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Black Helicopter - Flat Earth Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Black HelicopterBlack Helicopter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

68 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 68
Hads: 132
Avg: 3.77
pDev: 15.12%
Wants: 10
Gots: 7 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Flat Earth Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
Oatmeal Stout |  5.20% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: feloniousmonk on 05-14-2008

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 68 | Hads: 132
Photo of zeff80
4.12/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Pracna on Main

A - Poured an opaque, dark, dark brown color with a small, cappuccino-like head. It left moderate amounts of lace.

S - It smelled of coffee (java), sweet chocolate and floral notes.

T - It tasted of coffee, rich roasted malts. The was a nice sweet chocolate flavor that balanced out the bitter hops and coffee.

M - It was soft and smooth. A medium-bodied beer that was fairly easy-drinking.

D - This is a very nice oatmeal stout with coffee. Delicious on tap and a look forward to trying more Flat Earth brews.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.3/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A classic coffee stout to start off my evening. This was one I had been wanting to track down. Bottle number 191 out of 500, this one was served at cellar temperature and poured into a pint glass. Consumed on 05/13/2009.

The pour was very nicely done. Deep, dark, and black as night with nothing shining through at all on the sides of bottom of the glass. Nice inch and a half of rich tan head comes up and over the top, falling down with a thick coating of the glass that lasts well into the session. Big aroma of coffee right off the bat. Some light roasted malts, a hint of vanilla to sweeten it up as it warms. Light hops tickle the nose as well, very well put together here I have to say. Smooth, even feel, full bodied with a robust carbonation that did not let it fall flat, really pushed the flavors onto the tongue and let them fully explore the palate before settling back down to earth. Wonderful coffee flavor was steeped with bitter notes. Roasted goodness from first sip to last and a long, drawn out, creamy finish that was the icing on the cake.

Overall this was very solid. A very well done, and smaller coffee stout, clocking in at 5.5% I was very impressed with the drinkable factor. Overall very solid and I would look forward to trying this one again any day.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.17/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

"Black Helicopter is a coffee oatmeal stout made with locally roasted Columbia coffee beans from Paradise roasters in Ramsey, MN. What makes this coffee beer different you ask? This is the first beer of its kind made with coffee brewed on a Clover machine, which uses a unique mechanism for extracting the subtle and complex flavors of a coffee bean. Don't miss this chance to taste this one of a kind brew."

Is it an oatmeal stout, or a coffee stout...or a "breakfast stout"? Maybe it's all three?

Murky black, roasty brown, slim head.
rich, earthy coffeeish aromatics.
Coffee right off the bat, rich and flavorful, but not overpowering. Silky smooth on the palate, oatmeal doing the trick. Very easy-drinking, and energized. Gets better, and mellower as we get further in. Smooth and snappy!
This is the coffee stout to beat. It's the Goldilocks of the style, not too big, not too small, ...ju-ust right!

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Photo of mothman
4.22/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this at Stub and Herbs

Served in a goblet

Came with no head. Color is a deep black.

Aroma: Strong coffee, very strong coffee aroma. Chocolate. Earthy hops. Awesome.

Taste: Dark roasted strong coffee. Wow, this tastes almost more like coffee then it does beer. Very sweet.

Mouthfeel: Rich, creamy, smooth. Nice carbonation with a full body. Leaves a dry coffee flavored aftertaste.

Overall, this beer is coffee. Awesome drinkablility and I will probably get more of this. If you like coffee, you have to try this beer.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.63/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is well carbonated as a careful pour still produces a nearly four-finger thick, lightly browned, dark tan colored head in my 25cl tulip glass. The beer is quite black, but with a brown tint and it shows a perhaps a hint of bright ruby if held up directly to the light. The aroma is definitely coffee influenced as it smells like coffee even as I am pouring this beer. A deeper inspection of the aroma, yields sharp, almost harsh, burnt aromatics and even some acidic burnt notes. A touch of charcoal, some berry like coffee-bean notes, well toasted whole grain bread crust, very burnt caramel notes and even some dark chocolate aromatics are noticeable if you dig around here. The aroma is a little harsh for me, but does have some interesting notes to it.

