Dark Cloud | Mother Earth Brewing

very good
129 Reviews
Dark CloudDark Cloud

Brewed by:
Mother Earth Brewing
North Carolina, United States

Style: Munich Dunkel Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.10%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by evantwomey on 11-04-2009

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Reviews: 129 | Ratings: 402
Photo of Mitzvahman72
4.89/5  rDev +26%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Was on tap at Vimala's Curryblossom Cafe in Chapel Hill, NC.

With a straight brown color, it is light, yet fully malty with toffee and a milk chocolate roasty taste. Balanced and slightly sweet with a great mouthfeel and just the right amount of carbonation. Fantastic for the style!

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Photo of ComfortablyBum
4.68/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle into glass.

A - Deep brown almost black. Got darker as the glass got thicker. Nice full head that quickly faded into a thin lingering one.

S - dark and sweet smell. Like a damp basement, but in a good way

t - chocolate roasty flavor with a hint of sweetness

m - lightly carbonated for a medium mouthful

d - wonderfully smooth and refreshing. Left me wanting more.

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Photo of righthereisay
4.55/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

My first Mother Earth beer...I heard some good things. I was impressed with this one.

Drank on the beach in Emerald Isle with beer cozy...served Ice cold as it was in the freezer for 10 minutes before going out.

Smell: Heavily chocolate or toffee, nice.

Taste: I would call this a full body, with little to no bitterness. VERY NICE FRESH TASTE. Some carbonation, not too little, not too much. Impressive!

Great dunkel, if they start selling in Pennsylvania I will definitely purchase more. Otherwise, I will just enjoy on Vacation.

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Photo of DesertRat
4.48/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours dark amber into a pint glass beautiful color. Smells much richer than a premium lager, but drinks extremely smooth with a full flavored finish.

The bottle I had was a fresh bottle as I got it in NC where Mother Earth brewery is located.

I had never had a dunkel lager before as they are more popular in Germany from what I understand. This seems like a good alternative for those of us who enjoy stouts and porters but end up feeling full after a few. I feel like this beer could be consumed all day.

Very interested in trying out more beers from Mother Earth.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.47/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another gem from Mother Earth. This one really showed it had some legs though. Whenever I see something like this I have to dive in, and upon a recommendation from a friend I needed no further encouragement. A nice dark brown, rusty brown in color with a good bit of cloudiness that seemed to settle itself out after a few minutes. A small but persistent head of off white formed on the top and managed to hang around for a good bit before settling out.

Aroma is deep and dark from the start. Rich dark caramel notes are all over this one. Roasted nuts, some brown sugar, dark frits, figs maybe? Really just complex as I even pull a touch of vanilla through after a few minutes. Really nice, and quite full feel for the style, due in most part to near perfect carbonation. This allows the flavor to roll across the palate and really just cling to every ounce of taste buds you have. Caramel, bready notes, hints of light spice are all leading the charge here as each sip seems to become better and better. Warming brings the roasted nut flavor out again and the deep, resonant hop notes seal the deal and leave a light drying flavor on the palate.

Overall this was as solid as the day is long. Something I would not hesitate to try again in a heart beat. Really just a wonderful creation and remarkably well done.

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Photo of Chessmaster
4.44/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into German beer glass.

A: Pours a rich dark brown with ruby highlights and streams of gentle carbonation slowly making their way to the surface. There is pretty much no head, just a bit of wispy foam on the top and around the glass. From what I could read online this appears to be appropriate for the style. Some lacing on the glass as I continue drinking...

S: Mild smells of sweet caramel/malt. No hops. Again, seems according to guidelines

T: Pleasant notes of malty sweetness, light and crisp, with a finish balanced between caramel/biscuit and just enough hop bitterness to balance. No discernible hop aromas nor flavors - except the bittering hops -- (which is as should be)

M: Light, refreshing, crisp, with just enough carbonation. Very sessionable

O: I am enjoying this beer a lot. Not an expert on the style, but from what I read online, this beer appears to be within the guidelines for a dunkel lager.
Would buy it again for sure.

