Original Flag Porter | Darwin Brewery Ltd.

very good
183 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Original Flag PorterOriginal Flag Porter

Brewed by:
Darwin Brewery Ltd.
England, United Kingdom

Style: English Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by woemad on 12-04-2003

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 183 | Ratings: 272
Photo of putnam
5/5  rDev +29.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm confused by the "other" flag porter attributed to the Elgood brewery. That uploaded picture looks just like my sample from the Darwin brewery. Is this a case of alternative contract brewing?

This beer is all about "bouquet." Don't even attempt to taste it until first SMELLING it for 30 seconds. And for God's sake don't serve it too cold.
Absolutely beautiful. Gorgeous, velvety, feminine perfumes of baked blue fruits and Caribbean chocolate. On the palate it is rain water clear with chunky, meaty suggestions of marrow, roasted seeds, blackberry paste, bitter chocolate, smoky branches and creosote. Much lighter than modern Porter convention would have it, there is something profoundly drinkable about this brew. Very complex, succulent and interesting. The best Porter ever.

 789 characters

Photo of StargherKing
4.73/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Heard about this one from a friend and knew I had to taste it. What can I say, I'm a sucker for cool stories and neat packaging. Poured into a pint glass, this one had just a little head which slowly vanished. The beer is thick and dark, it looks quite a bit like espresso in the glass, with bits of the legendary salvaged yeast floating throughout. Smell is very smooth, coffee and cocoa, I can't wait to taste it. Taste follows smell amazingly well, still coffee and cocoa, just more prominent and rich. Mouthfeel is extremely smooth and silky, without being oily at all. Drinkability is very good, only suffering the slightest bit from the richness. This may become a mainstay in my fridge yet.

 697 characters

Photo of marburg
4.72/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I echo Putnam's confusion in terms of the label and the brewer. But let's get on to what really matters...

Complete olefactory delight. I was having a discussion with Putnam about coffee the other day, and the aroma of this reminds me of those superb coffee beans my mom would grind up for fancy parties she hosted. Not chocolate, per se, but rather chocolate passed through the lens of a handful of gourmet coffee beans.

Silky, rather than syrupy, on the tongue. Light yet flavorful, this traditional porter is clear in its influence on its contemporaries. Roasted, smoky flavors. Singed chocolate and grilled fruit concentrated and rehydrated. Remarkably delicate and well balanced. Just easy, good, flavorful drinking.

 727 characters

Photo of hoptualBrew
4.65/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep dark brown/black in color. Khaki tan head recedes to a film, descent sticky lacing. Ruby red hues around edges when held to light, looks clear.

Sweet chocolate, leather, touch smoke, English toffee, mineral profile, fresh bread, light fruit ester.

Palate is really mild, but refined. Sweetness is not as the aroma suggests, more restrained. Chocolate, touch of coffee, lots of toffee and mineral water character. Bready, nuttiness comes through and finishes with building mixed nuts and stone fruit.

Soft mouthfeel, borderline low carbonation but really works here. Finish is slightly dry, but balances well with the delicate sweetness on the palate.

Overall, a shining example of an English Porter, such a great beer and is really a true example of the style. Great representation and a beer that I will revisit many times over.

 838 characters

Photo of kms910
4.56/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours black with a thin white head

S- Cold cold coffee or cafe mocha

T- Dark chocolate, coffee, and roasted malts

M- Satin with vanilla bean finish

D- Not for the faint of hearts, excellent example of a porter. I wouldn't recommend as an everyday but definitely as a treat of something special!

 310 characters

Photo of vandemonian
4.53/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Flag Porter has a nice dark brown colour with a very good foamy head and lacing. It has a nice roasty malt smell with some chocolate in there. The flavour is malty with some coffee notes and a hint of charcoal in the aftertaste. This beer is creamy and thick like a milkshake. This is a really exceptional beer. It greatly exceeded my expectations.

