Dismiss Notice
Get 12 monthly issues of BeerAdvocate magazine and save $5 when you select "auto-renew."

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join our email list →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.

Schwartz Bier - Devils Backbone Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Schwartz BierSchwartz Bier

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

52 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 52
Hads: 292
Avg: 3.8
pDev: 25.79%
Wants: 11
Gots: 66 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Devils Backbone Brewing Company
Virginia, United States | website

Style | ABV
Schwarzbier | 5.10% ABV

Availability: Summer

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: on 07-24-2009

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 52 | Hads: 292
Photo of Owlish1
4.52/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a glass. Almost black body with a smallish tan head which disappeared quickly but left a ring of lacing. Malty aroma with hints of Coffee and something charred, perhaps the lingering remains of tobacco in an old pipe. Light to medium mouthfeel. Medium carbonation. Very smooth and drinkable. No overpowering bitterness. I like this beer.

 363 characters

Photo of 88caprice
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a pilsner glass.

OVERALL: A really good schwartz. Not too bitter or overly complex.

LOOK: A nice cola black. Minimal head that dissipated quickly.
SMELL: Very roasty. A little charred. Hints of dark caramel and wet coffee grounds. Almost an old tobacco pipe effect.
TASTE: Dark roasted malts with a charred edge. Some burnt sugar. Flavor is more single-noted than complex.
MOUTHFEEL: Light to medium body with some smoothness.

 454 characters

Photo of drtth
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The beer pours out into a Duvel glass a dark brown, almost black color, with some reddish highlights. The fluffy, almost 2" light tan head recedes only slowly and leaves lots of small patches of lacing. Sipping creates a few small patches and speckles of lacing. Mid-way through the beer there's a small layer of foam on the liquid and even to the end there's a small ring leaving isolated patches on the side of the glass.

The aromas include lightly roasted malt that create a dark bread character with hints of dark chocolate and coffee in the background.

The flavors are much as expected from the nose with some lightly roasted malt and some touches of chocolate and coffee hanging around as well.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a light crispness from the mild but persistent carbonation. The finish is medium long with the malt sweetness disappearing first leaving the roast character and the chocolate and coffee to slowly fade from the scene leaving a touch of dryness.

Over all this seems to be a pretty well made Schwarzbier that would serve well during an evening party that included dinner and time for long chats with friends. I certainly could drink another. That said, it doesn't quite bump some of the others I've tried from my "buy again" list. (Although it comes close and if this were more easily found locally....)

 1,349 characters

Photo of JamesBondGA
3.91/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

poured a dark brown in color with a tan, creamy head. Nice cocoa notes hit the nose, with a little caramel. Taste is like a coffee mixed with some caramel and chocolate milk. Pretty tasty.

 189 characters

Photo of mpyle
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Very deep amber color, brilliantly clear. Pours slightly tannish head, creamy and long lasting.

Dark malt aroma, semi-roasty but not quite. Subtle smoke.

Rich malty flavors up front, very well balanced (malty but not overly sweet). Very clean in the finish. No overt hopiness, but they are providing adequate bitterness.

Medium body, medium high carbonation. Aside from the slightly high carbonation, very easy on the palate.

Not a style I know well, but found this to be a delightful dark malt lager. Very smooth and drinkable.

 538 characters

Photo of jmasher85
3.46/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Less flavor than I was hoping for, and one of the few from this brewery that hasn't wowed me on the first sip. A bit malty, slightly thin texture, though it is a lager so I guess it fits the profile there. I just figure if you're working with this style, in this day and age, put a little more oomph into it unless you're going for something with deliberately less oomph. Either way, totally drinkable, perfectly enjoyable, a bit malty, a bit ashy/burnt, and a nice, if unremarkable take on the style. But hey, drink locally!

 529 characters

Photo of gautch726
3.76/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A damn fine looking dark pour with a nice, medium frothy head. Smells of autumn and has a roasted taste to it. Not overpowering. Just a smooth, easy beer to drink with a light finish. Recommend for relaxing with friends in colder weather. Nothing crazy, just enjoyable.

 274 characters

Photo of qchic
3.69/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Well done Schwartz bier. Looks nice, subtle roasty aroma and smooth, smooth drinking! Nice afternoon beer to begin a session. Recommended when trying to not overdo it.

