Black Flag Imperial Stout - Beer Valley Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 207 | Reviews: 141 | Display Reviews Only:
4.1/5 rDev +7.9%
Black Flag has a menacingly opaque appearance, a warning sign for a stout that is over 11% alcohol and over 100 bittering units. Equipped with darkness and an ink-stained foam that gloomily adorns the glass like cobwebs, it looks daunting enough to instill cowardice in the fainthearted (and excitement in the stout lover).
I thought it a tad funny that the brewery sprawled "American Style" across the label in bold, capital letters. It starts to make more sense after smelling it though - the hoppiness not only towers as tall as a coast redwood but also inspirits the leafy, resiny characteristics of the forest. It is herbal and minty, exquisitely blended with a coffee-and-cream roast.
Black Flag drinks something like a gourmet Oreo cookie that's been injected with pine serum, flower petals and citrus piths. With the oiliness and bitterness of coffee, the richness of a chocolate truffle and the delicate sweetness of Madagascar vanilla, it is a full-bodied, fulfilling stout that is, frankly, ridiculously too quaffable for its (supposed) strength.
The combination of Warrior, Chinook, Columbus, and Cascade leaves hardly any stone unturned in the realm of hop flavours. From sticky, sappy resins to sharp-cutting citrus to leafy, botanical florals, there isn't a single part of the palate untouched by some form of hoppy taste or texture. And all this despite the use of ample roasted and dark malts.
Black Flag is hidden treasure. Like most Oregon microbreweries, Beer Valley brands are rarely found outside of the state (and is easy to overlook within it). Rest assured, however, it is pure gold and every bit the beer as Great Divide's Yeti or Founder's Breakfast Stout (both of which it reminds me of). A stout to truly shiver yer timbers! Damn fine grog!
08-06-2012 22:44:49 | More by biegaman
4.03/5 rDev +6.1%
2008 vintage - how did this one get lost in the cellar?
A - Pours black - simple - no highlights. Mocha colored head formation, about 1 to 2mm - lots of lacing.
S - Bittersweet chocolate, a little bit of roast. Overall fairly restrained.
T - Starts off light, sweet, smooth, some chocolate flavors and just a hint of grainy/husky flavors. Mid-stream brings it into balance, a little bit of bitterness but not much hopping. Still very chocolate like. Finishes sweet, sticky, and a hint of alcohol in the aftertaste.
M - Full bodied with light to moderate carbonation. Very sticky, huge malt bill here. Alcohol warmth is there but light for a 11% beer.
O/D - A worthwhile stout - I like it. Now I wonder what it would have tasted like if I hadn't let it age so long. Not very filling, a surprise for the size of this beer.
07-21-2012 20:35:53 | More by katan
3.43/5 rDev -9.7%
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!
06-13-2012 01:13:58 | More by Thickfreakness
3.78/5 rDev -0.5%
A - Poured a huge chocolate-colored head that overflowed the glass and made a mess in my table. The color is pitch black, no light goes through this beer.
S - Smells like licorice and brown sugar. Spicy and a hint of chocolate, well hidden.
T - Hoppy, strong licorice flavor, coffee and roasted malts and a touch of bitter chocolate at the end.
M - Not as smooth as other stouts I've had, but the mouthfeel isn't unpleasant at all. Little carbonation and pleasant bitterness.
Overall, a very good imperial stout. I enjoyed it a lot, over other imperial stouts I've had because the flavor wasn't as strong or complex. I would recommend it and have it again.
05-13-2012 03:41:04 | More by Pexkool
3.9/5 rDev +2.6%
Poured from a 22oz bottle into a pint glass.
A: Pours a dark brown color, not quite as dark as other stouts I've seen. It has a two finger creamy khaki colored head. The head sticks around for quite a while and leaves solid lines of lacing. Small bubble streams rise to the top, creating an inviting appearance.
S: Roasted malt and coffee are the main players here. There is some dark chocolate noticeable as well. A slight hop bitter aroma appears towards the end.
T: The taste is similar to the aroma. Roasted malts, a bit of coffee, and a touch of dark chocolate. The hops make a bigger appearance in the taste providing a significant bitter bite during the finish.
M: Medium bodied, well carbonated, and kind of oily. It coats the palate leaving residual flavors.
