The Wookey Is In The House.

My first rating dilemma comes along today. Early on, we decided we were going with a ten point scale, using only whole numbers. This one falls cleanly between two whole numbers.
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WookeyType of Beer: Black Rye IPA
Brewery: Firestone Walker
Rating: 9/10
Place of Purchase: Rumrunner (Tucson, AZ)
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So first things first, the rating. This is solidly the second best Black IPA I have ever had. And the best rye IPA, period. But it doesn’t quite match up to my 10 point standard (Stone’s 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA). Perhaps if it were slightly more hopped and slightly less astringent it would have climbed over the top to join the few (in my mind) perfect brews. That said, it is solidly a 9+.
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The first thing I noticed is the sheer blackness of the brew. It is dark, no light in, no light out. Then the smells hit you, chocolates, hops, an almost burnt roasted malt, maybe some fresh split pine. Overall the smell is best described as organic. It smells raw. The first tastes show some sweetness, a lot of quite strong, very flavorful hops. Very little citrus (it is there), some flowers and maybe a nice raisin flavor. The aftertaste though? Ooooooh… bitter, pucker inducing bitterness, some hops, and the rye becomes obvious, almost pumpernickel in taste (side note, I eat pumpernickel breads and bagels like they are going out of fashion, and have all of my life). Some slight chocolate hints at the very end of the aftertaste. I generally feel a bit silly mentioning how a beer feels in your mouth, but I would remiss if I did not mention that this *feels* resinous, dank, even (not a complaint).
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While a place for a “bottled on” date to be on this 22 OZ bottle, no such date was actually printed on the bottle, nor or either of the other two bottles I have. However, it was purchased just this last Friday and consumed on the following Tuesday. The employee that it was purchased from said that they got it the week prior, so freshness is assumed (bottling started in April). For a brew with just 60 IBUs, this beer is bitter, but the spiciness of the rye definitely plays a strong role as well. Once the brew is given some time to warm, the malts and rye really come out and completely overpower all of the hops, and this beer nears closer to that perfect rating. But enjoy the varied flavors if you can get your hands on this one. It is not like any Cascadian Dark Ale I have ever had, and it is nothing like any rye IPA I have ever had. This is a new one to me, and it’s wonderful.
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Sam, AKA Gamecat235
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4 thoughts on “The Wookey Is In The House.

  1. I have no comments ’cause when I went to Monk’s to try Wookey Jack, the keg kicked the night before and they didn’t have any left.

    Must have been good stuff!

  2. I have to admit that I would not have tried this one if Sam had not given it such a glowing review, but now my opinion is that you should pick up a bottle if you have the opportunity. The nose on it is very strong – piney, hoppy, very woody from the rye with a slight hint of vanilla. The taste is very heavily steeped in rye with a slighly citrus peel bite to it. I didn’t feel that the taste was at all bitter, which was quite a surprise since I don’t typically do IPAs. The bitterness comes slowly as an aftertaste, but blends well with a chocolate rye bread flavor.

    I’m giving it a 9/10 rating as well, although I’m probably closer to a 9.5/10 if I wasn’t sticking to whole numbers for now. It’s an exceptional beer that is well worth a try if you have the opportunity, even if just for the fact that it is very different from any other brew that I’ve had. I honestly regret that I started my evening with a Delerium Tremens instead of this.

  3. OK! I actually had this on tap at Good Dog Bar in Philadelphia. It was impressive! Very complex and hoppy but not overwhelming. Nose is hoppy and bitter. Bitter like a baker’s chocolate. It’s a heavy beer and hoppy at first, finishes malty though. I’m actually having this right now out of a 22 oz bottle as well.

    There is so much going on with this brew that it’s hard to pin anything down. It’s very earthy and kind of peaty. Like a scotch that’s been roasted with peat. It’s very bitter though and delightfully so.

    The rye comes out strong in this and compliments the hops well. Even though it’s all bitter. It’s a sipping beer for sure and 22 ounces is probably alot to go through for one person. This is a sharing beer though ’cause it will inspire conversation! Right now though, I can see why this sold out the first day of Philly Beer Week.

    I’d give this a solid 9/10 as well but only because the bitterness will be too much for some palettes.

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