Death & Taxes Black Beer - Moonlight Brewing Company

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Death & Taxes Black BeerDeath & Taxes Black Beer

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281 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 281
Reviews: 127
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 9.83%
Wants: 70
Gots: 19 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Moonlight Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Euro Dark Lager |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-11-2003

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (22) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 281 | Reviews: 127
Reviews by Denali:
Photo of Denali
4.94/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Toronado.

Presentation: 16 oz. pint glass.

Appearance: Intimidating black muddy gloom. Moderate tan head, nice lacing.

Smell: Yowsah! Dark malts, roasted coffee. More dark malts. Slight hop aroma comes through.

Taste: Yeehah! Just like the aroma. Beautiful super dark malt flavors with extra super roasted coffee. Nice hop balance too. Wonderful bitter flavors but not in any way astringent. And for good measure, a slight sweetness comes through too. Awesome complexity. Wow!

Mouthfeel: Not as thick as I would have expected (considering the aroma and taste). But this IS a lager and not a stout, and the mouthfeel is spot on.

Drinkability: Insanely easy drinking. I always order one of these when I go to the Toronado.

Comments: Its hard to imagine how good this beer is without trying it yourself. One of the strongest flavored beers I have had to date.

More User Reviews:
Photo of RoyalT
4.24/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – This one poured a thick, ominous dark brown in color with a light white head. It really does look like death . . . and taxes.

Smell – The rich, burnt malts are raw and rich. Did I mention they were rich? You can almost taste this with your nose.

Taste – The big burnt malts really take over this lager. There are some sugary cane flavors throughout the flavor profile as well and little hops to speak of.

Mouthfeel – I’ll call this a big medium-bodied with some good, malty bittering and a bit of coffee grounds going on in here.

Drinkability – This is a terrific sipper with a big bitter finish. The Schwarzbiers I had in Germany were a little more balanced, but this was a definite winner.

Comments – This was actually my 1,500th beer review, although when I went to post it my review numbers jumped by 30 or so overnight. Must have been some programming change by The Bros.

Anyway, this was a real treat and proved to be another signature beer from the ever-ingenious Moonlight Brewing. These guys never cease to amaze, and I felt honored to partake of this fine Schwarzbier at the Flavor Bistro with my wonderful wife and a great BA, Rapapoda.

Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Another cool beer from Moonlight. Tried on tap at several places in the Bay Area including Jupiter and Amnesia.

A: French roast coffee color with a huge mocha head. Chunky and sticky. Assertive carbonation replenishes head with each tilt of the glass. Well done.

N: Roasted, toasted, grain. German yeasts, coffee, chocolate, and a hint of spice.

T: Loaded with flavor. Mild stringy sugarcane sweetness but balanced nicely by coffee like acids. Heaps of dark malts, loads of chocolate and coffee. Finish of spicy hops.

MF: Smooth as good porter on cask. Fricking awesome.

D: Dangerous. Drinks like a Helles.

A great dark lager. In the same league with Sprecher’s Black Bavarian.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.12/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to RedwoodG for his hard work in getting this beer into my hands. Completed, signed, postmarked and home bottled on Oct. 19, 2006. Pours into my glass a deep black hue with a sliver of dark brown shooting out when held to the light. A nice light tan head sits atop the brew. Aromas begin with a strong roasty, smoky maltiness with a touch of chocolate. Black coffee notes mix in as well as a fairly big green hoppiness. Subtle graininess and caramel. Overall quite a nice aroma.

First sip brings a smooth, somewhat dry maltiness with a deep roasted flavor along with a touch of smokiness. Bitter coffee makes itself quite known along with a chocolate flavor as well. Flows down with a touch of bitter green hops. Quite bitter overall with just barely enough sweetness to counteract. This is a black lager thats packed full of flavor and I found it quite enjoyable.

Mouthfeel is quite arid and light in body with a somewhat chalky dryness to it as well. Goes down incredibly easy and is packed full of flavor. An interesting brew that I'm happy to have had the chance to sample.

