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Black Flag Imperial Stout - Beer Valley Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Black Flag Imperial StoutBlack Flag Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

223 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 223
Reviews: 143
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 12.37%
Wants: 22
Gots: 22 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Beer Valley Brewing Co. visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: hopsaplenty on 11-09-2006

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (15) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 223 | Reviews: 143
Reviews by NorCalYeti:
Photo of NorCalYeti
3/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

taste- roasted malt, coffee, bitterness

color- dark brown to black

clarity- opaque but it pours clear

smell- coffeeish, raisiny

body- medium firmness

appearance- creamy coffee-colored head

overall impression- somewhat of a let down

notes- not very complex or interesting for this style. tasting alcohol in the finish, not pleasurable. this review is for a 2008 vintage tasted in 2008

glassware: pint

More User Reviews:
Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.76/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review From Volume II, Issue I of BeerAdvocate Magazine.

Good ole Black Flag , aka Jolly Rodger--commonly know as the flag with the skull and crossbones on it. A fitting name for the style. Pours out with an almost motor oil viscosity, black as night with slowly rolling brown bubbles which form a massive head that seems to stick everywhere on the glass. Impressive head retention. Extreme aromatics of extra dark chocolate, ripe dark berries and a hefty, oily hop which gives off herbal and slight citric tones in the nose. Creamy full body with a slick mouthfeel as the oily hops coat the palate. Wow, the taste buds get smacked around both from the hops and malt. Aggressive hopping is noticeable throughout with a bitterness bomb that is followed by a thick herbal, evergreen and citric flavor. The malt comes out swinging, with a huge burnt char flavor to start, then high roasted coffee and dark choco-goodness. Finishes bittersweet with a never-ending aftertaste.

Pushing the envelope of flavor here, simply said, this beer is over-the-top. Is that a good thing? That all depends on how much you are looking for and how much you can handle. Black Flag get a thumbs up from us by keeping extreme beer real.

Photo of badbeer
4.14/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black in color, but lacks head retention and lacing which brings this down quite a bit. Smell was burnt and roasty, some chocolate as well. My notes also say the nose was a bit boozy. Taste was roasty, chocolate-y, and has a bit of booze to it as well. I think I recall this one being even downright charred; which was surpisingly good, IMO. Thick mouthfeel, which I love for imperial stouts, but with a little more carbonation this could be great. I rather enjoyed my sample, and I think age would certainly benefit this one quite well, and a little more carbonation would sure help to. I'd get this again given the chance.

Photo of Mora2000
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by slasher007.

Pours dark brown with a nice sized khaki head. Aroma is quite a bit of citrus hops as well as some roasted malt. The taste is roasted malt with a solid hop presence. A different take on an imperial stout that I do like. The mouthfeel is where I don't like the beer, as I feel it is too thin for a beer of this style. Overall, it is a very good beer I just wish it was thicker.

Photo of magictrokini
3.1/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Oily black with brown ring on the edges. Roasted cocoa, burnt coffee, cream, and caramel. Taste is more of the same, but the hops give it a little bite. Some soy sauce tanginess, but agian, somewhat watery. Alcohol is well hidden, but still felt thin. Left me wanting more.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.79/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Quite impressive pour, just what you want to see, jet black, good tan head, the staple of good IS appearance. Nice chunkies floating.

Aroma, very heavy hop bill, decent amount of alcohol in the nose. Big wafting choco coffee rock at yeah.

Taste comes across just like the aroma, this is heavy beer. Mouthfeel, holds up through most of the bottle, drinkability suffers as you start to slow down the pace, via the heavy-ness, and its a bit pricey, considering some of the comparable stouts you can get much cheaper, but overall, a very enjoyable beer.

Photo of OStrungT
3.71/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a very dark mohogany color, with a brown head. The head is thick, and fluffy, fading very slowly, leaving a huge lacing.

This beer has a robust malty aroma. It smells of chocolate, and caramel. A mild coffee aroma mixes in. Some dark fruit also, figs mostly.

