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 AmberMan22
3.06/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I would have to say that the appearance is actually one of the highlights at this beer. Taking the style into context, many Munich Dunkel's have a fair amount of transparency, plenty of them being...well, not all that dark looking.

That however, is where the similarities end.
Smell and taste seem almost like fabrications, like it's just not real. The mouthfeel backs up this perception, due to the generally wishy-washy heft it provides.
Lightly toasted malt, with a faint afterthought of hops. Kind of like a St. Pauli Girl Dark or Beck's Dark, though those even have a tastier 'bitter' flavor to them.

This is the first beer from Schell that really disappointed me, but having this after their stout is a tough act to follow.

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Photo of Tone
3.94/5  rDev +19%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, dark amber color. 3/4 inch head of an off-white color. Decent retention and poor lacing. Smells of grain, yeast, slight sweet malt, pale malt, hint of hop, and slight roasted malt. Fits the style of a Munich Dunkel Lager. Mouth feel is slightly smooth and crisp with an average carbonation level. Tastes of grain, yeast, slight pale malt, slight hop, slight sweet malt, and slight roasted malt. Overall, a good blend, body, and aroma.

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Photo of blackearth
3.17/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Purchased from 3 Corners Liquor in Medford, MN. Pours a dark amber body with lots of rising bubbles, which makes it look like Coca Cola. Aroma is of sweet malts and no hops at all. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation. Flavors of toasted malt and toffee sweetness. There's a very faint hop flavor in the overall sweet finish. There's nothing special here.

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Photo of kegger22
4.06/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Schell's Dark was a transparent Munich dunkel lager with a light beige head that faded rapidly to a thin collar.

The aroma was underwhelming but neutral grainy.

The taste was where Schell's Dark really shone. Roasted caramel malt, nutty and yes, some chocolate too.

The mouth feel improves with warming to barely medium bodied, but oily and adequately carbonated.

The drinkability was excellent. I had purchased it in a Schell sampler pack, but if I could find it in a six pack, I'd rush out and buy one or two.

A very underrated beer, though not aesthetically pleasing enough for a huge rating. For those of you that rated this poorly, take another look, with an open mind and warmed slightly.

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Photo of mynie
3/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Well this ain't no schwarz, that's for sure. Thingamajig at the top of this page says it's a munich dunkel, but that don't seem right, neither. It's like Grain Belt with food coloring and a little nuttiness. Or, hell, that's not a proper review:

Pours limp. Dark nut brown with no head at all. No bad, really, but not good.

Thankfully there's no skunkiness in spite of its being poured from a clear bottle. Smells nutty, lightly fruity with hints of raisins. Nothing bad, certainly, but it only barely manages to avoid a sub-3.0 rating due to blandness.

Tastes as it smells, lightly beery, lightly fruity, lightly nutty. There's nothing bad here, and there's also enough going on to remind you that you're actually drinking beer, but, really, that's all that can be said about it.

Maybe this is Schell's answer to Shiner Bock, a limp and light beer that's a teeny bit more flavorful than your usual macro flagships. People can drink it and feel fancy, since it's a dark. Well, regardless, it's not bad, certainly, and it's actually probably a step up from Shiner and other bland attempts at craft beer.

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Photo of jwc215
3.97/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to morimech!

Freshness date of 031010 stamped on the neck:

Pours brown (as seen through the clear bottle) with a thin off-white to tan head that eventually becomes wispy. Dotted lacing sticks.

The smell is of roasted grain, nuts and caramel.

The taste is of sweet caramel with a roasty balance and a nutty, earthy undertone. Remains sweetish. It has a clean, crisp finish.

Light-to-medium bodied with a lager smoothness, this is an "easy-drinking" brew with a fair amount of complexity for the style. A nice caramel/nutty/roasty balance. A fine choice for a dark "sessionable" lager!

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Photo of FreshmanPour77
3.97/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed 02-19-10
Reviewed cold from a bottle to a glass

A - 1 finger of foam, brown in color, little carbonation

S - Roasted nuts, malts, fair amount of sweetness

T - Medium to light body more towards the lighter side, malts, little bit of hops lingering about, with some caramel sweetness mixed in.

M/D - A pretty decent brew. A liked the smoothness and the pretty sessionable quality. Nothing too strong, very enjoyable. I recommend at least trying this brew. I will purchase again!

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Photo of katan
3.24/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

12 oz into a pint. Isn't that a no-no to have a clear bottle?

