Black Flag Imperial Stout | Beer Valley Brewing Co.

BA SCORE
86
very good
233 Ratings
Black Flag Imperial StoutBlack Flag Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Beer Valley Brewing Co.
Oregon, United States
beervalleybrewing.com

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by hopsaplenty on 11-09-2006

BEER STATS
Ratings:
233
Reviews:
146
Avg:
3.82
pDev:
12.3%
 
 
Wants:
24
Gots:
25
For Trade:
0
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Ratings: 233 |  Reviews: 146
Photo of Sammy
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark and thick. Breathing in chocolate and roast and C-hops. The drink is lunch itself and so very dangerously drinkable. The throast is coated with coconut and oatmeal, roast and some chocolate and coffee. The hops are there and provide some delightful citrus but altogether undistinguishable. Full mouthfeel. Very good IS.

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Photo of GRG1313
2.61/5  rDev -31.7%
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.

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Photo of jaydoc
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of djrn2
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of Knapp85
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This stout poured out with a nice looking black body and a light brown colored head. The head leaves some lacing behind on the glass. The smell is roasted and a little chocolatey. The taste of the beer gives off a dark chocolate sweetness up front that fades into an interesting hop bitterness in the end. The mouthfeel was moderately thick feeling and had a good carbonation level to it. Overall I thought this beer was quite good, haven't seen it in my area since 2009 though.

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Photo of t0rin0
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

Photo of brentk56
3.66/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: After a gusher of an opening, the beer settled down and pours a jet black color with nary a highlight; nice frothy mocha head that leaves massive amounts of lace

Smell: It's hard to differentiate between the Impy Stout and IPA aromas in this bitter beer; the 100 IBUs challenge the roasted charcoal aromas; dark chocolate and molasses, too; not sure I am that fond of it, but it is massive

Taste: Opens like the aroma, with a bitter assault fighting the charcoal roast; the beer is trying to make a point but the question is whether this is a point that is worth making; piney bitter and roasty after the swallow, with the overall effect of a scorched earth on the tongue

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, with moderate carbonation; very sticky

Drinkability: This is where it all comes tumbling down; the beer is more of a dare than a craft; it comes at you like Zhukov's army advancing on Berlin; I surrender

Thanks, JohnGalt1, for the opportunity

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Photo of SocalKicks
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

Photo of olradetbalder
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of Thorpe429
2.65/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle opened by bmanning. Thanks, Ben. 2008 vintage. Served in a SAVOR snifter.

Pour yields a black-bodied brew with a very, very small light mocha head that comes up and then dies down almost immediately without leaving anything behind. The nose is quite roasty with a bit of chocolate and a very mild coffee presence. The flavor is just way too dry with overwhelming roast and almost nothing else there. Feel is medium with a dry, dry finish. Not a big fan of this at all.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

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Photo of jlindros
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Darker mocha colored 2 finger fluffy thick head fades fairly slowly, nice layered lacing, pretty much pitch black beer.

Nose big dark malts, chalky chocolate and bakers dark choc, light roast, some black patent malt, lots of levels of chocolate, and even a little creamy but mostly powered chalky like, some bitterness from roast and light earthy hops. Some caramel and vanilla even.

Taste chewy oats right off, then loaded chocolate, lots of various choc with powdered cocoa, bakers choc, light malted milk ball even, bit of vanilla and caramel too. There is a bit of roast and coffee but barely, and hint of black patent or other black malt, light salty briny like flavor, and fair amount of bitterness thanks to the charred malts and some light earthy chewy almost spicy hops. Pure rich dark malts mostly. Finish is drier but still a bit sticky and sweet, thick rich and syrupy with long lingering layers of dark malts coating my mouth, lingering chocolate, light roast, caramel and light earthy hops with decent bitterness.

Mouth is fuller bodied, rich slightly creamy, thick, good carb, just a bit of warming booze, and would be better if not for the syrupy sticky long finish.