This beer tastes much like it smells. Sweet chocolate and caramel with some coffee. Figs and a slight fusel alcohol flavor. The flavor is just a little off. Not that bad, but a little off.

This beer is very thick and full bodied. It leaves a chocolate aftertaste. It is a little more carbonated than I would expect from the style.

This beer is probably not the best session beer. It is quite aggressive, and the alcohol content is high.

Overall: This beer is decent. Nothing special. I think it is a little over the top with alcohol.

Photo of Reappropriated
4.01/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This is a very good beer, with layers of solid flavor that is often lacking in other stouts. I would definitely recommend this beer, as you get hints of chocolate and spice, with a little earthy vibe, then the a definite hoppy flavor on the back-end. One of the things I complain about is stouts sometimes being boring and one notes, but this is not one of them, this is loaded with flavors, both subtle and not so subtle.

Photo of IntriqKen
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a black liquid that's not quite pitch black and not quite syrupy. Small off-white head on top that melts quickly to a ring of almost sticky lacing.
Aromas are mostly coffee and dark chocolate...little else.
Taste is sweet dark fruits and bittersweet dark chocolate with a hint of hops in the middle and then again after you swallow.
Mouthfeel is creamy.
Aftertaste is very nice...sweet dark candied fruits and coffee and bittersweet coffee continues to 'melt' from your mouth after you swallow.
A nice pleasant alcohol warmth follows it all.

Photo of Sammy
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark and thick. Breathing in chocolate and roast and C-hops. The drink is lunch itself and so very dangerously drinkable. The throast is coated with coconut and oatmeal, roast and some chocolate and coffee. The hops are there and provide some delightful citrus but altogether undistinguishable. Full mouthfeel. Very good IS.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great Label! It's black, and aggressive, just like the beer!

As might be expected, it pours an opaque black body beneath a thick finger of light tan froth that recedes into a 1/2" thich creamy cap. The head retention is excellent, and it maintains a solid surface covering throughout the pint. The lacing is almost as good. It leaves wide curtains of patterned lace with the first settling of the head, and then thin creamy rings that blend into an almost solid curtain as you go.

The nose offers a deep roastiness that's just a bit charred, a mild note of red fruitiness, and some restrained grassy/piney hops.

The flavor is much fuller than the aroma suggests, and it's kind of flip-flopped. It's loaded with American hops that are piney, softly citrusy, grassy, leafy, and even a bit herbal and minty. Combined with the roasted malts, they also lend a delicate note of black licorice.

It starts hoppy, in a big way, and the maltiness takes a back seat. You almost don't even get the roastiness at first. Then, in the swallow, it's dark caramel and roasty side becomes more apparent. The hops stick in there a bit, but they're faded enough that you can get the malt notes.

It's anchored by a bold bitterness, and that cuts through it and lingers in the finish.

Overall I find it an interesting and compelling beer, but at the same time its "take no prisoners" aggression is a little bit much for extended drinkability.

Photo of bovinecrusader
3.96/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

22oz bomber into a oversized wine glass.
Note: Stamp on bottle mentioned 2008 Hop Harvest Edition

Pours a fluid molasses color, with almost zero opacity. Great head retention, leaving a light khaki crown of decent lacing. Nose reminiscent of shortbread with a thin layer of milk chocolate, with light hints of fresh cherries hinting at the hop forward nature of the stout. Palate is very surprising... Hops add pepper, pine, lots of espresso, with a hint of raspberry acidity. Malts are secondary, adding a graham cracker-y, toasty support for the hops. Finishes dry, yet smooth, with lingering fruity hops on the back palate.

Drinkability? Well, I'm very impressed...most failed attempts at Imp. Stouts leave so much cloying residual sugars that it becomes warm, room temp coffee. However, the hops really help lift and lighten the stout, making it almost crisp with its delicate hop acidity. Drinks more like a hopped Scotch Ale, or a hopped Porter...

Great find and very surprising beer. Furthermore, everytime I've seen it in stores, its under $4.99 a bottle. Ain't nothin' wrong with that.

