Köstritzer Schwarzbierbrauerei GmbH & Co.

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German Schwarzbier
Ranked #18
Ranked #11,347
3.92 | pDev: 11.73%
Köstritzer Schwarzbierbrauerei GmbH & Co.
Very Good
Notes: First-class, refined ingredients, the unique recipe and a passionate brewing tradition that you can taste: Köstritzer Schwarzbier stands for pleasure in perfection. It is the unique roasting of malting barley to the finest roasted malt, which gives Köstritzer Schwarzbier its unique malt aroma and unmatched character.

The market leader in the segment of bottom-fermented, dark beers presents itself in an elegant, bubbly manner, and promises a special kind of beer experience at first sight with its strong color and pronounced foam crown.

Taste the difference and enjoy Germany's most popular black beer.
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Reviews: 896 | Ratings: 2,087 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Schneidermeister
4.61/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

It's been eight or so years since I did a review on here. When I did my first reviews, I was in college, and I was just starting to explore my palate for beer and other adult beverages. My one-dimensional, neanderthal qualifier of "Higher ABV mean me get drunk faster" has thankfully, subsided a bit, and I find myself actually looking for drinks I can just enjoy rather than ones that just get the job done.

That being said, although I now have a more qualified palate to help me determine what I'm in the mood for on any given occasion where drinking is in order, my tastes haven't changed much in their linear caveman simplicity though, in so much as it goes one of 2 ways for me with beer: I either love it or I hate it.

And I love this one. This beer is excellent, and quite appetizing. I'll probably keep some in my fridge for whenever I'm in the mood for something a little dark but not too rich or heady, and for when the old man wants to hang out and have a beer. He loves dark beer but doesn't care for the ones where if you drink more than a tulip-glass full you're on the floor. I tend to be in that camp too. The less alcohol a beer has, the more you can enjoy without regretting it.

It pours black like coffee. It's fairly clear though, resembling strong coffee or Coca-cola when held to light. Beautiful reddish/tarnished nickel-hue (I've heard people use Copper, Bronze and Brass to describe beer- why not throw Nickel in the mix) with a lacy, frothy, and creamy macchiato head that will cling to the mustache.

On the nose, it's somewhat boozy, despite being relatively tame for such a dark beer. The first thing I smell is molasses, quickly followed by a dark-roast coffee/cocoa smell with notes of a smoldering fire, all toasty and low-perfect for roasting marshmallows.

This beer looks like it would be immensely bitter, and powerfully stout in body-but it's not. Typically when I am in the mood for a dark beer, I crave dense, thick beers that are creamy and smooth. However, I was pleasantly surprised when my first sip danced around on the tip of my tongue with a very balanced effervescence. This also made me immediately aware of just how thin and crisp this beer is. It's very drinkable.

It tastes like it smells. Nice toasty malt signature that's not too complex or layered. Very straightforward with a slight sweet character from the dark malt bill, and a very minimal, pleasant, sourdough-bread tang that only fermentation provides. It's got a cloying earthy, almost savory taste that leaves your mouth wanting more. It goes down easy and doesn't leave your belly with that bloated, "I just ate an entire roast-beef sandwich in 5 minutes" feel, which is good because this beer should be drank in sufficient (not excessive) quantity. To do it proper justice, this is a beer to have in a cold Maßkrug (The clear beer mug with the dimples) with good, nourishing food.

Overall, a phenomenal brew to be shared with friends any time of year. It's simultaneously refreshing, and warming, so It can be enjoyed when it's hot or cold outside. This would pair well with spicy tacos or a Cajun seafood boil in the dog days of Summer, but would also be an excellent accompaniment to a hearty plate of pork shanks and sauerkraut, or with some hearty chili around a campfire with your hunting buddies. Either way, this beer hasn't been around since 1543 for no reason. Them Germans knew then and they know now; what good beer is. And this, my friends, is a damn good beer.

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Canned Sept 11, purchased at Market of Choice.

Black with a dense, brown head with good retention and gorgeous lacing, this looks great. The nose is beautifully roasty with a great blend of cocoa, coffee, roasted grain, a touch of charred husk and a delicate, fruity lager yeast character. Paradoxically rich and light, there's great depth here. The palate opens light with a potent roast, a blend of cocoa, coffee grounds, a little burnt sugar along with prickly carbonation. The midpalate is a little thin before a bitter, roasty finish, pleasantly so, takes over. Roast, grain and coffee linger on. Light in body and crisply carbonated, this is tasty.

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Photo of justme
3.87/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Rich malty beer served on draft in a Brooklyn NY German Beer Hall. Perfect compliment to a warm pretzel

Dark beer will bold flavors. Little to no hop comes through

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Photo of Amendm
3.96/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An easy pour from a 500-ml. can yields a finger of dark beige/khaki creamy and rocky foam with long retention and blotches of lace. Deep dark brown, almost black color with ruby highlights in front of fire/bright light.

Mild smell of roasted and caramel malts with faint Noble hops and very faint smoke.

