Beer Review 0323: Green Flash Double Stout Black Ale

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

Green Flash are a relatively small company with a wide distribution. Their Double Stout Black Ale, which is an Imperial Stout, is a modern view on 19th century British Stout recipes, blending golden naked oats, caramelized crystal, and roasted malts to create the 8.8% ABV (alcohol by volume) beer. Available year-round, the IBUs (International Bitterness Units) on this brew are 45.

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The pour issued forth an average size head, light tan in color and creamy, with big bubbles. The foam lasted atop an opaque, black brew; when held to the light, this liquid created very nice violet highlights. As I poured, I noticed the body was clear, free of particles and sediment. Lacing was good, leaving behind weepy sheets as I drank, and although on the low alcohol end for an Imperial Stout, there were some alcohol legs when swirled.

The aroma had a heavy malt presence: lots of chocolate and coffee up front, so much so that I thought this smelled like a rich chocolate cake. Balancing things out are a hint of woodsy smoke, and a dark fruit presence that became more pronounced as the beer warmed. The dark fruit had a grape/raisin scent to it, and combined with a light fruity hop to become jam-like. I also noticed a bit of alcohol.

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Flavors featured chocolate and dark fruit on the initial sip, imparting a big jammy grape note coupled with a lush dark chocolate. This gets big-time roasty in the middle of the taste, giving off a puff of smoke before delivering an excellent finish of dark chocolate, fresh roasted black coffee, and a slight alcohol hit. The finish unwinds coupling the sweetness from the dark chocolate with the moderate acid notes from the coffee. Team in some of the dark fruit, and you’ve got a complex, bold, and rich palate that is full-bodied, with a medium, creamy mouthfeel.

Double Stout Black Ale is a smooth and rich Imperial Stout that reminded me very much of North Coast’s Old Rasputin (92 points). This beer retains high drinkability thanks to a fairly low ABV for the style, which is a welcome addition. Green Flash have an excellent beer here, and I highly recommend you try it.

Green Flash Double Stout Black Ale, 94 points. Price: $2.99 US for one twelve ounce bottle.

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