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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 cincymike
4.21/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I never had actually tasted this beer, but had seen it a few times on Bevmo.com. But over this past weekend I got to have a taste and actually talked with the brewer while I was at the "Hops Beer Tasting of Las Vegas" inside the Planet Hollywood Casino.

First thing I noticed was the label on the bottle, which was proudly displayed as a flag behind the booth. It certainly is a fitting description of what you would expect from the beer.

Pours very dark and syrupy with a tan head. Not as much of a smell as you would expect, mostly dark malts and chocolate. Taste was great. At first I didn’t expect the hops to be as prominent as they were with the initial taste, but they weren’t so overwhelming that you can’t recognize all of the malt. Coffee, dark chocolate and maybe a hint of caramel with a good dry finish. Mouthfeel not quite as good as the taste but not bad either. No carbonation that I could since, always a plus.

Overall my favorite beer from the whole event. Sadly there weren’t many micro brews there to choose from. I will be recommending this to anybody who’s a fan of an American Double or high ABV beer.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.89/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

One of my friend's swears by this beer. We met up last night and he offered me a sample from his bomber. Time to give it a ride:

Very thick and dark appearance with a head that doesn't get much and retains poorly. The smell brings out deep chocolate, dextrin, esters, and alcohol, more of the same in the taste. Esters gain definition as it warms. The feel is fat and chewy with only a tad of carbonation. The alcohol is listed at 11.5(!), and indeed this is some intense stuff. Very heavy, even for an Imperial Stout. Enjoy this beer in small servings.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.32/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Beachwood BBQ, in Seal Beach, CA,

A: Pours a dark black, with a small tan head, almost brown, when poured into a goblet,

S: Smells of dark malts, some caramel, chocolate, and coffee.

T: While most big stouts I have had have been dominated by coffee, this one is dominated by chocolate, big chocolate notes overtake the whole stout backed with some light coffee flavours and molasses, very tasty.

M: Very thick, robust and chewy, a very nicely put together stout.

D: I really liked this beer, it is really good on-tap, a really well put together stout, very well done. It is heavy, but has a nice feel to it, which makes it easy to drink.

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

Thanks goes out to sirhc.

22oz. Bomber

Poured into a chalice a black color, some carbonation, no head (at least first pour), no sticky lacing at all. The nose is malty, big on the toffee/caramel/chocolate, some roastiness, and vanilla. The taste is malty, good dose of the big three toffee/caramel/chocolate, some sweetness on the lips from the vanilla. The finish is slightly dry. Alcohol is hidden pretty well, but does warm the tummy up. Medium body. Drinkable, this is a pretty tasty brew, it does kick some ass with the taste and ABV, recommended.

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Photo of Overlord
3.78/5  rDev -1%
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.

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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 rallison
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Like motor oil that's been used for 20,000 miles too long. Only the tiniest bit of head can be coaxed.

S: Quite chocolatey, with a bit of roasted aromas coming out. Maybe a touch of hops.

T: Intense. Tons of rich espresso and coffee here - quite well roasted too. Hops play a nice role, but you never forget all this malt. Tastes like concentrated espresso sweetened with some tasty dark chocolate. This is thick.

M: Extremely rich. Thick. Chewy. Syrupy. Hot. That pretty well describes it.

D: A bomber will be more than enough, I'd say.

Overall, recommended. I could see age helping this out - especially to mellow the alcohol.

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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 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 danielcc
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I saw this one at the store and grabbed it despite the hefty price tag ($8.50). It was one of those beers I've never seen anywhere before, so the WTF Factor kicked in and I got it.

Unlike a lot of other reviewers, I had no problem coaxing a huge head out of this beer. It poured a jet-black, almost-but-not-quite syrupy liquid (the viscosity of it is up there for sure) with plenty of head into a 22-oz mug I bought at WalMart for the purpose of doing bombers. The mug has served me well, and this beer looks great in it: no light comes through, despite holding it up to the window and almost trying to force sunlight through! The head on this IStout was almost too much; I was expecting very little (even less since it was a fairly easy pour), but it surprised me and almost foamed past the edges of the glass. The retention is great, too, as it' still got about a half-inch of head even halfway through the well-laced mug.

The smell is...different. It's not like what I'd associate with other IStouts I've tried. Think something along the lines of pine tar and I think you'd be close. I could faintly detect some kind of fruits; I think one reviewer put it best when he mentioned "rum-soaked raisins." It smells pretty good overall, and I think you could probably get a bit of a buzz just sniffing this stuff.

The taste is...excellent. It's got a piney note to it (thinking that must be the hops), and you can definitely taste the roasted coffee quality (must be the malts). I can get faint chocolate notes in the after-taste, too, along with the alcohol. A weird taste, kinda like an orange smacked into a pine tree, is showing up in the after-taste, too; I found this a bit off-putting at first, but it's definitely growing on me as I drink more.

