Original Flag Porter | Darwin Brewery Ltd.

very good
184 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
Reviews: 184 | Ratings: 273
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 fountainofyouth
4.07/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchased a 4-pack. Poured into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Even with a quick pour, not much head. There's about a half-finger of khaki bubbles that disappears pretty quickly. Straight-on, the beer is a dark brown. Up to light, there's some amber and ruby red that pokes through the translucent brown. Sporadic lacing. Good look for a porter.

Smell: A very delightful, sweet aroma. Caramel malt and hops are there in roughly equal parts and blend really well. There's an odd scent of soy sauce or marinated meat, yet somehow it actually works perfectly. With just a little bit more power, this would be the most pleasant-smelling beer I've ever had.

Taste: The malt is both bitter and sweet. There's a light roastiness, like a diluted dry stout. Herbal hops on the finish that don't overpower. Restrained flavors, as you would expect from an English beer. Not too distinctive, but very good overall.

Mouthfeel: Moderate carbonation. Medium body and slightly slick mouthfeel.

Overall: This is a fine beer, but I'm not sure I'd say it was worth the price. If you're not on a budget, go for it.

 1,103 characters

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(Served in a nonic)

A- This beer has a dense black body with a garnet glow at the base and a creamy light tan head that sticks to the side of the glass in sheets with each sip.

S- The aroma has a flinty quality with a soft tart note that takes on more of a cherry ester hint as it opens up. There is a roasted malt favor that is clean with a raw grain quality that grows also.

T- The taste has a very faint tartness that is quickly overtaken by a roasted malt flavor with some chocolate notes to it. There are some light estery notes that lead to a dry clean finish. Only a soft roasted hint hangs in the finish.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a soft fizz that is just strong enough to scrub the finish.

D- This beer has some subtle but unique qualities underneath a mellow roasted malt flavor and a nice light cherry tartness that compliments the flinty hint in the nose.

 891 characters

Photo of ramseye4
3.87/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A=Pours an extremely dark and enticing dark brown color with a creamy, fluffy 2 finger head that leaves an almost solid wall of lacing down the glass.
S=Roasted malt, and a surprising amount of chocolate, very rich
T=Not quite as robust as the taste, the roasted malt taste is very good but outside of that and a bit of chocolate it is very simple
M=A tad bit watery, moderately carbonated
O=Good porter, a beer with highs and lows, but very solid overall.

 457 characters

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 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 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.

 608 characters

Photo of DoctorB2B
4.27/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm a Porter fan ... so I judge them harder than some other styles. The folks at Darwin did a very nice job with their rendition. At first sight, I thought, man ... it's not as dark as I would have expected which is fine. When help to light, you see the ruby throughout, not just on the edges as some mentioned.

The aroma is VERY nice .. sweet, a bit of licorice in there, lots of dark fruit (prune especially). The nose fools you into thinking you might get a slightly sweet beer, which is not the case. If there is any sweetness, it's there for a moment and then gone, overtaken by the roasted malts.

I'll but this one again, when it's time to read a book about 19th century beer brewing, which happens to be every so often.

 730 characters

Photo of goldbot
3.97/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark mahogany color, almost black with thin, tan head that dissipates quickly. Some lacing. Rich, roasty malt aroma, bready with some caramel and raisin notes. Roasted malt flavor, a bit of sweet caramel. Hints of raisin and licorice. Good depth of flavor and complexity. Subtle bitterness. Medium body with a slightly chewy mouthfeel.

 335 characters

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

A. poured into a flute. very clear, ruby- black. head for two fingaz, then subsided to a light covering with lacing.
S. minor metallic note. burnt sugar, raisin, and prune. lots of dark fruit like there's a lot of dark crystal malt in the grist. No noticeable hops. nose is very sweet implying a lot of residual sugars
T. and surprise, there aren't any. roast malt. smooth as heck. there is a bit of sweetness on the finish which is quickly overtaken by roastiness; this is a really nice effect. I would expect this to have a much richer flavor profile than it does. I really enjoy the dark fruits but the middle of the taste does leave something to be desired.
M. I do not notice the over-carbonation of other reviewers, all i can focus on is this silky mouthfeel, its amazing. It does coat the mouth a little bit, what i do it jsut drink more of the beer then, leading nicely into the next section...
D. Oh yeah, getting this one again. With that silky mouthfeel, i would gladly accept many waves of this ruby-black ambrosia. cliche, but it is 1825 and all...

 1,061 characters

Photo of BayouBengal1537
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured a really dark black with ruby hues around the edges. small tan head quickly dissipated and left no lacing. Smells of roasted malts, chocolate, and coffee. Taste is pretty much the same, nice roasted taste in the back, and some nutty flavor at the end. Mouthfeel was pretty thin and I felt lacking to me. I was expecting more robust flavor of something, but the thiness kind of threw me off. Overall its a pretty good beer but I would not find myself seeking this one out again.

 484 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 breweryaprntc13
3.48/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark black with a dirty white head, recedes normally to leave little to no lacing.

