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Duck-Rabbit Schwarzbier - The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery

Not Rated.
Duck-Rabbit SchwarzbierDuck-Rabbit Schwarzbier

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

176 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 176
Hads: 304
Avg: 4.01
pDev: 13.97%
Wants: 65
Gots: 24 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery visit their website
North Carolina, United States

Style | ABV
Schwarzbier |  5.80% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: on 07-30-2009

The Duck-Rabbit Schwarzbier is a refreshing summer lager (sometimes referred to as a "black pils"). In true Duck-Rabbit fashion, we've made ours extra schwarzy! It's very dark and quite roasty. Lots of Hallertau hops give this brew an authentic German character.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 176 | Hads: 304
Photo of gabe23
3.97/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Black with a fizzy tan head that fades fast. Not much in the way of lacing.

S - Roasted malt with a touch of black coffee and burnt toast. A little hops mixed in as well.

T - Toasted breadiness up front that transitions smoothly into a slight hop bite. The finish has some sweetness balanced with dark chocolate bitterness.

M - Fairly heavy body for the style, though carbonation is high which lightens things up a bit.

D - I'm a fan of dark lagers, and this is a good one. It has the signature Duck Rabbit flavor that I taste in all their beers, which I like, but I'd like prefer them to branch out a bit more. Still it's a nice addition to the lineup from a great NC brewery.

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Photo of argock
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into a clear tulip glass. No freshness date. Single purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $1.70.

A: Black with no transparency and 2-finger off-white, beige head with good retention and spotty lace.

S: Roasty dark malt nose with soft floral and herbal hops

T: Tastes like a less dry porter or a softer stout with a solid dark malt, roasted flavor with minimal acridity but with herbal, floral hops. A big dose of chocolate comes through the middle and adds both bitterness and sweetness.

M: Lighter than a porter and a stout with a good body and more carbonation. Aftertaste is more in line with a dry stout.

D: A very good brew that really raises the bar for this style done in the US. It's still very easy to drink and a great beer for dark malt lovers. This may well be Duck-Rabbit's best beer.

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Photo of AltBock
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle with a shiny silver and black label that has a bright red center. Inside the red center is the world famous Duck Rabbit wearing a baseball cap turned to the side. To the far left is the Government warning and to the right is a notched best before date.

When poured into a Lagunitas pint glass, this Schwarzbier appears to be solid oil black colored beer, but when it's held into the light, it was more of a dark chocolate brown color. On top was a 3/4 of an inch beige colored head of foam. In less than a 1 minute, this head of foam quickly receded into a hand full of beige rings and about 2 spots of lace.

The aroma was about about the roasted scents! It kicked off with a strong whiff of dark roasted malts. After the malts leave, in comes a hint of roasted coffee beans, roasted nuts, bitter dark chocolate, and then it finishes up with a gentle touch of caramel. It needed that caramel to help balance out all the dark roasted aromas.

The taste was a fight between the dark roasted malts and the roasted coffee beans. You actually taste a struggle between those two flavors. There was no clear winner, except for maybe the consumer. After the dust had settled, this dark roasted taste ends with bitter dark chocolate, and roasted nuts. There was no subtle sweetness in the taste to try and balance out all the roasted flavors.

This was a medium bodied beer with more than enough carbonation. Don't think so? Look at it and taste it and you'll see what I mean. This beer had a roasted aftertaste of dark roasted malts, roasted coffee beans, bitter dark chocolate, and a subtle touch of roasted nuts.

The Dark Beer specialist did it again! They made yet another great dark roasted beer. I could see this as a dark roasted session beer.

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Photo of pwoods
4.07/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to Kels for the bottle.

12oz. brown bottle poured into an imperial pint.

A: Nearly pitch black with some brown edges in the light. About a fingers worth of dark khaki head forms but only holds for a minute or so. Some lacing.

S: Great malty, roasty presence. Loads of spent coffee grounds. Dryness in the back.

T/M: Big coffee and bitter grounds. More of the malty and roastiness. A bit of char or ash. Dryness kicks in almost immediately and lasts through the very dry and somewhat bitterness finish... a touch too much, I think. Body is medium or so and creamy.

D: I'd definitely buy this if it were available in my area.

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Photo of Proteus93
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on draft at Beer Run in Charlottesville.