Photo of merlin48
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle from RedwoodGeorge's magnificent bottling project. Thanks for the opportunity! Pours a dark, ebony body topped by a small cocoa head. Rings of lacing are left on the glass. Looks very much a stout instead of a lager. Aroma is dark chocolate and caramel accented by earthy hops and a citrusy note. A kiss of wood smoke adds a pleasant touch. Light medium body with an ideal medium carbonation. Taste has a lasting smokiness, almost like a rauchbier. Dark chocolate maltiness is dominant, balanced by an interesting hops bitterness that wavers between earthiness and citrus. Beautifully executed schwarzbier here that ranks up there with Sprecher Black Bavarian as America's best for the style. I love the smokiness in this one.

Photo of rudylaw
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ Flavor Bistro. Served in a Moonlight pint glass.

Pours a brownish to black with ruby/copper highlights. A good finger's worth of head is present on the initial pour but settles down to a rim soon enough.

Roasty cocoa in the nose. Hints of chocolate mingle with the roast as well.

Same and straightforward in the taste. It's has medium carbonation and is very smooth going down. Nothing fatiguing about this lager at all! Extremely drinkable and very enjoyable!

Photo of OStrungT
3.97/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a very dark brown color that looks black in the glass. It boasts a thin tan head that fades fast, leaving many laces in its wake.

This beer has a smokey aroma. It smells malty also, with a slight coffee aroma. Very odd from a Schwarzbier. It has a mild chocolate aroma as well. Lots of caramel in this one.

This beer tastes exactly like it smells. Caramelly upfront with a good amount of smoke flavor. Coffee and chocolate mix in as well. Again, very odd for a Schwarzbier.

This beer was refreshing. It was light in body. It goes down smooth, leaving a smokey aftertaste.

I think this beer might make a decent session beer. It is low enough in alcohol. The only problem would be that the flavor might become a little cloying after a time.

Overall: I have had this beer before, and I liked it. I still like it. I tend to find myself leaning away from lagers, and drinking more sour beers and hop bombs. This beer is a good reminder that there are many good lagers out there.

Photo of rastaman
3.33/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Tap, Toronado, San Francisco. A pretty unique dark lager. Mashy/oaty, quite ashy and salty, pretty big hit of hops and bitterness. Pretty tasty, but a little unbalanced. Quite smooth and grainy to , pretty interesting stuff, didn't think it was a dunkel when i was trying it though.

Photo of ggaughan
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Toronado. Poured a deep brown, almost black color with a fluffy white head with good lacing. The aroma is led by some bold roasted malts, coffees and a bit of hops in the background. The taste is what you smell, big toasty malts with a bit of hop bitterness blended well. This beer is enjoyable and leaves your mouth wanting more. This is my first Moonlight beer and I really enjoyed it. Wish I could get some of their beers back in the East.

Photo of Sammy
3.58/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

enjoyed on tap at Toronado. I like the style, and this was a decent example of it, though not the best I have had. Served a little cold. Lacey. Above average mouthfeel, with chocolate and a little sour, or rather coffee bitter astringent. Good drinkability.For some reason, it did not seem at peak condition.

Photo of augustgarage
4.48/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On-tap at Flavor, 2/4/10. Served in a sloping half-pint glass.

Opaque, nearly black body with faint auburn edges. Two fingers of creamy tan foam tower over the top edge of the glass. Thick, lasting lacing erodes magnificently. Excellent retention.

Very lightly smoked malt aromatics, with hints of chocolate and black pepper.

Immensely satisfying flavor profile, with coffee and cream, bittersweet chocolate, black malt, and clean lager notes. The finish suggests malt powder, roasted hazlenuts, boiled chestnuts, and lightly toasted bread crust.

Rich sudsy feel, though still very light-bodied.

Thoroughly enjoyable, lots of flavor but still restrained enough to appeal to a novice palate - huge drinkability - glad to know you can find pitchers of this at some of the other eateries in the area.

Photo of tempest
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this a couple times on tap on a recent trip to SF. I'm always a fan of the style, seeking out new (at least to me) examples, and this is the best I've had. It has the agreeable drinkability of your standard dark lager or schwarzbier, but the depth of a great Baltic porter. There were fruity, cherry tones at times, and then dry toffee and cocoa with an interesting cola edge. I'm so impressed by how many, clean distinct (and delicious) dark malt flavors are crammed into this lager. Go find this beer. You need it.

