earthy or citrus hopped black IPAs I am used too.

M: medium to full body and lighter side of medium carbonation. a touch dry late in the finish.

Overall: I like the hop character in combination with the malts. Neither dominate, both contribute nicely.

 625 characters

Photo of GRG1313
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of jaydoc
4.27/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Congregation Ale House in Pasadena, CA.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a small cap on top of the beer. Small carbonation bubbles rise up in the beer during the entire drink down. A foamy curtain of lace coats the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, citrus zest, and some herbal hop aromas. Taste is much the same with a roasty and hop bitterness that lingers on the palate after each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a great beer with a very nice balance between roast and hop aromas and flavors.

 636 characters

Photo of spycow
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

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

at less than 6 bucks for a bomber and at over 8% abv, this is by far the best deal in the store, nevermind that its a fantastic beer! pours beautiful silky black color with a tall and lasting off white head. it lets zero light through and is shining like obsidian. the smell is a whole lot of west coast hops and some burnt malt. there is no chocolate or coffee in the smell or the taste, which i can usually find in a beer this black. just a nice smokey black ipa here, with the alcohol only becoming present when it warms up a little. it is smooth and warming in the mouth, full bodied, with average carbonation. it has a great bitter finish that plays counterpoint to the rich malt profile. this is a great beer and a great price, will definitely do this one again.

 768 characters

Photo of djrn2
3.75/5  rDev -11.3%

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of Knapp85
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured out as a very dark brown, the head was a light tan color with a good retention and lacing. The smell of the beer is nicely balanced with the roasted malts and the hops. The taste of the beer has a great flavor to it. The malts are there and slightly roasted but not chocolaty at all, the rye gives of some light spice and the hops come in and bitter the beer nicely but not overwhelmingly. The mouthfeel is great, it's medium bodied with generous carbonation with a nice smooth feel to it. Overall it's damn good brew. Highly impressed, would totally drink this one again.

 579 characters

Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of nmann08
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.5/5  rDev -17.3%

Photo of metter98
4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is very dark brown (close to being jet black) in color. It poured with a half finger high tan head that hardly died down and consistently left a thin head covering the surface.
S: The nose has aromas of spices (either from the hops or rye) and some hints of orange citrus.
T: Like the smell, the taste is dominated by flavors of spices, which linger though the finish. The hops contribute a light to moderate amount of bitterness. Although this is a Black Ale, there are only some hints of roasted malts.
M: It feels medium-bodied and quite crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. The bitterness leaves your mouth very dry.
O: While this beer is dark, it seems to taste more like an spicy IPA with rye because the roasted flavors are not that prominent. Nonetheless, it is rather easy to drink.

 825 characters

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of BEERchitect
4.23/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The problem with "Black IPA" ...or, whatever- is that they really don't capture the essence of true hop dominance because the presence of roasted malt, chocolate and toffee usually rival the hops and try to balance the beer- big mistake. I want an American Black Ale to be an IPA first and not to be simply a hoppy Porter.

And like those dark and robust Porters, Wookey Jack pours with a deep and dark brown that fronts up against black. But its dark crimson highlights show a glimmer of translucence and a shade off of onyx. A frothy and airy head billows toward the top of the glass with a sandy-tan column. Long-lasting in its retention and lacing spider-webbing patterns on the glass show something akin to IPA above that of mere Porter.

Hops and roast greet the nose simultaneously but without the sweetness that usually accompany the malty scent. Instead, the coffee, charred wood, slight smoke, heavy toast and slight ash make me think about grilled citrus fruits as the hops contribute grapefruit, orange and lemon rinds to the overall scent. Free of esters and light grain spiciness keep the attention squarely on the hops and roast.

