Schwarzbier | Baron Brewing

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19 Ratings

Brewed by:
Baron Brewing
Washington, United States

Style: Schwarzbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): not listed

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 05-21-2004

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 19 |  Reviews: 18
Reviews by dnichols:
Photo of dnichols
4.15/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I poured a 650 ml bottle into a chilled mug.

A: It poured a very dark almost midnight black hue with a slight brown head that dissipated to a ring around the collar.

S: The aroma of roasted malts, bittersweet molasses and coffee were distinct and pleasureful.

T: It was smooth and creamy with the sweetness of caramel, bitterness of molasses and hints of nuts and roasted coffee.

M: It was a medium bodied brew with a creamy texture and clean finish.

D: This is an acquired I will acquire over and over again.

Comment: Baron did a nice job replicating the German black beer style. This brew stands on its own merits but it is a great addition to this under appreciated style of beer.

Update: Another bottle did not have quite the impressive features of the initial ones. This one lacked the balance and creaminess I reported previously, hence I have revised one or more attributes to reflect the new experience.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of RoyalT
4.47/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – No, German “schwartzbiers” are not supposed to be black even though “schwartz” in German means, “black.” That said, this is a beautiful dark brown in color with some nice ruby highlights. The head is modest and amazingly white.

Smell – The big, bitter, unsweetened molasses comes out huge in this bouquet. The malts are burnt and roasted and there’s not a hint of hops to this nose.

Taste – The bitter, burnt malts come out nicely at the taste. There is some good maple syrup sweetness to this one as well. It’s simplistic and right on the mark.

Mouthfeel – This one is medium-bodied and very bitter on the tongue.

Drinkability – This is not a common style and probably a bad beer to give someone unless they are a true Beer Advocate. If you enjoy a good, authentic German Schwartzbier though this Baron offering is one of the few American-made beers that fits the bill.

Comments – I enjoyed greatly and miss terribly the Schwartzbiers that I drank while living in Germany for six years. This one really takes me back to what I like so much about the style. It’s a tremendous effort by Baron and I relished tasting this puppy at the brewery with my good buddy skyhand. The brewmaster and owner was working the tap so you know all was good that day. Prost!

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Photo of warriorsoul
3.8/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to the ever generous skyhand for this rare treat.
Pours the darkest of browns...a half finger of off-white head and hardly any lacing.
First whiffs tell you this is definitely a lager.
Sweet and sour aromas both hit the nostrils...quite unique for me.
The taste is quite good...a roasty malt, coming off semi-sweet and bittered up to balance it out. Some molasses, fig, and smokiness that rounds out the flavor. Finishes with some chocolate...mouthfeel is very thin, but most likely average for the style.
Easily consumed if you like the style...well received.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.5/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 picked up today at the COOP... poured into my shaped SA glass which is very well rinsed and dried after getting rid of the abomination of the Über Weisse...

1" lite tan head dies back quickly... the brew is deep and very dark walnut brown but still holds on to very nice clarity.

Nose smells pretty traditional.. more coffee than toasty malts.. but still acceptable.

Flavor is again pretty good... not great.. and could stand to be a little more clean on the finish.. lite chocolate and a bit more roastiness than some schwarzbiers.. a bit more toasty maltiness would be appreciated.. The body is a tad on the lighter side for the style.. and the carbonation could probably come down a tad..

Overall.. this is a pretty decent take on the style.. but it just seems a little limp in the departments that will keep me coming back.

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Photo of livingregret
3.52/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Serving Type: 1 pint 6fl oz Bottle

Appearance: Poured a almost black colour w/ no head to speak of. No little ring makes me sad

Smell: A bread like smell w/ smoke and a woodlike finish.

Taste: A dark roasted malt that has a semi-sweet taste. A touch of smokiness helps balance out the taste. Has a very savory taste. Oddly enough it has a slight chocolate taste toward the end of the drink. A touch out of place

Mouthfeel: Smooth and crisp. Very refreshing. Not a full bodied beer but very good. A bit thicker than other types of Schwarzbier that I've had but still very good

Drinkability: A very enjoyable drink, I look forward to having another

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Photo of TheEclecticGent
4.22/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This beer was poured from tap into a .5L mug at Prost! in Seattle, WA.

Appearance: This beer pours a very dark black/brown color. The beer had a thin 1/4" tannish brown head that faded to a light swirl during the session.

Smell: Sweet molasses and roasted malt. A very nice nose.

