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Original Flag Porter - Darwin Brewery Ltd.

Original Flag PorterOriginal Flag Porter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

240 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 240
Reviews: 176
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 11.69%

Brewed by:
Darwin Brewery Ltd. visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
English Porter |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: woemad on 12-04-2003)
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Ratings: 240 | Reviews: 176 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of dbrauneis

North Carolina

3.84/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a clear almost opaque dark cola brown in color with some light gentle carbonation along the edges of the glass and amber highlights. The beer has a half finger tall sudsy foamy tan head that reduces to a very large patch of mottled very thin film covering the majority of the surface of the beer and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of semi-sweet chocolate (like chocolate chips) and light aromas of roasted malts.

T: Upfront there is a light to moderate flavor of roasted malts with moderate flavors of bittersweet chocolate and hints of coffee and nuts. Light amounts of bitterness in the finish which lingers slightly.

M: Light to medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth.

O: Easy to drink with a pleasant amount of complexity of flavors and low alcohol which makes it sessionable.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2014 01:28:57 | More by dbrauneis
Photo of Buttermaker


4.28/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This is an outstanding, light-bodied porter. Not much to look at (head dissipates almost immediately and it ends up looking like a root beer) but looks are overrated. (If you're looking at it it means you're not drinking it!) This beer is the perfect coffee and toffee blend and offers a ton of flavor without trying too hard. I got three of these in my beer of the month club and after polishing off the first two that first week I've been saving the third until I could find time to review it here...I don't do that often. Pick up one of these up to remind yourself what a good English porter is supposed to taste like.

Recommended Music Pairing: The Kinks - Powerman

Serving type: bottle

10-11-2013 04:43:56 | More by Buttermaker
Photo of hoptualBrew


4.65/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep dark brown/black in color. Khaki tan head recedes to a film, descent sticky lacing. Ruby red hues around edges when held to light, looks clear.

Sweet chocolate, leather, touch smoke, English toffee, mineral profile, fresh bread, light fruit ester.

Palate is really mild, but refined. Sweetness is not as the aroma suggests, more restrained. Chocolate, touch of coffee, lots of toffee and mineral water character. Bready, nuttiness comes through and finishes with building mixed nuts and stone fruit.

Soft mouthfeel, borderline low carbonation but really works here. Finish is slightly dry, but balances well with the delicate sweetness on the palate.

Overall, a shining example of an English Porter, such a great beer and is really a true example of the style. Great representation and a beer that I will revisit many times over.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2013 02:10:39 | More by hoptualBrew
Photo of MorningDove


4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this porter a few times. I still think this is the best porter I've ever had. Nothing fancy in it and not much complexity. I'd say this is an incredibly simple tasting beer. It is just right, you can keep drinking them if you can afford the $3 a 12oz bottle TotalWine charges for them.

This is not the beer to sip. Its a true English Porter. Drink 1, 2, and 3, wait a bit, then repeat process.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2013 16:00:14 | More by MorningDove
Photo of RonaldTheriot


4.24/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Original Flag Porter has a medium, soapy, beige head, a very dark brown appearance, with lighter brown highlights, some streaming bubbles, and bubbles stuck to the glass, and a small amount of thin lacing left behind. The aroma is of sweet brown bread, roasted malt, and light cream. Taste is of the same, with faint bitterness and bread crust. Mouthfeel is light and rather watery, and Original Flag Porter finishes mostly dry, soft, refreshing, and ultra drinkable. Overall, this is a really nice thing to check out. Get some!


Serving type: bottle

01-29-2013 16:42:49 | More by RonaldTheriot
Photo of fx20736

New York

4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 11.2 oz bottle into a pint glass, served cool.

Reddish brown with a thick khaki head that recedes briskly. tatters of lacing.

aroma of coffee, toasted grains and herbal hops.

mouthfeel is soft, like so many fine English ales.

taste; toasted malts with balanced bitterness and a nice but subtle chocolate raisin finish. As the beer warms the chocolate raisin flavor increases.

notes; lighter in color than any other porter I have had. No smoke flavor maybe there are no roasted malts here only toasted. Overall this is a pleasant tasting beer, lacking in complexity.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2013 20:38:27 | More by fx20736
Photo of Bouleboubier


3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Surprised how light of a dark brown it is. Very-clean - can see right through it, even it poor lighting. The head is a light coffee color, has some stick to it.

