1. American Craft Beer Fest is this weekend in Boston, Mass. Join us for 640+ beers from 140+ brewers! Tickets for Friday, May 29 are still available. Cheers!

He'Brew Death Of A Contract Brewer - Shmaltz Brewing Company

Not Rated.
He'Brew Death Of A Contract BrewerHe'Brew Death Of A Contract Brewer

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

368 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 368
Reviews: 62
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 11.46%
Wants: 6
Gots: 54 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Shmaltz Brewing Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Kendo on 10-25-2013

Death seems so obvious: the end of life, no mas, kaput. But Humans stand an optimistic animal. Many traditions suggest alternate endings: Resurrection, reincarnation, rebirth, afterlife. Even the atheist view of Eternal Oblivion doesn't seem quite final, more of a shift in spiritual states of (un)consciousness. As usual, Jewish tradition prescribes... Food. 7 days of family, community, and bagels (beer!), called, Shiva, meaning "7" in Hebrew. The flip side to the 7 days of Creation with the 7th as a holy day of rest. The first meal of Shiva is "the comfort meal." And the number 7 provides powerful mojo: 7 Jewish wedding blessings, 7 Liberal Arts, 7 Lucky Japanese gods, 7 stars of the Big Dipper, 7 colors of the rainbow, 7 seas, 007 license to kill, 7 dwarves, We are 7 by Wordsworth with a child's view of death, 7 deadly sins, Best of 7 finals in NBA, NHL, MLB, 7th Inning stretch, no. 7 on Elway & Tiny Archibald. George Costanza yearned to name his firstborn, "7" as a living tribute to no. 7 Mickey Mantle. The 7 Award however must go to the immortal George Carlin for 7 Dirty Words, inspired by another hero Lenny Bruce. Coming into 17 years of beer, and Year no. 1 with our own Brewery, we commemorate this conversion with Death Of A Contract Brewer, our Shmaltz homage to new life - L'Chaim! Jeremy Cowan, proprietor
View: Beers (24) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view more.
Ratings: 368 | Reviews: 62
Reviews by bradfordjohnson:
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.96/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep cola color with a thick light beige head atop that settles ever so slowly into a frothy mass.Dark bread and earth stand out in the nose,very mild sweetness going on here.Dry and roasted on the palate,actually very dry with even a hint of smoke,although no big citrusy or piney hops the dryness stands out.There is almost a "meatiness" to this beer like an old school English porter wich is pretty cool but nothing like alot of the hoppy black ales you see right now.I like it but was taken back by the flavor profile.

Photo of Beaver13
2/5  rDev -47.9%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

22 oz bottle. Pours brown with a big creamy light tan head that retains well and laces the glass a little.

The aroma is sweet cola, grains, chocolate malt and a little piney hops. Smelled a bit odd.

The flavor is sweet grains, dark fruit, leather, a little roast. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and a bit watery.

Overall, a sweet odd black IPA.

Photo of MattyG85
4.24/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice glass.

Appearance: Pours dark black with a slight hint of brownish amber. Moderate amount of bubbles and a solid two fingers of light tan head with decent retention. Leaves a lot of creamy lacing around the glass.

Smell: A roasty, hoppy, and fairly spicy black ale aroma. Earthy and herbal hops upfront with hints of dank pine resin spice and grass. Citrus hop hints of grapefruit, orange peel, pineapple, mango, tangerine, and lemon. Dark roasted barley malts with good hints of dark chocolate, roast coffee, burnt toast, biscuit, caramel, toffee, grains, and yeast. A pretty good and balanced aroma.

Taste: Like the smell, a hoppy, spicy, and roasty black ale taste with notes of chocolate and pine. Upfront earthy, herbal, and floral hops. Notes of spicy pine resin and grass. Citrus fruit notes of ripe grapefruit, orange peel, lemon, mango, pineapple, and tangerine. Dark roasted barley malts with notes of dark chocolate, dark roast coffee, burnt toast, caramel, biscuit, grains, toffee, and yeast. A nicely sharp and balanced taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Juicy and fairly oily with a drying finish.

