Green Flash Hop-Less (Hamiltons 3rd Anniversary Ale) | Green Flash Brewing Co.

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10 Ratings

Brewed by:
Green Flash Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: Scottish Gruit / Ancient Herbed Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.70%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by seaoflament on 11-01-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 10 |  Reviews: 10
Reviews by seaoflament:
Photo of seaoflament
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Headed over to Hamilton's Tavern today with Kyle and Shane and got to try this unique brew. It's a collaboration between Green Flash brewmaster Chuck Silva and Ben Spencer from Magnolia Brewing. A little info from the beer: "No hops were used in brewing this Old World Gruit Ale. Instead we used Marsh Rosemary, Sweet Gale, Yarrow Flowers, Rose Hips, Heather Tips, and Elder Flowers. These herbs provide the bittering balance as well as a complimentary herbal sweetness to the rich barley sugar character. The malt make up is very similar to a big brown ale and the aroma is both sweet and savory making it a great option for pairing with many flavorful dishes (think venison). Hop-less finishes at 5.7% abv."

The beer was brought in a pint glass and was a dark cola color with hints of red and a very thin ring around the glass, but basically had no head to speak of.

The aroma took me a while to pick up. First, the beer was too cold and also I was sitting in the path of a fan so I couldn't really pick up anything from the aroma. After a few minutes and moving to another table I could pick up hints of honey and toast with some herbal tones in the background. Rosemary became more apparent with a bit of chocolate, and light toast. Heather honey starter to come through. The beer also starter to get sweeter and maltier as it warmed up.

Soft herbal flavors on the front palate with some flowery notes and hints of mint in the finish. A little toasty with just a hint of nuts near the end and a bit of what seemed like juniper berries, honey, brown sugar, and more toast. Later on the herbs became a little more identifiable with some rosemary, heather, what seemed like sage, lavender, and rose hips. Low to moderate carbonation with a somewhat flat finish and a bit thin at times. Could be a bit drier for my tastes but still easily drinkable and very well balanced.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of nickd717
3.47/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Hamilton's in San Diego during SD Beer Week.

A - Pours a dark reddish-brown color with a minimal off-white head.

S - Aroma is molasses, spearmint, anise, and various herbs and spices. A little medicinal.

T - Flavor is heavily spiced, herbal, and floral. Molasses and anise along with spearmint, lavender, rosemary, and sage.

M - Body is medium and palate is fairly smooth and spicy.

D - Well, I can only take so much of this style, and this beer is no exception to that rule. Overall interesting, but gruits are not my favorite.

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Photo of HalfFull
2.92/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter showing a moderate reddish brown color. Quite clear and with a thin off white head that didn't linger for long. The beer was unwilling to offer up any cap after initial settling.

Smell was light and of mint and lavender, bit of cherry. Yet quite subdued and a bit reaching. Flavor carried through with muddled cherry and a hint of mint and rosemary. Again quite subtle and rather uninteresting. A certain depth of graininess helped the feel and drink a bit, but this was otherwise a rather boring beverage reminiscent of a watered down cherry cola. Nice to see a local brewery attempt such a rare style, but you might want to substitute hops with something rather than almost nothing. Hopless needn't be hopeless in my view.

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Photo of metter98
3.97/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: It's deep amber in color and doesn't have much of a head.
S: There's a strong aroma of herbs and spices, some of which I can't seem to identify, but notes of heather and yarrow definitely stand out.
T: Like the smell, there are lots of spicy flavors but the malts provide a good balance in the form of a mild sweetness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and smooth on the palate and there doesn't seem to be that much carbonation. There is a bit of dryness in the finish.
D: It's quite drinkable if you are accustomed to this unusual style of beer. The brewers deserve a lot of credit for going out of their way to make something like this.

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Photo of vacax
4.19/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A keg of Green Flash Gruit also popped up at Beachwood BBQ. I received a tulip glass of a clear, ominously dark red liquid. The head was an off-white, maybe slightly reddish color, though meager in its retention.

