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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: 230
Avg: 3.82
pDev: 15.71%
Wants: 22
Gots: 23 | 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 (16) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Black Flag Imperial Stout Alström Bros
Reviews: 144 | Hads: 230
Photo of akorsak
4.05/5  rDev +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.

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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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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 DrJay
3.61/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2008 Biergotter Tasting - Day 2. Viggo contributed this one. Thanks!
Very dark brown with garnet highlights and a giant, fluffy, dark tan cap. Pillowy head with chunky, thick lacing. Floral hops in the aroma, almost to the point of perfume, plus some citrus, roast, caramel, and nuts. Solid bitterness that ended up just a bit acrid in the finish. Lots of malt sweetness, roast, caramel, mellow hops, and alcohol towards the end. Medium bodied, a little thinner than expected, with low carbonation. Smooth, but a bit lifeless. Easy drinking for a big stout with well controlled alcohol.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.81/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This pours a pitch black with a huge +2 finger head of tan foam.

The smell has notes of roasted malt, coffee, and hoppy bitterness.

The taste has big roasted malt, coffee, a touch of dark fruit, and a quite big hop profile. In fact, this is a *very* hoppy Imperial Stout. The roasted malt is big too. as is the coffee, but they are having a heck of a time competing with the hops. I think if the hops were calmed down to a lower presence, this would be quite the good example of the style but as is, the hops are just to much. Perhaps some aging would help but as this is my only bottle, I'll leave it to someone else to find out. ;^)

It has a nice thickish mouthfeel and the carbonation is light and right for the style. And it *is* one heck of a looker in the glass. Lots of lacing and the head retention is awesome. I'm very glad I got to try it but I probably won't seek it out again.

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Photo of Viggo
3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle I picked up at a BevMo in San Fran. Day 2 of epic DrJay visit tasting.

Pours a very dark and opaque brown, some ruby red highlights in the corners, huge latte coloured head forms, tons of lacing on the glass, settles to a thin ring, looks okay. Smell is nice, perfumy, burnt sugar, toffee, brown sugar sweetness, chocolate and roast, oats, cracker, not bad. Taste is nice as well, milk chocolate, big roastiness, oats, woody astringent middle, burnt sugar and milk, some floral and light fruit, decently balanced in the finish, neat stuff. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, sugary, low carbonation, some warmth going down. Not a bad stout but nothing spectacular, although it was in pretty good company that night. Hides the alcohol well, but doesn't drop any bombs.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.79/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

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Photo of Gusler
4.4/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Upon its release from the 22 ounce brown bottle, the beer sets in the glass and soot black with a portly chocolate brown creamy head that slowly fades away leaving a thick coating of lace to obfuscate the glass. Nose has a large burnt grain aroma, bittersweet chocolate also present, and all backed up by a hint of malt and fusel alcohol, “Woo Hoo”, you gotta love it. Start is thick and chocolaty, heavy burnt grain and a definite alcohol bitterness, full in its feel to the palate. Finish is packed with hops and alcohol, the acidity pleasant. A “Stout Lovers Stout” this beer, and well worth a try.

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Photo of rfgetz
4.35/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - To my suprise, the beer was a very dark brown. Cloudy, with some light able to work its way around the edges. Minimal head and lacing.

S - Roasted malts - bitter cocoa, espresso beans. Smoke, spice and earth.

T - Bitter and smokey blend off dark roasted bitter cocoa, espresso. Nice spice and earthy flavor.

M - Full bodied... earthy, chewy and grainy.

D - Very good flavor, very unique. Would seek out again.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Strong aroma has a firm overtone of sweet chocolate, like getting a good whiff of a Hershey bar, along with smoky, coffee and nutty hints. It pours a mouth-watering sable that is opaque save at the very edges and has a thick, fluffy, persistent light tan head that leaves some substantial lacing. Smoky flavor has tones of coffee, licorice, molasses and nuts and is subtly sweet - and has quite the alcohol kick! Texture is fizzy and lively, a little oily, very pleasing. This one is worth seeking.

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Photo of Durge
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A pitch brown-black color with a giant tan foamy head and lots of chunks left lining the glass. The aroma is a nice malted milkshake with coffee and toffee ideas. Love it. The flavor brings out the same chocolate malt sweetness but now I pick up quite a bit of licorice bitterness blended in nicely as well. This is a very smooth, slightly resinous, mid-plus bodied brew. Silky. Coffee is present as in the aroma and mild ideas of citrus hop. It's drinkable enough but I think it has a little too much alcohol to go crazy. All and all this is definitely a smooth and flavorable stout, sure to please.

