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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.
very good

144 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 144
Hads: 228
Avg: 3.82
pDev: 12.3%
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.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 144 | Hads: 228
Photo of raiser
1.66/5  rDev -56.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Ick! I believe Black Flag is an ant and roach spray.
I think I may have grabbed the wrong stuff by mistake.

I tried 3 separate sips of this, thinking I must be off, but I still couldn't stomach it. Every other "bad" beer I have tried has been fixable via mixology. This beer went straight to the drain. This was my FIRST ever drain pour. I couldn't fathom a way to save it. Honestly this is my favorite beer style, and the reviews are stellar, so I figure I have to have had a bad bottle.

I recall seeing one around here that said "fresh hop" on it, so I double checked to be sure this one did not and am filing this review under the normal variant. I must have drank the fresh hop version with no ill side effects because I can't seem to locate it, and I never wrote a review on this beer before.

The Color was fine for an IS, and the smell was not noxious. But I can't even begin to explain the taste. I imagine if you were to drink gasoline (or ant spray) you might get something close. I didn't keep it in my mouth long enough to gauge the mouthfeel. Ick!

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Photo of MadeInOregon
2.51/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

I acquired a bottle of this interesting sounding beer at the end of 2007 and was saving it for a special occasion. Well, such a moment came recently so I finally cracked it open, only to be disappointed. I have to agree with the others who gave this one a low rating.

The pitch black sludge slopped out of the 22oz. bottle into my stemless wine glass with absolutely ZERO head--a peculiar sight which I found quite entertaining. After pouring what I felt would be a good amount to start with I looked at it sitting in my glass and realized: "this stuff looks like used motor oil!" That should've been a turn-off but I'd never seen a beer so thick and dense before so I was very intrigued.

The smell was basically that of other strong imperial stouts: alcohol and roasted barley. The taste, however, was crazy. This is definitely the most intensely flavored beer I've come across. After the first sip I sat there stunned at the coffee, licorice, and chocolate flavors that were all simultaneously present and at a strength I've never tasted in beer. It was literally all these at once and in abundance. It tasted yeasty and roasty too, but the intensity of the sweet flavors (coffee, licorice, chocolate) and the bitterness of the hops quickly overpowered everything else.

I initially enjoyed this beer because it was so dang interesting and intense. Yet as I slowly sipped my way through my first glass I realized I was going to have to share the rest of the bottle, which I did with my wife who could barely finish her half-glass. By the end of the bottle, sometime later, I was honestly beginning to have a gag reflex every time I had a sip because of the bitterness and intensity of the licorice flavor. A perfect analogy for those thinking about trying Black Flag would be Jägermeister; very intense, very tasty, but too much is kinda disgusting. I couldn't get myself to pour it out so I ended up finishing it all...but if it were a cheaper beer I probably would've poured out the last 1/4 of the bottle. Bleck!

PROS: Treating this beer as a liqueur and only drinking an ounce or two in one sitting would probably make this pretty enjoyable, especially with rich desserts. This beer has some really interesting flavors going on so I think it would serve Beer Valley Brewing Company well to bottle it in something much smaller, say, like the bottles Samichlaus or Gulden Draak come in. As it stands, a super intense beverage put into a 22oz bottle that can't be re-corked is inappropriate--heck, even a 12oz'er would probably be pushing it!

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Photo of GRG1313
2.61/5  rDev -31.7%
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.

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Photo of Dlish
2.64/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- Pours black, with a kaki head, and very good head retention.

S- Well I poured this, and have let this warm up for about 5 minutes, and I'm getting not much arouma, just some malt, marshmellow, and a bit of toasted malt. Not impressive at all for a imperial stout!

T- Very dark roasted malt, Chocolate, very grainy, even the toasted malt taste a little off. Bit of hops at the end, they come through with a lot of alpha acid, that you exspect in an IPA. I mean you exspect big IBU for a imperial stout but its so off. I'm not impressed by this taste at all.

