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Schell's Dark - August Schell Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Schell's DarkSchell's Dark

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

207 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 207
Reviews: 113
rAvg: 3.3
pDev: 17.88%
Wants: 1
Gots: 6 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
August Schell Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Lager |  4.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is dark because the barley is roasted longer– a flavorful lager that everyone will enjoy.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-17-2002)
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Ratings: 207 | Reviews: 113 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BuckeyeNation


2.45/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Crystal clear orangish copper beneath a head of soft, airy, beige foam. The cap is of poor quality, falls rather quickly to a lifeless lump--prior to disappearing altogether--and chooses not to grace the glass with its presence.

The nose is indistinguishable from the nose on a mass-produced lager, except that it's a little more aromatic and a wee bit more pleasant. It smells of slightly sweet, barely toasted grain with very little evidence that it's a dark beer at all.

Schell Dark tastes like what I would imagine Miller Dark would taste like if it existed. It's woefully undermalted with a smidgen of fake caramel, as if artificial extract was used to 'darken' and to flavor the beer. Sugar-dusted, toasted grain dominates the palate, as it did the nose.

The mouthfeel is the very definition of watery. What flavor is present is washed away soon after it registers. Is it possible for the finish to come prior to the swallow? This beer's only positive attribute (if the lack of a negative can be considered a positive) is that nothing about it is really offensive. Unless, of course, simple poor quality offends you.

I found an interesting quote on the Schell website regarding Dark: "The perfect beer for people who want a specialty craft beer, but may not want all the flavor and heaviness". Playing into the 'flavor is a bad thing' mindset is inexcusable for a brewery that expects to be taken seriously. Schell Dark is light years away from Schell Pale Ale. So much so that it's hard to believe that the same brewery is responsible for both beers.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2004 23:44:48 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

3.48/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

brown with a smallish off white head, that slowly faded to reveal a decent layer of lace left on the top, as well as a good amount left down the sides of the glass. Some visible carbonation was evident through the chains of bubbles streaming up through the very clear beer. Smell was very unique. It had a nice burnt sort of smell with a definate hint of caramel and coffe, which really suprised me. It was so pronounced, almost like a porter type of hint in there. The taste was very similar, lots of coffee and caramel flavors, mixed in with a nice earthy grain and a slightly bitter hopped back

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2011 19:22:25 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of TMoney2591


3.48/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Chicago Bears shaker pint glass.

Part One of my six-part intro to Schell's regular boys. It pours a clear amber-russet topped by a finger of dirty ecru foam. The nose comprises light caramel, light grass, and a touch of rather mild roast. The taste brings in more of the same, though things are a bit stronger all-around, and a small bit o' coffee finds its way in there as well. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a fairly smooth feel. Overall, a nice little brew, one that was somehow surprisingly enjoyable (something about a MDL in a clear bottle just advertizes itself in the wrong way to me...), something I could see drinking plenty of if presented with the proper circumstance.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2011 04:28:14 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of zeff80


3.23/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a reddish brown color with a small, thin, white head. It left no lace.

S - It smelled of caramel and malt. A nutty smell, maybe hazelnut.

T - It tasted of sweet malt. A touch a caramel. And a subtle touch of hops.

M - It was crisp and somewhat sharp. A light to medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a pretty good beer. Not the best from August Schell, but it makes for a decent session beer.

Serving type: bottle

07-06-2007 21:56:38 | More by zeff80
Photo of TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

3.55/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Acquired via trade from MilwaukeeCrusher, so a big “Thank You” goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light brown color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains caramelized malts, lager yeast, some honey and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with a decent breadiness from lager yeast and a hearty but not too heavy malt character. Then some mild caramel sweetness follows. The hops presence is mild but brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

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

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, good representation of style, this is a decent beer to drink for a while, but there are better beers in the style.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2012 04:23:09 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of feloniousmonk