And to taste, its the charred hop character that captivates the taste buds. Grilled citrus fruit resonate on the early palate while burnt pine does so in the middle- just before a sinous bitterness in finish is exacerbated by deep hop bitterness that couples with the coffee-like bitterness from roasted grain. Its culmination seem to make the beer seem much more bitter that the 70 IBU plateau. Dry cocoa, burnt embers and a slight smoky chocolate character turn deeply carbonized with a tinge of ash to finish the beer's spicy wood taste.

Medium bodied, the beer's malt structures turn from creaminess to sharp and acidic as the carbonation falls off and leaves the hops and roast to contend for themselves. The ale suddenly dries out beautifully- again aided by resinous hop dryness, powdery ash and alcohol warmth. Just off of IPA, the ale finishes mostly dry with a linger of burning pine cones.

Make no mistake about it, Firestone Walker has worked really hard to ensure that Wookey Jack wouldn't succumb to just a hoppy Porter, they go in with a dedication to it being an IPA first and allowing the complex char to complement the grilled fruit aromas, heightened bitterness and roasty dryness with pin-point precision.

 2,374 characters

Photo of biboergosum
3.79/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22oz black foil capped bottle, from Tipsy's (great name) Liquor World in Denver's far-flung west side.

This beer pours a solid brown-tinged black, with pervasive red cola highlights, and a tower of puffy, foamy and rocky beige head, which leaves some broadly spaced layers of sudsy ringed lace around the glass as it swiftly abates.

It smells of musty citrus and moldy forest floor pine coverings, gamey roast, lightly charred wet wood, bittersweet coffee, toasted caramel malt, a muted rye spiciness, an oily nuttiness, and further earthy, leafy hops. The taste is big and nutty in its roasted caramel malt backbone, almost equally matched in intensity by the clammy citrus, pine and floral hops, a bit of smoldering woody ash, a flavour-free coffee-like bitterness, a hint of dry cocoa, subdued dark rye booze graininess, and more dank earth.

The bubbles are a bit finicky, but dismissed easily enough, the body a heady medium weight, generally smooth, as the early clamminess gets ironed out somehow, and maybe a tad creamy. It finishes a bit on the sweet side, the roasted caramel, black rye, fruity hops, and simmering alcohol all a potent combo.

Like any situation where promoting the best qualities of a product where one's bias towards the perceived inherent flaws make said description pointless, I shall slog through and endeavor. So, this is indeed what it claims to be - black (i.e. 'burnt'), big and hoppy (the base IPA), and rye-offset (the use of additional rye malts). Oh, and approaching Imperial in alcohol strength - the integration there is something I can duly sign off on.

 1,598 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.03/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

650ml brown glass bottle with foiled over pressure cap served into a conical Guinness pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are average given the brewery.

Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm slightly over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a two finger khaki head of nice cream and thickness, and great retention for the high ABV. Colour is a solid black. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Appealing for the style.

Sm: Floral hops, some pine, must, dark malts, stale malts, and cream. A moderate strength aroma.

T: Unpleasantly aggressive hop bitterness atop clean malts, some floral character, and hints of citrus. Pleasant but unimpressive. There's little complexity or subtlety. It's too bold and aggressive. Overbearing.

Mf: Too sharp. Too thick. Coarse and dry on the climax, but nicely wet on the open.

Dr: Drinkable but unremarkable. A let-down from Firestone Walker, but then I've come to expect that from them.

C

***
01/06/15: Further impressions:

I dig the label design, even if it is a bit generic. I wanted to revisit this Black IPA now that I have more experience with the style. Served cold into a pilsner glass at low altitude in Austin, TX. Reviewed live.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 2 fingers wide. Pale tan colour. Nicely creamy and full, with a sumptuous even consistency and a soft appearance. Retention is good for the ABV and style - about 8-9 minutes. Leaves a nice ring of even coating of lacing on the sides of the glass as it recedes.

BODY: Predictably, it's an opaque black. More stout-like and dark than I'm accustomed to with beers of this style; few are ink-black.

Overall, it's apt for the style albeit typical. Not unique or special.

