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Dark Helmet - Westbrook Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Dark HelmetDark Helmet

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

34 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 34
Hads: 211
Avg: 3.93
pDev: 10.94%
Wants: 35
Gots: 37 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 34 | Hads: 211
Photo of chinchill
3.42/5  rDev -13%
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.

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Photo of danmor1
4.38/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Getting it for free (due to some unlikely events) may colour this review, but here goes:

Look: a delicious dark amber, just begging to be consumed.
Smell: not much, actually, but I was in a pizza place at the time, and that probably messed with my perception.
Taste: delicious malt, with more complexity driving up on the exhale.
Feel: not the strongest I've come across, but better than most ales I've had. Fairly solid.
Overall: I'll admit, a lot (all) of why I got this was for the name, but it didn't disappoint. If Rick Moranis ever drops by, I'd gladly share this with him. Even measures, of course, after all: Your Schwarz is as big as mine!

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Photo of mdfb79
3.27/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Got a bottle of this in Charleston, SC at the brewery. Wasn't a huge fan of this, though not bad. Lots of rye and spices, some bread, grains, wheat, and toasted malts. Wouldn't seek it out again with their other offerings.

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Photo of SportsandJorts
3.74/5  rDev -4.8%
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.

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Photo of bongobeer
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Dark as night with small tan head and pretty good amount of lacing.
Weak smell of smoke, malts and rye.
Smooth malty and roasty flavor with smoke and rye in the middle and a bitter coffee finish.
This beer has a great smooth light to med. mouth feel.
Really tasty, enjoyable dark (light) lager!

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Photo of mothmanscott
3.73/5  rDev -5.1%
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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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.77/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle shared by RussianDragon.

Near black body, appearing mahogany at the edges. Small tan collar that leaves a touch of lacing in its wake. Aromas of chocolate, char, smoke - though not on the level of a rauchbier. Dark toast, a hint of dark fruit. Lager yeast and rye bread come in mid to late palate. Solid.

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Photo of KnucklesMcFisty
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%

This is an interesting style and a nice break from the normal porters and stouts I drink this time of the year.
Pours nearly black but don't let that deceive you...it's much lighter in mouthfeel than it looks. The smell is inviting...the chocolate malt really shines in the nose topped off with a bit of smoke
The chocolate malt is dominant in the taste and lingers for a while before the rye and hops set in for the dry finish

Very nice brew that I hope to revisit again soon

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.17/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

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Photo of outdoor7or24
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

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Photo of SplitsAtoms
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%

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.

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Photo of maximum12
3/5  rDev -23.7%
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.

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Photo of champ103
4.31/5  rDev +9.7%
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.

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Photo of tillmac62
4.06/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.21/5  rDev +7.1%
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!

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.69/5  rDev -6.1%
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?

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Photo of MacQ32
4.21/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

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Photo of GPHarris
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

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Photo of kaufmaal
4.24/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

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Photo of macrosmatic
4.09/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

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Photo of BlackBelt5112203
4.23/5  rDev +7.6%
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.

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Photo of patre_tim
4.45/5  rDev +13.2%
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.

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Photo of beer2day
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

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Photo of sweemzander
2.91/5  rDev -26%
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.

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Dark Helmet from Westbrook Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 34 ratings.