Photo of russpowell
3.91/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black as night with 3 fingers of brown rocky head into a chalice. Superior head retention, & near perfect lacing

S: Chocolate, coffee & a bit of booze, plus husky grainyness

T: Baker's chocolate, a bit of iron, some oaky & vanilla notes up front. Slight dryness, some cakey notes, figs, some toasted grain, hints of raisin bit of leafy hops, & coffee as this warms. Finishes with a bit of boozeyness, pronounced dryness, some figgyness, & a bit of chalkiness& a bit of coffee grounds

MF: Medium bodied, oily; a bit of silkyness with low carbonation.

Drinks great for the ABV, one to age, a lot of subtleties are muted. But not a bad Imp Stout at all.

Photo of LamontCranston
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%

This is not a Lager. Thick creamy brown/tan foam. Bold roasted flavors with hints of hops and chocolate, followed by a sweet malty backbone. Highly recommended for stout lovers.

Photo of Beertracker
3.4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Commercial Description: Black Flag Imperial Stout is the first beer released by Beer Valley Brewing. It is a monstrously huge beer brewed for extreme beer & wine enthusiasts who want to test the edge of sensory perception. Brewed with eight different malts and four different hop varieties (Cascade, Chinook, Columbus, & Warrior) to give it depth and complexity, Black Flag Imperial Stout delivers an extreme beer drinking experience like no other beer on the planet! 11% ABV; 100+ IBU's

*Contract brewed by the Sante Fe Brewing Co.

BVBC's Black Flag Imperial Stout pours up with ample carbonation that creates a moderate tannish-brown head that just barely rings the deep oily, jet black body. The burnt roasted aroma features some underlying dark chocolate, espresso character with just a hint of caramel sweetness along with a low-moderate fruitiness. Touch of pungent hops, notable alcoholic warmth. There's just a hint of dustiness (oxidation) that detracts. The heavily roasted flavor shows lots of black barley with minimal chocolate with a touch of coffee & molasses, but features a very pronounced bitterness that delivers an acidic, burnt (acrid), bitter, chalky, dry roasted finish that is rather harsh & unpleasant. Very warming. This medium-full bodied stout seems a bit thin, lacks creaminess, and is overly astringent. This one started off great, but finished a bit lackluster. Raise the Black Flag you dirty scallywags!

CHEERS! Beertracker

Photo of GRG1313
2.61/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours black with a nice tan head "if you try to get one." Very light, almost non-existant nose of roasted malt. Medium body with medium mouth feel. Tastes like an IPA if you didn't see it. Big bold bitter flavors with a finish of burnt coffee and bitter dark chocolate and roasted malt. Not as pleasant as it may sound...flavor profile is not particularly attractive. Basically, this would be a good IPA without the coffee/roasted malt finish; it would be an acceptable stout with less of the big bitter hop characteristics. I'm big on expectations...and, this one does not meet the expectations of a stout; perhaps an identify crisis going on here. But...ok....I'll say it..it does have a cool label.

Photo of alleykatking
4.17/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bottle. Got from OakedCanuck in my Secret Santa...sweetness! Been wanting to try this one out..shared with Supernova777.

A- Pours a nice deep dark brown color. One and a half finger tan head shows medium retention. Very light streaky lacing on the glass itself.

S- Tons of citrus hops in the front of this. Actually if you hold it close to your nose this is about all you can pick up. Hold it farther back and roasted malts along with some nice bitter chocolate notes come out in the backing.

T- Roasted malts come out first of course with some light bitter chocolate notes. The middle of this beer has a coffee like roasted bill to it along with that damn chocoalte note (acutally it was nice). Ending was yet more of the chocoalte note with some light roasted and a huge citrus hop bite to it that lingers along with a light alcohol flavor.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. Roasted malts and chocolate left on the palate. Aftertaste is alcohol heat, chocoalte malt, and light faint citrus hops. This was a very well balanced imperial stout which is hard to find balance wise. Clean and crisp flavors. Medium drying on the palate from the alcohol.

