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Cygnus X-1 - Flat Earth Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Cygnus X-1Cygnus X-1

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

192 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 192
Reviews: 104
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 13.98%
Wants: 18
Gots: 11 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Flat Earth Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
English Porter |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: tavernjef on 09-12-2007

English Porter made with all imported English malt and hops, except for the rye malt.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 192 | Reviews: 104 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of alexgash
1.92/5  rDev -49.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

22 oz. bottle.

Clear maple syrup amber brown body. Large, creamy, lacy, dark beige head. Good retention. Nose is, surprisingly full of sour cherries and lemon tartness. Uh-oh. Some scorched caramel and chocolate detectable, but mostly sour and woody. Taste is, as expected, overwhelmingly tart and sour. Overcarbonated and gushy, with unpleasant woody tartness. It's too bad, because I was really looking forward to trying this beer! Better luck next time Flat Earth.

Photo of BMoney575
2.41/5  rDev -36.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Sampled on 1-27-09

Pours dark and hugely foamy, almost spilling over the sides of the glass. The foam settles to a thick tower, leaving craggy chunks of lacing.

Smell is clean but malty, with subtle aromas of smoke and anise.

Taste is oddly sour, slightly earthy, and that's about it. Not good at all.

Mouthfeel is super fizzy, and off-putting.

Drinkability is bad, taste and mouthfeel make it a chore to drink.

Overall, gross.

Photo of tmoneyba
2.6/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bottle from Jungle Jim's.

A - Poured a clear dark brown color with a large frothy brown head that lasted with good lacing.

S - Moderate biscuit malt, chocolate and smoke aroma.

T - Medium bitter & sour flavor with a medium bitter finish of moderate duration.

M - Medium body with a dry texture and lively carbonation.

D - My expectations where not met and I hope this was a single bad bottle.

Photo of optiontwo
3.87/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz. poured into tulip

Appearance: Dark brown with a small amount of transparency. Quarter inch white head that dissipated fairly quickly. Lot's of effervescence.

Smell: Chocolate and coffee with a lot of roastiness, almost smells like burnt popcorn.

Taste: Coffee hits right away with some slight caramel flavors, light but enjoyable. Then the aftertaste...burnt popcorn. Maybe burnt caramel corn would be a little more accurate but after taking multiple sips there is no doubt in my mind that the flavor is in there. It's really actually quite interesting, I've never tasted a porter like this. There's some very subtle dark fruit flavors in there mixing with some sourness and smokiness but hard to distinguish.

Mouthfeel: This is another surprise with this beer, it's carbonated as hell. Lots of bubbles continuously streaming up the glass and the way the head disappeared looked like I had poured myself a root beer. In the mouth it's kind of a nice kick and makes for a very interesting mouthfeel. I'm having a hard time deciding how I'm going to rate it though...well, I will totally annihilate that bridge when I come to it.

Drinkability: Pretty high, it won't knock you on your ass and it's light bodied.

Overall: I've been wanting to try this for a while and I am kind of mystified by it. Since it was such a surprise I am enjoying it quite a bit and I would love to try it on tap but it just was not what I would expect from a porter. I don't think I would reach for this one to warm me up on a cold night like the bottle suggests, but I will reach for again when I'm at the store. I wonder what a Flat Earth stout would be like?

Photo of CHSLBrew
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into an imperial pint glass.

A-Poured with a minimal tan head which reduced relatively quickly. Deep brown beer, was pretty clear when held to a light. Little light passed through otherwise, with garnet highlighting on the edges.

S-Strong aromas of roasty, toasty malts with hints chocolate.

T-Mostly dominated by roasted malt, with nuances of biscuity flavors poking through. Hints of chocolate make an appearance, as well. No hob flavor, with low hop bitterness. A bit of roasted astringency at the finish.

M-Medium-thin body, I think a bit too thin for the style. Moderate, appropriate carbonation.. Silky over my palate, but a bit heavier silkiness would have been preferred.

D-This a good one, and one of my favorites from Flat Earth. Although not spectacular, it's very enjoyable and has been an enjoyable choice on several occasions. Also, nice with a meal, as I enjoyed the second half of the bomber with dinner.

