Tag Archives: Flat Earth

Brew Review: Black Helicopter Stout

12 Nov

Brew: Black Helicopter

Brewed by: Flat Earth Brewing Co. (St. Paul, MN)

Style: Oatmeal Coffee Stout (5.2% ABV)


Flat Earth brewing again.  This beer seems to be their most popular after their fall seasonal release of Mummy Train pumpkin porter.  So I saw it for a marked down price, I think it had been sitting on the shelf for about a year at my local bottle shop and they finally marked it down.  I don’t know for sure because Flat Earth doesn’t do bottle dates on their single bottles but I have a pretty good idea.  Haven’t had much luck with any Flat Earth brews but here goes.

The Black Helicopter poured out pitch black, pretty much what you would expect. Half inch tan or khaki head reduces down to nothing, not even a cap of foam on this brew after a minute or so. Average looking stout, the head dissipation was a bit disappointing. 

Upon first whiff, this beer emanates rich roast and coffee smells.  Smells kind of like stepping into a Caribou or Starbucks, pretty much dominated by coffee.  I can pick up that this is going to have some bitterness lying underneath from the roast and coffee.  There is a bit of breadiness that shows up as well.

The taste is lots of coffee.  Dominated by coffee with a thin mouthfeel to it. Slight bitterness from the brunt and roasted grains and the additional Dunn Brothers added coffee.  There is not much else from this brew other than coffee and bitterness.  Nothing sweet to round it out, maybe should have added a creamer and some sugar to this black cup o’ Joe.  No chocolate, nothing.  just a hollow tang that leaves my mouth with an unpleasant aftertaste.

This beer needed more, lots more.  It needed maybe some more oats to smooth the body out and maybe some lactose to increase the mouthfeel.  It desperately needed some sweetness to combat the bitter tang from the coffee and burnt grains.  This has the start of a good brew but the recipe needs to be tweaked to really make it pop.  I will give it the benefit of the doubt but it has a long way to go.


Final Grade: C+


Brew Review: Northwest Passage IPA

27 Apr

Brew: Northwest Passage

Brewed By: Flat Earth Brewing Co. (St. Paul, MN)

Style: American IPA (6.5% ABV)

When I first picked Northwest Passage off the shelf I thought I was getting myself into another glorious hoppy brew that would fire up my taste buds with hoppy oils and IBU’s pushing the limits.  I was also hoping that my beloved hometown of St. Paul, Minnesota would produce a beer that would put itself on the map of craft brewing (other than Summit of course) and become a staple of many a beer lover’s regular brew routines.  Well, my friends, I didn’t find either.

I have had a couple Flat Earth brews and almost all have fallen short of something great, with the exception of Angry Planet which was decent.  Northwest Passage pours out a very light, transparent amber, something that you would expect from a pilsner or maybe a lighter lager.  Kimbo Slice would not be afraid of this feeble hop punch.

The aroma is equally as bland as the taste with grassy hop smells, but not a whole ‘knock-you-off-your seat’ aroma that would be expected from “the Midwest’s hoppiest beer.”

The flavor was a little better than the aroma, it was definitely more bitter, but there was no blending of malts to go with or back up the hops.  At a supposed 115 IBU’s, this brew is certainly not the “hoppiest beer” from our great state, or any other nearby.  The bitterness of the hops lasts the whole trip, yet it leaves an unpleasant aftertaste.  I was waiting the whole time for the hops to come and show up for their main stage performance, but they must have gotten a little drunk and never made it.

Being that it’s pretty cheap for a bomber I would say give it a go – why not – but don’t expect greatness or even a good beer.  Northwest Passage falls between mediocre and fairly disappointing.

Final Grade:  C