Taste: Wow! This is the best Schwarzbier that I've ever had! Very smooth and creamy with tastes of caramel, molasses and roasted nuts. This is really good.

Mouthfeel: A medium/ light mouthfeel with a creaminess to it.

Drinkability: I still can't figure out why I didn't have another. Momentary lapse of reason I guess.

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Photo of Reidrover
3.53/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black ale ,with a nice sized thick ,frothy tan head. nice malt centered aroma, sorty of toffeeish in character. Again malt driven taste, semi-sweet, caramel, English toffee , some tingle of hopping below all this but barely there,like . I find a slight smokiness almost in the aftertaste. Ok on the palate, low carbonated and smooth. Not my favourite style, but i found this nice and easy to drink.

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Photo of aanth
3/5  rDev -16.9%

Photo of brentk56
2.88/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance: Pours a chocolate brown color with a rocky tan head that doesn't retain particularly wll and leaves only a few dots of lace

Smell: The best part of this beer - roasty malt, with black bread and coffee undertones

Taste: Opens with a black bread character that is quickly subsumed by a sour element that overwhelms the other developing flavors; after the swallow, the black bread tries to poke through but cannot

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: I guess I'll just have to pretend to be having some sauerkraut with my schwarzbier bacause that is what it tastes like

Thanks, riversideAK (from the other site), for the opportunity

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Photo of Slatetank
3.77/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a goblet cold
A - Deep brown bordering on black with an off white head that leaves a minimal amount of lace.

S - Deep bready aromas, almost pumpernickle in depth. Caramel and smoke scents are present alongside a nutty woody scent. Barely any hops the yeasty dark breadiness in the aroma is unhampered.

M - Mildly sweet with a pleasing amount of effervescence. There is a gentle fade with a full malty finish.

T - Tastes of doughy yeasty lager with a caramelized wort taste snap in the initial tastes. Subtle and smooth smoked tastes with a definite dark malt character. It's hard to put into words how bready this is with a salty loaf like taste that I haven't come this close to since I sampled friend's Kvass. (Thanks gottajiboo2)

D - Very unique and tasty, just not a beer I would consider very quaffable. I think a 12oz serving might be sufficient in a single session. Worth a try for sure.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.77/5  rDev +32.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Dark foreboding brown with a clearishness to its body that is fairly evident, even in a sensibly low light. Small, grey tinted paper top of firm foam slips off to a skim pretty quickly; leaving a whispy skim and a thin, firm collar ring. Tiny strings of lace stick.

Aroma is pleasantly forward with a very welcome amount of black malt sweeetness, very slight charred molasses and grain husk, a slim chocolateyness, and a gentle earthy dryness on top. Very nice nose.

Taste is just as pleasant. The black malt presense is so perfect here. Incredibly forward and absolutely tasty. A generously welcome amount of mildly preserved black malt sweetness is melded in with a well-rounded, firm crispness that lingers behind each sip bringing a tender pull underneath of earth laden, floating dryness of smokey husks, dark fruit skins, and a somewhat slimmer molasses. But the black malt is everywhere to be found. In three fold, palate soaking, goodness. Yum oh yum oh yum...

Feel is pretty damn firm with a smooth, semi snappy, medium body and a light threshold of dryness skating around within the finish and a very nice black malt sweetness altogether. Have I mentioned the black malt sweetness is all but fantastic? Well it is. It covers completely and makes the whole beer work for itself in an easy fashion of consumption that is inconceivably solid, smooth and effortless. Wow, what an excellent surprise from Baron out West.

Thanks to cvschaller for this gem of a black bier! Yumski yum yum...

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Photo of woemad
2.38/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

22oz bomber purchased at Bottleworks in Seattle for $3.59. No freshness date.

Poured a cola color that took on a very dark ruby hue when held to light. Two inches of mocha colored foam formed atop the beer, then dropped quickly. Sparse, spotty lace.

This smelled of butterscotch. As it warmed, there were some caramel notes, but they were dominated by diacetyl city.

Big, out-of-whack butterscotchy diacetyl flavor overrides all else in this beer. It has become obvious to me that this is either well past it's prime or was lousy to begin with. I suspect the former, but with no freshness date, that can only be an assumption.

It's sad when the best thing about a beer is it's mouthfeel.

This can't be what this is intended to taste like. I was really bummed out by this beer, as I was looking forward to drinking a semi-local take on the style.

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

Poured blaco of course with good carbonation and a nice dirty white head. SO far so good. Nose is cocoa, light coffee. Taste follws smooth with a dryness, chocolate, espresso under light smoke. Mouthfeel is light tinge of booze, no major complaints on feel or anything. Drinkable for sure. I lenjoyed it.

