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BREWtality - Espresso Black Bier - Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
BREWtality - Espresso Black BierBREWtality - Espresso Black Bier

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

178 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 178
Reviews: 53
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 9.64%
Wants: 86
Gots: 29 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Midnight Sun Brewing Co. visit their website
Alaska, United States

Style | ABV
Schwarzbier |  9.70% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: AKBelgianBeast on 03-01-2009

Combining jet black color with incredibly smooth texture and decadent coffee flavor, BREWTALITY breaks the expectations of both rich espresso and dark beer to create a whole 'nuther beast. While brutal in alcoholic strength, this biggie beautifully showcases its roasted malt and coffee flavors without bringing on bitterness and bite. This is the first of two lagers in the series.

17 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 178 | Reviews: 53
Photo of SierraFlight
3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into tulip. Part of duct tape surprise bottle share at Beachwood. Very dark, nearly opaque brown body with a half-finger tan head that leaves patchy lacing. Aroma is roasted malts, coffee, and cocoa. Taste is slightly sweet initially with molasses and dark fruit flavors then an espresso roast bitterness follows. Medium-full body, sticky and thick texture, soft carbonation, and a dry, bitter finish.

Photo of Rutager
4.02/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance. Pours dark brown, close to black in the glass and topped with half a finger of light brown head.

Smell. Big coffee for sure, some sweet caramel and dark roasty malts, molasses, and a bit of chocolate and fruit.

Taste. Big sweet dark malts and coffee, some dark fruit and molasses again. Quite like the nose.

Mouthfeel. Fairly full bodied and a touch sticky on the lips, low+ carbonation.

Overall. Super solid stuff here. Maybe a touch sweet for me, but a very well made beer.

Photo of MDDMD
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A-black color with a nice brown head and good lacing

S-dark malt, coffee, molasses, slight char

T-espresso, dark roasted malt, molasses, dark chocolate, light char and bitterness

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, smooth and creamy

O-this was different than I expected it to be, but it really grew on me and was very enjoyable

Photo of KYGunner
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured awfully thick for a lager this holds a deep ebony color under a cap of nice even foam.

The nose is malty, smoky and chocolatey but do I smell peanut butter? If I did it was fleeting. This has a dry roast coffee at the end.

The flavor is a dry malt ,coffee bean, chocolate and then a slight espresso sweetness.

The feel is thick and smooth for a lager and is more akin to a dry coffee stout.

Very enjoyable beer for a new and unusual style.

Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into snifter, no bottle dating. Pours pitch black color with a 2 finger dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big roasted espresso, dark chocolate, roasted malt, cocoa, toast, molasses, light char, licorice, raisin, light alcohol, and roasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of big roasted espresso, dark/roasted malt, and light yeast ester notes; with great strength. Taste of big roasted espresso, dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, toast, molasses, light char, raisin, light smoke, herbal, and roasted earthiness. Fair amount of roasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark roasted espresso, dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, toast, molasses, light char, raisin, light smoke, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic complexity and balance of roasted espresso, dark/roasted malts, and light fruitiness; with a great roasted bitterness/sweetness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a smooth and moderately creamy/chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is an awesome coffee infused Baltic porter. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of espresso, dark/roasted malt, and light fruitiness; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

Photo of SHODriver
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: poured into a pilsner glass to a jet black beer with a finger and a half of dense tan head that is slow to fade. I think this may be the first time I poured a beer and watched the droplets dance across the head before finally penetrating. This beer has some decent lacing during the drink
S: Smells of coffee, chocolate, aslight amount of roasted malt
T: Taste is espresso, chocolate, some roast malt, and slight hop bitterness. The swallow brings a big smack of espresso, roasted malt and dark chocolate.
M: This beer sits somewhat heavy on the palate but it isn't oppressive. Carbonation is adequate and just shy of prickly. The finish of this beer is neutral but leaning toward refreshing
O: Overall, this is an excellent beer. It has great flavors, a fantastic smoothness, and drinks surprisingly easy for the ABV.

Photo of BlurryVisi0n
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a flute glass.

Appearance: pitch black beer with light bubbles on the body. Dark ram head rises to roughly, 1/4"

Smell: Strong coffee, with a strong alcohol smell. You feel almost like a sugar touch to go with it. That f'n great.

Taste: Complex, has a sweet bitter taste. Alcohol strength is obviously evident but ridiculously smooth. Coffee with roasted caramel sugar, did I mention complex.

Mouth: Smooth feel, the sugars at the end give it a distinct flavor.

Overall: Awesome beer, probably one of the best "black beers" I've had. Would love to have again and if I see it again might have to clear out the shelf. Grab a glass and fall in love. Salud!