M&D- The bitterness of the hops are pretty lasting and and don't mix well for this blend of malts. Little alcohol burn. I'm about half way through this pint, and i'm not looking forward to finishing this. This imperial has a lot to work on, i'm a huge fan and not impressed at all. Get on it BEER valley!

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Photo of Thorpe429
2.65/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle opened by bmanning. Thanks, Ben. 2008 vintage. Served in a SAVOR snifter.

Pour yields a black-bodied brew with a very, very small light mocha head that comes up and then dies down almost immediately without leaving anything behind. The nose is quite roasty with a bit of chocolate and a very mild coffee presence. The flavor is just way too dry with overwhelming roast and almost nothing else there. Feel is medium with a dry, dry finish. Not a big fan of this at all.

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Photo of gonzo138
2.78/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

A- pours absolutely jet black, had nearly no head whatsoever has a very thin ring of coffe colored lacing

S- alcohol smell almost overpowers other smells, but there noticable hints of chocolate and coffee, just expect a bit more scent from a big beer like this

T- alcohol once again dominates, same flavors present in smell are present in the taste as well, , coffee and chocolate, little bit of a citric hop taste their at the finish, tastes good but nothing to rave about

M- very thick heavy body, almost syrupy, coats mouth and stays there, almost no carbonation

D- not very drinkable at all, 22 oz. was a bit more than I needed, after a while I didn't want anymore, something to sip for a while, a long while, a little let down, the big stouts are usually expensive (this one was 9.99 for a 22 oz. bomber) but they usually really deliver in the taste department, this one didnt quite measure up, not a bad beer, but not worth the price in my book

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Photo of avwrite
2.86/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

A - Very dark, black color. Not much visibility due to color.

S - Strong, hoppy smell.

T - Extremely bitter and hoppy. Flavor is a bit overpowering

M - Does not sit in well. Overbitterness doesn't make it smooth going down.

O - Definitely for those who want a full powered, full flavored beer, but not something you can drink on a recreational basis.

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Photo of chickencoop
2.93/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a deep dark tan, with a nice tan frothy head. Taste and mouthfeel, it was a bit cardboardy and boozy, not the best. Drinkability, looked forward to having this, brought it back down from Seattle, but ended up a bit dissapointed. Just a bit to much too sit down and have a few, was expecting more from these guys, most of the beers they produce are solid.

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Photo of NorCalYeti
3/5  rDev -21.5%
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

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.05/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, near black body with an incredibly thin, off-white head.

Smell: Unsweetened chocoate and scorched coffee along with chimney soot and smoke. Also, there's a hefty amount of citrusy grapefruit befitting an IPA.

Taste: Dark chocolate with a brief, fleeting sweetness. After that, it's a conveyor belt of flavors - charred fruits, pipe ash, and forgotten coffee grounds. Overabundance of citrus hops. The strong hop bitterness couples with a sharp roasted quality that borders on being astringent. Ashen, distinctly alcoholic finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: This beer was a debacle. Excessively hopped and needlessly astringent, to me, these qualities don't make for an enjoyable imperial stout.

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Photo of magictrokini
3.1/5  rDev -18.8%
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.

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Photo of kernalklink
3.13/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This brew poured dark mahogany with a nice tan head- very promising. Aromas were dominated by solvent alcohols and boozy malts. Taste was very wild; cherries, currants, more dried fruits then a sudden 180- earthy oily hops come through in strength- extremely bitter and not at all balanced witht he malts. The flavor combo is accentuated by a very dry, tannic character and tobacco flavors run rampant over the tastebuds. A hard one to sip, very challenging and the ABV is definately noticeable. Maybe its just a raw beer, and needs some tweaking- as it is now its not up to par.

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Photo of Popkas
3.16/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pour is black with a large big bubble caramel head that sticks around for a good while with some good lacing clinging. The nose is of very heavy roasted malts that smells a little like burnt toast with cocoa topping. The taste is of big roasted malts and bitter cocoa. The mouthfeel is full, thick and creamy - possibly my favorite part of the beer. Not my favorite example of the style.

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Photo of beertunes
3.17/5  rDev -17%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in 12oz goblet. Poured a slightly translucent black with a thick deep tan head that had good retention and moderate lacing. This beer really was more the color of an exceptionally dark brown ale.

