Dark Helmet - Westbrook Brewing Co.

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Dark HelmetDark Helmet

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BA SCORE
86
very good

210 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 210
Reviews: 37
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 10.73%
Wants: 33
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: 210 | Reviews: 37
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 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 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 ChainGangGuy
3.69/5  rDev -3.4%
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?

Photo of mdfb79
3.27/5  rDev -14.4%
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.

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 Huhzubendah
3.77/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

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 Cyberkedi
4.21/5  rDev +10.2%
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!

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 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 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 maximum12
3/5  rDev -21.5%
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.

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 MacQ32
4.21/5  rDev +10.2%
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.

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 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 beer2day
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

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 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 GPHarris
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

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 tillmac62
4.06/5  rDev +6.3%
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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Dark Helmet from Westbrook Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 210 ratings.