Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

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
91
outstanding

54 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 54
Hads: 185
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 8.43%
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
firstprev| 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 54 | Hads: 185
Photo of DefenCorps
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

nickd717 (RIP) shared this. Thanks, Tick!

Pouring black with a dense brown head with good retention and lacing, this is one good looking beer. The nose is wonderful - chocolate, roast and coffee, all excellently balanced. The coffee has a lot of depth to it with a nice richness. This translates to the palate as well, with the blend of chocolate, coffee and roast being quite harmonious. Quite unlike any other schwarzbier I've had, but still very good.Again, I can't stress enough how much depth there was to the coffee flavor. Rich, creamy with moderate bitterness and a nice dark chocolate finish, this beer is quite excellent. Medium in body with moderate carbonation, this is far out of the norm for the style, but an enjoyable beer, one that I drank multiple pours of. (776 characters)

Photo of sprucetip
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From notes. As advertised, it is black. 1 finger mocha head, some retention, spotty lacing, active.

SMELL is of coffee, a bit boozy, malty sweetness, faint caramel, something sour, a spice that eludes me. Floral hops add depth and complexity. Bold and with legs.

TASTE coffee and a distinctive sour spice (similar to one in Anchor's Our Holiday Ale) lead and dominate. But not way out of balance. Backing caramel malty sweetness is strong, and there is a brief, sharp, bitterness in the early middle. Booze is obvious but it is pretty smooth and fairly complex.

FEEL a bit of a bite contrasts with the otherwise rich, full body and creamy texture. Strong alcohol warming detracts from otherwise luscious texture. Clean finish.

OVERALL Very unique and interesting. THe sour spice is a nice touch, whatever it is. Probably oughta be sipped, but the flavors keep the sips coming at short intervals. A good beer, worth trying if you get the chance (and you probably won't). (977 characters)

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. (1,515 characters)

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

22oz bottle. 2012 Edition. Served in a tulip.

Pours a very dark opaque brown. A small head settles quickly to a thin dark beige ring. Some bits of lacing.

Aroma is rich with chocolate and coffee notes. Sweet, roasty, and slightly bitter. Mild hop presence. A touch of alcohol at the end of the draw.

Flavor is a lot sweeter than I was expecting. Like a delicious melted coffee ice cream, or sweetened coffee drink. Tons of chocolate notes as well. Finish dries up a little, but some long lingering sweet coffee remains. Alcohol is very nicely buried.

Medium full bodied with a mild amount of carbonation. Drinks really well and maybe gets a touch thick on the finish.

The sweetness of this beer may be too much for some, but I love the way it offsets the stronger coffee notes. Another great brew from Midnight Sun. (820 characters)

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

Thanks a ton for the great gifts frank, we had a fun night with all of these for sure!

a wonderful dark pour yields a nice two inch head of tan that is reluctant to move anywhere as it sits on top and clings to the sides for its life. big look, almost stoutish.

aroma is huge coffee and roasted malts. you could smell this one a mile away. nice rich roasted coffee beans and a wonderfully well rounded, dark profile. flavor carried through just as well with enormous notes of coffee and peat, campfire like flavors fill in the finish and leave you looking for more.

overall a wonderful beer that straddles the lines of many styles. would not mind having another at all! (672 characters)

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. (825 characters)

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 (336 characters)

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 received from the great trader from the north... AkBelgianBeast... Super cool Frank!! Poured into my shaped SA glass... some sort of snifter would have probably been a better idea.... I didn't look at the ABV before pouring, and just assumed a Schwarzbier with Coffee additions.

Fairly aggressive pour produced only about 1/2" of deep dark brown head... no cap... no lacing... no retention.. The EtOH and oils in the beans are probably keeping it down... The brew is pretty much all black... only hints of deep red/dark walnut show when the bottom of the glass is held to a bright light.

The nose is almost certainly the most "coffee forward" beer that I can remember... It's been a long time since I've had a straight espresso shot... but this smells like a super fresh cup with some dark DME thrown in to sweeten it up.

Flavor is not exactly what I was expecting ... a slightly less amount of coffee is present on the palate.. replaced by a little bit of dark maltiness that shows some minor fruitiness... Plenty of malty sweetness helps push the waves of flavor and makes it meld more than I was expecting. Very light carbonation and the residual sugars are making this a fairly thick yet smooth brew... I like it.... quite a bit... I'm glad I got to try it fairly fresh, because I would expect the coffee to die back a fair amount relatively quickly... No perceived alcohol at all.

I have no real complaints at all... Carbonation could probably be dialed up a notch... but all and all.. they knock the "coffee" beer genre out of the park.

Thanks again Frank... I am very much looking forward to trying the other brews in the cellar.

