Midnight Expression | Pizza Port Solana Beach

very good
245 Reviews
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Midnight ExpressionMidnight Expression

Brewed by:
Pizza Port Solana Beach
California, United States

Style: Schwarzbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Formerly called Moonlit Sessions Lager.

also called Midnight Expression

Added by Stoneman78 on 03-16-2008

For Trade:
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Reviews: 245 | Ratings: 373
Photo of jbertsch
4.68/5  rDev +20%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appears black with a big, rocky tan head. Nice lacing.

Its primary aroma is of roasted pumpernickel bread and grains. There are also faint notes of chocolate and coffee.

On the palate, roasted dark grain is at the forefront. Very representative of a black lager/schwarzbier. Malts are prominent but not super powerful. Hops are not that present, as expected. Taste is short and a faint bitterness lingers just enough to make you want another sip fast.

Well carbonated aids a great mouthfeel. And the drinkability on this puppy is sky high.

This brews taste is confident and solid, yet delicate and restrained. A great schwarzbier that definitely respects the style's heritage. I'd buy it again for sure.

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Photo of paulthebeerguru
4.64/5  rDev +19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Port Brewing Moonlit Sessions Lager
22oz. brown bomber

First of all, by the name and style of lager, I originally thought it would be like Full Sail Session...when I poured into my snifter and saw a dark brew, I was delighted.

A: poured into a snifter. the beer pours an impenetrable black/dark mahogany. No head at all on top, besides a haze of tan swirls. Lack of a head is the reason for the low score.

S: almost smells like a stout. Rich roasted dark malts are the lead, which I pulled coffee, toffee, some figs and raisins as well. A mild hint of chocolate, but very faint.

T: Wow...I now have a total understanding as to why Tomme is the fucking man. This is by far the most amazing schwarzbier I have ever tasted, and probably ever will. Deep and intense roasted dark malts, almost make this taste like a stout or a porter. Chocolate and coffee tones are the major flavors. This is a very sweet/malty version of this style. Some light hints of dark fruits like fig and cherry.

M: carbonation was a little light, but it enhanced the malts in my opinion. The most full bodied schwarzbier ever!

D: at 5% and the amazing flavor, this beer is a great "session" brew. extremely drinkable.

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Photo of corby112
4.55/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served on draft at Monk's.

Pours a deep dark mahogany amber/chestnut brown color that is completely opaque with only the slightest of dark c
golden mahogany edges when held to a light source. Frothy two finger dark tan head with excellent retention, only slowly fading into a lasting ring that leaves chunks of soapy lacing behind.

Deep dark roasted malt aroma with hints of bitter dark chocolate, smoke, charcoal, toffee, nut and subtle hops. I know this is a schwarzbier but I was shocked how smokey and authentic this smells. Of course there is a slight American twist with the slight citrus and earthy hops but this beer is roasted and smokey with hints of burnt toast and BBQ.

Chewy full body with a nice lactic creamy feel along with a beautiful smoked malt character that isn't overpowering at all. Deep roasted flavor with hints of nut, toffee, chocolate, caramel and burnt toast. Slightly bitter hops provide the perfect compliment to the smokey roasted notes. There is also a subtle dark fruit presence, especially dark cherry thatnprovides a nice sweetnessto the deep roasted notes. This beer is perfectly balanced and extremely quaffable. This is a nice introduction to smoked lagers. No too overpowering with a lot of comlexity balancing it out but ruach/smoked beers fans will love this beer. Highly recommended!

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Photo of russpowell
4.52/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Got this one from EchoCharlieEcho, cheers!

Pours a chestnut tinged mahogany with 4 fingers of mocha colored head. Good head retention & lacing

S: Dark Fruit, brown bread, rye & a touch of licorice when warm

T: Charred grain, a little coffee, brown bread & rye up front along with faint dark cherry. More charred grain & coffee as this warms along with rye bread, dryness & slight grainyness & licorice. Finishes dry, with charred grain & coffee, plus rye crispness

MF: Medium bodied & firm carbonation, smooths out once warm

Drinks so easy, a great example of the style, a tad too much coffee, but still wish I could pick this up on a regular basis

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Photo of Lupe
4.52/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours very dark, almost black, with a smallish tan head that has decent retention and leaves some lacing.

