Black Flag Imperial Stout - Beer Valley Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 207 | Reviews: 141 | Display Reviews Only:
2.93/5 rDev -22.9%
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.
10-05-2009 22:28:02 | More by chickencoop
3.73/5 rDev -1.8%
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.
10-05-2009 18:14:37 | More by Pencible
3.58/5 rDev -5.8%
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.
09-27-2009 01:57:34 | More by jnn4v
4.35/5 rDev +14.5%
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.
09-20-2009 17:42:55 | More by rfgetz
4.03/5 rDev +6.1%
Great Label! It's black, and aggressive, just like the beer!
As might be expected, it pours an opaque black body beneath a thick finger of light tan froth that recedes into a 1/2" thich creamy cap. The head retention is excellent, and it maintains a solid surface covering throughout the pint. The lacing is almost as good. It leaves wide curtains of patterned lace with the first settling of the head, and then thin creamy rings that blend into an almost solid curtain as you go.
The nose offers a deep roastiness that's just a bit charred, a mild note of red fruitiness, and some restrained grassy/piney hops.
The flavor is much fuller than the aroma suggests, and it's kind of flip-flopped. It's loaded with American hops that are piney, softly citrusy, grassy, leafy, and even a bit herbal and minty. Combined with the roasted malts, they also lend a delicate note of black licorice.
It starts hoppy, in a big way, and the maltiness takes a back seat. You almost don't even get the roastiness at first. Then, in the swallow, it's dark caramel and roasty side becomes more apparent. The hops stick in there a bit, but they're faded enough that you can get the malt notes.
It's anchored by a bold bitterness, and that cuts through it and lingers in the finish.
Overall I find it an interesting and compelling beer, but at the same time its "take no prisoners" aggression is a little bit much for extended drinkability.
08-11-2009 00:28:35 | More by NeroFiddled
4.55/5 rDev +19.7%
Poured this into a tumbler. Exhibits a large espresso head atop an almost impenetrable dark body (a little light coming through). Nice legs as I tilt the glass, though the lacing is virtually non-existent.
A medium strength bouquet, with aromas including cocoa, roasted malts, coffee, and slight oak. Some sweetness in the nose that must be derived from the cocoa. Initially, the smell is pleasant but nothing to lift the nostrils. As I agitate, more powerful roasted coffee flavors come through on the bouquet.
The taste is also fairly medium strength but the flavor spectrum is intense. Flavors of chocolate, coffee, and hops up front, and an espresso bitterness that jumps out on the back end and really surprises you. Excellent taste and a smooth mouthfeel, which at 11% is quite impressive. I paired it with some Roquefort cheese, and the flavors of the two just dovetail together, exploding the sharp and pungent flavors of the cheese.
An overall excellent Imperial Stout.
06-17-2009 15:40:46 | More by jminsc76
4.35/5 rDev +14.5%
Very large head, at least three fingers of thick brown foam that dissolves at a glacial pace. When it does leaves considerable sticky lacing behind. It's pleasing to see some dark brown in the glass mixed in with the basic black color, still it's completely opaque. Rich, creamy nose of hot chocolate, hazelnuts, vanilla, licorice and molasses reduction, there's a certain pineyness as well, the plum, black cherry scents skirt around dried fruit nature, as it warms you get a lot more white grapefruit zest. In the mouth it's full-bodied and the intriguing hoppiness not only keeps the grapefruit and pine front and center but also focuses the black licorice and nuttiness. This not to say that it's lacking in milk chocolate, vanilla, toffee flavors, far from it. Would have more of a roasted character were it not for the sweet plum, cherry, apricot fruit. The carbonation comes across as tiny prickles more than bubbles. Chicory and licorice build through the finish. This is no soft and cuddly stout, not always perfectly balanced but its ambitions are in large part met.
06-13-2009 01:52:17 | More by farrago
4.43/5 rDev +16.6%
From Notes: 3/28/09
Beer Valley Brewing Co.
Black Flag Imperial Stout
22oz. Bomber into NB snifter
Appearance= Vigorous pour into NB snifter yields a fat 2 finger stout colored head (caramel, tan whatever). Black body w/minimal carbonation. Sweet lacing on sides of glass as this delish brew goes down.
Smell= Good smell, choco, coffee. Typical Imperial Stout smell.
Taste= Awesome! Lingers in your mouth. Fat Stout. Bittering hops on the back end. Coffee, roasted malts dominate.
Mouthfeel= Nice and stouty! Thick and awesome. Lingers on the tongue.
Drinkability= Abv. is not present. Flavor is awesome. Thick mouthfeel. Really, really good. Would be a 5 but you can;t pound these.
05-26-2009 17:15:55 | More by Grabbin2nd
2.65/5 rDev -30.3%
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.
05-16-2009 07:04:33 | More by GRG1313
3.78/5 rDev -0.5%
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
05-08-2009 04:08:47 | More by blackie
3.68/5 rDev -3.2%
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.
05-05-2009 01:50:50 | More by OStrungT
3.93/5 rDev +3.4%
Appears pitch black with a thick, 2 finger head of dark tan that retains nicely. Scattered streaks of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of roasted grains, cocoa, vanilla, coffee, and some ripe, dark fruit.
Taste echoes the aromas with more of a raisin flavor coming through, along with the husky graininess that carries some charred, roasty flavors.
Mouthfeel is somewhat bitter with the roastiness dominating the palate that is already on the thick, chewy side.
03-11-2009 20:31:24 | More by weeare138
2.48/5 rDev -34.7%
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!