Now I make no claims as to being an expert of the gruit, but the bouquet radiated by this brew is transcendent. Imagine rose petals, honeysuckle, lavendar, spring blossoms, and cranberries all coming out of a... beer? As floral as it was, it is not a sugary sweet smell, just beautifully herbal. As nice it was, it screams "smell me" more than it demanded to be drank.

The taste was as floral as the nose with roses and honeysuckle, decadent in its blossomy goodness. There is a good amount of red berries in here and it reminded me of an herbal tea: Honest Tea Black Forest Berry. I did not know the ABV when I had it, and am a little surprised it is this high, as it seems much lower. This is a better beer than I imagined it might be. It was a pretty new taste to me, but I enjoyed it and can imagine others loving such a concoction. I liked this beer a lot, it pushed boundaries for me that needed pushing.

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Photo of plaid75
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC.

Poured a murky medium amber hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was decent lacing and retention.

The smell featured a a mix of herbs, mint and anise.

The taste was upfront spicy and herbal with a lingering tartness. A touch of sweetness balanced the flavor out a bit.

The mouthfeel was of low carbonation and dry.

Overall a tasty change of pace.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.9/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Stone this weekend. I hadn't tried a Gruit before, so I immediately jumped at the chance for this one.

A: The pour is a reddish-brown, chestnut color with a thin layer of off-white foam on top.

S: The first whiff of this beer really caught me off guard. I was expecting it to be overly sweet, but in fact, it has a very herbaceous nose. Among all things, there is the aroma of mint, rosemary, and a touch of tartness.

T: Again, I was not entirely sure what to expect here. The slight tartness definitely comes through, and so do the herbs. There is also a bit of sweetness that might be honey. The slightly savory flavors of rosemary and sage make this a very interesting flavor indeed.

M: The body is medium with a moderate level of carbonation.

D: I've never had one of these beers before, so I was not quite sure what I was getting myself into. That said, it was fairly interesting (and good) and a type of beer I'd look to try again.

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Photo of HopHead84
3.92/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Consumed on tap at Hamilton's on 10/31/2009 with seaoflament and floydster. This is my first Gruit and it wasn't an easy for me to review. I never expected to find a hopless beer made in San Diego. The beer is deep crimson and the head is absent when it's brought to me.

The nose is an interesting blend of spices that took me a while to place. I noticed lavender, rosemary, heather, and sage. There isn't much sweetness to the nose, and the malt is grainy. There are also floral notes in the nose. No alcohol is noticeable.

The flavor was more enjoyable than the aroma. The various herbs meld together to create a very interesting beer. The herbs are essentially the same as what I smelled...lavender, strong rosemary, sage, and heather. It has a moderate level of cereal grainy sweetness. The malt is slightly toasted and there's little honey and some floral notes. The carbonation is low and the mouthfeel is smooth.

This was an interesting beer and the first for me in the style. I look forward to trying this style again.

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Photo of erikm25
4.29/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Served at Brouwer's Cafe as part of Green Flash Brewers Night . Poured mahogany with a medium beige hued head. Slight ruby tint to the body. Fair retention with some spotted lacing.

S: Flowers, soft warming spices, and peppery mint-ish aromas. Some grain undertones.

T: Subtle floral and herbal flavors with a pinch of sweetened wheat and apple. The combination of herbs fuse together nicely to make this smooth.

M: Medium mouth feel and comfortable carbonation. Dry finish.

D: I am not familiar with this style but this relaxing and very drinkable. For a brewery that makes great hoppy beers I had to try one on the other end of the spectrum. Impressive.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beachwood,

A: Pours brown with a soft white head, nice mahogany colour, no real lacing.

S: Smells like spearmint gum, spot on.

T: Soft malt flavour. Real tasty herbal characteristics, tough to sort everything out, complex. Certainly some mint, wintergreen, I don't really know the tastes of the traditional gruit herbs that well, but they definitely make a tasty beer.

M: Medium-bodied, does have a watery feel at times, smooth.

D: Big props to Green Flash for making this medieval interesting style, I wish more brewers would do it. Very good ale.

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Green Flash Hop-Less (Hamiltons 3rd Anniversary Ale) from Green Flash Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.81 out of 5 with 10 ratings