3 Floyds / Mikkeller - Black Flame
3 Floyds Brewing Co.

3 Floyds / Mikkeller - Black Flame3 Floyds / Mikkeller - Black Flame
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American Imperial Stout
Ranked #993
Ranked #3,027
4.15 | pDev: 11.08%
3 Floyds Brewing Co.
Indiana, United States
3 Floyds / Mikkeller - Black Flame3 Floyds / Mikkeller - Black Flame
Notes: The Black Flame - (La Flama Negro) It burns brights for those who care to notice. It takes a true beer lover to stray from the norm and experience real flavor. If you can't handle the black flame, you can't handle adventure. Made in conjunction with Mikkeller.
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Reviews: 42 | Ratings: 215
Photo of REVZEB
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This one is all over the place. Smell is not the most pleasant, almost like a black ale in a stout. Yet taste is darker with a bright hop finish, with perhaps some anise and booze. Feel is strong, a very beefy beer. Parts of this beer I love, others I am not so thrilled. Each sip and smell is something different, but certainly a beast of a beer

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Photo of kitch
3.42/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

A 22oz bomber, I think bottled in 2015 (but nothing clearly marked on the bottle). Poured into a snifter.

Appearance: It was black in colour with a dark brown hue on the sides and a one finger mocha head that had decent retention and left some nice small spotty lacing.

Aroma: Orange citrus fruitiness and milk chocolate with hints of roasty coffee and some kind of spiciness.

Taste: Milk chocolate and molasses sweetness, roasted coffee and orange citrus with a hint of dark chocolate bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with low carbonation.

Overall: You’d think that orange and chocolate flavours go well together, and it started off ok enough. But after a while, it just felt a bit too sweet and hard to finish. The orange was overpowering compared to the chocolate and I think it would have been better if it was the other way around. Just didn’t quite work for me.

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Photo of ArkyVaughan
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22 oz bottle purchased at the Mikkeller Bottle Shop in Copenhagen. I wasn't a big fan of this one. It was very sweet and the flavor was a little strange, likely from whatever malt combination was used. I split the bottle with someone else and actually didn't finish my portion.

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Photo of GuyFawkes
3.72/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottled early 2015; drank 3/11/15 @ Harvest Hop Haus.

Poured from the bottle into a glass.

Brown/black appearance.

Small tan head; minimal lace.

Orange citrus, roasted coffee, mineral rock & a hint of booze heat in the nose.

Medium mouthfeel.

Mineral rock, orange citrus & milk chocolate flavors up front; a hint of booze heat on the finish. Very unique & bold, to be sure, but a tad off-putting...I'd like to revisit this again.

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Photo of Chizzlethespeez
4.98/5  rDev +20%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This beer is dark as motor oil, but smooth like silk. It's spicy, and when most beers leave you wanting more, this one is so precise on every account. Kudos

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Normalcy has no place in the conversation when the beer banter between Mikkeller and Three Floyds brerwers get together. And this dark and luscious ale is a testament to how those talks go. Strong stout-like tendencies aren't without a new surprise for each and ever tastebud that it greets.

Fruity, spicy and tangy, the beer's scent is a far cry from the ominously black austere. Sweeping the glass with syrupy, tar-like darkness, the scent also shared the strong character of chocolate, espresso, molasses; and with a hint of dark fruit and spruce. Its lavish taste is milkshake-like with the full flavor of chocolate and molasses taking on cake-like proportions to round off the aggressive edges of the burnt barley.

With the chewy body of the beer resting heavily on the tongue, those brownie-fueled flavors carry a milkshake consistency with the full brunt of blackstrap molasses, dark roast coffee, semi-sweet chocolate and a creamy center delivering the evocation of the nougat-rich center of milky way candy bars. Yet its assertive roast rises on the late palate and highlights the fruit and spice combo of dark roasted berries, red grape, fennel and seared spruce tips.

Absurdly full and batter-like, the beer's slight cloying sweetness and texture renders is a slow sipping affair, but its joy in culinary delight suggests that you cannot put the glass down. Its long and saturating sweetness continues to taste like black forest chocolate cake with a shot of espresso and a robust burgundy wine with tethers of oak tannin, powder-fine cocoa grit, and a warming cognac contentment.

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Photo of gobuccos
4.39/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

In the cellar for 6 months. Pours very dark with a good head. Tastes almost like a milk stout. Sweet but not cloying. Too bad will not find this one readily.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.33/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I was quick to pick this up seeing as Mikkel is my favourite brewer.

