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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

144 Reviews
THE BROS
85
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 144
Hads: 228
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 11.98%
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 dnichols
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I poured a capped 22 ounce bottle into a chalice.

A: It poured a coal black body with a one finger sticky chocolate head that supported a dense even curtain. The head receded slowly to a nice even cover over the liquid that remained far into the experience

S: It had aromas of roasted malt and bitter chocolate and smokiness. There was a smell of dark roasted bitter coffee hints of alochol.

T: There was an initial sweet and creamy dark chocolate flavor that is quickly overcome by the bitter expresso (almot reminiscent of Turkish coffee) and black licorice with a bite from the alcohol. The back end bite it dominant and lingers after the sip is swallowed.

M: This is a creamy full bodied brew with little carbonation and a warm bitter finish and follows long into the aftertaste.

D: It is a bit unbalanced favoring the bitter coffee/espresso flavors and underpresenting the dark chocolate I expected. This is a one and out brew that is worth trying but I doubt it will be a long-term resident of my stash. (1,016 characters)

Photo of jnn4v
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle with unknown age acquired as an extra from akorsak. In fact, he made sure I knew that he wouldn't vouch for its age or quality.

A: Pitch black in color. Off white color head. No discernible sediment.

S: Coffee is the dominant scent. Some anise and alcohol are evident as well. Minor licorice and molasses.

T: Coffee is the first flavor, followed by some malty flavors and molasses, ending with bitterness that lingers through the aftertaste. Almost chemical bitterness in nature, but at least a hint of the coffee flavor helps justify the flavor.

M: Good texture through and through. Deep body with some silkiness and richness.

D: High ABV was evident, but not the dominant trait. Lack of subtlety and balance from the flavors detracted from the drinkabiliy. (775 characters)

Photo of DrJay
3.61/5  rDev -6%
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. (586 characters)

Photo of broken22
3.62/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

So I have been walking past this bottle of beer at the store for a while. The label is what initially caught my eye. I pick up the bottle to see what its all about and there isn't any description at all on the bottle so I put it back. I went to their website and they only say something like "MOST EPIC BEER EVEH!" (you need to read that in your best 300 movie voice) Since I'm a big dark beer fan I couldn't resist and finally purchased one to try it out. I figure with the high alcohol content that a lot can go wrong but still end up tasting pretty good.

So I pop and pour this thing out. Not a lot of head is forming at all and it is a little lighter than expected but definitely not light. This beer smells great. It has a nice coffee chocolate smell to it, so things are looking good so far and I am ready to taste this bad boy. Well much like I was expecting from the pour this thing is rather light on the mouth as its not to thick. The flavor is pretty complex. The initial taste is a sweet caramel and then the finish is a nice bitter chocolate. The bitterness really hangs on and fades out slowly. You can definitely notice the higher alcohol content taste as it is also a little sharp in the beginning.

So I'm pretty happy with this beer. I'm glad to this thing ended up being OK. I think the brewery could a better job on this beers label by putting a little more info about the beer. I'm cool with neat looking labels but I don't want to feel like this is the coolest thing about the beer. I want to know a little bit about the beer before I buy it. So if you looking for a new dark beer to try give this one a shot. My local beer store is selling these for $10.99 per 22oz bottle. (1,698 characters)

Photo of trenten
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
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. (1,153 characters)

Photo of mulder1010
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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. (589 characters)

Photo of brentk56
3.66/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: After a gusher of an opening, the beer settled down and pours a jet black color with nary a highlight; nice frothy mocha head that leaves massive amounts of lace

Smell: It's hard to differentiate between the Impy Stout and IPA aromas in this bitter beer; the 100 IBUs challenge the roasted charcoal aromas; dark chocolate and molasses, too; not sure I am that fond of it, but it is massive

Taste: Opens like the aroma, with a bitter assault fighting the charcoal roast; the beer is trying to make a point but the question is whether this is a point that is worth making; piney bitter and roasty after the swallow, with the overall effect of a scorched earth on the tongue