 167 characters

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a shaker pint, the beer is a deep, dark, auburn highlighted, brown coloring with a halo of off-white head. Aromas of richly sweet nut and chocolate, smoky highlights, and a bitter coffee backbone. Flavors are richly sweet forward, nutty, creamy, and with chocolate highlights. There are roasted overtones, hints of smoke, and a tangy cream profile at the end of the palate. Mid-bodied, with a slight effervescence, and a dry undertone. The aftertaste is a subtle smoky highlighted blend of candy-like sweet notes all blending together. Smooth, slightly dry, slightly effervesced finish. Not bad.

 621 characters

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased at Cogan's Pizza in Norfolk, VA.

It pours decently dark black, with a white foamy head, and a little bit of lacing.

Smells like roasted malt, some light smoke, cream, and caramel.

This is a pretty tasty dark lager here, fairly roasty and earthy, with some light sweetness in the form of caramel and light creaminess. There's some smokiness that's fairly mild as well.

This is medium bodied, with a creamy mouthfeel, and a moderate level of carbonation.

A nice roasty dark lager, nothing crazy, just well crafted.

 534 characters

Photo of DuffDaddy
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Many pints with the brewery reps visiting Winston Salem for tap takeovers at The Bull Tavern and Carlisle's. We hooked up with the reps and the distributor and they bought our drinks for the night! Great beer and great fun - lots of swag!!

 241 characters

Photo of Marraybay
2/5  rDev -47.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured from a 12oz bottle. Dry, bitter, nothing remarkable wrt presentation or mouthfeel. No elements of sweetness: A somewhat one dimensional taste profile. Would definitely recommend New Belgium's 1554 as a better alternative black beer, at least given my experience, but as always, one-oft bottles may not be entirely representative, as some are reporting far pleasanter experiences.

 388 characters

Photo of illpass78
4.14/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

11 oz. on draft at Lebanese Taverna in Pentagon City, Virginia. Poured into a long stemmed glass that sort of resembles a cappuccino glass without the handle.

Appearance: Pours a clear black with a one-finger head that retains briefly. Lots of ringed lacing on way down. Head is kind of tannish. Looks like a stout or porter.

Aroma: Smells of some herbal hops and a lightly toasted grains. Some mild hop stickiness. Faintly grassy, or herbaceous.

Taste: Tasty combination of toasty grains and grassy, prickly hops. Doesn't taste like what it looks like, at least to me. "Dark beer," to me, means porters and stouts, so this is a fun change-up.

Mouthfeel: Pretty light and easy. Nowhere near as dense as I'm used to from dark beers.

Overall: I dig this. Would have again. Nice to have a dark beer that works in summer or spring. Good pair for these awesome falafels, too. May the Schwartz be with you.

 905 characters

Photo of cbutova
4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A- Black body pour to a becher with a light tan, creamy foamy head rising up to two fingers. Pretty good retention. Spotty lace with a few webs.

S- Roast barley and milky cereal grains hinting to a light sweetness. At this stage it reminds me of cocoa cereal, the good stuff. Toasted nuts and just a hint of German yeast esters.

T- Clean and to the point which I find is a strength in this style. Dry roasted grains with a lack of any bitterness giving notes of milk chocolate and toasted nuts. Slight fruits, cereal grains and breadiness.

MF- Very light bodied but kept safe by a smooth creaminess brought on by the moderate bubbles. Light bitterness throughout.

Super smooth and amazingly clean performance from the yeast. Cocoa and cereal grains delivered by a creamy body. A black brew you can drink in super hot weather.

 829 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle with a 22 Sept. 2014 date stamp.

Pours clear, dark red-brown with a decent head, but the head soon reduces to a ring.

True to style, this is a very well crafted Schwarzbier. Plenty of sweet toffee in the aroma; caramel, coffee and black bread in the flavor. Lightly sweet.

O: Nearly as good as Sprecher's, this is highly recommended for style

 364 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown, near black, body with a half inch of khaki head. Chocolate, nutty, earthy, aroma. Chocolate and caramel malt with a hint of yeast and afterthoughts of coffee. Dark and rich. Light to medium bodied with soft carbonation and a mild hop note in the back end. Solid.

 274 characters

Photo of tigg924
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Really good schwarzbier that is better than most domestic attempts at this style that I have had. Flavor is a nice mix of coffee, roasted malt, and a bit of cream. Stout like, but much lighter in body. I would reach for this if I was looking for this style.