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Photo of jwhancher
4.43/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Received a few bottles as a gift. Poured into a pilsner glass.

A: Pours a clear dark amber with slightly tan head. Head was two fingers thick and took its time to slowly fade.

S: Some good roasted malt character with toasty notes. Solid malt profile aroma.

T: Nice chocolate & caramel malt profile. Very pleasing. A bready character comes through.

M: A bit on the lighter side. Nice carbonation. Even on the sweet/bitter category.

D: Excellent in drinkability. With a lighter mouthfeel & very solid malt profile, I could see myself flying through these.

Wasn't sure what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised. Will go nicely with a hot sausage w/sauerkraut later tonight.

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Photo of ncvbc
4.42/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ruby brown. Khaki colored head with good retention. Toasted grain. Toffee. Chocolate. Caramel. Touches of fruit underneath along with earthy hops. Flavor brings a nice balance of sweet, toasty, and bitter. Chocolate, toffee, caramel, fruit, toasted grain, hops. Wonderfully balanced. If anything, a tad more carbonation could do this wonders. An excellent brew from Mother Earth. I really like their portfolio in terms of styles. The quality isn't lacking either.

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Photo of walkinginplace
4.41/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark Cloud pours into a ruby color with significant lacing. It's smell is a complex blend of coffee, toffee, and malts, amongst others. The taste is bready, chocolatey, and a little malty with a late rush of toffee sweetness. Honestly, it's difficult to even detect any hoppy bitterness. It feels very well-balanced and medium-bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. A very drinkable and sessionable lager but far more complex than that designation might suggest. An awesome achievement for a Carolina brewery.

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Photo of jakehesting
4.39/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance was dark reddish brown

Smell wasn't over the top which is typical for a good lager. Not much on the nose.

Taste...rich malty biscuity heaven, perfect amount of roast.

Mouthfeel very clean lager refreshingly light on the palate.

One of my favorite beers to date. Outstanding lager. I don't know a whole lot about Mother Earth Brewing but I know that this beer alone has made me interested in their other stuff.

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.35/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a deep ruby/copper color. A 1.5 finger head formed from a slightly aggressive pour and reduced to some splotches of foam on top. Nice lacing down the sides.

S: A deep aroma, roasted malts, some caramel, nuts, and a little bit of dark fruit. As it warms there is a slight vanilla and coffee aroma as well.

T: Very bready up front with a light spicy/roasty flavor in the middle. Caramel malts, some nuts, and a little bit of brown sugar round out the flavor.

M: Medium bodied, but somewhat filling despite the low abv. It seems like it should be a bit higher, but I am quite happy it is so low.

O: A really good low abv beer. Again, a beer you'd expect to be higher in alcohol based on the flavor profile and mouthfeel. Mother Earth did a really nice job with this one.

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Photo of ExMachina1
4.35/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

UPDATE (6/18/2012): Back on my annual pilgrimage to NC, I picked up a six pack of this beer after having fallen in love with it two years ago. Unfortunately my experience with this beer last summer was not positive (see below). Fortunately, whatever was plaguing the batch that I sampled last year is no longer a concern, and this beer is back to its old, delicious self.

The beer I'm drinking now has a bottling date: 03/20/12.

Previous Review from 6/27/2011

Bottling Date: 03/01/11

This is the second six pack from this batch (bought in two different stores on opposite side of the state) and there is definitely something wrong here.

I first sampled this beer last year and it was superlative. One of the best dunkel I have ever tried. However, this batch is a different story...both samples of this batch smell vaguely phenolic (rubber and clove) and are in this way reminiscent of a hefeweizen. This is definitely not the clean lager that I had last year!

It is also sweeter and more full bodied that a dunkel should be. I could even call it "filling"--this too is all wrong for what should be an easy-drinking style of beer.

I can only speculate that Mother Earth Brewing has some yeast contamination problems to work out. And I hope that they take this problem seriously--the "real" Dark Cloud Dunkel is outstanding.