2.45/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: clear, coppery-bronze color, with a short, soon-departing fizzy head.Aroma: none to speak of, really, light and airy, with nutty hints and an unflagging cola-like flavor.
Taste: there's some small amount of flavor, caramel and nuts from the malt, but that sweetness is it. Thin is the by-word here, weak comes in handy, too. No hops, sufficient malt, no body, teensiest, tiniest texture, and virtually finish-less.
Very, very sad, and I can't help but suspect they've merely caramelized their regular, light lager. Real dunkels have some character, and this guy wears his insipidness all over him like a drunken lout on St. Patrick's day.
Almost undrinkable. Sorry, Schell.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2003 10:17:55 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of WVbeergeek

West Virginia

3.25/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours from a clear bottle, labeling and bottle together bring out a retro feel to the product. Pours a dark copper ruby brown hue with a nice creamy tan head quickly dwindling. Aroma has hints of grainy malts, a touch of caramel and tart fruit in there as well. Flavor wise roasty malts/husky graininess/fruits with apple/raisin coming through with a touch of a grassy finish. Mouthfeel is a bit rough around the edges but a light to medium bodied lager from New Alt Minnesota is a welcome addition to the beers I've tried. This is nowhere near Penn Dark was it's hayday, but it's a decent drinkable beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2011 13:34:56 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of jwc215


3.98/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to morimech!

Freshness date of 031010 stamped on the neck:

Pours brown (as seen through the clear bottle) with a thin off-white to tan head that eventually becomes wispy. Dotted lacing sticks.

The smell is of roasted grain, nuts and caramel.

The taste is of sweet caramel with a roasty balance and a nutty, earthy undertone. Remains sweetish. It has a clean, crisp finish.

Light-to-medium bodied with a lager smoothness, this is an "easy-drinking" brew with a fair amount of complexity for the style. A nice caramel/nutty/roasty balance. A fine choice for a dark "sessionable" lager!

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2010 16:50:37 | More by jwc215
Photo of tempest


3.33/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Stub and Herb's

Yeah, it's not a great dunkel, but it's a nice, standard American interpretation for the most part. It appears a dark brown with light tan lacing. The aroma has a hint of DMS with sweet grains. The flavor is pretty subtle with an initial sweet bready rush followed by a gentle chocolate note. The DMS is distracting, but not surprising. Not a bad beer.

Serving type: on-tap

04-06-2008 20:44:04 | More by tempest
Photo of rhoadsrage


3.03/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

(Served in 2 American pint glasses) it was happy hour I guess

A- This beer has a dark brown shoe polish colored body with a thin light tan film of head and a strong carbonation.

S- The smell of pot caramel had a faint dry dark malt note to it.

T- This beer had a pot caramel malt flavor with a nougat note. There was a faint sulfur note and a faint noble hop hint in the finish.

M- The medium mouthfeel had a watery texture and a tight fizz in the finish.

D- This beer didn't have a lot of flavor and the flavors it did have were a little off. It would be nice to taste some other malt flavors like maybe some Munich malt or other lightly toasted malts.

Serving type: on-tap

06-08-2006 18:44:53 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of XmnwildX12


3/5  rDev -9.1%

11-22-2013 02:02:58 | More by XmnwildX12
Photo of mothman

United Kingdom (Wales)

3.63/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on Tap at a smaller bar in New Ulm.

Poured into a 20 oz plastic cup (very sad).

Creamy slight tanned head. Left good lacing. Color is a dark ruby brown, which was quite appealing.

Aroma: Not very much here. It just reminds me of an American macro lager with some extra flavor added to it. Malty, slight caramel, very grainy.

Taste: Darker malts. Again, very grainy. Not very much going on here.

Mouthfeel: Very crisp and smooth. Medium bodied. High carbonation. Ends fairly clean.

Overall, a very easy drinking 'dark' lager. Looks dark, tastes fairly light. I could have a few of these during a session.

Serving type: on-tap

05-24-2009 18:55:46 | More by mothman
Photo of Stinkypuss


3.83/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a clear 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Mellow brown color with a head that disappears quickly.

Nose is of malt and minerals.

Tastes pretty good, caramel malt with a slight roasted edge. A bit sweet. No real bitterness but adequate to say the least.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth.

