III: O Captain! My Captain! (Leaves of Grass Series)
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store

III: O Captain! My Captain! (Leaves of Grass Series)III: O Captain! My Captain! (Leaves of Grass Series)
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German Schwarzbier
Ranked #32
Ranked #17,816
3.88 | pDev: 9.79%
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Michigan, United States
Very Good
III: O Captain! My Captain! (Leaves of Grass Series)III: O Captain! My Captain! (Leaves of Grass Series)
Notes: The third of 7 beers celebrating a literary classic, and one of our favorites, Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman. Brewed with Michigan-grown hops, this Black IPL may look like a Stout, but doesn’t drink like one. Floral, fruity and citrus notes are matched with the clean, crisp finish of a Lager.
Reviews: 41 | Ratings: 92 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of russpowell
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours an effervescent and turbid brown with 2 fingers of wispy tan head. Stays effervescent,never really clears, very good & lacing

S: A little brown bread, some grassyness, some pine once warm

T: Follows the nose, roastyness as well up front. Faint smokeyness mixes with brown bread, dryness & piney notes. Finishes with a touch of nutty sweetness, more roastyness & dryness

MF: Medium body, firm carbonation,

A solid Scwhartzbier

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Photo of mothmanscott
3.99/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown-black producing almost 3 fingers of tan, frothy, moderately lasting head that leaves nice lacing. The aroma is quite different for the style being floral, earthy herbal and light citrus along with the deeply roasted malt: unsweetened cocoa and roasted nuts. Taste is roast, bread, earthy herbal, floral, unsweetened cocoa, roasted nuts and caramel with hints of smoke and licorice. Bitterness increases from mid-sip into the aftertaste. It has a pleasant lager finish and a roasted and hop bitter aftertaste. Some of the bittering maybe from the deep roast of the malt. I find this roast to be a bit deep for the style in both aroma and taste. Mouthfeel is low-medium bodied, crisp but smooth with moderate carbonation. An unexpected blend of IPA, stout and lager.

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Photo of drdiesel9483
3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Look - dark brown color with. Slight head and film
Smell - floral grassy caramel toasty
Taste - pretty much like the scent, slight bitter but not bad
Feel - lighter body with a medium carb. Could use more body
Overall- tasty black ipl

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Photo of KS_Augsburg
3.83/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Very interesting triple cross-over, bridging the divide between IPA, Stout and Lager. The beers pours a very dark brown with nice tan foam. From the initial look, one would expect a stout. Before the first sip, the nose signals: this is something unexpected - an herbal spicy aroma, with a very pleasant foundation of thyme and some citrus. The taste surprises yet again, with the IPA foundation and the drinkability of a very clean lager. Very enjoyable - I want another one.

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Photo of BeerDawgs
3.99/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L - Dark brown with no clarity. 1 full finger of tan head. Good looking brew

S - Toasted malts dominate

T - Toasted malts and some piny hops.

F - Full body and medium carbonation

O - A good brown ale.

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Photo of neenerzig
4.12/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out of a 12 oz. bottle into my pokal glass, this beer is a dark brown color with some caramel colored highlights around the edges when the light hits it. Has a slightly tan, off-white head that's initially well over and inch thick when first poured. Head settles to a thick surface coating with an even thicker ring lining the inside of the glass at the beer's surface and some excellent lacing. Aromas of some roasted, bready, caramel malt sweetness along with a bit of floral, earthy, slightly citrusy hops. An extremely similar flavor profile with roasted, bready, caramel malt sweetness that's followed by some of the aforementioned floral, earthy, and just slightly citrusy hop bitterness. Good balance of flavors, but the sweet, roasted malts do dominate the overall flavor profile a bit. Has a somewhat crisp, also smooth, slightly chewy, also frothy, light to medium bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Has a clean finish with a fairly sweet, roasty aftertaste. A pretty good beer all around.


