Schell's Dark | August Schell Brewing Company

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Schell's DarkSchell's Dark

Brewed by:
August Schell Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
This beer is dark because the barley is roasted longer– a flavorful lager that everyone will enjoy.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 08-17-2002

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Reviews: 121 | Ratings: 274
Photo of bashiba
1.63/5  rDev -50.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

Pours a slightly darker than average amber color, certainly not the dark I would expect from a so called Dark Beer, which leads me to wonder why a brewery as competent as schell's would label this simply Dark, not one other mention of what style of Dark this is on the label anywhere.

Some very mild burnt malt smells lingering through, but not to much.

Taste - wow is this ever a lame beer. The taste is very a non descript macro like watery flavorlessness. Some very minor Malt tones and no hoppiness to speak of at all.

Mouthfeel is slick and watery, very, very thin.

Drinkability is about the same as any American Macro, you could drink it on a hot day, but would never go out of your way to get it.

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Photo of Oxymoron
1.73/5  rDev -47.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Are you afraid of the Dark? Maybe you should be. Pours a darker brownish color that is mostly hazy. A quick disappearing head and no lace.

The nose has a slight smell of malt. Some burnt astringent notes with a light toffee backing. Som off yeast notes with a little bit of buytric. Some oxidation notes as well.

The taste is also limited. There is a watery taste and had little to no body. The presence of malt was limited where there should be a strong German influence. A more US feel for both malt and yeast.

The body is really lacking. Overall this is very limited beer with not much to it.

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Photo of jwilli7122
1.85/5  rDev -44.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

pours golden red with very fizzy soda pop head that immediately settles. smells like plain lager. nothing foul though.

Does not taste good at all. mixture of prune juice, caramel, alchohol, and sour apple with zero hops and zero body. extremely light mouthfeel and way too sweet.

A distaser.

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Photo of Riccymon
2.25/5  rDev -32%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours from the bottle a transparent brown with red highlights. A finger of head quickly dissipates, leaving the beer lifeless. When I agitate the beer, I smell a raw, earthy wheatiness that I enjoy, but that aroma gives way to something more like mineral water.

Taste, unfortunately, resembles the weak, mineral smell more than the maltiness I'd expected. Without the dark appearance and a small hint of caramel, I'd have thought I was drinking any old light lager, minus the fizziness. Mouthfeel is thin and watery, and Dark does indeed finish much like water or weak cola.

This is a very easy drinking beer, but I'm left wanting more during the entire glass-- more aroma, more flavor, more body.

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Photo of pmcadamis
2.28/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

A - Clear bottle...ahhh! This one pours a clear wood-varnish brown with some purple highlights. The head is about two fingers after a vigorous pour, and looks fluffy and puffy. Some foamy lace is left on the glass, and retention is decent, but not great.

S - Weak toffee notes make up the brunt of this nose, while some husky and grainy notes peg this as a lager. Some milk chocolate comes out as this one warms up, and some cinnamon dusted pumpkin pie is evident. This smells like a really weak oktoberfest.

T - This is a malty brew that shows some earthy mushroom notes on top of toffee and pumpkin. This isn't very complex or interesting, but it's not bad.

M - Light bodied and watery, but with a foamy-ness that doesn't do it for me. The finish is weak and unassertive.

D - Not terrible, but a sub-average brew. I don't like this very much, and it's a bad example of an already uninteresting style.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.45/5  rDev -26%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Crystal clear orangish copper beneath a head of soft, airy, beige foam. The cap is of poor quality, falls rather quickly to a lifeless lump--prior to disappearing altogether--and chooses not to grace the glass with its presence.

The nose is indistinguishable from the nose on a mass-produced lager, except that it's a little more aromatic and a wee bit more pleasant. It smells of slightly sweet, barely toasted grain with very little evidence that it's a dark beer at all.

Schell Dark tastes like what I would imagine Miller Dark would taste like if it existed. It's woefully undermalted with a smidgen of fake caramel, as if artificial extract was used to 'darken' and to flavor the beer. Sugar-dusted, toasted grain dominates the palate, as it did the nose.

The mouthfeel is the very definition of watery. What flavor is present is washed away soon after it registers. Is it possible for the finish to come prior to the swallow? This beer's only positive attribute (if the lack of a negative can be considered a positive) is that nothing about it is really offensive. Unless, of course, simple poor quality offends you.

I found an interesting quote on the Schell website regarding Dark: "The perfect beer for people who want a specialty craft beer, but may not want all the flavor and heaviness". Playing into the 'flavor is a bad thing' mindset is inexcusable for a brewery that expects to be taken seriously. Schell Dark is light years away from Schell Pale Ale. So much so that it's hard to believe that the same brewery is responsible for both beers.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
2.45/5  rDev -26%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: clear, coppery-bronze color, with a short, soon-departing fizzy head.Aroma: none to speak of, really, light and airy, with nutty hints and an unflagging cola-like flavor.
Taste: there's some small amount of flavor, caramel and nuts from the malt, but that sweetness is it. Thin is the by-word here, weak comes in handy, too. No hops, sufficient malt, no body, teensiest, tiniest texture, and virtually finish-less.
Very, very sad, and I can't help but suspect they've merely caramelized their regular, light lager. Real dunkels have some character, and this guy wears his insipidness all over him like a drunken lout on St. Patrick's day.
Almost undrinkable. Sorry, Schell.