Roasted malts, dark fruits, coffee

Surprisingly light malt flavors, caramel, salty, yeast notes, roasted malts, slight molasses.

Medium body, heavily carbonated but still somewhat smooth.

Does not impress, but offers a few unique flavors. Nothing I would go out of my way to have again, but I wouldnt turn one down if offered.

 413 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.

 655 characters

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 Mancer
3.67/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a medium dark brown color with a one finger high, light brown head. The head dissipated to a light ring of lace, which clung moderately to the glass. The initial smell was that of a roasted barley, hints of chocolate and light coffee. Almost immediately, this smell shifted from a strong roast, to one that resembled roasted water, giving it a cheap feel. The initial taste of the beer was primarily roasted barley, light fudge, and progressed to a bread like flavor with light molasses. The finish was very subtle and didn't leave much impression. This brew had a medium body with medium carbonation.

Overall, this beer was ok. This wasn't as pronounced with its flavors, and seemed somewhat muddy. The bite from the carbonation was nice and the body was good. However, in the end I wouldn't buy this again.

 826 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 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 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 beveritt
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up on a recent trip to NY as a beer I had not seen around Ohio. Poured into a Shaker pint glass. Label is gold with a ship in black and some white lettering and accents. Says that this is brewed using a 19th century recipe and yeast recovered from a ship which sank in 1825. No freshness date.

Appearance: Pours with 2+ fingers of medium to dark tan head. This settles slowly to a still puffy cap of foam leaving behind nice sticky lacing coverage. The beer itself is a dark mahogany; dark enough to be opaque in the center of the glass. No sediment remains in the bottle, I guess no one will be cultivating yeast from this beer in 185 years.

Smell: Roasted barley and molasses with a slight hint of smokiness and peat. Just the slightest sourness in the end.

Taste: Biscuit malt upfront with a slight butterscotch note and less roastiness than one would expect from the aroma. The smoke is here again, ever so slightly appearing a split second after the swallow. Finishes with an earthy, molasses sweetness and lingers well after the sip.

Mouthfeel: Average to lower than average carbonation level, as is appropriate for this style. Body is very good, thick and viscous.

Drinkability: An infinitely drinkable porter that seems to conform very well to the historical description of the mixed beer style. Not sure if this is available locally, but I would certainly revisit it.

 1,393 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
4.24/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a dark brown to black as I can see, with less than a finger of tan head. Some lace.

S: Very appealing, with a striking myriad of different chocolates, with some blackberry and cherry. Some sweet licorice.

T: Light chocolate and dark malt with a light fruitiness. The ale yeast really comes across giving it a complexity you're more apt to find in Belgian beers. A good flavour, but not full-flavoured.

M: Very soft carbonation, light-bodied, easy on the palate, little bit of a tang at the finish, very drinkable.

D: Tasty, low alcohol it would make for a nice session porter. English Porters have really been impressing me as of late, and this is another good one.

 696 characters

Photo of busternuggz
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 11.2 oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.
Looks good. Nice pale brown frothy head, dark brown in color. Head sticks around with a thin film for a while, comes back nicely with a swirl. Leaves some spotty, clingy lacing.
The smell is very nice. Smoky/char up front, with an underlying dark fruit, I wanna say blackberry, and a little chocolate. A touch of sweet caramel. Something a little different seems to come out each time I smell it.
Smoke and licorice on the taste, a little cocoa, a bit of roastiness in the middle. A nice lightly bitter aftertaste with a little bit of woody smoke. The taste seems to wash out as it warms up though. Pleasant but not mind blowing.
The texture lets me down on this one. Pretty thin, but not quite watery. Clings to the tongue just a bit.
Very smooth and easy drinking, if not particularly engaging.
Smooth and decent but there's much better porters. I'd keep this one cold too, everything about it seems to weaken as it gets warmer.

 989 characters

Photo of kbutler1
3.06/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle. Grabbed this on a whim after seeing it in the cooler. Pours a lighter brown color with a nice slightly tan head. The nose reminds me of light roast coffee and almost chocolate or fudge and maybe some caramel. The taste is subdued and easy. Smooth with any real bite at all only a slight bite of bitter in the end. I was hoping for something more like New Glarus Olde English Porter so it is kind of a let down in that respect but this is a very easy drinking porter. Very different compared to todays porters. The mouthfeel is pretty light.

 548 characters

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

Color is ruby brown and very clear. Head is tan and faded with porter typical speed.

Aroma is malt. Light coffee notes. Some alcohol but not too much.

Taste is soft brown malt and light roasted barley. Light toffee/coffee notes follow. No chocolate and slightly warming.

Mouthfeel is moderate with low carbonation

Nicely drinkable with a soft roasted aftertaste.

 366 characters

Photo of biggred1
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear dark coffee brown with a slight filmy tan cap. Dark fruit, coffee and faint notes of charred oak and herbal hops in the nose. Raisin and molasses with mild roasty malt flavors, pretty spot on for an English porter. The body is on the lighter side of medium. The beer doesn't really live up to the cool story on the bottle but is a nice English session beer.

 363 characters

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

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.