The expected rich, roasty aroma was accompanied by a sharp note of hops. There were no other surprises in the aroma, this smelled exactly like I expect the style to. The flavors were also what you anticipate, nothing out of the ordinary here. Rich, full and roasted malt dominate with a dash of hop spice on the edges.

The body and drinkability were both typical for the style. Overall, except for the lighter than normal color, this beer could used to teach people what to expect from this type of beer. A very good, but not special brew. Worth trying if you see it, worth effort to obtain if you're a stout fan.

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Photo of emmasdad
3.28/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours an oily, opaque black, topped off with a little bit of tan head. Aromas of coffee, bitter chocolate and maybe vanilla. Decent roasted malt flavors, a little bit sweet, with bakers chocolate and espresso. For some reason I was expecting a little more from this one. Not bad though.

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Photo of Zorro
3.3/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A fairly expensive bottle from BevMo in Thousand Oaks.

In the glass this is a thick oily looking black colored beer that does not pass light. This seems to be very low in carbonation and does not form a head.

The smell is sweet with a clear and strong black licorice aroma. There is a fairly strong blackberry aroma here too that grows as it warms. Additional scents of brandy and coffee.

The taste begins with a strong slightly burned coffee taste. After you acclimate to the coffee and the charred taste a little bit of berry flavor appears but this is clearly a coffee tasting RIS. This needs much more complexity.

The mouthfeel is quite thick but loses points for ultra low carbonation level.

Drinkability is only average. The major problems here are lack of complex flavors and lack of head formation. This wasn't worth the $10 that the bottle cost me.

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Photo of Phelps
3.33/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A small sample shared by a roommate and poured into a perfect pint glass.

Looks: unyielding black, with a large dark tan head that cascades upwards and sticks around for quite a while and grips the glass in thick layers of lace.

Smells: like pepsi. A sweet, caramelized character, along with a bit of licorice, anise, some sage, a bit of oak. Very strong soda syrup character.

Tastes: like anise seeds. Leans heavily upon an acrid licorice flavor, with a sweet Dr. Pepper-ish background. Citrusy hops make an appearance in the form of grapefruit. Also get some sourdough and toasted crackers. Interesting and unexpected, but not so great.

Feels: waveless. Carbonation is perhaps a bit too low for this beer. The body is medium-light and the overall mouthfeel is fine, though an alcohol tinge comes through the nostrils and flames the mouth as well.

Drinks: unlike a stout, to me. Heavy on the licorice and citrus. It's interesting, and perhaps some people are big fans of very hoppy stouts. As it is, I'm glad I wasn't the one that paid for a whole bomber.

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Photo of billab914
3.38/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. It poured dark brown in color with a moderate, creamy, tan head to it. The head had some pretty good retention to it and left some decent lacing as well.

The aroma shows a pretty good amount of bitter, citrusy, hoppiness to it. Some roasty flavors come through behind that to add a bit more bitterness. A slight chocolaty flavor is there too.

The taste shows a lot of dark and bitter-sweet chocolate to it, along with a moderate roasted malt, burnt, slight coffee flavor. I'm getting a pretty big hoppy, citrus flavor in it as well. It's very big on the dry, bitterness overall. The finish shows more of the bitter chocolate, which lingers.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side with carbonation being a little high for the style. Drinkability is decent, it was flavorful but not very smooth. It could have used some more sweetness to balance out the bitterness some. Tho hoppiness just didn't mesh well with the roasted bitterness for me that well. Not a bad beer at all though.

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Photo of Beertracker
3.4/5  rDev -11%
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

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Photo of caresville
3.4/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

received this one from saulcharlesworth in an under 100 BIF, thanks!!

a- dark and night and thicker than most stouts. decent sized tan head with minimal lacing.

s- lots of roasted malts going on here, hints of chocolate syrup, mocha coffee beans and some coal.

t&m- thick and smooth, heavy heavy heavy on the roastyness, lots of malts and chocolate. hints of coffee and raisins.

d- not too complex but not super boring. the flavors dont all mesh particularly well together but thats not a terrible thing, it kept me interested throughout the beer.