This is a drinkable brew and worth the try. Sessionable.

Serving type: bottle

05-06-2009 14:01:14 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of John_M


3.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The pickings were slim at the MSP airport, and as I already was familiar with the mediocrity that is summit EPA (the other "craft" option), I went with this. Can't say it was a huge improvement, but....

The beer pours a brownish amber color with fairly good head retention and lacing. The nose is almost nonexistent, but I did pick up some light brown surgar, sweet malt and apple cherry. The flavor profile replicates the nose in this moderately sweet, simple beer, but there are no off flavors and drinkability isn't bad. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied, and thankfully the beer isn't over carbonated (a frequent problem in airports). The finish is soft and moderately sweet, and I found this beer to be fairly enjoyable.

Nothing spectacular here, but it beats the hell out of any of the grainbelt line. If stuck in airport waiting for a delayed SWA flight, I'd probably order this again.

Serving type: on-tap

09-19-2011 21:54:22 | More by John_M
Photo of Bighuge


3.48/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer is a dark lager, but is the color of an IPA, not a dark beer such as a porter. Nice head with some retention. Nose contains hints of malt, slight chocoate and caramel. The taste is smooth. Some roasted notes mingle here and there with the clean maltiness. Overall, not too bad. A little thin, but highly drinkable. I'd take this anyday over Michelob Dark. This is the kind of dark beer you could suck a case down all day say if you're in an Ice Shack or something.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2003 21:11:21 | More by Bighuge
Photo of LXIXME

New Mexico

3.04/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Small off white to light tan head slowly settles down above a clear burnt reddish brown colored beer.

Light caramel malts aroma coming from richly roasted grain malts.

Lighter tasting roasted caramel malts taste without much else coming through with this Schell's Dark.

Wettish aftertaste without much taste associated with it with this lighter bodied beer.

This beer seems to be a bit light tasting for a dark, was hoping it would have more and richer tastes, although the taste that it has isn't bad, just lighter than I was thinking I would get with a Dark.

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2013 20:28:12 | More by LXIXME
Photo of Tone


3.95/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, dark amber color. 3/4 inch head of an off-white color. Decent retention and poor lacing. Smells of grain, yeast, slight sweet malt, pale malt, hint of hop, and slight roasted malt. Fits the style of a Munich Dunkel Lager. Mouth feel is slightly smooth and crisp with an average carbonation level. Tastes of grain, yeast, slight pale malt, slight hop, slight sweet malt, and slight roasted malt. Overall, a good blend, body, and aroma.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2010 18:21:20 | More by Tone
Photo of zestar


3.25/5  rDev -1.5%

05-10-2014 07:59:52 | More by zestar
Photo of Zaphog


2.75/5  rDev -16.7%

10-26-2013 00:09:41 | More by Zaphog
Photo of BeerFMAndy


3.53/5  rDev +7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz CLEAR (clear = dreadful) bottle poured into a Pilsner glass. 111309 Date. No info.

A - Clear and copper-brown, it has a nice darker cream-colored head with ok retention ad a few stages of legs left on the glass on the way down. Spots of lacing cover the glass.

S - The nose carries in it toasted Munich and caramel malts it seems, with a bit of a floral hop nose. Very muted aroma.

T - Creamy toasted Munich and caramel malts. The flavor definitely makes up for the lacking aroma. There is a hint of coffee in the roastiness and a definite caramel sweetness there too. A very mild hop flavor comes across the back end.

M - So creamy and so smooth on the palate with an ample carbonation finish. Nicely medium-bodied and dry finish.

D - This jumped way up in quality with the first sip. The nose is almost absent and the head is a bit lacking but it's a delish beer overall that I could put a few, if not more, down of. The clear bottle needs to go though.