 348 characters

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

The beer poured a dark mahogany with a bit of a tan head. The aroma was of dark sweet malt and dark fruits. The taste was a very delicate smokieness that was followed by a smooth mix of sweet malt and dark fruit, quite a surprise. Mainly because I would never have conceived of such a combination. The feel is smooth and dry. This is an exceptionaly drinkable beer. It has a wonderful balance of smokieness and sweetness that delivers a beer that answers to both desires. This is definately one that will show back up in my supply.

 531 characters

Photo of jayw414
4.48/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I happen to be a big porter fan, and the more porters I taste, the more I enjoy coming back to this one.

I consider it to be a great example of the style.

Color: Chocolate to deep red, holds a head for moderate amount of time.
Smell: Roasted nuttiness, mellow sweetness
Taste: Flavorful roasted malt, without being overpowering. Slightly hoppy finish, but no nasty aftertaste.
Mouthfeel: A little thinner than some other porters, but full-bodied enough to hold interest in your mouth.
Drinkability: Really the defining quality of this beer - so easy to finish a bottle and then miss the taste 10 minutes later.

Overall: Plenty of contrasting flavors, mixing together without fighting in the mouth, light carbonation, medium body. An all-around great beer.

 769 characters

Photo of CaptJackHarkness
4.47/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep brown with a thin head, but fair amount of lacing, very nice, malty, chocolate not bitter but balanced taste. Aroma of bitter chocolate, tickles the tounge with flavor. I want more!
I can not tell if this is as good or better than the 1825 recipe that I tried in the past.

 286 characters

Photo of Gehrig
4.46/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A finger of tannish head caps this black beauty. The smell is a letdown, with some malt arising after a few minutes of patient coaxing. But the taste more than makes up for it--sheer magnificence, one of the very best tasting porters I've had. Lots of chocolate, coffee, caramel for sure as good porter standards, but there's much more. I distinctly tasted some butterscotch and black licorice, really rounding out this great standard.

Nicely carbonated and smooth, one could order a few of these without blinking an eye. Truly excellent and, with a better nose, would be ranked even higher.

 592 characters

Photo of Slatetank
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I had this bottle at the Brickskeller in D.C., served cool in a pint.

A - Deep brown w/ medium brown hues and a quickly dissipating head of light tan.

S - Malty w/ a creamy sweet note and lactic yeastiness w/ a tinge of roasted grain and subtle spice.

M - Rich nutty feel w/ cocoa sweetness, low carbonation and creamy qaulities.

T - A toasted sweet English malted berry note w/ a fine nutty coffee-like flavor w/ spice hops and a creaminess w/ caramel and buttery toffee flavors.A subtle peppery note w/ a woody aspect w/ dry notes of subtle hop under the dark malt flavor. A smooth cocoa taste along w/ English yeast flavor providing the most complex toasty and full maltiness in a rather impressive porter.

D - A masterpiece for my taste, a top notch porter, world class, sessionable and supremely drinkable.

 816 characters

Photo of drpimento
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This IS an EXCEPTIONAL beer. The perfect balance between body, flavor, texture, and etc. For a porter that is. There's a nice roasty, malty, chocolatey, ever so slightly hoppiness. A chuggability too. Color is strangely either a hazy brown with some reddish overtones or a dark cherry brown with brown overtones. Ok, just shoot me. whatever. Want to try this beer warmer.

 371 characters

Photo of ktrillionaire
4.44/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

A - Deep chestnut-brown in hue, capped with a short-lived and semi-fizzy cappuchino-colored head. Small sheets of lace drape themselves, briefly, to the side of the glass.

S - There is a delicious fudge-like element to the aroma which is immediately apparent. The nose also reveals a bit of roast and some mineral nuances.

T - A phenomenal example of the style, this Porter shares much of the delectable nuances found in finer EBWs. I am getting sublime notes of toffee, fudge, coffee-chicory and a very clean, refreshing finish. I was not expecting such an amazing brew.

M - A bit thin, perhaps, but nice overall.

D - I will drink this anywhere, anytime. I can't believe this was not previously on my radar.

 712 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.42/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Darkest mahogany with a faint glimmer of garnet, only noted when backlit with bright sunlight. A tight-bubbled, two finger, beige crown is created on the pour and leaves less lace than expected. A slurred collar is the extent of the glass coverage.