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Photo of Peach63
3.48/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark copper with a 1/4 tan head. Moderate lacing.

Aroma of coffee, roasted malts. Earthy, slightly woody. Smokey.

Tastes of roasted and black malts, strong black coffee. Moderate bitterness.

Thin to medium bodied. Lively carbonation. Dry finish.

Decent, but not the best black IPL I've had.

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Photo of Ahypercube
4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got the six pack of these from the Argonaut in Denver. They were gone the next time I went back.

L: Poured into a flute, it produces a big ashy tan head which diminishes into a thin film, leaving lacing patterns like little ghost ships sailing in the clouds. The body is perfectly translucent, but very dark, sporting an SRM around 40.

S: Charcoal, oak, and lagered roast barley malt. Pretty plain and simple. I get a bit of a creamy oatmeal note, and maybe some dried blueberries and white pepper on the finish.

T: Much more impressive on the palate, featuring notes of charcoal, turbinado sugar, dark chocolate, tootsie roll, toffee, coffee, sourdough toast, honeysuckle, and blueberry jam for sure. The finish is very dry from the charcoal notes. I don't get much hop presence, maybe just some white pepper and coriander notes.

F: Light and easy drinking, but with a lingering sticky dryness.

O: A very good beer, but I like the gose (II: The Prairie-Grass Dividing) better.

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Photo of Red5StandingBy
3.94/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into standard pint glass.

L: Dark brown. Finger of off-white head recedes at a slightly slow pace but eventually turns into a small disc of foam with a thick ring along the glass.

S: Malt forward, burnt toffee and roasted oats.

T: Follows the nose closely with a good bitterness.

F: Medium bodied, crisp.

O: A very nice beer.

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Photo of damndirtyape
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, served in a nonic glass. Packaged 09/09/19. PRN 26664.

Appearance: Dark brown with ruby red highlights when held up to the light. Thin white persistent ring of foam, with lots of fine lacing left behind.

Smell: Not a lot of aroma - a bit of floral and citrus with a really deep inhale, but overall quite faint.

Taste: Lots going on - some initial herbal/floral/citrus flavor, then a bit of toasted malt with just a bit of chocolate in with the malt, then a bitter finish that is herbal and woody. Very unusual. Tasty - but an unexpected combination of flavors.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation, slick, a little thin, a little sticky on the teeth.

Overall / Drinkability: The bottle describes this as a black India pale lager (IPL), and the category here on BA says German Schwarzbier. In the end...I think it is more like a Schwarzbier. It has aspects to it that remind me of other Schwarzbiers I've had. A very unusual flavored beer. Not sure I'd want another one these, but I enjoyed the unique aspect of it and trying to sort through the flavors. A well crafted beer, other than a lack of aroma.

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Photo of VoxRationis
4.63/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Decanted from a 12 oz (355 ml) into custom taster pint; bottled 09/09/19.
A: Pours a very dark brown color with ochre highlights, a two plus finger, fluffy, tan head, solid retention (at least half a ginger, and complex, sticky pattern lacing.
S: The nose was a surprise with the aromas of pineapple, tangerine and mango initially, then honeysuckle, tweeted coffee, and caramel/molasses.
T: Semisweet. Flavor of sweeter dark roast coffee, cocoa, citrus (lemon or white grapefruit), guava, and caramel/molasses is evident. Modestly solid bitterness, but sufficient to allow a very clean finish.
M: Light bodied with solid carbonation. Creamy and smooth.
O: This is an exceptional Black India-Style Pale Lager. The color and head were excellent, the aroma profile unique and fun, and the flavor characteristics just delicious, all in a fairly light bodied beverage. Amazing! Bravo!

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Photo of zeff80
3.99/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. Poured out an opaque, dark brown color with a small, off-white head of foam. It smelled of roasted coffee, chocolate and toffee. Smooth with chocolate and toffee notes.

