Belgian IPA – American: Green Flash Le Freak

This week’s beer is Le Freak, brewed by Green Flash in San Diego. A Belgian IPA at 9.2%, it’s definitely one that can keep you warm during the winter!

Let’s start with Green Flash‘s Description of the Beer:

Le Freak™ is the first-ever hybrid ale of its kind: the convergence of a Belgian-Style Trippel with an American Imperial IPA. Spawned over barstool pontifications between Publican and Brewmaster, this zesty Amarillo dry-hopped, bottle-conditioned marvel entices with fruity Belgian yeast aromatics and a firm, dry finish. Experience a legendary beer phenomenon.

I like this description, Green Flash claim to be the originators of American Brewed Belgian IPA. It also doesn’t give too much away about the beer, apart from the fact Amarillo hops are used to Dry Hop during Fermentation. Belgian beers are notoriously hard to get right, and lets hope Green Flash have!

Apparently, Le Freak uses the recipe for Green Flash’s well known Imperial IPA. The malts in this beer are two row pale barley, Carastan, a British crystal malt to help the beer’s body, mouthfeel and colour and crystal malt. Quite an American mix of malts apart from the Crystal! Next, the hops. Now I know I always say the hops are what makes an IPA, but with this you have the yeast to think about too seeing as it’s a Belgian Style Imperial IPA. Hops are Summit and Nugget, and it is then Dry-Hopped with Amarillo during Fermentation. Sounds like a pretty standard IPA, right? Wrong. This is where Green Flash work their magic, using their house yeast and White Labs Belgian Yeast to ferment the beer together. The Belgian yeast is put in for the first 2 days of Fermentation, then the American House yeast is added 2 days later. It’s then Bottle Conditioned with Fresh Yeast. Triple Fermentation? Yes! And that’s why it’s over 9%! I think this is a great way to make an American/Belgian beer.

When you pour this beer, it’s Amber coloured with a thick white head. It eventually Dissipates to a thinner head, but it is ever present during drinking the beer. It looks like an IPA, so how does it smell? This is where the Belgian Yeast comes into play, with Pepper, Coriander (Cilantro), Banana Bread with some Floral and Citrus aromas in there too. It’s something you definitely want to dive into once you smell the slight Brett notes in the background too. The taste is a lot like the nose, Banana Bread, Coriander, Pepper, Dried Orange Peel, Melon with that West Coast Citrusy IPA finish. This beer really does taste absolutely like a cross between American and Belgian beers! Like a Trippel crossed with a West Coast IPA! The mouthfeel is quite thick, leaving bitterness under the tounge and a sweetness on top of the tounge. Truely a great brew, and something that’s on my list for when I visit San Diego next year!

I really do recommend this beer, whether you’re drinking it in the sun, or snuggled up by the fireplace on a cold Winter’s night.

You can buy Green Flash Le Freak in the UK at:

Beers of Europe

Ales By Mail

The Bottle Shop

Beer Gonzo (IN STOCK AT TIME OF WRITING)

Unfortunately, Green Flash beers are not widely distributed in the UK at the moment, but this is hopefully set to change soon as they have teamed up with a Belgian Brewery!

EST. CALORIES: 276   ABV: 9.2%

Double/Imperial IPA – American: Stone RuinTen

To expand the content of this blog, I’ve decided to write about some of the harder to get (in the UK) beers I’ve had the pleasure of getting my hands on separate from the Friday posts.

Today’s beer is the great RuinTen IPA from one of my favorite West Coast Breweries – Stone. This beer is released once a year in June to commemorate the creation Stone’s awesome Ruination IPA. Originally released in 2012, there was such a huge demand for this beer that Stone decided to make it a Seasonal offering. It was too good to just be one of those “one off” brews.

Let’s start with Stone Brewing Co‘s online description of the beer:

We first released this decidedly indelicate beer in 2012, as Stone Ruination Tenth Anniversary IPA, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of our belovedly bitter Stone Ruination IPA. Stone RuinTen IPA uses the same recklessly hoppy recipe as the 2012 release; only the name has changed, since we’re now unleashing this belligerently delicious hop monster upon the public on an annual basis. We packed a whopping five pounds of hops into each barrel, and cranked up the ABV to stand up to the hop onslaught. The results are glorious, and we know you’ll rejoice in tasting this audacious gem of hoppy splendor once again. You’re welcome.

The description of the beer on the bottle is a little different, although has less sarcasm than some of Stone‘s other offerings. However, it definitely tells us what to expect – a hell of a lot of Hoppy flavour and a little bit of alcohol warmth.

After a little bit of research and having a look at the website, this beer uses a malt backbone of 2-Row and C15. Now for Stone’s specialty – the Hops! Stone have used a Hop blend called CTZ which stands for Columbus/Tomahawk/Zeus, Centennial and Citra. The beer is also dry hopped with Citra for that extra Hoppiness. As soon as I found that out I really wanted to try this brew, as Citra is one of my favourite hops.

This beer pours Golden with a white creamy head. It dissipates quickly, which is expected for a beer that’s over 10%. It leaves a dotty lacing on the glass which is inviting and a thinner head that seems to stay throughout drinking. On the nose you’ve got some Pineapple and Tropical notes from the Citra and some Citrus and Nectarine. This beer really smells inviting, and so deceiving with an IPA over 10%! When you taste this beer, you get a wave of Pineapple, Tropical fruits, a hint of Bubblegum ending in a massive Grapefruit crescendo. The beer is medium to high carbonated and ends with a nice long, clean bitterness. On the finish I would say it’s medium sweet. I really like this beer, and honestly think it’s a contender for the much sought out Pliny the Elder I tried earlier this year.

Although I said this one is pretty hard to find, you can buy Stone RuinTen IPA at:

Brewdog Online Store

It’s currently in stock over there, so grab it whilst you can! Hopefully it’ll be back next year.

As always, a google search is good too!

For any bars, shops etc that are interested, unfortunately Stone beer is flown in by shops that stock it currently but Stone plan to open a brewery in Berlin next year which means wide distribution of Stone Beer soon!

EST. CALORIES: 324   ABV: 10.8%