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, with moderate carbonation; very sticky

Drinkability: This is where it all comes tumbling down; the beer is more of a dare than a craft; it comes at you like Zhukov's army advancing on Berlin; I surrender

Thanks, JohnGalt1, for the opportunity (955 characters)

Photo of ShadesOfGray
3.67/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my tall Allagash chalice/snifter glass. Pairing with a nice plate of cheese: sharp provolone, mature gouda, and asiago. Pours a semi dark brown, with a decent amount of light shining through for a stout. In fact as the glass is full, held up into the light, there's a faint reddish tinge towards the bottom and top edges. Head is very small and slow rising. About half of a finger of soft creamy frothy bubbles. Leaves a very quick sliding fizzy lacing.

Aroma is welcoming. Bitter sweet chocolate, roasted coffee beans, malts, charred wood, raisins, and mild booze.

Flavor is conflicting to me. It starts with a mild sweetness that quickly follows by heavy roastedness. The mid flavors are full of over roasted coffee, mild booze. Then it finishes sweet again, with chocolate and raisins in the back ground. Now what hurts the overall beer for me is the after taste. About 5 to 10 seconds after each sip, a heavy over roasted/burnt coffee bitterness and dryness hits the palate. So I would say the beer has a very good start, but a disappointing finish. Carbonation and booze levels are middle of the road, medium body. (1,152 characters)

Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.67/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Black with an enormous head that takes an eternity t fade and leaves thick webs of lacing everywhere on the glass. A mountain of head rests in the middle over still half an inch of head. Very pretty.

S - Pepper, chicory, grasses and some burnt malt.

T - Very dark flavors. Charred malt is the foremost presence, then there is some molasses, dark chocolate and chicory. Bitter char in the aftertaste. It is too burnt tasting, but not too bad.

M - Smooth, thick and refreshing - which is astonishing considering the ABV.

D - Great. I had no problem finishing this brew. It is a powerful stout. The flavor has taken a stance as a particular sort of flavor, and it does a fantastic job at delivering that flavor. But burnt is not what should dominant the stout's flavor in my opinion. (788 characters)

Photo of DIM
3.69/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

a: This was dark brown with ruby edges. It poured with probably the prettiest head I've ever seen. An extraordinarily long lasting, frothy, creamy, light mocha colored head.

s: Strangely, piny, lemony hops dominate. Some sweet chocolate malts and molasses do manange to peek through. As it warms, the 11% abv becomes apparent.

t. This reminds me of one of those new fangled black IPAs. At first this briefly tastes like an imperial stout with flavors of sweet, roasty chocolate malts. Then a huge wave of piny hops with a little lemon completely takes over. There is a little heat at the end, but not enough to suggest an 11% abv. This is by far the hoppiest stout I've tried.

m: The body isn't all that thick, but the super creamy head gives this a great feel overall.

d: After the initial hop shock wore off I began to really enjoy this. Still, have you ever reached for a glass of what you thought was water and taken a big gulp of milk? Even if you like milk, the shock can be off-putting. Overall, as tasty as this was, it was out of balance and off-style. Thanks to JohnGalt1 for the chance to try this strange brew. (1,126 characters)

Photo of froghop
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a black with a small khaki head, and good lacing.

smell is of cocoa, a little coffee, and some vanilla bean.

taste is dry, bitter, chocolate, a little malt in back, and some coffee, end is dry and nicely bitter.

nicely smooth and dry imperial stout, well made (268 characters)

Photo of mactrail
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark, rich, bitter black ale.

Nice chestnut edge in the glass-- not really black like typical stouts. My 22 oz bottle poured nicely and while the head wasn't big there was enough to look decent, and plenty of carbonation in the mouth. Some nice roasty aromas once the beer warms up a little.

