Gritty McDuff's Black Fly Stout | Gritty McDuff's Brewing Company

very good
196 Reviews
Gritty McDuff's Black Fly StoutGritty McDuff's Black Fly Stout

Brewed by:
Gritty McDuff's Brewing Company
Maine, United States

Style: Irish Dry Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.10%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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

Added by Todd on 11-10-2001

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Reviews: 196 | Ratings: 394
Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Good initial head on black, lace. Smoke and coffee aroma. Taste of wood, smoke, coffee, chocolate malt,a spot of fuitiness, drying finish. Licorice on aftertaste. Good for its style, well malted but in a word balanced and very quaffable. Medium mouthfeel.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.01/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

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Photo of metter98
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.47/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A good American attempt of an Irish Stout. Looks dark black with an off white head that lasts. Low carbonation and rich looking. Smells lightly malty with caramel, roasted, toasted, and chocolate malts. No hop aroma. Tartness that is associated with cherries. Tastes largely of roasted malt and chocolate malt. Sweet caramel malts in the background. Firm, medium body holds on til the finish. Finishes dry and crisp. A creamy beer even without the nitro. Flavors give way to carcoal like finish makes this beer a little abrupt, but still a good beer.

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Photo of largadeer
3.14/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black in color. Tons of foam formed from an average pour, at least 3 inches worth, which took a moment to settle into a quarter-inch layer.

Smell: Dark roasted coffee and unsweetened chocolate, plenty of black malt in this one. There's something slightly off about the aroma - a bit of sulfur in background.

Taste & mouthfeel: Perfectly dry with a big black coffee flavor. Moderate bitterness, largely from the dark malts; no noticeable hop character. There's a slight metallic twang to the finish along with a hint of acidity - overall it's not quite as clean as I would like, but it's certainly not bad. Body is on the lighter side, even for the style it's a bit watery.

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Photo of oberon
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My wife actually drank this while there in Portland and I tasted a little o it and here is what I got from it.Pours a deep black with red highlights showing thru a deep almond colored light creamy head.I noticed somebitterness in the aroma with some dark roast coffee,flavor is of unsweetened chocolate and some earthiness with that bitterness I got in the aroma popping up in the finish.All in all seemed to be a pretty solid stout.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Black in color with limited ruby highlights at the base but some wider glints of dark mahogany at the rim. The full, dark tan head drops shortly but keeps a thin surface coating and leaves some spotty lace. The aroma offers rich dark chocolate and espresso. The body is light with a very fine, median carbonation that leaves it gently zesty in the mouth. The flavor starts dry with a distinct burnt currant fruitiness that mellows into more caramel, chocolate, and left-on-the-burner-too-long coffee notes before finishing with a splash of leafy hop flavor and a long lasting burnt malt character (similar to black malt - although probably from very dark British chocolate and roasted barley). Throughout the glass the combination of the lightly tart fruitiness followed by the acrid roastiness and long dull finish becomes quite endearing. Very unique. Probably a bit too much flavor to make it a good session brew, but definitely interesting and rich enough to make a pint last for alot longer than usual. I'd love to taste this cask-conditioned on handpump.

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Photo of Kegatron
2.81/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured an excessively mammouth tan head that I basically had to pour out of the glass as it wouldn't settle. Aroma of sweet malt and a somewhat acidic coffee scent.

Tastes is somewhat lacking. Malt & mild coffee up front with a somewhat bittering hop finish. A thin & watery mouthfull with decent carbonation.

Kinda meh, about this one. Nothing really stood out to me although I could see this being quite sessionable for some people.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.04/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.87/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black Fly is actually really, really dark brown with orangish gold highlights. The brown sugar colored crown is as soft and as airy as cotton candy, while being almost as sticky. An eye pleasing array of lace finds its way to the upper reaches of the glass as the head loses altitude.

The nose is definitely black... as in black malt. There's also plenty of power, which is almost always a good thing. The bittersweet chocolatiness that results from well-roasted barley is, far and away, the dominant aroma. Yowza!

The amount of crushed coffee bean flavor that is delivered when stout meets palate is incredible. It makes me wonder whether coffee was added, although neither the Gritty McD website nor the label mention it. Rarely have I experienced such a disconnect between the aroma (very little java) and the flavor (an java explosion).