4/4.5/4/4/4 (1,657 characters)

Photo of largadeer
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black and completely opaque with a thin cap of dark tan. Espresso on the nose - that's about it. No real malt to speak of, just intensely overpowering espresso. It's nicely expressed, however, and doesn't smell like a stale cup of coffee. The flavor is equally coffee-forward, but the base beer thankfully shines through a bit more. Chocolatey malt, light bittering hops and a touch of molasses shine past the punchy espresso flavor, though just barely. Bitter, semi-dry finish. (478 characters)

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. (899 characters)

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. (827 characters)

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. (724 characters)

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. (491 characters)

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. (1,304 characters)

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. (451 characters)

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

A: black body with barely translucent brown edges; finger or two of dark tan foam that slipped away into a slim collar

S: espresso-like scents, some roasted dark malt

T: a different flavor than American black ales - the malts aren't as dominant, and bitter flavors are lighter and sharper; espresso flavors are the most obvious, background chocolate and mild roastiness; vanilla and maple (?) accents

M: thinner, slimmer, and lighter than most beers this dark would be; slick, bitterness has a tartness that lingers; mild carbonation; heavier abv than you'd think, because it is well-masked - only a little alcohol astringency slips out; has a wine-like quality

O: the only German black beer (bier) I've had - som my flavor comparisons are mostly from American black ales, as well as ales from the porter and stout family... I thought it a nice beer - a lager, based on the label, thinner than the American versions (which are ales), but just as formidable. I drank it slightly colder than I would an ale, supposing it appropriate. It nicely melded that light, lager fell with darker, more complex and rich flavors. (1,119 characters)

Photo of GeezLynn
3.97/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pitch black and tranquil, lacking much in the way of head.

S: Sweet roasted malt, slight coffee, vanilla, and easily distinguishable lager yeast.

T: Flavor matches closely with smell, with lots of honey sweet dark malt and light molasses. Malt is less roasted than in the smell and this seems more like a dopplebock to me. Coffee is pretty restrained without much bitterness. Finishes with light lager bite.

M: Medium body and a slightly sticky texture. Carbonation is on the light side, which works for me.

I like sweet, but this might have been a bit too sweet for me. Would really have liked to have tried this right after it came out as it sounds like it had a much better coffee presence. But as always, a very good beer from MS and one of the better black lagers I've tasted in awhile. (798 characters)

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. (420 characters)

Photo of nkersten
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes, thanks to Alex for bringing this. Poured into a tulip, color is opaque brown with a small tan head, good retention and some lacing. Smell is chocolate, espresso, raw grains and molasses. Bitter coffee dominates the flavor followed by some hops, roasted malts, some sweetness, and finishes with more coffee. Medium bodied with a light carbonation. This is a decently drinkable beer, maybe a bit high on the ABV for the style, although the alcohol was not present in the flavor or smell. Probably a bit more coffee bitterness then I would have liked for the style. A good beer but probably not the best schwarz I have had (although it definitley falls in my top 5 coffee lagers, thanks again Alex!). (718 characters)

Photo of EgadBananas
3.92/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black, looks thick. There was a small near finger of dark tan head. No lace. Roasted nose, espresso and coffee, and some slight dark fruits. The taste is sweet. Some bitter, roasted coffee notes, dark fruits. Bit of noticeable alcohol. The feel is medium, somewhat thin. I guess it's pretty substantial for the style.
Unique, interesting, tasty, but not mind-blowing. (374 characters)

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. (1,091 characters)

Photo of VashonGuy
3.83/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I was surprised by this beer. I was expecting, based on description and reviews, a strong coffee ale ... well, a strong coffee lager, that is.

What I tasted instead was something fairly sweet, chocolatey or molasses, with a bit of coffee if you looked for it. The sweetness overtakes and dominates the espresso too much.

I usually don't put sugar in my coffee or my lattes, so the sweet aspect didn't work for me.

The beer looks good, smells good, and it is pretty good overall. Just not quite to my taste, and not comparable to other coffee beers I've had. (564 characters)

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 (1,347 characters)

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 (572 characters)

Photo of AgentZero
3.65/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another MS beer shared by MasterSki.

A - Dark brown beer with a finger of brown head. Faded to a partial cap with some decent lacing on the sides.

S - Huge, almost knock-you-over, coffee aroma, which is really good. Nice roasty notes and chocolate. Really pretty interesting for a schwarzbier. Has a bit of that acid tone you would expect, doesn't really work with the coffee though.

T - Roasted coffee flavor with a little bit of molasses and some acidity. Has a lot of roast in there, finishes off with a bit of bitterness/acidity that isn't the greatest finish on the beer.

M - Soft carbonation, medium bodied, slightly astringent finish.

O - Solid beer, although it was kind of a srange combination. Not bad, I liked it, but didn't love it. (749 characters)

firstprev| 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
BREWtality - Espresso Black Bier from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 54 ratings.