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Dark Helmet Imperial Schwarzbier | The Brew Kettle Taproom & Smokehouse / Production Works

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
83
good
58 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
58
Ratings:
148
Avg:
3.68
pDev:
18.75%
 
 
Wants:
13
Gots:
24
For Trade:
0
Dark Helmet Imperial SchwarzbierDark Helmet Imperial Schwarzbier
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
The Brew Kettle Taproom & Smokehouse / Production Works
Ohio, United States | website

Style: Schwarzbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
A true TBK original, we kick this German-style black lager up a couple notches. Big clean malty flavor with just a hint of roasted malt.
"May the Schwartz be with you!"

Added by mcallister on 12-30-2007

User Reviews
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Reviews: 58 | Ratings: 148
Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, no bottle dating. Pours clear nearly opaque dark brown color, with a 2 finger dense and fluffy tan head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of chocolate, cocoa, caramel, brown sugar, toasted dark bread, and nuttiness; with light coffee, raisin, plum, herbal, pepper, and roast/toasted earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roast/bready malt and light earthy hop/fruity yeast notes; with good strength. Taste of big chocolate, cocoa, caramel, brown sugar, toasted dark bread, biscuit, and nuttiness; with light coffee, raisin, plum, herbal, pepper, and roast/toasted earthiness. Light-moderate herbal hop and roasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of chocolate, cocoa, caramel, brown sugar, toasted dark bread, biscuit, nuttiness, herbal, and roast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt and light earthy hop/fruity yeast flavors; with a great roasted bitter/sweet balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light dryness from roast/bitterness as well. Nicely clean on lager flavors with minimal yeast notes present. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy/bready/silky, and lightly sticky/chalky balanced mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice imperial schwarzbier style. All around nice complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt and light earthy hop/fruity yeast flavors; very smooth and easy to drink for the ABV. Very rich and well rounded in malt complexity. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of damndirtyape
3.93/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle (no date) with a different label than the picture here - just the words "Dark Helmet". Served in a snifter glass.

Appearance: Black (more like a stout), letting no light through until near the bottom of the glass where a very dark clear cola brown was noted. Thin tan head with some strands of fine lacing noted.

Smell: Clean malt, a bit like a Schwarzbier, but with underlying booziness and an occasional metallic note.

Taste: Roasted malt, just a hint of noble hops, some underlying sweetness and warming alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Nicely thick - as you would expect from something made "Imperial" and not very lager-like. Good carbonation though, but more like a stout than a Schwarzbier.

Overall / Drinkability: An interesting take on a Schwarzbier. Dangerously drinkable - very balanced and simply tasty like a Schwarzbier can be. I could easily have another, although I would probably regret it later.

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Photo of Sabtos
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark but clear reddish brown with practically no head.

Pretty exclusive nutty and chocolate aromas.

Dark Helmet is actually quite stout-like, with chocolatey roasty flavors, supported by dry walnut, and faint bitter coffee. Some vanilla creeps in, assisting in the fact that overall this is a sweet beer.

Frothy with a little spicy tang and some boozy heat coming in here and there.

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Photo of glass_house
3.73/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I've not had many schwarzbiers, but this is one of the few I enjoyed. Nice clean feel, with just enough body from the smooth, roasted malts. Subtle notes of chocolate and coffee, but no real dominant flavor. Very little hop presence. Extremely easy drinking for an 8% beer.

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Photo of jasonpeckins32
4.25/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours black in color with a surprisingly white head. The nose is malty, roasted, rich, and sweet. The flavor also is of, you guessed it, roasted malts. A hint of smoke pokes through to make an appearance in the first 2 sips, then disappears for the remainder of the beer. The high malt character reminds me just as much of a stout as it does a schwarzbier. Usually I can tell a significant difference, but not here.

Medium-bodied mouthfeel. Good drinkability.

This is one of the best schwarzbiers I've tried. My taste buds like this style, and this is one of the best ones. It would be nice to see this made available year-round.

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Photo of buschbeer
3.99/5  rDev +8.4%

12 FL. OZ bottle
Served in a pokal glass

It is very dark in color, almost black. When held to the light some ruby highlights are evident. It has two to three inches of head. There is some lacing.

It is sweet smelling with chocolate and coffee notes.