The brewery sure did favor the dark end of the malt spectrum, but they didn't add enough of it. With more substance, this stuff could be killer. Surely they can find a way to beef up Black Fly and still keep the ABV in sessionable range. A shortage of malt sugars keeps things on the bitter side, despite almost no hop flavor and a paltry 16 IBUs.

Irish dry stouts don't need, and probably shouldn't have, full mouthfeels. That said, BFS is a fraction too skinny for my tastes. On the positive side, the lack of heft and the laid back carbonation would make putting away a swarm of these suckers no trouble at all.

Black Fly Stout is my third Gritty McDuff's brew and is probably my least favorite. It's still good beer, though, and is probably a gotta-have for dark beer lovin' BAs in the state of Maine.

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Photo of smcolw
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nearly mahogany in color with light brown (thin) head. Spotty lace on the glass.

The smell is rather muted considering the style. Some chocolate, but what I really notice is an ice box odor...hmmm, odd.

Awesome balanced taste: notes of coffee, caramel, cream, spicy bittering hop. Full bodied with a slightly high carbonation. The aftertaste is similar to unsweetened cocoa. This truly makes up for the initial impression.

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Photo of Jason
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12 oz brown long neck twist bottle with a “best enjoyed before” freshness date clearly notched.

Appearance: Opaque black coloured brew with a big towering head after a hard pouring then very slowly settling into a thin tiny bubbled light brown lace, this is one of those heads that leaves rings all the way down the glass.

Smell: Brownies and fudge come to mind off the first whiff, underlying black currant fruitiness with a laid back alcohol. Smooth and clean to the nose.

Taste: Creamy smooth mouth feel, moderate carbonation and a medium to full malt body. First is a rush of mild roasted malt and subdued black currant fruitiness, then the roasted kicks things up a notch by unleashing an even burnt charcoal bitterness. Malt sweetness holds this brew together in the beginning then the dryness sets in to make the mouth beg for more. Hops are a tad bitter and pungent with a quick snappy hop oil twang in the back ground. Touch of acrid to the roasted character to pleasantly pucker the palate for a brief moment, lingering suggestions of espresso and vague chocolate flavour make up the end.

Notes: One of the top stouts brewed in the US, very well balanced and is even more heavenly on nitro-tap. Certainly a stout lovers stout.

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Photo of jwc215
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Best by January '08:

Pours pitch black with an overly huge tan head (despite a careful pour) that slowly descends, leaving minimal lacing.

The smell is of lightly roasted coffee - slightly burnt - hints of chocolate. Mild earthy undertone.

The taste follows the nose with a bit more cream. Lightly roasted coffee with a slight burnt tinge with hints of coffee. Earthy undertone with black currant fruitiness. Slight hints of butter add to creaminess. Bittersweet finish.

This would be full bodied beer is brought to medium by quite a bit of fizzy carbonation. Pretty smooth texture.

Easy drinking with a nice malty character. This would be even better if the carbonation were reigned in a bit. The taste and low abv make this a fine choice for a "session" stout. Perhaps I just got an overcarbonated batch - otherwise fine.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.82/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A perfect ebony hue, and a head that looms, sizzles, bubbles, and is colored a roasted tan. Aroma is nutty, dry, and replete with rich espresso notes, very deep, very dark.
Marvelous mouthfeel: lush, soft, but a trifle bitter, and a touch flinty. Full-bodied, with a hearty, grainy texture, that left me feeling if it wasn't maybe an oatmeal stout. In the end I felt too much carbonation on the tongue, but despite that, the overall impression is a full roasty, toasty, satisfying sensation.
Thanks to paceyourself for wending it my way!

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Photo of MasterSki
3.91/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Reagen1984 for tossing one of these in a recent trade. Served in my FOBAB mini-pint glass.

A - Huge foam that that quickly dissipates to two fingers and then slowly fades and leaves some spotty lacing. Dark, dark brown that is slightly lighter at the edges. Great lookin' brew.

S - Very bitter roasted malts, some hints of hazelnut. There's also some dry smokiness to it, and a faint metallic twang. The smell isn't very rich, but it's plenty potent.

T - Lots of smokiness, dry roasted nuts, espresso, and burnt malt. Maybe a hint of chocolate sweetness in the finish. The aftertaste is surprisingly clean, with only a light bitterness to it.

M - Very dry, with some chalkiness to it. A nice amount of carbonation tingle, but not overdone. Very appropriate for the style.

