Black Fly Stout
Gritty McDuff's Brewing Company

Black Fly StoutBlack Fly Stout
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Stout - Irish Dry
Ranked #18
Ranked #18,246
3.88 | pDev: 12.63%
Gritty McDuff's Brewing Company
Maine, United States
Very Good
Black Fly StoutBlack Fly Stout
Notes: There's beer and then there's stout, and Gritty McDuff 's Black Fly Stout is the real deal. Black Fly is a dry, all-malt stout packed with roasted flavor. We use six different grains in the brewing of this dark masterpiece and balance the full palate with Oregon Willamette and Yakima Clusters hops. Like the legendary Irish stouts that inspired it, Black Fly Stout is rich, robust and a touch mysterious. The finest stout west of Galway Bay!

16 IBU
Reviews: 199 | Ratings: 399 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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Lone_Freighter from Vermont

4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a glass mug.
The appearance was a dark brown close to black color with a tan foamy head that slid off appropriately with some mild stringy lace.
The aroma had a nice blend of roasty to ashy coffee to char-like toastiness. Some accompanying dark chocolate provides some bitterness.
The flavor seemed to lean towards the ash and char. Then an appropriate bitterness entered in nicely with a light dose of dark fruits. Mild aftertaste of sweet ash, roast/char, and dark chocolate bitterness.
The mouthfeel was almost medium bodied, seemed just a touch under. With a nice touch of carbonation, somewhat light and an appropriate ABV, this beer finishes with some ash and roast, fairly dry and quick.
Overall, probably one of the best beers Gritty's has ever done. The price ($5.99 a bomber) makes you want to seek whenever they put this out.

Sep 15, 2018
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Davepoolesque from Massachusetts

3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black as night. Fluffy light khaki head. Roasted malt, a wisp of smoke, sweet grain and pine, Bitterness is there on the finish. Light, thin body. Think Guinness minus the nitro and a little more flavor.

Sep 12, 2016
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Grogsky from Canada ()

3.68/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Great looking dark stout with a creamy white head that lasted with the beer. Nice coffee notes in both aroma and flavour. Feel, however, was more like a lager than a stout - not very creamy

Apr 23, 2016
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Spiceboy from Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the closest American Stout I've had to my Gold Standard(Guinness Draught:) Just wish I could get it in PA as I've only had this Maine brewed beer in the New England area.

Dec 16, 2015
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TBonez477 from Vermont

3.44/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz. bottle into snifter

A: Pours dark brown almost black, with a finger of red-brown head. Head dissipates quickly, indicating high carbonation level.

S: Aroma is that of anise and dark fruit and hints at the dry mouth feel to come.

T: Roasted malts, anise and finish of hop bitterness.

M: Thin and very carbonated, dry.

O: Not my favorite version of a stout, lacking sweetness and depth. More of an Irish stout than American.

Feb 08, 2015
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KettleStoned from Colorado

3.5/5  rDev -9.8%

Poured from a bomber purchased in MA.

Appearance: Very dark, almost completely black in it's entirety. Nice head which then trails down.

Nose: Heavy malt, coffee and maybe some chocolate, albeit very light at that.

Taste: A creamy, dry stout which is well balanced and goes down quite smoothly, with the foam head retaining a decent structure and ringing the glass until ~1/2 through the glass. Pretty light in the body and the mouth-feel leaves me somewhat wanting, though I could certainly drink several without complaint.

Overall: A fine stout, which I would recommend in light of the typical shelf beers which proliferate the liquor stores. However, the ratings posted are seemingly out of reach somewhat for this brew, at least in my opinion.

Dec 16, 2014
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KarlosT from Massachusetts

2.75/5  rDev -29.1%

Wow. Can't believe the high scores.

Got a flight at the Gritty McDuff's in Portland ME:
Halloween Ale
Cask Best Bitter
Maine's Best IPA
Pub Style

All were exactly the same amber color, with the same head. The aroma was exactly the same, except for the Pub Style. I also had a pint of their Black Fly Stout, which fortunately did have a different color.

I iterated between their Halloween Ale, their IPA, and their Cask Bitter. All were exactly the same, except that the Cask Bitter was slightly warmer.