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Photo of Bung
4.23/5  rDev +10.7%
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.

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Photo of popery
4.6/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A big stout with a fantastic burnt malt flavor.

The beer is one percent brown and the rest black. The head is a mocha cushion that puffed right up in my glass. I poured a good sized head that stuck around well.

The nose is sweetly burnt malt. The notes are burnt toast, bitter dark chocolate, sweet whiskey and sugar.

The flavor is brilliantly burnt malt, smoky and warm like good whiskey. The alcohol is present but meshes very well with the smoky malt flavors. The malt is bready and sweet. There might be a lingering citrus flavor. It's burnt but smooth. Marvelous.

The feel is very good. The carbonation goes well with the style and there's little stickiness from the alcohol. The drinkability only suffers from the intensity of the beer's flavor. I very much enjoyed this big, complex stout.

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Photo of Pencible
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This poured a very dark mahogany with nice tan head. It smelled like roasted coffee and milk chocolate, with copper hops and caramel. It tasted like burnt coffee and milk chocolate, with rusty copper hops and some caramel and licorice. It was fairly thick with some carbonation, and had a bitter metallic aftertaste. Overall this had a decent scent and flavor, but it was a bit harsh. It had excellent body and hid the alcohol well, but the taste made it not so easy to drink. I'm not sure what age this bottle is, so maybe it's better fresh, or with more age? As I had it, it was decent but certainly not great.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.76/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

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Photo of scottfrie
3.79/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into Portsmouth snifter. Thanks to Rizalini for this one.

A: Pours black with a huge, billowing, dense, and thick glass of light brown head that took forever to fade into a very bubbly collar leaving tons of specs of lace down the glass.
S: Simple notes of chocolate and roasted oats. Smells a bit like an oatmeal stout with creamy notes of grains.
T: Follows the nose with dominant notes of chocolate and roasted oats, but I’m getting a good dose of leafy bitter hops in the finish. The aftertaste is full of lightly bitter dark chocolate.
M: Medium-full body, full mouthfeel and low, soft carbonation. Alcohol is hidden extremely well.
O: No bells or whistles just a clean, flavorful and easy to drink imperial stout. I thouroghly enjoyed this one.

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Photo of blackie
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: pitch black stout into my piraat snifter, a light lace of carbonation afloat on the surface

s: pungent roast body carries aromas of smooth charred barley and burnt espresso, soy sauce, licorice, bittersweet chocolate sauce, a wave of smoked meats lurks underneath, burnt molasses, dark fruit reduction left on the stove a little too long, a roast bomb all the way

m: carbonation nearly nonexistent, just a tickle, body on the full side

t: charred barley and astringent espresso, undercurrents of dark cocoa, bitter chocolate finish with long-lingering flavors of soy sauce, again a pure, unbalanced roast bomb - if an enjoyable one

d: pretty easy for the abv, and a solid ris all around

bomber from HimerMan in No BS 4

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Photo of birchstick
3.97/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a black color without much of a head on it. Smells of dark chocolates and some roasted notes. Taste is similar to the nose. Starts with dark chocolates and these dominate the palate. There is a subtle amount of vanilla and roasted character toward the backend. Finished with dry dark chocolates. Medium, creamy body and finishes dry.

Pretty solid RIS. Lots of dark chocolates make this a perfect dessert beer.

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Photo of tpd975
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to SeaBass for this one.

A: pours a very deep dark black hue with a nice dark brown head. Okay retention and some spotty lace.

S: Tons of over roasted malt. Doses of chocolate and coffee. A big hop character pushes through as well.

T: Rather bold, and nice. Big charred malt up front. Waves of chocolate and coffee come next. Light touches of dark fruit and a big bitter hoppy finish. I like it.

M: Rather full in body, smooth with a touch of alcohol burn.

D: Rather good.

