Ringneck Dark Helmet Imperial Schwarzbier - The Brew Kettle Taproom & Smokehouse / Production Works
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Ratings: 106 | Reviews: 54 | Display Reviews Only:
1.95/5 rDev -47.9%
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.
06-27-2012 06:19:22 | More by AwYeh
2.73/5 rDev -27%
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.
04-01-2013 23:52:09 | More by Goblinmunkey7
2.8/5 rDev -25.1%
Poured into a New Holland High Gravity Series tulip glass.
Pours a deep ruby with a tan head, but only after a vigorous pour, of about one finger. Head drops to a thin wisp after a few minutes.
Aromas of clean caramel malt. Almost a grape soda aroma, rather funky. No hop aroma.
First sip is of light roasted malt, light licorise. All together, I can't help to be reminded of grape soda. Very funky.
Mouthfeel is medium, with a soft prickle of carbonation. A warming from the alcohol.
Not sure about this one. The grape soda flavor is a bit of a put-off.
01-28-2011 03:48:26 | More by JamnesCameron
2.9/5 rDev -22.5%
12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Pours very dark, not quite black with light getting though, but extremely close. The head fades pretty quickly, and not much lacing or retention, but nice color and bubbles swimming upwards. Lots of roasted malts up front with a touch of chocolate, toffee, and caramel. There's also a nice grape presense in the nose. Tastes malty and sweet, almost too sweet. Don't get me wrong, there's a nice bitterness as well, but it's fighting with the malts; interesting contrast. I expected it to be more bold for a big beer. Mouthfeel is nice, lots of carbonation, pretty smooth, light and not heavy. Finishes slightly syrupy with a touch of heat that briefly lingers, but it still finishes pretty clean for the most part. It gets better as you get into it.
This has never been my favorite from TBK.. but if you like schwarzbiers, give this a try because it's unique and not your ordinary. I appreciate they're doing something different with this one, I guess it's just not really for me..
03-20-2012 00:46:01 | More by BB1313
3.03/5 rDev -19%
Thanks to sydpanz for this...
Appears a dark crimson toned chestnut with a soapy tan head that quickly fades into a mild collar. Spotty bits of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of cocoa, toasted nuts, and vanilla, with a touch of dried coffee beans.
Taste is of doughy bread, nuts, sweet brown sugar, and mild grainy bitterness.
Mouthfeel is thin, medium bodied, sugary, and syrupy in the finish.
01-14-2009 22:10:53 | More by weeare138
3.05/5 rDev -18.4%
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.
02-26-2013 03:15:50 | More by oline73
3.05/5 rDev -18.4%
A- Dark mahogany with a light head
S- Sweet and heavily roasted malts
T- Rolls in with heavily roasted malts and sweet bread yeast
M- Viscous with light carbonation
D- Not all that great not all that bad, if you like sweeter beer with heavy malt and yeast presence here ya go
06-25-2008 01:07:17 | More by UA8
3.2/5 rDev -14.4%
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.
04-08-2014 02:55:37 | More by brewdlyhooked13
3.25/5 rDev -13.1%
Very dark brown colored beer with a small tan colored head.
Smoky caramel aroma with a slight patent malt scent.
Taste starts of chocolate and smoke without much sweetness and very dry like a Belgian ale. The flavor doesn't develop much, just a dry smoky beer.
OK beer but it doesn't have much of a zing to it.
According to the fact sheet this beer is 8.9% ABV and 38 IBUs.
Sampled May 2008 but I forgot to upload my review and this notebook has been sitting in a suitcase since then.
01-26-2009 03:47:25 | More by Zorro
3.28/5 rDev -12.3%
22oz bottle shared courtesy of axilla.
Poured a deeper reddish-brown color with a very small sized off white head. Aromas of nuts, roast, and I was getting some dark fruits. Tastes of chocolate, lighter nuttiness, raisins and plums. This one was very sweet. Not cloying, but getting there.
11-26-2008 18:25:58 | More by hopdog
3.33/5 rDev -11%
Looks OK. Dark beer. Not a lot of head, even when agitated on the pour.
Smell is interesting. Smells like a schwarzbeer with some other elements. Sweet malt, touch of roast, maybe a hint of chocolate or toffee.
Taste is good. Not a knockout but a really unique beer. Sweet but not cloying, nice elements of traditional schwarz. Also some alcohol and bitterness too. Chocolate or roasty taste, but overwhelming sweet malt.