A: Opaque black, just as I'd hope! Nice, slightly offpwhite head tops about a finger and a half tall. Nice looking, decently creamy, with a bitof a frothy quality to it. Several patches of lace paint the walls of the glass.

S + T: A nice coffee bean scent, and a straight iced coffee flavour to go with it - though it doesn't carry a lot of the chocolate or sweet notes that other styles often exhibit with the roasted malts. Nice and raw, the graininess is very clean and tasty.

M + D: Lighter in body, easy going and smooth drinking. This is a very nicely done beer, certainly accessible and easy to drink. I look forward to imbibing in many more of these as long as it lasts! Recommended drinking.

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Photo of garcia2a
4.17/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ok its been awhile and the reviews have piled up, so I am starting with what I am drinking now.

A nice deep ruby-cola color, light carbonation with a nice lacy head.

The nose has nice chocolate and carmel tones, with a very pleasing earthy roasted grains characteristic. The nose ends with a roasted nutty aire. This translated really nice to the taste as I really am getting nice grain and chocolate on the taste buds with a very pleasing roasted spoce aftertase.

The mouthfeel is very nice with littlr to no cloying. The gravity feels like its about where it should be for the style, making this a very drinkable tasty.

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased at Abe's in Bethlehem for around $1.75. Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into my nonic pint glass. Notched freshest by 11/09. The lager appears a nearly opaque dark chestnut color with about an inch of creamy light tan foam. the foam lingers for a bit before settling to a thin layer. Awesome dark roasted grain and bitter cocoa are the first notes to attack the nose and taste-buds, followed by notes of slightly burnt caramelized malt, a touch of smoke and char, grassy hops. Medium in both body and carbonation. Very nice!

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Photo of drabmuh
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Ah, a Schwarzbier. Served on draught at a local beer bar in the D.C. area. Dark, like black, in the pint glass. Thin brown head, the first smell I got Bock, the second I got porter. I could smell the malt, the alcohol (even though its low) and the smoke. Strong roasted malt character, I like this beer. Darks aren't my forte, but this was quite good. Smoke appears in the aftertaste, schwarzbiers are the porters of the lager world. Drink and enjoy, cheers.

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Photo of deapokid
4.27/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown/black with nice carbonation and a thin brown head. It's lacey and well-presented, making me really excited for the first sip.

The overwhelming scent immediately hits you in the face, packing a big roasted malt and coffee bean stink, which is disarmingly delicious and enticing.

Consistency is thin (which is common for this type of lager), with sweet dark chocolate and espresso being the prevalent flavors. All tastes are extremely well-balanced and the roast smokiness accompanies the bitter sweetness of the chocolate.

As you sip, the liquid coats the tongue, hitting the tastebuds with sweetness and the back of the tongue with a roasted dryness.

I'm always a big fan of schwarzbiers and think they're one of the most drinkable lagers. Although this one is heavy on roast flavor, it is still really easy to down and potentially one of the best American renditions of this German style.

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Photo of tempest
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-cask at Tap and Table in Emmaus, PA. Appeared pitch black in my pint glass with a short tan head. I'd never had a cask schwarzbier before, but I'd have one again. The roast was heavier than most beers in the style and reminded me of lighter stout, but I'm not complaining. There was a delicious mocha and black barley taste with hints of bitter chocolate and licorice. Give this a try if you can find it.

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Photo of dgfair
4.32/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into my Samuel Adams Boston Lager specialty glass.

The beer pours a beautiful dark black color with a nice big tan foamy head. The head dissipates fairly quickly, leaving the glass lined with some nice sticky lacing. As I take a whiff, my nose is greeted with a lovely smokiness of roasted malt with a slight caramel/toffee backbone...a perfect balance of sweet and smoke in the aroma.

The taste is delicious roasted malt upfront with a little balance from the sweet malt behind. I also get a slight touch of oak and vanilla as the beer remains in my mouth. On the swallow, the beer leaves an earthy flavor of roasted oak with a little bit of almost fruity sweetness.

This is a fantastically easy drinker...not sure on the abv, but this one goes down smooth. Definitely a sessionable beer with a ton of flavor. The only other schwarzbier that I've had in quantity is the Sam Adams Black Lager, and I think the Duck Rabbit is head and shoulders above. I would love to see DR add this to their standard lineup, as it could become a go-to.

