Double Stout Black Ale beer from Green Flash Brewing Co., of San Diego, Calif. is8.8 percent ABV.
An imperial stout is an extra-strength stout, yet Green Flash's version lives up to its Double Stout name by downplaying the dark fruit aspects of typical imperials and intensifying the roasted grain-coffee characteristics of stout.
It started out like a good strong stout should - jet black color, thick tan head and aromas of chocolate and coffee. Bitter coffee notes dominated the flavor, which was excellent, reminding me of the best French roasts. I've had some stouts where the coffee aspect reminds me more of the skanky stuff in packets commonly found in motel rooms.
Dark chocolate followed, combining with the coffee to give the ale an overall dry character. There was not much of a caramel malt presence, which also made Double Stout stand out from the pack of imperials on the shelves.
Hops add a touch more bitterness, but not with a lingering harshness; the ale finishes clean and quick. There is little hop flavor - a hint of pine, but nothing that displaces the other flavors of the beer.
The 8.8-percent ABV Double Stout also had a creamy body that was a good companion to the ale's dryness, providing a nice mouth feel that doesn't cling because of the clean finish.
As much as I enjoy the complexity added by the dark fruit characteristics of many imperial stouts, I liked the different profile offered by Green Flash. While a dry and somewhat bitter imperial, it does not venture into unpleasantness.
Green Flash has a number of intriguing beers that I'll be searching out, including a Grand Cru Dark Ale, Friendship Brew Black Saison, Palate Wrecker India Pale Ale, a 9.7-percent ABV Trippel Ale and others. The brewery prides itself on a number of highly hopped beers, so hopheads may want to peruse those selections.
Green Flash beers are available in about 40 states (and Canada and Japan) and the brewery's online Beer Finder link is at www.greenflashbrew.com/where-to-buy-srs.php.