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2009 03:17:41 | More by BeerFMAndy
Photo of tavernjef


2.7/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Color is a clear orangish cherrywood color, it could be darker with more brown, pours out to a medium beige head that fades quickly, no real lace sticking. Aroma is quite sweet and fruity with dullish apple and pear, a malty nose, touches of dry nuttyness, but it has a bit of a souring smell and reminds of flat white wine or something. Interestingly off. Taste comes across quite thin and far to sweet, malts are in flavorful amounts but not in a good way by any means, very light and twingy with a watery mix of white wine fruityness and dulled crispness. Feel is watery and thin, characterless and boring. Boy, a disappointing beer at best. I so want to support Schell's other brews other then the FireBrick and Pale, but it just ain't happening.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2003 18:58:53 | More by tavernjef
Photo of twiggamortis420


3.53/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

12 oz clear bottle with a best by stamp of 110510. Pours a clear, light brown color with a dense cap of creamy foam. Retention is good and leaves some nice ribbons of lacing around the glass.

Lightly sweet, roasty malt with a hint of chocolate. Clean nose and smells just as good as many German dunkels.

Taste is husky and sweet with equal amounts of roasted and chocolate maltiness. Light hopping comes in to clean up the finish. It is unfortunate there are not many American brewed dunkels, as it makes for a flavorful session beer that is easy and fun to drink. This one is a little thin on the palate and lacks a certain smoothness found in the best of the style. Still though, I enjoyed this beer and would happily buy a sixer every now and again.

Serving type: bottle

09-18-2010 17:01:55 | More by twiggamortis420
Photo of ZAP


2.73/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I was looking for a cheap, but better than macro lager, to drink while I smoked my first cigar of the summer....I thought this fit the bill as it was only 5-something a six-pack (much cheaper than their seasonal offerings)...I saved one to rate with a clean palate and here we go...

A nice clean mahogony color with no head at all hardly...Nose is soft, but malty and sweet....the nose is probably the best thing about this beer..

Taste has some maltiness to it, but it is underwhelmed by the very poor mouthfeel (thin, and slightky acidic)...taste reminds me of their Schell Bock and water....maybe 1 part Schell Bock, 3 parts water...at best 1/3 Schell Bock and 2/3 water...(BTW...The Schell Bock to me would be a nice dark lager in its own right as it is tasty but a little lacking it strong bock characteristics..)..

Drinkability??? Sorry, the very watered down flavor and mouthfeel has me dissapointed....Not a real good dunkel....usually this brewery is very good but this must be one of their "dumbed down" beers for the masses....

Serving type: bottle

06-21-2003 16:22:09 | More by ZAP
Photo of cokes


3.73/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

When Gramps speaks of "real beer", this is what we means. No, not Westy. Nor Stone. Not even Sierra Nevada. He's talking about Schell Dark.

Now shuttup and listen.

This is American Lager done right.

"Dark" might be an overstatement. More of a golden copper. Obligatory, fizzy white cap.
Nose is grainy. Maybe with a touch of corn. Gramps tells you to stop your highfallutin' bullshit. This smells like beer. 'Nuff said.

Begins lightly sweet. Faint caramel notes, probably (though not certainly) adjuncted with corn. It doesn't develop much from here. Grainy midesection. Hopping is light but drying, especially in combonation with the carbonation (which, to its credit, does not seemed forced).
Simple stuff. But it works. Find your complexities elsewhere, and just drink.

Light bodied and totally guzzleable. As a regional/macro, it is positively top shelf.
This features a solid malt statement. Embrace that.

I received this as part of a Schell sampler pack, which defeats its very purpose. This should not be sold in denominations less than 12 (or, more likely, 24). If this was readily available and cheap, it'd be a staple in my fridge.
And Gramps would be proud of me.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2003 07:49:54 | More by cokes
Photo of alexgash


2.63/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Clear brown-amber with a small, off-white head. Cereal sweet malts. Toasted, caramel, and nuts. Minor adjunct taste. Sweetish toasted malts. Not that bad though. Slight vegetal hop finish, but more adjuncty malt sweetness in the end. Light bodied, mass lager feel. A better choice than Michelob Amberbock…

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2006 01:01:28 | More by alexgash
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Schell's Dark from August Schell Brewing Company
76 out of 100 based on 207 ratings.