Schell's Dark | August Schell Brewing Company

Schell's DarkSchell's Dark
275 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 275 |  Reviews: 121
Photo of SammyDavisJrJrJr
3.47/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Best by date of 12/28/11. Sampled with listening to Bowie's "Heroes."

A - Poured into an old mason jar-like novelty glass, Crystal clear dark amber body with a shade under 2 fingers of off white head. No lacing, decent retention. Pretty standard...

S - Close to textbook aroma, with notes of hay, dark Munich malt, tobacco, and minty herbal hops. Pretty balanced, with only the herbal presence overpowering the other aromas at any point.

T/M - This is a quite quenching brew. Flavor profile is what I expect from a Munich Dunkel: herbal hops, dark Munich malt, and dried dark fruit. On the nit picky side, I did notice some astringency and the mineral presence, while appropriate for the style struck me as less "crisp" and more empty.

O - This is not a life changing Munich Dunkel, but it does exactly what it's supposed to. It manages to balance out some richer flavors with a solid quaff-ability, at a decent price.

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Photo of MattyG85
3.63/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a darker shade of amber red with lots of rising bubbles. Big five finger off white head with good retention. Lots of lacing.

Smell: Sweet lightly toasted caramel malts with toffee. Lots of wheat grains. Light hint of chocolate. Mostly grains.

Taste: Mostly wheat grains with some lightly toasted caramel malts. A very light subtle hint of chocolate. Very grain driven and fairly sweet.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Subtle but not watery.

Overall: A decent lighter lager. Flavors are very subtle but this brew isn't watery at all.

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Photo of rowew
2.76/5  rDev -17.4%
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 WastingFreetime
3.1/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Transcribed from my notebook.

Looks deep brown, reddish around the fringes, small head that doesn't last, vague smell of semi-toasted caramel malt, taste is pretty much exactly the same, slightly too thin a body for my liking, but other than that, it's pretty good. Sadly lacking in complexity, yes, but it is certainly not 'bad', either.

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Photo of Mdog
3.53/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark red, good foamy head.

Smell: Toffee, bready, sweetness.

Taste: Nice bready flavor with mild toffee sweetness mixed in. A little earthy bitterness in there too.

Mouthfeel: Not too heavy, but more substantial than most <5% abv beers.

Drinkability: Pretty decent session beer, the guys on my softball team go through 4 or 5 pitchers after games.

Another from the sampler, though I've had plenty of this on tap this summer as my teammates love this stuff. I'm not as big a fan of it, but it is a solid dunkel lager and a good changeup from lighter lagers.

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Photo of John_M
3.5/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The pickings were slim at the MSP airport, and as I already was familiar with the mediocrity that is summit EPA (the other "craft" option), I went with this. Can't say it was a huge improvement, but....

The beer pours a brownish amber color with fairly good head retention and lacing. The nose is almost nonexistent, but I did pick up some light brown surgar, sweet malt and apple cherry. The flavor profile replicates the nose in this moderately sweet, simple beer, but there are no off flavors and drinkability isn't bad. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied, and thankfully the beer isn't over carbonated (a frequent problem in airports). The finish is soft and moderately sweet, and I found this beer to be fairly enjoyable.

Nothing spectacular here, but it beats the hell out of any of the grainbelt line. If stuck in airport waiting for a delayed SWA flight, I'd probably order this again.

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Photo of jsprain1
3.19/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A- Pours a splendid brown with red highlights and a thick three finger head that is frothy and foamy and sticks at one finger with decent enough lacing.
S- Smell is relatively clean, but there is some sweet caramel, toast, and the faintest of cocoa aromas.
T- Not even as deep as the nose. Clean, with light caramel and toast flavors.
M- Medium body, very light carbonation.
O- It looks great but it only tastes so-so. Easy enough drinking but otherwise it's a pass for me.