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Photo of CharlesDarwin
2.58/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Originally reviewed on September 24, 2005. Poured from a 12 Oz Bottle on the Beer Train. Deep reddish pour. Dusty malt aroma, with no character. Flavor continues, I’m detecting a pattern here with these guys. Definately some corn flavor. Watery. Blah. Admitting you use corn to build a dunkel is a horrible, horrible thing to do. On par with swill.

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Photo of proc
2.62/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours out to an amber, not necessarily dark color in the glass. As with the other Schell offerings, this one has a very slight head. Little to no aroma other than fairly light malt. Taste is predominantly that of malt with a slight sweetness. Comparible to Michelob Amber bock crossed with a Killian's Red. Average at best.

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Photo of Weli
2.62/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A-Light tawny brown with thin off white head quickly dissipating

S-Bready malt, some subdued fruit, raisins with a hint of caramel corn

T-Light sweet caramel malt, some toastiness and malt flavor. Rather bland. No hop aroma or flavor

M-Crisp and refreshing, prickly carbonation

O- A nice alternative to american adjunct lagers, but really nothing special, there is very little to recommend or criticize with this beer. Probably could use a bit more body and head.

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Photo of jsh420
2.63/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

best by 10/13/09

pours amber brown with a 2 finger head that left spotted lacing

smells of lighty roasted sweet malts not much else

taste is very odd - there is a cherry flavor that reminds me of SA Cherry Wheat (Yuck!!) - this beer is just too swett

mouthfeel - not much carbonation - lifeless

drinkability is bad - i had a hard time drinking the whole bottle

i would never buy this beer again - god thing it came in a sample sixer

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Photo of pBRale
2.65/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Beautiful deep amber pour, huge dense creamy pale tan head that settles very slowly with super thick and heavy retention and a strong, foamy lace down the entire glass. A great looking beer.

Smell: Not much here. An odd metallic-like / astringent smell is dominant, with some sweet malts detectable.

Taste: Light malts followed by an odd aftertaste (can't quite put my finger on it) that is thoroughly repulsive. Not a good taste. Wish I was spliting this beer with someone, but I never waste a beer so I guess I'll down the rest of it. Utterly lacking in taste. Very disappointed.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied but not watery. Medium-low carbonation. Crisp finish that is refreshing and light.

Overall: A great looking beer that is sadly lacking in smell and taste. Would not recommend to try. Go for Schell's pils instead.

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Photo of alexgash
2.65/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Clear brown-amber with a small, off-white head. Cereal sweet malts. Toasted, caramel, and nuts. Minor adjunct taste. Sweetish toasted malts. Not that bad though. Slight vegetal hop finish, but more adjuncty malt sweetness in the end. Light bodied, mass lager feel. A better choice than Michelob Amberbock…

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Photo of tavernjef
2.75/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Color is a clear orangish cherrywood color, it could be darker with more brown, pours out to a medium beige head that fades quickly, no real lace sticking. Aroma is quite sweet and fruity with dullish apple and pear, a malty nose, touches of dry nuttyness, but it has a bit of a souring smell and reminds of flat white wine or something. Interestingly off. Taste comes across quite thin and far to sweet, malts are in flavorful amounts but not in a good way by any means, very light and twingy with a watery mix of white wine fruityness and dulled crispness. Feel is watery and thin, characterless and boring. Boy, a disappointing beer at best. I so want to support Schell's other brews other then the FireBrick and Pale, but it just ain't happening.

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Photo of fizzy
2.76/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I just wanted so bad to rate this beer higher, but just can't. I love Schell's beers and a trip to the brewery is a treat unto itself. But for some reason this one just doesn't make it. The color is weak, the aroma just ain't there, the flavor leaves something to be desired. Good thing this was a $8.00/12pk

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Photo of rowew
2.76/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Presentation: 12 oz clear bottle, label is metallic with an emblem of a buck. 072811 inkjetted on the neck .. I'm not sure if this is out of date, or was produced then.

Appearance: Pours clear, somewhere between an amber and a brown color. Average head, but it fades pretty quickly to leave just a hint of lace.

Smell: A bit of grain, fairly mild. This is sort of a generic "beer" aroma, without much to pick out specifically.

Taste: A little bit of sweetness and malt .. this tastes a bit like a light marzen.

Overall impression: It isn't bad .. it is sort of a generic beer with a bit more flavor than your average macro .. sort of like a Yuengling. Nothing to write home about, but it's drinkable enough.

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Photo of ZAP
2.77/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I was looking for a cheap, but better than macro lager, to drink while I smoked my first cigar of the summer....I thought this fit the bill as it was only 5-something a six-pack (much cheaper than their seasonal offerings)...I saved one to rate with a clean palate and here we go...

A nice clean mahogony color with no head at all hardly...Nose is soft, but malty and sweet....the nose is probably the best thing about this beer..