Mouthfeel is average. Was worried it would be a bit flat based on the appearance, but it's OK. Nice for a change of pace, but not the new holy grail for schwarz lovers.
01-28-2010 19:08:54 | More by jampics2
3.35/5 rDev -10.4%
Darkest mahogany that becomes dark cherry red with bright orange accents when backlit with sunshine. Too bad the beer isn't Darth Vader black. The khaki colored crown is small despite a high-altitude pour. On a good note, it lasts for a while and looks decent while doing so.
The nose is too weak to start and doesn't open up much with warming. A whiff of black malt is all that is appreciated, so average is as high as I can go. Looks like there's some work to be done on the taste buds to avoid disappointment.
Dark Helmet actually tastes like an Imperial schwarzbier, believe it or not. Whether this is a style that should be Imperialized is another matter entirely. I would be more simpatico with the concept if the beer was better.
Black patent malt dominance (merely a guess)(as opposed to roasted or chocolate malt) keeps DH from tasting like a big stout. Points to TBK for pretty much nailing the essential flavor profile of the style. More hop bitterness to balance the black licorice-like sweetness would have worked much better. Alcohol is essentially AWOL.
Warming does positive things to flavor boldness, though it doesn't remedy the lack of depth or complexity. The mouthfeel is seriously thin for an Imperial <anything> and doesn't have the world's hardest working bubbles. Big letdown here.
Dark Helmet Imperial Schwarzbier isn't bad beer. Nor is it especially good beer. It's my least favorite of the handful of The Brew Kettle brews that I've had so far.
06-25-2010 12:28:31 | More by BuckeyeNation
3.38/5 rDev -9.6%
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.
12-06-2012 02:07:00 | More by zac16125
3.45/5 rDev -7.8%
22 ounce bottle. Served in a pilsner glass, the beer pours brown with a half inch tan head that went away pretty quickly. There's also a decent amount of lacing. Aroma is roasted malt, chocolate, caramel and some coffee. It tastes like dark fruit, roasted malt, coffee, nuts, chocolate and a bit of booze. Mouthfeel/body is low/medium, it does seem a bit thin and has low/moderate carbonation. Drinkability is alright, it is smooth and easy enough to drink. Overall I think this is a decent enough brew. It's not something I would buy all the time, but it's definitely worth a try.
02-06-2010 22:06:09 | More by bluejacket74
3.48/5 rDev -7%
This was a nice beer, but I'm not sure "Imperial Schwarzbier" is a style in need of inventing.
This beer pours like a schwarzbier, dark colored (maybe a dark copper), but perhaps a touch more viscous than say a Kostritzer. More like a baltic porter than anything else, dark but not terribly roasty but with some nice roast notes. A decent amount of bitterness. As a beer, it tasted it good, and I found it interesting, but I'd really like to take a look at the recipe to see what makes this beer tick...flavor is hard to describe but intensely pleasant, but a touch style defying...not something brand new, but just a splitting the difference among other styles.
I bought this beer at Rozi's in Lakewood, OH.
05-02-2011 01:59:33 | More by BeerBelcher
3.5/5 rDev -6.4%
The beer was chilled and served in an Imperial Pint glass. What can I say I am a sucker for The Space Balls referance.
Appearance: The beer has a dark brown body with ruby highlights to light. The head is a thin nugget coloration. The head quickly resolves.
Smell: I like the aroma of the beer but it is a let down for a schwatzbeer let alone the notion of imperial schwartz. Sort of a my schwartz is bigger than your schwartz. Nicely sweetened light roasted coffee, caramel, a whiff of cocoa just a hint of smoke. Really wish the smokeyness had been kicked up. This is sort of like a kicked up brown ale.
Taste: The smoke is indeed present at the begining of the taste. Sadly the smoke flavors arent particularly memorable. Nice sweetly roasted malt caramel a bit of fruityness. Not a bad tasting beer just not that smoky.
Mouthfeel / Drinkability: The beer has a nice smooth medium body. The beer is on the sweeter side but not cloyingly so. This is an easy drinking kicked up brown ale. I wouldnt go so far as to call this a smoked beer. Probably wont be seeing this beer in my glass again.
02-08-2010 01:52:12 | More by nlmartin
Ringneck Dark Helmet Imperial Schwarzbier from The Brew Kettle Taproom & Smokehouse / Production Works
84 out of 100 based on 106 ratings.