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Photo of Seanibus
2/5  rDev -44.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

It is hard to find anything good to say about this beer:

Disappointing. Flat. Weak. Muddy and dull. Pours deep reddish black with a lousy head. The aroma is roasted to the point of charred, like overroasted coffee. The flavor, however, is weak, like watery coffee. The mouthfeel is prickly and the finish is sour. Unpleasant.

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Photo of RedDiamond
3.71/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Schwarzbier is a style rarely seen on the northwest beer circuit and not one I readily accommodate to. Imports of modest potency lose much during transit and local brewers show little interest in making up the deficit. Plus there's no shortage of stouts and even dark IPAs to be found, so we don't suffer for lack of black beers.

Perhaps then for both its rarity and its drinkability, Baron's Schwarzbier stands out as a notable Seattle beer. The taproom serves them in bierhall-friendly half-liter mugs, measure-marked to assure accurate pours and plenty of headroom. The Schwarz is dark translucent brown - not fully black - a characteristic consistent with this historic lager style if not its name. (Schwarz is German for "black".) The beer emits a light grainy aroma and delivers simple, clean styling with a light brush of roast graininess concluding with a gently sweet finish.

I kept thinking "pumpernickel" as I savored my mug, for the beer evinces the qualities of grain and molasses. ("Pumpernickel" is a word whose mention always evokes an impish grin from me. Look it up if you don't know why.) The Schwarz comes with big dollops of beige foam and drinks handily with an almost nutritional zest. Full-bodied for a lager, but above all, clean.

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Photo of Bookseeb
3.23/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance pours a dark brown to black with a thin head. Smell of molasses and dark roasted malts. Taste has the dark roasted malts with a light coffee bitterness to it. Mouthfeel is almost medium that goes down clean with good carbonation. I'm not much of a fan for schwarzbiers in general, but this is not bad.

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

As it poured from the bottle the liquid looked cola like. Once it settled in the glass it became very black. When held to the light the cola look returns. The head looks like brown fuzz. Minimal lace. Nose is very heavy on espresso with a kiss of unsweetened cocoa. More espresso arrives in the taste, mingled with bitter unsweet dark chocolate and smoke. Finish adds a bit of hop bitterness. Mouth is fuller than I would have expected, but just a bit more than medium and not quite thick. This is truly a classy beer that I feel fortunate to have access to fresh from the brewery.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.57/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Cinnamon brown with brick red, orange and amber highlights. Atop the liquid sits two fingers of golden beige foam that is soft and airy, with a smooth, almost featureless surface. There's a respectable amount of glass coverage, no more.

I like the way Schwarzbier Black Lager smells. It's classic for the style and... well, I just like it. The aroma is composed of a toasted earthiness (probably Munich malt), a chocolate/cocoa powderiness that's the best part of the whole shootin' match, and just enough hops to add yet another, nose-pleasing facet to an already multi-faceted nose.

Unfortunately, it ain't happening on the palate. It's easy to see that this would be much better beer with a better mouthfeel. It's way too thin and way too bubbled. The flavor doesn't have a chance to sink in before it fizzes away in annoying fashion. Maybe a few vigorous pours and the passage of time will help the abundant carbonation (it does to some extent), but nothing is going to help the body.

The shame of it is, there's a good schwarzbier in here somewhere. There's a nice mix of toasted pumpernickel bread, a shot of black coffee, a double shot of vanilla and a fruity hoppiness whose bitterness has no trouble matching the sweetness of the moderately roasted malt. A background sournesss stays in the background throughout the bomber.

It's nice to see a Pacific Northwest brewery sticking to the classic German styles rather than releasing citrusy hop bomb after citrusy hop bomb (which I love, don't get my wrong). Baron Schwarzbier Black Lager is hindered only by its mouthfeel. If I happened to get a less than perfect specimen, I hope to get the chance to review a proper one someday.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.1/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Near black, with ruby highlights and a fading head.

Raisins and plum in the aroma, mixed with chocolate. Spicy and velvetty at once. Balanced sweetness.

More balance in the taste. Very well-rounded, mellow cocoa, spicy notes, mild mollasses...amid a great bracing of black malt. Tasty, clean, supple.

Medium bodied, and ultra-smooth. Goes down a breeze.

thanks for the "mistake", Kim!

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Schwarzbier from Baron Brewing
Beer rating: 3.61 out of 5 with 19 ratings
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