Overall pretty good, this has nice chocolate, dark malts, nice hops, a bit creamy and rich, not overly burnt or briney, booze of hidden well too. Only real problem is the sticky syrupy finish but that can be expected for a beer of this caliber.

 1,431 characters

Photo of mactrail
3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark, rich, bitter black ale.

Nice chestnut edge in the glass-- not really black like typical stouts. My 22 oz bottle poured nicely and while the head wasn't big there was enough to look decent, and plenty of carbonation in the mouth. Some nice roasty aromas once the beer warms up a little.

This thing is just really alcoholic and plenty bitter. The warmth seeps down the throat. Quite sippable, but I miss the balanced maltiness of a barley wine. Definitely austere, more like a bitter cordial than a mellow brandy.

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Photo of billab914
3.38/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. It poured dark brown in color with a moderate, creamy, tan head to it. The head had some pretty good retention to it and left some decent lacing as well.

The aroma shows a pretty good amount of bitter, citrusy, hoppiness to it. Some roasty flavors come through behind that to add a bit more bitterness. A slight chocolaty flavor is there too.

The taste shows a lot of dark and bitter-sweet chocolate to it, along with a moderate roasted malt, burnt, slight coffee flavor. I'm getting a pretty big hoppy, citrus flavor in it as well. It's very big on the dry, bitterness overall. The finish shows more of the bitter chocolate, which lingers.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side with carbonation being a little high for the style. Drinkability is decent, it was flavorful but not very smooth. It could have used some more sweetness to balance out the bitterness some. Tho hoppiness just didn't mesh well with the roasted bitterness for me that well. Not a bad beer at all though.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.05/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, near black body with an incredibly thin, off-white head.

Smell: Unsweetened chocoate and scorched coffee along with chimney soot and smoke. Also, there's a hefty amount of citrusy grapefruit befitting an IPA.

Taste: Dark chocolate with a brief, fleeting sweetness. After that, it's a conveyor belt of flavors - charred fruits, pipe ash, and forgotten coffee grounds. Overabundance of citrus hops. The strong hop bitterness couples with a sharp roasted quality that borders on being astringent. Ashen, distinctly alcoholic finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: This beer was a debacle. Excessively hopped and needlessly astringent, to me, these qualities don't make for an enjoyable imperial stout.

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Photo of russpowell
3.91/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black as night with 3 fingers of brown rocky head into a chalice. Superior head retention, & near perfect lacing

S: Chocolate, coffee & a bit of booze, plus husky grainyness

T: Baker's chocolate, a bit of iron, some oaky & vanilla notes up front. Slight dryness, some cakey notes, figs, some toasted grain, hints of raisin bit of leafy hops, & coffee as this warms. Finishes with a bit of boozeyness, pronounced dryness, some figgyness, & a bit of chalkiness& a bit of coffee grounds

MF: Medium bodied, oily; a bit of silkyness with low carbonation.

Drinks great for the ABV, one to age, a lot of subtleties are muted. But not a bad Imp Stout at all.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.12/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats."

--H.L. Mencken

Closed casket black beneath two fingers of dark brown sugar colored foam. Since crown cracking produced a barely audible 'pffft', I gave the beer a vigorous pour. Retention is fairly good and glass coverage ain't too bad either... especially given the ABV.

The aroma is chock full of all the good things that result when barley is roasted to within an inch of its life. I can appreciate dark chocolate fudge, a shot of espresso, blackstrap molasses and citric hops. Let's see how many of the estimated 100+ IBUs are still kickin' after close to one year in the bottle.

Black Flag is good beer. Maybe even very good beer. But it isn't great beer because the malt:hop ratio is slanted too much toward the latter. Not that this American double stout is too bitter, but there's a grapefruit juice quality that gets in the way of the malt love. And beer of this style is all (or almost all) about the malt love.

Although the malt backbone is big, it isn't... shiver me timbers!... big. The fruity flavor of the hops (Warrior, Chinook, Columbus and Cascade) is too prominent, which leads to a malt profile that is less than complex. Beer Valley might have invented the world's first Black DIPA. That's good news for us hopheads. Not so good news for the rest of you.