When I suggested to the waitress that the beers might have been mis-poured, she said that they were correct, that she was also a bartender, and that she could tell from the color of the pours.

Assuming what I drank was correct ...

I found the beer was watery, and it was as though they used poor quality water. All their beers had an off after-taste ... as though their was a Gritty McDuffs flavor they added to all their beers (including their stout)

Mouth feel was watery. And a little evervescent ... a slight bite from the c02. Interesting, even the cask best bitter had a slight CO2 bite to it.

Very sorry I went to this pub. Food was ok. But the beers were mediocre to poor.

Oct 18, 2014
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OhioLimoncello from Ohio

4.7/5  rDev +21.1%

Best stout ever! Brewed in a traditional Irish style, this all-malt stout is well balanced, and packed with roasted flavor. If in Maine, you need to look for this one. Sold in bottles and on tap at their Freeport, ME restaurant and pub.

Sep 19, 2014

3.61/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Served on tap in a pint glass
A: Jet black with a khaki head the grows legs and clings to the glass.
S: Very mild. Hints of chocolate and roasted malts.
T: Chocolate, roasted and dark malt, glimpse of coffee. Underlying hop bitterness that finishes dry.
M: Silky mouthfeel; a tad more than medium-bodied.
O: Hands down the best beer Gritty's offers. I would drink it again.

Mar 02, 2014
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Omnium from Pennsylvania

3.77/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

From Notes on 10-17-13, On-Tap at the brewpub.

A - Black brownish in color with two fingers of nice khaki head, thick lacing.
S - Not a potent aroma, but some decent roasted malts and nutty character.
T - Smooth roasted chocolates, decent bitterness, coffee in the back.
M - Velvety smooth and creamy, not overly thick.
O - Decent stout, mouthfeel is the best.

Feb 20, 2014
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scotorum from Massachusetts

3.73/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the 22 oz. bottle into a Samuel Smith English nonick pint glass

a: Black with clear ruby highlights when seen through light, although that took awhile to determine since at first pour the tan head took up eht entire glass! Several further pours were needed to finally fill the glass, and even then there was still a good one inch takk rocky head of foam.

s: Nothing notable.

t: Mild fruit over watery dark malt. Slight bitter ashy aftertaste. Almost Belgian in its fruitiness. Can't account for the fact that what I am tasting is so very different from the description above: "Black Fly is a dry, all-malt stout packed with roasted flavor. We use six different grains in the brewing of this dark masterpiece and balance the full palate with Oregon Willamette and Yakima Clusters hops. Like the legendary Irish stouts that inspired it, Black Fly Stout is rich, robust" Mine was neither roasty nor hoppy, nor particularly robust.

m: Light to moderate, sometimes seeming watery.

o: A surprisingly Belgianish stout, as though some yeast jumped over to Gritty's from Allagash. I was a bit disappointed at the beginning for that reason, since I had been expecting a heavier smokier more traditional stout flavor. But it is tasty enough, and gradually becomes more pleasing until it has warmed over sixty degrees, when it becomes somewhat bitter. The very low ABV allows you to drink the whole bomber and still remain fairly clear-headed.

Dec 29, 2013
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Ohmmygawd from Minnesota

4.34/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I look at this beer and I just think, how much more black could this be? None, none more black.

Bottle to pint glass.

A- I'm getting back into my old band t-shirts because this is one very dark stout. I love how it pours and looks.

S- Coffee and dark chocolate with rich malt flavor.

T- Nice and dry. The more I let it settle and get warmer the more I tasted coffee and dark chocolate.

M- Slight carbonation with a dry following.

O- Great beer overall and a pleasure to drink.


Dec 06, 2013
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brureview from Massachusetts

4.24/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It is important to drink this stout warmer- 50+F- which brings out the full malt character of the beer.

Poured in a stein- a beautiful deep chocolate color with a 3F head. I also sampled it in a Imperial pint glass, but I liked the taste better in the stein.

The aroma was not strong- characteristic of the style- roasted malt.

The mouth feel was moderate.