A - Pours a light brownish color. On the clear side. Little hazing or bubbling. head formation is near zero, only a light off white film.

S - A roasted malt note comes through very strongly. I guess they weren't kidding with "long roasted" written on the bottle. A light yeasty note backs it up.

T - Starts off with a chord of roasted malts and light 2-row sweetness. Mid-stream maintains that roast bite, while getting more bitter. No hopping detected. Finishes with a pilsner malt note, by far the cleanest flavor throughout.

M - Beer comes across as thin and watery. The burnt notes seem to stick to the palette pretty hard. No carbonation bite.

D - Very drinkable - flavors are very light. ABV is very light. Overall, just not an "in your face" beer. Not filling.

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Photo of PaleAlien2
3.4/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Has a nice ruby color with creamy lacing. I can tell it's watery just from swirling it around the glass--half a point off for that.

Unique smell. Kind of an odd sweetness to it.

Sweet malty flavor. Notes of caramel and fruit. Very little hops to speak of.

Mouthfeel is very watery.

This beer is decent, but I probably wouldn't ever get it again.

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Photo of gmfessen
2.9/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured from the clear bottle (scary) into a pint glass, beer is deep amber brown with a nice cap of cream colored head. The nose is sweet with lightly toasted malt and almost takes on a sweet fruitiness that I wasn't expecting. The flavor touts a similar fruitiness but it is subdued compared to the nose, other than that caramel, molasses and just a touch of hops at the finish. The mouthfeel is on the watery side with the carbonation not helping matters in that it is almost non-existent. Overall, drinkable but drinkable like BMC beer... Not what I would think of a Munich Dunkel Lager to be like. I suppose given the choice between this and BMC, this would win but not by much.

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Photo of darklordlager
3.17/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a crystal clear chestnut colour, with a light dusting of foam.

Smell is fruity, a little bready. A little roasted malt lies in the background too. Some bitterness lingers throughout.

First impression is of a nice nutty flavour imparted by the grains, and a fruitiness imparted by the yeast. Some sweet citric bitterness underlies it, and mingles in the finish with the fruity flavour. Watery mouthfeel

Light, yet the flavours keep it fairly interesting. Decent beer, yet nothing to seek out.

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Photo of CRichardsMN
3.55/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a very clear dark brown with a creamy white head. Was not paying attention when I first picked up the bottle but was surprised to find it was clear when I was done pouring... I bet it's to emphasize the color but clear usually bothers me.

Nicely toasted malts and sweet fruit.

Tastes very much like the smell, toasty, nutty and sweet. Has a little tartness in the finish but no bitterness or dryness.

Pretty bright carbonation that foams fully in the mouth. Still smooth and medium bodied.

Well balanced and full of flavor though not overly heavy. Keep 'em coming, I like this one.

#4 of 6 from the sampler pack. I have not been disappointed so far. Schell's may become a regular member of my fridge.

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Photo of Brandt
3.17/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

this beer poured out a semi dark brown color, similar to brown sugar with a little bit of white head

the toasted malt comes through decently here and some other sweetness that is almost along the line of fig but thats a stretch

has the typical sulfury/lager flavor in it and some pretty strong flavors of toasted malt.

this beer finishes out with a soft sweetness and med-light body. i must say it was better than i had expected/remebered and is something that goes down pretty easy but nothing too special over all.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.5/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz CLEAR (clear = dreadful) bottle poured into a Pilsner glass. 111309 Date. No info.

A - Clear and copper-brown, it has a nice darker cream-colored head with ok retention ad a few stages of legs left on the glass on the way down. Spots of lacing cover the glass.

S - The nose carries in it toasted Munich and caramel malts it seems, with a bit of a floral hop nose. Very muted aroma.

T - Creamy toasted Munich and caramel malts. The flavor definitely makes up for the lacking aroma. There is a hint of coffee in the roastiness and a definite caramel sweetness there too. A very mild hop flavor comes across the back end.

M - So creamy and so smooth on the palate with an ample carbonation finish. Nicely medium-bodied and dry finish.

D - This jumped way up in quality with the first sip. The nose is almost absent and the head is a bit lacking but it's a delish beer overall that I could put a few, if not more, down of. The clear bottle needs to go though.

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Photo of pmccallum86
3.6/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark brownish red color, semi transparent.

The smell is of deep roasted malt, lots of malt in the nose. Very slight hop aromas.

The taste is all malt, as with many other Schell brews. Very smooth malt taste, some bready and caramel malt flavors, pretty good.

