Original Flag Porter | Darwin Brewery Ltd.

very good
184 Reviews
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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

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Reviews: 184 | Ratings: 273
Photo of Sammy
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark, with fast disapearing white head. Malty and a moderate roasty aroma. A bit above average mouthfeel. Very smooth, good drinkability. The taste is mostly rich malts, the roastiness in the secondary. Biased on the sweet side. Good understated carbonation.

 264 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours an opaque black with a 1/4 inch foamy tan head that quickly fades to an oily film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark malt, caramel/toffee, dark fruit, and some port wine aromas. Taste is of dark roasted malt, cocoa powder, and some dark fruit and port wine flavors. There is a mild tartness in the flavor as well. This beer has a low level of carbonation with an almost flat mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very average beer all around and honestly a bit disappointing in my opinion.

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Photo of metter98
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear yet very dark amber (near black) in color and has a light amount of carbonation. It poured with a thin beige head that faded away very slowly and left a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are aromas of semisweet chocolate in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and also has chocolaty flavors but isn't nearly as sweet. There are some notes of coffee and hints of roasted malts.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The beer is easy to drink and it is quite sessionable with the low alcohol content.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First time drinking this beer. I'm thoroughly impressed. Good aromas of chocolate, coffee, barley malts, and roasted malts. A hint of fermentation sourness adds to the complexity. Looks nearly black with a slight tan foamstand that stayed til the end. Tastes full and round with the chocolate, coffee, toffee, caramel, and a hint of cream. Never aggressive not dominant in any flavor. Melded together nicely. Quite rich and smooth on the toung. Easy drinking. Quite silky and bold. I highly recommend.

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Photo of brentk56
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a brutally dark brown body with a flimsy little head and no lacing

Smell: Nice, but faint nose of coffee and mocha

Taste: Initial chocolate milk flavors which fade into a bitter coffee; finishes dry

Mouthfeel: A bit lighter than I would like; low carbonation

Drinkability: All in all, despite its flaws, a very drinkable porter

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Photo of oberon
3.72/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep brown with ruby highlights thru out almost no head to speak of here,great aroma of cocoa,smoke,and dark roasted coffee very rich and appetizing.Taste does not live up to the aroma though somewhat watery but there some smokey flavors and some bitter chocolate.Like I said the beer seemed a little to watery thinbut there are some good characteristics for a quality brew going on.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.72/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a very thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of roasted malts, coffee, dark chocolate, dark fruit and a faint touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out malty and sweet with flavors of dark fruit, black coffee and dark chocolate. There's a touch of smokiness and a mild but complementary hops presence that comes in and provides a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, good representation of style, this is a decent sessionable porter that is worth drinking for a while if you're in the mood for the style.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a clear almost opaque dark cola brown in color with some light gentle carbonation along the edges of the glass and amber highlights. The beer has a half finger tall sudsy foamy tan head that reduces to a very large patch of mottled very thin film covering the majority of the surface of the beer and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of semi-sweet chocolate (like chocolate chips) and light aromas of roasted malts.

T: Upfront there is a light to moderate flavor of roasted malts with moderate flavors of bittersweet chocolate and hints of coffee and nuts. Light amounts of bitterness in the finish which lingers slightly.

M: Light to medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth.

O: Easy to drink with a pleasant amount of complexity of flavors and low alcohol which makes it sessionable.

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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.

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Photo of russpowell
3.37/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep red/chestnut with a 1 finger deep tan head. No lacing or head retention

S: Choclate & that's it

T: Choclate & iron up front. Finishes fruitty witm more iron

MF: A bit thin, but good carbonation

Drinks okay, but nothing special as porters go

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep dark brown, nice opagueness, but still some light through on the sides and bottom. Nice short lived off white head with decent lace and audible carbonation. Smell was a decent english average porter. Caramel sugar and roasted malts were really the most notable aromas. The taste was smooth, crisp, a tad watery with the caramel being mellowed somewhat by a nice albeit small hoppy back. Overall this was a nice light sessionable porter. Could really throw down a few of these and the light caliber went well with dinner. Not really a late night sipper, but not a bad ballgame beer.

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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.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer is chestnut brown with crimson highlights. Atop the beer rests a half inch of soapy, beige head that leaves some nice lacing on the walls of the pint glass.

The aroma offers English malts, bread, biscuits, light roast, toffee, chocolate.

The flavor offers brown bread, chocolate, light roast. Lots of English malt character throughout. Just a hint of hop bitterness in the finish.

Light on the palate. Carbonation is moderately low. The body is a tad thin.

Overall, this is very drinkable. Good stuff. I would have this again.

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Photo of stakem
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Kkottonmouthkngz for the chance to try this one.

Poured into a snifter, this brew appears dark brown in color, nearly black as it sits in the glass. When held to the light it appears ruby through the body with quite a bit of clarity. A finger of tan head forms across the top of this brew and slowly recedes leaving some leggy patches of lace on the glass.

The aroma of this brew includes dark grains that impart a scent of dark chocolate and licorice primarily. A light touch of citrus hops and a bit of alcohol twang through the back that suggests a sourness typical of the style which suggests almost a touch of sulfur.

The taste of this brew is dark grain that is quite drying on the tongue with a lasting flavor of dark almost charred grain that imparts a flavor of bitter chocolate, coffee and licorice. A light twang presence is left on the tongue along with some citrus hop element. Long after each sip is a persistent flavor of chocolate that hangs in the mouth.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest level of carbonation. It is easy drinking and a very decent example of the style. The warmer the brew gets, the more the aroma and flavor clashes with the difference between sour almost lactic notes and fresh chocolate.

 1,248 characters

Photo of BeerForMuscle
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Crystal clear, deep dark amber, head fades fast to a faint layer.