The beer is quite fizzy, which contributes too much carbonic acid. Luckily this is easily remedied by some vigorous swirling. Burnt acidic flavors are joined by roasted charcoal notes and a lingering acidity and burnt bread note that lingers on in the finish. The beer starts to lose a bit of its harshness as my palate gets used to it, though it still never loses it. Dark chocolate notes, softer cocoa flavors and something a bit like burnt prune juice add a bit of balance to the purely roast coffee notes that are up front. There is a touch of berry flavor here as well (perhaps a touch of blueberry even).

Not as bad as my initial impression's misgivings, but this is a bit too burnt / roast dominated for my particular tastes. Still this is fairly enjoyable and definitely worth trying (I'll even finish the bottle pretty easily which is saying something).

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

On-tap at the Blue Nile, ordered after dinner.

I don't like cold coffee, but I like a good coffee beer like this one. The java is pretty overpowering, but notes of the roasted malts still show through and add the total flavor. The mouthfeel is very smooth with a balanced bitterness at the end with a long coffee aftertaste. Worth a try if you dig coffee.

UPDATE 11/25/10: I wasn't a huge fan of this year's coffee used from Dunn Bros. This is the only coffee beer I've tried, where I felt the beans could have been better. The coffee character was more burnt than anything.

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Photo of akorsak
3.33/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to brewseum for this 750 mL bottle, # 297 of 500. Shared with Ffejherb, brewslut, and ksak.

A: The stout has a tan colored head that is sharp contrast to the dark blackness of the beer beneath it. Despite standing out, the head doesn't have much retention in it, lasting for only 1/4 of the glass. The stout, predictably is black, black as the helicopter that I say hovering overhead...

S: The nose leads off with a strong dose of coffee followed by a smooth, creamy aroma that is equal parts lactose and oatmeal. There is also plenty of burnt toast to go around.

T: The stout starts off a little sour, literally. A cuprous flavor, like licking a penny or staunching a paper cut, that is rather unpleasant. Before the copper, a strong burst of coffee hints at good times, hopefully, to come. As the stout warms, the copper subsides a bit, allowing for more roasted stout elements, aided by a creaminess, that are able to overcome the metallic presence. By the end of my second glass, the stout seems to be running at 80% its full strength.

M: The mouthfeel runs into a roadblock initially, losing all momentum that the coffee mustered up. It takes a while, and a warmer temperature, to improve.

D: If not for the midsip hiccup, this would be a rockin' oatmeal stout.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.1/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I can still not believe jjanega08 put this in my box.. as an extra!! Jozef already hooked me up on some much sought after brews.. the Black Helicopter was sorta a dream brew that was hovering outta my reach.. huge thanks!! Enjoyed tonight out of my New Belgium snifter... Hand numbered with a sharpie.. 152/500.

Very nice 2 brown 2 finger head.. not alot of lace as expected.... but the cap is pretty and the brew is dark dark black.

The nose is a musky cold pressed coffee with a chunk of bittersweet chocolate.. reminds me of a Flying M Iced Mocha.. mildly sweet.. as it warms the coffee aromas are actually more complex than a nice cup.

Flavor has very little sweetness thankfully.. huge flavors for such a low ABV... thick earthy coffee beans.. no real coffee astringency.. chocolate is more of an afterthought in the palate.. there is a subtle maltiness that really ties everything together that I am only assuming comes from the oats.. the mouthfeel is very smooth and sorta velvety.. again especially for such a low ABV.. the body is a nice medium and the carbonation is also medium yet with the body it is soooo smooth.

Drinkability is tough for me to describe.. I am loving this one right now as a night-cap.. but if it was any other time of the day, I would dial it back a notch or two just because the coffee flavors and aromas are pretty intense.. that said, I never thought I would want a bunch of "coffee stouts" just so I could have such sweet dreams.

Jozef.. Thanks again, you are a trader's .. trader.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
3.18/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From 22oz bomber to Bruges hybrid glass on 5/2/12
*From notes

-- Another prime example that trading with brydeen is the best decision you'll ever make. --

A: Pretty dark for a low ABV Stout like this. It's certainly richer then I'd hoped for. A good pour yields a two finger bubbly mocha head.

