Schwarzbier | Köstritzer Schwarzbierbrauerei GmbH & Co.

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2,021 Ratings

Brewed by:
Köstritzer Schwarzbierbrauerei GmbH & Co.

Style: German Schwarzbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by stirgy on 10-17-2001

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,021 |  Reviews: 872
Reviews by HerculesRM:
Photo of HerculesRM
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It's a delicious, smooth black lager with a medium tan head. The hops are light and the predominant flavor is that of the toasted malts. As with many deutsche beers, it's a clean, no nonsense example of the type of beer it says it is.

My friend Jana at work saw me looking at brewing stuff on line last year, and it got us talking about some great beers we'd tried recently. She told me about this black lager (Kostritzer Schwartbier) from a German Brewery, Kostritzer, that her husband brings home from Germany when he travels over there, and a few days later she brought me a bottle! I was touched that she would share it with me, even more so after I tried it. It's a delicious, smooth black lager with a medium tan head. The hops are light and the predominant flavor is that of the toasted malts. As with many deutsche beers, it's a clean, no nonsense example of the type of beer it says it is.
Now, I don't speak (or read) German, but I'm pretty sure the label says the brewery (brauerei) was established (seit) in 1543 (1543). That means they've been making beer for almost 4000 years. I don't do math in German either.
A little over a month ago I got a message from Jana saying her husband had come back from Germany, this time with a CASE of Kostritzer for me! Once again blown away by Jana's thoughtfulness, I've had enough to share with friends and family who all agree that this old school brewery knows what they're doing. Their 4 millennia of practice has certainly payed off.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Mann0101
5/5  rDev +27.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

First off, it's a European LAGER, not an ale, so it's more mellow and easy to drink. At the same time, it packs a whole lot of flavor. You can drink this one all day, all the time.

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Photo of Todd
4.21/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

0.5l serving in a custom branded glass -- basically weissebier style, but with a handle. A pitch black beer with a clumpy tan cream head -- plenty of stick and good retention. Aroma was more or less clean, with a touch of buttery diacetyl poking through.

Fairly malty, earthy, with hints of caramel and a background char flavour. Light on the malt sweetness. Hops lend a touch of sour to the mix and aid in creating a semi-astringent flavour.

Had this at "Conmux" in East Berlin, but also throughout Berlin at various bars and cafes. It's without a doubt one of the more popular Schwarzbiers available in Berlin, and one of the most tasty. It was so nice to see this hard to find and underrated style. Highly drinkable. Highly recommened.

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Photo of Jason
4.23/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12 oz brown long neck bottle, no freshness date but there is a description of the beer at the neck of the bottle.

Appearance: A bit rocky in the head department with a lovely lacing effect down the glass. A couple of shades lighter than pitch black.

Smell: Slight roasted and sweet malty aroma, smells of creamed coffee in a faintly sweet way. Quite clean also.

Taste: High smoothness with a deep medium level carbonation, hints of dark bread like a pumpernickel or whole grain is layered thick on the taste buds. Hop bitterness is mild with a bitterness that holds its own for balancing the beer. Mild roasted malt character with hints of carob, chicory and bread crust. Malt sweetness is there but stay to a minimum and does not go to a cloying level at all. Alcohol is meek and barely noticeable, slightly dry finish is doused with a clean graininess and hints of spicy hop.

