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Dark Helmet - Westbrook Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Dark HelmetDark Helmet

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

207 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 207
Reviews: 37
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 10.99%
Wants: 32
Gots: 35 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Westbrook Brewing Co. visit their website
South Carolina, United States

Style | ABV
Schwarzbier |  5.90% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: YumYumGumGum on 11-20-2011

Dark Helmet is a German-style black lager (or Schwarzbier) brewed with 10% malted rye. Chocolate and Carafa malts give this beer its dark color and ludicrously smooth, roasty flavor. May the Schwarz be with you!

25 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 207 | Reviews: 37
Reviews by Georgiabeer:
More User Reviews:
Photo of chinchill
3.42/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle with a bottled on date stamp of 25 Sept. 2014.
Pours very dark brown, looking nearly black and opaque in my snifter.
The head is small but durable.
The aroma is OK but certainly the weak point of this beer. The flavor and feel are about average (flavor) or better (feel) for style. Mildly bitter.

Photo of mdaschaf
4.12/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep brown color with a massive tan head forming, amazing retention. Lacing forms on the side but slides back down into the beer.

S: Lots of chocolate on the aroma, some roasted malt, a little bit of spice and rye, almost like pumpernickel as another reviewer noted. Hint of hops right at the end.

T: Some sweet chocolate mixed with some light spices, a very nice combination of the two, neither overpowers the other. There is a little bit of a hoppy undertone with a bit of pine.

M: Medium bodied, maybe leaning towards the lighter side of medium with moderate retention. Smooth and easy drinking.

O: Quite enjoyable. I don't drink many in the style, but this one is just really easy drinking. The rye gives it a nice hint of spice that combined with the chocolate was tasty.

Photo of Sammy
3.69/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Doug, I style I like. This one somewhat coffeeish and dry, like an Irish stout. Some smoke. Black with reddish highlights and lacy

Photo of thagr81us
4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks goes out to my boy caSSino for bringing this one to share with me! Served from bottle into a NoDa snifter. Poured a massively dark brown (almost black) with a one and a half finger tan head that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, coffee, toffee, caramel, cream, dark chocolate, smoke, and dark fruit. The flavor was of sweet malt, roasted malt, oatmeal, dark chocolate, coffee, smoke and subtle caramel. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a pretty good brew. The aroma on this one was quite inviting and pleasant. The flavor on this was a little surprising as the smoke comes through a lot more on the followthrough than it does in the aroma. A definite must try for fans of the style or the curious alike.

Photo of Bung
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler filled at Grapevine, Fort Mill. Westbrook website lists as a Rye-Schwarzbier.
Near black, not super thick, with a light tan head, maybe a finger. Recedes to a ring.

Aroma, roast malt, dark chocolate, smoke, an earthy lager yeast that I look for in a Schwarz.

Taste, lite smoked porter. Roast/smoked malt, dark chocolate, light coffee and cocoa. Nice light bitter hop and coffee finish lingers.

All the flavor of a heavier smoked porter in a lighter smooth body. Carbonation is just enough. About session abv and it is easy to do just that.

After a quick taste I filled a growler. There are very few beers I'll fill a growler of, mostly because of the quantity. This however, had the quality plus an abv I could drink a large amount of in a shorter time.
Another schwarzbier that I would regularly stock, if regularly available to me.

I grabbed a can of their ipa just to contrast a 2nd style for Westbrook, if it's half as good I'll be satisfied.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.42/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

ark, rich looking dark brown with a small one inch head of off white that capped the top of the glass very, very nicely before it settled down leaving with it some nice lacing up and down the sides of the glass that seemed to really thicken up and push through as the time went on. Aroma is smoked malts right off the top. Dark, evil, with hints of campfire, peat, dark roasted chocolate and a good bit of almost a licorice touch to it. As I take the first sip a rich and creamy feel overloads the senses. Wonderful and rich, dark and foreboding, it seems that it is just meant to be evil and dark. Loads of roasted and smoked malts just rolling across the tongue. Lightly dry finish leaves just enough room for a small amount of smoky flavor to pop its head in and really give it a nice solid finish. great job

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.17/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look: Rich chocolate, mostly opaque. Tick koch head on the pour. Some nice lacing.
smell: Some smoke, and dark roast. Mostly dry.
taste: Up front much like the nose, then a hint of spice and bitter. Mostly dry.
overall: Very interesting and pleasant brew.