Photo of TurdFurgison
3.12/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I bought this at Stimmel's in OH for $5.99 a month ago, never seen it for sale again before or since. The beer is dark reddish brown colored, clear but with low light transmission, with an enourmous poofy foam that takes forever to recede. The smell is good, and in fact is the strongest attribute in my opinion. Loads of roasted malt and chocolate. The taste has a surprising amount of sourness in it, so much that I suspect there's something wrong with my bottle (maybe the bottle wasn't disinfected properly before filling, the flavor seems similar to a homebrew problem I had once). Anyway I can still get some chocolate flavor out of if but the sourness makes it difficult to enjoy. I'll try this again if I see it in MN, hopefully from a different batch, and revise the review in case I had a bad bottle.

Photo of Deuane
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bomber of the "newly" bottled version. Shared with Ffejherb.

A-Deep ruby highlighted brown with a medium tan head that reduced to a thin cap and left behind spotty lace.

S-Light roasty malt, a bit of a sour twang with notes of smokiness.

T-Healthy roasty flavours with a bit of a sour twang in the finish. Much like the draft version a subtle smokiness builds in the more you drink.

M-Medium body with with nice lingering flavours.

D-A nice job with the bottled version. Not quite as tasty as the draft is. Nice to have a portable version though.

Headed for the heart of Cygnus
Headlong into mystery....

Photo of ffejherb
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz. bottle into DFH specialty glass on 10/30/08. Thanks to Deuane for sharing (and letting me keep the bottle)!

A - Deep walnut brown body with garnet and ruby highlights and three fingers of foamy beige head that transformed into quite a bit of thick, bubbly patches around the sides of the glass.

S - Lots of burnt roasted malt with a mild smokey character and hints of chocolate and coffee. A nutty malt presence also slips its way into the mix.

T - Opens with a surprising semi-sweet dark fruit flavor and a bit of sour twang that is eased by some mild chocolate notes. Malt possesses a burnt, almost charred character that is fairly acrid. A bit of nuttiness also emerges from the malt base, providing a bit more depth to the flavor profile.

M - Medium body with vigorous carbonation and a slightly watery texture. Finish is pretty sour and dry with a mildly bitter bite on the palate.

D - This porter is on the sour and smokey side of the spectrum. It's quite complex, actually, which I certainly appreciated. I was expecting a fairly straightforward porter and was pleasantly surprised with something different and against the norm. And everybody got to deviate from the norm, right?

Spinning, whirling, still descending like a spiral sea, unending!

Photo of garymuchow
4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Old bottle label.
Pours with a big foamy, fizzy head of tan color. Black with deep garnet hues in light. Clear. Nice looking.
Coffee and roast right off with hints of sweet dark chocolate. Doesn't deviate much from this throughout the drink.
Flavors match aroma quit closely. Nice dryness on the tongue and good long finish with only mild bitterness and no excessive sweetness.
Thinner than expected and flatter, considering the head. Moderately light feel, but it goes well with the beer.
This beer goes down nicely and goes down easily. Nicely drinkable porter.

Photo of SrMonkey
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Very dark brown, almost black, with creamy, cafa au lait head.

S - Toasted grains with chocolate undernotes.

T - Starts off with french roast coffee. Baker's chocolate peaks in, but mellows as it warms, replaced by tobacco/smoky flavor. Finish is lactic acid tangy and metallic.

M - On the lighter side of medium for a porter, with creamy carbonation.

D - I could tip more than a few back, although the aftertaste - while excellent - tends to grate.

Photo of deepsouth
4.22/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

was able to try this courtesy of barefootbrewer.

this beer poured a dark brown with red hints with three fingers of head.

the smell is coffee, chocolate, roasty & bready.

the taste is black coffee with some smokiness and chocolate.

the mouthfeel is medium to full with a good bit of carbonation. easy to see why these may be popping.

this beer was super easy to drink and at 6.5% i could drink it all day.

Photo of barefootbrewer
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had to review this one quickly before the beer gods blew up the bottle (if the rumors were true)!

A - Black with a huge off-white head.