Overall: A pretty solid take on a black ale. Good balance between the spicy hops and roasty malt.

Photo of biboergosum
3.74/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

650ml bottle, nice subtle Jewish rebirth conceptual design. Yet they persist with the contradictory 'Black Pale Ale' nomenclature. Tsk.

This beer pours a brown-tinted deep black, with four fingers of puffy, densely foamy, and somewhat rocky mocha head, which leaves some broad patches of dried soap scum lace around the glass as things lazily recede.

It smells of meaty, lightly smoked bready caramel malt, musty orange rind and pine needles, a bit of spicy vegetal pepper, a touch of milky coffee, and a further herbal, grassy hoppiness. The taste is kicked off in no uncertain terms by a heady charred caramel and grainy rye-like spicy malt, followed by a gritty, soft chocolate sweetness, dry roast coffee beans, toasted dark bread, a pithy generic citrus and forest floor bitterness, and a hint of herbal, slightly perfumed alcohol warming.

The carbonation is a bit testy and sassy for the most part, the body a decent medium weight, and sort of clammy and pithy in its smoothness, a common problem for this style. It finishes on a strong drying trend, the lingering char, middling hops, and simmering alcohol colluding to push the remainder of the already lacking sweetness out for good.

A thorough enough version of this hybrid American style, the blackened malt and peppy hops playing well together, with a perhaps game-saving cocoa essence that has the good sense to not really let go of my palate. As always, He'Brew comes through, and this time, wholly on their own terms. Congrats!

Photo of Andyyyyyy
3.48/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Look is dark and creamy, but the feel is not creamy. Not a whole lot as far as smell goes. Expected more hoppiness. Smooth, bitter taste as expected. Overall a good Ipa!

Photo of alphagnome
4.26/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This is precisely what you want from a black IPA. Pitch black body allows zero light penetration while a healthy head (around an inch thick) sticks around for the duration of the drink. Beautiful lacing and legs and generous amounts of bubbly.

A healthy dose of earthy and piney hops wrapped in a blanket of roasted, semi-sweet malts. It's simple, but fantastic.

Big hop profile is potent and bitter - yet welcoming, even my friend who considers himself "anti-IPA" found himself truly enjoying this one. Thick, roasted malts provide some balance and brings a bit of cocoa to the party. No detectable alcohol.

Surprisingly smooth for an IPA. Medium bodied with plenty of carbonation. Finish is clean and a tad on the dry side but refreshing.

This might be one of the best (if not the best) black IPA I've had the pleasure of enjoying. Easy to drink and enjoy, and welcoming to those who would rather not drink a hoppy beer. This is a must have and will hopefully become a regular in the He'Brew stable!

Photo of russpowell
3.89/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours an effervescent mahogany with 3 fingers of tan lacing. Superior lacing & head retention

S: Pine & grapefruit, roastyness,

T: Follows the nose, some dryness, a little licorice & cola, plus roasted grain up front. Roasty malts, a touch of charred grain, pineyness, slight astringency & grapefruit as this warms, some carob as well. Finishes grapefruitty, piney & with some roasty grain & a little bit of grainy sweetness

MF: Medium bodied with form carbonation, nice balance

A nice take on the style, very drinkable

Photo of Brutaltruth
3.87/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Enjoyed from the 12 oz bottle in a snifter. This black IPA pours, well, black with a beautiful thick head of quickly dissipating bubbles of off white foam that turns to a nice layer and a thick ring with GREAT lacing. Nose of dark heavily roasted malts, strong bittering hops, moderate citrus notes, and earthy funk. Flavors of almost burnt malts and strong bitter hops explode to all sides. Some light toffee notes come through on the back. This big brew is aided by a creaminess that helps cut through the bitter hop after bite and long lingering burnt aftertaste of some seriously roasted malts. Good carbonation gives a searing mouth feel that finishes bitter. Good for the style.

Side note: The little lady will have nothing to do with it.


