Black Helicopter | Flat Earth Brewing Company

very good
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Black HelicopterBlack Helicopter

Brewed by:
Flat Earth Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States

Style: Oatmeal Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by feloniousmonk on 05-14-2008

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Reviews: 70 | Ratings: 141
Photo of jjanega08
4.35/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A= Deep dark black coffee color, surprisingly large head that I can hear crackling. Very thick tan head. Great lacing. Pretty impressive looks.
S= Dark coffee! Chocolate as well but more subdued. Toastey malts and a little smoke in it.
T= Super coffee flavor. That's almost all it is. Great beer. Possibly better than coffee bender??? I dunno but it's pretty close. Maybe a little less complex than coffee bender with the flavors but none the less very good
M= High carb and medium weight. Very good
D= Very very very high! Session is coming from this one. Just great coffee flavor in a coffee stout. very good beer.

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Photo of gford217
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
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 JohnGalt1
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
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 tavernjef
4/5  rDev +5.8%
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 morimech
4.12/5  rDev +9%
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 Greggy
4.22/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- Pours a very nice dark brown head, thick and creamy, but doesn't offer much lacing, probably because of the coffee? The body is dark black with no light showing through.

S- Loads of very dark roast, sweet chocolate malt, cream, roasty grain twang.

T- Starts off almost salty and peppery which is only slight but a touch odd, then have a nice very dark roasted coffee, nice dry chocolate, cream, hints of vanilla. The finish is slightly dry with great coffee.

M- A bit to much carbonation on the body. Overall nice coffee.

D- Very great stout and flavorful. Nice ABV as well. Definitely will drink again. Glad I have a bottle left.

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Photo of Dotcubed
4.43/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

I opened this one to apease the wife. Unfortunately I wan't taking good notes.

Came out with a good coffe blackness. Nice cappichno colored foam. Smelled like a well made cup of cold coffee.

Exceptional flavors. Coffee balances well with the beer. Smooth and mellow. Cream in this would be sinful, an abomination. Good to the last drop. Almost not like drinking beer except for the nice fizz and crispness.

We both liked it's lightness, and plesant java notes. A fine offering that I'll get more of if possible. Fingers crossed.

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Photo of brewdoc75
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle 365/500, purchased directly from the brewery.

A: Dark black, with some mahagony undertones. A generous, creamy white head crowns the top.

S: Initially I didn't get a lot of aromas. I let the beer warm up a little and then I get roasted malts, some chocoloate sweetness and a hint of coffee. Not really as much coffee as I was expecting.

T: Roasted grains predominate the flavor. There is a pleasant sweetness from the malts with chocolate and some toffee present. The coffee is there, but much more subtle than in other coffee beers. It isn't overwhelming. This is a good thing in my opinion. Not a whole lot of hops, but who cares in this style.

M: Smooth, velvety and full bodied as one would expect from an oatmeal stout.

D: A pretty solid coffee beer. Not the best I've had, but definitely a winner. Another solid offering from Flat Earth that is definitely worth a try.

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Photo of Buebie
4.34/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a limited, 500 bottle release. Bottle #154, hand written in sharpie marker on the lable.
Lable design is pretty cool, I think they did a nice job keeping to the theme of what this beer offers in the overal design.
Also the demographics on the bottle are a nice touch as to what went into this.

Poured from a 750ml bottle into an oversized snifter.
A big frothy 2 finger kaki tan head billows off the pour. Receeding to a nice cap of retention. Silky greasy like lace drapes my glass.
The color is all black, no penetration of light.

Aroma is quite malty with a big toasty cereal grain aroma. Somthing sweet, like a diry/ milky aroma. Lots of great dark roasted coffee smells. It honestly smells like I just grounded some whole beans and took a wiff, very fresh smelling.
Bitter baking chocolate aromas, a faint cry of somthing minty.
Some mild grassy hops at the tail end of the aroma pulls.

Mouthfeel is quite smooth with a thick mouthfeel, made possible by the oats. Carbonation is present, not overwhelming, but just right.
A big bursting up front of dark roasted coffee, becoming nuttier with a dark bitter chocolate flavor. Clean finish, no sweetness in this, its quite roasty and dark. A long lingering toasted ceral grain flavor still with wisps of coffee.
Some oaty flavors are present, but mostly overwhelmed by dark bittering flavors.
Hops are detectible only for an instant at the swallow, then the woosh of chocolate and coffee quickly carry it away.

This is quite good. I recommend it, if you can find it, but I hear its gone.

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Photo of Mdog
4.3/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Opaque black, big foamy tan head.

Smell: Pretty strong coffee aroma.

Taste: Very nice, lightly sweet coffee and oatmeal smoothness.

Drinkability: I thought I'd drink this over a couple days but was so impressed I finished the bottle in an afternoon.

Good news, another Flat Earth bottle! I was really impressed by this beer, an excellent combination of a light oatmeal stout and coffee. Tasty and very drinkable.

