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

Not Rated.
Dark Helmet Imperial SchwarzbierDark Helmet Imperial Schwarzbier

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BA SCORE
82
good

54 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 54
Hads: 122
rAvg: 3.63
pDev: 7.71%
Wants: 11
Gots: 14 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
The Brew Kettle Taproom & Smokehouse / Production Works visit their website
Ohio, United States

Style | ABV
Schwarzbier |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: mcallister on 12-30-2007

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!"
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 54 | Hads: 122
Photo of AwYeh
1.97/5  rDev -45.7%
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. (1,785 characters)

Photo of Goblinmunkey7
2.75/5  rDev -24.2%
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 JamnesCameron
2.84/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2

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. (559 characters)

Photo of BB1313
2.85/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.. (1,017 characters)

Photo of weeare138
3.03/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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. (406 characters)

Photo of oline73
3.06/5  rDev -15.7%
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. (488 characters)

Photo of UA8
3.08/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

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 (279 characters)

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.2/5  rDev -11.8%
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. (558 characters)

Photo of Zorro
3.28/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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.

Good mouthfeel.

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. (506 characters)

Photo of hopdog
3.3/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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. (290 characters)

Photo of jampics2
3.3/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz Bottle.

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. (607 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.33/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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. (1,483 characters)

Photo of zac16125
3.42/5  rDev -5.8%
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. (1,087 characters)

Photo of bluejacket74
3.45/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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. (581 characters)

Photo of BeerBelcher
3.48/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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. (710 characters)

Photo of nlmartin
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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. (1,099 characters)

Photo of MbpBugeye
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my new New Glarus pilsner. Thanks FrankenBrew!

Clear yet murky brown to copper.

Slightly weak, roasty nose. some chocolate and caramel

Same with the taste. Very sweet and sugary.

smooth and creamy mouth feel

really drinkable for a 10%abv lager

Not the best Schwarzbier but worth trying nonetheless. I would like to see more balance. Less sweetness, more roastiness and chocolate notes would improve this beer. (427 characters)

Photo of meatyard
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark but clear mahogany with a 1-finger tan head leaving no lacing. A steady carbonation stream is visible.
The smell is a strong, sweet malt without any roasted aroma.
The taste is similar though a bit of roasted malt comes out.
Mouthfeel is thin and slightly carbonated.
Drinkability: Not a poor beer but nothing too special either. For 9% ABV I would want a bit more going on to say it has good drinkability. I find it to be pretty one-dimensional. (464 characters)

Photo of Ozzylizard
3.51/5  rDev -3.3%
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. (650 characters)

Photo of johnnnniee
3.55/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep dark brown color with ruby highlights and a smallish tan head that dissipates rather quickly. Smells of light chocolate and caramel with a bit of earthy and floral hops playing a supporting role. Taste is chocolate and caramel with a bit of ash. Earthy bitter hops mix with a hint of alcohol to counter the malt sweetness. There's a hint of melanoid in there that makes it a little interesting. A bit of a lingering alcohol burn on the finish. Medium body with a moderate level of carbonation and a sweet slick mouthfeel. I thought this was only ok. It seems like a kicked up version of a macro lager with a bit of chocolate malt. (643 characters)

Photo of output01x
3.58/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A moderate pour yields a 1-finger tan-colored energetic head. Within a minute the head fades to a faint dusting atop the dark mahogany body. Lacing is minimal but apparent.

Dark roasted malts dominate the nose. A light fruity sweetness is also detected. Unfortunately, the aromas were rather faint, making it difficult to analyze.

Dark malts, dry chocolate, and roasted coffee come together to create an interestingly rich, yet light flavor profile. The flavors are complex, but not bold. They get their message to you without being excessive. The 9% ABV is nowhere to be found.

Medium bodied with lots of carbonation, this beer fizzes on your tongue and leaves little residue. The carbonation may be a little excessive, but it does allow this beer to be more than a sipper. (825 characters)

Photo of goblue3509
3.58/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark cola like color with a two finger dark khaki colored head which gives way to some strings of lace. The aroma is of some roasted malts along with a hint of dark fruit sweetness as well as toffee and some dark chocolate. The taste has a roasty and caramel malt backbone with a dark chocolate and coffee bitterness. There is also a hint of dark fruit sweetness that rounds out the flavor. The mouthfeel is moderately carbonated. It is not slick with alcohol. Overall it is a solid beer, it has a good flavor but left me wanting just a little more out of it. It was however, very enjoyable. (604 characters)

Photo of Hoptometrist
3.58/5  rDev -1.4%
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. (743 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
3.6/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Brew Kettle yesterday afternoon.

Pours nearly black, though it is still slightly see through. Thin of-white head forms at the beginning and offers a good amount of lacing. The nose is nice with some roasted malt and a bit of coffee. There's a touch of licorice there in the background as well. The taste is pretty similar; there's a touch of roast and some light coffee. Mild anise in the background. Fairly tasty, though the finish is a bit too bitter with far too much alcohol for what it's carrying. Pretty good, though the finish was far too harsh. (567 characters)

Photo of Vonerichs
3.7/5  rDev +1.9%
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)

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Dark Helmet Imperial Schwarzbier from The Brew Kettle Taproom & Smokehouse / Production Works
82 out of 100 based on 54 ratings.