S: Lots of coffee on the nose. Green, unroasted coffee at that. Maybe a bit of dark malt, but if it's there, it ain't much.

T: Imagine you just made a full pot of coffee with half of the needed grounds. Like ordering a coffee with a gallon of water back. This isn't as intense as I'd like it. It feels like the brewmaster wasn't willing to push the limits, that he'd rather appeal to the masses.

M: Much too bubbly for a Stout of any kind. I guess, considering it's meager ABV it's alright, but I'd really like a little more body and depth.

O: Meh. If I'd ordered a cup of joe from Dunkin' Donuts and gotten this, I'd probably send it back. Merely ok at best. If you're looking for a coffee fix, or heck even a Stout fix, I'd recommend looking elsewhere.

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Photo of Bighuge
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Inky black body. Huge crop of deep brown head with great retention and lace properties. Beautiful aroma of thick roasted coffee and mocha and java. This carries over into the flavor as well with the heavily roasted coffee flavors. But the body of this beer is not strong enough to hold up to the bold flavors of this beer. There's no backbone. Watery in the mouth. Definitely could use some heft. This beer is a tale of two cities. Absolutely love the look and smell. Flavor is fine. Mouthfeel could use some work.

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Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had on tap at the Pig & Fiddle. It pours bright black under a thin tan colored foam cap. It highlights rich coffee flavors and aromas with the bitterness from the roast combined with a mild hop touch balancing the sweeter malt flavors.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.41/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle split and poured into a Sierra Nevada imperial pint. Ingredients listed, O.G. 1.052, SRM 27, IBU-26, 5.2% ABV.

Thanks to Beerwolf77 for sharing this bottle with me!

A - Totally black with a rich tan head with low retention and no lace on the glass. It's a very mediocre looking stout to start with.

S - Dark roasted coffee floods the space around my nose just on the pour. Full-on fresh pot of coffee in this pint! Roasted malts back it up with bitter-sweet chocolate. Awesome coffee nose!

T - Thin maltiness with roasted notes and a little dusty cocoa with bland soil. The coffee is strong and nice bit it needs balance that's not there.

M - Thin and low-bodied with a roasted bitter finish and acrid dry, very dry bitterness. The worst part of this beer, being an Oatmeal Stout as it's listed, is that the mouthfeel shows no signs of oatmeal in it at all.

D - Not offensive at all, it's just bland. The coffee is at a great level, it just needs much more malt in the background to boost the body and flavor up. Also, if it's truly an oatmeal stout, there needs to be a lot more oatmeal to give it a creamy feel.

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Photo of maximum12
3.25/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle #254/500 has been waiting in the basement since this winter. Have overdosed a bit on all the coffee beers racing around, finally going back to one.

Thick & black. The nose is a blast of the Dunn Brother's distinctive coffee.

The coffee is too strong in this brew, it blurs & distorts whatever the stout underneath might have going for it. There's a gleam of sweetness if I concentrate, maybe a bit of roastiness, which could be the coffee...nah. The coffee taste is nice, but there's really nothing else here, one could get the same effect by chilling a mug with a dash of 7UP for carbonation.

Decent enough beer, but I would have liked something in addition to the coffee blast.

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

On-tap at Bulldog Lowertown: served in a clear coffee mug as a solid black liquid with a slimming cap of light tanned foam lapping at the edge.

Pleasingly quite yet blooming coffee nose that is fresh with a perculating mocha roastability and a tender oaty sweetness underneath.

Taste is more of the same with a nice tender crispness of freathered roastyness and a clean profile allowing some nice coffee flavors to produce over its soft oat sweetness. Well balanced with a nice little touch of chocolate mixed in. Gains a heavier oatyness as it warms.

Feel is clean and just under a medium body with a slightly bold and tender smoothness. It maintains its hold and length pretty well and seemingly gains a slightened thickness as it sits. Making for a solid sipping coffee experience.