AROMA: The hop profile seems apt for the style: pine, a bit of evergreen, sappy tree resins. Suggests a sticky feeling brew with a pronounced hop profile but no untamed hop bitterness. Some cream and dark malts seem to cover up the hop bite, bringing enough sweetness to keep the brew in balance but not so much that it's cloying. Hopefully the taste lives up to the aroma.

Aromatic intensity is moderate. No yeast character, overt alcohol, or off-notes are present.

TASTE/TEXTURE: It's definitely hop forward, with pine dominating the hop profile. Subsidiary hoppy notes of evergreen, sap, and mild resins complement. The hop bitterness is a bit too aggressive, tipping the balance too much towards the hops. A sore absence of roasted barley holds the brew back, but it does have some fairly harsh dark and schwarz malts which lend it a rough-around-the-edges feel, violating the cleanliness of the flavour profile but also bringing some needed sweetness into the mix.

Like with most beers in this still-young style, the dark malts are just fundamentally mismatched to the hops. Rye's signature spiciness never manifests, making me wonder if enough rye was used in the grain bill. Fortunately, no untoward yeast presence, hop presence, or overt alcohol comes through. As it warms, a pleasant suggestion of faint milk chocolate emerges.

Moreover, the flavour profile overall is both simple and shallow, with merely average flavour duration and intensity. Has no stand-out characteristics. I do like the evergreen hop character, and I think that's the right direction to take in this style, but it undercommits.

Mouthfeelwise, it's aptly creamy and smooth, but the hop bitterness does drag on the palate and unfortunately its blatant overcarbonation restricts drinkability. A softer more luscious feel would do wonders. I like its coating, slightly chewy presence on the palate. Ultimately, this texture neither elevates the beer nor accentuates any constituent flavours.

OVERALL: This is certainly an above average attempt at the style, and while it's drinkable I can't say it's anywhere near world-class. I'll be avoiding it in the future, and continue to be skeptical of the hullabaloo surrounding Firestone Walker. More of a focus on the evergreen hop character, some tweaking of the ingredient choices (if you're going to do rye, do rye), and a leavened creamier texture would help bring this beer up to a B-.

C+

 4,276 characters

Photo of SocalKicks
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of brentk56
3.82/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Quite a pour, with a huge ecru head that settles down to size as the fudge brown liquid rises, showing off some tawny highlights; clumps of foam cling to the pint glass

Smell: Toasted rye bread, caramel, pine and wintergreen

Taste: Lots of roast, up front, with the caramel, spicy rye and piney hop elements assertive through the middle; the wintergreen flavor adds another dimension to the hops, after the swallow, with the bitterness building boldly into the finish; finishes very dry

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: A very bold flavored ABA; I would prefer a less harsh hop profile and a bit more malt as the flavors are battling with my tastebuds

 692 characters

Photo of oline73
4.08/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had this on-tap at Churchkey in DC. Poured into a 4 oz snifter.

Appearance: Pours a mostly clear dark brown color with a half finger of creamy off white head that leave some lacing.

Smell: Tons of rye spice with a sweet malty backbone. I'm getting some dark fruit and hops as well, but there is a lot of rye.

Taste: Tons of rye spice and citrus peel hops. The mix of flavors works extremely well. The hops kill the tongue. Nice malt background, reminds me of rye bread.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with fluffy carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: This is a really good beer that definitely stands out. There is as much rye in this one as any beer I've had. I would have another.

 682 characters

Photo of emerge077
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.04/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep black color ale with a large brown foamy head with good retention and some light lacing. Aroma of spicy rye malt notes with some dry hoppy notes with light resinous notes. Taste is also dominated by spicy rye notes with some resinous dry hoppy notes with light dry bitter notes. Body is about average with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Really nice mix between some spicy rye malt with solid hops punch.

 436 characters

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Wookey Jack from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
4.23 out of 5 based on 4,609 ratings.
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