The taste changes dramatically with warming: there is a smooth roasted malt character that is reminiscent of the Guinness I remember in Ireland back in the 80's. Some chocolate.
Smooth finish.

Overall, an excellent Irish Stout. However, the serving temp is very important. "Above Board" as I heard a number of Irish bartenders say a while back.

Nov 26, 2013
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1sophrosyne1 from Minnesota

4.37/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on tap at the bar in Portland, the back half of the pint alongside lobster poutine.
Near black pour that won't let light pass. A fair tan-brown head fell fast, but the remaining ring held on well.
Smells largely of roasted malt with some coffee...and just a hint of creosote that comes through in the flavor.
Creamy mesquite and roasted malt come in up front. Then the taste of artichokes grilled to the point of charred byproducts fill the center. Mixed nuts pop up late with a subtly sweet almond end. Marvelous complexity.
The mouthfeel is medium bodied with some heft pierced by the right amount of carbonation. Smooth, almost silky, with subtle tannic/earthy drying on the end--makes you reach for another gulp.
This is the best regularly available Gritty's brew that I was able to taste. Worth going back for more!

Oct 24, 2013
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VelvetExtract from Massachusetts

3.72/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A-When are nitro pours not pretty? Very dark, nearing black if it isn't already there. Big, persistent, creamy, thick, cushy head. Drapes of lace.

S-Rather light but it has the necessary ingredients. Roast coffee and some darker chocolate with some light lactic notes.

T-Some solid coffee and even a bit of char. Powdered cocoa. Maybe a bit of toasted nuttiness.

M-When are nitro pours not great on the palate? Creamy, flatter, lush.

O/D-A good nitro offering that I would grab again probably.

Aug 24, 2013
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

4.01/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

easily the best beer on at grittys, hands down. honestly the only one I had that I would care to drink again. it pours a really dark brown, almost black, letting not a smidge of light pass. the head is only small, but its a clue to the delicious creamy texture of this brew. lots of roast in nose and taste, not quite burnt, but still rather bitter, with faint English hops being detectable in the finish. the flavor fits the style guidelines well, but the mouthfeel is what makes this beer a keeper, its subtle and mellow for a beer as flavorful as this. its got a very full body, and feels like it could have come from a nitro tap, even though it didn't. I liked it more and more as it warmed, and while it might not be the best accompaniment to a lobster roll, it felt right as I drank it. really the only decent beer happening from these guys, so get some while you can.

Aug 19, 2013
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Abilow33 from New York

3.87/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A good stout with a nice crisp taste. It was very flavorable and went well with my food. The beer had a thick head that hung around on the glass until the end. The beer had a distinctive smell. The beer is lighter than many stouts and is very easy to drink. Over all a good beer. I wish I could have had another.

Jul 25, 2013
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REVZEB from Illinois

3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had on tap. Brownish black with a creamy mocha head. Roasted malt nose, some subtle chocolate too. Taste is more robust for the style, grainy and roasted complexion, touch of chocolate linger. Feel is dry, thin and crisp for style, medium weight. Not much depth but solid

Jul 06, 2013
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metter98 from New York

3.63/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is close to being jet black—bottom of the glass appears to be very dark red in color when it is held to a bright light. It has a high amount of visible carbonation and poured with a three finger high brownish tan head that kept on growing for a few minutes and then eventually slightly died down, somewhat resembling a root beer float in appearance.
S: Light to moderate aromas of roasted malts are present in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and is also accompanied by a light amount of bitterness from the underlying hops.
M: It feels light-bodied, slightly thin and a little smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This stout seems somewhat lighter compared to other beers in the style but is very easy to drink—that is once the massive head finally subsides. I wouldn’t consider the bottled version to be sessionable but having this on a nitro-tap might be a different story.

Jun 28, 2013
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ColdOneKev from North Carolina

4.14/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

A - midnight black body, off-white/tan head 1/2 inch thick after nitrogen settled out & maintained throughout consumption
S - roasty, light chocolate, and light coffee
T - Nice malt flavor, not overwhelming, roasted bitterness
M - thick for a dry stout, but still thin enough to go down easy
O - An excellent dry stout. This is one I would order again

Note: I had this beer maybe 10 years ago and I remember enjoying it then. I'm happy to see my taste for this beer had withstood the test of time.