Pretty solid stout with a nice balance of fresh coffee and sweet chocolate and oats.

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Photo of gford217
4.15/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle #149/500 courtesy of Buebie poured into a tulip.

Pours dark chocolate out of the bottle and sits very close to black in the glass underneath a hefty tan head that goes slowly down to a collar and leaves only a trace of lacing.

The aroma is dominated by a mix of oatmeal and roasted coffee with dark chocolate malts mixed in.

The initial oatmeal and chocolate sweetness fades into the roasted espresso character and dark malts of the backbone. The finish is chocolaty and a bit chalky.

The mouthfeel is super smooth due to the oatmeal with a small bit of soft carbonation.

This is my second beer from Flat Earth and I'm definitely impressed by this one. The coffee is present but not overpowering, balanced well by the oatmeal. Very good and goes down extremely easy. Big thanks to Brian for sending me this rare brew.

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

This beer pours an opaque black color. The head is two inches in height, tan in color, and recedes very slowly into a firm cap of lacing. The aroma is of roasted coffee, roasted malt, and dark chocolate. The taste is very balanced between coffee and stout. Roasted malt and cocoa coat the tongue while coffee rolls around the mouth. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a velvety texture, and lively carbonation. Overall, this is a wonderful coffee stout. I would really like to see this become a regular in the Flat Earth line up. I would love to drink this year round.

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Photo of jera1350
3.23/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On cask at Stub and Herbs.

Solid black color with a frothy tan head that leaves some nice lacing.

A bit of a roast to the nose, but pretty light. Hint of chocolate.

Very disappointed in the taste, especially for the style. Has a bit of roast in the taste with some light smokiness. The beer has a pretty sour characteristic to it to that just doesn't fit. Overall, the taste just doesn't appeal to me.

Seems to be undercarbonated even for a cask beer. Just too flat, but otherwise has that nice smooth oatmeal stout texture.

It's not a bad beer, but when having access to Summit and Town Hall Oatmeal Stout's this one just doesn't stand up. The sourness is a turnoff, but I will say that the smoke presence is a unique touch. Overall though, I would pass on this beer next time.

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Photo of woosterbill
3.87/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber coutesy of markhvizdak into a Duvel tulip.

A: Black body with mahogany highlights; a finger of light brown foam shows good retention and lacing. Nice.

S: Big, rich, fresh coffee. Awesome. Once the initial rush of coffee goodness passes, there's a nice touch of burnt sugar/molasses sweetness. Great.

T: Coffee is still dominant, backed up by a bit of generic maltiness, and finished with a nearly sour coffee finish. A bit too astringent, but still pretty tasty.

M: Very light-bodied with moderate, super-fine carbonation. Delicate; perhaps too much so.

D: I'm loving the complex coffee flavors that dominate so completely, but the bitter astringency of the finish keeps it from being the most drinkable of stouts.

Notes: Great beer. Excellent job keeping the emphasis on the coffee throughout, which is really all you can ask for out of a 5.2% beer. I'd gladly drink this any day.


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Photo of morimech
4.12/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours very dark brown, almost black color with one inch of tan head that has moderate retention. No lacing is left on the glass. Has a nice fresh coffee aroma with some roasted malt lingering in the background. The flavor is where this beer comes through. Complex flavors of coffee and mocha. A little sweetness balances the burnt bitterness in the finish. Has a slight coffee aftertaste. Far too much carbonation. Knowing Flat Earth's history this is not much of a surprise. Either fizzy or flat with their bottled product. This feels like a cola when I drink it. Very drinkable as a morning alternative to a cup of coffe especially with the low ABV.

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Photo of tpd975
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First beer from these guys that was not a mess to pour. Most have been so overcarbonated that it took a half hour to pour a single glass.

A: Pours a nice nutty brown with a small fizzy head. Nice collar hangs around and produces small hints of lace.

S: Mostly coffee in the nose. Not fresh espresso, more like cheap 7-11 coffee. Hints of roast hides behind along with a touch of sweetness.