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Photo of pBRale
2.65/5  rDev -20.7%
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 NWer
3.2/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

"Dark" beer poured into a pint glass.
Strange to name a beer "dark" as if it tells us anything as to style.
OK, so it's a dunkel lager.
Poured brown with adequate head that dissipates quickly.
Taste of honey. Very sweet. Too sweet to be a session beer but perfectly willing to enjoy one if handed to me.

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Photo of kittywamp
3.92/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: a nice brown with highlights of red

S: sweet, grain spice with a note of something i cant place the smell.

T: sweet caramel, malty and a hint of nut

M: creamy, buttery and smooth goodness

O: this is a great starter beer. made by a great brewery.

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Photo of JackieTH
2.91/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Cola brown. Half-inch of light tan foam that subsides quickly leaving no lacing.

Smell: Traces of malt and grain. Very little here.

Taste: Light. Mildly roasted malt, slightly sweet.

Mouthfeel: Light body, well-carbonated.

Overall: Good for hydration. Not unpleasant, but what flavor there is, is very, very mild. Watery.

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Photo of Moon2Goddess
3.91/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Color: Enticing, under illumination it apears as golden autumn dancing in sunlight, you can't wait to bring it to your lips.

Head: Its presence makes the drink look like an iced ginger cookie in liquid form. Fairly thick, lovely cream color, good lacing but lacking height. Moves toward the edges and thins out at an average rate.

Aroma: Classic beer malt, acorn, butter and spice.

Texture: Like a delicate velvet glaze smoothing the rough texture of your tongue, coating your palate and gliding down your throat. A nearly sexual encounter.

Flavor & Balance: A friendly companion beer that you would invite back often. Full rich flavor yet a gentle, easy drink (this is a lager, not a stout after all.) Smooth maple undertones, sweet, balanced, harmonious. Could easily drink two or three in a row. Easily…in fact, I could do that right now.

Sustained Taste: A beer you can rely on for comfort at the end of a grueling day. Extremely consistent from first-taste to swallow to after-taste. A genuine pleasure from start to finish.

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Photo of lwillitz
3.7/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12-oz bottle into weizen glass

A - a finger and a half of light khaki head over a transparent red/brown/copper body; high carbonation

S - grain, caramel sweetness, light fruit smell

T - rich roast malt flavor; bitterness makes itself known early on; hint of fruit; metallic character; nuts and grass in the finish; flavor is a bit watery

M - medium body with high carbonation; could be more smooth; a bit watery

O - Schell's brews many better beers than Dark, but it is a decent lager.

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Photo of Infamous7100
3.54/5  rDev +6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice, caramel, rich brown color with a very thin a toasted looking head.
Great aromas here....caramel malt, bread, nuts. Very pleasant.
Taste is a little lackluster up against the smell. Starts a tad bitter but quickly merges into the sweet malts, faint as they may be. A lot of bread in the finish and this actually is the best part.
This brew is quite quaffable as it is tasty and medium bodied. Great alternative brew to session with. If only the taste was a tad richer, we'd have a real winner.

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Photo of youngleo
2.88/5  rDev -13.8%
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 CaptainIPA
3.5/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presented in a clear 12 oz. bottle and poured into a Hennepin flute.

Pours a dark chestnut brown with a thin head that quickly dissipates. Aromas of roasted caramel malt with metallic notes.

Opens bitter and somewhat astringent. Medium bodied with above average carbonation. Flows into suggestions of roasted malt, caramel, brown sugar and buttered biscuit. Malts take over from this point forward with a mild hop presence balancing out the sweetness. Finishes dry and nutty.

Smooth, rich and somewhat complex, I found this Munich Dunkel Lager particularly refreshing. Excellent drinkability.