Mellow roasted aroma with chocolate, light smoke, and burnt popcorn. Clean and intoxicating - I love this aroma.

Wonderfully soft malt flavors. Roasted character that is mellow and not sweet with a hint of smoke. Some bittersweet chocolate, cocoa powder, and light roast coffee. Some toasted grain and the perfect amount of sweetness. Similar to a porter, but clean with no fruitness. Finishes dry with a light lingering roastiness. Paired well with a burger straight from the grill.

Medium in body, smooth, crisp, and refreshing. Maybe has just a touch too much carbonation. This is like my perfect session beer - roasty, clean, and not heavy. I could drink this 24/7.

Big thanks to Himerman for hooking me up with this tasty treat as part of the BIF Race '08.

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Photo of WoodBrew
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The Port Brewing Black Lager that I picked up is called Midnight Sessions....name must have changed over time. The appeance is great dark....opaque...nice tan head which seems to be lacing. The smell include roast with hint of espresso and hops. The taste is common of most black lagers, light/medium body, with good roasty tones with touchs of coffee, caramel, and hops that help to clean the pallet. The Mouthfeel is very good as well very easy to drink with not overbearing ABV. I am guessing they changed the name because it is a great sesson lager. Overall a very good beer.

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Photo of mscudder
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fresh growler from HopCity.

A - Pours a dark chocolate brown with a nice large fluffy chocolate tan head. Leaves some good lace behind.

S - Sweet chocolate and coffee, a personal favorite pairing of mine. behind this there are some notes of vanilla and some roasted malts. Very good!

T - Tastes of coffee and chocolate held together by a nice caramel roasted malt. As the beer progresses a bit of dryness comes through, showcasing nut and some slightly bitter flavors.

M - Medium body which is rich with a nice creamy sensation for being a relatively thin beer. This beer shines in this category in a growler versus the bottled version, where the carbonation from a bottle is high and here.... perfect!

O - I cannot say enough good things about this beer. The drinkability for these flavors is quite high, which I find relatively rare. On tap it is as good as I could image, fulling realizing the potential I thought possible when I had my first bottle around one year ago. I will state a bit of bias in that this is a personal favorite combination of tastes and such, but regardless this beer should be sought out by anyone looking for a complex dunkel.

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Photo of brentk56
4.47/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a stout like obsidian color with a foamy beige head that sticks well but doesn't leave much lace; it doesn't look like a stout, it's just as dark as a stout

Smell: Incredibly roasty, with plenty of black bread character

Taste: Opens with that black bread character that was noted in the aroma, with a crisp lager finish; the black bread lingers and there is a hint of chocolate and coffee in the finish, as well

Mouthfeel: Medium body with crisp, moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Who would have thought a shwarzbier would be this much fun to drink? Port Brewing has put a unique touch on this brew using the second runnings from their Serpent's Stout

Thanks, BrewBakerE, for the opportunity and to mdaschaf, for the chance to re-visit

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Photo of billshmeinke
4.46/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a nonic. Slow pour yeilds two-three fingers worth of frothy beige head the hangs around forever. Superb retention and huge chunks of lacing left behind on the glass. Beer looks pitch black with only the slightest hues of rudy brown at the outermost edges. A fantastic looking brew.

Smells of light cocoa, dark roast, and hints of coffee. A touch of earthy hoppiness is buried in there as well.

Chocolate, a great subtle (not overpowering) roast characteristic, light notes of dark fruits, subtle earthy hops, then light notes of espresso. Earthy and fruity finish.

Mouthfeel is superb, cream smooth, light, and refreshing. Spot on.

My favorite dark lager that I have tried. Supremely session-able, and refreshing. I'm kinda bummed I never gave this a try before, because I think it's gonna be a new staple in my regular line up.

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Photo of gfreed
4.45/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of the finest porters I've had! Oh... it's a black lager? Well, then, it's still one of the finest porters I've had. Blacker than black and visibly thick as it generates a fat, dense, dark brown head when poured into the glass. Extreme roasted aromas are evident at a distance of three feet, and a balanced dose of roasted malt along with a hoppy bite as it goes down. Dense body but still quite drinkable, especially with the 5% ABV. As black lagers go, this one isn't-- at least, not compared with the others I've had. Stack this one up against Berkshire's Drayman's porter or even a good bottle from the UK. Definitely worth a try.

