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Dark Helmet - Westbrook Brewing Co.

Dark HelmetDark Helmet

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

107 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 107
Reviews: 24
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 11.6%


Brewed by:
Westbrook Brewing Co. visit their website
South Carolina, United States

Style | ABV
Schwarzbier |  5.90% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
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 added by: YumYumGumGum on 11-20-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 107 | Reviews: 24 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of mikesgroove
mikesgroove

South Carolina

4.43/5  rDev +14.2%
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

Serving type: growler

02-08-2012 19:40:49 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of patre_tim
patre_tim

China

4.4/5  rDev +13.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2012 02:33:54 | More by patre_tim
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

4.35/5  rDev +12.1%
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

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2012 03:41:20 | More by brentk56
Photo of champ103
champ103

Texas

4.31/5  rDev +11.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2014 21:40:09 | More by champ103
Photo of avalon07
avalon07

South Carolina

4.28/5  rDev +10.3%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

12-07-2011 14:30:06 | More by avalon07
Photo of kkipple
kkipple

South Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +9.5%
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.

Serving type: growler

02-01-2012 02:18:49 | More by kkipple
Photo of BlackBelt5112203
BlackBelt5112203

South Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +9.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2012 04:02:12 | More by BlackBelt5112203
Photo of kaufmaal
kaufmaal

Alabama

4.25/5  rDev +9.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-26-2013 02:18:46 | More by kaufmaal
Photo of MacQ32
MacQ32

South Carolina

4.21/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours near black with a nice caramel finger head. Excellent retention - still a nice thick head after 5 minutes. Very good lacing.

S - Bold chocolaty sweetness, roasty smoke, lager-like yeast aromas.

T - Smokey rye, dark sweet chocolate roast, earthy bitterness.

M - Super smooth, hardly carbed (in a good way).

O - So smooth, exactly what I hoped for when buying this brew. Well done.

Serving type: bottle

07-06-2013 01:30:29 | More by MacQ32
Photo of Cyberkedi
Cyberkedi

Georgia

4.21/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep, warm coffee brown with a thick and rather persistent fine-bubbled tan head. Woody aroma has notes of coffee, semi-sweet chocolate, hay and caramel. Robust flavor has bold coffee, caramel, woody hop, and subtle licorice and horehound notes. Texture is smooth and fairly fizzy. Get your dark helmet on!

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2013 02:29:28 | More by Cyberkedi
Photo of Bung
Bung

North Carolina

4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

Serving type: growler

11-23-2011 03:48:04 | More by Bung
Photo of mdaschaf
mdaschaf

Washington

4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2012 01:53:38 | More by mdaschaf
Photo of macrosmatic
macrosmatic

Florida

4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2013 21:51:42 | More by macrosmatic
Photo of tillmac62
tillmac62

South Carolina

4.08/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours almost black with a thick head and long lasting lacing. Nose is of chocolate against a slightly sweet background with a hint of smoke. I could not detect any rye or hops in the nose. Light medium bodied and a smooth mouthfeel. Balanced carbonation typical of a lager. The taste is a fine balance of chocolate against a slightly sweet background with a tick of rye and smoke. An undertone of coffee is also present. Smooth finish of chocolate with a light rye spiciness and smoke that lingers. The lingering finish is where the coffee flavor is most evident. Very impressive.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2013 22:23:08 | More by tillmac62
Photo of CBlack85
CBlack85

South Carolina

4.05/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

12-27-2011 20:13:34 | More by CBlack85
Photo of thagr81us
thagr81us

South Carolina

4.05/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2012 21:05:57 | More by thagr81us
Photo of GPHarris
GPHarris

Alabama

4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

a - poured a one finger thick creamy, coffee-colored head into a snifter that left good lacing throughout. the body was a dark black with brown edges.
s - chocolate and roast then smoke.
s - rye and smoke hit you and then it becomes more chocolatey and roasty.
m - medium and smooth.
o - really nice, complex schwarzbier. just the right amount of smoke.

Serving type: bottle

05-29-2013 20:04:47 | More by GPHarris
Photo of beer2day
beer2day

North Carolina

3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big fan of the Spaceballs movie, so had to give this one a try ...

Dark brown pour with a deep rich red tone. Spilled a drop on the white kitchen floor and the red really came through then. Mountainous, frothy head with excellent retention. Might be something up here, but did not take away from the enjoyment of the glass.

Nose is light chocolate, a bit of raisin or fig, and a healthy dose of rye. Well balanced.

Taste is very nice. Again light chocolate balanced against spices and fruit. A bit of roast malt comes in midway, but finishes with chocolate sweets. Rye seems to be more evident up front than in the finish.

Feel is a bit bubbly. Heavier carbonation than I would like.

Overall, well worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2012 00:44:18 | More by beer2day
Photo of YumYumGumGum
YumYumGumGum

Virginia

3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

11-20-2011 06:24:16 | More by YumYumGumGum
Photo of TheDinger
TheDinger

South Carolina

3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

Serving type: growler

12-20-2011 04:07:50 | More by TheDinger
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.69/5  rDev -4.9%
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

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2013 15:10:05 | More by Sammy
Photo of ChainGangGuy
ChainGangGuy

Georgia

3.69/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

22 ounce bottle - $8.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Bottled on: 10/22/13.

Appearance: Pours a near (very near) black body with just under an inch of sandy beige foam.

Smell: Chilled coffee and less-than-sweet chocolate wrapped in a thin layer of clean, worksafe smokiness. Ashen grains. Bruised grapes.

Taste: Roast, baker's chocolate, and a subtle rye quality. Coffee-toned. A little sweet present, but, not overly so. Pinch of ashes (a bit smokey). Faint licorice. Grape-y dark fruitiness. Scant hop character but some light bitterness showing. Semi-dry, roasty finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Smooth, soft texture.

Overall: Being notably fuller in all its regards it is not exactly a classic, traditional schwartz. Still, it's a reasonably nice beer. Can't we just like nice beers?

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2013 20:10:04 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of maximum12
maximum12

Minnesota

3/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to southern gentleman AtlCarl for continuing to feed the beast, a.k.a. my rye habit. 22 oz. bomber with a suitably geeky sci-fi reference on the label. I digs. Split with my wife, who's less appreciative of sci-fi geekdom. Well, nobody's perfect.

The pour is, dare I say it, schwarz. Dunkel, even. Carbonation is just as it's written up in the specs. Nose brings strong lowered booms of chocolate & roast, with a tertiary rudder of rye. Lager yeast, usually an invasive species of the nostrils, is covered up by the aggressive aromas.

Dark Helmet is just the kind of a beer a mad-haired scientist like Emmet Brown would be drinking. The chocolate & roast in the nose arrive in force, but in tow is the lager yeast mixed in with forest-fire smokiness. Maybe a touch of spice, but the rye element is sorely absent. Drying. The combination is...odd. Half a bomber is going to be plenty.

Been digging most of Westbrook's stuff, but the combination of flavors here just doesn't fit my foot right. Weird & average.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2014 03:23:34 | More by maximum12
Photo of sweemzander
sweemzander

Illinois

2.9/5  rDev -25.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-06-2012 17:05:29 | More by sweemzander
Dark Helmet from Westbrook Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 107 ratings.