Quite a fresh-baked biscuity, molasses-soaked aroma. Really wonderful. Maybe a little caramel too. Almost has a roundabout chocolate milk bouquet.

Nothing particularly unique about the taste, which matches the smell quite closely. Perhaps some hop flavor in front, but only a slight hop bitterness. Mild-to-medium bitter-roasty malt flavor throughout - especially in the finish. Caramel rises up late on the back of the tongue.

Overall, it comes off light-medium-bodied and nicely dry. Sessionable, however, the 'brightness' (bitterness and esters) of the finish is a little numbing

I may have to go back and reassess my perceptions of this beer and the style. My 3 favorite examples (Fullers, Sam Smiths, Old Engine Oil) are all noticeably darker - in color and flavor. This beer reminds me most of an American-style, brewpub brown ale.

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2012 03:08:28 | More by Bouleboubier
Photo of BeerForMuscle

New Jersey

3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Crystal clear, deep dark amber, head fades fast to a faint layer.

S - Roasted coffee, cocoa powder, semi sweet chocolate. Dry roasted grain. Equal parts sweet and bitter.

T - Dry roasted, grainy, dark bread. Mild black coffee, semi sweet chocolate nibs. Bitter and roasty with a nice finish.

M - Light bodied, drinks more like a nut brown. This beer is mild and drinkable. Lightly carbonated.

O - A beer I'd go for based on how drinkable it is. Good session beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-09-2012 22:53:06 | More by BeerForMuscle
Photo of UCLABrewN84


3/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours an opaque black with a 1/4 inch foamy tan head that quickly fades to an oily film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark malt, caramel/toffee, dark fruit, and some port wine aromas. Taste is of dark roasted malt, cocoa powder, and some dark fruit and port wine flavors. There is a mild tartness in the flavor as well. This beer has a low level of carbonation with an almost flat mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very average beer all around and honestly a bit disappointing in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2012 04:27:51 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer is chestnut brown with crimson highlights. Atop the beer rests a half inch of soapy, beige head that leaves some nice lacing on the walls of the pint glass.

The aroma offers English malts, bread, biscuits, light roast, toffee, chocolate.

The flavor offers brown bread, chocolate, light roast. Lots of English malt character throughout. Just a hint of hop bitterness in the finish.

Light on the palate. Carbonation is moderately low. The body is a tad thin.

Overall, this is very drinkable. Good stuff. I would have this again.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2012 01:53:20 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of SLeffler27

New York

3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very dark, copper to brown, with a frothy beige head that quickly drops to a quarter of an inch, leaving no lacing. Lots of fine carbonation can be seen within the Harp nonic.

The aroma is light and grainy with some astringency. There is a dusty background of powdered chocolate.

The light flavors are difficult to distinguish. There is some carob and light sweetness. The finish is faint and modest.

A light body with lively carbonation, watery texture and no alcohol.

This is a tasty and easy flowing Porter. It is a great bar beer or for a long afternoon with friends, perhaps even during a ball game.

Much thanks to friends for introducing this on to me.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2012 21:24:42 | More by SLeffler27
Photo of bluHatter


4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark cola black with a small light brown head. Nice viney lacing.

S: Dark raisins, dates, figs, dark malts. Really pleasant, nice.

T: Understated earthy malts, hardly bitter, doesn't linger. Really nice light malty porter here. Tiny hint of dark chocolate, but not at all overpowering. All is well balanced and subtle.

M: A medium-to-full bodied beer with a nice tingle. Hardly any burn at all, really light for such a dark profile.

O: A fantastic porter. I often find myself not really caring for dark stouts and porters because they're so overrun with bitter chocolate overtones, but this really strikes a nice balance and becomes actually very drinkable, even long into the night. Awesome!

