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

Not Rated.
Dark Helmet Imperial SchwarzbierDark Helmet Imperial Schwarzbier

Educational use only; do not reuse.

54 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 54
Hads: 122
Avg: 3.67
pDev: 11.99%
Wants: 11
Gots: 16 | 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 jampics2
3.3/5  rDev -10.1%
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.

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Photo of lackenhauser
3.76/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just a shade lighter the your basic black. Decent enough head on top at first. Rather 1 dimensional aroma. Faintly metallic and sulfury-not a great presence smell wise. Malty flavor dominates-has a very prominant toffeeish/caramel like flavor upfront. Mild grainy and roasted flavors. Just enough hop bite to know it is there. Finish is somewhat sweet. Very smooth and silky body wise,almost ale like, but the clean and crisp character of a lager is there. Very enjoyable and delicious. Has some of the fruity notes of a mild stout or dark ale but still very good and an interesting twist.

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Photo of Bierguy5
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours almost completely black. Thin tan head holds for a few minutes, then fades away.

Clean, chocolate and dark malty aroma. Not much in the way of hops.

Chocolate malt, a bit of bittersweet chocolate, and a slight roasty component. Medium body, a bit creamy. Very easy to drink.

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Photo of wvsabbath
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Dark tan/brown, 1 inch creamy head and nice lacing.

Smell - Malts, dark fruits,roasty, added spices, some chocolate and hops.

Taste - Big roasted, and sweet malty kick. Lot sof bold fruits like plums and rasin mixed with a little sweet caramel flavor. Spices are nice and sweet with a little peppery flavor also. Some sugars also come out to balance out the roasted malts.

Mouthfeel - Medium thickness, coats tounge with lots of malts and and sweet fruits. Palette gets some sweet hops, spices and remaining malts. Aftertaste is malty, a little warm and roasty.

Overall - Nice malty and bold fruity flavors. Really smooth and easy to drink being Such high alcohol. The malts are really present but the downfall is the other flavors are a little to mild and forgetable. Still soild and a good drink, worth a try for sure from the excellent brew kettle brewery.

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Photo of schoolboy
4/5  rDev +9%
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 nlmartin
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

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Photo of goblue3509
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

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Photo of Beejay
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Very dark black in color, clear with deep ruby color throughout. Good tan head on there.

S: Some fruity esters witha nice roasted barley smell. Some nice bread smells in there as well.

T: Malty, very malty. Big chewy malty goodness with some coffee like roasted malts, and perhaps a touch of toffee. There is a touch of fruitiness, and a little bit of a bite form the alcohol. This is a pretty damn good beer.

M: Medium in body with a healthy amount of carbonation. I think the mouthfeel hides the fact that this beer is 9% pretty well.

O: Overall I am really impressed with this beer. Big, malty, and roasty. Fine work.

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Photo of Vonerichs
3.7/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.51/5  rDev -4.4%
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 PHBoiler
3.91/5  rDev +6.5%
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 -25.1%
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.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

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Photo of BeerBelcher
3.48/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

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Photo of WesM63
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
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 BB1313
2.85/5  rDev -22.3%
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..

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Photo of Hoptometrist
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
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 zac16125
3.42/5  rDev -6.8%
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.

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Photo of bamadog
3.78/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I picked this bottle up at Jungle Jim's a while back and just got around to drinking it. The review is from notes taken on 7/4/2010 and poured from the bottle to a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep dark mahogany color and starts with a short 1/4 finger light tan head that fades quickly to a thin island scum in the center of the surface; body is nearly opaque and shows some ruby/mahogany highlights when held to the light; no lacing is left behind at all.

Smell: A little faint, but it comes across with some big sweet maltiness with a touch of woody and mulchy roastiness and graininess.

Taste: Not too shabby -- nice sweet malts combine with a dry toasty graininess; a very faint roasted maltiness as well -- almost a faint illusion of bittersweet chocolate with the way the malts blend with the grains; as it continues to warm there's a bit of a cola-like sweetness that sneaks in; I kind of dig the variety of the flavors present in this one.

Mouthfeel: Body is fairly light; carbonation is also a little light and crisp and it leaves the cheeks and gums tingly; a fairly thick and semi-dry coating is left on the roof of the mouth.

Drinkability: Not bad -- I don't typically drink a lot of lager-styles but this one definitely warrants getting picked up on occasion (if The Brew Kettle continues to make it); it would probably be a little better in the early spring or fall, and at 9% it would need to be a little limited.

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Photo of meatyard
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

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Photo of joepais
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks go out to Csmiley for the treat. Bottle poured into pint glasses produced a white head that went a way to nothing on top of a black bodied brew.

The beer had a nice bready aroma with a light roasted malt smell. I liked the flavor if I didn't see the darkness of the brew I would have not know it was a dark beer. Nice and light flavors a little sweat but with enough roast flavors to finish smooth. It was light in my mouth with great carbonation.

An easy drinking brew I finished my glass with no problem and was left wanting for more. A good Schwarzbier, I buy the beer just for the label it's that funny.

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Photo of beveritt
3.95/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: Poured from a 22 oz brown bomber into a standard pint glass. Label depicts some type of small rodent wearing an over sized black helmet. The top is sealed in green wax.

Appearance: Pours with 2 fingers of light tan head. This settles to a quarter inch coating of foam. Nice lacing as I sip. The beer itself is medium brown with slight hints of red. Perfectly clear, but dark enough that it is difficult to see through.

Smell: Grainy aromas upfront, well caramelized. Slight bitterness and nutty flavor with hints of roasted barley. Notes of coffee and chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Average carbonation level. Body is good.

Drinkability: An example of what lagers can be; not just watered down rice water, but flavorful and nuanced dark beer.

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Photo of VncentLIFE
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
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 JamnesCameron
2.84/5  rDev -22.6%
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.

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Photo of AwYeh
1.97/5  rDev -46.3%
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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Dark Helmet Imperial Schwarzbier from The Brew Kettle Taproom & Smokehouse / Production Works
83 out of 100 based on 54 ratings.