D- This was a nice drinking stout. The ABV was very well hidden on it. I could have drank this entire beer myself no problem but I suppose sharing means caring right? Next time though I won't bring it!

Photo of Bung
4.23/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black/dark brown pour. Dark cream head that remained for quite a while. Lacing throughout the beer. Burnt and roast malts, baker chocolate aromas. Almost creamy mouthfeel, but enough bittering coffee and hops to keep it a bit more lively than creamy. Tastes similarly with very roasty malt and coffee. Some chocolate and very little dark fruit and charcoal. Quite full bodied. Alcohol very well hidden. Very good example of the style, without add ons like barrel aging.

Photo of akorsak
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 650 mL capped bottle courtesy of boolshot.

A: The ale is quite dark, dare I say it is pitch black. The ale opened with nary a hiss and revealed little carbonation on pour. As it settles, a cappucino-colored haze develops on top of the beer.

S: The scent is strong on thick, bread-like chocolates and deep wine-like complexity. The aroma makes you anticipate the taste.

T: The taste is quite acrid and bitter initially, providing a bit of tartness (not a brett-like tartness, mind you) that transitions into a burnt malt chocolate flavor. The dry malty flavor has a compliment in a bit of hop bitterness that seems to have a medicinal amarillo hop presence. I find the hops to be rather strong, although well blended into the malt body. The lasting aftertaste is a slightly bitter hoppiness mixed with burnt malts. I am pleased primarily because other reviews were uninspiring, causing me to expect something worse.

M: The mouthfeel is hoppy and burnt, a combination that exemplifies an American double stout.

D: The big abv makes one bomber enough for one night, but I'd gladly snag another bottle if given the chance. The beer has the ability to hold its own with bigger, more sought-after stouts.

Photo of Jredner
4.04/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very nice aroma has hints of beef stock, molasses, dark chocolate, rum soaked raisins and blueberries and espresso. The pours is almost silly...gloppy like engine sludge. No head even bothers showing up. Would look so much nicer if I could tease a small head out of it. The first sip reveals very low carbonation, but fairly strong flavor presence, black chocolate, beef stock, burnt grains galore, more rummy blueberries, but the raisins don’t show up. Big esspresso/chocolate blast in the finish with a solid salvo of hops adding a seperate, but equally intense, flavor point. The far aftertaste reminds me of those dark chocolate Cadbury bars with the blueberries in them.
<P>
The utter stillness isn’t a plus for me. A dose of carbonation, even a tad...(this beer is 10 year old barley wine still)...would greatly improve this beer. Despite that the flavor concentration and range is pretty damn decent and this could be many people’s idea of a great Imperial as it grabs your tastebuds and slaps them around pretty roughly, but with a certain sense of style. Personally with a little more carbonation this gets 5/5 for mouthfeel, 4.4 to 5/5 with a head and another 2 points in overall. This could have been a phenomenal stout.

Makes you wonder how this would age...it can’t get stiller. I almost want to force carbonate it and see what I get.

Photo of SPLITGRIN
4.42/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured this beer vigorously but only got one finger of beautiful chocolate brown head that does have nice retention and short lace. Body is a thick motor oil blackness. Nose is a sweet rich dark carmel maltiness. Sweet dark toffee and over ripe black fruit notes are there also. As you take first sip you are flooded with a burnt carmel malt sweetness. Dark toffee tones and a silky long creamy notes pile up on the palate. This brew is really dominated by big sweetness but it is well balanced and a very nice represantation of the style. Very thick mouthfeel is almost sticky. This is a very drinkable sipper for those long winter nights.

Photo of FeDUBBELFIST
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler filled with much attention at Capone's. Drinking from a pint glass.

A: The best part of the appearance is watching the dark brown bubbles fall recklessly to the bottom, making way for the lighter brown to surface and become the head, which lasted reasonably long. The head has left a thick film coating the glass and the body follows suit. Not the darkest nor the most opaque Imperial Stout, but the color is a rich, very dark brown with amber and tawny edges.