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Photo of chinabeergeek
4.45/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber, i believe it was still labeled "moon lit sessions". no date. tasted in mid-may 2009. poured into shaped pint glass.

midnight black (no pun intended). only the slightest hint of reddish brown under direct light. 1-finger brown head, fades to creamy, wispy thin layer and ring. very good lacing.

aroma: malty and roasty, almost stout-like. malt approaches savory, w touch of vanilla. coffee tones throughout and into the finish. hint of earthy hops.

taste: malty and roast again, but it seems the lagering keeps this clean and refreshing, despite the richness of flavor. coffee, touch of acidity, leafy hops, with moderate to almost bold bitterness that is still crisp, complementing the refreshment.

medium body, smooth, with some coffee-like acidity and astringency in the finish. very crisp carbonation accentuates this, but is also creamy.

not a traditional schwarzbier, that's for sure. but i don't think they claim it to be one. hard to categorize anyway.

NOTE: this is before i started hearing that the recent batches of older viscosity, BA santa's little helper, etc are still coming out flat. i was willing to give port/LA another chance (thus why i still went and bought this bomber), and knowing that this is from the second runnings of serpent stout, i was considering trying that too. but now i'm unsure if i want to keep supporting them. they need to get their act together.

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Photo of JohnQVegas
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle into Sam Adams Lager glass.

Pours straight up black, thin light brown head that settles into a cap fairly quickly. Beautiful lacing left after every sip.

Nose is robust - espresso, roasty, and chocolate take the fore, with a smattering of dark fruits (cherries) coming through clearly underneath. Very rich - I'm sold.

Taste has nice light coffee and dark chocolate notes up front, roasty, drying out a bit towards the finish with a lightly acidic hop bitterness. Finish is long, dry, hops are a bit leafy, roasty, lingering dark chocolate. Just short of burnt on the tail end. Full flavored, and delicious.

Mouthfeel is dry, light carbonation and a medium-full body. Surprisingly full actually. Verging on creamy, but just a bit more crispness to the carbonation than that.

Drinkability is stellar, as expected. Light but full, somewhere between a slow sipper and a session beer. This beer is whatever you want it to be. Love it.

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Photo of Offa
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is an excellent schwartzbier, characterful and well-rounded.

Black, it has a medium dark tan head soon shrinking to a foamy top and leaving a little weak lace.

Aroma is very pleasant, toasted brown bread, caramelised sweet coffee, hints of fig and bark.

Taste is very nice, dry toast, dark caramel hint, some coffee, light sweetness with light singed-leaf- roasty-coffee bitterness. Initially it tends slightly to the sweet side before quickly becoming dry with a flavourful dry,roasty finish and dryish aftertaste leaning slightly to peppery bitter side with dark chocolate.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.38/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a brownish color but appeared jet black in the glass. Dirty white cap, good head and lacing on this as well

S: Nice roastiness, some light cocoa and packed with nice floral hops and a hint of citrus

T: An immediate roasted malt, with some cocoa, perhaps some coffee blended with floral hops and some orange peel. Finish is pretty crisp, clean, light bittering

M: Well carbonated, pleasant, good light body but the presence seemed bigger

O: Wow. An amazingly easy to drink beer. I could reach for this all day.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.37/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 12/20/11.

Pours an opaque black with a 2 inch foamy dark khaki head that settles to a small cap. A latticework of lace forms on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt and roasty coffee and cocoa bean aromas. Taste is of dark roasted malt, roasted coffee beans, and some cocoa powder. A nice roasty bitterness on the palate after each sip. This beer has a higher level of carbonation with a very crisp and bubbly mouthfeel. Slightly too much carbonation in my opinion. Overall, this is a great schwarzbier and quite a surprise really. I wasn't expecting this beer to be so good. Very tasty and very drinkable and it only packs a 5% ABV.

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Photo of rallison
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Weibull for giving me this beer as a wonderful extra - you are a good man!