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Photo of KarlHungus
4/5  rDev +5.8%
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 CHSLBrew
4.08/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass at the Muddy Pig, St. Paul, MN.

A-Deep black and opaque. Scary black. Like scary secret black helicopters scary black. Arrived to my table with only sparse bubbles, but some good swirling elicitted some almost dark brown bubbles.

S-Roasty malts underneath a blanket of fresh roasted coffee (judging by a label on a bottle I saw, Dunn Bros. coffee). The coffee aromas are hearty and rich and mostly overpower the more subtle malt aromas.

T-An initial roasted malt is overtaken quickly by coffee flavors, both from the malts and from the coffee. There is a very present bitterness which seems to be mostly coffee-derived. As the beer warmed, I could pull out some roasty choco-malts smoothing over the coffee. At times, the malt seemed to approach sweet. The beer finished clean, crisp, and with a slight residual coffee flavor and bitterness.

M-Medium-high carbonation, it seemed just a bit too high, slightly detracting from the coffee flavor. Overall, a lighter mouthfeel than it looked sitting in front of me. However, this light slick/silky character is likely attributable to the oats in the recipe.

D-Good. Coffee is front-and-center in this beer, but it also allows the malts to shine through.

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Photo of optiontwo
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml poured into Samuel Smith nonic

Appearance: Pours dark brown but in the glass is black with a one inch tan head.

Smell: Lots of coffee, as expected, with notes of chocolate, vanilla, caramel, toffee, and even some baked goods like a croissant or something. Maybe that's just because this beer smells like a coffee shop.

Taste: Very nice. The coffee is the main flavor but doesn't overpower the other flavors. Also the coffee has the right kind of bitter to it where it works with the smoothness of the stout. Sweet chocolate and vanilla found in the smell make there appearance in the back end of the flavor.

Mouthfeel: Good for a stout. Medium bodied with the proper amount of carbonation. I've been drinking so many imperial stouts that I almost forgot that this is what a regular stout should feel like.

Drinkability: I'm enjoying this on a beautiful Minnesota Christmas morning and couldn't be happier. This full flavored, 5.2% ABV brew with coffee is exactly what the doctor ordered. If I wasn't so selfish I would have left it for Santa, but there's gotta be some kind of law against drinking and flying a sleigh.

Overall: I am very impressed. I like Flat Earth and I always like to support local breweries but I don't say I like them for that very reason. This is up there with Flat Earth's best bottled offerings. I never got the chance to try Ovni but I heard it was phenomenal, otherwise I've tried most of their bottles and this and Rode Haring Flanders Sour are my favorites and worth seeking out.

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Photo of zeff80
4.12/5  rDev +9%
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 brewseum
4.6/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served a thick black with a decent tan head that was mostly lasting and left decent lacing on the glass. The aroma was a nice blend of coffee and roasted barley. The taste features an almost perfect amount of coffee that does not overpower the stout characteristics at all. I'll be picking up a growler of this whenever I can-very tasty!

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Photo of tempest
4/5  rDev +5.8%
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 edbeered
4.42/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First off, a disclaimer: I don't drink coffee. I like the way it smells, but for me the taste has never remotely approached that heavenly aroma. Well apparently the answer is to add it to beer and serve it cold. What an idea! Served on tap in a tulip glass, this pours an opaque black color with a small brown head and initially some fine lacing on the glass that eventually dissappears. The smell is terrific-roasty coffee and chocolaty oatmeal sweetness. The taste is much the same, with an added earthiness that gives this beer real depth, along with a hint of balancing hops. The flavors blend beautifully together. The mouthfeel is rich and smooth. I'm finding it difficult to drink anything else while this limited release is available. This is a style I will have to explore further. Well done!

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Photo of beerkittycat
4.42/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance is deep black, brown with some ruby hints if you hold up to a light. Frothy brown head lingers for only a moment then disappears. Aroma has layers and layers of subtle coffee and roast malt with some oatmeal cookie lurking in the background. Taste is....WOW. I've never had coffee beer with such complex coffee flavor which pairs amazing with the oatmeal stout. Medium bodied but finishes dry with coffee still delicately dancing on your tongue. Interestingly, I actually taste the beer and the coffee but their flavors marry to make an extraordinary experience . I taste something different with each sip and look forward to the next. They definately didn't use your average Folgers for this one. A very complex and wonderfully layered brew. What a treat.

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Photo of mnstorm99
4.23/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beatiful black opaque pour, almost looks like a black marble as the nice tan head settles on top and stays for the majority of the experience.
Beatiful, dark roasted coffee aroma, on top of a touch of roasted barley and aromatic malts.
Taste is real nice and balanced, there are hops there, but just enough to let you know they aren't alone, nice mellow coffee flavor to balance out this malty beverage.
Mouthfeel is as well as it should be with a smooth, chewy feel from the oats. Man, I could replace my morning coffee with this one, Very well done beer.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.17/5  rDev +10.3%
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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Black Helicopter from Flat Earth Brewing Company
3.78 out of 5 based on 141 ratings.
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