Photo of tone77
3.67/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a brown 22 oz. bottle. Has a cola color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of citrus, hops. Taste is citrus hops up front, a bit of roasted malts kicking in later, well balanced and enjoyable. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall makes for a tasty and quality beer.

Photo of MDHopster
3.89/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Not quite black, dark but reddish hues when held up to light. Small tan head, little lacing. Smells of hops and malt giving IPA moniker credence. Taste, bittered hops, somewhat like it might have rye. Mouthfeel is not on par with an American IPA but carbonation is present.

Photo of LiquidAmber
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a He'brew small shaker pint. Pours a very dark mahogany brown, nearly opaque with a one finger tan head with great retention and lacing. Nice aroma of toasted malt, citrus hops, chocolate and coffee, lightly piney and floral; a lot going on there. Flavor begins with medium dark malt, citrus hops, citrus rind and then develops more intense citrus rind and grapefruit hoppiness. Finishes with hoppy bitterness and hints of roasted malt and char and pleasant faint coffee and chocolate. Medium bodied with good carbonation. The flavor does not follow up on the superb aroma that alternately smells like a choclate stout and then a citrus IPA; the flavor leans more towards the IPA side with toasted malt and chocolate and coffee elements as suggestions on the side. The toasty elements are quite good, but I'm left wishing for a bit more robustness. Still a very nicely made and balanced IPA style black ale that could pass for an imperial for the flavor robustness. Contratulations to Shmaltz on their new brewery; I'm happy to drink this to that!

Photo of metter98
3.72/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is black when viewed from afar but when held up to a bright light amber brown hues are visible near the edge of the glass. It poured with a quarter finger high tan head that quickly died down, leaving only a few bubbles on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of burnt and roasted malts are present in the nose along with some slight hints of pine resin hops.
T: Like the smell, the taste starts out with lots of flavors of roasted malts and has a light to moderate amount of hop bitterness and associated flavors of pine resin and citrus. A noticeable amount of underlying malt flavors is also noticeable in the background.
M: It feels medium-bodied and slightly crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This Black IPA has nice flavors of burnt and roasted malts but seemed like it could have had a little more in the way of bitterness and crispness from the hops.

Photo of StoutHunter
4.02/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked up a bottle of Shmaltz Brewing Company's He'Brew Death Of A Contract Brewer a couple weeks ago for $6.99 at The lager Mill. It's been a little while since I've tried a new Black IPA and this one caught my eye and I thought I would give it a try, so lets see how it goes. 2014 Vintage. Poured from a brown 22oz bottle into a imperial pint glass.

A- The label looks pretty nice, it's got a nice dark look to it which I like and I think it sticks out a little bit on the shelf. It poured a very dark brown color that was on the border of being black and it didn't let any come through with two and half fingers worth of creamy dark tan head that died down to a thick ring that stayed till the end and it left lots of sticky sheets of lacing behind. I thought this was a very nice looking beer, I have no complaints at all.

S- The aroma starts off with a higher amount of medium sweetness followed by the malts being the first to show up and they impart a nice roasted malt aroma with some dark roasted malt, lightly charred malt, and chocolate aromas coming through and there's also a real light leather like aroma showing up in the background. Up next comes the hops which seem to be a split of earthy, piney and citrus rind like hops with neither aspect seeming to stick out the most. The beer had a pretty good aroma and I thought that it was really true to style.

T- The taste seems to be very similar to the aroma, but it's just a little lighter and it starts off with a slightly lower amount of medium sweetness followed by the malts still being the first to show up and they impart the same malty aspect that they did in the aroma with neither aspect seeming to stick out the most and that leather like aspect that I got in the aroma doesn't show up in the taste. On the finish comes the hops which impart a resinous, piney and earthy hops aroma with just a little bit of those citrus rind hops showing up in the background and there's a slightly higher amount of medium bitterness that doesn't really linger and it had a roasted malt, slight charred, piney hop and earthy hop aftertaste. This was a pretty good tasting beer, it had just about all the aspects that I look for in a good Black IPA.