The alcohol is impressively well-buried. Only the beginnings of tongue numbing and gullet warming betray the double-digit ABV. There's a great deal of mouthfilling volume, without a ton of thick and chewy stickiness.

Black Flag Imperial Stout would be better if Beer Valley Brewing eased back on the hops and added a bit more malt. It isn't "a beer drinking experience like no other other malted beverage on the planet" (website hyperbole), but it is a delicious stout if you're a quart low on lupulins. Just be prepared for a hefty shot of grapefruit juiciness.

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Photo of Jason
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of mikesgroove
4.06/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another one I received courtesy of Unclejedi that I had been waiting to try out. This weekend decided to pop it open and see what it was made of. The pour was jet black as night. With a thick look to it as it sludged into the glass. A very nice three finger high tan head of lace then rose up over the top and hung on forever. Really thick looking with tons of side glass webs and a sticky presence to it. Very nice look here.

The aroma was very complex with a rich mix of malts and alcohol. The alcohol came across very clearly, and you had to let it warm to really be able to get the full depth of this one in. Lots of dark baker's chocolate, hints of vanilla and roasted coffee were mingling around in it. The flavor followed suit almost perfectly. The start was a nice rich chocolate and coffee like flavor that quickly became over run with unbalanced alcohol. A little harsh, but they cannot all be blended well. The subtle flavors underneath did not begin to show themselves for a quite a little while later, with some nice touches of licorice, vanilla, and molasses starting to come through. This was a very sweet stout, just a little to hot right now. The finish was filled with a musty bitter bite that was kind of odd and ill placed, but there was not much you could do about it. A very full-bodied stout, there was certainly no lack of carbonation here, as it never felt as though it was flat in any way. I did polish off this bottle, however it was a little rough. This one clocked in at over 11% and you felt every last drop of it. Really a very big stout.

Overall, this was not bad at all, though there are certainly better examples of the style out there. On looks alone though, this one is awesome, I just think there were a little too much hops thrown in the finish and the alcohol was very distracting, not being as mellowed as I thought it would be. Nevertheless, it was still a very solid beer, and if you have it around you, I would go out and try it.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Pours a rich opaque darkness with a finger of strongly steadfast ecru head. Lacing is tall and thick, lasting for a decent amount of time. The nose is dark malts, leather, dark roast coffee, and a tiny bit of chocolate. Th taste accentuates the coffee, retains a portion of the leather; a healthy hoppy bitterness invades and quickly seizes control of the government. The coup is finished by a subtle helping of powdered cocoa, which fades into obscurity along with the last vestiges of the old regime, a hint of coffee. The body is a heavy medium, with moderate carbonation and a pretty smooth feel. Overall, a bit on the bitter side, but fairly drinkable nonetheless.

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Photo of ejimhof
3/5  rDev -21.5%

Photo of GClarkage
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.3/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 two year old properly cellared bottle. Poured into a Black Raven pint glass. Dark brown with a nice two finger tan head and lacing. Aroma of roasted malt and dark fruit. Medium to thick bodied, creamy. Dark malts, light smoke, coffee start. Finishes bitter, coffee, dark malt and hoppy. This two year old bottle has integrated nicely and covered the alcohol. Still a bit too bitter and dry on the finish, but overall quite nice and balanced. This has aged well. I will certainly give this another try.

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Photo of Wasatch
3.97/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to sirhc.

22oz. Bomber

Poured into a chalice a black color, some carbonation, no head (at least first pour), no sticky lacing at all. The nose is malty, big on the toffee/caramel/chocolate, some roastiness, and vanilla. The taste is malty, good dose of the big three toffee/caramel/chocolate, some sweetness on the lips from the vanilla. The finish is slightly dry. Alcohol is hidden pretty well, but does warm the tummy up. Medium body. Drinkable, this is a pretty tasty brew, it does kick some ass with the taste and ABV, recommended.

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Black Flag Imperial Stout from Beer Valley Brewing Co.
3.82 out of 5 based on 233 ratings.
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