02-09-2009 03:35:19 | More by MadeInOregon
3.65/5 rDev -3.9%
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.
01-22-2009 07:42:31 | More by trenten
4/5 rDev +5.3%
22oz bomber into a oversized wine glass.
Note: Stamp on bottle mentioned 2008 Hop Harvest Edition
Pours a fluid molasses color, with almost zero opacity. Great head retention, leaving a light khaki crown of decent lacing. Nose reminiscent of shortbread with a thin layer of milk chocolate, with light hints of fresh cherries hinting at the hop forward nature of the stout. Palate is very surprising... Hops add pepper, pine, lots of espresso, with a hint of raspberry acidity. Malts are secondary, adding a graham cracker-y, toasty support for the hops. Finishes dry, yet smooth, with lingering fruity hops on the back palate.
Drinkability? Well, I'm very impressed...most failed attempts at Imp. Stouts leave so much cloying residual sugars that it becomes warm, room temp coffee. However, the hops really help lift and lighten the stout, making it almost crisp with its delicate hop acidity. Drinks more like a hopped Scotch Ale, or a hopped Porter...
Great find and very surprising beer. Furthermore, everytime I've seen it in stores, its under $4.99 a bottle. Ain't nothin' wrong with that.
01-20-2009 08:03:49 | More by bovinecrusader
3.85/5 rDev +1.3%
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.
01-04-2009 23:12:51 | More by Viggo
4.13/5 rDev +8.7%
This is what this beer was like when I drank it. I can only compare it to an experience that I had once.
This goes back to high school. I was rolling around naked with this girl and she was so so hot. She wrestled me down to the bed and slapped the shit out of me, right across my face. I was so stunned and turned on at the same time that I just went crazy.
This beer has a great pour, a dark brown pour and what really sells the overall look is the brown head. My personal pour only came to about half a finger with a very aggressive pour. I AM NOT SURE IF THIS IS THE SPECIAL HOP VERSION OR NOT.
The smell is of liquor, hops, bitter chocolate, awesomeness.
When I first tasted this specific brew it was like getting slapped right across the face. For me the alcohol was one of the first things that I tasted and it just warmed up my entire body. The next thing that I tasted was a bittersweet chocolate and coffee flavor, but really the alcohol really takes over.
The mouth feel is amazing, like drinking a really good stout, because it is a really good stout.
I like drinking stouts on cool winter nights. This beer makes me feel warm and excited. I love Imperial Stouts because they are so strong.
Overall a good beer. If I see it in the store I will buy another one. I will never drink two back to back, they would just overwhelm me. Good brew for a cold night.
01-04-2009 06:53:07 | More by Jmoore50
3.83/5 rDev +0.8%
Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a mug. 12/30/08.
Pours a deep black color with about three fingers of thick brown head. The head receded slowly leaving all kinds of sticky lacing around the glass. Aroma is roasted malt, chocolate, and hops.
Taste is intense with roasted malt, bitter dark chocolate, and slight coffee. A generous dose of bitter piny and floral hops kicks in for the finish. Slight grapefruit and dark fruit in the taste as well. The alcohol makes its presence in the taste.
Feel is thick and full-bodied with plenty of carbonation. Leaves a bit of stickiness around the mouth. Slight warming from the alcohol. Drinkability is pretty good for such a big beer. I wouldn't want more than one bottle though, 22 ounces is enough for me,
Overall, a pretty good stout. I'm not usually a fan of well-hopped stouts, but this one isn't bad.
12-31-2008 03:40:09 | More by bkilpatr
3.9/5 rDev +2.6%
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.
12-29-2008 21:25:42 | More by tpd975
4.1/5 rDev +7.9%
poured into a pint glass from a 22oz bottle.
A- dark black with a small medium brown head that dissipates quickly.
S- excellent. the best aspect of the beer. roasted chocolate and malts with a slight hint of coffee.
T- A very good example of the style. the roasted chocolate and malt flavors definitely stand out. The 11% abv is easily perceptible but not in a bad way. a roasty, chocolate with alcohol aftertaste. the second half of the bottle i started to notice an increasingly strong licorice taste. it seemed weird but it definitely added to the complexity and my enjoyment of it.
M- Very thick and full-bodied. smooth on the palate but a little less so going down.
D- like most all stouts, and certainly most imperials, this is a beer that you probably wont want to drink more than one or two of in a sitting. very filling and very warming.
i would certainly recommend trying out this stout, and putting one away to age for awhile.
12-29-2008 05:00:41 | More by jdklks
1.55/5 rDev -59.2%
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!
12-23-2008 22:13:55 | More by raiser
4.15/5 rDev +9.2%
Bottle brought back from Las Vegas by a lady in April.
A: Mostly black with a hint of brown around the edges. A half finger of mocha head with some lacing.
S: A nice mix of chocolate and toffee. A little bit of booze as well.
T: Sweetness and chocolate up front. Tons of roasted malt. It really does not have anything to stand out and make it remarkable but it is a nice beer.
M: Full body with a syrupy body. Sticks to the back of your throat.
D: Not a bad drinker at all. The ABV is an anvil but splitting a bottle was easy enough. If you can grab it I would recommend picking up a bottle.
12-20-2008 02:30:53 | More by aerozeppl
3.6/5 rDev -5.3%
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.
12-13-2008 20:24:37 | More by DrJay
4.25/5 rDev +11.8%
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.
12-11-2008 01:38:46 | More by Bung
3.75/5 rDev -1.3%
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.
12-11-2008 01:11:51 | More by grub
Black Flag Imperial Stout from Beer Valley Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 207 ratings.