Firestone Walker Double Jack (Double IPA)
"This was an excellent IPA. Certainly quite hoppy, but still quite a smooth finish." - MikeOH
"Fantastic flavor and hop hit, but nicely blended." - OkieDokie
Firestone Walker Brewing Company was founded in 1996 by Adam Firestone (aka the Bear) & David Walker (aka the Lion), and began as a small brewery with roots in wine country on California’s Central Coast.
Part of their claim to fame comes from the fact that some of their beers, such as their signature dba (double barrel ale), are partially fermented in oak using a Burton Union system (they call their system the 'Firestone Union'). They are one of only two brewers in the world to still use a commercial-sized Burton Union system.
Cleaning the Firestone Union. Image (c) firestonebeer.com
Double Jack however (Firestone Walker's first Imperial IPA), is fermented entirely in their stainless steel vessels.
It features a big malty middle to cloak the high alcohol (9.5% ABV) and mouth puckering (albeit smooth) hop bitterness. This is a beer to be consumed in moderation as it does not taste like a nearly 10% ABV beer.
So how does it taste? To quote the Firestone Walker website:
"A dangerously drinkable Double IPA. Double Jack opens up with bright grapefruit and tangerine American hop aromas. Beautifully crafted undertones of stone fruit are revealed upon first sip, followed by the essence of blue basil and pine. A sturdy pale and crystal malt backbone brings balance to high hop intensity. Complex and aggressively hopped, and flawlessly balanced."
Double Jack started out as a special release in 2011 and was available almost full time until 2016. Taking inspiration from their Union Jack IPA, Double Jack keeps the grain bill breakdown the same but increases the amounts for a higher alcohol beer. Hops were also increased (and modified slightly) to create a beer that showcases the extreme side of American hops, making a beer that is explosively flavourful and yet integrated and immensely drinkable.
It is fermented using English Fullers yeast available in liquid form as either Wyeast 1968 London ESB Ale yeast or White Labs WLP002 English Ale yeast. Many commercial breweries had started brewing their American style IPAs using English yeast as the slightly fruity / estery profile compliments the citrus, pine, and fruity aromas of American hops. It's a combination that works well.
Firestone Walker brewhouse. Image (c) brewbokeh.com
Double Jack has won numerous awards since its release, including:
- 2013 Gold Medal - European Beer Star
- 2012 Gold Medal - European Beer Star
- 2012 Consumers Choice Gold - European Beer Star blind tasting
- 2012 Bronze Medal - Great American Beer Festival (Imperial IPA)
- 2011 Gold Medal - European Beer Star
- 2011 Silver Medal - Great American Beer Festival (Imperial IPA)
- 2011 Silver Medal - Alpha King Challenge
- 2011 Silver Medal - San Diego International Beer Festival
- 2011 1st Place - Double IPA Fest - (The Bistro, Hayward, CA)
- 2011 1st Place - Denver International Beer Competition
Like all hop forward beers, consume this beer fresh. Firestone Walker recommends it be consumed within 120 days of bottling/kegging. The sooner the better of course. Within a month or so would be ideal, similar to what Stone recommends with their 'Enjoy By' double IPA.
Brew up a batch and let us know how you like it!
Firestone Walker Double Jack (Double IPA)
Size: 12 US gallons (post-boil @ 68F)
Mash Efficiency: 93% (lower due to the high gravity)
Calories: 283 kcal per 12 fl oz
Original Gravity: 1.086 (style range: 1.075 - 1.090)
Final Gravity: 1.014 (style range: 1.010 - 1.020)
Colour: 8.2 SRM (style range: 8 - 15)
Alcohol: 9.5% ABV (style range: 7.5% - 10%)
Bitterness: 161 (style range: 60 - 120) (Theoretical. Likely closer to 100 in reality.)
26.5 lb Domestic 2-Row Malt (1.8-2L) (86.2%)
3.75 lb Dark Munich Malt (9L) (12.2%)
0.5 lb Crystal Malt (40L) (1.6%)
4 oz Warrior Hops (15.8%) - added during boil, boiled 90 min [98.6 IBU]
2 oz Centennial Hops (10.9%) - added during boil, boiled 30 min [24.5 IBU]
2 oz Cascade Hops (7.1%) - added during boil, boiled 30 min [16 IBU]
2 oz Chinook Hops (10%) - added during boil, boiled 30 min [22.5 IBU]
1 Whirlfloc Tablet (Irish moss) - added during boil, boiled 15 min
5 oz Centennial Hops (10.9%) - added immediately after boil
5 oz Cascade Hops (7.1%) - added immediately after boil
Wyeast 1968 London ESB Ale yeast or White Labs WLP002 English Ale yeast
(~939 billion cells [9-10 fresh packs] or an equivalent starter)
1 oz Centennial Hops (10.9%) - dry hop #1 (added to fermenter near end of fermentation, steeped 3 days)
1 oz Cascade Hops (7.1%) - dry hop #1 (added to fermenter near end of fermentation, steeped 3 days)
1 oz Centennial Hops (10.9%) - dry hop #2 (added to brite tank, steeped 9 days)
1 oz Cascade Hops (7.1%) - dry hop #2 (added to brite tank, steeped 9 days)
1 oz Amarillo Hops (8.7%) - dry hop #2 (added to brite tank, steeped 9 days)
1 oz Simcoe Hops (11.7%) - dry hop #2 (added to brite tank, steeped 9 days)
1 oz Centennial Hops (10.9%) - dry hop #3 (added to brite tank, steeped 6 days)
1 oz Cascade Hops (7.1%) - dry hop #3 (added to brite tank, steeped 6 days)
1 oz Centennial Hops (10.9%) - dry hop #4 (added to brite tank, steeped 3 days)
1 oz Cascade Hops (7.1%) - dry hop #4 (added to brite tank, steeped 3 days)
0.5 oz Amarillo Hops (8.7%) - dry hop #4 (added to brite tank, steeped 3 days)
0.5 oz Simcoe Hops (11.7%) - dry hop #4 (added to brite tank, steeped 3 days)
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Notes / Process
- Add 500mg potassium metabisulphite to 20 gallons water to remove chlorine / chloramine (if required).