S - Roasted coffee, cocoa powder, semi sweet chocolate. Dry roasted grain. Equal parts sweet and bitter.

T - Dry roasted, grainy, dark bread. Mild black coffee, semi sweet chocolate nibs. Bitter and roasty with a nice finish.

M - Light bodied, drinks more like a nut brown. This beer is mild and drinkable. Lightly carbonated.

O - A beer I'd go for based on how drinkable it is. Good session beer.

 471 characters

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.27/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brewed with 1825 yeast salvaged from a sunken vessel in the English Channel using an original 19th century recipe.

Pours very dark brown that you can barely see through, even though it is clear. Minimal tan head in my snifter. Nose is very nice. Thick chocolate. Not cocoa powder or beans, but more like a chocolate bar. Flavor is as you would expect from the nose. Nice thick malty tones. Pronounced bitter tone stays firm. For staying power, this one keeps a good score. Feel is thin though on the liquid side. A lot less than you would think, but the carbonation is good. This is a very good English Porter. Definitely worth trying, though I would absolutely love to try an extremely fresh sample of this.

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Photo of jwc215
4.17/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Interesting cap on this one - "Contains barley and may contain wheat, oats, rye and spelt". MAY?? Doesn't the brewer know the exact ingredients? Anyway, on to the beer...

Pours very dark brown - almost black with a thin head that becomes a patch leaving little lacing.

The smell is of molasses/toffee, dark wood and a hint of charcoal.

The taste follows the nose very well with a bit more intensity and some underlying earthiness and hints of dark fruit. The charcoal lends a touch of smoke and the balanced sweetness gives way to a dry, woody finish.

It's rather full for a medium-body/

This has the characteristics of a classic English Porter, meeting the requirements of the style very well. Nice example of the style!

 726 characters

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.71/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a nonic, the beer is a mahogany-brown coloring with a filmy, sparse, surface coat of off-white head. Aromas of toffee, caramel, hints of chocolate, and a cream highlight. Flavors are chocolate, coffee, and nut sweetness all blended together, amazingly balanced. Very subtle cream highlights, and not much else. Simple, but spot on. The body is light, almost a bit watered down, but it still has that dry edge you look for in a porter. The aftertaste is more of the coffee and chocolate blend, leaning more to the sweet side now. Smooth, light finish, with a subtle sweet linger. Decent porter.

 619 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 drabmuh
3.63/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The original porter, poured into a Delirium tulip because that's what I had in my hand. Beer is brown and mildly hazy with a decent head without much staying power that leaves some lacing on the glass, low carbonation.

Aroma is mild and a little sweet.

Beer is thinner than expected and mostly sweet with minimal roast in the back of the mouth. It is simple and easy to drink but I fail to see what is special about it. The original yeah I get it but what else? I find myself wanting more of anything here, more body, more carbonation, more sweetness or more roast. I'd have it again but I doubt I'd buy it again, unless on cask, I'd be interested then.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.77/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle purchased at Beers of the World in Henrietta, NY.

This one pours a moderately dark brown, with a filmy white head, and basically no lacing.

Smells like caramel, tart prune and raisin, dry cocoa, toasty malt, and breadiness.

The story behind this one is certainly cool. The taste doesn't live up to the cool story, though. But that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it- there's a nice fruitiness, almost tart, kinda yeasty- I guess it's the funky shipwrecked yeast in there. There's some light chocolate, and a wonderful toastiness, and some slight hop bitterness. It's pretty bready, like grainy brown bread.

This is medium bodied, pretty cream, slightly thin, with a normal level of carbonation.

This is definitely an interesting beer, maybe if it was even fresher it would be better.

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Photo of tempest
3.55/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Smells of sweet, Belgian chocolate at first. Unfortunately, cardboard creeps out as it warms and knocks this down a notch. Otherwise, it's highly drinkable. It appears brown with an off-tan head. The flavor has a touch of herbal hops with the Belgian chocolate and chocolate grains. A tasty beer, I wish I could get it fresh.

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Photo of WesWes
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a deep, dark black color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a rich and creamy black and chocolate malt scent. It is sweet with a bit of a dry finish. The taste is good as well. It has a black and earthy flavor with a sweet, creamy chocolate malt finish. It's thin, but a very flavorful beer that drinks well. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium/full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn fine porter. I love the chocolate characteristics. It has a great aroma and taste; a good drinker.

 568 characters

Photo of DoubleJ
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

How did porter taste during the 19th century? With a recipe from the 19th century and yeast from a sunken vessel, Original Flag Porter will at least get me close. 330 ml bottle, on to the beer:

Darker than expected; it's nearly charcoal black in color with a little ruby brown hue. The head drops into a thin lace on top. The nose somewhat reminds me of the porter I've come to expect. This one has a malted chocolate ball smell, closely with burning bread and soft yeast. Despite the light body, there's good flavor in this one. Toffee candies come to mind first thing. Nutty as well. Soft yeast adds a distinct layer of flavor. There are nimble notes of roasted malt and raisin. These flavors crawl into the aftertaste.

To my surprise, the whole package is considerably tasty and drinkable. One of the sweeter porters I've had, and with little doubt one of the better tasting ones I've had.

 895 characters

Photo of flagmantho
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 11.2 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: almost black with a ruby tinge; a huge tan head present.

Smell: roasty grain, pretty nice.

Taste: very roasty and a little chocolatey with a slight astringency. Quite middle-of-the-road for an English porter, but not bad at all.

Mouthfeel: medium body with an OK level of carbonation.

Drinkability: it's not a bad beer, but really its flavor is just not my cup of tea, which impacts its drinkability.

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Original Flag Porter from Darwin Brewery Ltd.
3.85 out of 5 based on 273 ratings.
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