Photo of CBlack85
4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Grapevine in Fort Mill. Served in a pint glass.

Beer pours a deep ruby (nearly black) with lots of lighter ruby and orange highlights when held up to the light. About three fingers worth of tan head recedes fairly quickly, leaving behind a moderate amount of lacing.

The aroma is of roasted malts, coffee, bittersweet chocolate, and a slight smokiness. There are also an earthy quality. Not much in terms of hops; just the slightest floral aroma makes it past all of the sweet, roasty aromas

Very big on the roasted grains and caramel malts. Coffee and chocolate mingle with a faint smokiness. The hop presence is barely noticable; just a slight floral presence lurking in the background. Medium bodied and moderately carbonated. Slightly slick on the tongue, and incredibly easy to drink.

Easily one of my favorite styles, a good Schwarzbier is hard to find, this one is good but tends toward the heavier end of the style, almost approaching porter territory.

Photo of YumYumGumGum
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: opaque black. Light tan small head with medium lacing.

S: fine. Old rasputinish. More pale coffee than anything with a distinct absence of chocolate and maybe vanilla influence.

T: good. Solid Imperial Schwarzbier with a dry taste and distinct coffee with some other pale flare, very true to the scent

M: nicely carbonated. Very similar to a founders breakfast stout with a head that quickly fades with a hint of stickiness.

O: tried at boone's in charleston sc. Best draft ive had under 5$ in South Carolina. Definitely recommend valuewise and brand new keg on 11/20/11.

Photo of SplitsAtoms
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%

This is not a beer style i am familiar with at all so my higher than average rating probably shouldnt be taken too seriously.

I enjiyed this beer quite a bit. Lots of choc and smoky notes and dark color with a medium body that imply this will be a much boozier affair than it is. Almost a session. I would grab one or two of these each fall or winter assuming they dont jack the price.

Photo of patre_tim
4.45/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep dark brown, not quite opaque as you can see through it slightly. Held to the light you can see a yellow orange tinge. Thick brown cappuccino like head.

S: Dark chocolate, toasted malt, espresso coffee, creamy like crème fresh. An almost wine like quality as well

T: Dark toasted malt, espresso notes, and an almost wine or grape like quality. A slight bitter aftertaste lingers. Very true to its form.

M: Medium to thick body, heavy carbonation.

O: Very true to form Schwarzbier. Glad to have got my hands on this at Whole Foods in Columbia, SC while traveling through. Would like to try more by Westbrook.

Photo of kaufmaal
4.24/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Bomber, bottled on October 11, 2012, poured into my Samuel Smith pint glass.

This is an extremely drinkable beer, but it tastes and feels more like a heavy porter or a lighter-bodied stout than a black lager.

Pours black with a 1/2-inch, tan head, some ruby highlights. Sweet roasted caramel and chocolate scents, some coffee. The carbonation is light, giving this a smooth, velvety texture, like a milk stout. The rye is noticeable, slightly bitter. More chocolate and coffee when drinking, a bit of pine, and for me just the right amount of sweetness. The head went down to 1/4-inch, some very nice lacing.

I really enjoyed this one.

Photo of SportsandJorts
3.74/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: pours a deep mahogany, very close to black color. a small half finger tan head forms and has good retention. leaves behind a good lacing. some clarity around the edges despite the darkness but still opaque through the center.

Smell: chocolate, slight burnt, fairly straight forward nose.

Taste: opens with notes of debittered black malts. opens up a bit with light chocolate and some earthy hop bitterness along with a little spicy rye. the end has a distinct clean lager yeast finish.

Mouthfeel: light and drinkable. just a bit of lingering bitterness. fairly refreshing.

Overall: overall this a well brewed and worthwhile schwarz, but it fails to stand out to much. the flavors are just a little lacking to really stand out. the mouthfeel and drinkability are the real highlight of th ebeer.

Photo of sweemzander
2.91/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

22oz. bottle poured into a nonic. Thanks for another Bob!

(A)- Pours a near pitch black color. Just a mountainous frothy tan head formed with ridiculous retention. Plenty of lacing. Almost too much foam formed too quickly despite a rather gentle pour.