O: This one is pretty solid. I like it. Decent aroma, good taste and feel. Bonus points for the cool pirate thing going on with the label.
04-06-2012 00:04:57 | More by BilbosNuts
3.83/5 rDev +0.8%
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.
03-11-2012 03:06:05 | More by scottfrie
3.73/5 rDev -1.8%
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.
03-03-2012 11:17:50 | More by ADZA
3.63/5 rDev -4.5%
Bomber poured into a tulip
A-- Poured a dark cola color and settled black. Huge, three finger light tan head. Great body and shape to the head. Slowly worked to a thick collar. Left all sorts of lacing.
S-- Baking chocolate, dark chocolate, roasted malt, coffee and hops. Big grapefruit nose to this.
T-- Quite hoppy. Lots of hops, followed by chocolate and coffee.
M-- Medium bodied and light carbonation. Pretty straight forward really. Hops calm down in the feel and get more of the roast and chocolate.
O-- Not earth shattering but a well done massively hopped imperial stout.
02-25-2012 00:52:01 | More by mulder1010
3.88/5 rDev +2.1%
Pours black with a huge dark brown rocky head, heaps of lacing and great retention.
Nose is burnt toast initially with touches of vanilla and chocolate milk. Heaps of fresh piney hops.
On the palate theres rich cocoa nibs upfront, plenty of overroasted coffee too. Half way through the beer I got the most distinct flavour of peanut butter, but it faded as quickly as it appeared - very unusual. The beer has a deep rich and complex mix of charred malt and hoppy bitterness.
Overall a decent imperial stout, certainly the hoppiest I've tried. I wonder whether this beer could stand up to a year in the cellar.
02-18-2012 07:43:41 | More by
4.45/5 rDev +17.1%
Poured from a bottle into a nonic pint.
A – Pours inky, jet black, motor oil. An aggressive pour yields a HUGE four-finger (!) head of sand colored foam that doesn’t go away. EVER. This is definitely the largest head I have ever seen from a beer of this ABV, and it is so thick it looks like it came out of one of those foam machines. Clumpy, patchy lacing. Amazing.
S – Medium strength aroma of toasted grains, burnt coffee, chocolate, and west coast hops. While nice, the aroma could be stronger.
T – Initial taste of dark cocoa, espresso, and charred grains, but those characteristics are subtle. Strong dark fruit esters of plum and prune become present right before the finish. Finishes with a bit of floral west coast hop kick. Yes- you can taste the hops in this stout. Becomes more and more boozy as it warms, and you can definitely start to feel the 11% ABV. Delicious.
M – Medium bodied and slightly oily. Medium carbonation. Finishes dry. Not really a flaw, but I feel a slightly chewier feel would serve to make this fine beer even better.
O – This brew is substantially different from most Imperial Stouts I have sampled and not an ordinary imperial stout by any means. While some may find that it lacks some depth and punch in the “burnt/roasted” area, I find the fruitiness and hop presence mixed with the traditional elements to be exquisite, and the overall complexity and balance more than makes up for any lack of richness. A fruity and slightly hoppy imperial?? Yes, please! A regular in my rotation, and will continue to be for some time.
02-15-2012 01:12:30 | More by TempeBeerMan
3.88/5 rDev +2.1%
A - pours a deep dark brown/black, one finger very tan head and very little lacing
S - molasses, a light vanilla, tons of roasted/toasted malts, slight booze, very nutty, slight dark dried fruits, huge coffee, a nice slight hop, very nice very dark chocolate, wood, soil and some anise
T - very bitter chocolate, nice sweet booze, roasted nuts, toasty malts, nice citrus rind bitterness, vanilla, nice coffee and molasses
M - full bodied, decent balance, medium plus acidity (from the coffee), nice complexity and very long finish
D/O - huge, huge stout. Booze doesn't seem as high as it is. Tons of bitterness, coffee acid and sticks around for a while. If stouts isn't your thing, look else where
Final thoughts - $9 a pop and 11% abv. This beer smells amazing tastes swell and will age very, very awesome!
02-12-2012 03:46:30 | More by whatthehull
4.33/5 rDev +13.9%
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.
02-04-2012 04:35:10 | More by LiquidAmber
Black Flag Imperial Stout from Beer Valley Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 207 ratings.