Firestone Walker Brewing Company's Wookey Jack is a black IPA with malted rye. It's 8.3% abv level seems high to be referred to as an IPA but I'm not complaining here. However, I would qualify this beer as more of a Russian imperial stout with it's overtones of late hop earthiness, citrus aromas and the dry complex spice component. This is a viscous beer that generates a massive tan head that lingers. It has that rich, brown sugar bittersweet flavor along with the full mouthfeel that I find in the classic RIS's like Old Rasputin. This is a very enjoyable beer which is not surprising considering FW's reputation for excellent beers. I was actually surprised to find that it isn't barrel aged and I think that if it were, that added dimension would put it over the top in terms of great beers.
In the mean time, and halfway through the bottle on an empty stomach I read at the FW website that they state: "Watch for 'bottled on dates' located on the necks or bottom left corner of the label for each of our beers. ....this ensures freshness and ultimately a great Firestone Walker beer!"
My bottle had the Bottled On: and then a blank space for the date so I'm not sure of it's age but it triggered some odd paranoia in me that started me thinking about something else on their website. They list the ingredients like rye, wheat, de-bittered black and conclude with "Wookey dust". Well, this secret Wookey dust ingredient had me worried. I'm not a big Star Wars fan but I know that Chewbacca didn't appear to be the most sanitary of aliens. I hate the idea of having some of that scaly dandruff, combed out of his oily matted hair and then pitched into the fermenting beer. Now that I think of it I'm putting the pieces together, Rasputin had that Wookey look about him. Hmmm, makes me wonder about the relationship. Wookey dust or Rasputin dust.
Wow this is good beer! Judging from what I just wrote, that dust may just be hallucinogenic.
Get some today, I bought mine at Whole Foods for 6 bucks. Cheers!
By the way, here's another thought on the name Wookey. Just sayin'.