Dismiss Notice
Microbrew Invitational
Join us June 3 + 4 in Boston and help us drink 300+ beers, ciders, kombuchas, meads, sakes and more!

TICKETS: beeradvocate.com/micro/

Schwartz Bier | Devils Backbone Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
86
very good
57 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
BEER STATS
Reviews:
57
Ratings:
307
Avg:
3.82
pDev:
24.87%
 
 
Wants:
12
Gots:
76
For Trade:
0
Schwartz BierSchwartz Bier
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Devils Backbone Brewing Company
Virginia, United States | website

Style: Schwarzbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.10%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by on 07-24-2009

User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 57 | Ratings: 307
Photo of Owlish1
4.52/5  rDev +18.3%
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 Jimmys
4.36/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle. boned on MAR 11 2013. also, my label states this as a 5.1%ABV brew...

A: a rich brown hued body. dark, but opaque around the edges. head is a light brown and fairly frothy. retention is good.

S: a sizeable roasted malt aroma. chocolate as well. lots of both. smooth and inviting. reminds me a bit of a dry irish stout.

T: sweet, roasty, and fucking smooooth. the nature of this roast gives an impression of bacon at times. plenty of roast, mild sweet chocolate. actually as the sip continues this is all about the roast. that and a very smooth. I cant taste any fermentation flavors, but can tell this was fermented nice and cool as any goofy ale notes are masked.

M: average, fizzy carb on a medium flavored body.

D: a really awesome example of a Schwarz. brewed and packaged as intended. well-done guys. pick some up if given the opportunity.

 866 characters

Photo of Gavage
4.32/5  rDev +13.1%
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.

 529 characters

Photo of jtierney89
4.3/5  rDev +12.6%
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.

 562 characters

Photo of blackie
4.3/5  rDev +12.6%
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

 1,248 characters

Photo of Jeffreysan
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%
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.

 759 characters

Photo of OldManMetal
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This dark lager is effervescent and darkest brown with ruby highlights, sporting a very-brief-lived, thin light-tan head; the scant lacing consists of thin, retreating bands. The aroma is moderate in intensity, perhaps just a bit strongly expressed for the style, but this is a good thing, as it is a nice blend of cookie-dough malt, toffee, smoke, and minty/licorice herbal notes with hints of coffee and booze. The flavor is moderately intense as well, consisting of a modest, undiscriminated dark malt character over a lagery grain malt foundation, the two being very well balanced; a spicy hop bitterness overcomes any sweetness from the malt, the net result being a typically-modest lager bitterness. The finish is quite clean, and the linger is a mild, vaguely chocolatey flavor that lasts a minute or two. The mouthfeel is appropriately thin, and the texture is creamy and medium-peppery from the well-expressed carbonation. The crisp, creamy texture and light body make this a very drinkable beer, and the enjoyable dark malt character that avoids being over-present make this a good example of the style. (12 oz bottle, code date illegible)

 1,149 characters

Photo of OldSwampy
4.18/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Very dark brown with small bubbles, nice tan head, though it leaves minimal lacing. Nose not too strong, but not unexpected for this style. Toasty malts dominate. Taste has a clean sharp entry, then the roasted malts emerge smoothly. Never harsh. Does not feel thick or heavy despite dark color. Bottled 3/28/16. Good beer!

 323 characters

Photo of illpass78
4.14/5  rDev +8.4%
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 +8.1%
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 lwcreasy
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

1/2 finger light tan head caps a dark brown beer with deep ruby highlights. The head is dissipating quickly, there isn't any lacing, and I'm left to contemplate the color of the liquid that stands frankly before me. (How many different words are there for different color browns? Didn't they say in art class that brown was like the combination of all the other colors or something? Woah... better put the nose to it...)

Nice subtle aromas, as expected. There is chocolate upfront and a slight breadiness. Beer gets warmer- cocoa powder, almonds, bread. Everything is nice and clean and subtle. Not picking up any hop aromas.

Flavors are remarkably clean. I know this is what's called for, but I never cease to be surprised and delighted by the trimness and cleanness of a well-made lager. There are light malt flavors that follow the nose- dark chocolate, quaint breadiness, but no nuttiness. There is a bit of herbal and spicy hop quality to pick up as well. Beer is slightly bitter when held in the mouth, but why would you want to do that? This beer is eminently drinkable. So you should do just that. Very refreshing.

Light body, moderate to mid-high carbonation. Dries out the mouth in a very pleasant way. The cleanest your mouth will ever feel after drinking a near-black liquid. Enjoyable mouthfeel.

Very, very good. Surprisingly drinkable and refreshing. Very much enjoyed this beer. A beer for all seasons!

 1,421 characters

Photo of drtth
4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
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 Chaney
4.04/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presently the #31 ranked Schwarzbier here on BA.

Served in a DC Brau jar.

A: Poured almost black as night with ever the slightest bit of ruby slivers peeking around the edges. The head was car wash stuff.

S: Understated overall... maybe a bit of roasted, soggy grains that were reminiscent of breakfast cereal.

T: Very smooth and drinkable... remarkably so. Not as much roast as I thought I was going to get, which was fine by me. This was supposed to be a dark lager and NOT a porter.

M: The "German" influence really shined to my mind in it's very well-disciplined, sugar bill (or lack thereof). Nice carbonation and this sucker was INFINITELY drinkable.

O: I was actually a bit thirsty before taking my first few sips and this actually quenched my thirst. I'm hoping this one sticks around during the fall. This would make a nice addition to my annual Halloween party.

 878 characters

Photo of KomodoDragon
4.04/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - Black with red highlights, 1/2 inch long lasting cream head

S - grassy, sour

T - Must say, not working w/in a style I generally like nor seek out, but this one has a nice toasted grain flavor and crisp bitter finish. A little sweet coffee flavor and some nuttiness. Great complexity.

M - A little tingle on the top of the mouth accompanies the creaminess

Nice complex flavors. One to seek out.

 402 characters

Photo of mpyle
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
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 tigg924
4/5  rDev +4.7%
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 GreesyFizeek
4/5  rDev +4.7%
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 Huhzubendah
4/5  rDev +4.7%
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 DuffDaddy
4/5  rDev +4.7%
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 smakawhat
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

 1,063 characters

Photo of ckollias
3.94/5  rDev +3.1%
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.

 414 characters

Photo of Kegatron
3.93/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

 590 characters

Photo of Treyliff
3.93/5  rDev +2.9%
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

 566 characters

Photo of Joe0031
3.93/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

 308 characters

Photo of JamieDuncan
3.93/5  rDev +2.9%
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
86 out of 100 based on 57 ratings.