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Black Flag Imperial Stout - Beer Valley Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Black Flag Imperial StoutBlack Flag Imperial Stout

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BA SCORE
86
very good

219 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 219
Reviews: 142
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 12.63%
Wants: 21
Gots: 18 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: hopsaplenty on 11-09-2006)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 219 | Reviews: 142 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.79/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

Photo of Mora2000
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by slasher007.

Pours dark brown with a nice sized khaki head. Aroma is quite a bit of citrus hops as well as some roasted malt. The taste is roasted malt with a solid hop presence. A different take on an imperial stout that I do like. The mouthfeel is where I don't like the beer, as I feel it is too thin for a beer of this style. Overall, it is a very good beer I just wish it was thicker.

Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 22 ounce bomber bottle that's been lingering in the cellar for at least two years. Uncapped and poured into my nonic pint glass. The stout appears an opaque black color with a good inch or so of dark ecru foam. The head linger for quite a bit and leaves a decent lace in its wake with each sip. Nose and flavors consist of nearly burnt toast, bitter cocoa, roasted coffee, mocha, caramel, prunes, molasses, grassy hops. Decent medium body and amply carbonated. Not as much alcohol heat as I was expecting. I should have tucked into this one months ago, but I thought it would be too hot. Pretty tasty overall.

Photo of felipe2toes
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a deep and brooding black, with a thick 2-finger pillowy and khaki head.

Smelled of roasted malts, milk chocolate, and vanilla. There were even leather and wood aromas after the beer warmed up a bit.

Lots of bitter chocolate and coffee on the palate, but the bitterness wasn't overwhelming--nice balance of malty sweetness. Also faint notes of bourbon and vanilla.

I liked the carbonation on this beer, nice bittersweet finish as well.

Although there wasn't much hot alcohol in the flavor, the 11% abv was noticeable after finishing the entire bottle.

Photo of sweetbrew82
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. into a snifter

P: Jet black in the glass, but not completely opaque as rosy brown streams of light decorate the edges of the glass. Even with a vigorous pour I was barely able to achieve a thin film of loose, soapy bubbles on top.

A: The malt bill smells like it's heavily-roasted with some slightly burnt edges to it. I can appreciate creamy dark chocolate, espresso, molasses, caramel, and a little booze. But, these citric hops compose maybe the most prominent hop aroma in any stout I've ever tried. I am an absolute hophead, without a doubt. But even I'm worried that they may have overdone it here.

T: Starts sweet with those heavily-roasted malts at the center, but they offer much more in the way of burnt char than the nose lead on. It's surrounded by caramel, creamy dark chocolate, and some espresso. I get some flavors of roasted nuts and candied sugar in the middle, followed by some slight vanilla notes riding underneath. But once again, those citric hops are crazy prominent. I know the IBU's are 100+, but I was hoping that the hop bill would be masterfully integrated into the rest of the profile. That's not necessarily the case. They don't ruin the beer by any means but they do take too much of the attention away from the malts, which should be on full display in an Imperial Stout. I will say, though, the 11% ABV is extremely well-hidden and only heats things up slightly towards the finish.

M: Black Flag is definitely a full-bodied beer that feels a little oily and syrupy, which makes it pretty smooth as it slides down. However, the heavy addition of hops is probably the culprit that keeps the malt bill from achieving that creamy, chewy feel that I look for in my Imperial Stouts.

Notes: This is a pretty good beer, all things considered. It's memorable in that it's the hoppiest damn stout ever to cross my path. But that's not necessarily a good thing. I love Big Bear Black Stout because of it's hoppiness, but that's because it's integrated into the rest of the profile so well that it works. In contrast, the hops keep this beer from becoming the delicious malt monster that it could be. I would love to see how this beer tastes in a couple years once the hops have died out, though.

Photo of sprucetip
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes. Black but with ruby highlights when backlit. Active, decent tan head, some retention, no lacing. SMELL Roasty, black patent, coffee, floral and fruity, hint of caramel malty sweetness. TASTE black patent, coffee, strong roastiness, molasses, hoppy and roasty bitterness, and a big sweet malty base trying to be noticed but mostly being dominated by the aforementioned bold flavors. FEEL med fiz, thick, rich, creamy and luxurious but wit hmoderatly sharp hoppy bitter finish. A bit out of balance, but I appreciate the boldness. Obviously one to savor at 11%. Glad to have tried it.

Photo of FeDUBBELFIST
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler filled with much attention at Capone's. Drinking from a pint glass.

A: The best part of the appearance is watching the dark brown bubbles fall recklessly to the bottom, making way for the lighter brown to surface and become the head, which lasted reasonably long. The head has left a thick film coating the glass and the body follows suit. Not the darkest nor the most opaque Imperial Stout, but the color is a rich, very dark brown with amber and tawny edges.

S & T: A true maltbomb. Mostly milk chocolate & fudge with a subtle hint of coffee. Oats, toasted malts, nuts, and alcohol infused fruit (maybe cherries), very light. General alcoholic warmth is there. I might even call it hot. Citrusy hops are on the nose, barely, but the grapefruit finishes strong on the palette. It may very well be the longest enduring flavor here. The alcohol hits you in the nose and in the back of the throat but it is not offensive.

M: Full body, very thick and chewy, smooth and creamy, nice bitter finish, just enough carbonation.

D: One of the more drinkable Imperial Stouts in my opinion. What sets the Black Flag apart from other IS's I've had is that it isn't too much of *any one* thing. There is no overabundance of one flavor, it really is quite balanced, strong flavor, yes, but quite balanced.

Photo of beertunes
3.2/5  rDev -15.8%
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.

Photo of qchic
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

No light passes through this black beer, and the couple of fingers of foam are the color of chocolate ice cream. Smells roasty, strongly of vanilla, with some bittersweet chocolate, smoke, and alcohol. Boozy and bitter on the tongue. The malts and hops are duking it out, and for such a big stout I was looking for the malts to dominate here. Still, some good flavors such as vanilla, chocolate, nuts, and smoke. As it warms, I get even more vanilla, toffee, dark fruits, coffee beans, and bready malt. Full bodied with ample carbonation. Stays dry on the palate so that the bomber can be sipped, and the abv will be noticed, perhaps even appreciated on a cool evening.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

Photo of corby112
3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
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.

Photo of NorCalYeti
3/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

taste- roasted malt, coffee, bitterness

color- dark brown to black

clarity- opaque but it pours clear

smell- coffeeish, raisiny

body- medium firmness

appearance- creamy coffee-colored head

overall impression- somewhat of a let down

notes- not very complex or interesting for this style. tasting alcohol in the finish, not pleasurable. this review is for a 2008 vintage tasted in 2008

glassware: pint

Photo of chickencoop
2.93/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

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.

Photo of Pencible
3.73/5  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.

Photo of jnn4v
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
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.

Photo of rfgetz
4.35/5  rDev +14.5%
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.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of jminsc76
4.55/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of farrago
4.35/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of Grabbin2nd
4.43/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From Notes: 3/28/09
Beer Valley Brewing Co.
Black Flag Imperial Stout
11% Abv.
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.

Photo of GRG1313
2.65/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

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.

Photo of blackie
3.78/5  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

Photo of OStrungT
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
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.

Photo of weeare138
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

Photo of MadeInOregon
2.48/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

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!

Black Flag Imperial Stout from Beer Valley Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 219 ratings.