This thing is just really alcoholic and plenty bitter. The warmth seeps down the throat. Quite sippable, but I miss the balanced maltiness of a barley wine. Definitely austere, more like a bitter cordial than a mellow brandy. (519 characters)

Photo of OStrungT
3.71/5  rDev -3.4%
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. (814 characters)

Photo of Floydster
3.71/5  rDev -3.4%
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 (1,257 characters)

Photo of Pexkool
3.74/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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. (660 characters)

Photo of ADZA
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
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. (694 characters)

Photo of blitheringidiot
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle screamed "I wanna be adored" with a schmaltzy yet mystery evoking Jolly Roger style cartoon design. This has been my downfall before with the label hype but let's try this game again.

Pours with a dark curtain of midnight buh-lack allowing no light through this used motor oil offering topped with a scant thin tan collar that skids down the glass with no lace!

Nose creation of deep toast and roast. Plenty of molasses and spice wafer that is actually bold with some pep that holds in there with the best of 'em. If 11.5% ABV is true, then this is impressive.

First swigs: Messy oily buttery pumpernickel toast and spice. Some booze that is understated. Tad all over with a toasty malt that slides to a charcoal. Close to a 4/5 but slides around a lot towards a hot stout.

Feel is buttery and oily with a middle body of chewy bready cud.

Last swigs: A warm but not hot, heat seeker of an American Stout, but a welcome offering nonetheless. 11.5% ABV is hard to beleive.

Beer is good. Happy big Am beering. (1,033 characters)

Photo of Pencible
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
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. (612 characters)

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.76/5  rDev -2.1%
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. (1,215 characters)

Photo of dragonWhale
3.77/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The 11% was a bit of a surprise to me..well, why not then? A bomber shared by a dear friend for a birthday celebration. Black and looking thick, tan topping..it looks meaty, for sure.
It bears forth bitter chocolate and hop aromas, a pretty hefty bitterness. Little bit of roast and for sure some malt sweetness and alcohol.
Definitely on the bitter side for an Imperial Stout, would like to see this with some more time in the bottle, let that bitterness start to fade, and that chocolate mellow into the rest of the beer. Not overly sweet or boozy, pretty damn nice and drinkable, still thick, though. And the bitter chocolate coats your mouth along with the hops, which becomes a little distracting. (703 characters)

Photo of grub
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2008 Biergotter Tasting, Day 2: Stouts and Belgians. Viggo brought this one, so thanks eric!

22oz bottle. sampled nov 28/08.

pours deep dark brown, not quite black, with a huge cascading light brown head. the big fluffy head drops slowly and leaves lots of clumpy lace behind.

aroma is good. light alcohol. fresh hops, more citrus than pine. bread. biscuit. big floral character too.

taste is good. just over medium bitterness level. espresso. bittersweet chocolate. bread and biscuit. a bit one-dimensional and underwhelming after the last few bottles it was compared against.

mouthfeel is good. medium carbonation level. just over medium body.

drinkability is good. decent balance, but not hte depth and complexity i was looking for. (741 characters)

Photo of Overlord
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Saw this perched atop a Bevmo shelf, and like so many others who have reviewed it already, decided to give it a try (I'm a sucker for great labels, and Black Flag's Skull and Crossbones fit the bill). It's a little strange that the label was on crooked and looked thrashed straight out of the factory, but whatever.

Pours a deep black, with some serious viscosity. One of the thickest stouts I've seen. The chocolate is bitter, with a hint of sweetness, and the aftertaste is pleasant coffee/bitter chocolate with a not so pleasant charcoal-y or piney sensation.

Mouthfeel is great. No carbonation to speak of. For such a strong tasting beer, there wasn't much smell to it.

For 8.39, I wouldn't revisit very often, but worth a try. ABV is noticeable, and after a while feels like you're drinking beer mixed with molasses/rum. (835 characters)

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.79/5  rDev -1.3%
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. (552 characters)

Photo of scottfrie
3.79/5  rDev -1.3%
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. (769 characters)

Photo of IntriqKen
3.8/5  rDev -1%
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. (556 characters)

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