Pours a beautiful dark black (definitely one of the darker schwarbiers I have had) with a nice 1/2 finger tan head that leaves some tasty looking lacing.

So how's the smell? Wow. I've never had this style smell so roasty and chocolate-y. Hints of dark fruit seem to reside in the background.

And moving on...the taste. Delicious. Dark fruits, roasted malts, espresso and some hints of dark chocolate on top of a relatively light malt body (although pretty thick for the style). The flavors here are incredible for this style. I'm not convinced a lager yeast was used here (and if not, this is most definitely not a schwarzbier), but I do enjoy the beer regardless.

Mouthfeel is thick for the style, but quite drinkable. Carbonation is low to medium. Drinkability, as mentioned, is quite good.

Recommended. I need to find out if this is a true schwarzbier (instincts say no), but at 5% this makes for a really flavorful session beer. This is most definitely worth a try.

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Photo of largadeer
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Opaque black with a tan-colored head.

Smell: Smoke and chocolate primarily with an odd undertone of semi-burnt popcorn, and I don't mean that in a negative way.

Taste: Light-bodied and clean. Malty but not especially sweet; flavors of bittersweet chocolate and dark roasted coffee are at the forefront. The finish is roasty and bitter but cleans up nicely without much fuss. Unsurprisingly this tastes a lot like Serpent's Stout, just a whole lot lighter (it's just as delicious though).

Drinkability: Highly quaffable stuff!

Notes: Great stuff, highly recommended.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-Tap at The Hulmeville Inn for Philly Beer Week, I love this city. Served up in a pint glass.

A really dark lager,/swartzbier, midnight is jet black with a slight ring of foam around the glass. The surface foam did not 100% cover it's parts. The color was off ivory with small tannish colors. Loose lace. Nice dark looking beer. Smells consist of cocco and roasted malts with a touch of peat/smoke and some caramel A small bit of grain, but i could be reaching there. Taste is slight toffee/ caramel, roast, slight coffee. Cocco powder and a little peat in taste. There's a little of everything here, even some earthy, floral hops hanging out back. Body is a bit thin although it looks bigger, Id say way less than medium. Carb comes through the lightish body quite easy. More smooth than crisp though. This is easy, I drank it quick and did not feel it in the least, 5% beer is alright with me. Will drink again. With the carb issues port/LA gets in a bottle, Im fortunate to find this stuff on draft, cant risk it. This is good beer.

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Photo of ncvbc
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours pretty much pitch black. Nice tan head rises up and falls to a ring. Not much lacing, not much expected. Smell is big and roasted, big grainy scent as well. Some hugely roasted coffee scents...and like the guy below me said, burnt popcorn! It's not offensive but it's there. A little sweetness underneath. Taste is excellent and better than expected. Not so roasty as I thought it would be. In fact, a pleasant hop presence is underneath the malt. At first it's roasted coffee flavors...descending to a great chocolate flavor, almost milk chocolate. Then a slight bitter/roasty finish. Considering the Stout-like flavors this one has a light mouthfeel, again as it should. Light, moderate carbonation, easy down. I would probably enjoy a couple bombers...hot summer day, cool winter's eve...whatever the occasion. This is a beer that fits in several scenarios and I wouldn't mind it in any of them. Yummy...I'd like more.

Thanks to seaoflament for another great trade...time to get to a couple from the first! :-)

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.33/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased this one from Joey, as I am always excited for new port offerings, and the fact that this one is designed to be sessionable, well that would just be the icing on the cake. The bottle looked great, and I grabbed this one out of the fridge yesterday as I finished up mowing the lawn.

Appearance - Solid look from the very beginning, with a thick, black, and nearly opaque liquid presented in front of me. This was looking big for a session lager already. A nice two-inch high head of tan lace formed on the top and hung around for a good few minutes before finally settling down and leaving a nice chocolate colored crown across the top throughout the session. Very nice side glass presentation as well, really showing off nicely here.

Smell - The aroma was a beauty as well. Rich roasted malts and a smoky sort of peat like smell coming through off of this one right way. Very rich with a touch of bitterness-hidden way in the back, I had a feeling this was going to be good now. Very nice earthy and grassy touches throughout as well, with a touch of molasses maybe as it warms up.