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Photo of SIRIUS2
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours dark to black with just the slightest hint of translucence. Modest tan head of perhaps a fingers width at best that quickly dissipates to a heavy ring. Light lacing.

Very modest aroma of malt, but they smell like medium roasted coffee. Pleasant and very inviting.

Tastes are broad of malt with and amazing smoothness and rather heavy mouthfeel. Plenty of sweetness but very well matched with coffee and chocolate bitterness. A rather light carbonation allows for an overall creaminess that seems common to the Duck Rabbit line of brews. Goes down smooth and easy.

Nice brew! Another fine brew from Duck Rabbit.

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Photo of BeerSox
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-Tap into pint glass @ Birreria Paradiso - Georgetown

Pitch black one finger light brown head, which settles to a thin cap. Stringy lacing. The aroma is loaded with roasted malts, but not much else. I had trouble picking up on anything else. The flavor contains burnt malts, coffee, and a little bit of dark fruit. Slightly dry. A little bit of hops comes in toward the end in the background. Full bodied, and very smooth.

Definitely a Shwarzbier worth having. Recommended.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.78/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz received as a super cool extra from bullywee.. Thanks Kenneth... I had no idea Duck Rabbit delved into the dark lagers..

Poured into my shaped SA glass... 1" tan head drops sorta quickly leaving behind good lace and a beautiful cap... the brew is actually pretty damn dark.. even for a schwarzbier..

The nose is all dark malts and some cold brewed coffee.. very clean... This smells very very fresh.. I'm digging it already... sorta..

Flavor is very fresh too.. but seems way to aggressive out of the gate .. dark malts lend a bunch of drying qualities ... no sweetness other than some background caramel malts.. and that is pretty far in the background.. bitter chocolate.. not burnt at all...but it comes damn close.. finish is clean with some coffee grounds.. Lite/medium body with a pretty high carbonation.. very drinkable for only a beer probably tonight.. but another one of these, and I'd have a much harder time..

There is probably too much roasted grain/coffee flavors in this one.... dial it back a notch or two and then we're talkin'.. I've found many american breweries go overboard on the roasted malts.. this is no exception ... but it is still pretty damn good.. just too much of a good thing by a long shot... this is not supposed to be a stout with lager yeast.


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Photo of wedge
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very dark brown with chestnut highlights. A nice, fluffy milk shake-y like head tops it off. Big, pleasing aroma of rich, roasted (almost charred) malt, nuts, and cereal. Chocolate covered fruit and a whiff of coffee and cream as well. Rich, heavily roasted malty delights flood the tongue...cocoa sweetness, dark chocolate, finishing with some fruity hops. Medium-light body...smooth and dry.

Tasty for sure. I'm glad DR decided to put out a summer seasonal with some real drinkability. Being the "dark beer specialists", a schwarzbier seems like a logical choice and they pull it off very well.

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Photo of nms1987
3.91/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mad props to D-R for finally busting this out. I remember that it was supposed to be one of the first beers they did a long time ago.

Looks nice. Looks like a schwarz. BIG creamy, tan head. Dark body. Opaque. Basically black with maybe a little brown/caramel/ruby cola colors at the edges under light.

Smells decent... cream and vanilla on the nose. A definite spicy thing in the nose too but not in a hoppy way and I would be shocked (given the style) if I'm smelling alcohol.

Tastes real good. Smooth and creamy with a coffee/chocolate thing. The faint bitterness at the finish, melded with the natural chocolate notes gives a really fun baker's (unsweetened, bitter) chocolate aftertaste. Fairly crisp and clean finish considering the nice maltiness it has.
Mouthfeel is, again, smooth and creamy.
Drinkability is high. Very enjoyable to sip or gulp. I'd love to have another

Nice beer. Really nice beer.
A-? (the rating so far at this point), I don't know about that. I think some people are getting caught up in the Duck Rabbit hype, the "limited release"-ness and the unusual-ness of Schwarz.
Hell, maybe this is an A-, it is damn good. B+/A-. Really borderline. I really like it but it isn't knocking my socks off. I don't think it is better than the Sam Adams Black Lager (and that was 3-4 bucks cheaper than this before the crappy Sam Adams distrib in the area discontinued it)

Schwarz is just such a nice style. I think if more people got over their OMG A DAAARK BEEER fears this style could be a hit. It is so enjoyable to both the enthusiast and the layman. It is interesting and can be complex enough for the enthusiast but it is just so damn smooth, rich and clean for the layman. Easily approachable. I've had some success recommending Schwarz to folks looking to get into non-Lite beer for those reasons. Rich and tasty yet smooth and easy to drink.