Jun 09, 2013
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PicoPapa from Connecticut

3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle. Pours a pitch black color with some brown hues. Over an inch of thick, frothy tan head. Tons of lacing. The aroma is earthy and malty. Slightly sour with an aroma that reminds me a bit of an Oatmeal Stout. The taste is malty with hints of chocolate and earth. Roasty towards the end with a slightly sour finish. Heavily carbonated. Slick, tingly mouthfeel. Overall, good example of the style.

May 16, 2013
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dbrauneis from North Carolina

4.04/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at Bukowski Tavern in Boston, MA

A: Pours an opaque yet clear jet black in color with light to moderate amounts of visible carbonation and some cola brown + very dark amber highlights. The beer has a two finger tall creamy tan head that slowly reduces to a thin film covering the majority of the surface of the beer and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of roasted malts with some moderate notes of chocolate and coffee.

T: Upfront there are moderate flavors of dark and roasted malts, just on the border of being burnt. Those are followed by the flavors of dark chocolate and espresso. Moderate amounts of bitterness that fades rather quickly.

M: Just heavier than medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Creamy and smooth with some light dryness in the finish.

O: The beer is pretty well balanced overall, though the hop flavors are not really pronounced they balance out the sweetness of the malts. Very enjoyable.

May 06, 2013
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ryan1788a5 from Massachusetts

4.26/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber poured into a pint glass.

A: Almost black in the glass, but not quite. Hints of ruby at the edges. Looks fairly clear. Big, creamy tan head looks very enticing and it doesn't budge an inch, ever. Lacing forms creamy rings on the glass. This is one great looking beer.

S: Acidic burnt malts and roast. Black coffee, bitter dark chocolate, nutty and woody. There's almost a creamy milk chocolate aspect to it as well. Raw cocoa. The nose is surprisingly malt-rich and complex, and it takes a little while to fully open.

T: Burnt malt at the outset. Black coffee, some acidity, spent coffee grounds, bitter dark chocolate, ghost-like hints of caramel and molasses. A little nutty and woody. Roasted and toasted grains. The acidity gives it an almost metallic edge for just an instant and lends that small sour twang that is expected of the style. Hops lend a green sort of bitterness that stays in a supporting role. Dry throughout. Finishes with tastes of raw cocoa, burnt malt, coffee grounds, and bitter dark chocolate.

M: On the lighter side of medium bodied. It sits rather lightly in the mouth, but it is luxuriously creamy and mouth-filling. A moderate amount of forceful, small-bubbled carbonation adds a bit of a crisp and even refreshing bite. Insanely smooth. Maybe the best mouthfeel I've come across in an Irish Dry. Beats the hell out of anything nitro can do.

O: This is just an all-around great beer, and a great representation of the style. It's rich, dark, tasty, and infinitely sessionable. More complex than your average Irish Dry to boot. What more could you want? I wish I could swap out every Guinness tap around me with this stuff.

Dec 30, 2012
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RTEdmunds from New Hampshire

3.83/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours with a nice khaki colored head, moderate lacing. Inky black color.

Smoky in the nose, and some underlying earthyness.

Roasted barley up front, even tastes a bit like oats. Follows up with a bitter expresso finish.

Mouthfeel is pretty nice, but I would prefer a bit more body/creaminess. I can imagine this being great on nitro.

Pretty solid overall and I'm glad I picked it up.

May 28, 2012
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bth86 from Maine

4.21/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Wow- this beer has a very nice, thick, two finger tan head. It settles and leaves a nice lacing down the glass. The beer itself appears jet black- as I hold the glass up to the light- nothing passes through it.

S: I get a smokey scent to it, oatmeal, little bit of coffee

T: Nice smokey charcoal character, coffee again, a bit of chocolate, a little bit of a sour aftertaste

M: Very smooth, just enough carbonation, very dry finish

O: I really liked this one! Probably one of the best stouts I've had in a long while. I think that this one is a must try!

May 03, 2012
Black Fly Stout from Gritty McDuff's Brewing Company
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 399 ratings