S - Malt, roast, coffee and grainy.

T - Malty, bitter, grainy and chocolate. The rye pops as the beer warms. A smoky flavor emerges then as well.

M - Full and lush. Has a dry finish.

D - Excellent porter. I love the rye twist! I'll be looking for this one again and next time I'll have some Rush on the stereo!!

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fire up the Rush! Viewed a couple Rush YouTube vids while sipping this one...

Appearance - pours a dark caramel brown/red. A thin cap of light mocha foam laces well as the soapy cover reduces.

Aroma - roasted grain, popcorn, chocolate, a bit of a cigar aroma in there. To the lighter side but so far so good.

Taste - nice roasty start. Bits of chocolate flavor in with the toasty grain. A touch of metal mixed with the tobacco/cigar flavor. That may be the rye there. If so, it doesn't totally work for me but I do think it's a neat addition. With warming, the roast and chocolate milk dominate, a nice porter with that rye providing a bit of smoke.

Mouthfeel - smooth, carbonation is there but mellowed by the thicker body.

Drinkability - a super sessionable porter. Gets better as it goes, just like the tune. Thanks to WankerWeasel for the bottle; good one, Ben.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.17/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

"In the constellation of Cygnus
There lurks a mysterious, invisible force
The Black Hole
Of Cygnus X-1"


This porter isn't even close to being a black hole, but it still looks good. A sandalwood hued crown of firm creaminess sits atop a beer that is pecan shell brown, unless backlit. It then becomes darkest russet with coppery orange trim. Nothing but positives so far.

X-1 smells incredible. First of all, I don't have to worry about getting the tip of my nose wet to appreciate it. Aromas of bittersweet chocolate, dark fruit and spicy rye burst out of the glass. Here's hoping the beer tastes as wonderfully complex as it smells.

According to the Flat Earth website, all of the ingredients (other than rye malt and water) are from the U.K. Excellent decision, because the final product tastes more like an English porter than an American one in some indefinable way. I could probably try to figure it out, but I'd rather just describe and enjoy the contents of the bottle.

For those used to over-the-top, American-style beer, X-1 is on the subtle side. Having said that, it's sneakily complex if one pays attention from beer entry to beer exit and beyond. I love the contrast between sweet (mild), bitter (also mild), lactic sour (moderate) and spicy (mild-moderate). Well done.

The flavor profile consists of well-toasted barley and a dash of rye, cocoa powder, ground coffee beans and a woodsy smokiness that barely creeps in on the back end. This is one of those beers that is gone in a flash because I keep tipping up the glass to try to figure out what makes it so delicious.

Given the style and ABV, the mouthfeel is a fraction thin. This really is the only attribute that could use some work. More malt should firm things up with no trouble at all. Despite the recent reports of bottle bombs, the carbonation is right on the money.

Cygnus X-1 is a terrific English porter that is only a bit more barley shy of blowing both my socks off rather than just the one. I will wait until I've had the other two Flat Earth beers that are in my cellar before passing final judgment on this relatively new brewery. So far, though, it looks like they have a bright future. Thanks feloniousmonk.

Photo of shadow1961
4.07/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Flat Earth Brewing Cygnus X-1 pours a couple fingers of tan
foam over a practically-opaque black brew. There is the barest
ruby tinge at the edges of the glass, held up to a light. The nose
is toasty malts, bakers chocolate, mocha- maybe a note of vanilla.
The flavor is, again, toasty malt, sharp mocha, with notes of smoke
with a bit of herbal hop taking you out- English Fuggles to be exact.
Mouthfeel is round yet crisp finishing dry. There's a bit of malt and
hop in the aftertaste. A very nice Porter to be sure.

Photo of thickerfreakness
4.17/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to KarlHungus for this one. Not sure if he remembers but we traded in the hallways of the Hampton Inn the night before DLD.

This one didn't suffer from bottle bomb but it did have a lot of carbonation. I chilled it for a couple days in anticipation of an overflow but instead I just got a huge head on the first pour. Its a very dark brown with a fluffy, light brown head. It smells mostly of roasted grains and light chocolate malts but I get a slight bit of hoppiness and smoke on the tail end. The taste is really complex and well blended. Similar to the smell with a pronounced bitterness at the end. The mouthfeel was a little thin and this was definitely over carbonated but it seems like they are on the way to fixing that. This could easily be one of the best porters I've tried to date.

