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Schwartz Bier - Devils Backbone Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Schwartz BierSchwartz Bier

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

41 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 41
Hads: 254
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 11.64%
Wants: 11
Gots: 48 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 41 | Hads: 254
Photo of Jimmys
4.36/5  rDev +15.3%
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 +14.3%
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 +13.8%
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 +13.8%
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 +12.4%
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 illpass78
4.14/5  rDev +9.5%
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 +9.3%
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 Chaney
4.04/5  rDev +6.9%
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 +6.9%
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 tigg924
4/5  rDev +5.8%
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 Huhzubendah
4/5  rDev +5.8%
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 smakawhat
3.98/5  rDev +5.3%
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 +4.2%
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 +4%
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 +4%
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 +4%
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 +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)

Photo of neenerzig
3.93/5  rDev +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!

Eric (1,176 characters)

Photo of arizcards
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Picked up a single from Downtown Wine & Gourmet while visiting in Harrisonburg back in late September for $1.79. "Boned On" 3-8-13. Been residing in my beer fridge since late September.

Beer poured black with a decent tan head that is hanging around.

Nose is roasted malts and a hint of cocoa.

Taste is roasty with some cocoa.

Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with lager smoothness in the end.

Overall this is a well done Schwartz style. This must be very good when fresh. Give it a shot if you come across it! (518 characters)

Photo of chinchill
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
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 Beer-A-Lot
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
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. (295 characters)

Photo of KWrightVT
3.87/5  rDev +2.4%
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 cyclonece09
3.85/5  rDev +1.9%
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 delta490
3.85/5  rDev +1.9%

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 clayrock81
3.85/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured a blackish body with two finger offwhite head that took forever to die and left sticky lace. Hearty, roasted malt aroma with good notes of dark chocolate and some caramel and I don't pick up too much of a hop presence but it's there. Light to medium bodied and easily passes the tongue but not watery, a touch of fluffy yeast for that fuller bodied sensation but mostly an easy passer. Taste is mostly the malts, a good balance of roasted malts and bready dark chocolate with some caramel, and a nice if not equal job done by the hops for balance and a little citric hop flavors in there. Not the most flavorful or exotic beer one is going to find but this hits all the basic attributes just fine and is an easy to drink beer that one can relax with. (757 characters)

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Schwartz Bier from Devils Backbone Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 41 ratings.