Schell's Dark | August Schell Brewing Company

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Schell's DarkSchell's Dark
282 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

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Ratings: 282 |  Reviews: 124
Photo of Greggy
4/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- pours a light amber/brown color, crystal clear, with a 1 finger head that recedes pretty quickly leaving some nice thick lacing.

S- Nuttiness, toasty caramel, light cocoa, and a nice light hop edge.

T- Starts with a nice creaminess that I don't often see in munich dunkels, with notes of caramel, roasted grains, light cocoa, and a light hop finish. A bit on the sweet side, but nice.

M- Mouthfeel is right were it needs to be on the low side. I enjoyed the creaminess of the beer.

D- This beer surprised me. I wasn't sure what to expect so it really impressed me. the sweetness can sometime be a little cloying making it a bit less sessionable.

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Photo of KarlHungus
3.4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a clear dark amber color. The head is two inches in height, frothy, and recedes slowly into thick lacing. The aroma is of caramel, toffee, nuts, and roasted malt. The taste is considerably lighter than the aroma. There are is still some nutty caramel, but it is rather faint. The mouthfeel is light bodied with adequate carbonation. Overall, this would be a very good beer if the taste lived up to the aroma. As it is an average beer.

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Photo of pmcadamis
2.28/5  rDev -31.7%
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 ckeegan04
3.33/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark caramel color. Thin head quickly fades and leaves very little lacing.

S - Sweet caramel malts and maybe some sugar?

T - Very sweet. Caramel malts and a hint of some toasted malts as well.

M/D - A little weak on the feel. Not a bad beer but nothing spectacular either.

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Photo of tempest
3.29/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Stub and Herb's

Yeah, it's not a great dunkel, but it's a nice, standard American interpretation for the most part. It appears a dark brown with light tan lacing. The aroma has a hint of DMS with sweet grains. The flavor is pretty subtle with an initial sweet bready rush followed by a gentle chocolate note. The DMS is distracting, but not surprising. Not a bad beer.

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Photo of hodgsongreg
4.62/5  rDev +38.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

After drinking mainly dark beers and stouts since I started throwing down and subsequently enjoying the brew, I wanted to find a dark beer that was satisfying but not filling. I found this in Schell Dark. When I bought my first case of Schell Dark, it was in a colorful package calling to mind the region it was born, but not in an overtly exploitative manner. The bottle is clear with a colorful wrap, the contents are a dark caramel color. The smell is sweet, with a nice barley aroma. For a dark beer, I was expecting more of a bite, but there was very little bitterness. There was a medium amount of carbonation. The beer went down smooth and it would be good as a session beverage.

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.02/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Well, I've seen darker. Here we have a caramel color with very good clarity and a half-inch soapy head that settles to a thin layer quickly.

Aroma: Light caramel notes and even lighter notes of chocolate and brown sugar arise from the glass.

Flavor is brown sugar, hazelnut, caramel. Barely any hops detectable, this is definitely more about the dark malts. It tastes okay, but leans toward the unspectacular.

On the thin side, body-wise, with a strange puckery, distracting feel during the dry finish.

The clear bottle scared me...the previous two Schell's I've had didn't psych me up...the label reminded me way too much of a Hamm's or Schlitz thing. All that hesitation doesn't help what is basically your average brown ale...err, I mean Munich Dunkel Lager. Whatever you call it, it's severely average.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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...

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Schell's Dark from August Schell Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.34 out of 5 with 282 ratings