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Black Flag Imperial Stout - Beer Valley Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Black Flag Imperial StoutBlack Flag Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

209 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 209
Reviews: 141
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 12.63%
Wants: 22
Gots: 15 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: hopsaplenty on 11-09-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 209 | Reviews: 141 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by sweetbrew82:
Photo of sweetbrew82
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. into a snifter

P: Jet black in the glass, but not completely opaque as rosy brown streams of light decorate the edges of the glass. Even with a vigorous pour I was barely able to achieve a thin film of loose, soapy bubbles on top.

A: The malt bill smells like it's heavily-roasted with some slightly burnt edges to it. I can appreciate creamy dark chocolate, espresso, molasses, caramel, and a little booze. But, these citric hops compose maybe the most prominent hop aroma in any stout I've ever tried. I am an absolute hophead, without a doubt. But even I'm worried that they may have overdone it here.

T: Starts sweet with those heavily-roasted malts at the center, but they offer much more in the way of burnt char than the nose lead on. It's surrounded by caramel, creamy dark chocolate, and some espresso. I get some flavors of roasted nuts and candied sugar in the middle, followed by some slight vanilla notes riding underneath. But once again, those citric hops are crazy prominent. I know the IBU's are 100+, but I was hoping that the hop bill would be masterfully integrated into the rest of the profile. That's not necessarily the case. They don't ruin the beer by any means but they do take too much of the attention away from the malts, which should be on full display in an Imperial Stout. I will say, though, the 11% ABV is extremely well-hidden and only heats things up slightly towards the finish.

M: Black Flag is definitely a full-bodied beer that feels a little oily and syrupy, which makes it pretty smooth as it slides down. However, the heavy addition of hops is probably the culprit that keeps the malt bill from achieving that creamy, chewy feel that I look for in my Imperial Stouts.

Notes: This is a pretty good beer, all things considered. It's memorable in that it's the hoppiest damn stout ever to cross my path. But that's not necessarily a good thing. I love Big Bear Black Stout because of it's hoppiness, but that's because it's integrated into the rest of the profile so well that it works. In contrast, the hops keep this beer from becoming the delicious malt monster that it could be. I would love to see how this beer tastes in a couple years once the hops have died out, though.

sweetbrew82, Dec 13, 2009
More User Reviews:
Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

BeerAdvocate, Nov 13, 2009
Photo of Jason
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Jason, Jan 12, 2013
Photo of badbeer
4.18/5  rDev +10%
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.

badbeer, Feb 02, 2007
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.

Mora2000, Jan 07, 2010
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.

magictrokini, Dec 05, 2008
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.

Beerandraiderfan, Jan 07, 2010
Photo of OStrungT
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
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.

OStrungT, May 05, 2009
Photo of SPRichard
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

SPRichard, Jan 30, 2012
Photo of Reappropriated
4/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

Reappropriated, Aug 18, 2013
Photo of IntriqKen
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

IntriqKen, Feb 18, 2007
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.

Sammy, Jun 22, 2008
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.

NeroFiddled, Aug 11, 2009
Photo of bovinecrusader
4/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

bovinecrusader, Jan 20, 2009
Photo of jmccraney
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%

jmccraney, Oct 31, 2012
Photo of russpowell
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

russpowell, Jan 17, 2008
Photo of Glibber
3.25/5  rDev -14.5%

Glibber, Oct 07, 2012
Photo of rolandboy
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

rolandboy, Apr 05, 2013
Photo of Beertracker
3.35/5  rDev -11.8%
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

Beertracker, Apr 11, 2008
Photo of GRG1313
2.65/5  rDev -30.3%
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.

GRG1313, May 16, 2009
Photo of alleykatking
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
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!

alleykatking, Jan 08, 2011
Photo of Bung
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
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.

Bung, Dec 11, 2008
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.

akorsak, Apr 02, 2007
Photo of Jredner
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
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.

Jredner, Nov 14, 2006
Photo of fivetime
3.25/5  rDev -14.5%

fivetime, Jan 21, 2013
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Black Flag Imperial Stout from Beer Valley Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 209 ratings.