BOTTLE: 650ml. Brown glass. Label art is a bit obnoxious, tending towards 3 Floyds' loud marketing, but the quality of the screen print is undeniable. Unbranded black pry-off crown cap.

Reviewed live as an imperial stout per the label. Served cold into a Guinness goblet and allowed to come to temperature over the course of consumption.

No nitro-esque bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: Pours a gorgeous tan coloured cap. As creamy and soft in appearance as one would hope for in an imperial stout, with a nice rich almost dessert-like hue and complexion. Sure, it could be darker, deeper, and richer still - but the frothiness is there and it's a good consistency. And the head leaves some of the best lacing on the sides of the glass as it recedes...just thick mocha-like foam clinging in rings to the glass. Plus, the retention is excellent for this beer's high ABV - ~10+ minutes. Very impressive.

BODY: Predictably, it's an opaque solid jet-black. Exactly what the style demands. No yeast is visible within.

Seems well-carbonated. While there's room for further improvement, I notice no overt flaws. Can't wait to try it...

AROMA: Chocolate. Fudgey dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and chocolate malt, to be specific. It's got more of a generic Hershey's bar sort of American chocolate character, not an intricate cacao-nibby European chocolate character. Some nougat-y notes in there too.

Cream. Dark malt sweetness.

I find no coffee/java, hazelnut, roasted barley (a sore absence, to be sure), bourbon, or caramel.

With the absence of roasted barley at its core, this comes across as a very by-the-numbers no-frills imperial stout but nevertheless the aroma suggests a balanced beer. It does have a surprisingly noticeable herbal hop presence; I wouldn't put it past 3 Floyds to have overhopped this...

Aromatic intensity is below average; it's somewhat reticent for such a big bold brew.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Hershey's syrup definitely comes to mind, both on account of the straightforward American chocolate profile and on account of the thicker-than-usual texture, which is viscous and chewy without being truly syrupy. While definitely a dessert beer - especially with its chocolate emphasis - Black Flame isn't cloyingly sweet, though its maltiness does put it into the "sipper" category.

In addition to the chocolate presence, which I think is from purely chocolate malt (no actual chocolate or cacao nibs), I also pick up on some faint caramel (i.e. I was wrong in terms of the aroma), nougat, and even some more milk stout-redolent notes of Whoppers/malted milk balls/lactose sugar. Chocolate milk, sure.

The malt backbone is built with dark/schwarz malts, imbuing the beer with more sweetness than the chocolate & specialty malts alone could. The cream (and creamy texture) that accompanies that sweetness helps the beer avoid imbalance, giving the beer a soft presence on the palate that cushions the sweetness.

The hop profile is less pronounced than the aroma suggested; I find some herbal hop character and some pine, both of which are redolent of a Black IPA's hop profile yet fail to provide enough bitterness to counteract the malty sweetness. In any case, it's on the hoppier side for an imperial stout.

Though the beer as a whole is balanced, I do think the injection of some roasted barley (or even coffee roast) would give this the bitterness it needs to really dial it in. Smoked malt, burnt/charred sugars, cherry bark, or other means could also be used to attain this.

It's a nice build for an imperial stout, but as foreseen above, it does come off a bit by-the-numbers. This is a tough style to set yourself apart in, and discerning drinkers will crave more complexity. This just doesn't have the intricacy of the very best imperial stouts (including Mikkel's own Black Hole series). Barrel-aging wouldn't hurt, nor would additions of toasted coconut, marshmallow notes, treacle, truffle, more complex (or more European) chocolate notes, dark cherry, et al. Barrel aging isn't necessary, however, eyeing the intricacy observed in non-barrel aged stouts such as Cigar City's Marshal Zhukov.

The build is cohesive, but far from gestalt; it just never comes together as a unified whole. The texture is a biteen too porter-like, with too much smoothness and wetness. More coarseness and dryness would do this beer better, and would be heaven if more roastiness was present in the flavour profile. Full-bodied to style, with adequate heft and weight on the palate. This mouthfeel does a decent job complementing the taste, but there's no harmony between the two.

OVERALL: She's a sipper. Too expensive for me to consider buying again, and I doubt most consumers would. I'd sooner reach for an Ol' Raspy or a Ten Fidy. Mikkel has put out many world class stouts, but this is not amongst them.