(S)- A lightly spicy (carraway?) spice and raisin and wood bark with subtle roasted grains.

(T)- Agian, a spicy combo of roasted grains, carraway seed, raisin, and a dry woody; almost peanut(infection?) finish.

(M)- A good carbonation level and a nice balance too despite a subtle peanut funk finish. Infection? Its subtle, but I have experienced this before and it reminds me of an infection and its just annoying enough to bother me.

(D)- Overall, a nice beer. Not positive if an infection is slowly showing its face or not but its so subtle it is not completely taking away full enjoyment from the beer just yet, but still annoying enough to bother me a bit.

Photo of champ103
4.31/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a nearly black color, with a bit of brown/ruby highlights around the edges. A tan head rises to about two fingers, good retention. Plenty of lace is left.
S: Lager like yeast, chocolate malts, light smoke. Toasted malts. A love the malty aroma, finishes with a light earthy hop bitterness.
T: Like the nose, a great malty flavor. Toasted malts, baked bread, grains, a substantial chocolaty flavor with a bit of sweetness. Again, finishes with a light earthy bitterness that brings everything together.
M/D: A medium body and enough carbonation for a good crisp bite. Though ultra smooth, and silky. Really well rounded body. So easy to drink. I wish I could get this all the time.

An excellent Schwarzbier with lots of character. Well done, a lovely beer that I would highly recommend.

Photo of metsfan1
3.92/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Solid beer, light bodied dark beer. On a side note, may be the best bottle label ever. May the Schwartz be with you!

Photo of avalon07
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Had this one on-tap at Coleman Public House, poured into a pint glass. Had a jet black color and a thick texture. There was a half inch of creamy, tan-colored, long-lasting head. Average lacing.

S: A nice aroma of malt, chocolate, and a little grain.

T: Tasted of a little chocolate, malt, grain, and a hint of coffee in the end. Not your classic schwarzbier flavor - it almost reminded me of a porter - but it's definitely very tasty.

M: A well-carbonated beer with a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

O: A very well made beer that might not please fans of the classic schwarzbier style, but is definitely a worthy beer.

Photo of kkipple
4.27/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had to get one of these ever popular little 32oz growlers of Dark Helmet from my main man Wes at Green's. $5.50 fer the fill.

A. Clear and rich brown color, black if you put it in a fat enough goblet. Small head, some tan lace sticks. What little there is produces an oil-slick looking tan contrast on the dark beer. Does have those ruby colored highlights that the BJCP looks for, if you're into that sort of thing.

S. Excellent and full sweet-roast nose, perhaps a little sweeter than the style calls for, but good all the same. Chocolately, clean and a little spicy from the hops and (I discovered later) a 10% rye addition. It works very well, the dominant sweet pumpernickel bread nose and the lesser rustic spice note with a hint of herbal hop.

T. As advertised, but if you judge this against the 'classic' style, it's a bit sweeter and more additive with the hops and rye... I like it. It doesn't deviate from the style to be unrecognizable, nor does it slavishly try to be a classic example - this is new, delicious and works. The short version: an easily drinkable dark semi-sweet roasty and chocolate tasting beer with character to spare.

M / O. Terrific mouthfeel, light and wet with excellent carbonation off the tap - medium-full and complimentary. Finish is long gentle smooth roast and sweet-tasty. Kiss of bitterness at the very end. Dark Helmet is extremely easy to drink.

Why is Dark Helmet good? Schwarzbier is one of those rather obscure styles that never seems to get any attention, so it is a great thing for me that one is being made 2 hours from my house. This is an excellent twist on a classic style and one you should try. I wouldn't change a thing.

Photo of BlackBelt5112203
4.23/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle poured into a pint glass at fridge-cellar temperature.

L – Black color with a 1-finger cream-colored head. Decent retention but excellent lacing.

S – Mostly toasted but some roasted malts, chocolate, and a hint of dark fruits like plums and figs. Amidst all this, it still retains that lager yeast aroma.

T – Starts off sweet with chocolate and caramel malts. Toasted malt comes in mid-taste, followed quickly by roasted malt with a bitterness that builds toward the finish. Possibly some earthy and floral hops in here, but that could just be the chocolate-and-coffee-tinged bitter roasted malts. A little bit of smoky spice sneaks its way in toward the finish, as well.