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Photo of PokerGod
2.87/5  rDev -14.1%
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 afinepilsner
3.33/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz clear bottle

Schell's Dark was dark amber in color with good clarity. It had a rocky beige head with decent retention and lacing. The smell was toasted malt. The taste was toasted malt with a touch of hop flavor, some fruitiness and dry finish. The mouthfeel was average with a medium-light body and medium carbonation. The drinkability was just above aveage. This is an average Dunkel Lager.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.23/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours from a clear bottle, labeling and bottle together bring out a retro feel to the product. Pours a dark copper ruby brown hue with a nice creamy tan head quickly dwindling. Aroma has hints of grainy malts, a touch of caramel and tart fruit in there as well. Flavor wise roasty malts/husky graininess/fruits with apple/raisin coming through with a touch of a grassy finish. Mouthfeel is a bit rough around the edges but a light to medium bodied lager from New Alt Minnesota is a welcome addition to the beers I've tried. This is nowhere near Penn Dark was it's hayday, but it's a decent drinkable beer.

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Photo of ForWhatAlesYou
3.86/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a stemmed glass

A: Thin head that lingers halfway down. Really defined lace left on glass. Deep caramel color with lots of red hues.

S: Lightly sweet with hints of banana candy, cherimoya, malt.

T: Noticeably roasted malt flavor that is somewhat reminiscent of a hazelnut liquer. Nutty with a very slight metallic taste. No hint of unpleasant aftertaste.

M: Pleasant carbonation/viscosity balance.

D: Overall very drinkable. Really great when you are looking for something smooth but with flavor to back it up.

Altogether no Schell's best product but still very quaffable. Looking forward to reviewing more Schell's in the future (i.e. Hopfenmalz, Shmaltz's Alt, Caramel Bock, Firebrick, etc.)

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Photo of nrmiller
3.95/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured into a Pilsner glass, cola brown, cream colored head.

S: Smells fairly strong of sweet malts.

T: Starts off with a little crispness and goes into rich, smooth, and slightly roasted malts. A touch of bitterness to finish things up.

M: Smooth, good carbonation, thin to medium bodied.

D: Very drinkable, i enjoy the malts in this one, it makes it creamy and smooth. It is a lager, so the flavors aren't strong or bold, but they are still there (not saying EVERY lager is mild). This is one of my favorite go-to beers, an excellent session beer.

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Photo of dberthia
2.89/5  rDev -13.5%
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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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.53/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

12 oz clear bottle with a best by stamp of 110510. Pours a clear, light brown color with a dense cap of creamy foam. Retention is good and leaves some nice ribbons of lacing around the glass.

Lightly sweet, roasty malt with a hint of chocolate. Clean nose and smells just as good as many German dunkels.

Taste is husky and sweet with equal amounts of roasted and chocolate maltiness. Light hopping comes in to clean up the finish. It is unfortunate there are not many American brewed dunkels, as it makes for a flavorful session beer that is easy and fun to drink. This one is a little thin on the palate and lacks a certain smoothness found in the best of the style. Still though, I enjoyed this beer and would happily buy a sixer every now and again.

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Photo of GaryT2
4.24/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a sampler pack. Since Miller and Anheuser still control the distributors and retailers here this good stuff has to fight for space. I could drink a lot of this. I am pretty new here and very unprofessional. That said, what I do not understand is the biases of other reviewers. Rules are... do not criticize your fellow reviewers. But, I gotta say .. Art is in the eye of the beholder. I rated this beer high BEFORE I read anybody elses reviews and after I rated it high and reviewed the balance of the thread, I had second thoughts until I started reading comparisons to some beers that would be skipped if I had some of this stuff around. I do every much like this beer. Anyway..this is above average..darn good beer leaving a fresh after taste. Slightly fruity I guess. You certainly aren't even tempted to add a lemon.

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Photo of biteme398
3.99/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a six-pack sampler bought in Minnesota. Appearance is a dark shade of amber, somewhat small head and very little lacing. Smell of grain and caramel while the taste is similar with an interesting sweetness at the end that entices another sip. Mouthfeel is not quite chewy but not thin either. Kind of wish I had more than just this bottle. Very good beer that can't be found out here.

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Schell's Dark from August Schell Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.34 out of 5 with 275 ratings
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