Low B-

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Photo of BlackBeerPirate
4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Taste of thick malty bourbon notes, molasses, earthy with a hop bite.
Black and opaque in color.
Complex malty nose.
Full body with tan lace on the glass.
Dark fruit and hops in the finish.

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Photo of Kurmaraja
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A strange hybrid - like Dark Lord cross-bred with a very hoppy CDA (Armored Fist, perhaps). But somehow, it works. Sticky sweet but balanced by some roast and a blast of resinous, piney, citrus hops. Small doses only!

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Photo of Sprague67
4.98/5  rDev +20%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Amazing Stout!! Coffee, caramel, vanilla, roasted malt. Pours motor olli black with a dark tan head. Viscous, maple, overall a great Stout, holds up well to KBBS, no joke.

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Photo of BeerSamurai34
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I liked everything about this beer except for the taste.... I know that is probably not ideal for a beer, but there was just something off for me. The look, nose, and mouthfeel were all great, but I got a weird note of sweetness or menthol that didn't sit right.

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Photo of Awolter
4.68/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Absolutely amazing beer. Picked up a 22oz bomber from the brewery back in late March. Piney hop and chocolate aroma on the nose. Taste doesn't have too much of a hop character for me, and was much more chocolate malt dominated (contrary to a lot of reviews on here..). Absolutely incredible mouth feel. Very thick and very sweet. I'm kicking myself hard for passing up buying more than one bottle.

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Photo of Treyliff
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a snifter

A- pours pitch black with a small foamy khaki head that reduces to just a ring around the edges

S- caramel and black malt, black licorice, earthy and piney hop

T- dark roasted malt base gives some dark fruit notes, strong piney and citrus hops kick in mid-palate, chocolate and caramel finish

M- thick body with low carbonation leads to a thick and creamy mouthfeel that continues in to a silky smooth finish, perfect mouthfeel

O- this was so hoppy that it drank more like a Black IPA to me, still very good overall

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Photo of captainkrad
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Delicious! Dark... The nose is heavy- smoky, sweet, and fruity. Velvety and thick on the tongue. The flavor is incredible. Layers of roasted caramel and sticky chocolate and fruit. Quad meets stout. Amazing.

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Photo of Stevem68
4.64/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Me and the wife are still freaking out about how good this was ( had a couple drafts at the brewery ) Deep rich flavor, just an overall great beer, can't get enough

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Photo of madelfonatree
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Look - Black body. Dark khaki head. Nice lacing. Mixture of fine and think bubbles in the head.

Smell - Chocolate. Hops. Cherry. Tropical.

Taste - Chocolate bomb up front. Bitter transition with light citrus to coffee/cappuccino. Vanilla. Caramel. Finish is back to chocolate, reminds me of Dark Lord more than any other characteristic in this beer. Bitter on aftertaste.

Feel - Very creamy. Carbonation throughout. Bitterness on tongue.

Overall - I wish I had one to store even longer. This was a nice surprise today. I was under the impression before today it was a black IPA then saw on the label it was an imperial stout. It ended up being about 1/4 of the way to a black IPA.

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Photo of glass_house
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

22 oz. bottle poured into a snifter

Not quite motor oil black, but close. Big frothy milk chocolate head. A lot going on in the aroma--rich chocolate, underripe mango, a little pine, vanilla, caramel and faint espresso.

Taste is...wow...so much wow. Initial rush of flavor is almost all sweet chocoalate, like a spoonful of powdered Nestle Quik. Then it morphs into deep dark chewy fudge brownie. Then the hops peek out with hints of citrus and tropical notes. The finish turns slightly earthy and herbal with a pleasant black coffee bitterness.

Body is almost overwhelmingly creamy. Almost. So full and rich it's like a chocolate tropical hop coffee milkshake. Coats the palate as well as any beer I've had. Low carb and just a slight alcohol warmth.

This beer was like watching Inception in the theater. I walked around for hours wondering what in the hell just happened. It took a while for my brain to determine if my taste buds were in a dream. Or maybe a dream within a dream? This beer is not for the faint of heart. But it's definitely for me. It's an intense sipper with A LOT going on. I did not find the hops to be anywhere close to overpowering, as some reviews mention. But I did sit on this bottle for several months, so maybe that helped. Either way, I hope to get my hands on this again.

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Photo of jlindros
3.96/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to brogen13 (Reddit) for this one, shared with rudzud.