T: Roasty coffee up front. The coffee flavor is much better than you would find at 7-11. Nice flavors of toasted bread as well. A touch of creamy sweetness hides beneath the coffee. The finish has a touch of chocolate and a nice blast of bitter coffee.

M: Medium in body, pretty good carbonation.

D: Not bad, not my favorite coffee brew, but it will do in a pinch.

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Photo of Florida9
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Black in color. Pours with a huge, fizzy, big-bubbled, oddly dark taupe colored head that reduces down to a thin surface coating. Minimal lacing.

S: Roasted malts. Char. Burnt black coffee.

T: Straight up cheap black coffee. Even has a little bit of that sour acidic bite that some coffees have. Also cola and some very heavily roasted malt. Quick finish.

M: Medium in weight and body, but rather thin for the style. With heavy carbonation. Very cola-like.

D: Good. Not great. Would have never guessed this one was an oatmeal stout given the lighter body and heavy carbonation. Actually, this was probably the most carbonated stouts I've ever had. But still an enjoyable beer.

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Photo of ffejherb
3.03/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to akorsak for sharing this bomber on 3/21/10.

A - Poured a deep, opaque onyx-colored liquid with a finger of tan froth that reduced to a patchy retention but swelled up with each swirl of the glass, leaving some spotty lace behind.

S - Coffee, roasted malt and leafy bitter notes comprise the initial aroma, followed by a hint of astringency and slight herbal hop notes.

T - Starts out on the good foot, but turns sharp, metallic and astringent in the middle. However, all is not lost, as a decent roasted malt character emerges in the backend with a hint of chocolate, which offers a hint of sweetness.

M - Medium bodied but ultimately a little thin and watery overall. Dry, metallic finish with moderate bitterness on the palate.

D - Not a bad oatmeal stout, although it certainly got better as it warmed. Still, I found it to be a bit too harsh and metallic overall.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.37/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass. 2012 Bottle.

Appearance: Pours a dark oily black with lots of bubbles. About two fingers of tan head that holds up well. Moderate amount of lacing hanging to the sides of the glass.

Smell: A nice vibrant mix of coffee and chocolate in the aroma. Dark roasted malts with lots of sweet chocolate, coffee beans, oats, caramel, nuts, and some sugar. Also a pretty noticeable burnt bread aroma. Smells pretty roasty and sweet.

Taste: As the nose leads, a lot of dark malts and coffee. Dark roasted caramel malts with milk chocolate, lots of coffee, oats, nuts, burnt bread, and sugar. Nice sweet roasty flavor. Not much bitterness. Tastes kind of like a sweet milk stout with more coffee.

Mouthfeel: Body on the lighter side of medium and carbonation is moderate. Creamy, slightly sticky, and very smooth.

Overall: A pretty good oatmeal stout. Not as robust as the typical coffee stout but pretty good for the style.

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Photo of Floydster
3.46/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle acquired in a trade with brewseum, thanks again Barry, bottle #308/500, poured into a Bruery tulip glass, dark brown to very dark brown color with some mahogany around the edges, 3/4 inch creamy tan head, aroma is coffee, burned toffee, oamteal, grains, dark chocolate, and roastiness, taste is mostly roasted malts with a hint of coffee in the finish, definitely a lighter feeling stout and not some big imperial beer, almost a little tart at times which is not such a good thing, roasted and dry mouthfeel, thin to medium bodied, moderate level of carbonation, could drink this bomber, low in alcohol and it feels that way, coffee is not overpowering at all and is probably too light actually, drinkability for the style is good, would drink again, worth trying

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Photo of jsprain1
3.02/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A- Very dark brown, nearly black. Head is very thin, and dark cocoa, retention mediocre.
S- Aroma is charcoal-y with some coffee ground aroma as well. Just a little bit of chocolate.
T- The flavor has a noticable coffee presence but it's not as strong as I would like. Just a touch of smokeyness.
M- Body is a bit lighter than I would like. Carbonation is also to high for an oatmeal stout. Not as smooth as I'd like.
O- It's ok but the mouthfeel is just too far off where it should be.

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Black Helicopter from Flat Earth Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 68 ratings.