Schwarzbier | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: German Schwarzbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 28 | Ratings: 40
Photo of Moose90
3.32/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served On-Tap, 16 oz Becher

A — Pours a clear but dark brown color, almost black but not quite. A puffy khaki colored head forms and sits on top, leaving behind some nice rings of lacing with each sip.

S — Smell is mildly roasted with notes of toasted grain and bread, some light bitter bakers chocolate and coffee as well, but not a whole lot, a little bit of a yeasty twang as well.

T — Taste is much like the nose, very nice lightly roasted malt notes of coffee, chocolate, charcoal, burnt toast, very well balanced with a simple dry finish.

M — Clean and crisp, a little bit of residual sweetness but not much.

O — Nice overall, a solid dark lager that hits all the right notes, not overly complex.

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Photo of TheRealBigC
3.08/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at Sierra Tap House

Black color, not dense with a fairly foamy off-white head.

Nothing too present in the nose. All I can say is that it smells like a Schwarzbier. The same can be said of the flavor. Typical extra hoppiness from the Sierra Nevada company which is welcome, but nothing takes it to the next level.

It's a perfectly average Schwarzbier. It's easy enough to drink, but it's not one I'd recommend to my friends when I return to the Tap House.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at The Surly Goat in West Hollywood, CA.

Pours a clear dark orange-brown with a khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Thin streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of roasty malt and some caramel aromas. Taste is also of roasty malt and some burnt caramel flavors. There is a mild roasty bitterness after each sip. This beer has a pretty good level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is very easy drinking.

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Photo of williamjbauer
3.03/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap served in a sampler glass

A - Dark brown with 1 finger tan head with minimal lacing and moderate head retention.

S - A hint of pine hops dominated by toasted wheat and caramel, pretty light scent.

T - Very light flavor with caramel sweetness at the front and a little hop bitter finish. Not very impressive.

M - Light body, moderate carbonation.

O - It was average and I would not get it again.

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Photo of jale
3.06/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had on tap at Crunchy's in East Lansing.

A: Pours dark brown with two fingers of tan head.

S: Smells more like a hefe with banana,clove and some tartness. Light roasted malt.

T: There's that hefe banana and clove upfront with a tart edge. Light roasted malt and a piney hot bitterness in the finish.

M: Medium body with good carbonation.

O: Does'nt fit the style.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 9/3/08. Tap at BT. Pours a dark brown with a thick tan head. Aroma of roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, and some sweet light malts too. Flavor of nice roasted malts. Light and smooth palate, tasty and drinkable. Interesting schwarzbier, more roasted than I expected but it was quite tasty!
7/4/8/4/14 (3.7/5)

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Photo of magictrokini
3.25/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Tap @ SD Brewing. Pours opaque brown with a short off-white head. Caramel, smoke, and nuts in the aroma. Nice, smooth smoked malt and toffee flavor up front, but gets really watery and falls apart towards the back. Its worth trying, but not buying a 6-pack.

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Photo of thekevlarkid
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled this one on-tap at the Scuffer, one of my favorite joints, in downtown Burlington, thanks Eric! This beer poured out a nearly opaque, wood-stain colored dark brown with a one-finger sand-colored head. The retention was good and the lacing was too. The aroma was mostly roasted malt with bakers chocolate and black coffee. The flavors were almost like the aroma, bitterness, coffee, dark chocolate with hints of milk chocolate as it warmed up, all capped by a long malty finish. The mouthfeel was average, the body medium to heavy and the carbonation average. Nothing outstanding but I did feel it crested over B-class into A territory because it was such an accurate American version of a German classic.

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Photo of Nickls
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

(From notes)

A - Jet black color, with a sticky off-white head

S - Plum/pruney aroma, with hints of bitter chocolate

T - Bitter chocolate maltiness with additional coffee flavors. Pruney flavors of the style kick in at the end

M - Smooth, creamy, but delicate body. A tad thin, but this has been my experience with the style.

D - This is a lot of fun to drink as it incorporates a lot of flavors into an highly drinkable format

Overall, this is a great take on the style although it does not stray too far by providing anything really new. Would certainly recommend!