I find the taste category to be inextricably linked to mouthfeel, and this beer is spot-on: it's thick, lightly-carbonated (despite the huge head), and easily quaffable. The alcohol seems fairly high (just over 11% ABV), and it's definitely there, giving an awesome warming effect. I served this thing cold (warming up a bit as I write this), and the hops were definitely there. It could stand to age a bit to mellow those same hops a tad, but I have no complaints.

Drinkability...definitely drinkable, but I don't think I'd session it. The high ABV makes it hard to throw back more than 2 of these; more than that, and I'd be in trouble :) Overall, an excellent beer, and I'd go for it again (despite the painful pricetag).

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Photo of DogFood11
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One odd case of bombers on top of a bevmo shelf. I pulled it down and sure enough a brew I've yet to see or sample. Black Flag Imperial Stout. No price tage but later found out they are $10 bucks a pop. Should I have grabbed 4 bottle so blindly?? The verdict is out.

Poured into a chalice it took an aggressive pour to get any bubbles at all. The cap looked like a hand bottler as it was depressed in the middle and just looked amatuer. First whif and I could tell this beer was not spoiled in the least bit. Heavily burnt malts not only lead this beer into the hell depths but gives it a hardy charred bitterness. The charcoal lingers a bit and then fades gracefully. Ground Coffee type dryness on the backside.

Notes: Lifeless start but who cares the taste was very good. Big Big Big problem here is $10 bucks a bomber is out of control. They have some extremely tough competition in STONE at $4. Nice to see this though and I wouldn't hesitate to buy a bottle again when its around.

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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 IntriqKen
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

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Photo of badbeer
4.14/5  rDev +8.4%
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.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
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.

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Photo of Jredner
4.04/5  rDev +5.8%
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.
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.

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Photo of hopsaplenty
4.02/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

22oz brown bottle, 240706 21 D1 1855 inkjetted beneath the front label.

Imperial Stout, American Style. Brewed and bottled by Santa Fe Brewing Co., Santa Fe, NM. Beer Valley is currently contract brewing their flagship beer while awaiting the arrival of their brewery equipment.

Thick, viscous pour of solid, oily black. Minimal group of soapy, off white and caramel bubbles. From the depths of the glass a shimmering, oil slick color arrives on the surface before transforming itself into a fine cast of head dust. Gauzy lace spiderwebs the glass. Rich aromas of coffee, bittersweet chocolate, granular sugar, and toffee. Viscous and sweet, deep roasted coffee spiked with liquid sugar up front and a long lingering sweet bitey roasted bitterness in the finish. Warming alcohol underneath it all pushes along the bitter chocolate. Whole pine cone sappiness meshes with the roasted bite in the finish. The carbonation is severely lacking, as in virtually nonexistent, and this lends a slackness to the otherwise full bodied chewiness. This is big and bold, but perhaps a tad sweet. Had the carbonation level been bumped up, it would have worked to address this. Black Flag is not inexpensive, $11, but has lots of promise and I admire the balls it takes to lead out with an Imperial Stout as the flagship. I am looking forward to future bottles if the carbonation issue is addressed and am wondering what Beer Valley has in store next.

Big thanks to the AW from Oro Valley, AZ for securing the last bottle on the shelf. You know who you are.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.17/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a pitch black, motor oil color. It is hardly carbonated at all, a few lonely bubbles mar the shiny surface. Aromatic notes of burnt prunes, port, alcohol, concentrated malt, figs, . Something akin to a green, almost vegetal note is also here, actually it is probably a green apple note. The aromatic finish is dominated by the ample malt notes; black coffee, burnt caramel, chocolate malt balls and toffee are found towards the end if you dig for it underneath the up front aromatics.

Wow this beer is much more viscous and thick than I was expecting. Sweet malt notes are ample, yet are quite well held in check by the alcohol and roasted notes. The beer finishes with a touch of astringent burnt grain husk and a bit of a chalky notes. The finish has a solid hop bitterness to it that, while not overwhelming, helps to balance the sweet malt character and lingers on in the long finish. The beer is still a bit green around the edges; green apple notes and a lack of carbonation are certainly noticeable. This beer leans more towards the chocolate side of the dark grain spectrum, but still does have a nice, supporting burnt grain character that is especially more noticeable towards the finish. Burnt fruit notes of prunes, raisins and figs are quite noticeable up front.

The lack of carbonation certainly hurts this beer, though being an Imperial Stout it can certainly handle the loss much better than most styles. The longer I sip away this 22oz bottle the more I come to appreciate the balance that this beer strikes. Smooth and mellow (well as mellow as a 11.5% beast can be) with a striking chocolate character that is just balanced by a subtler, yet more aggressive roasted grain notes. Certainly black and silky, sexy even and that is certainly not something I would have guessed during the first third of this beer. This is a beer that definitely benefits from a sample size of at least 16oz. This may certainly be a bit much to ask for from a Imperial Stout, but this one needs it and I don't necessarily think that the alcohol is the one doing the talking here (though that certainly does not hurt).

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