Firestone Walker Easy Jack IPA

I only have about 6 hours or so before it is officially the weekend. Mine isn’t 3 days, but I definitely need the time away from work. I’m even considering leaving my laptop at work. Anyways, let’s get to the beer.

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ABV: 4.5%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Brewmaster Matt Brynildson went to the mountain and returned with a vision for a different kind of Session IPA, one that would be brewed and dry hopped with a globetrotting selection of new hop varieties from Europe, New Zealand and North America. He foresaw a beer that would deliver massive hop aromas, a signature malt balance and an empty glass before you knew what hit you. And so the newest member of our Jack IPA family was born.”

Random: That’s two Firestone Walker beers in a row.

This beer poured with a thick, three finger, pure-white head that dissipated slowly. It left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, golden-yellow color with seltzer-like carbonation. The nose was incredibly fragrant with tropical fruit notes. I picked up mango, pineapple and peach along with citrus. Grass was there for the ride. The taste also had a lot of tropical fruit. There was more peach than was in the nose. Mango came through as well, but I didn’t get much pineapple. Earthiness from the grassy hops came through along with sweet, caramel malt. The body was thin with high carbonation. It had a quick finish with tropical fruit and malt. For $2.25 a bottle, this broke down to $.19 per ounce. This is a well-priced, incredibly flavorful session beer. This will be making an appearance in my cooler for the Summer.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

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Firestone Walker Pivo Pils

After a 14 hour day, I definitely need a beer while I’m waiting for our pizza to heat up. This is one that Val picked up for me that I’ve wanted to try for a long time.

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ABV: 5.3%

Style: German Pilsener

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Everything we love about classic German Pilsner with a hoppy Bohemian twist. Pils is a bright straw colored lager beer with playful carbonation topped with beautiful white foam lace. Delicate lightly toasted malt flavors underscore noble German hop character. Hallertau-grown Magnum hops deliver the lupulin foundation while generous amounts of Spalter Select hops bring floral aromatic and spicy herbal notes. As a twist on the traditional Pils, we dry hop with German Saphir for a touch of bergamot zest and lemongrass. A refreshing, light-bodied and hop-driven Pils.”

Random: The Salt-n-Pepa episode of “Lip Sync Battle” was very disappointing. It could be the worst episode by far.

This beer poured with a two and a half finger, pure white head. It dissipated slowly and left some lacing on the glass. It also left a quarter-inch of crown on top of the clear, straw yellow body with heavy carbonation. The nose had floral hoppy notes with some clean malt. There was also a metallic note, which I’ve come to expect from the style. The taste was really clean with lemon hops, biscuit and pilsener malt. There was also grass present with floral notes. The metallic note wasn’t there, which I appreciated. The body was thin with lots of carbonation. It had a quick finish with grassy hops and light malt. This was $2.25 a bottle, which broke down to $.19 per ounce. Regardless of price, this was an outstanding beer and one of the best of the style that I’ve had. I’m not a fan of the style, but I could drink this beer all day long and would search it out. I’ll be having this one again.

Untappd Rating: 5.0/5.0

Firestone Walker Double Double Barrel Ale (2013)

Sometimes when I’m out, I find beers that have been on my “Wanted” list for a few years. While the other half and I were in Philly, I came upon this gem at “The Corner Foodery.” Despite the high price tag, I had to take this one home with us. Let’s see how this one fared.

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ABV: 12%

Style: English Barleywine

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Our flagship beer brewed to double strength. Immense toffee, vanilla, coconut and caramel malt married with American oak aromas emerge. The first sip develops with sugary caramel, molasses and vanilla, finishing with English toffee and toasted coconut. A beer to be reckoned with and perfect for sharing.”

Random: BMW makes bobsleds?

This brew poured with a half a finger of pure white head that dissipated surprisingly quick and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a cloudy chestnut color with some limited carbonation visible. The nose was very heavy with significant oak and vanilla notes, some alcohol and tobacco. The taste was a bit less intense than the nose implied. I got oak and vanilla primarily. After the glass warmed a bit, I got some warm toffee sweetness that went into a bit of booze warming on the end of the sip, but not as much as expected from the high gravity beer. The body was thick with moderate carbonation, which made it a really nice sipper on a cold, winter night. The finish was long with oak and vanilla and some booze. As it seems to be with Firestone Walker beers, I loved this one, despite taking so long to find. I would definitely have this one again.