Taste has some maltiness to it, but it is underwhelmed by the very poor mouthfeel (thin, and slightky acidic)...taste reminds me of their Schell Bock and water....maybe 1 part Schell Bock, 3 parts best 1/3 Schell Bock and 2/3 water...(BTW...The Schell Bock to me would be a nice dark lager in its own right as it is tasty but a little lacking it strong bock characteristics..)..

Drinkability??? Sorry, the very watered down flavor and mouthfeel has me dissapointed....Not a real good dunkel....usually this brewery is very good but this must be one of their "dumbed down" beers for the masses....

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Photo of CHSLBrew
2.77/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass.

A-Pours a pristine brown brew with a rising and promptly diminishing light-tan head.

S-Caramel, slightly spicy and dry.

T-Sweet caramel and toasty bread with a hint of choco-roasty malt. Hoppy spice is largely masked by the big, sweet malts. Finshes somewhat cloyed, caramelly.

M-Medium-high carbonation is a bit much, but the medium-light body is appropriately moderate.

D-A decent, sessionable brew. Tasty, but I guess it's not a better-than-average brew. I've always enjoyed Schell's Dark, and this brew has been the forefront of a recent (last several years) re-branding of some of the Schell's brang and beers, probably due to its ease of drinking and accessibility.

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Photo of AdmiralDiaz
2.8/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Brown-light brown as it fades to the edges. Small off white head with a little bit of retention but no lacing.

S: Smells pretty good, not strong, but appealing. Smells like a bit of roasted malts with a bit of earthiness and some coffee.

T: Smells much better than it tastes. It's kind of bland. Malt flavor up front with a bit of earthiness and a semi-sweet toffee finish.

Overall it was fine for a cheap $2 on-tap drink but I can't see myself ever seeking it out to but. It's crisp with a decent amount of carbonation but the lack of flavor didn't make me care if I finished my drink or not.

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Photo of budgood1
2.85/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

clear medium brown in color. little head and no lace. aroma of the slightest dark roasted malt with a bit of earthy hops. tastes pretty crisp; like a regular lager but with dark malts. a nice hop finish. this beer is pretty boring but the fact it's clean, crisp and refreshing redeems itself. a nice change up from the regular macro-crap that's out there. i would buy and drink more of this if it were readily available in my area. a quality beer from a small regional brewery that is well-known for their german-style lagers.

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Photo of jtfest
2.85/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Think root beer in appearance. That's exactly what it looked like when poured. Head, color -- Root beer. It didn't smell like root beer, though - -it didn't smell much as all. Just a light musty aroma. When it came to the mouthfeel, however, we were back to root beer again -- the consistency, carbonation -- it all had me rechecking the bottle to make sure that I didn't accidentally grab a (say it with me) root beer. The taste (thankfully) wasn't root beer -- it was more of a watery nothing that quickly disappeared altogether. All of this makes for a brew that you could easily throw back a lot of, if you had nothing better to drink or were interested in being neither offended nor impressed. The whole experience left me kind of -- ho hum, whatever.

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Photo of PokerGod
2.87/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

12 oz. clear bottle poured into a Nonic glass.

Appearance- Beautiful dark and rich color. A nice head, but seems to dissipate a little faster than I like, but quickly returns with a little agitation.

Smell- Roasted, malty goodness. Very unique smell...almost sweet like candy or caramel. (also smell seems to waft out even more upon the aforementioned agitation process)

Taste - Not as great as I had hoped with that great smell, It does have the sweet caramel taste, coupled with the roasted malts that you'd expect from the color, but I can't help but feel it falls a little flat.

Overall- Not a bad beer, but certainly not my favorite from this wonderful Minnesota brewery.

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Photo of skybluewater
2.88/5  rDev -13%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep amber color (I was expecting something black!), no lacing to speak of. Doesn't smell the greatest. Taste is pretty basic-fairly malty, but weak, with a touch of hops. Nothing offensive, but nothing at all special.

Not a great brew here, best to stick with Schell's Craft selections. But if this was on tap at some pizza parlor, I'd go for it.

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Photo of youngleo
2.88/5  rDev -13%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured to a big 3 fingered head with big bubbles. Head was a light brown in color. Left a little lacing but not much. Brew itself was a dark brown in color. Smelled slightly sweet. Also of burnt malt. Nothing was really over whelming as far as smell goes. Very light in odor. Taste was light also. Slightly sweet with caramel and malt. Not a lot of flavor going on either. Felt good in the mouth. carbonation was good. I guess im not use to having a dark beer this light in flavor and odor. Overall I dont think Id buy again. Maybe at 4.8 alcohol this is going to be a light dark beer. No pun intended.

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Photo of dberthia
2.89/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I bought a 15.5 gallon keg of this from Zipps in Minneapolis for $49.99 blowout sale!

It looks awesome but doesn't have much to it for taste and smell. It is a full bodies beer that is not heavy and is very rich with malt. It goes down very easily but this is not my beer style of choice. I am happy to enjoy Schells dark nonetheless.


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Schell's Dark from August Schell Brewing Company
3.31 out of 5 based on 274 ratings.
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