Photo of Rifugium
4.02/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to John for the bottle, and for scratching this one off my list!
#1 schwarzbier on BA as of this review.

Poured into a MS cervoise, an opaque obsidian color, with a tiny rim of dark brown around the edges. A full finger of rich mocha head receded to a thick ring and held there, leaving splotchy lacing on the glass. Sweet dark malts in the nose, coffee, light fruit esters, doughy, with a scent of lager yeast. In the taste, dark malts and coffee, roasty but smooth with a slight bitterness, unsweetened cocoa, uncooked dough, lager yeast, some neutral alcohol detracted from the taste a bit giving a sensation of oxidation, but it was still within tolerance, and faded a bit as the beer got closer to room temp. It is 9.7% after all, and there was some heat. The coffee wasn't overdone at all, which--based on other reviews--makes be think this bottle had some time to mellow out, though it did come out more as the beer warmed. Mouthfeel was nice, smooth, bordering on porter territory, medium body, moderate carbonation, dry finish. My only gripe was the higher alcohol that left a bit of an uncomfortable aftertaste, clashing with the roastiness, but again, this started to fade when the beer got closer to room temp, so I guess I shouldn't have refrigerated it that long. Good brew overall.

Photo of Dope
3.84/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

No date spotted.

A: Pours jet black with a mid-sized and fizzy light brown head. Head fizzes out somewhat quickly but with decent retention. Moderate splotchy lacing.

S: Interesting aroma. Lots of burnt coffee bean with a strong dark fruit element.

T: Similar to the aroma. A rush of earthy coffee beans with lots of dark fruits. Raisins and cherries primarily. A touch chocolatey in the finish with a constant sweet dark fruit flavor everywhere. Finish has more dark fruits lingering with that earthy coffee aspect back in.

M: Medium bodied, smooth and easy drinking.

O: Interesting brew, a schwarzbier with coffee. Very fruity, very earthy. Feels way lighter and smoother than 9.7%. Easy drinking for a big coffee beer, I think the lagering process is responsible for that. Almost no bitterness at all which is surprising given the coffee. I give it extra points for mouthfeel and drinkability but I wasn't really a fan of the flavors on the whole. Not sure if the coffee works quite right in a schwarzbier. Maybe I prefer the bitterness of your typical coffee beer? Not really sure.

Photo of Ego
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

eyes...
low sizzle, cocoa themed foam that only rises about 1 finger and settles in rather quickly, lacing is quite good with a nice sheet of uniform microbubbles, absolutely pitch black, light doesn't bother trying to pass through lest it meet with the same fate as the woeful denver broncos... nice looking brew

nose...
jet black coffee -yeah! one of the better coffee aromas I have sniffed on a beer in some time, really deep espresso tone, the malts are detectable but man the coffee just kicks you in the face, and I love it

taste etc...
a decent coffee taste, I was expecting more based on the nose, this drinks almost like a mild milk stout with not as sweet a finish, some mild bitterness actually trails through the whole swig and then at the tail end you get some coffee flavor but mostly near sweet chocolate malt,
a nice beer but nothing so great

verdict?
a bit underwhelming for me. not bad but there is no brutality to brewtality (yeah... I thought of that all by myself). This is worth checking out but is no means the best coffee brew around, but to be fair I like bitter ass burnt as shit coffee, like only starbucks dark roast or brooklyn gorilla stuff... so keep that in mind when I talk about coffee, I drink it with maybe some milk, usually skim and no sugar, that doesn't make me bad ass, it is just the way I like coffee

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.34/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Dogfish Head pint glass. Pours a very dark mahogany brown that is opaque in the glass, with a half finger brown head that dissipates slowly to a thick ring around the glass. Aroma of quality coffee, toasted malt, dark chocolate and a hint of alchohol. Flavor is wow, rich latte coffee, toasted malt, chocolate and coffee liqueur, wonderfully integrated. Finishes with sweet coffee, light lactose, licorice and sweet dark malt. Creamy medium to heavy bodied. This is a beautifully made coffee ale, with great balance of flavors. The alcohol in the aroma is well covered in the taste, but this is warming and warm. If a great bartender made a mixed drink out of a well made light stout and a quality coffee liqueur, this is how I imagine it would turn out. This could be my favorite coffee beer I've ever had. Well done and recommended. Not available in Seattle, but bought this in southern California. (Most Midnight Sun is available here). Hope some fall off the truck on the way down next year. Beer distribution is so utterly weird.

Photo of bmwats
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 650 ml bottle into a snifter.

A: Black. Pours a half finger, foamy, brownish head. Dissipates quickly but not completely, leaving a thick beer ring. Effervescence is lively. Full, persistent spider web lacing.