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Photo of Hojaminbag
3.43/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dark brown body with a slight tan head. Leaves a ton of sticky lacing on the glass.

Smells of mostly coffee and chocolate. Roasted malts.

Somewhat of a burnt flavor, with lots of chocolate and coffee once again.

Dry mouthfeel, very thin.

OK drinkability.

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Photo of tonistruth
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

on tap @ San Diego Brewing Company

A- black with a fingers worth of off white foam, good retention and filmy lacing

S- chocolate and roasted malts

T- dry roasted malts and dark chocolate with subtle hints of richness to these flavors. sweet aftertaste

M- very smooth medium body

D- sessionable and tasty, pinpoint for style, not a common style, so indulge when you can

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Photo of nasty15108
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a tap into a pint glass at the Lazy Boy Saloon in White Plains, NY.

A - Poured black with ruby hues. Thin tan head with good lace work throughout.

S - Slightly malty and smokey.

T - Malty with sweet hints of smoke and coffee. Finished slightly bitter.

MF&D - I would have liked more body and perhaps a little more flavor in this beer. The dark deep color may be a little misleading, but all in all this is a pretty good beer. I'd drink it again.

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Photo of hyland24
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a tap into a pint glass at the Lazy Boy Saloon in White Plains, NY.

Poured black with ruby hue's near the bottom when the light shined through. 1/4 inch tan head with light lacing. Poured thinner than I expected.

Smelled malty and a little bitter with very slight hint of smoke. Not very strong smells. It took a few heavy inhales to pick them out.

The taste was impressive. Malty and bready. Faint hints of coffee, mild chocolate and a slightly bitter finish. Tasted thicker than it appeared, full of flavor.

The beer is light to medium bodied with a minimal aftertaste. Lighter than the pour and appearance would lead you to believe. Its not creamy enough to coat the mouth and stay there after the swallow but it does leave a nice aftertaste. More carbonated than I expected. Very good beer. One of the few dark beers I would pound, due to the light body. Definitely worth trying if you get the chance.

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Photo of tempest
3.51/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Bocktown Beer and Grill

I got big minerals in the aroma and flavor at first. Sort of like they over did it while trying to emulate hard German brewing water.. There was also a chocolate grain aroma, as this beer warmed, that also started to come through in the flavor with a sweet lager yeast character. It finished with dry, roasted grains and a touch of espresso. Overall, this seemed too clean for the style. Don't get me wrong, this was a nice beer. I suppose it might just be an American adaptation.

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Photo of MirkoCroCough
4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pint appeared very black. First sip brought a somewhat charred, smoky flavor, with a hint of bitterness. Very smooth feel, with just a right amount of carbonation. Goes down very, very easy. Sierra Nevada delivers the goods again. Try it and see. Very nice.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a cola like dark ruby hue forms a thicket of light tan head and leaves behind speckled lacing evenly around my pint glass. Aromatics come up front with roated malts mild coffee and a touch of cream soda and dry roasted nuttiness. Flavors glide with an even malt sweetness and dark roasted dryness to forms a nice balance. Herbal qualities noted in the finishing hops, dark roasted coffee or mild cocoa kicks in with soothing caramel bread notes. Flavor is medium bodied lively carbonation a touch of prickly fizziness, signature Sierra Nevada edge here. Drinkability, this is quality stuff all around I'm a big fan of Sierra Nevada so it's great to get to try their other offerings.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this late in the first session @ Philly beer fest, taken from notes.
A - A very deep mahogany w/ light tan head

S - Nice even nutty and roasted aromas with a touch of creaminess in the nose.

M - medium light to medium w/ smooth malty textures that are slightly sweet, medium full carbonation and subtle roastiness in the finish

T - This has all of the qualities you expect from a good Schwarzbier - Nice smooth coffee-like flavor, creamy texture and slightly sweet notes of caramel that go well w/ the black malt.

D - A very easy drinking, sessionable and flavorful lager. I wish this was bottled so I could enjoy it year round.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gotta love finding a rare Sierra brew. Pours a dark brown with a creme head. There is a bitter tone to the flavor profile that is smooth and unabrassive. A biting carbonation combines with a typical mouthfeel. This is very easy to drink I feel. Easily a session brew that you might be able to go for all night.