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Photo of ADZA
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a black Kola hue which leaves a two finger coffee laced creamy head and similar clingy lacing,the smell is sweet boozy alcohol,coffee,dark chocolate and lots of dark malts,the mouthfeel is just under being full bodied and has tastes very similar to the smell with hints of dark bittersweet chocolate,milky coffee,a touch of molasses,burnt bread,a touch of charcoal in a good way,burnt toffee and finished with a ever present hoppy bitterness that makes this really drinkable and soothes the sweetness first encountered and amazingly enough for a beer of this high ABV i find it suprisingly very well hidden and overall a enjoyable sweet/hoppy Double Stout that i could easily drink again.

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Photo of hopdog
4.23/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle acquired in trade with FlacoAlto (thanks!).

Poured a black color with brown edges and a small sized tan head. Aromas of chocolate, roast, light coffee and I was getting some orange peel. Tastes of chocolate, roast, some dark fruits, coffee, and vanilla. Light alcohol in the finish.

Notes from 8/21/07

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber, served in a standard pint glass.

A - dark black color with a good sized brown head of foamy bubbles that fell to a layer, leaving some lacing spots.

S - bittersweet chocolate and roasted coffee bean aroma.

T - rich roasted flavors, espresso coffee, bittersweet chocolate, black licorice, finish is bitter with some warming of alcohol.

M - medium/full bodied, creamy textured brew.

D - a better than average glass of Imp Stout.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.24/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ive had this beer in the cellar for about 6-8 months now and figure with a slight chill in the air it is a good time to drink it.
Pouring at cellar temp into a snifter.
The beer pours a pitch black hue with 3 inches of creamy tan head foaming up and creating a deep spongelike layer in my glass. The aroma is apparent from across the desk with some dark fruit, plums raisins wisping across. Plus I get some roasted malt notes and hints of molasses and chocolate as well. Fairly complex and robust nose on this one!
The first sip reveals a fizzy and lighter than expected body with a slightly sticky texture to the beer. The flavor is malt and booze from the start with molasses, coffee grounds, and plums mixing and letting some slightly astringent peppery alcohol on the finish. There is a little warming on the swallow and a lingering coffee bean flavor as well.
The beer is a sipper due to the booziness, but is well constructed and enjoyable. I am glad to have sampled this beer, just beware it is not for the faint of heart.

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Photo of arizcards
4.11/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber back in late October at AJ's for $10.99.

Beer poured black as night with a small dark brown head that is not retaining well. Nose is a very good combination of sweet malts, heavy dose of chocolate, and a little hint of coffee. Taste is similar to the nose. Starts off on the sweet side with a generous amount of the sweet chocolate malts and is nicely balanced by a 100 IBU blast of hops that are not that overly noticeable. Mouthfeel is extremely smooth and the beer is medium to full bodied to give it a nice chewy feel. Overall drinkability is good. I went into this beer with some reservations about the 11.5 abv but the alcohol is pretty well hidden. This is definitely worth a try but the price tag is prohibitive for any repeat purchases.

Second Review 1-1-08


Purchased a bomber of batch number 2 in late August at AJ's for 8.99.

Beer poured black as night into my snifter. A nice creamy brown head evolved, leaving a stick lacing behind. Nose is extremely malty with not many other notes detected. Taste is an over the top blast of malts and hops, with a hoppy and creamy coffee like finish. Alcohol is warming in the after taste. Mouthfeel is medium bodied but is extremely smooth. Drinkability is good considering as the high abv is not noticeable on the palate. This is a pretty nice beer that is worthy of a try.

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Photo of Floydster
3.71/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

22 ounce bomber my roommate picked up for me at BevMo in Redlands for around eight dollars

Poured into a mug with a black color and a dark tan head that was close to two inches, left crazy amounts of lacing on the sides from top to bottom

Smell was lots of roasted malt and chocolate, tons of sugar, and smokiness, a good amount of sweet coffee hints, very strong aroma overall

Taste was complex with more hops than most imperial stouts, also had toffee, espresso, black licorice, dark chocolate, and large amounts of roasted malt identified by the smell before, oddly some hints of oranges and grapefruit in the aftertaste through all the roastiness, dry finish makes it harder to get down that most, quite a distinctive taste and gets much sweeter as it gets warmer

This stuff has a grossly thick body with little carbonation, looks like black maple syrup, and the taste does not go away

Ended up sharing this one with another friend because it was so heavy, could not possibly drink much more than ten ounces or so like I did, over eleven percent and so chewy and rich

First beer I have from Black Flag and was a good beer overall, the hops made it unique and different, share a bottle if you grab one, but worth trying, even for the high price tag

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