1. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $14.99 (US/print only). Offer ends April 30. Subscribe now! (Because great beer deserves great stories AND readers.)

Schwartz Bier - Devils Backbone Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Schwartz BierSchwartz Bier

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

239 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 239
Reviews: 41
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 10.5%
Wants: 9
Gots: 41 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Devils Backbone Brewing Company visit their website
Virginia, United States

Style | ABV
Schwarzbier |  4.90% ABV

Availability: Summer

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

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view more.
Ratings: 239 | Reviews: 41
Reviews by redfox405:
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.81/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours into my schwarbier glass a deep cola color with a light beige head sitting perfectly atop,just a great pour.Aromas of chocolate and earth with light roast...not overpowering,smells like a great dessert beer.Chocolaty sweet flavors but not overly so,some more brown sugar comes into play giving more sweetness but a big earthy backbone keeps the sweetness from taking over,roast is bigger as I drink more but the lager smoothness holds thr to the finish.I like this rendition of the style,it's alot better than most American versions in my opinion.

Photo of tigg924
4/5  rDev +5%
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.

Photo of chinchill
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
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

Photo of Jeffreysan
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce bottle poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours completely black and devoid of all light, like tar, with two fingers of oatmeal-colored head that lasted forever! Beautiful looking beer!

Aroma: Lots of roasted malt, burnt sugar and toffee. Slight coffee notes. Chocolate.

Taste: Like the aroma, lots of roasted malt and bitter chocolate (in a good way!). Some smoke, but not overpowering like a smoked beer or German rauchbier. Slight notes of caramel, burnt sugar. Delicious!

Mouthfeel: Medium with tons of carbonation. Very refreshing.

Overall: This is a great beer! A great example of what an American version of a little known and often ignored German style of beer, the Schwarzbier. I’m going to have to keep some more of this on hand.

Photo of rdilauro
2.75/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

My first Schwartz Bier... Just when you think you have tried so many different beers.
This one poured jet black like a stout except you could tell it was much thinner and lighter.
There wasnt a pronounce nose except for a faint hint of European hops which I normally find in German and Czech Pilsners.
This beer went do very easy, almost too easy. I could see why sitting around a table it would be very easy to drink a number of these

Photo of Kegatron
3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap @ the brewpub. Pours black with a sturdy light mocha head that rings the sides with rich swathes of lace. Smells floral and green with citric hops. This blends in with a combo of cocoa powder and some sweeter toffee flavors, while a firm roastiness shores up the back. The taste is similar, with a smooth blend of cocoa, caramel, dark malts and a crisp citric bite that leaves a touch of bitterness and roast in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a clean and tight feel all around. Flavorful and very drinkable, this is one of the better Schwartzbiers I’ve had lately.

Photo of jtierney89
4.3/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle says 5.1% ABV. Deep brown almost black in color. Off white head that thins out rather quickly. Black chocolate and coffee on the nose. No astringency, rather clean nose.

Very interesting. Very savory beer while being rather light bodied. Toasted grain, some burnt coffee and chocolate, savory on the mid-palate, Faint bitterness cleans up remaining flavors. Beer finishes clean and balanced. Subtle but with some great flavors that go together really well. Faint burnt ends that add to the flavor rather then take away from it. A really nice schwarzbier.

Photo of Treyliff
3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- pours pitch-black with a foamy light tan head, good retention long after the pour

S- dark roasted grainy malt, light coffee and toffee aromas, slightly smoky with a touch of chocolate

T- dry and smoky, almost some smoked meat characteristics, chocolaty, a bit of charred malt, light notes of coffee and caramel, the finish is dry and smoky with just a touch of chocolate

M- medium body with high carbonation, foamy mouthfeel leads to a foamy and spritzy finish

O- dry and smoky with some nice chocolate notes, refreshing brew and a solid example of the style

Photo of smakawhat
3.98/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a tall pilsner style glass.

A very dark walnut black, with hints of red, a real dark lager for sure. Makes a nice tan head with soapy retention, and leaves lots of speckled tiny clumped up lacing. Real dark brew, good head and retention, impressive.

The brew has a great nose. Light toasty malts, and hints of creamy coffee. Great wonderful chewy grain and pumpernickel like bread. Hints a little bit of milk chocolate hiding as well. A real inviting bouquet.

Palate hits with the right notes that came from the nose, but are much more downplayed. Good hint of grain roast, but there's a little bit of acrid sourness on the finish just a touch. Mouthfeel seems about right, with a hint of light character but plenty of malt depth to carry the flavors. There's also a hint of lager like crispness that just wants to peak out, with a coffee sensing roast character.

Overall it's a pretty solid Schwarz but nothing mind blowing or something I would desperately pickup again. I would drink this again with no problem if I had a choice.

Photo of Cyrion
2.97/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a standard shaker pint.

Appearance: Very dark, basically black. Sports a 2 inch tan head. A great deal of carbonation on the sides. Leaves attractive concentric rings around the glass.

Smell: Sweet toffee. I'd even say it has a sugary pastry smell, like a hot cross bun. Chocolate is there, as well as a slight amount of coffee.

Taste: Chocolate malt, with very little coffee bitterness. There's a bit of toast here and dark fruit, but frankly, these are being drowned out. A strong metallic flavor appears quickly, and when combined with the heavy carbonation, it's tasting a bit like a cola soda. Very unappealing, and it's leaving a citric acid aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Very thin.

Overall: Not sure if the metallic cola taste is an undesired element or not, but the end result is a brackish lager that has limited appeal.

Photo of Beer-A-Lot
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into pint.