Taste - The flavor was huge for a lager, I was shocked by how thick this one tasted. If you have had the Serpents, you can tell right away that the two are related, as the malt flavor is very similar, especially in the front. Rich chocolate like flavor almost coming through in the beginning and then turning over to a more roasted and smoke like flavor. Lots of different earthy tones here were coming together rather nicely. A touch of caramel or molasses like sweetness in the middle and some of the bittering effects in it towards the end. The finish was quick and clean with a nice smoke flavor in the finish, albeit lighter then what you would typically think of a smoked flavor being.

Mouthfeel - A nice rich medium to light bodied lager, the flavor is definitely much bigger then the feel is. Very nice carbonation never really letting it feel dull in anyway, instead it has a nice full feeling, but at the same time very sessionable.

Drinkability - Speaking of sessionable, wow, for something with such a big palate it was very drinkable and light even at times. No ABV concerns here. Very nicely done and the perfect thing to sit around at night and drink.

Overall, I thought this one was outstanding. One of the lighter of the brews for LA and it still works very well. I could easily see myself drinking this on more then one occasion and I ma glad I bought a few more to enjoy. A quality ale here for sure that I would have to recommend you to pick up.

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Photo of Gavage
4.33/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: black in color with a thick 2" head that lingers around a while. Some spotty lace develops.

Smell: roasted malt, coffee, and some chocolate are easily detectable by the nose.

Taste: huge roasted malt flavor with coffee, dark chocolate, some prune sweetness, and a nice bitterness.

Mouthfeel: medioum bodied beer. Crisp at the start, a bit smoother towards the finish. Aftertaste is long as the roasted tones linger around a while.

Drinkability: for the style this beer has a bold flavor profile that keeps you wanting more. Great on tap.

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Photo of lackenhauser
4.33/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Very dark and opaque in color. Some decent head going on. Mellow aroma-some roasted and chocolate highlights. Soft malty flavor. Just great chocolate tinge to it. Mellow roasted flavors. Nice graininess. Very full and malty body. A great, great beer at 5%, so the label states. The whole package makes for a great schwarzbier. The great flavors and full body almost make me think of it as a porter. Would do this again and again and again.

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Photo of sholland119
4.33/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours an amazingly deep black with a very fluffy tan head. Darker and richer in color than many stouts I've had.

S-Rich and roasty. Burnt coffee and roasted malts with a little bit of smokiness.

T-Excellent. Following the nose with a moderate roasted malt and coffee flavor. Also nicely smoky.

M-Very light on the tongue for such a full flavor. Very nice.

D-Excellent. Light on the ABV but rich in taste. Goes nicely with food or goes down easy on its own.

Another excellent beer from Port/LA. Maybe even better than the Serpent's Stout and that is saying something.


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Photo of tonistruth
4.33/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- deep brown to near black color with a half inch of tan foam, good retent, head settles to a crown, produces sheets of lace on glass

S- roasted malts, molasses, smoky and licorice

T- roasted malts with astringencies from burnt malts, creamy dark chocolate,wood & earthy flavors, also featuring hints of toffee, molasses, and licorice

M- smooth medium body thats a tad coarse and the finish and dry in the after

D- absolutely amazing! complex and sessionable!! shame this brew isn't year around. just one hell of a drinking experience this brew is a must try

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Photo of MrKennedy
4.32/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber from Beermasons and poured into a 7oz glass.

Not quite jet black appearance, but plenty dark. Just a hint of ruby when examined against the light. Pours with a two finger head of mocha-tan foam that takes a while to settle as film.

Fantastic! Starts off with coffee and a bit of smoke and then plenty of dark chocolate emerges and is joined by more milk chocolate later on. The smell doesn't die with the foam and is very enticing!

First flavour is milk chocolate at the front and then some coffee and dark chocolate follow. Beautiful mix of all three flavours.

Maybe a touch overcarbonated, it is a little prickly early and then smooths right out. Nice coating of the mouth and a wholesome feel at the back end. Very smooth finish.

Very impressed by this, cannot think of a better dark lager that i've come across. Easy to drink, complex, full of flavour and aroma.

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Midnight Expression from Pizza Port Solana Beach
3.9 out of 5 based on 373 ratings.
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