Untappd Rating: 5.0/5.0

Firestone Walker 15 – Anniversary Ale

I’ve determined that there is rarely anything good in the news. Today’s news: “Building Collapse in Philadelphia Kills One.” Second headline: Syrian Regime Takes Key City.” Pretty much all depressing. I’m not so naïve that I don’t understand that this is the world we live in. I guess I just wished that it was a little happier and a little safer. My grandmother used to tell stories about how they would leave their doors unlocked at night. Could you imagine doing that now? I know where I live, it wouldn’t have a good result. What does this have to do with beer? Well, despite all of the unhappiness and violence in the world, beer makes me happy. I can just sit with a beer and daydream or laugh over a pint with friends. Beer is my happy place. Let’s see how happy this one made me.
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ABV: 12.5%

Style: American Strong Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “As a finished beer, XV is alive with amazing complexity and yet it is quite possibly the most integrated and seamless blend yet. Looking at a blend of 8 beers on paper at first looks chaotic and potentially disjointed; however, a closer look reveals and interesting theme: 76% Barley Wine style beers, 19% Stout and 5% Imperial IPA. XV introduces our new blonde barley wine Helldorado with flavors of lavender honey liqueur. The well established DDBA delivers its signature American toasted oak, English caramel toffee and light leather nuances. 2010 vintage Sticky Monkey folds in brown sugar, maple, cinnamon, ginger and ripe figs. Parabola brings the familiar flavors of roasted dark coco, and chocolate covered cherries. Velvet Merkin carries silky milk chocolate, toasted coconut and creamy textures. Good Foot and Bravo add assertive barley wine warmth and lush barrel derived vanilla bean notes. The game changer this year is the addition of Double Jack to the blend. At just 5% its massive dry hop character brings citrus zest, tangerine and mango aromas making this a completely new beer. The beer is unfiltered and unfined, so there will be a small amount of sediment in the bottom of the bottle. XV is best enjoyed poured carefully into a half-filled brandy snifter or wine glass. Allow it to warm to 55F to fully enjoy the pleasing and complex aromas. As the beer sits and breathes in the glass, a richer, orange zested, chocolate dusted, vanilla custard character is reveled, so take your time. If you wait to open your bottle later, store it in a cool dark place. I suspect that this beer will age well and change favorably for years to come. It was an absolute pleasure in the making and I truly hope you enjoy our Sixth oak-aged blend! Our journey continues and it’s just as fun and exciting now as it was back in 1996.”

Random: This brew has been aging since 12/10/11.

This beer poured with a half a finger of white head that dissipated quickly. The body was a cloudy, dark brown color with moderate carbonation visible throughout. The nose was booze, cognac and some syrupy sweetness with a dash of tobacco. The taste was really smooth bourbon barrels with vanilla up front. I got some subtle cognac sweetness as well. But, the bourbon was really the star on this one. The alcohol was way more subdued on the taste than the nose. The body was medium thickness with a silky mouthfeel and low carbonation. The finish was quick with bourbon. I also expected more booze warming on the end of the sip, but was pleasantly surprised despite the ABV. I would definitely have this one again, although I doubt I could get my hands on it again.

Untappd Rating: 4.5/5.0

Firestone Walker 14 – Anniversary Ale

As I was going through the news on ESPN today, I was “shocked,” (please note the sarcasm) to see that the MLB may go after A-Rod for steroids. I for one, cannot stand A-Rod, and I’m not even a Yankees fan. When he was benched last year, I thought it was inexcusable to be giving his number to girls rather than supporting his team. And that was just the nail in the coffin for me. Needless to say I wouldn’t be crying if they suspend him. So, now that my rant is over, here’s my thoughts on the brew.
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ABV: 12.5%

Style: American Strong Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “As a finished beer, 14 is a brimming with amazing flavors and textures. DDBA leads the blend lending American toasted oak, English caramel toffee and light leather nuances. Newcomer, Sticky Monkey, folds in the taste of brown sugar, molasses, cinnamon, ginger and ripe figs. Parabola brings the familiar flavors of bitter dark chocolate and cherry pit. Velvet Merkin carries silky bourbon soaked chocolate cake goodness to the party while a touch of Black Xantus teases coffee and tobacco. Last, but not least, Good Foot brings the hops… hints of citrus zest and tangerine, which adds a pop to the aroma and nice finish to this big, sexy brew. 14 is best enjoyed in a half filled brandy snifter or wine glass. Allow it to warm to 55F to fully enjoy the pleasing and complex aromas. If left in a cool dark place, I suspect this beer will age well. It was an absolute pleasure making it and I truly hope you enjoy our fifth oak-aged blend! The journey continues.”