Photo of DefenCorps
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber received from WankerWeasel. Thanks!

A: Deep brown with ruby red highlights. Dense, frothy head that crackles like a sulfur pit

S: A wonderful roasty aroma with coffee, roasted nuts, caramel. Very good

T: Roasted and burnt malts with a hint of cream, coffee and a little chocolate. The finish is dry and pleasantly bitter

M: A little less carbonated than would be ideal and just a little drier in body than I'd like but the finish is great and it'd be wrong to fault this terribly.

D: Oh, this is an easy one to drink!

Photo of mwilbur
4.59/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22 oz bottle into shaker pint glass.
A: Bottle opens with loud pop...tons of carbonation (which for me was a drawback...poured 1/2 of beer and got a 4+ inch head). Color is very dark amber. Extremely large tan head produced from the high carbonation.
S: Nice aroma! Roasted malt, sweet honey, toast, and a hint of dry dark chocolate.
T: Wow! Very fresh, dark, and complex. Roast chocolate malt hits first and this transitions into a dry smokey toast finish. Very nice.
M: Light body...wish the taste lingered a little longer. Extreme effervesence from the high carbonation.
D: Damn! I wasn't expecting this. Once I got beyond the ridiculous carbonation (and if they toned that down I would give this a higher score), this is one hell of a beer. Elements of a porter, smoke ale, as well as a milk stout come through. The end result is amazing!

Photo of Buebie
3.76/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz. brown bomber poured into a 16 ounce pint glass.

Pours a black ruby red, with little transparency. 2 fingers of tan head quickly receed like cola leaving no retention, no lace, nothing. This is an aged bottle so that might have somthing to do with its poor appearance.

Chocolate roasted grain, sweet dark malt, somthing mildly smokey. With deep wiffs really searching, some dry hop floral aroma.

Hints of oak, bitter chocolate, hints of hops, just a wisp of tabacco, its overly sweet like lactose has been added. Some coffee in there too. The added sweetness is out of place, because the beer itself is somwhat dry and for all the fermentable to be fermented out/ dry. Why would it be overly sweet. It's kinda strange and not right.
The mouthfeel is full with a lending full bodies creamyness and plenty of carbonation bite throughout.
I'd like to see a little less of that awkward sweetness. Besides that this beer is supurb with plenty of grain flavor, chocoalte, hints at smokeyness.
It is a curious beer for sure. Keep the beers coming Flat Earth!

Photo of Tilley4
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to Lordsloth for sending this one down to me!!

Flat Earth certainly seems to have whatever bottling problem they were having fixed as this poured out a glorious ruby-brown color and loads of head and carbonation... Huge head of tightly packed bubbles, shelves of lacing down the side of my DFH pint glass..

Aroma of dark roasted malts, maybe a hint of chocolate malts and perhaps a touch of smoked aroma... Interesting...

Wow, this thing is much different than I was expecting.. Very unusual taste for a porter.. Perhaps its the combo of the rye malts and the smoke.. Whatever, it works here... Big time.. Starts out good and gets better as it warms and some of the complexity is revealed.. The rye pops out and gives this a spiciness that you just don't find in other porters..

Magnificent brew here... Different, but in a very good way..

Photo of demcorhip
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

thanks to chonyr for bringing this north.

An interesting looking brew. Black body, clear with reddish tinge as it allows a fair amount of light through. Mildly and finely carbonated, produced a nice two finger, fairly tight tan coloured head on a fairly mild pour. Decent retention. Thin sheets of lace break down to leave clingy webs of lacing.

Some yeast mustiness, a touch of tangy rye grain, cocoa, and earthy hops overtop of a base of slightly toasted, crusty multigrain bread.

Nice stuff, although a touch more roasted character would be nice, never really goes beyond a mild touch of cocoa powder. But as a fan of rye beers this one delivers a fair amount of tangy rye flavour, more so than was hinted at in the nose. Some nutty hazelnut notes also come through to smooth things out a bit, otherwise much like the nose.

