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Schell's Dark | August Schell Brewing Company

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

a: kind of a dark amber color eigth inch of white head that dissapeard fast leaving no lace
s: hints of nuts, caramel malts very little hops
t: sweet caramel malts deffinatly dominate the taste
m: medium bodied beer with average carbonation

overall this beer isnt too bad actually it was very enjoyable

 308 characters

Photo of zeff80
3.24/5  rDev -3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a reddish brown color with a small, thin, white head. It left no lace.

S - It smelled of caramel and malt. A nutty smell, maybe hazelnut.

T - It tasted of sweet malt. A touch a caramel. And a subtle touch of hops.

M - It was crisp and somewhat sharp. A light to medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a pretty good beer. Not the best from August Schell, but it makes for a decent session beer.

 405 characters

Photo of CharlesDarwin
2.58/5  rDev -22.8%
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.

 349 characters

Photo of zjungleist
3.05/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Amber/brown in color with a low medium head. The smell is generic caramel malt. Taste is caramel and roasted malts, with a distinct absense of hops, and kinda funky sulphury aftertaste. Mouthfeel is on the high side of medium and carbonation is average. Overall, I can't really say I was a fan.

 294 characters

Photo of tgbljb
3.74/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a reddish-brown color with slightly off-white head. Smell is very attractive with strong roasted malt notes combined with nice caramel. Taste fails to live up to the smell, buth is still rather enjoyable. Finished a bit thin, but refreshing. Could be a pleasant session beer.

 282 characters

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.05/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

(Served in 2 American pint glasses) it was happy hour I guess

A- This beer has a dark brown shoe polish colored body with a thin light tan film of head and a strong carbonation.

S- The smell of pot caramel had a faint dry dark malt note to it.

T- This beer had a pot caramel malt flavor with a nougat note. There was a faint sulfur note and a faint noble hop hint in the finish.

M- The medium mouthfeel had a watery texture and a tight fizz in the finish.

D- This beer didn't have a lot of flavor and the flavors it did have were a little off. It would be nice to taste some other malt flavors like maybe some Munich malt or other lightly toasted malts.

 671 characters

Photo of DrunkMcDermott
3.23/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Opens with a malty, earth smell. Pours a nice amber with a fluffy. Taste has a malty richness and is nice and bubbly, but there were some distracting off-flavors. A bit of oxidation and a medicinal phenol character overwhelms the light hop profile. I think if I had another sample, it should turn out pretty good.

 313 characters

Photo of alexgash
2.65/5  rDev -20.7%
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…

 306 characters

Photo of Oxymoron
1.73/5  rDev -48.2%
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.

 598 characters

Photo of santoslhalper
3.13/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearence: Pours a dark copper with a thin white collar of a head that's gone soon.

Smell: Smells of kinda bland malts mixed with a sickening sweet smell.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Tastes super malty with no hops notes anywhere. The malts are decently complex and balanced, but are nothing special. It gets more bitter the further I get down the glass. The mouthfeel is thin and dry.

Drinkability and Overall: Although this was a completely average beer for the most part, it's drinkability is very high I think. It left me wanting another, even though the first one wasn't all that enjoyable...

 600 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.45/5  rDev -26.6%
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.

 1,570 characters

Photo of bashiba
1.63/5  rDev -51.2%
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.

 716 characters

Photo of skybluewater
2.88/5  rDev -13.8%
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.

 359 characters

Photo of jtfest
2.85/5  rDev -14.7%
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.

 756 characters

Photo of jwilli7122
1.85/5  rDev -44.6%
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.

 297 characters

Photo of cokes
3.71/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

When Gramps speaks of "real beer", this is what we means. No, not Westy. Nor Stone. Not even Sierra Nevada. He's talking about Schell Dark.

Now shuttup and listen.

This is American Lager done right.

"Dark" might be an overstatement. More of a golden copper. Obligatory, fizzy white cap.
Nose is grainy. Maybe with a touch of corn. Gramps tells you to stop your highfallutin' bullshit. This smells like beer. 'Nuff said.

Begins lightly sweet. Faint caramel notes, probably (though not certainly) adjuncted with corn. It doesn't develop much from here. Grainy midesection. Hopping is light but drying, especially in combonation with the carbonation (which, to its credit, does not seemed forced).
Simple stuff. But it works. Find your complexities elsewhere, and just drink.

Light bodied and totally guzzleable. As a regional/macro, it is positively top shelf.
This features a solid malt statement. Embrace that.

I received this as part of a Schell sampler pack, which defeats its very purpose. This should not be sold in denominations less than 12 (or, more likely, 24). If this was readily available and cheap, it'd be a staple in my fridge.
And Gramps would be proud of me.

 1,200 characters

Photo of tavernjef
2.75/5  rDev -17.7%
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.

 750 characters

Photo of TastyTaste
3.07/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Is a light burgundy color, with a little pure-white head. Smells malty and a little roasted. Tastes like a dark lager should. It has the smooth flavor of a lager, with a little bit of carmel and nut flavor. This was not expected in the sampler pack, I was expecting the Schmaltz's Alt, but this will do.

 303 characters

Photo of feloniousmonk
2.45/5  rDev -26.6%
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.

 689 characters

Photo of ZAP
2.77/5  rDev -17.1%
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 water...at 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....

 1,047 characters

Photo of Bighuge
3.45/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer is a dark lager, but is the color of an IPA, not a dark beer such as a porter. Nice head with some retention. Nose contains hints of malt, slight chocoate and caramel. The taste is smooth. Some roasted notes mingle here and there with the clean maltiness. Overall, not too bad. A little thin, but highly drinkable. I'd take this anyday over Michelob Dark. This is the kind of dark beer you could suck a case down all day say if you're in an Ice Shack or something.

 474 characters

Photo of proc
2.62/5  rDev -21.6%
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.

 323 characters

Photo of budgood1
2.85/5  rDev -14.7%
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.

 526 characters

Photo of ADR
3.03/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear dark tea-like brown, OK head that's down to a rim-clinging rim in 40 seconds. Slightly chocolate aroma. Mostly malty but pretty non-descript. A little bit of a nut flavor but not much. Some light brown sugar predominates, very little sense of hops at the finish. This is really ordinary in all aspects, not a beer I would choose to purchase on my own. Maybe a starter for people who like Michelob Dark. The bottle was a part of a sampler pack I got in order to try this year's Snow Storm rendition.

 504 characters

Photo of garymuchow
3.25/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I have a colleague who's med school professor was noted to state "everything is relative." Well, I was recently at the county fair Beer Garden with 10 choices of various, A-B and Miller, American lagers and light American lagers, and then Shell Dark. What would you do?
Served in a plastic cup so a little hard to see, but certainly darker than anything else I saw. Kinda looked like milk chocolate. Poured with a thin head. Very little aroma, just light aspects of malt. Light overall malt flavor. In middle and finish had caramel malt qualities. Softer mouthfeel with medium carbonation. Fairly short finish of some malt dryness.
I'd score it real high compared to my choices, but this is the best I can do.

 722 characters

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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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