M- Fairly smooth, a little sticky, slightly crisp, a little rich, on the slightly thicker side of being medium bodied with a slightly lower amount of medium carbonation. This mouthfeel was pretty good and It worked nicely with this beer.

Overall I thought this was a pretty good beer and pretty good example of a Black IPA, it had just about all the aspects that I look for in the style and the balance seemed to be pretty good with neither the hops or malts being too overpowering. This beer had decent drinkability, it was fairly smooth, a little sticky, slightly crisp, a little rich, slightly filling and the taste did a nice job at holding my attention, I think half the bottle is the perfect amount for me, but I don't think it would be a chore for me to drink a full bottle by myself and I think this is a nice beer to enjoy on the cooler days of spring. What I like the most about this beer was how true to style it was, this is pretty much a text book example of the style. What I liked the least about this beer was that the citrus hop aspect that I got in the aroma didn't stick out more in the taste, I think that held this beer back just a little. I would probably buy another bottle of this, but I don't know if I would get more than that and I would recommend it as good Black IPA. All in all I was pretty happy with this beer and it did a good just at satisfying my craving for a good Black IPA. This isn't my favorite Black IPA, but i think it's close to some of the better one I've had and so far it's one of the better beers I have tried from Shmaltz. Good job guys, this was a pretty good Black IPA, keep up the good work.

Photo of DoctorZombies
3.86/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Black draft pour, beige head with great lacing. Hop nose. Smooth malt foundation balances hops. Medium lite mouthfeel with bitter tongue coating. Tasty black IPA.

Photo of CHickman
3.99/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black color with a massive 3 finger foamy light brown head that was full of tiny bubbles and faded very slowly, leaving foamy rings as it went down and a thick foamy layer on top.

Smells of grapefruit, fresh citrus hops, piney hops, roasted malt, burnt wood, cocoa powder, campfire burnt graham cracker like a s’mores, and some sweet citrus fruit. Fine balance and all the tango dancing that you’d expect from a black IPA, with the burnt grains and sweet hops going back and forth in a very pleasant way while completely masking the 7% ABV.

Taste is very similar to the nose except there are more smoky burnt notes and some caramel or toffee mixed in with the grapefruit, juicy citrus hops, roasted malt, piney hops, burnt wood, cocoa powder, graham cracker, a burnt s’mores, citrus fruit like pineapple or guava, coffee grinds and very light floral/herbal spices like pepper or tea leaf. A slight bitterness adds to the black IPA experience as this well balanced beer flows down easy with a complex mix of roast/smoked grains, juicy citrus hop sweetness, an ashy dry feel and tasty bready malts that blend graham cracker, wheat bread toast and Cocoa Puffs cereal sprinkled with coffee grinds. The alcohol was not a factor in the flavor and it was quite smooth.

Mouthfeel was on the light and mild side with an average body, average carbonation and a slight bitterness that trailed off dry with hop sweetness and burnt malt smokiness. Gotta get up to Clifton Park soon and drink at the brewery, this was a damn tasty beer and one I will seek out again if they keep making it.

Photo of E-McFarden
2.88/5  rDev -25%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Strong aroma hops with hints of roasted malts. Dry on the palate with strong smokey toasted malts, almost on the verge of ashy flavors from off roasting temps.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On-tap 10/31/2013 at Track 84, in Warwick, RI served in a US pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep black color, with a medium dense beige head that fades slowly and leaves a thick on the glass.

S: The aroma contains hops, citrus, roasted malts, some chocolate and some coffee.

T: The taste starts out extremely smoky with a dominant smoked sausage flavor followed by a hearty roasted malt character. The hops presence is strong and brings a good balance. The after-taste is smoky and slightly hoppy.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, good smoky representation of style, it’s a solid beer to drink for a while if you’re in the mood for something a bit different.

Photo of jlindros
3.4/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pours a little darker colored fizzy 1 finger head that fades semi slowly with lots of lacing, pitch black beer.

NOse not bad for a black ipa, dark creamy malts, fluffy nougat, caramel, some caramel, a little biscuity wafer cookie, light spicy earthy hops in the background more, hint of roasted coffee.