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2012 23:38:19 | More by bluHatter
Photo of madeofsteel


4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a nice thick brown syrupy color. Decent looking fluffy head, dissipates after about half a minute, leaving a ringlet. Not much lacing.

S - Rich roasty malt aroma, sort of bitter licorice, mellow molasses.

T - Sweet and roasty malts. Almost watery at times. Very mild bittersweet licorice sort of balances it out.

M - Very mellow, creamy carbonation.

O - This is a very tasty beer, but it's hard to justify at 4/$12.99 Being that this is the first and only time I've seen this beer, it's hard to tell if it's the store or brewery. Not too shabby though.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2012 01:48:06 | More by madeofsteel
Photo of SolipsismalCat


4.25/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. Reviewed alongside St. Peter's Old-style Porter.

A: Dark brown with particles and two-finger, off-white, creamy head that lasted several minutes. Nice lacing.

S: Roasted malt, some dark fruit.

T: Moderate sweetness and light to moderate bitterness. Smokey and roasted. The bitterness comes from the roasted malt. Just a bit of nuttiness and coffee in the finish. Pretty good.

M: Medium bodied with fizzy carbonation. Pretty smooth.

O: Solid English porter. The sticky lacing and flavor were really good. I preferred this porter over the St. Peter's.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2012 00:30:35 | More by SolipsismalCat
Photo of therica


4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle at the Quarry House, Silver Spring MD

A= nice mid-brown, slightly cloudy, nice off-white to tan head.

S= slightly nutty, with some roasted malts and hints of balanced hops florals.

T= much like the scent, very decent English Porter, slight smoky hints, smooth, balanced carbonation, overall a very balanced Porter.

M= nice residual reminders of roasted malts and English hops. Just short of being "sweet" - very balanced in all respects.

O= a noteable and worthy English Porter.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2012 21:56:20 | More by therica
Photo of Brenden


4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a dark brown beer, a bit thicker in look than I might expect, with some dark ruby hues in the light. A small cap of light brown head dissipates somewhat quickly, leaving some spotty lacing moderately on the glass.
The aroma is good and complex but takes some sniffing to uncover. It's a touch smoky under a strong malt backbone with a roasted character bringing out just a bit of cocoa and coffee with a smooth hint of lactic character. Barley elements pull through in the character of the grains underneath.
The taste is well-rounded, bringing out the roasted malts and the impression of barley, cocoa, coffee and smoke with a touch of something lactic and creamy as well as a hint of an herbal twang, I assume from hops. A bit of woodiness sits in here also, adding to an earthy side.
The body is medium, good for a porter though just a hair on the lighter side of it. Carbonation is low, which is good, and the feel goes pretty smooth.
This is a very nice porter and perhaps a standard-setter to build from.

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2011 14:48:39 | More by Brenden
Photo of meeekyh


4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A small bottle containing a very dark beer that I poured into a Chimay chalice. There is little to no head though what is thewre is dark tan. The smell is a very full, roasty sensation that is just short of burnt with chocolate and a bit of toffee.

Tastes are quite typical for an English porter (in my small experience) with a hint of sweetness and loads of roasted coffee and chocolate allure. Bitterness is surprisingly low and the balance is wonderful.

Mouthfeel is just past medium and carbonation is low. Finish is neutral and the overall impression is so smooth that drinkability is very high. Yippee for a damn fine porter.

I am not disappointed in this beer and the story of the sunken ships and ancient bottles of beer are a great conversation piece, not to mention the awesomeness of someone cultivating a strain of yeast from 185 years ago and then using a 160 year old recipe. I always love the history one can uncover if we look and this is an example of how good that learning can taste.


Serving type: bottle

11-05-2011 00:23:11 | More by meeekyh
Photo of CaptJackHarkness

New York

4.47/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep brown with a thin head, but fair amount of lacing, very nice, malty, chocolate not bitter but balanced taste. Aroma of bitter chocolate, tickles the tounge with flavor. I want more!
I can not tell if this is as good or better than the 1825 recipe that I tried in the past.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2011 21:13:23 | More by CaptJackHarkness
Photo of fountainofyouth

District of Columbia

4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchased a 4-pack. Poured into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Even with a quick pour, not much head. There's about a half-finger of khaki bubbles that disappears pretty quickly. Straight-on, the beer is a dark brown. Up to light, there's some amber and ruby red that pokes through the translucent brown. Sporadic lacing. Good look for a porter.

