Off Black
Hopewell Brewing Co.

Off BlackOff Black
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German Schwarzbier
Ranked #70
Ranked #23,947
3.9 | pDev: 6.67%
Hopewell Brewing Co.
Illinois, United States
Off BlackOff Black
Notes: The idea was what if we stained First Lager black with chocolate malt – a bit of a trick of the eye? But Off-Black became so much more than that. The color is truly deep, but a careful observer will see the softer tones of brown and red creeping in, thus the name ‘Off Black.’ The subtle roasty astringency of the dark malts interacts in concert with the styrian golding hops to give a refreshingly new palate to our take on a pilsner.
Reviews: 5 | Ratings: 12 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of FBarber
4.34/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours the color of Coca Cola - appears to be clear when held up to the light, but the darkness of the beer produces some opacity. One finger off-white head dissipates steadily leaving a coating of bubbly lacing but almost no residual foam on top of the beer.

Notes of cocoa, roasted malts, bakers chocolate and a touch of earthy hops.

The flavor is exactly what they described - a pilsner with rich cocoa and roasted malt notes. Its definitely veers far to the roasted malt side of things, but the hops are there - earthy, slightly bitter, with a complimentary flavor. For me, the malts and the hops are really well balanced here.

Feel is light, crisp, and smooth drinking. Moderate carbonation provides a sprightly dance on the palate. Finish is dry with an almost powdery feel to it.

Overall its a bit too heavy on the roasted malts for a schwarzbier - but to be fair the brewery doesnt call it a schwarzbier - they characterize it as a "black pilsner" - something of a modified hybrid between a scwarzbier and Černý Ležák. Regardless this beer is lovely, light (only 4.8 % ABV) and incredibly flavorful and delicious. This is one of the better new beers I've had a while - Ill definitely get this one again if they brew it again.

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Photo of BSiegs
4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Black in color, hints of dark brown and red when held to light. Two fingers of off white foam that recedes relatively quickly and leaves minimal lacing. Aroma is very nice, light roast notes and some noble hop aromas. The taste follows, a clean lager initially, noble hops, and then the roastiness lingers on the aftertaste. Light body, very smooth, moderate carbonation, and a light-moderate bitterness of the finish. Overall, a really nice brew from Hopewell.

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Photo of 98green
3.79/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On tap at the brewery. This one is a nice mellow middle ground for a dark beer. It isn’t aggressively hopped like a cascadian, and the malt base isn’t deep like a stout. I expected one or the other, but that is my misperception because that wasnt wasn’t the style. This one is clean and easy drinking, but nothing crazy in any way. My subjective perception was that it was a bit boring, but it was not bad by any objective measure.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.68/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I tried this at the brewery. It poured a dark amber with white head that left no lace. The scent had a touch of roast. The taste was nicely balanced an easy to drink. The mouthfeel with lighter in body with good carbonation. Overall its a decent offering.

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Photo of emerge077
3.61/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Hard to classify, as it's their First Lager with chocolate malt added.

Dark brownish black color. Thin layer of frothy foam, minimal spotty lacing.
Had a yeast aroma that reminded me of old paper and library books. Lightly roasty.
Taste was fairly roasty with a moderate yeasty presence.
Overall it was decent though I vastly prefer the First Lager.

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Off Black from Hopewell Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 84 out of 100 with 12 ratings