EDIT: High marks to Mother Earth for contacting me personally expressing their concern. This brewery is not only making good beer but seems committed to making their good beer, BETTER. I'm looking forward to writing another review of another batch of this beer

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Photo of rockyfire
4.33/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The name fits this beer perfectly. Dark Cloud, like a warm summer afternoon when the clouds start rolling in.

Apperance: Pours a dark rich mohogany. Light colored head forms.

Smell: Aromatic. Its definitely a very malty beer. There are great malty notes to it with a faint sweetness; some fruits, surely a little caramel, maybe toffee.

Taste: Heavy dark malts, roasted, in the taste. The caramal taste is there as well. Its a great taste. It is definitely worthy of a high score.

Mouthfeel: This does a good job of taking away some of the crisp, bubbly charactoristics of a lager and gives it good smoothness. Its thin, but heavy enough to have some depth.

Drinkability: You can drink these all night. Its a world class beer and its definitely good enough to satisfy your tastebuds day after day.

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Photo of jsprain1
4.3/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Dark brown with a one finger tan head. The head lasts pretty well. A bit of lacing.
S- Dark malts, a good bit of chocolate, just the faintest of hop earty hop aromas.
T- Big ol kick of chocolate flavor. A touch of brown sugar in there as well. Some earthy hops are noted.
M- Smooth carbonation, medium-light body.
O- A very solid dunkel. Lots of chocolate flavor and just all around a solid drinking beer.

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Photo of micromaniac129
4.3/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this beer at Cosmos pizza in Corolla NC. The best food in all of Corolla period.
Pours a light chocolate brown color with a thick and dense tan head that lingers and takes it's time fading. Carbonation is unk.
Aroma is rich and malty some roasted and even smoke malts can be smelled, but listen thier not overpowering at all.
Taste is rich and malty with sutle hints of nuttiness and chocalate.
A medium body lager with a clean finish.
I asked this chick sitting next to me what she was drinking. I can't believe I came that close on missing out on this great beer.
THAT was a close call. word

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Photo of ordybill
4.27/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. The appearance is a dark brown color with a medium sized white head. The aroma is all malt. The taste is all malt with a hint of hops in the background.

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Photo of tdm168
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very deep amber bordering on dark brown. There's a quarter inch of off white head that has great retention. The nose has notes of sweet caramel and dark fruit. The taste is bitter and sweet. There are notes of caramel, dark fruit, toasted malt, toffee and a decent hop bitterness in the finish. This is a medium bodied, well carbonated, smooth beer.

This is a pretty solid, well rounded beer. For the style this is all around right.

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Photo of dogchasecats
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%

I'm drinking this a local bar in a standard glass from the tap. The taste is excellent. It has a smooth malty flavor and a fine finish. I'm enjoying the aftertaste very much. Not a lot of bitter, as it isn't that kind of brew. This pour doesn't have hardly any head, nor lacing down the side. I think my bartender is better at serving mixed drinks than pulling a beer. I like a bit of a head on my drafts when I get them.

I would absolutely drink this again, but I had to knock it down for the slight flatness of this pour. Again, that may be because of the local tap. I will amend this review if I that turns out to be the case.

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Photo of Walken
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Mother Earth: Dark Cloud (Bottled: 03/10) (Tasted 06/15/10)
12 oz bottle, poured into a dimple mug.

Appearance: Dark chestnut with a shimmering ruby hue when held up to the light. A vigorous pour down the center yields a nice khaki head, composed of medium sized bubbles. Chunks of lace adorn the sides of the glass and a nice frothy cap stays intact.
Odor: Heavily toasted bread and soft chocolate with a subtle toffee and plum in the background.
Consistency: Even, medium body with a dry, malty palate. Carbonation is subtle but certainly in there in force, keeping things smooth all the way through.
Flavor: The aroma is very telling of the full-on malt assault that is about to go down. Dry chocolate/toasty bread malt flavors hit repeatedly and don't let up, fruitiness in the background provides a slight acidity that somehow balances the dry malty flavors. Malt flavors ride long into the off-dry finish.