F – Light-to-medium-bodied with good carbonation, a smooth and velvety mouthfeel despite the lightness, and a bitter, spicy, and dry finish. Roasted coffee bitterness lingers nicely.

O – This is a very tasty beer and another good one from Westbrook. This is my first schwarzbier but it fits the mold precisely. It amazes me how a beer can have such roasted malt character but still absolutely taste and feel like a lager. Charleston breweries are killing it right now.

Photo of macrosmatic
4.09/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Thanks to dogdoc for this one! Reviewed from notes. Poured from bomber into a pilsener glass.

A: Very dark brown, nearly opaque, with a nice, finger and a half thick tan head.

S: Dark and roasty, burnt coffee, and maybe a bit of chocolate covered raisins. All with the lager yeast underlying.

T: Any fruit on the nose seems absent in the palate. Roasty, coffee and chocolate are on the tongue, and some drying tobacco flavors with a bit of hop bitterness near the end. The hang is almost bittersweet.

M: Good carbonation sensation. The body seems a little thin; but I think I'm almost expecting the body of a stout with the way it looks and some of the flavor profile. Moderate alcohol presence for this low ABV.

O: Well, not being much of a lager fan - this could be my favorite lager ever! Quite enjoyable. I wish some German restaurants around me would have this one on tap.

Photo of TheDinger
3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Growler fill from GBX in Greenville. Jet black with a nice 2 finger tan head. Spotty lacing. Smell is of coffee and figs. Not a lot to the smell. Taste is more in line with a porter than a schwartz, but that is not a bad thing. Different for the style, but has a touch of dull aftertaste that is distracting. Perhaps it's a growler thing, but I do like the ease of this beer and would consider it a session beer. Notes of coffee and some mild figs with some roasted malts on the end with a hop kick. Feel is more porter like as well, but a good bit of carbonation on this one. Overall- A pretty good effort and one I would hit again. It falls more in line with a porter/stout than a schwartz. Easy to drink and perhaps a bit too much hop on the end.

Photo of brentk56
4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a fudge brown color with ruby high list; the tan cap pancakes the liquid, displaying good retention and leaving a few shards of lace behind

Smell: Roasty campfire; black bread with chocolate and licorice tones

Taste: Black bread and chocolate, up front, with a hoppy, rye-spice character developing by mid-palate; after the swallow, the smoky campfire element comes through and though there is a surprising residual sweetness that lingers in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: A really interesting take on the style; enjoyed the hops, the rye, the sweetness and the smoky elements

Photo of Swettenham_Shire
4.31/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Received a 22oz bottle (dated Sep 2014) in a recent trade. Really enjoyed this roasty and malty lager from Westbrook.

Photo of outdoor7or24
3.78/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Purchased at CBX downtown Charleston, SC.
A: poured into snifter, fine +1 finger chocolate milk colored foam head, nice bubbles in the head, dark reddish brown body, some carbonation
S: malts!, roasted malt, some smoked malt, coca-cola, cocoa nibs, slight rye in the background although very faint
M: medium light body, carbonation, slight stickiness on the tongue
T: roasted malt, smoked malt, some char, oak, bitter chocolate, white pepper, slight sweetness, some bitterness on the tongue during the finish
O: Good easy drinking brew, one I would suggest for people that need a gateway to dark beer drinking, very smooth and silky.

Photo of mothmanscott
3.73/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours what looks to be an ebony black but is actually a clear deep brown with garnet hints when held to the light producing 1.5 fingers of frothy but mostly tightly bubbled, somewhat lasting, dark tan head that recedes to a solid cap leaving only a 1/2 inch of collar lace. Aroma is chocolate, dark roasted malts, fresh cut pumpernickel, toffee, caramel & a hint of smoke. Only a faint hint of dark fruit & rye is weak. Taste is similar with the addition of smoke, a burnt note & more & darker chocolate among the bread, dark malt, caramel & toffee. Slightly bitter, with only a little rye spice from mid-sip into the finish. Bitterness declines in the aftertaste which is rich with burnt/roast notes. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low-moderate carbonation, tongue coating creamy, silky & smooth.

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Dark Helmet from Westbrook Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 207 ratings.