Photo of MiScusi
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Flavor Bistro in Santa Rosa, CA. Poured a nice dark black, but with good clarity when viewed at it's edges. High roasted smell and flavor. Medium-light mouthfeel. The roastiness is front and center but on a little lighter body. Not a creamy mouthfeel or anything like Guinness. Good beer to showcase a roasted malt character and not be overtaken by alcohol or anything else.

Photo of danish
3.87/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had a pint of this on tap at a little hole-in-the-wall pub in Berkeley, CA, called ACME. This was my second tasting and, may I say, I enjoyed it a whole lot more the second time around.

A: It poured a dark black with a one finger tan head that quickly disappeared, leaving a thin layer of foam. Minimal lacing down the glass.

S: Roasted barley was ever present giving it a slight chocolate scent. A note of coffee hit the back of my nasal passage, immediately inviting me to have a sip.

T: A nice balance of malt and hops created a smooth flavor profile and no one overpowering taste. Because of this, however, I felt like it was missing some punch that would make this beer outstanding. Mellow, smooth, and tastey.

M: Thinner than expected, which was a nice surprise for me.

D: That smooth body and lightness on the tongue make this a very drinkable beer. In fact, I had one more before moving on.

Photo of SpdKilz
3.7/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at Toronado. I love the name of this, heh.

Appearance – Utter black color with no light getting through. Off brown head that sticks around for a while.

Smell – Heavy roast, coffee, chocolate, char, and caramel.

Taste – Bitter cocoa mixed with roast. This is a rather harsh beer – everything is on the “bitter” side as in the cocoa, coffee, and malts. Some sweetness tries to get through but fails to a more earthiness.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied, finishes damn dry.

Overall – Just a bit too much. I love char and roast and other bitter flavors, but this was a bit over the top.

Photo of emerge077
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On draft at Flavor, served in a 12 oz. wilibecher glass. Review from written notes.

Black body, not seeing much light come through, not even around the edges. None more black. Dripping halo of lacing crowning the rim of the glass and tumbling down like spanish moss hanging from low branches.

Mellow aroma of roast barley, wet coffee grounds, unsweetened dark chocolate.

Flavors of Belgian dark chocolate, Islay smoke, coffee, all nicely interwoven. A dry roasty finish that leaves a dose of lingering bitterness. Medium bodied and creamy with a fine blend of flavors. Easily sessionable, and one of the most intensely flavorful lagers in recent memory. Paired nicely with pesto foccacia and an appetizer of celery wrapped in parmesan and thin raw beef.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a dark color lager with a large foamy head with good retention and some light lacing. Aroma of lightly roasted malt notes with some caramel and light black chocolate notes. Taste is also a mix between some light caramel malt with subtle notes of chocolate and light dry bitter finish. Body is about average with good carbonation. Well doe for the style with great drinkability and complexity ratio.

Photo of isualum12
3.56/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

color- is black as can beee...
head is brown tan in color

So this beer is smooth with a ton of coffee and expresso along with slight bourbon...

I am on the fence with this beer.

The story goes that it is a one man show that he does his own brewing, marking, distribution ext. He has a high school kid that cleans his kegs but out side of that he is a one man show. The beer is really good and very cool.

I am glad I tried it while down here since this is probably my only chance to get a taste since I have never seen it in Boise. It would be a Boise favorite I tell you if it was distributed. But as I said one man the story was told to me though is the guy is totally happy with that. I personally think that is cool that he has found his work load and happy spot. Stay with it is what I say...

Photo of smakawhat
4.47/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured on tap into a shaker pint at Toronado SF.

Deep mahogany brown, presented up to the rim with a faint tan collar, and just a smidge of brown head. While finishing the beer may actually be red, hard to tell might be the neon in the bar.

Absolutely ripping grain aroma on the brew. Ripped husky grain and lots of milk chocolate quality on the nose. Clean smelling. Big and nearly rich, but waffery all over. Fantastic.

Palate does not disappoint. Big crackling grain notes in the mid palate, followed by waffered chocolate and a bit of coffee. Literaly tastes like chocolate covered grain seeds. Mild sensing notes and a great lager crisp body all over.

Wonderfully balanced and presented, with a classic lager feel. Wonderful brew.

Photo of berkey
4.3/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap in a standard pint glass at T-Rex BBQ in Berkeley, CA 02/04/10.