 260 characters

Photo of KWrightVT
3.87/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I had never had a black lager before, but was pleasantly surprised. This was poured into a half pint glass from the tap at Devil's Backbone Outpost. Very nice dark brown to black color, with very little head. Aroma was nice and toasty, with slight coffee and chocolate hints. Mouthfeel was light. Excellent stout-like flavor, without being overly powerful. A great drinkable beer with good flavor and balance.

 409 characters

Photo of TheLibertyFlamesTaster
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Very dark in color.
Very little light shines trough the berr.
Smell-A sweet almost licorice smell.
Taste- Lots of carbonation up front. smoky sweetness is the taste,
Pretty good beer.

 185 characters

Photo of delta490
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%

Pours an almost black dark brown. Moderate light tan head melts away quickly. The aroma is dark caramel sweetness, a light roasted malt note and a little earthy hops. It's also very light. The taste is very similar with an interesting vanilla note in the middle. The body is lighter and there is a little carbonation on the finish.

 332 characters

Photo of RonaldTheriot
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Devil’s Backbone Schwartz Bier has a thin-to-medium, cream-colored head, a very dark brown (lighter around the edges) appearance, some visible stray bubbles, and moderate lacing left behind. The aroma is of toasted, dark bread crust, some cream, and general malt. Taste is of sweet malt, bread crust, and just a kiss of the hops. Mouthfeel is light to medium, and Devil’s Backbone Schwartz Bier finishes semi-wet and highly drinkable.


 444 characters

Photo of neenerzig
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

So, I am currently on vacation with my wife and her family in Virginia for a few days visiting her mother's family. Today we are at Busch Gardens for the day, as we are all fans of amusement parks in general and most of us are fans of roller coasters. So we are in the Deutschland area of the park for lunch and I see this beer here on tap. Never heard of this brewery before so I decided to take a chance. Serves to me in a plastic pint glass, this beer draws a very dark brown color that isn't letting in any light. Has a nice, slightly tan head that is about 1/2 of an inch when first poured, eventually setting to a thick ring lining the inside of the cup and a decent surface film coating of foam. Barely any lacing though. Aromas of roasted caramel Malts and not much else which is probably just the way this beer should smell. Flavored of dark, roasted caramel malts with perhaps a hint or chocolate and coffee that is rounded out with a slight touch of hops. Again not very complex, but spot on I think. Has a nice smooth, frothy, slightly creamy, somewhat crisp mouthfeel with light to moderate carbonation. Easy toto drink in the manner a tasty beer should be!


 1,176 characters

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.46/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a dark brown color. The head is a finger high, mocha in shade, and VERY creamy-looking. Retention is fine enough for the style, while a nice ring of lacing is left on the glass.

S: Some solid brown sugar notes are coming through quite well. There are also lighter aromas of coffee and chocolate. This is a pleasant nose in general - mild, but pleasant.

T: Fairly roasty for the style. While there's an initial and lesser finishing note of brown sugar, in the middle lies a good amount of roasted coffee. A combination of sweet caramel and gentle noble hopping builds up slightly after a few sips. I'm glad it isn't overly cola-esque, too.

M: This one feels rather sharp-edged, light, and coarse on the palate. Those who aren't bothered by the 'bite' will find a dry (not bone-dry), drinkable offering. The intense carbonation should be toned down about 10%, though.

O: This is the first beer from these guys that I didn't find utterly average. It's very easy to drink, yet with a decent coffee flavor. I'd definitely drink this again.

 1,080 characters

Photo of cyclonece09
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a 14 oz "pint" glass. Pours reddish black with a small off white head. Smells of coffee. Tastes of dark roasted grain and coffee. Beer is light bodied and good carbonation, nice finish. Overall a very good beer.

 243 characters

Photo of JamieDuncan
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Picked this up as part of a mixed 6 from Ye Ole. I have only had one Devils Backbone beer to date so did not really have any expectations. Also have not had much of this style so not sure what to expect or compare it to. Love the look of the beer, dark and clean. Very easy to drink with some nice flavor. Very interesting style and beer. A lot of the aspects of a stout but very drinkable which would make it a session beer. Overall a very good beer that I enjoyed very much and would not mind having again. No idea what a six goes for but an interesting beer to keep in the fridge to share with others.

 604 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Schwartz Bier from Devils Backbone Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 52 ratings.