The taste is semisweet. Roasted flavors come through with hints of coffee and chocolate.

Medium mouthfeel

I like it. This is a great beer for when your are not in the mood for hops. The 9% abv adds a nice punch to the liver. It pairs well with Spaceballs the Movie which I am enjoying both immensely.

 558 characters

Photo of Ozzylizard
3.51/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Undated bottle at 40 degrees into standard pint glass
Aroma of roasted malt
Head small (1 cm), light brown, frothy, diminishing to 2 mm ring
Lacing – none
Body dark brown, opaque
Flavor begins with roasted malt bitterness and ends with a slight sweetness; no hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl.
Palate medium, watery, lively carbonation

This is a very nice interpretation of a schwarzbier – the alcohol is well hidden which makes this very drinkable. The appearance detracts somewhat, but still a very desirable brew. I first had this at a beer fest – based on this beer alone I made the Brew Kettle a routine stop when I’m in the Cleveland area.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.95/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Never had an imperial Schwarzbier before so I was super excited when I bought this. Just 2.59 for the single.

A - Looks good so far a 1/2 inch of mocha head that sticks around for a bit. Color is a rather dark ruby brown color. Very dark almost stout like.
S - Slightly metallic but mostly smoked malts and roasts. Smell is rather sweet like a milk stout. I sip.
T - Well not as smokey as I expected but still very sweet! Has an almost lactic sweetness with vanilla like malts. Not roasty in the slightest. Metallic notes are minimal probably from the yeast.
M - Smooth taste with a medium body. Not very chewy but smooth.

Overall it's quite a good beer but it seems with the addition of more malt it lost some of its smokey character. I would have loved it with more smoke.

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Photo of barczar
3.89/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours an opaque deep brown/black with a billowing cappuccino head that slowly dissipates, leaving sticky lacing.

Aroma is roasty and nutty, with a hint of chocolate and a malted milk ball essence.

Flavor reveals more malted milk ball character. Sweeter than expected, milk and dark chocolate dominates throughout. There's a significant roast bitterness at the finish. The toasted, nutty malt backbone complements the chocolate well. A metallic character surfaces as it warms.

Body is fairly full, with low carbonation and light alcohol warmth. There's a touch of a carbonic bite.

Far different than I expected, this is definitely a dessert/guilty pleasure beer. Certainly sweet, very chocolatey. I can understand why some may not like it, but it's right up my alley...minus the metallic note.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.2/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance - mahogany/ruby color, a thin lightly tanned head doesn't last too long but is doing its best to hold a thin cover.

Aroma - grainy, a touch doughy, just a faint hint of roast.

Taste - decent roast opening, some doughiness from the ramp up of the abv I guess. A hint of metal at the open but it doesn't last. Hides the 9% well, almost a little bock-like. Finishes the same, roasty and bocky.

Mouthfeel - slick, slightly muted carbonation, some heft to the body.

Overall - tasty and somewhat interesting, a little dicey at that strength though.

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Photo of kdlz
4.21/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Served in craft pint out of firkin at TBK.

A - almost thin black with tan head.

S - roasted coffee and toffee on the nose

T - coffee and caramel flavor with roasted malt backing, hides abv well

M - smooth drinking , thin body almost like a Baltic porter

O - felt like I was drinking a thin porter. Great beer but no lager. Will have again

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Photo of PHBoiler
3.91/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Dark fruit on the nose and on the tongue. Not quite as clean/crisp as I expected for a black lager. The imperial nature certainly bumped up the body on this one. Solid beer with a lot of flavor. A great diversion from the IPA/stout/sour rat race. Certainly worth trying if you like dark fruit flavors in Quads.

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Photo of Goblinmunkey7
2.75/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Appearance: Deep garnet/dark brown. Perfectly clear. Small light tan head drops to a tiny cap and slightly larger collar in short order. Some splotches of lacing.

Smell: Vaguely roasted with a strong grassy, leafy hop profile. Lager yeast is clean. Some minor chocolate malts in the back. Some dark fruit, unripe plum mostly. Slight smokiness in the back. Tiny backing spiciness.