A solid and satisfying, easy drinking beer. It probably could use just a bit more body or fruits to give it more oomph, but it still is pretty tasty. Probably my favorite beer from this brewery so far. A good sessionable beer to go with food, since it won't fill you too much.

Photo of Immortale25
3.62/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter. No freshness date.

A- Pours a fully opaque black color with a 1/2 inch tan head that retains a bit before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a half sheet of surface foam. Resilient lacing trickles down the glass leaving a jagged ring behind.

S- Metallic aroma with some dark roast and coffee. Also has some nuttiness.

T- Flavor is a bit more enjoyable with some smooth dark roast and chocolate. Very easy drinking due to barely any alcohol being detected. Slightly bitter from the hops and roast.

M- Thin, even for a dark lager. Medium carbonation and a body that's a bit too light.

O- Certainly quaffable, but doesn't have much character.

Photo of blackie
4.3/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

post-hike draft at the brewpub back in the pre-bottling days, entered from notes...

a: served in a tall, curved logo glass, this black lager is surprisingly black in color - only some slight brown showing on the edges, sporting a mocha colored head with good retention

s: the nose features roasted barley malts providing aromas of roast, coffee, and cocoa with a modest caramel sugar underneath, hops earthy, very nice aroma with a strength not expected from a low abv lager - even a dark one

m: carbonation moderate, and the body deceptively light but still carrying a bit of malty weight

t: the palate features dark barley roast with hints of steeped coffee and dry chocolate powder painted on a structure of clean lager malts, flashes of caramel sugar but transitioning to a crisp dryness after the swallow, the interplay of malt types creating lots of variance within each sip, hop flavors of earthy grass and a moderate bitterness to the clean finish

o: greatly enjoyed this scwarzbier - maybe it was the mood of a warm late summer evening in the mountains, but it's one of my favorites of the style, as this one seemed to have more character than most schwarzbiers I've had - and maybe blurred what I expected from the style a little bit

Photo of RonaldTheriot
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

RJT

Photo of obywan59
3.41/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown, but shows ruby highlights when held up to a light. Tannish 2 finger head that recedes leaving minimal lacing.

Light malt and spicy hops. A bit of chocolate. Sspice predominates.

Dry and tart. Again a hint of chocolate. Light citrus and a light bitter follow through.

Mouthfeel is moderate. Carbonation is noticeable. A bit drying.

This beer is okay. Maybe DB is targeting mass appeal, but to me this is on the B list. It's very drinkable and would make for an easy session. Definitely better than the macros. but a bit of a let down for those with a more adventurous taste.

Photo of Joe0031
3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice dark pour, very little head. Smell is good has a nice coffee flavor. Tastes exactly what I expected it to after the smell but the strong bitter after taste got me. To me it has an almost coffee taste. I can't pinpoint the mix with coffee it has but overall I can't complain and would probably buy again.

Photo of JamieDuncan
3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
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.

Photo of neenerzig
3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
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!

Eric

Photo of cyclonece09
3.85/5  rDev +1%
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.

Photo of ckollias
3.94/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this 12 oz bottle of a large snifter glass.

A: Pours a dark blackish hue with a tan head that slowly dissipates into a solid persistent lace leaving a semi trail down the glass.

S: Malty aroma with deep chocolate overtones.

T: Smooth malty flavor with coffee and chocolate background that finishes on the dry side.

M: Medium body and medium carbonation.

O: Excellent brew – solid flavors and aromas.

Photo of Gavage
4.32/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: dark brown almost black in color with a 1" tan colored head.

Aroma: chocolate and roasted malts were easily detectable.

Taste: mild roasted malt, dark chocolate, hints of espresso, prunes, and a moderate balancing bitterness creates a flavorful beer.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, but a bit thinner than a porter. Lightly crisp to start, smooth at the finish. Long roasted flavor aftertaste.

Drinkability: this beer was extremely quaffable and very flavorful. One of the better beers during my visits to the brewpub.

Photo of chilly460
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured a clear, auburn brown, quite dark as expected. No head at all for this pour, just a light ring of bubbles around the outside of the glass. Swishing brought minimal carbonation to the top. Little in the way of lacing as well.

S: Somewhat muted, even as it warmed. First impression is toasted grain, with a bit of more robust roasted malts in there as well. Earthy, grassy hops are in the background.

T: Again, the taste came through as mild. Initially get that toasted grain, some more roasted malt as picked up in the aroma as well. As it warms, started to get a bit of sweet chocolate, and some caramel sweetness too. Not a flavor bomb, but it grew on me, like a good bowl of cereal.

M: Somewhat thin body, very crisp, although doesn't appear to be heavily carbonated. Do not get a 'prickly' carbonation from it.

O: This is not the most robust beer, but I believe it works as a nice session beer. It's warm and refreshing, with a grainy profile that is nice to sip.

Photo of KWrightVT
3.87/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

Photo of Noahtrumble
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

Not bad, but not great. More like a stout then a lager

Photo of Zraly
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Pours dark with deep brown highlights and a nice, fluffy tan head into a pilsner glass. Smell fresh with roasted malt and earth notes.

Rich and earthy, this is a nice black lager. Chocolate notes meld nicely with caramel flavors. The mouthfeel is a bit on the prickly side due to the carbonation. While ample carbonation is necessary, this is a bit sharp and distracts a bit from what is otherwise a solid, enjoyable brew; the overall mouthfeel is affected by the super-sharpness of the carbonation. Medium-bodied. I think I would like to try this on tap and see how it translates.

I'm a big fan of schwarzbier, especially on cooler evenings in the spring and fall. Would make for a good BBQ beverage.

to view more.
Schwartz Bier from Devils Backbone Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 239 ratings.