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Photo of sublimesipping
4.35/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

had to review this beer, first review from me in 3 months or so. this is an awesome beer, spot on for style. Dark thick, creamy wtih the light smooth balance of a true german schwartzbier- the beer has good head retention, the body and drinakability of the lager that it is and beatuful dark mahagony coloring. the malts predominate- mocha notes all the way here, chocolate at the start and nice coffee finish. this is so very drinkable on a late winter's rainy/snowy afternoon. i understand form my local publican I am lucky to try this one as kegs are limited on the eastcost. A very fine offering from the one of the stalwarts of the craft brewing world. Kudos to SN for brewing a lesser known style spot on and with such quality and such great enjoyment on my part. cheers!

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Photo of Brad007
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Color: Dark brown with a decent head of foam (despite the glassware).

Aroma: Sweet and lager-like. Not very roasty or anything. Definitely seems like a schwarzbier.

Taste: Smooth and delicious. Some roasted character but not much. Sweet. Very much like a dark lager could/should be.

Mouthfeel: Sweet, malty and smooth. Decent for the style.

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Photo of Stoneman78
3.46/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On draft at O'Brien's

Appearance is a pitch black hue (hence the name), thin layer of off-white sudsy foam sustains, minimal lacing

Smell is muted, mostly clean crisp malts, touch of breads and grains, very light hops in the background

Taste is mostly crisp bready malts and grains in the lager style, grassy and earthy hops near the end

Mouthfeel is light to medium-bodied, watery texture, mild carbonation

Drinkability is high and well in the session range, smooth and crisp lager with little flare or complexity other than the dark hue

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Photo of MisterClean
4.58/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sorry kids, this one is only available on tap at SN and at some brewfests. The brewery has 0, I repeat 0 intentions of bottling this beer. :(

On tap, yes, at the SN brewery.

A - Pours dark-chocolate brown, semi-unfiltered, with a creamy mocha head. Head is fairly resilient and leaves a nice lacing of head.

S - Deep roasted colombian coffee, roasted pecans, and slightly earthy hops.

T - Did someone spike this beer with coffee? Pure colombian roast, light creamy taste, and light earthy hops.

M - Exquisite. Very creamy with a hint of dryness at the end to let you know you are done with your sip. The earthy hop flavors did not dry out this beer, very surprising.

D - Wish they had it bottled or on tap. Better yet, wish they'd put it on nitro or gasex (not sure if that is what is called, but is 70% CO2 and 30% NO2).

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Photo of brewmaster411
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

As a dark lager, this beer is a very nice example. It is clean, very flavorful and balanced.

The appearance is a dark mahogany with a tan head that lasts a long time. There is a pronounced roast flavor in the finish, but the hops are restrained and appropriate for the style. Very well crafted. Compared to Xinghu, this had too much roast in the finish.

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Photo of plaid75
4.35/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep black hue with some ruby highlights and a one finger creamy off white head. There was very good retention and lacing.

The smell featured some burnt grain, caramel malt and aromatic noble hop.

The taste consisted of a solid doughy burnt grain with a light milky sweetness with an excellent NOBLE hop finish.

The mouthfeel was clean yet full, with an excellent toasty finish.

Overall - excellent, superb, etc.

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Photo of BradBLR
4.23/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was poured a dark chocolate brown with a thin white head that lasted about half the beer. The was a ton of lacing considering the head did not last long. The smell was that of toffee and chocolate with a hint coffee and a slight fruity sweetness to it.

The taste was very good, with the toffee flavor coming out as been very toasted and there was also a nice amount of hops at the end. There was also a trace of fruit, but I could never put my finger on exactly what kind of fruit it was, possibly a cherry flavor???? The mouthfeel was good with the CO2 being perfect and the thickness being just right.

A really nice beer from Sierra Nevada and I'm glad I got to try it, it was on special at my local BJ's. Give it a try if you get a chance.

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Schwarzbier from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.8 out of 5 with 40 ratings