Taste: Sweeter than expected. Raisins and milk chocolate sweetness. Some cocoa and chocolate malts. Caramel malt sweetness as well. Clean lager yeast. A touch of corn with a good bit of grass. Black licorice laced with some extra sugar. Warming adds even more sweetness. Cola syrup, caramel, even more licorice. Some minor roasted malts.

Mouthfeel: Body runs on the light side of medium. Lively carboation. Slick on the tongue. Some lingering dryness on the finish.

Overall: Lacking something cohesive. Roasted cola mess.

Missed the mark for the style. Oddly sweet and lacking that roasted lager thing almost entirely. It's not really a bad beer, but it's not what it claims to be and warming almost kills it.

 1,095 characters

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.93/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

It's amazing how much an imperial schwarzbier tastes like a baltic porter.

Upon pulling the bottle out of the fridge, I started pondering which Space Balls joke I could post here. "Their schwartz is bigger than yours."

This is a pretty thick beer. And really, everything about it screams baltic porter to me. I like this one a lot. Pick it up if you see it.

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Photo of oline73
3.06/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint.

Pours a very dark brown with a small layer of off white head. The head goes away rather quickly. The nose is sweet with a smokey undertone. I'm getting some dark fruit and a cocoa note. There is a lot of malt in the flavor, but I would say that the smoke ends up being the dominant taste in the finish. There is a dark fruit note and a malt sweetness. Reminds me a little bit of a strong brown ale that has had a cigar dropped in it.

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Photo of zac16125
3.42/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a pilsner glass
no born on date

This is my first schwarzbier, as I generally stay away from the lager styles, but received this in a trade (was supposed to get White Rajah and received this instead).

A: Pours a thin appearing cola brown, with some reddish hues when held to light and 1.5 fingers width of light tan colored head. Leaves a few random patches of spotty lacing.

S: Dark fruit sweetness, some spice, black licorice, raisin. Smells Belgium, like a Dubbel or a low end Quad. Hints of chocolate and roasted malt. Surprisingly nice.

T: Very sweet taste. Chocolate and dark fruits, a bit of roasted flavor. I dont get much else, just a huge sweetness. Nice at first, but it does become a bit cloying.

M/D: Medium bodied, low carbonation, no hint of the ABV. Drinkability is fair, limited by the sweetness.

O: Interesting beer here. I generally love me some high ABV dark beers, but this one just didn't do it for me. I would probably drink it again if someone gave it to me, but its not something Id purchase. Wish he would have sent me the White Rajah.

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Photo of AwYeh
1.97/5  rDev -46.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

A: Pours a deep, dark cola-brown/black with nearly no head. A few carbonation bubbles flow up along the slides of the glass, but other than that this is consistently dark– pretty intimidating.

S: Chocolate malts and a bit of roasted malts are on the good side of the smell, but alcohol and a black licorice smell that's much like permanent marker really overpower them. Unfortunately, I'm trying to avoid smelling this one too much as I drink it.

T: The odd marker flavor is gone here, allowing the quite sweet chocolate and roasted malts to be joined by flavors of cola, licorice, molasses, caramel, coffee, cream, and vanilla. Finish is extremely sweet, and a very light, roasted bitterness comes in at its end. Cola begins to dominate as the beer warms, which led to the beer becoming cloying before my glass was finished; I'm almost preferring smell to taste at the end.

M: Thin to medium-bodied and rather lively carbonated. Finish is partially dry, while still leaving a sticky mouth coating behind. Mouthfeel seems quite appropriate for the style.

O: This beer seemed rather unbalanced to me, with sweet cola and licorice really dominating the flavor profile as the glass went on, making it rather cloying. I would have liked to been able to enjoy the other flavors present, and maybe seen more bitterness coming from hops. Though it would be a totally different style if it even exists, this seems like what an imperial cream ale might taste like. If you're a fan of really sweet beers (or hey, pop/soda in general, which is usually too sweet for me) this one might be worth your time. I remain curious about the bready, fruity characteristics that many other reviewers noted but didn't seem apparent in my glass– maybe I'll need to revisit this, far off in the future.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep amber to black in color with an off white head. In the aroma, sweet caramel and a small fruitiness. In the taste, a roasty note of caramel and a fruity sweetness. A small bite, but mainly smooth, and a medium to lighter bodied mouthfeel, with a small dry fruitiness in the aftertaste. Nice balance between the fruit and the roast, a nice body and very enjoyable.