Body is dark brown, just a shade short of black. Small khaki head dissipates quickly and leaves some splotchy lacing.

Aroma consists of clean chocolately notes, a mild roasty character that stops just short of being coffee-like, along with traces of wood and nuts. Crisp and pleasant.

Roasted malt character is a little more present on the palate than most others in style. Chocolate notes are clearly defined but subtle. The most dominant flavor, though, is the big hoppy dry-bitter aftertaste which helps gives this beer some nice heft but still allows it to finish extremely clean.

Light in body but far from watery, this beer goes down with a nice slick creaminess. Extremely drinkable, this is always my first beer when I visit this establishment and it's usually my second beer as well.

Moonlight makes some consistently enjoyable beers and this is one of my favorites. Early in my beer drinking career I decided I didn't like this style but beers like this one have cause me to do a complete 180. If you're ever in the Bay Area one of your top beery priorities should be finding out where Moonlight is on tap.

Photo of RaulMondesi
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Toronado in San Francisco, CA.

It took a sip or two, but after the third one, Raulsky almost done lost his mind like Nietzsche in 1889. As I came back from my stupor, I was awaked by beautiful and glorious notes of chocolate and roasted coffee. Then, as the main man went in for another sip, it was almost his mind that became roasted. Beautiful and "light," but light with rich and robust flavors.

I suggest riding the Midnight Ghost like Kerouac up to San Francisco to try this one, my children.

Photo of largadeer
4.48/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Amnesia in San Francisco.

Pitch black like a stout with no head whatsoever (due to the bartender's pour, not a lack of carbonation). Strong aromas of roasted barley and faint smoke. Like the smell, the taste is intensely roasty. Undertones of bittersweet chocolate and burnt toast are present as well. It's not an extremely complex brew, but I don't think it's trying to be. It's pretty light-bodied and crisp despite the big flavor, very quaffable stuff. Hard to believe this is only 4.2% ABV. A great brew all in all, and one of the better schwarzbiers I've had (admittedly not many).

Photo of carln26
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was on tap at the Toranado. Very dark brown to black, thin head that left a beautiful lace on the side of the glass. Aroma has roast malt, mild chocolate, heavy espresso. The taste has the espresso up front, followed by the mil chocolate. Definite hop bite in the flavor. Just brightens the taste a bit. Slick, full mouth feel, with just a touch of alcohol heat. Decent drinakbility.

Photo of EliottJW
4.7/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I should start off by saying that this is one of my all time favorite beers. Being a student at Sonoma State University, roughly 20 minutes from moonlight HQ, moonlight abounds in my small town. We were fortunate enoug to have D&T on tap in the student pub on campus... I can recall walking into many a test feeling a bit wobbly off the effects of death and taxes.

this is being poured into my moonlight glass (picked up at flavor in santa rosa) from our kegerator in the basement. we had a special event at our house a week ago and thought it necessary to order something special. death and taxes is black as night with a mocha head... small, soapy bubbles linger for days and days. I can't help but get excited anytime I have a death and taxes sitting in front of me.

smell is superb. fresh, black coffee... brewed 5 minutes ago and filling the room with it's intoxicating aromas. chocolate malt from here to infinity. I love it more than life itself.

roasted, toasted, light and sweet malts jump right to the back of my mouth. bitter? absolutely, but only from the malts. there are harldy any hops to speak of here.

taste? let's not even talk about that... do you love coffee?... if you answered yes, then you love d&t... moving on.

mouthfeel is wondrous. I love this beer for a number of reasons, one of the most prominent being the fact that it is light and manageable. this beer does not overwhelm your senses like an imperial stout, though it may remind you of one.

drinkability? how about drink-a-suckadong? yeah... I said it. I'll drink D&T until the day I die.

Photo of plaid75
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at Flavor Bistro, Santa Rosa, CA.

Poured a deep black hue with a one and a half finger foamy tan head. There was good retention and very good sticky lacing.

The smell featured a moderate burnt grain with a touch of smoke.

The taste was upfront roasted barley with elements of smoke, coffee and subtle caramel.

The mouthfeel was toward the duller side of the style.

Overall a tasty and complex dark lager.

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Death & Taxes Black Beer from Moonlight Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 281 ratings.