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Beer Review: Firestone Walker Wookey Jack

This beer has the distinction of being the 2012 and 2013 Great American Beer Festival Gold Medal Winner in the American-style black ale category.  This beer is also ranked #2 in style at Beeradvocate.com, and #216 in the top 250 beers overall!  After a few sips it’s easy to see why this beer is ranked so high on many lists.  This beer is a  packed with flavor, hops, and alcohol.  This beer is Firestone Walker’s (Proprietor’s Reserve) Wookey Jack.  So your first question should be: Where does this name Wookey Jack come from?  The origins of the name appear to be a bit mystic.  I will say as a child of the Star Wars era that Chewbacca is a Wookiee, so that’s can’t be it.  A few people think the derivation comes from a series of limestone caves in England called “Wookey Hole”.  One of the first cave divers was Jack Sheppard.  So if I had to guess, I can imagine this beer’s name is an homage of sorts to a very adventurous person.  And hence Firestone Walker developed a very adventurous beer – a black rye IPA named Wookey Jack.

I will be the first to admit it has taken me a long time to get acclimated to dark beers.  I will also add that this is a appropriate beer to acclimate your palate to dark beers.  Check out the pour on Wookey Jack in the picture below.

Wookey Jack: Firestone Walker, California
ABV: 8.3%
Style: American Black Ale
Rank: #2 in style at Beeradvocate.com

Wookey Jack pours a pitch black with a tan sticky foamy head.  The smell is hops and roasted malt, with some citrus notes, coffee, chocolate.  You can taste the rye spice on the palate, but that is very well balanced by the dark roasted malt.  The citra hops also stand tall in this beer (citra hops is one of my personal favorites).  And at 8.3%, Wookey Jack definitely packs a buzz but goes down very smooth.  A definite malty and alcohol wave is perceived post-swallow.

Firestone really pushed the boarders and re-defined a black ale when developing Wookey Jack.  The addition of rye spice to a black ale, combined with the almost smokey malt imparts this beer with a unique combination of flavors.  And the track record and award-gathering of this beer speaks for itself!  Definitely Wookey Jack a try if you can.

I purchased Wookey Jack at Consumer’s Beverages.

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