S: Roasted espresso, a little black licorice, cut with molasses and brown sugar, and dark chocolate.

T: Charred espresso beans. Dark unsweetened chocolate. A little black licorice.

M: Thick and syrupy. Pungent and peaty. Higher ABV is apparent. A little boozy.

D: Sip and enjoy.

Atmosphere is really nice. Slight head, effervescence, and slight yet persistent lacing. Nose is coffee, black licorice, dark chocolate, and brown sugar. Char roasted coffee, bitter dark chocolate and a nice balance of licorice and molasses. Boozy with a bit of a peaty finish. Overall, this is a really good quaff.

Photo of Kuaff
4.58/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brewtality... in a tulip at cellar temperature.

A verrry slow pour created a beautiful three-finger, light beige head of incredibly tight-knit, creamy foam, all over what is indeed a black beer. Its presentation in my tulip glass is more elegant than brutal, hehe.

Definitely a good amount of dark, roasty, freshly-ground coffee in the aroma. This is balanced by some sweet, milky chocolate and a fruity raisin scent. A strong, perfect blend of highly complementary smells.

This stuff has a somewhat mind-blowing flavor profile. First it's like I just took a sip of really great black coffee, and then this sweet, smooth chocolate maltiness takes over. And after that, this gentle, earthy coffee bitterness and smoked maltiness lingers in the finish. Alcohol is non-existent.

The feel is thin like a lager, and dangerously smooth and quaffable with subdued carbonation. Somehow this works really well with this beer's intense stout-like traits (which are normally found in thick, viscous imperial stouts, of course).

This is a really memorable and unique creation. Probably one of the best coffee-infused beers too.

Photo of corby112
3.64/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours pitch black and completely opaque with very faint mahogany edges when held to a light source. Half finger off-white head that quickly settles into a thin ring. Minimal spotty lacing left behind.

Slightly smokey, deeply roasted dark malt aroma with a robust gourmet coffee presence that's nicely integrated without obliterating every other characteristic of the beer. Some smoked meat and charcoal along with burnt toast, fresh espresso bean and bitter dark chocolate. There's also a subtle lactic presence along with some sweet desert-like bakers chocolate. Smells kind of like flour less chocolate cake.

On the lower end of medium body with tight carbonation and a bitter, deeply roasted espresso/coffee bean flavor that dominates the palate. Doesn't live up to the aroma with a light mouthfeel, a bit too much carbonation and slightly one dimensional flavor profile. Dry and bitter with a slightly burnt, acrid espresso flavor with hints of smoke, charcoal, barbecued meat and burnt toast. Under all of the roast, there is some nice coffee flavor and sweeter chocolate malt notes. The high ABV is well masked but it's still a bit too harsh and roasted/burnt tasting for my preference.

Photo of oceanman907
4.88/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This review is a bit of a love letter to one of my favorite beers. Essentially this beer is a double espresso in beer form, but it is so much more than that. The beer looks fantastic Jet black in color, but not terribly thick w a coffee tan head that lingers down the entire glass... The smell is the only thing that isn't perfect for me, faint coffee and chocolate scents but it is nothing powerful like the taste. Full of rich dark french roast coffee transitioning to a mocha flavor and finishes slightly bitter and surprisingly dry and smooth, the alcohol is totally hidden as well. The mouthfeel is also masterful not much carbonation, which is perfect for a coffee beer and the schwarzbier aspect is what gives this beer a light feel making it the most refreshing black beer i've ever had. One of my favorite beers of all time and anyone who likes coffee and beer should try to hunt it down.

Photo of ElSid
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Freshness Date: None

A: Black with a moderate thickness topped off with a light brown head of microbubble foam. The head has a decent resiliency and an overachieving glass cling.

S: Strong espresso and cocoa notes with a solid foundation of wood and earth. There are also notes of caramel and brown sugar.

T: Again comes the espresso and cocoa up front. There are also a good amount of smokey wood and earthiness essentially following the nose. Then comes raisins and notes of dark fruit. The finish is syrupy sweet with moderate rum-esque alcohol and minimal bitterness.

M: Velvety smooth with a medium feel and long syrupy linger. Minimal carbonation.

O: An interesting beer which marries espresso and malt while leaving out the hop bitterness. In a hop dominate craft brew world this beer is interesting and refreshing.

Photo of dbrauneis
4.11/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a clear very dark brown in color (approaching but not quite black) with minimal amounts of visible carbonation and some cola brown highlights. The beer has a minimal amount of light tan head that quickly reduces to a very thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of freshly brewed coffee with some lighter amounts of roasted malts.