Neutral on the sweet/dry with low bitterness, roasted flavor blends and creates balance.
An attempt at sweetness from pitted and stone fruits is balanced by roasted malt and hops.
Bitterness rises to average at the clean, almost crisp finish. Roasted flavor lingers a while.

Light body, average (the right amount) of soft carbonation. Smooth easy drinker, sessionable and true to style in all regards. I have to mention again the balance of roasted/bitter and sweet flavors. light body with big flavor that is somehow mild.

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Photo of Gajo74
4.09/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark brown, nearly black color, with some clarity. A big foam head retains seemingly forever. A thick ring of lacing throughout. Looks promising.

Rich dark malt aroma evokes notes of dark chocolate, dark fruit, roasted caramel and a touch of smoke. The hops aromas are earthy, fruity and floral.

Taste opens with clean dark malts that are ultra smooth in the mouthfeel. Medium bodied with a gentle carbonation throughout. Flavors of bittersweet dark chocolate, lightly roasted malts, dark toast, caramel and a touch of smoke. The hops flavors are earthy with a light spice. A touch of sweetness throughout, however, the overall taste is balanced and clean. The finish is clean with a touch of bitterness.

This one went down very easily. Understated and delicately crafted, a very enjoyable Schwarzbier.

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Photo of WoodButcher
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16oz can. Dark black with thin head that had minimal retention.

Smell was of tobacco and, slight smokiness with a hint of malt and hops.

Mouthfeel was a bit thin with mildly prickly carbonation.

Taste reflects the nose; a bit of smoke, notes of tobacco, coffee, with mild bitterness and hopiness. Clean and dry finish. Very little presence of alcohol.

Overall a nice example that’s drinkable. Good to very good, but not exceptional.

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Photo of mothmanscott
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From notes1/11/13: Pours a deep brown-black producing 2+ fingers of foamy, finely bubbled, somewhat lasting, light mocha head that leaves a small amount of blotchy, webby lace. Aroma is dark roast and toast, cocoa, raisin, smoke, a metallic note, a little bread and faintly fruity. Taste is roast and chicory, bitter cocoa, bread, smoke, dark fruitiness. The roast is present throughout the sip intensifying in the finish it dominates the lightly bitter aftertaste. The metallic quantity found in the nose is also present in the taste, small but readily apparent. Mouthfeel is light bodied with moderate-high carbonation (strange for the style), thin with a grainy finish. Even though it is thin there is an oily slickness present.

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Photo of MooseJohnson
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In my humble opinion, this is a quality beverage, lads. Smells a bit smokey, and when I saw the amount of foam after I poured, I became more skeptical. "Hope this is not a watered-down black import piss", I thought. But, I trust the Germans and they did not disappoint. Nice solid flavor, took me a bit to adjust to it. Then I developed a liking to it. A good beer for import aficionado. A more manly version of the wimpy Newcastle Brown Ale (apology to my fellow Brits).

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Photo of bigbellysailor
4.29/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a four pack of tall boys 16 oz em nice and cold. Pours a dark chocolate brown with a one finger head that quickly dissipates. Moderate lacing. Light aroma of roasted malt, toffee and crackers. Taste of toasted malt and grain with a hint of licorice on the finish. Light to moderate thin feel. Light carbonation.

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Photo of Beech105
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from tap while on vacation in Bacharach Germany. Very dark with a small head. Smelled good with a bit of coffee. I'll admit, the atmosphere perhaps has biased my review, but couldn't have had a better beer for dinner.

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Photo of Vetbidder
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very nice dark look with almost no head from Peter Luger steak house in Brooklyn NY. Can’t wait for the steak. Hardly anything on the nose of this brew. Nicely chocolate flavored and slightly bitter. This is a quality brew here.

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Photo of Brad007
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown, almost black hue into my glass with a large brown head. Sweet, roasted malt with a touch of caramel in the nose. Light caramel touch on the tongue with not much else, roasted coffee perhaps. Clean finish. I wish there was more of that roasted/caramel dynamic but it's fairly easy to drink.

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Photo of willcull78
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

As a black lager this is a good tasting beer; however, if you thought it was a stout then you may become disappointed. For a lager it had the same richness as a stout with its chocolate and coffee aromas; but the feel was more watery than a stout would be. Head and lacing are consistent with a lager, meaning not to much. A nice hybrid of a lager and stout qualities without the heaviness of a stout. Certainly worth a try. if not a few.

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Photo of BeerAndGasMasks
3.96/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the can, it pours a lovely clear dark brown, just about black with a light tan/brown head that lasted and slowly diminished, leaving lacing. In the nose, it is has a bit of roasted malt. In the mouth, it is a bit malty, with some caramel and some toast. Nice!

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Photo of officerbill
3.72/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Looks like a thin stout or black coffee, with a grayish head, and coffee is the first flavor you get. The barley malts come through as dark rye toast and the light touch of hops rounds it out.
Smooth tasting, with mild carbonation and a pleasant slightly bitter aftertaste.
While it may be the color of a stout it definitely isn't one. There's none of the sweetness and it's much thinner, but in a good way.
This beer is crisp, clean, well balanced, and very drinkable. A nice change of pace.