Notes: I like this beer a lot, not just because this is one of my favourite style but because it keeps it real with flavours that are a bit complex yet not to the point of taking away from actually putting one down if not a few. A damn good pick for the style.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.55/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Köstritzer Schwarzbierbrauerei GmbH & Co. "Köstritzer Schwarzbier"
11.2 fl. oz. brown glass bottle, "BEST BEFORE : 11 29 2018 L 3 48 P" and sampled on 04 27 2018
$1.99 @ Total Wine & More, Cherry Hill, NJ

Notes via stream of consciousness: Another beer that's slipped away from. I've had Köstritzer Schwarzbier many times before, however, at least this time I know I've got a fresh example. It's black in the glass beneath a frothy head of tan that seems to be holding quite well, and it's left some very nice lacing where it's already dropped. When held to the light you can see that it's actually a clear, dark, ruby-accented mahogany brown. The aroma expresses dark caramel and the suggestion of dark chocolate and roastiness. The same is true of the flavor and it's very interesting. The caramel is clearly there but the chocolate and roastiness are almost like ghosts. It's certainly unique as there's nothing that really comes close to it, not dark milds or porters or stouts. It's mildly bitter and there's just a kiss of noble hops in there. For such a dark beer it's really subtle across the board, and therein lies it's greatness - it's very accessible and easy to drink while at the same time delivering enough delightfully dark and just lightly sweetish caramel that you keep wanting to go back for another sip. It's a balancing act, and a magic trick as well because although you've got some nice, dark, sweetish malt upfront it then magically disappears in the finish with only a reminder and that ghostly roastiness lingering. Most of the schwarzbiers I've tasted, particularly American made versions, go too heavy - it's a dark lager, just one that has a little bit more character than say, Heineken Dark. It's really a classic of the style, and so keep in mind that that's how I'm rating it, against what could be the "perfect" schwarzbier, not agains all of the other beers of the world. Well worth trying!
Review# 5,977

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Photo of WoodBrew
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I'm trying this beer at Haxnbauer in Shanghai. It poured a nearly opaque dark with off white head that is leaving a spotty lace. The scent some roast. The taste was nicely balanced and easy to drink. Hints of chocolate and roast make the beer. The mouthfeel was medium in body with smooth carbonation. Overall it's a solid beer.

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Photo of Dinglehacker
3.94/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into flute glass. Not much head if poured slowly, fizzes down to narrow, faint rim.

Malt, very faint roast.

Nice roasted character. Not overly complex, but very pleasing. Chocolate, rye toast.

Mostly smooth mouth.

For lovers of Dunkel Lager, Dry Irish Stouts, Porters, Old Ale, rye lager, and, of course schwarzbier.

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Photo of -MK-
4.76/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

AWEEEEEEEEEESOME! My favorite style of beer for sure. The only other Schwarzbier I've had is black forest by Saranac, and this is better in all areas - and that is a great beer. Was really lucky to find a four pack of this for $5.99!!!

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Photo of janubio
3.63/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Dark colour with red tones to the light, medium head with short retention, normal lace.
Aroma of chocolate, red fruits, a bit smokey, malts.
Full body, viscose texture, normal carbonation. Sweet finish.
Taste of chocolate, coffee notes, red fruits, caramel and a bit smokey too.
Good drink.

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Photo of Jacobier10
4.02/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16.9 oz can, packaged on 6/24/17, best before 6/24/18.

Very dark brown, almost black, with a big, creamy, light tan head. Patchy lacing on the glass. Roasted malt aroma that had a bit of a soapiness to it, which was kind of odd. It wasn't overpowering though so it didn't detract from the beer. Clean chocolate and roasted malt flavor. Bitter finish that is more the result of the roasted malt than the hops. Medium bodied. A straightforward, easy drinking, dark German Bier.

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Photo of Premo88
4.76/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

16.9 oz. can poured into pilsener
(3/12/2015 born on date; best by 3/12/2016, printed on bottom of can)

L: clear dark brown with lots of amber, pushes up a 3/4-inch head of offwhite/beige foam, no stick; keeps a little collar of beige foam; dark enough that it's hard to see what's going on in the glass, but the clarity is fantastic

S: sweet chocolate ... a buttery chocolate donut; even some dark dried fruits, dates, real sweet dates

T: chocolate ... so dark-malty sweet; some slightly toasted oak wood, far from burnt but there's a little char-wood taste; as the palate adjusts, a nice earthy flavor offers a little balance to the big sweet malt flavor; the back-end wood flavor is like a great jazz drummer, always right on time; boy, that chocolate sweetness is for real ... it shows up in a big way at times and always right up front, leading off a swallow and perfectly setting up that woody/earthy aftertaste ... what a beer!