The aroma is impressively aromatic and is redolent of strong Arabian coffee and chocolate fudge. I don't usually like this much coffee in my porter noses, but this one has enough else going for it (dark fruit and subtle hops) that I love its depth as well as its power.

The flavor is pretty special as well. Original Flag is a good old-fashioned, classic porter. I love the fact that the yeast strain was rescued from an 1825 shipwreck in the English Channel; it gives the beer authenticity. It's a tad lighter of body than I prefer and the taste isn't exactly bold (as is the fashion currently, at least in this country), but it's a complex and delicious ride.

Nothing dominates on the palate. Coffee blurs into chocolate blurs into sweet raisins blurs into overripe apples blurs into light treacle blurs into roasted barley (not sequentially of course) and it's all tied up into an incredibly drinkable package. Again, I wish that the body was bigger in order to provide a little more flavor linger.

Although I normally prefer (often big) American porters to (often not so big) English ones, I wouldn't change a single thing about Old Flag. It's a classic version and is great beer no matter what flag you drink under.

 1,473 characters

Photo of ski271
4.39/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Clear, dark brown with a slight red tint and a very small, off-white, creamy, mostly diminishing head.

Smell: VERY rich chocolate malts supported by light floral hops. Coffee, oak, dark bread, light cherry.

Taste: Toasted malt with oak, then switch to milk chocolate. The finish accented by a light floral bitterness which fades to a long-lasting malt sweetness.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, silky/creamy texture, low carbonation.

Drinkability: This one is all about the chocolate malt, yet it’s still well-balanced. A really nice surprise from a beer I had never seen or heard of before.

 606 characters

Photo of Toddv29424
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a midnight black color, with a slight amber hue around the edges when held up to the light. There is zero head when pouring, only slight foam that sits on top of the beer from the bottle. The smell is big and delicious, with many roasty flavors reminiscent of other porters. The taste is pretty unimpressive for the first half of the mouth, but as it sits on the tongue it develops with a thick chocolaty consistency with a sweet malt kick. Successive sips are still impressed by the size of this beer, and it seems there are new flavors each time. Well worth seeking out.

 588 characters

Photo of farrago
4.37/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Head gets to near two fingers of deep tan foam, mostly larger bubbles with a steady dissolve, more stick to the fat lacing than thus expected. Very dark brown liquid yet not quite black, you get a wide band of orange at the glass's bottom. The nose at first makes you think it will be softer and sweeter than it finally ends up, wiry length to the rum raisin to coffee ice cream, molasses crisp and caramel popcorn, more concentration than sugar to the fig, black grape, blackberry fruit scents, more pastry flakes than bread, still touch of wheaties or bran cereal. Medium-bodied, muscular mouth presence with tight carbonation which nevertheless guides the whole from start through the finish. Goes low on the roast and toast, more scone, buttered biscuit, granola with distinct hoppy pep. If anything, there is a semi-burnt edge which plays off the sweetness of the caramel, coffee, chocolate powder, peanut brittle notes. The date, golden raisin, fig joins fresher cherry, apricot flavors. Dry, malty finish, flavors knit together and lift off the palate. Maddeningly easy to take sip after sip. That is, if you treat it is an English porter and not to be understood in the American idiom.

 1,193 characters

Photo of GClarkage
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

4/17/05- Purchased at a wine and spirits store in Sonoma, CA

Presentation- 11.2oz bottle with no date. Poured into my Corsendonk tulip.

Appearance- Deep and dark, small white tight head and light lacing.

Smell- Pretty heavy on the semi-sweet chocolate and the roasted malts.

Taste- Mmmmm, the chocolate really comes through in this one, even when it's colder. Malts are in good harmony with the dark chocolate taste.

Mouthfeel- Light carbonation, nice semi-thick mouthfeel.

Drinkability- I'f I can find it again, I'll probably snag a few more. I think it was about $2.75 per, but worth it.

 607 characters

Photo of MorningDove
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this porter a few times. I still think this is the best porter I've ever had. Nothing fancy in it and not much complexity. I'd say this is an incredibly simple tasting beer. It is just right, you can keep drinking them if you can afford the $3 a 12oz bottle TotalWine charges for them.