S & T: A true maltbomb. Mostly milk chocolate & fudge with a subtle hint of coffee. Oats, toasted malts, nuts, and alcohol infused fruit (maybe cherries), very light. General alcoholic warmth is there. I might even call it hot. Citrusy hops are on the nose, barely, but the grapefruit finishes strong on the palette. It may very well be the longest enduring flavor here. The alcohol hits you in the nose and in the back of the throat but it is not offensive.

M: Full body, very thick and chewy, smooth and creamy, nice bitter finish, just enough carbonation.

D: One of the more drinkable Imperial Stouts in my opinion. What sets the Black Flag apart from other IS's I've had is that it isn't too much of *any one* thing. There is no overabundance of one flavor, it really is quite balanced, strong flavor, yes, but quite balanced.

Photo of trenten
3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance- Everything a RIS should be, viscous, black as night and with a nice creamy beige head.

Smell- dominated by coffee but there's also a good amount of toffee and dried stonefruits very reminiscent of classic barleywines. No hiding alcohol aroma in an 11% beer so don't expect it to be absent.

Taste- very mellow up front, the deep espresso flavors hit you first folllowed by some subtle hints of sweetness that are then overwhelmed by prolonged drying bitterness and finally the alcohol warmth on the back of the throat. The aroma implies that it woudl be sweeter than it really is. That's a pleasant surprise but the alcohol isn't as mellow as some other beers of equal strength (eg Abyss)

Mouthfeel= Carbonation is low enough to taste the full weight of this one but high enough to lighten up the dense alcohol flavor. Could be a bit creamier but not too shabby.

Drinkability - With the alcohol in this one and the way the coffee lingers around for about 5 minutes after every sip there's no need to rush it but you probably could if you wanted to. I'd say its not the smoothest of RIS's that i've had but adhere's to the style decently.

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.3/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 two year old properly cellared bottle. Poured into a Black Raven pint glass. Dark brown with a nice two finger tan head and lacing. Aroma of roasted malt and dark fruit. Medium to thick bodied, creamy. Dark malts, light smoke, coffee start. Finishes bitter, coffee, dark malt and hoppy. This two year old bottle has integrated nicely and covered the alcohol. Still a bit too bitter and dry on the finish, but overall quite nice and balanced. This has aged well. I will certainly give this another try.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.06/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another one I received courtesy of Unclejedi that I had been waiting to try out. This weekend decided to pop it open and see what it was made of. The pour was jet black as night. With a thick look to it as it sludged into the glass. A very nice three finger high tan head of lace then rose up over the top and hung on forever. Really thick looking with tons of side glass webs and a sticky presence to it. Very nice look here.

The aroma was very complex with a rich mix of malts and alcohol. The alcohol came across very clearly, and you had to let it warm to really be able to get the full depth of this one in. Lots of dark baker's chocolate, hints of vanilla and roasted coffee were mingling around in it. The flavor followed suit almost perfectly. The start was a nice rich chocolate and coffee like flavor that quickly became over run with unbalanced alcohol. A little harsh, but they cannot all be blended well. The subtle flavors underneath did not begin to show themselves for a quite a little while later, with some nice touches of licorice, vanilla, and molasses starting to come through. This was a very sweet stout, just a little to hot right now. The finish was filled with a musty bitter bite that was kind of odd and ill placed, but there was not much you could do about it. A very full-bodied stout, there was certainly no lack of carbonation here, as it never felt as though it was flat in any way. I did polish off this bottle, however it was a little rough. This one clocked in at over 11% and you felt every last drop of it. Really a very big stout.

Overall, this was not bad at all, though there are certainly better examples of the style out there. On looks alone though, this one is awesome, I just think there were a little too much hops thrown in the finish and the alcohol was very distracting, not being as mellowed as I thought it would be. Nevertheless, it was still a very solid beer, and if you have it around you, I would go out and try it.

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Black Flag Imperial Stout from Beer Valley Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 223 ratings.