Great dunkel, If this beer were available to me, it would likely make regular appearances in my fridge.

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Photo of ljdrinksbeer
4.24/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

L - Dark clear brown body, off white head
S - coco, malt, sweet
T - Sweet, caramel, roasted malt coming through towards the end, oatmeal with vanilla, clean flavors but strong
F - medium body, smooth finish
O - I have always loved this beer and it doesn't disappoint tonight

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Photo of Bung
4.22/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz. A rather brown, but dark brown, pour, only a minimal amount of cream head. Recedes to a small ring.

Nice malty aroma, plenty of cocoa and chocolate. Light lager yeast, earthy peat, leather.

Flavorful, yet not overbearing in any way. Nice malt, cocoa, peat earthy grass and minimal hops. Finishes pretty dry almost like an Irish stout. Probably the best for this style I've had, but not sure what to expect. Liked much better than the Penn Brewing version listed at right.

Really shines here. A much better than average mouthfeel, pretty creamy and mid bodied. The carbonation keeps it lighter on the pallete though and extreamly easy drinking. Possibly found my new session semi-local craft brew.

First from Mother Earth and an excellent effor. Wish more brewers would put out a dark lager or Schwarz.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.2/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #36 (Jan 2010):

Tight off-white lacing; dark amber color shows some clarity.

Toasted malt aroma, hints of grape skin and dried hay. Smooth with just enough body, without being heavy at all. Very clean from start to finish. A hint of mineral or salt? Very well balanced, hops are layered under the malt so the bitterness is soft yet enough herbal flavor comes through to make it interesting. Ends on a semi-dry note with a heavy hand of clean toasted malt.

We can think of only warm pretzels and liter mugs of this beer. N.C. craft brewing flexing its muscles here.

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Photo of VncentLIFE
4.2/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours brown. Translucent in the light, but sits there ominously in the glass, begging you to just drink it.

Hm the smell. Not really sure what to make of it. The first thing that comes to mind is heavily roasted corn.

Now the taste is something of beauty. Its a different monster than German Munich Dunkels. It tastes earthy. Very earthy. Slight caramel notes. I can almost feel a woody bitterness that might be more from the hops than any wood.

A woody bitterness flashes across the tongue then disappears just as fast. Not as slick and sweet as the German incarnations, but still very good in its own right.

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Photo of SLeffler27
4.18/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A foamy, one-inch, almond head slowly drops concentric rings of creamy lace over an old copper-penny beer with maroon highlights.

Sweet brown sugar and roasted cashews feature well with lots of malt and rich, fresh, wheat bread.

Just like the aroma, this one has caramel malt up front and the sweetness is well under control. There is a light bitterness in the short finish. Wheat bread comes out with warming as does toffee.

A light, crisp body that is clean with soft carbonation and no alcohol.

This is a highly sessionable beer, even if the alcohol is a bit high. There is lots of flavor though none are overpowering. This one is worth taking time to enjoy as it progresses nicely with warmth, especially if consumed from a pilsner glass.

These folks seem to take real pride in their beer, all the way from the label art through to the clean flavors and tight adherence to style.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
4.17/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle courtesy of fthomasl. Pours a dark reddish-brown color with an ample cap of off-white head. Average retention and a little bit of lace.

Nose is sweet with some molasses poking through. Has a nice roasted nut aspect. Smells good, very respectable for a tough style to brew.

Tastes pretty good, one of the best American brewed dunkels I have ever had. I wish more breweries stateside would brew this underrated style. Has a nice sweet/roast interplay and the body is plenty full. Very smooth beer that goes down so easy. Drinkability is through the roof, this would be a great beer to take to a party and cache out a sixer over a couple hours.

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Dark Cloud from Mother Earth Brewing
3.88 out of 5 based on 402 ratings.
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