- Water treated with brewing salts to our Hoppy flavour profile: Ca=110, Mg=18, Na=16, Cl=50, SO4=275 (Basically Randy Mosher's ideal Pale Ale numbers with slightly less Sulphate). For complete details on how to adjust your water, refer to our step by step Water Adjustment guide.
- 1.5 qt/lb mash thickness.
- Mash at 145F for 120 mins, then raise to 155F and hold for an additional 30 mins.
- Raise to 168F mashout temperature and hold for 10 mins.
- ~90 min fly sparge with ~5.6-5.8 pH water (measured at mash temperature). Collect 14.9 gallons.
- Whirlfloc and hops per schedule. Lid on at flameout, start chilling immediately. Boil for 90 minutes, adding
- Cool the wort quickly to 65-66F (we use a one-pass convoluted counterflow chiller to quickly lock in hop flavour and aroma) and transfer to fermenter.
- Oxygenate the chilled wort to a level of 14 ppm dissolved oxygen. Given the need for high attenuation, a second dose to 8-10 ppm is recommended approximately 12-18 hours after the yeast has been pitched. For complete details refer to our Aerating / Oxygenating Wort guide.
- Pitch yeast and ferment at 65-66F (wort temperature). We use modified stainless fermenting buckets in wine fridges. Do not ferment too cold initially as we want some of yeast derived fruity esters here that this English yeast is known for (it complements the hops).
- Due to the high hopping rates and quadruple dry hopping the beer is very susceptible to oxidation. You have to be very careful to minimize all exposure to oxygen in order to preserve the hop flavours and aromas. Even hops themselves can have oxygen caught in their anatomy. Some hints:
- If a vessel needs to be opened, purge the headspace with CO2 before closing.
- Before adding hops to beer, place them in a tall container and flush with CO2.
- Flush target vessels with CO2 before transferring beer. If hops are to be added at the same time (i.e. dry hop #2), add them to the vessel first.
- Don't be stingy with CO2! CO2 is cheap. To flush vessels, growlers, kegs we have a separate bare gas line off one of our manifolds with its own shutoff.
- Add dry hops #1 once fermentation is nearing completion (i.e. 5 points from final gravity) and raise the temperature to 70-72F. We simply turn off the fermenting fridges and allow the beer to naturally rise to room temperature. Steep dry hops #1 for 3 days while fermentation finishes. Assume fermentation is done if the gravity does not change over ~3 days.
- Add dry hops #2 to brite tank (we use 5 gallon glass carboys), purge with CO2 to avoid oxygen pickup, then carefully rack in the beer on top of the hops. Allow to steep for 3 days at 70-72F room temperature, gently swirling a few times a day. We do not recommend using hop sacks or other containers as you'll get the best flavour extraction from the hops if you let them roam free. For beers such as this that require multiple dry hop additions, some will dry hop in kegs using stainless steel dry hoppers, tying a piece of unflavoured / unwaxed dental floss to the lid to make it easy to remove (the floss is thin and doesn't impede the seal between the keg and keg lid). We don't recommend this approach as we find that the hops tend to clump together which in turn reduces oil extraction, requiring far too many hops to be used (and more beer lost to absorption).
- After 3 days in the brite tank add dry hops #3. Leave previous hops in. Swirl gently a few times a day.
- After 6 days in the brite tank add dry hops #4. Leave previous hops in. Swirl gently a few times a day.
- After 9 days in the brite tank package as you would normally. We rack to kegs that have first been purged with CO2, and then carbonate on the low side (around 2 volumes of CO2) to minimize carbonic bite and let the hop and malt flavours shine through. We chill the kegs to near freezing while carbonating at the same time in a 6-keg conditioning fridge. After ~1-2 weeks at serving pressure the kegs will be carbonated and ready to serve. Like all hop forward beers this Double IPA is best consumed fresh so feel free to raise the CO2 pressure temporarily to 30-40 PSI to carbonate fast over a 24 period, and then turn back down to serving pressure. Some hop bits will have invariably made their way into the keg during transfer so we use a Hop Stopper Keg Edition filter to ensure that hops do not clog the dip tube and/or end up in the glass. Force carbonating at high pressure and using a Hop Stopper filter allows us to serve this beer 24 hours after kegging. There's no need to wait a few days for any hop bits that made their way into the keg to first settle out.
- We do not recommend using finings such as unflavoured gelatin as it may "round off" hop flavours / aromas. The yeast is also extremely flocculant and will drop brilliantly clear on its own.
For detailed brewing instructions, see our Brew Day Step by Step guide.
Questions? Visit our Firestone Walker Double Jack (Double IPA) forum thread.
Pictures / Videos
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