Random: This brew has been aging since 6/12/11.

This brew was poured into a snifter with half a finger of tan head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a dark black color with no visible carbonation. The nose was really inviting. I got vanilla and big bourbon barrel. The taste was quite similar. It almost reminded me of licking a bourbon barrel (not that I’ve done that, although presented with the opportunity, I might). I got bourbon up front, then dark fruit and sweetness right after. Then, the burn came in. The alcohol definitely made itself known on this one. Some other more subtle flavors that I got on this one were raisins, toffee and chocolate. The body was really thick and had low carbonation. It had a long finish with significant burn and oak. Despite the burn, this was a really enjoyable sipper. Since it had been aging for about two years, this was probably even hotter while it was fresh!

Untappd Rating: 5.0/5.0

Firestone Walker Sucaba

I picked this one up awhile back. If you into beer at all, you’ve heard of this one. It’s pretty much as close to perfection in the style as you get (or so I’ve heard). So, when I saw a bottle of this one, I knew it was coming home with me. I had this one on one of the colder nights that we had in April, when it dipped into the 40s.
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ABV: 12.5%

Style: English Barleywine

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Big boozy bourbon and American oak aromas combined with soft chocolate malty undertones. Complex malt flavors framed in oak, with hints of dark chocolate, vanilla, tobacco, coconut and just a touch of dark cherry. This is definitely a sipping beer, best served in a brandy snifter. This ale pairs well with dark chocolate and sturdy cheeses.”

Random: The fact that this beer came in a box made it even more sexy. Kinda like a good scotch or Irish whiskey.

This bad boy poured with a half a finger of white head into my Cigar City snifter and it dissipated slowly and left some lacing on the glass. The body was a dark, sienna brown color with moderate carbonation visible throughout. The nose was brown sugar, tobacco, booze and bourbon barrel with a touch of smoke. The nose was huge, yet pleasant. The taste was insanely good. First of all, this was the smoothest barleywine that I’ve ever had. Flavors that came out instantly? Bourbon and vanilla. Then, I got some brown sugar and smoky wood. The booze was insanely hidden and well-integrated, probably better in this beer than almost any I’ve had. The mouthfeel was thick with low carbonation. The finish was long with bourbon. This is flat out the best barleywine that I’ve ever had. Grab this immediately.

Untappd Rating: 5.0/5.0

Firestone Walker Wookey Jack

This was the second beer that I had at Jack’s. I almost pulled the trigger on a bomber of this a couple of weeks ago. A black IPA with rye? Definitely sounded interesting, especially since I’ve gotten into rye a bit more.
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ABV: 8.3%

Style: American Black Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Wookey Jack is our first foray into the dark outer world of black IPAs. Rich dark malts and spicy rye careen into bold citrus laden hops creating a new dimension in IPA flavor. This brew has been left unfiltered and unfined to retain all of its texture and character. At 80 IBUs, Wookey Jack is gnarly on the outside yet complex and refined on the inside.”

Random: I watched the NCAA wrestling championships on Saturday. It was actually pretty good.

This poured just like a stout. It had a huge tan-colored head on top of a dark brown (almost black) body.  The head dissipated slowly and left lots of lacing on the glass. There was no visible carbonation due to the color. Onto the nose…I got stinky, piney hops. There weren’t any roasted malts on the nose, which was odd. If I was blindfolded and sniffed this, I would guess it was a double IPA. The taste was a bit different. I got the piney hops that were on the nose and then it transitioned into roasted malts, chocolate and spice from the rye. WIth this being said, it was definitely more towards the IPA side than the roasted malt side. Although, roasted malts did become more apparent as it warmed .The body was thick with heavy carbonation. It finished with piney hops and lasted for awhile. This was a really outstanding beer and definitely worth a try.

Untappd Rating: 4.5/5.0