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Photo of WesM63
3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Deschues tulip.

A: Pours near pitch black with a tiny 1/2 finger mocha head.

S: Pure malt goodness. Maybe a hint of chocolate and coffee with some alcohol.

T: Spot on the nose. Super sweet malts with a hint of chocolate, coffee and some alcohol to finish it off.

M: Medium body and carbonation.

O: Interesting flavor. I was expecting more of a Black Ale/IPA, this is not that. Still, very good. Smooth and very drinkable.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.93/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ringneck Dark Helmet Imperial Schwarzbier
The Brew Kettle Taproom & Smokehouse / Production Works
Style: Schwarzbier
ABV: 9.00 %

LOOK: Darkest of browns bordering black. Small mocha head forms and has decent staying power. Appears to be a very thick malty brew.

SMELL: Roasted malts, chocolates, vanilla, small alcoholic aromas as well as some coffee.

TASTE: Robust and malty upfront, with molasses, coffee and dark chocolate flavor. This gives way to a bit of alcohol, mild bitterness and more chocolate. Full flavored dark beer with all the typical flavors associated with an imperial stout, this just may happen to use lager yeast.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, silky and smooth feel. Well carbonated, with rich malts following through into the finish.

Overall: A fine Schwarzbier of imperial strength. Lager's answer to the Imperial Stout. Very tasty and worth the purchase.

 878 characters

Photo of schoolboy
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brew Kettle does some worthwhile and interesting things with beer, and this is another good example of their creativity.

It's a bit flat and nearly opaque. The taste is very sweet with a bunch of roasty and almost chocolatey tastes. It would have been nice to have a more smokey flavor. All that taste completely covers the alcohol.

I would recommend this if you are looking for an interesting sweet, dark beer.

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Photo of Hoptometrist
3.58/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served from the bottle into a pilsner glass

A- Poured black with a one finger soapy off-white head. You can see some red hues shining at the top of the beer and very bottom.

S- Big roasted barley/malt aroma, fruity esters, very clean lager smell

T- Dominant sweet maltiness, and cracker notes. Some roasted barley and coffee. Light fruitiness

M- Very smooth, medium/fuller bodied, high carbonation on the finish, finishes dry. A little bit fuller bodied but this does not drink like a 9% beer. No alcohol presence, warming, or burn.

O- The more I drink this the sweeter it gets. Reminds me of the Black Rat Imperial Stout from Cellar Rats I had recently. A really unique beer style to try out, but I don't see myself getting this again.

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Photo of Vonerichs
3.7/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown body with little head. It has a flat appearance.

Roasty smell with a brown sugar sweetness.

Roasty and sweet, with hints of dates, brown sugar, and cola. It's got a heavy alcohol presence and it almost reminds me of a dubbel.

Mouthfeel is soft with light carbonation.

This was a pretty decent beer and had some good qualities in the flavor, but was not very aromatic.

 386 characters

Photo of VncentLIFE
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark body with like no head.

Slightly roasty with a smooth vanilla smell as well. Chocolate mixed in as well.

The taste is definitely unique. Very very smooth and drinkable is the firs thing I notice. Slight bitter twang possibly from what tastes like cocoa nibs. Hint of smooth vanilla, but really lacking that strong upfront roasty characteristic I want from a Schwarzbier, but that roasty is there.

Subsequent drinks really show off the balance. Could use a bit more flavors for the unique Idea of an Imperial Schwarzbier.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.97/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a perfect pint.

3.5 A: Black color. Two fingers of frothy tan head. Retention is good given the ABV, but no lacing is left.

4.0 S: Dry roastiness. Cocoa powder and lager yeast caramel. Simple, but delightful.

4.0 T: Tastes like the nose, but much much sweeter, which I like. Roastiness, bittersweet chocolate, lots of caramel, and lager yeast flavor (which is hard to explain). Very tasty.

4.0 M: Medium body. Rich velvety feel. Good moderate carbonation. Lightly creamy.

4.0 D: I very much enjoy a good Schwarz and this is one of them.

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Dark Helmet Imperial Schwarzbier from The Brew Kettle Taproom & Smokehouse / Production Works
83 out of 100 based on 58 ratings.