Smell: A very delightful, sweet aroma. Caramel malt and hops are there in roughly equal parts and blend really well. There's an odd scent of soy sauce or marinated meat, yet somehow it actually works perfectly. With just a little bit more power, this would be the most pleasant-smelling beer I've ever had.

Taste: The malt is both bitter and sweet. There's a light roastiness, like a diluted dry stout. Herbal hops on the finish that don't overpower. Restrained flavors, as you would expect from an English beer. Not too distinctive, but very good overall.

Mouthfeel: Moderate carbonation. Medium body and slightly slick mouthfeel.

Overall: This is a fine beer, but I'm not sure I'd say it was worth the price. If you're not on a budget, go for it.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2011 04:15:38 | More by fountainofyouth
Photo of rhoadsrage


3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(Served in a nonic)

A- This beer has a dense black body with a garnet glow at the base and a creamy light tan head that sticks to the side of the glass in sheets with each sip.

S- The aroma has a flinty quality with a soft tart note that takes on more of a cherry ester hint as it opens up. There is a roasted malt favor that is clean with a raw grain quality that grows also.

T- The taste has a very faint tartness that is quickly overtaken by a roasted malt flavor with some chocolate notes to it. There are some light estery notes that lead to a dry clean finish. Only a soft roasted hint hangs in the finish.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a soft fizz that is just strong enough to scrub the finish.

D- This beer has some subtle but unique qualities underneath a mellow roasted malt flavor and a nice light cherry tartness that compliments the flinty hint in the nose.

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2011 22:08:10 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of ramseye4


3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A=Pours an extremely dark and enticing dark brown color with a creamy, fluffy 2 finger head that leaves an almost solid wall of lacing down the glass.
S=Roasted malt, and a surprising amount of chocolate, very rich
T=Not quite as robust as the taste, the roasted malt taste is very good but outside of that and a bit of chocolate it is very simple
M=A tad bit watery, moderately carbonated
O=Good porter, a beer with highs and lows, but very solid overall.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2011 04:33:08 | More by ramseye4
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark, with fast disapearing white head. Malty and a moderate roasty aroma. A bit above average mouthfeel. Very smooth, good drinkability. The taste is mostly rich malts, the roastiness in the secondary. Biased on the sweet side. Good understated carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2011 04:07:08 | More by Sammy
Photo of SisuPride


4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This English porter has a touch of spice and a little more rich/heavy than a plain jane brown beer. The best attribute of this beer is its aroma. I prefer a beer like this on a cold wintery night. It will fill you up so don't plan on pounding the Original Flag Porter.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2011 02:52:28 | More by SisuPride
Photo of metter98

New York

3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear yet very dark amber (near black) in color and has a light amount of carbonation. It poured with a thin beige head that faded away very slowly and left a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are aromas of semisweet chocolate in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and also has chocolaty flavors but isn't nearly as sweet. There are some notes of coffee and hints of roasted malts.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The beer is easy to drink and it is quite sessionable with the low alcohol content.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2011 03:08:17 | More by metter98
Photo of DoctorB2B


4.25/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm a Porter fan ... so I judge them harder than some other styles. The folks at Darwin did a very nice job with their rendition. At first sight, I thought, man ... it's not as dark as I would have expected which is fine. When help to light, you see the ruby throughout, not just on the edges as some mentioned.

The aroma is VERY nice .. sweet, a bit of licorice in there, lots of dark fruit (prune especially). The nose fools you into thinking you might get a slightly sweet beer, which is not the case. If there is any sweetness, it's there for a moment and then gone, overtaken by the roasted malts.

I'll but this one again, when it's time to read a book about 19th century beer brewing, which happens to be every so often.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2011 18:55:01 | More by DoctorB2B
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Original Flag Porter from Darwin Brewery Ltd.
86 out of 100 based on 240 ratings.