Somewhat thin, yet slightly creamy, a bit more body would be appreciated, as well as a touch more roasted character. Tangy rye grain is almost showcased against a backdrop of a mild porter. Otherwise this is a pretty nice beer, but for a few tweaks it could be great.

No issues with drinkability. Not particularly challenging, yet there is some depth to this brew, its just that in my opinion the overall experience would be enhanced with a slightly more robust porter character. Recommended for fans of porters and rye brews, and would serve quite nicely as an introduction to these types of beer. Almost sessionable, although the 6.5% ABV would catch up to the drinker sooner rather than later. That being said it would be pretty easy to drink this one all day and or night long.

Photo of Greggy
4.07/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- Pours a VERY dark ruby color a few shades away from black into an imperial pint glass with a nice 2 finger head that slowly recedes into a more spare lacing.

Smell- Initially, a nice toasted malt/oat and hop balance. Looking deeper into the brew I pick up on some nice chocolate caramel, and dark chocolate frosting. YUM

Taste- Although their is very low carbonation, the taste of this beer carries the body. It starts out a bit watery, reminiscent of Guinness draught, but then evolves into a nice chocolate coffee finish, with a nice hop balance. Because of the initially watery weakness, this beer doesn't quite reach the 4.5 rating.

Mouthfeel- As mentioned above, the carbonation is low, but the finish of the beer and taste following the immediate sip carries the body. If it weren't so watery, it could be a much better beer.

Drinkability- A very easy drinking porter, at 6.5% that I intend on drinking again. Per the advice of KarlHungus, I also plain on pairing this with BBQ. I can easily see that would be a solid pairing with this particular offering.

Photo of isubsmith
4.38/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Very dark brown, opaque. 2 fingers of white lacy head that stuck around for a while.

Nose: Roasted malts, a bit of chocolate. An unexpected grassy malt smell from the head. Once the head dissipated it wasn't as prevalent and the roasty chocolate smells were much more pronounced.

Taste: Much better, none of the grassy smell. Roasted malt tastes prevail but there is an interesting smokey character not usually present in a porter. Interesting dark chocolate, creamy finish.

Mouthfeel: Very good. Medium-heavy body. Coats the mouth well. Maybe just a tiny bit too much carbonation.

Drinkability: Very good. A very enjoyable beer.

Photo of morimech
4.04/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Review of the "new" bottle.

Has some carbonation this time. A good one inch of off-white head forms but falls away quickly. Minimal lacing is left on the glass. I notice a touch of hops this time. It lends a slightly earthy aroma. I also notice the rye malt as well. A little spice is tasted. Still feels a little thin but it is much more drinkable with some carbonation. I sincerely hope that Flat Earth finally got their QC issues settled.

Pours a very dark brown but unfortunately almost no head forms. Looks completely lifeless but that doesn't automatically kill the beer in this style. No lacing left on the glass surface. This is the third bottle of Flat Earth beer that I bought that is completely void of carbonation of any kind.

This beer does have a wonderful aroma of roasted malts, coffee, nuts, and chocolate.

The roasted malt really comes out in the taste. Hints of chocolate with a little bitterness on finish compliment the beer. Carbonation is non-existant and it makes the beer feel thin and the alcohol comes through even though it is only 6.50%.

This is a wonderful smelling and tasting porter but again it is ruined by poor bottling.

Photo of pwoods
4.08/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to ryantupy for sending this among the many extras.

22oz. brown bomber poured into an imperial pint.

A: Pours a deep brown with nearly no visibility. 2 fingers of light toffee head with good retention. Nice patchy lacing.

S: Deep roasted malts and cola. Not much chocolate but it's still present.

T/M: Burnt malts with a smoky char taste. Near the end, a heavy creamy milk chocolate comes through with a ghost like smoke presence. Body is a bit above medium with a nice smooth creaminess.

D: Tasty and easy enough to drink with being as heavy as it is.

Cygnus X-1 from Flat Earth Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 192 ratings.