Fire Up The Stone

Brewery and Country of Origin: Firestone Walker Brewing Company of 1400 Ramada Drive, Paso Robles, CA 93446, USA

Date Reviewed: 11-14-13

For the first time this season, Boston saw its first snow flurry earlier this week. Though we didn't get any meaningful accumulation, it does mean that winter's coming, and it's most likely going to be a hefty one like last year. Now we happen to love the snow, although we're not world champion skiers or huskies. And when the cold weather kicks in, so do the strong ales. So why is it that stronger beers are preferred when the going gets frosty? There are a few reasons for this, but for the sake of this imperial beer from Firestone Walker, we'll explain the physiological reason behind all of this. Let us start by establishing that drinking alcohol does NOT raise your body temperature. And that brings us to our first point. Alcohol dilates blood vessels, which causes them to surface toward the epidermis. This has a twofold effect. First, you "feel" warmer, because your circulatory system is now more focused on your skin, which is cold from the air and snow. Second, this draws a life maintaining heat source away from your body core. Wasted heat escapes through your skin and as a result, your overall body temperature ends up dropping. This has proved fatal in the past, when stranded and trapped hikers and explorers were sent brandy by way of St. Bernard dogs. This was more of a comfort than a treatment, as comes point number two. We all know from eight grade health class that alcohol is a depressant, slowing down the responsiveness of the brain and the nervous system. Not to mention, alcohol has the uncanny ability to make everything comfortable. Talking to attractive women, sleeping on sidewalks, eating spoiled foods, etc. It also can calm your nerves to the point where you don't feel differences in temperature like you would as a sober, more responsible human being. That said, there is some merit in all of this, as long as you're actually in a heated building, or at least outside and within the confines of cell phone service. Alcohol will make you feel warm when it's cold out, but don't expect anything genuinely beneficial if you find yourself on a maligned skiing trip in the 18th Century Alps.
Date Sampled: 9-01-13 At: 146 Fiddlers Hollow, Penfield, NY 14526, USA
Beer Style: American Double/Imperial IPA
Alcohol by Volume: 9.50%
Serving Type: 22 oz Bottle, 16 oz Mug Glass
Rating: 3.46


The Double Jack has a somewhat smooth pour with a medium low amount of carbonation action, producing a half inch tall foam head with a moderately low retention level, an average density, and a fairly bright white color. This beer is clear with no visible sediment, and carries a deep amber shine with a good amount of brightness in the light, or against a firepit. This beer shows off a moderately high amount of lacing on the glass.


This imperial IPA has an expectedly bitter aroma full of citrusy piney hops delivering a traditional American northwest hops effect. This beer's aroma is fitted with a trace amount of pale malty notes including some grainy and grassy notes found in lagers, and almost no sweetness to speak of. This beer's aroma does not contain any evidence of alcoholic notes, despite its moderately high alcohol content.


This is a medium bodied brew with a good deal of carbonation, a medium light viscosity, and a matching weight, making it a pretty average beer in terms of substance. This beer's finish is very dry with a long lasting linger. A good amount of crispness at the finish and a minute amount of refreshment is offered by this beer's closing. There is no alcohol warming and overall, this beer is moderately easy to drink for the style. This beer has a smooth texture throughout.


This beer has a somewhat soapy, floral flavor with a very bitter character, and strong citrusy hop dominated profile that is fairly unbalanced with only a very small amount of pale malt presence. This beer has a small amount of grassy and dry lighter malt induced notes that do little to calm the nearly overwhelming bitter experience this beer delivers. There is a very subtle alcoholic presence with some bite at the finish which lingers for a bit with a generally bitter aftertaste, serving as a good model of this beer's bitterness overall.

Our Take

Rather ironically (based on the content of this review), this beer offers nothing in the way of any real alcohol warming (feeling, of course), so you probably shouldn't be reaching for this if you're a bit chilly. Still, this is a strong ale which delivers on a promise of an imperial hoppy flaovr, a full aromatic experience and a good deal of presence. This beer goes well with a variety of meats, cheeses, and other dishes, as it is a fairly versatile dinner accompaniment. If you're into a standard double IPA or if you're just looking for something a bit hoppier than what you're used to, you might want to give this somewhat overpowering brew a try. Overall, this is a good beer which doesn't offer any terribly unique or distinct properties, but as a hefty imperial, that may be a good thing. We would recommend, however, looking elsewhere if your house gets covered by an avalanche.