Beer Review 0319: Green Flash Palate Wrecker Imperial IPA

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Green Flash has been brewing beer in San Diego, California since 2002. Founded by Mike and Lisa Hinkley, they quickly got hold of Chuck Silva, renowned brewmaster. The brewery are known for taking traditional styles and putting their touch on them.

While still being relatively small, Green Flash enjoys great distribution in the United States, and their West Coast IPA (95 points) is often the first beer thought of when discussing hoppy beers from, well, the west coast.

Palate Wrecker was released in 2012, and was originally brewed for a tavern’s (Hamilton’s) second anniversary celebration. The limited release last year was extremely popular, which has prompted Green Flash to bring this back in a wider number; their website says this is a seasonal beer, but various Internet reports suggest this will be a year-round beer. Brewed with six pounds of hops per barrel, “Palate Wrecker” may be an apt name. This beer comes in at 9.5% ABV (alcohol by volume) and an astonishing 100+ IBUs (International Bitterness Units).

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The pour produced a large, soapy, off-white head that lasted atop a deep golden-orange beer, which was completely clear of particles and sediment. Nearly sparkling in body, this was a great looking brew that when held to bright light, threw off carbonation bubbles that resembled fireworks. Lacing was good, leaving behind a good amount of suds.

On the nose, there was lots of grapefruit and pine, coupled with a nice lemon and lime presence. There was some general fruitiness, along with a light malt backing that lent just the right amount of sweetness — some mild caramel and a sweet bread-like grain. But Palate Wrecker does seem to have a dank, bitter edge; however, this aroma isn’t as pungent as you might have expected.

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Is this a Palate Wrecker? Well, there’s soapy grapefruit up front, which teams with lemon and an exceptionally fruity orange to provide a pleasant opening. The middle of the mouth sees some pine come out, and introduces the malt presence, bringing on some sweetness before pounding the tongue with a heavy bitterness that stops just at the point of turning medicinal. There is some flavor here, too; a nice lemon peel ushers in the maximum bitter, which leaves the taste buds with a grassy hop. This beer is full-bodied, medium in mouthfeel, with a creamy but drying finish that will leave you with cottonmouth.

Ah, this somewhat heavily hyped beer leaves you with some great flavors that unfortunately never get to completely show themselves because of the heavy-handed bitterness. That’s a disappointment, because there seems to be so much potential here. But don’t get me wrong; a hop head will still have a blast with this brew; however, it might not be worth the bucks it commands. Approach with caution and don’t commit to the full four-pack until you’ve tried it. (Also available in bomber bottles for around half the price of a four-pack.)

Green Flash Palate Wrecker Imperial IPA, 90 points. Price: $12.99 US for a four pack.

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6 responses to “Beer Review 0319: Green Flash Palate Wrecker Imperial IPA”

  1. onwisconsin21 says :

    So from reading the review, sounds like it does not compare to Lagunitas Sucks. Still hoping this gets here to at least try with the growing hype. We only have a few of Green Flash beers with it being so new to Wisconsin. So jealous of the beers you can get, especially Old Hickory!

    • allthesamebeer says :

      This is a good beer but I was very disappointed with it. Sucks and Hopslam are easily better. Speaking of Olde Hickory, I should have some new ones from them coming up soon. I know there are a couple I need to pick up on my beer run this weekend.

  2. onwisconsin21 says :

    Jealous of your beer run and looking forward to the beers I will read about that you pick up!

    • allthesamebeer says :

      If you ever want to do a trade, let me know, and we’ll see if we can work something out. I picked up a couple of Olde Hickory Event Horizons yesterday — was surprised any of that was still left. It sounds like you know what we get here in NC and I pretty much have access to all of it barring a couple of the smaller breweries.

      • onwisconsin21 says :

        If you can save one of those Event Horizon (or two), that’s the exact one I would love to try. We have some great beers here with New Glarus and their fruit beers along with Central Waters and their barrel aged beers that were just releases and highly sought after. Lets try and work out a trade if you’re still interested. Thanks again for the great reviews.

    • allthesamebeer says :

      Didn’t mean to leave you hanging, I’ve been so sick that I haven’t felt like sitting at my computer. What’s really depressing is having a fridge full of Hopslam and Sucks and not being able to drink it!

      I know where there are a couple more bottles of Event Horizon; if someone hasn’t bought them up by the time I get to them, I’ll grab them and you can have two. If I can’t get them, I’ll save you one of my bottles. Very tasty beer but a little expensive, IMO.

      Shoot me an email and we can discuss further — dflippin AT me DOT com. I’m interested in pretty much anything I can’t get here, as long as it’s good.

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