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Photo of hophead247
3.41/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Smells like oil and chocolate. The head could have been more attractive. The beer itself was rather brown and muddy. Flavors were rustic, chocolate, and most certainly exhibiting a hop presence, though nicely integrated into the profile as not to be unpleasantly bitter as some imperial stouts seem to be. There's hints of chocolate covered fruit. The body is on the weaker side of something that is 11.5%, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. All in all, decent and certainly well crafted, but nothing stands out to make it exceptional.

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Photo of Thickfreakness
3.43/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

I believe this is a bottle from 2010

A- Pours deep and dark chocolate brown into my Bruery tulip. A three finger khaki head floats like a butterfly and fades unto itself leaving a thick ring of foam all along the inside of the glass.

S- Over done black coffee, notes of bittersweet chocolate bar, toffee, vanilla macadamia nut brittle, and sticky sweet caramel. Lots of roasted espresso, orange zest and just a touch of pine. Not that complex, but very decent as it warms up. Not quite a Cascadian IPA... but it wants to be.

T- Slapped in the face with burnt espresso beans. Too much coffee and bitter cocoa on the first sip. Huge alcohol notes that I thought would be hidden better by the dark roasted malt and faded citrus hop bite. Reminds me of a subdued Storm King.

M- Bitter chocolate, bitter coffee, bitter citrus... do you see where this is leading? It's kinda bitter. Thin and bitter!

O- I had really high hopes for this one after aging it for almost two years. Don't bother! If intensely bitter coffee and citrus peel is your bag, by all means... buy it up and enjoy! Basically a Black IPA IMHO!

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Photo of charlzm
3.52/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Consumed on 12/23/07.

Pours black, very little carbonation. Thin orange/brown head forms quickly, dissipated almost as fast. Aromas of bitter chocolate and lacquer with subtle grass and cherry notes. Also, big alcohol smell. Mouthfeel somewhat thin, uncarbonated. Flavor is primarily bitter chocolate with hints of citrus (orange?). Alcohol warmth (almost burn). Lingering, not entirely agreeable bitterness.

Flawed but still enjoyable.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Pours a rich opaque darkness with a finger of strongly steadfast ecru head. Lacing is tall and thick, lasting for a decent amount of time. The nose is dark malts, leather, dark roast coffee, and a tiny bit of chocolate. Th taste accentuates the coffee, retains a portion of the leather; a healthy hoppy bitterness invades and quickly seizes control of the government. The coup is finished by a subtle helping of powdered cocoa, which fades into obscurity along with the last vestiges of the old regime, a hint of coffee. The body is a heavy medium, with moderate carbonation and a pretty smooth feel. Overall, a bit on the bitter side, but fairly drinkable nonetheless.

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Photo of corby112
3.58/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep dark brown that's almost pitch black and completely opaque with faint dark amber/mahogany edges when held to a light source. Two finger frothy, pillowy beige head with excellent retention, only slowly fading into a lasting ring that coats the glass with chunky rings of soapy lacing.

Roasted malt aroma with a huge earthy floral hop presence with citrus notes. There is a bit of chocolate, toffee, coffee, licorice and toast underneath but this beers smells extremely hoppy, especially for the style. Their is a good bit of citrus peel and grapefruit along with some earthy pine. The hops even overpower the roasted notes of the malt.

Chewy resinous full body with a huge bitter earthy hop blast up front that lingers over the roasted malt body into a dry bitter finish with plenty of alcohol heat. Lots of earthy dry pine notes as well as crisp citrus notes from the hops. Silky chocolate malt with hints of roasted coffee, toffee, oatmeal, nut and licorice. I wouldn't say that this is well balanced because the hops are so dominant, but the malty body provides a good countering flavor. This is the hoppiest stout I've ever had, to the point where they almost overtake all of the other flavors. I would prefer if the malt presence was a little stronger but I still enjoyed this beer.

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Black Flag Imperial Stout from Beer Valley Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 144 ratings.