This is not the beer to sip. Its a true English Porter. Drink 1, 2, and 3, wait a bit, then repeat process.

 407 characters

Photo of sprucetip
4.32/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge nose! Woody, boozy, malty. Only 5%, where is that boozy smell coming from, a barrel? A touch of imperial stout like molasses/licorice aroma. Has legs, and I smelled it way before I got my nose to the glass. Impressive.

Not much head. Some lacing though short lived. Dark brown, nearly black.

Woody, boozy, light molasses like taste. Some malty sweetness for balance, hint of roasted grains and faint bitterness. Very balanced and complex.

Low but spot on carbonation level, hint of tingling and warming, almost creamy, pleasant texture. Medium body feels fuller than I expected for 5%.

Very nice, compelling porter. Definitely not too strong, but tastes stronger than it is. Flavor is so mesmerizing that I could plow through a bunch of these. I am truly impressed and surprised. I've had some good English beers, but usually I am not so smitten by them as I am by this one.

 885 characters

Photo of woemad
4.32/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased at Jim's Homebrew in Spokane for $5.75. Label was a little weathered looking. Label purports this beer is creaated using "1825 Yeast salvaged from a sunken vessel in the English Channel using an original 19th century recipe." This beer has bounced around several contract breweries, originally having been brewed by Whitbred.
Poured a very dark brown with a reddish tinge. Head was small, tan and didn't hang around for a while. Lacing was moderate, with a nice collar of foam visible throughout this beer's time in my glass. Smell was of roasted malt, similar to dark chocolate with subtle cherry notes. Taste was of dark, rich, velvety chocolate with fruity notes hovering in the background. The mouthfeel is pleasingly thick. This beer has a filling, stick-to-yer-ribs effect, and would be great paired up with a nice dessert. This same richness works against it in drinkability, as its a little to heavy for repeated pints. All in all a nice porter.

 971 characters

Photo of PorterLambic
4.32/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark brownish-black with ruby red edges. No lace left from the thin head.
Smell is rich, malt, molasses, smoke and peat. Oh, this promises to be good!
Taste is malt, smoke, vanilla, molasses and peat. Nicely balanced and complex.
Medium bodied, smooth, almost creamy after the carbonation drops away. A lingering smoky maltiness and molasses. Yummy! "Thank you, kind publican, may I have another?"

 413 characters

Photo of DrunkPagan
4.31/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Very Dark, very smooth, with hints of vanilla. This porter reminds me very much of the Ravell from Magic hat. While it’s got less of a vanilla flavor, it has more of a porter flavor, a nice dark, toasted aftertaste. It’s very sweet, not particularly hoppy. What I do taste of hops seems to be Willamettes, maybe cascade. (My taste buds aren’t that keen yet, but getting there. Just a few more brews.)

It’s also not terribly heavy like some porters can be. Despite it’s dark brown-to-black color (still slightly transparent) it goes down smooth and light with room for more. You could concievably sit there and go through the whole 4-pack on your own.

I got a single of it for free because it had been in the singles cooler for a long time. It was still good, though. I’d definitely buy it again, but not too often. The 4 pack I saw was $8.99.
Overall, if you have the opportunity, I highly recommend this one. It would be nice on a cold winter night.

 963 characters

Photo of SisuPride
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This English porter has a touch of spice and a little more rich/heavy than a plain jane brown beer. The best attribute of this beer is its aroma. I prefer a beer like this on a cold wintery night. It will fill you up so don't plan on pounding the Original Flag Porter.

 268 characters

Photo of tgbljb
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a very deep reddish-brown color with modest tannish head. Meager lacing.
Smell is an irresistable mixture of strong coffee, bitter chocolate, and ripe, dark fruits.
Taste is extraordinary. combining the coffee chocolate, and dark fruits with a anice roasted malt note.
Finishes rich and creamy in the mouth.
Truly a superior beer.

 341 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Original Flag Porter from Darwin Brewery Ltd.
3.85 out of 5 based on 272 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.