Taste brings more creamy black malts, and toasty brown malts,more fluffy nougat, a little caramel, hint of milk chocolate, touch of roasted coffee, creamy. Earthy spicy hops really dominate, destroy the malts eventually with a crazy bitterness that lingers. Finish is dry and huge spicy bitterness.

Mouth is med bod, creamy, decent carb.

What is the point of a beer like this? WHo enjoys this? the flavors just clash all over, and it's just crazy bitter spicy hops that don't serve a purpose other than getting crazy bitter for the sake of getting crazy bitter, and don't mix at all with the nice malt profile. This was the worst style ever invented.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.64/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Served in a Lagunitas mason jar.

Pour one out for our contract-brewing homies. This stuff pours a very dark midnight sienna topped by a finger of khaki foam. The nose comprises pine resin, light vinyl, anise, toasted malts, and a hint of dark molasses. The taste brings in more of the same, leading with the toast and sweetness and then leading into the resiny bitter bit through the finish. The body is a light-leaning medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta/kinda drying finish. Overall, not a bad black IPA at all, really. It's still not something I would drink anywhere near regularly, but the occasional glass wouldn't necessarily be the low point of my day. (Glowing praise? No, but, then again, I like to be enigmatic...)

Photo of Atlas1
4.02/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I am a fan of most of the Schmaltz beers, and this is no exception. I liked the name too.

Poured into a barrel pint, this black IPA is a nice dark beer, with ruby red glints at the edges when held up to the light. Tan foamy head with good lace. Very stout-y looking, if that makes sense. The nose is great, with a strong hoppy aroma that blends well with a malty scent. Toasted (burnt?) bread, coffee, and bakers chocolate linger in the aroma as well. I love this smell. The taste is equally complex. Dueling flavors include coffee, toast, dark cherry, dark chocolate, and of course the hoppy finish of an IPA. All over the place, and yet cohesive enough to command attention and respect. Really excellent job here, in my opinion. Mouthfeel is smooth and slightly creamy.

This is just a really really good beer. Solid effort all around from the folks at Schmaltz. Clever name, fun label, delicious beer. I would revisit this in the future without hesitation. Cheers.

Photo of Hophazzard
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This one tastes quite bland to me. Not really bad just nothing special.

Photo of AlCaponeJunior
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black with a good brown head and super sticky lacing.

Flavor and aroma, fantabulous. Roasty, hoppy, malty, a very nice blend of black ale descriptors, weighted a bit towards the hops.

Body is medium, carbonation medium, drinkability high.

Quite delicious. Do love that Smaltz.

Photo of Summerteeth
2.59/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 2 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

First of all, what the hell is a black IPA? Definitely not pale. This is disappointing. Too smoky, no floral notes. Blah

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - poured a little rougher than it needed to be and got three fingers of foam for my efforts. Good mocha color, pocky and resilient. Looks opaque but there is the slightest bit of light getting through, showing a dark reddish mahogany.

Aroma - good roasty elements as well as very piney hops, showing some definite char on the grain too.

Taste - very roasty, some of char on the grain, but not too burned up that it hides the malt flavor. The hops show mostly bitterness, not so much of anything citrus beyond some dried grapefruit peel. The swallow pursues the bitterness and charred grain to the end where it dries out. Picks up some great dark chocolate notes as it warms and really starts to pull together all around.

Mouthfeel - good feel, crisp and lively, hiding the 7% well.

Overall - a good bipa, though I was hoping for a little more citrus presence.

Photo of jmdrpi
3.69/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle, no date on this one-time brew to celebrate the opening of the brewery.

very dark, ruby colored highlights in the corners of the glass. big fluffy off-white head. great lacing clings to the glass as I drink, and a good 1/4" of head remains until the bottom of the glass. smells of mild cocoa, herbal spicy hop aroma. good balance of slight roastiness and bitterness. dry. full mouthfeel, lower carbonation. smooth.

overall - just okay compared to many of Schmaltz's other brews.

to view more.
He'Brew Death Of A Contract Brewer from Shmaltz Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 368 ratings.