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Photo of dd53grif
3.87/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

First one of the series I tried. Thought it was very good. Easy to drink . No bitterness. Pours a dark, dark brown. No noticeable aroma. Nice mouth feel.

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Photo of garymuchow
4.07/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I like this quite a bit. The base beer is very nice, I would think it's the non-traditional hopping is the issue for some. Initially the aroma of the hops is different and may even seem not quite right, but it grows on me and the blending in the flavor works just fine. I suppose it begs the question of a black IPA or differently hopped Schwartzbier. It drinks like a lager so I lean towards that that style.
Wonderful appearance. Looks brown on pour but black in the glass with a dense light brown head. Heavy lacing after drinking. Really nice.
A pleasing mixed hop aroma with a nice toasty quality with bits of chocolate. In toast is a bit of burnt marijuana quality that also shows in the taste. Fruit, citrus and grassiness in the hops. Is both rich in flavor but also appropriately (?) lager thin. Smooth as all get out with fine and soft carbonation.
I guess I'm liking this more than many.
But I, with silent tread, walk the spot my captain lies, fallen cold and dead.

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Photo of REVZEB
3.63/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very dark brown with lacing and a faint ring. Nose is all over the place with black pepper, soil, firewood, bitter chocolate, orange, pine, smoke, banana, and lemon, but it work together. The taste is another story, take all of those ingredients and put them in a dry and bitter complexion that cause them to wage war with one another. Feel is thin, smoky, earthy, yet bright.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.49/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

#41 in the top Ranked Schwarzbiere list...which seems off-base given this is marketed as a Black IPL (not something I'd consider a style, but this is a hell of a lot closer to a Black IPA/Cascadian Dark Ale than it is a Schwarzbier in the traditional sense).

BOTTLE: Courtesy of Katelynn - thanks. 12 fl oz with a crown cap. Packaged 09/09/19. "Shelf life - 3 months."

"Black India-Style Pale Lager." 5.5% ABV.

Brief first impressions below:

Cream soda flavour up front.

Floral, citrusy, and fruity, bringing a nice hop profile to marry to its dark malt backbone. Specialty chocolate malt evoking mild milk chocolate, hints of faint pine, some other specialty malt (crystal or caramalt, methinks), 2-row/pale malt sweetness. So many so-called Black IPAs fail to deliver in terms of balance, but this so-called Black IPL succeeds where those don't, harmonizing hop bitterness and dark malt sweetness.

Smooth, wet, light to medium-bodied, refreshing, well-carbonated, and approachable. Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, rough, or scratchy.

A darned drinkable Black IPL with a nice hop profile and impressive balance. More good work from Bell's, though it isn't horribly complex and could use more depth of flavour. I'd like more piney hop character and some roasted barley bitterness, but it's certainly a nice brew that would be worth picking up in the $10-$11 per sixer price range.


11/11/19 2nd bottle (also from Katelynn and Vince):

Reviewed as a Cascadian Black Lager per the label (not the Schwarzbier categorization it perplexingly currently has on this website):

Has a nice hop profile to match its mellow dark malt backbone. Floral and grassy hop flavour meld with caramel-driven dark malts to good effect, with scintillae of roast and pine emerging as it warms. Very well balanced and stupidly drinkable for the style...another must-try from Bell's Brewing. Better than most Cascadian dark beers (ale or lager) I've tried, but it still leaves something to be desired in terms of depth of hop flavour and complexity.

High B- / WORTHY

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Photo of dcotom
4.16/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from 12-ounce bottle into a lager flute. Very attractive appearance, with a deep walnut-colored body with ruby highlights and a thick tan long-lasting head that left waves of lacing as it settled. The brewer's notes were spot-on: floral, fruity, and citrus notes abound, with the hops providing a bitter counterpart to the oh-so-slight sweetness of the dark roasted malts. Medium mouthfeel, crisp finish as advertised with a touch of lingering citrus-zest bitterness on the palate. Excellent beer, and highly recommended - if you can get it.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
1.84/5  rDev -52.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

12 ounce bottle - $2.79 at Total Wine & More in Alpharetta, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown body with a medium-small, lightly creamy-looking, light beige head.