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Photo of Bung
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. Picked up a six of this at a local tasting and I'm down to the last one so I better review it.
A somewhat transluscent black pour, some white bubbly head. Good amount of chocolate, roast malt in the aroma, with some of that, lager smell, not sure quite what to call it. Light/medium body not quite creamy, refreshing on the pallet. Roasted chocolate malt, cocoa, burnt nut with some piney hints throughout. Finish is just a bit of roast coffee.
A real good drinker of a Schwarzbier, like it should be. One of Duck Rabbit's best efforts, saying something considering their others are good as well.
I wish more breweries would focus on this style, this is the session beer for the dark beer fan.

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Photo of Pencible
3.83/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This poured a nearly opaque dark ruby color with a fair amount of tan head. It smelled like roasted barley with muted caramel and coffee and some smoke. It tasted like roasted coffee and burnt barley, with some oak and smoke. It was watery with moderate carbonation, and had a bitter coffee aftertaste. Overall this had an interesting taste that was heavier and smokier than expected from a schwarzbier. Almost seemed more like a smoked porter to me. It had decent body, but nothing great, and was pretty easy to drink. The taste wasn't perfectly clean, but it was generally enjoyable. Given the limited nature of this beer, you can skip it without worrying about missing too much.

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Photo of cvstrickland
4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Duck-Rabbit's new schwarzbier pours clear and is dark polished mahogany in color with a three-finger deep cap of beady-bubbled, sticky ecru foam atop. The headcap retains very well, slowly settling into a rocky-surfaced cloudscape as it plasters sheeted webs of lacing onto the sides of my imperial pint-sized willibecher glass.

The aroma is a touch fruity with mild candied sweetness and is laced with a streak of smoky charred grain. Nuances of soft and mellow fallen apples, medium roast coffee, and dark vanilla caramels are woven into the profile and augmented with savory cereal sweetness.

The taste is a blend of chewy candied malts, mellow caramel, black plums, and a balancing splash of semisweet mocha. A lovely finishing bite of mildly-bitter dryness superbly complements the subtly grainy, sedately fruity sweetness.

The drink is medium-bodied and highly quaffable with mild carbonation that suits the brew and this drinker just fine. An excellent first-time offering that I hope to see in D-R's rotation again.

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Photo of CrellMoset
4.17/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of dkachur - thanks!! Poured into a traditional pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep mahogany brown - dark but not quite opaque enough to fail to be transparent - such that it does that thing that when you hold it up to the light, you can only see that dull, reddish light, glowing in the center of the beer. The cocoa-colored head fades relatively quickly - just, fizzzz, fades into nothingness - but does leave a persistent sheen of lace throughout, the perpetuity of which is likely helped by what I perceive to be a fair amount of crisp, fast carbonation as evidenced by the continuous little explosions of bubbles in to the dusting. Lacing is an afterthought.

Aroma: An incredibly authentically earthy smell. Very strong toast up front, not burnt but heavily toasted. And whatever's toasted was originally very wholesome, earthy, almost oaty, but way lighter than that. Faint chocolate emerges upon agitation, and the earthiness + toast is reminiscent of a fairly full city coffee, probably an asian blend (Sumatra?).

Taste: Soft and sweet dextrins compliment the dry, roasty, earthiness well, resulting in a fairly synergistic and dynamic flavor profile characterized by earth, faint cocoa, coffee overtones, toast, dark toffee, a bit of caramel, light fruity esters, and a nice amount of hop bitterness in the fade, giving this one a very traditionally German underpinning but also a sly American send off in the finish. Classic Duck Rabbit.

Mouthfeel: Incredibly smooth and and creamy, but lightly creamy. The carbonation is incredibly well done for a beer of this thinness - that is, relatively thin.