Mouthfeel is smooth and silky, very nice feeling beer.

If you are a malt head you could drink this all day long, period.

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Photo of jjanega08
3.48/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A=pours a deep amber brown color with a nice two finger head that rises perfectly to fill my glass which is 15 oz from a 12 oz bottle. Really cool when a beer fills your glass perfectly I think. The head doesn't last too long unfortunatly and falls to just a thin skin on the beer with very little lacing.
S= really quite doughy. Reminds me of fat tire in smell actually. Some darker sweeter caramel malt is in it as well. Nothing amazing.
T= really quite interesting in taste. Really smooth and crisp like a lager similar to the firebrick. The doughyness is present but not as loud as the smell. There's a nice bit of dark malt present but mostly just smooth lager crispness.
M= really crisp like a regular macro lager. Pretty good.
D= good. I was scared of the clear bottle and the fact that it was just called dark.... but it wasn't that bad. Really sort of deceptive in color and smell. Tasted plain and somewhat boring but not bad at all.

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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 argock
2.95/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pored from clear 12oz bottle into a clear pilsner glass. Freshness date lasered on bottle neck. Received as part of a 12-pack Schell's sampler.

A: Caramel brown with soft and quickly receding 1-finger beige head. Lace is minimal to none.

S: Aroma is remiscent of Newcastle with candy and brown sugar, pale malts, and some cheaper grains with no hops contribution.

T: Flavor is very middle of the road with sweet caramel cotton-candy flavor, some sweet corn graininess, and not much else. Nothing bready indicative of adequate malting here.

M: Very thin and light in body. Aftertaste is exceedingly sweet and grainy.

D: Easily the worst of the 6 options from this sampler due to its sweet corn graininess and artificial caramel type of flavor.

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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 bsp77
3.15/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into single style glass.

Appearance: Dark brownish-amber with very thin head.

Smell: Very sweet - caramel and maybe a little cherry. Maybe a touch of spiciness.

Taste: Very malty and sweet. Lots of caramel and fruit, with maybe a touch of roastiness and spiciness. Really wish there was more than a touch of both. Slightly cloying aftertaste.

Feel: Pretty high carbonation, light to medium body.

Drinkability: Easy to drink but uninteresting.

Schell should make a real Dunkel, this is an American Dark Lager.

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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 BedetheVenerable
3.41/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12oz screw cap clear bottle with freshness date clearly marked

Appearance: Dark amber beer with medium dark tan cap that has medium retention

Smell: Medium sweet grainy tones...not much else...fairly clean aroma

Taste: Light toasted malts...odd, but toasted mushroom notes...this is simple and kind of odd

Mouthfeel: Light/medium body

Drinkability: Medium

Conclusion: So-so...nothing special

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Photo of Buebie
4.17/5  rDev +26%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up in a 12 pack sampler today.

Poured from a clear 12oz bottle into an oversized snifter.
Aroma on this is very similar to, if not identical to the 2008 Snowstorm brew. Which I enjoyed the hell out of and am very disseminated it wont be back again in a new label form, like the 2006 snowstorm, no stout.
Bits of rye, Vienna malt, lots of cereal grain aroma, honey, chocolate grains. This is an absolute malt bomb. Some hops do come through, although laid back, allowing the malt to shine.

Appearance is a bit of a darker brown with ruby red highlights. The head formed about an inch of white and somewhat quickly melted away to leave a thin layer and thicker collar. Lace is thin and spotty, leaving oily streaks.

Mouthfeel is slick and pillow like with a fluffiness from carbonation. Mostly thin after the carbonation fizzles out, which also is laid back and does not bite the palette.

Taste is extra malty, with a darker roasty quality, chocolate grains, semi sweet all the way through. A bit more rye and vienna malts.

Finishing with a long malt linger and a bit of grassy hops.
Solid brew for a clear bottle. Very much the sessionable beer at 4.8%

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Photo of Rayek
3.18/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Chestnut brown with minimal carbonation and excellent clarity. A decent sized cream head formed and had OK retention. Left spots of lace.

S: Bittersweet toffee makes up most of the nose, plus a hint of a corn aroma.

T: The toffee theme continues. Bittersweet toffee flavors are bolstered by a touch balancing bitterness that doesn't add any flavor. Gets slightly acidic toward the end.

M: The light body is slightly chalky. Carbonation feels about right.

D: The light body and low ABV make this an easy beer to consume. It's not terribly complex, but still decent.

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