Smell: Subtly smoky roasted malts, dry chocolate powder. Dank, earthy, weed-infused hop character with a hint of supporting citrus.

Taste: Roast, mild chocolate. A strong dank, earthy, weed-like flavor tossed with Lapsang souchong immediately takes hold. Geez Louise, this is not a flavor profile I can make it through. I don't wish to have a contretemps with my fellow drinkers, but, whew, what a stinker.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium carbonation.

Overall: We're still early, but this has been my least favorite of the Walt Whitman Sampler by far.

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Photo of jzlyo
4.14/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Aroma is citrus, malts, a hint of toast and hops. The flavor is citrus/fruit, roasted malts, mild toast/ hint of smoke and a grapefruit/bitter hop finish.

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Photo of Samlover55
3.77/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle into IPA glass
Bottled 9/9/19
Pours a dark brown with thick creamy tan head
Seperate aromas of grassy pine and toasted malt blend together for some intense weed like dankness
Taste is more muted malt with some grass
Feel is Lager like nice and crisp
Overall this is an interesting and unique beer

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Photo of GuyFawkes
3.92/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottled 9/9/19; drank 10/27/19 @ the Yarchives.

Brown/black appearance.

A violent pour yielded a HUGE tan head; strong, frothy tree-rung lace.

Fresh earth, citrus & faint acorn notes in the nose.

Medium thin mouthfeel.

Cream soda, mild citrus & acorn flavors.

Nice Cascadian vibes here; not bad!

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Photo of beersampler6
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Hmmm...very interesting beer. Bottled date 9/9/19. Pours a darker amber color with just a little light tan head and scant lingering lacing. Smells of malt, caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, nuttiness, faint hops. Taste follows the nose, very muted fruity hops with some toasted nuttiness in the background. Couldn’t really distinguish the citrus notes. Mild thin mouthfeel, good carbonation. Not really my style but still fairly well done.

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Photo of beergoot
4.18/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark hued mahogany body; incredibly beautiful head, dense and spongy. Fine aroma; roasted and charred grain with a bare hint of baker's chocolate. Beautifully blended flavors of milk chocolate and cocoa; smooth and prominent hop bitterness complementing some mild acidic and a twinge of astringency. Medium body; silky and smooth; sweet but with a dry, acidic edge to the mouthfeel.

This is just a beautiful dark lager. It exudes excellent dark grain flavor and richness but with a relatively light and glassy smooth mouthfeel. Very well done!

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Photo of TreyIsWilson
3.71/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours a very dark brown with a two finger foamy tan head. Heavy amount of soapy lacing.

S - Aroma is roasted malts, grapefrut and piney hops.

T - The taste follows the aroma with grapefruit, roasted malts and light piney hops.

M - Light body with medium carbonation. Soft mouthfeel with a crisp dry finish.

O - Decent enough. Flavors are light and roasty. Pretty easy drinking.

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Photo of jkblr
3.81/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle PKG 09/09/2019 (44 days ago) poured into a Spiegelau stout glass at fridge temp 5.5% ABV. The beer pours very dark brown with mahogany highlights and sticky mocha colored head. The head recedes to a thick cap and plenty of lacing. The aroma is moderate in strength and offers earthy, woody hops, a bit of smoke and slight roasted malt. The taste is tangy citrus, berry, slight smoke, earth and dark malts with a slightly bitter finish. The mouthfeel is medium to thin bodied, adequately carbonated and dry in the finish. Overall, different. I applaud Bell's for reaching out and doing something different, but my mind can't make sense of this beer. It's enjoyable and well made, but the combination of flavors is unique.

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III: O Captain! My Captain! (Leaves of Grass Series) from Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 92 ratings