Drinkability: Good to know that Duck Rabbit is branching out. I missed their doppelbock when it was around ("around" being a relative term, as Duck Rabbit kegs only occasionally make it up here to Virginia and less frequently to Charlottesville, but I imagine the doppelbock was not one of the few we got/get), but I hear that - in addition to this Scwarzbier - they'll be bottling their doppelbock next year as well as adding a Marzen to their lineup in the next few months. A trio of difficult-to-properly-pull-off styles from the "dark beer experts" (a tagline I still dislike, as I think it smacks of beer stereotyping, but I digress) has me looking forward to the next entry. Kudos, Duck Rabbit.

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Photo of ewright
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a standard pint glass. A finger of creamy beige head forms and recedes to a thin layer. The beer is black like a stout, but very slightly less opaque.

S: Aroma is dominated by the smell of a natural wood smoker mingling with notes of coffee.

T: Coffee and faint caramel notes are overlaid with moderately strong smoke. The smoke is more of a woody smoke than a meaty smoke that I've found in some German rauchbeirs. Hops are just present enough to balance the malt sweetness.

M: Moderate carbonation with a medium body. The creamy body hinted at by the head comes through in the back of the mouth.

D: The smokiness that adds to the taste score slightly decreases the drinkability. By the end of the beer, I've had enough smoke for one night. On the other hand, that makes it a good 6pk purchase as it should last for the better part of a week!

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Photo of blackie
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a: pilsner glass, the scwarz is a deep stained chestnut brown in color, capped with a light mocha head that shows good retention and lace

s: big aromas of dry, charred barley dominate with undertones of cocoa and earthy hops mostly masked by the roast, smoked meats and a touch of lager malt underneath, some mildly caramelized sugars, it's evident already that D-R has taken a very unique approach to the style - kicking up the roasted barley to levels not really found in other examples

m: carbonation on the full side, creates a surprisingly creamy mouthfeel in combination with the light-medium body

t: much like the aroma, rich charred barley is the dominant flavor here, big roasts suggest coffee and cocoa dances underneath with a light toffee sweetness on a supportive body of clean malt, finishes with a lingering dry roast (surprise!) and mild bitterness, with sub-flavors of meat left on the grill to the point of carbonization, does all this make a good Schwarz? I dunno, but I dig it

d: easy, drinks like (and very much resembles) a dry Irish stout, drinks well and continues to do so even after warming

six-pack from Whole Foods, Vienna, VA...glad to have the Duck-Rabbits up here in the Commonwealth

sampled subsequently on tap at Bierria Paradiso DC and have found it to be considerably more appealing in bottled form

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Photo of NCSUdo
4.39/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle

A: Dark black under a medium sized off white head. Good retention, decent laze.

S: This is where the beer shines. Excellent aroma. Caramel, nutty, toffee, sweet, toasted, very malty. Just an overall excellent aroma profile. Perhaps even a whiff of smoke as well. Very well done.

T: Not as big as the aroma, but well done. Toasted malt, caramel, toffee are all the big story again. Sweetness is kept at a minimal, an hint of coffee and bitterness is a little stronger then expected and can be slightly off balance at times.

M/D: Medium to full bodied, carbonation is medium. Drinkability is very good. A superb schwarzbier.

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Photo of rtratzlaff
3.85/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at Flying Saucer Raleigh.
The look is not quite opaque black in body with a tan head.
Aromas are roasted malt and hallertauer hop spice kick.
The flavor is some sweetness upfront followed by a sharp kick of roasted malt and dark roast coffee. Slightly acidic per style. Lighter mouthfeel with a sharpness from decent carbonation. I have tried about five other US brewed swarzbiers and this stands out as being much darker (DR style), less chocolate and more coffee, and a bit hoppier in the finish.

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Photo of atsprings
3.97/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Flying Saucer served in a standard pint glass a dark almost opaque black with a decent head that diminishes to a ring and leaves slight lacing on the glass. The aroma is a decent amount of roasted malts, dried fruits, cocoa and slight coffee. The taste is a nice subtle blend of roasted malts with subtle yet present coffee, cocoa, and dried fruits with a decent hop backbone. The beer is quite light and refreshing, even on a hot summer day. This is a very respectable version of the style.

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Duck-Rabbit Schwarzbier from The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 176 ratings.