T: Upfront there are light to moderate flavors of roasted malts with some moderate to strong amounts of freshly brewed coffee. Just a touch of malty sweetness. Moderate amounts of bitterness in the finish that lingers for a short amount of time.

M: Slightly heavier than medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation.

O: The alcohol is well hidden and this beer is easy to drink - definitely the best schwarzbier that I have ever had. Wonderful flavors and aromas of coffee.

Photo of metter98
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a thin tan head that dissipated almost instantaneously, leaving only some wispy laces of bubbles on the surface and a thin collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate amounts of coffee and dark malts are present in the nose.
T: The taste has flavors of coffee, dark malts and dark malts along with some hints of malty sweetness. No bitterness or roasted malts are present.
M: It feels a little more than medium-bodied and clean on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is a refreshing change of pace for lovers of coffee beers as it drinks smooth and has virtually no bitterness or roasted flavors. It also hides its alcohol rather well.

Photo of ngeunit1
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown-black with a finger of frothy chocolate-khaki colored head. Fades fairly quickly.

S - Roasted malts, coffee, a bit of cocoa, molasses, black licorice, vanilla, lager yeast, touch booze.

T - Roasted dark malts, coffee, bitter cocoa, molasses, black licorice, lager yeast, vanilla, hint of booze.

M - Medium-full bodied, moderate carbonation. Smooth with a sweet, roasted, dry finish.

D - Nice big schwarzbier. Great balance.

Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.29/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle opened on 2.1.13
Bottle picked up at the Brewpub in Anchorage

A - Pours a dark brown with a thin dark tan head that quickly moves to the edges.

S - Strong coffee and some roasted malts.

T - Sweet chocolate and lots of coffee. Good!

D - Mild carbonation with a surprisingly heavy body for a lager.

O - Coffee lager, yes please! Very smooth and tasty.

Photo of joefuzz
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a thin looking deep brown with a small light brown head. Smells of red grapes, plum and raisins. Taste is very sweet up front lots of dark fruit and some slight smoke flavor and goes down with a light espresso aftertaste. Mouthfeel is on the thiner side with pretty low carbonation. Overall a very good beer...not much coffee going on but still very good.

Photo of Gmann
2.78/5  rDev -33%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a deep brown color with a minimal beige head that settled into a light ring.

The aroma is sweet with some caramel notes with a very light hint of coffee. I dunno I am just not picking up much from this one.

The taste is of a brown bread malt with a faint kiss of coffee. I pick up a strong presence of dark fruit; raisin and plum. Perhaps some fig as well. There is some caramel sweetness and some milk sugars. There is a subtle tart cherry flavor. Me thinks this brew did not hold up well on its trip from Alaska. There is a little bit of a roast flavor but it is quickly over-taken by the dark fruit flavor.

Moderate feel with spritzy carbonation; good for the style. Sweet for the style but does have some roasty bitterness.

Man, what happened to this brew. Very much not like an "espresso black beer". It doesn't taste funky except for the dark fruit flavors. I am hoping this is a bad bottle.

April 5, 2014 update

I stand by my review. Not much if any coffee flavor. The beer itself is good but I don't get much coffee at all, thus my grade.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.27/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to wethorseblanket for sharing this one at drewone's tasting.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, and coffee. Taste is much the same with a really nice coffee flavor and a mild roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer that is extremely tasty and easy to drink.

Photo of brentk56
3.7/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a coal black color with a film of a head that leaves a few dots and dashes behind

Smell: Black bread, dark fruit and coffee

Taste: Roasty, but surprisingly sweet, up front, with a molasses, mint and a brown sugar character; coffee, black bread and dark fruit arrive in the middle but the sweetness returns, after the swallow, and continues into the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: I was expecting something quite different when I saw this was listed as a Schwarzbier, but the sweetness here is just a bit overwhelming

Photo of sevenarts
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark, dark black. Smallish head even with an aggressive pour, and it quickly fades to almost nothing with no lacing left behind.

S: Smells really rich: sweet chocolate, intense coffee, boozy alcohol, roasted malts.

T/M: Even richer and more flavorful than the smell would suggest. Loads of rich dark chocolate, milk, bold and bitter espresso. The sweetness does a good job of balancing the bitterness of the coffee as well as the underlying alcohol, which is fairly well hidden but still shows through. This is a beer that will quickly get you drunk if you're not careful, because it's so sweet and delicious but so heavily alcoholic. The finish has a bit of a dry bite to it as well as a velvety rush of throat-coating chocolate.

O: An amazing, intense, incredibly flavorful beer, a really interesting take on the coffee beer. It would perhaps be even better if it toned down the sweetness just a touch, but it's already wonderful as is.

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BREWtality - Espresso Black Bier from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 178 ratings.