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Photo of Gadzook
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Deep brown with a nice light 1 1/2" khaki head that dissipates fairly quickly with little to no lacing..

S: Lots of roasted malt. Some sugar. Notes of toffee, molasses, and hay.

T: Malt is forward, of course. There is great dark bread, slight sweetness, the toffee is in there with a tiny bit of caramel. Some hop bitterness in the finish to balance it out very nicely.

F: Medium bodied, but on the chewier side. Carbonation is minimal. A nice dry finish.

O: One of the best of the style I've had. Definitely beats out the American attempts. Solid all around.

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Photo of abnormal
4.37/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Two cans poured into mug. Coca cola color with some nice ruby/orange hues around he bottom and edges. A thin cap of rocky off white head. No lacing.

Aroma: Burnt toast, coffee, minerals, earthy notes.

Taste: Roasted malt, rye bread, faint caramel, mild coffee and a delicious almond-like bitterness. Excellent balance.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied, crisp carbonation, bone dry. Perfect.

Overall: I'm in love. Loads of flavor, super drinkable and fairly cheap.

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Photo of Lucular
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml can. Pours a not-quite-opaque black with a fizzy head that mostly fades away. Nice roasty aroma and taste with coffee, a hint of chocolate, and (unfortunately) maybe a bit of honey-like sweetness. Overall a nice schwarzbier.

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Photo of PEBKAC
4.24/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On tap regularly at DSK after a longtime stint of...(place beer here).

Liter mug. Cola body, cola head.

Scent is mostly malt, appropriate hops & a fun tannic, mineralistic middle end.

Taste is dry, very dry toast, bitter burnt crust, yeasty haze, mellow unsweetened adult cerealness. Chewy, if thin body.

It's just a good beer. I forget what was on tap prior, but that was a touch better. This, however, has grown me.

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Photo of Scrapss
3.84/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Deep black/brown with nice 1 inch tan head that died down to a thinner disk with decent lacing.

S: Roasty toasty as expected, some of the classic grassihop notes. deep roasted sugars, slight chocholate roastiness.

T: Follows nose, touch of vinuousness but it's far far in the back. Again, roasted milk balls, toffee, deep notes of cooked sugars. Hops likely balance what would be a sweet bomb without them, but again malt forward and hops are not punching you in the tongue.

M: Suprisingly light and dry for what's going on, very little of a pleasant finish that lingers on the end like a chocolate or malted milkshake. Slick at finish. Feels thinner than it probably should.

O: Excellent Schwarzbier, would enjoy any time. Great with deeply seared steak.

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Photo of HorseheadsHophead
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Looks cola brown. Mostly black with dark brown highlights. Topped with a rocky tan head. Very good retention, and lots of lacing.

Smells like grassy Noble hops, toast, caramel, cocoa, molasses, pumpernickel bread.

Tastes like pumpernickel bread, darkly browned toast, molasses, cocoa powder, cola, and grass. Clean, crisp, and lightly dry.

Medium-light mouthfeel, well carbonated.

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Photo of Reidrover
4.01/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

500ml glass at Bargarten in Keizer Oregon
Dark brown almost black..great thick and frothy beige head.
Aromas nicely roasted malts all the way.
Taste similar..but with a certain ashieness that is to style.
Nice medium mouth .easy drink.
Good stuff

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Photo of lastmango
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep brown with a hint of ruby with a one finger tan head that quickly went to a thin film. Moderate lacing. Light aroma of roasted malt, toffee and crackers. Taste of toasted malt and grain with a hint of black licorice on the finish. Light to moderate thin feel. Light carbonation.

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Photo of beersampler6
3.99/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fairly nice, easy to drink beer from Germany - I will have to explore this style more. Pours a nice deep dark brown color with a little light copper head and some spotty lingering lacing. Smells of malt, roasted nuttiness, caramel, toffee, biscuit and some oats. Taste follows the nose, and there is also a faint hint of some chocolate. Can’t really detect the hops, however. Smooth, moderately rich, buttery mouthfeel and good carbonation. An enjoyable beer!

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Photo of Treyliff
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz can poured into a pint
Best before March 2019

A- pours almost black in color with a ruby hue creeping through, one-finger foamy khaki colored head has great retention after the pour

S- roasted barley, chocolate, earthy hay, floral hops, crackers, a hint of caramel

T- roasted malt up front gives some chocolaty notes, as well as toasted grains, black licorice. Finishes grainy & nutty with a slight floral hop linger

M- medium-light body with moderate carbonation leads to a light creamy mouthfeel that continues into the finish

O- an under-appreciated style and a beer that would make a great session beer, plenty of flavor and under 5% abv

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Schwarzbier from Köstritzer Schwarzbierbrauerei GmbH & Co.
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 2087 ratings