D - The low ABV made this really easy to drink. I could see this being a great replacement for Guinness - much more flavor to it.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.96/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass, the beer is jet black, with a brown highlight around the edges. There is a thin film of milk-chocolate colored head that coats the top of the brew. Aromas are of deep coffee, campfire smoke and char, very bitter and dark chocolate, and some sharp spicing throughout (maybe some cinnamon and pepper). Flavors are light and very dry, with a dark roasted coffee ground flavor front and center, followed by campfire smoke and a meaty highlight. The body is light, smooth, and extremely dry, which is a perfect representation of the style. The aftertaste is mostly smoke, with a rich and semisweet highlight. The finish is dry, and extremely clean. Chocolatey notes finish off as the flavors clear. Very tasty beer...great for a campfire!

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Photo of Gavage
4.06/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black in color with a milk chocolate 1 inch head. Some mild lacing develops through the drink. Aroma is of soft bitter chocolate and roasted malt. The flavor is a nice balance of roasted malt, coffee, bitter chocolate, and a wisp of butter.

Medium / heavy in body. Crisp at the start. The finish is dry and crisp. The roasted malt and bitter chocolate linger long on the tongue. Superb drinkability. Definitely one to seek out.

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Photo of tempest
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tall light-tan head with good lacing. Aroma rich with roasted malts. Flavor is also heavy with the malt flavor, complimented with touch of chocolate. Lasting bitterness through the flavor. Although the flavor was very nice, I would have liked to see more complex flavors out of this beer. Good mouthfeel and drinkability.

A very good traditional stout, but falls short of being a great one.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep black with a soft brown color head; some chunks some soap bubbles. Looks like a chocolate milk-shake (the head).
Smells of slightly roasted coffee, toffee and molasses.
Taste doesn't jump right out and grab me, a slight stringent taste, some coffee and anise. Dry hops at the end, finishes really well.
I thought this was an American stout until I looked on here to see it's a Irish stout. Changes things a bit. I gave it better marks is light of this.

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Photo of WesWes
3.2/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer pours a deep, dark black color with a towering tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a dry roasted scent that boasts of patent and roasted malts. It is quite dry to the nose. The taste is average. It has a weak, black malt flavor that is bitter and earthy. It has some roasted malt taste, but not enough to round out the flavor. The mouthfeel is decent. It is a medium/full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is an average dry stout. The malt bill is simplistic, so the taste lacks complexity. This is a very uninteresting beer.

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Photo of Wasatch
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks goes out to jwc215 for this one.

Pours a nice dark black color, nice carbonation, huge foamy tan head, lots and lots of sticky lacing afterwards. The nose is malty, some toffee/caramel. The taste is malty, with some toffee/caramel. The finish is slightly dry/bitter. Medium body. Drinkable, a pretty tasty/sessionable brew.

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Photo of plaid75
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep black hue with a finger and a half pillowy off white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a deep and robust burnt grain, with undertones of coffee and dark chocolate.

The taste was equally robust with a very good burnt grain and smoky character. The coffee flavors were present as well.

The mouthfeel was full with a clean, dry finish.

Overall a very nice dry stout. A very drinkable treat on St. Patrick's Day. I will buy again.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From the 22 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on July 17, 2010. The pour is rich black with about a half inch of silky tan head and excellent lacing. The aroma is full of grains and charcoal fired malts with a notable but light hoppiness. The taste is nice and dry, dark, and decent with hops. I could not quite define it but it wasn't bad at all.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a five-fingered light tan rocky head that slowly fades to a thin layer leaving some lace. Solid black color. Light carbonation and heavy bodied. Burnt coffee nose. Flavor is burnt coffee/chocolate, slight dry finish. $1.50 for a 12 oz bottle from Capital Convenience Concord, NH.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle
Best Before May 2009

A- Pours a dark black color with a light tan head.

S- The aroma is pretty good, dark roasted malts and coffee notes.

T- The taste is dark roasted malts with a good amount of bitterness and a dry finish.

M- The mouthfeel is on the light side with a good amount of carbonation.

D- This beer packs more flavor than the low ABV suggests making it pretty drinkable.

Overall, Black Fly Stout is a pretty good Dry Stout that is recommended.

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Gritty McDuff's Black Fly Stout from Gritty McDuff's Brewing Company
3.83 out of 5 based on 394 ratings.
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