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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
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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 StonedTrippin
3.34/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

my first beer from these guys is a bit of a let down. it tastes a bit stale, like a crummy euro dark lager all extracty and weird. dark in color, more like a porter in looks than a dark ale, rather dense and not super heady after the initial gush fades down. a nose of tale dark roasted grain and lager yeast, nothing seems alive or fresh about it, flavors are all muted, and the yeast is just weird. i have heard these guys make some great stuff, but this is a pretty uninspiring introduction to this brewery. lacking the nice carbonation and quick finish of the better schwarz types, and not really giving me much grain character at all. it makes me thirsty for a good one. it also seems a bit thick and under carbonated, not the feel i am really after in the style. all up, there is nothing particularly bad about it, but it just never really comes together, something with the yeast i think, but this one is forgettable for me. (931 characters)

Photo of oberon
3.81/5  rDev +0.8%
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. (553 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 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 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 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 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 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)

Photo of Darkmagus82
3.65/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from bottle into a pint glass

Appearance – The beer pours a deep black color with ruby highlight seen shinning through the body when held up to the light. Upon pouring there was a big billowy cream almost grayish head that faded relatively quickly as the large carbonation bubbles popped. One the head receded it left a persistent film on the brew with a moderate level of lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma was heaviest of roasted malt with some hints of a more bitter cocoa mixed within. Other lighter hop aromas of a earthy and herbal nature were mixed with these giving a dry and roasty aroma overall.

Taste – The taste begins with a roasted malt flavor of a toasted dark bread, some caramel and a bit coffee. Notes of a semi-sweet cocoa come to the tongue more toward the middle where they sweeten the taste ever sol slightly. Notes of char and a earthy hop flavor then come to the tongue more toward the end, leaving a drier, but overall relatively smooth flavor on the tongue.

Mouthfeel –The body of the beer was on the medium to slightly above medium side in terms of its creaminess with a carbonation level that was average to slightly on the higher side. The creamier body was fantastic for the roasty and toasty flavor of the brew while the carbonation level keep it on the easy drinking and more refreshing side.

Overall – A pretty nice brew overall with a good roasty flavor and nice drinkability. (1,447 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 Immortale25
3.62/5  rDev -4.2%
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. (688 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 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 ThisWangsChung
3.46/5  rDev -8.5%
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 RonaldTheriot
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
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 (444 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 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 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 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 CrellMoset
3.26/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"In a brewery far, far away" states the miniature tagline above the name of this beer on Devil's Backbone's giant chalkboard.

Appearance: A dark mahogany but transparent (telltale Schwarz, there) bodied brew, capped by one-finger of slightly tan head, that fades relatively quickly in to a thick sheen. Carbonation is sparse, but relatively large and slow. As the sip begins there is plenty of sticky carbonation, blotchy and spotty all over the sip side of the glass, which is a good indication of staying power.

Aroma: Largely devoid of anything, really - agitation gets a few grainy toast notes out, and a few fainter grassy hop notes. There's not really much going on here, unfortunately.

Taste: Mild and a little watery. Moderate toastiness, faint earthiness, fainter chocolate, and a few lighter, sweeter, roasty notes, and a faint moderate hop bitterness in the fade compromise the bulk of this one. It's a little on the grainy side - that is, due to the lack of characteristics that jump out at me on this one, the grainy husky notes come through a little stronger.

Mouthfeel: A moderately thin body with a moderate amount of carbonation. It's not as thin as I thought it was at first, and it's also more even than I thought it was at first, but that's not necessarily a good thing, as the increased body isn't accompanied by a comparable "flavor" increase, which thus brings the relative mediocrity of the flavor profile in to stark contrast.

Drinkability: Just not a very flavorful beer, which is a big knock in my book. However, given that this generally is not considered to be a very "flavorful" style - in my opinion, at least, and I know there are likely many who disagree (perhaps my palette is simply not "refined" enough) - I can't necessarily knock it too much. At 4.9% abv, it's also not terribly unquaffable, regardless of the flavor-quotient. It's worth a try once, but like with so many DBB brews, I'm not sure if I'd come back for a second glass. (1,976 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 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 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 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 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)

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