Pours a pitch black thick beer, light is not even close to escaping, big fluffy dark mocha colored 1.5 finger head, fades semi slowly with tons of lacing.

Nose is interesting, lots of black patent malt, tons of fluffy nougat, carafa, little licorice, hint of metallic note, touch of caramel and earthy hop, little herbal hop too.

Taste brings tons of sweet malt, licorice, fluffy nougat, etc, all candy bar, caramel, syrupy candy syrup and marshmallow. Little chocolate chip, cocoa, etc. Then big hops, very spicy and herbal, earthy, quite bitter, weird fruity thing, nut citrus but tropical like, mango perhaps? Bitter earthy roast. Sticky finish, lingering herbal earthy lie hop, little more fruity hop too, fluffy nougat and caramel etc.

Mouth is fuller bod, creamy fluffy, decent carb, light booze.

Overall great malts, but hops clash like crazy.

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Photo of rudzud
3.85/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to JLindros for sharing.

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a nice dark black with a fat almost two finger mocha head that fades to leave great lacing and a dense blanket.

S - Aromas of dark malts, little bit of hops that make this smell a bit odd. Little soy sauce like, reminiscent of dark lord.

T - Taste is fruity tropical hops, mango and such, then sticky caramel, chocolate, char. Little vanilla, the hops really clash with this beer. Malts are really nice though.

M - Mouthfeel is lightly carbonated, creamy.

O - Overall this beer was a mess. Loads of mango but the char and that don't jive.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of DeFaz
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed at the brewery. This is not your typical double stout--in fact, it resembles a black IPA. It's super hoppy, with citrus thrown in (imagine taking Zombie Dust and dumping some into a stout). The 12% ABV is concealed, and this is overall a great beer for a hop-lover who is trying some stouts (and vice versa).

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Photo of IPAGeorge
4.43/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a pint

A. Pours a black opaque beer with big foamy cappuccino colored head with some long 3 minute head retention. Excellent cobblestone lacing all around the glass. Great looking beer.

S. Well this is different. I'm actually getting some Mango or tropical hop aroma off this stout. Also getting some fig. It honestly smells like a dark DIPA. Odd. But doesn't smell bad by any means.

T. Same in the flavor. A dark DIPA. Tropical flavors blending with roasted malts. Very different. But quite good. Some grassyness bitterness at the end.

M. Creamy. A 7 out of 10 on thickness. But it's luscious. Pretty clean aftertaste.

O. I expected quite different. This really is a cross between a DIPA and a stout imo. It's good. But definitely different. You will have to try to see for yourself. But I do enjoy it.

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Photo of kkleu357
3.12/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From the bottle. Nice dark black pour. Where it goes wrong for me is the big hoppy cherry aroma. Not a fan of how hoppy some 3 floyds stouts get. Taste was heavy chocolate, but had a slight tartness too it as well. Just OK.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.14/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased at 3 Floyds. Served in an 18th St pint 'can' glass.

A - Pours with a generous mocha foam that settles to a wispy partial cap, a thick collar, and specks of lace. Body is unsurprisingly black, with some brown translucency at the fringes. Leaves an oily, glass-coating film behind.

S - Super hoppy, with plenty of citrus, floral, and herbal notes. Roasty backdrop, with notes of semisweet chocolate, anise, and dark bread. Reminds me a little of fresh Ten FIDY.

T - Taste is similarly nearing the line between Black IPA and hoppy stout. A mix of citrus and herbal hops with roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, dark fruits, anise, and pumpernickel. Definite mix of char and hop bitterness in the finish. Perhaps a bit of alcohol in there as well.

M - Full body, creamy texture, chewy, viscous. Pleasant lower carbonation, a bit of warming alcohol. Lingering stickiness on the palate.

D - Split a bottle with Mara and had no problem slowly working through it over the course of the evening. Probably best consumed fresh with the heavy-handed hops. Definitely feels like more of a Floyds beer than a Mikkeller one.

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Photo of ShadyRigglesbee
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is .... Well, crazy. The best way I can describe it is like this... Take Mikkeller Brunch and mix in some Zombie Dust and you won't be far off. It may sound bad but, I found it quite refreshing compared to allot of the huge coffee and roasty stouts out these days. It's not normal folks! Says it right on the bottle. If you want a normal stout, ....don't drink it! Thumbs up for me. Cheers.

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3 Floyds / Mikkeller - Black Flame from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 215 ratings