Saturday, July 7, 2012

Firestone Walker Wookey Jack

Didn't I just review a Firestone Walker beer? Didn't I just review a black IPA? Well you get two redundancies in one episode since this is a FW Black IPA - but made with rye! A lot of people have been reviewing this one lately and they've been pretty positive across the board. Would the trend continue or end with my review....?

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (688) - Albany, New York, USA - JUL 5, 2012
I poured a 22oz bomber into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Pitch black body in the glass. Forms a light tan, creamy/rocky head which lingers and laces extremely well.

Smell: Quite piney, almost resiny or astringent hop aroma. Definite citrus or tropical fruit juice concentrate or other underlying sweetness.

Taste: The "Black IPA" is such a relatively new category in brewing it’s hard to criticize a beer for "deviating from the style" when it isn’t entirely agreed upon yet. And while Firestone Walker Wookey Jack is by no means a bad beer, I might fault it for just not living up to my expectations. If I were drinking this blind I think I’d peg it as a standard IPA.

It starts off with the more dank, East Coast-style pine and resin bitterness. Some tropical fruit and citrus sweetness riding shotgun, but not so prominent as you’d normally associate with a West Coast IPA. As it transitions to the second half a rush of rye spicy dryness swoops in. It works with the hoppy bitterness quite well, although it might account for the rather dry, almost cloying aftertaste. It’s a delectable, robust palate to be sure, but not all that complex. There’s a noticeable lack of stout-like qualities such as roasted malt, chocolate, coffee and other associated flavors and features.

Drinkability: With a thin, very soft, almost tepid mouthfeel and complete lack of alcohol taste or warmth, you’d never know this beer is 8.3% ABV. It’s almost a little too drinkable for it is. The texture walks a fine line between velvety smooth and flat-out watery. The hops linger and dry out the mouth, but that’s to be expected. Still, Firestone Walker Wookey Jack goes down very smooth and would seem to be very versatile.

Grade: 8/10

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