F: perfect ... lager crisp, light, easy drinking but with enough heft to remind you it's not water

O: this beer is so good; plenty of dark-malt flavors including chocolate and that nicely toasted wood, some balancing earthiness, and the mouthfeel makes me want to drink more and more and more ... I will buy this beer almost as often as I can find it and drink it year-round, for any and all weather and occasion; I've been looking for the ultimate dark-malt session brew, and this is it.

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Photo of steveh
4.31/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Found covered six-packs of this old import favorite at a local grocer. Six-pack box (and bottle label) says I have 12 days to drink these (06.18.2013) -- let's get at it!

An old favorite import from the pre Microboom® days -- haven't sampled it in a while.

A -- Inky black in color with a dense tan head that holds up well, slowly settling to a firm cap. A flash shined thru my .33L Willi Becker shows ruby highlights, but very opaque.

S -- Aroma is fresh DMS and mild roasted malt with a vague hint of caramel. Pretty light in this category.

T -- Roasted malt character with dark, baking chocolate undertones. Some mild bready notes try to balance the roasted malts with some very light hop spiciness. The finish is all roasted malt, though the bitterness in the finish and aftertaste isn't easy to dissect between hops and highly kilned malts.

M -- Smooth, soft mouthfeel with a dry finish. Light medium body.

O -- This is the king of Schwarzbier. A lager to present to the naysayers who think lagers have no character -- and at such a mild ABV too. As roasty as some Porters and Stouts, but with the clean finish that can only be the result of bottom fermentation and long, cool storage.

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Photo of bobv
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Moderate pour yields a one inch plus light tan head over a dark brown body with some nice lacing. Nose roasted malt a bit of earthiness, dark bread, and some chocolate. Flavor is very nice, roasty, chocolate, dark bread (pumpernickel.) Nice feel and overall an easy drinking dark beer and refreshing as well. Cheers!

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Photo of joe1510
4.09/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

500ml Can
$4.99 4-Pack
Binny's - Willowbrook, IL

Kostritzer is black. Light black, if that makes any sense, with a matte finish. While sitting under the light it shows off some faint garnet highlights along the edges of the glass. The mocha head is ultimately creamy and jumps to two fingers in height on a gentle pour. The foam eventually fades to a crown but never disappears and leaves behind handsome peak & valley lacing.

The nose on this beer is where it's at. A soft, approachable roast gets it going. Brown bread and faint licorice pop up in the middle. Mild hazelnut. This fresh can produces a nice, solid earthy hop profile that tends to fade with the older examples. The nose fades to only roast but a quick swirl of the glass really opens it back up.

The flavor doesn't quite have the depth that the nose seems to but it is still delicious. Those gently roasted malts get things started and push all the way through to the finish with a soft sweetness. That hazelnut runs through the middle again while the brown bread and faint licorice round it all out and add some complexity. There's a complimentary earthy hoppiness that lingers long after the swallow. This beer is as clean as it gets and very well rounded.

Kostritzer is made to be drank, and drank a lot, so the mouthfeel and consistency are very important. A moderate weight with lively carbonation keeps this beer moving quick. The bubbles leave behind some tingle along with the mildest of bitterness. A half liter of this can disappear awfully fast. Incredibly easy to drink.

Kostritzer is one hell of a beer. One I have been especially fond of since I was a wee lad. It's well rounded with a nice layering of flavors and it's incredibly easy to drink and enjoy. The price point is also hard to beat. Kostritzer has it all.

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Photo of Act25
3.87/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The sum of the parts here put this in league with great, simple, low ABV dry stouts.
a) Stout like pour with thinner, less lasting head but equal masculine body and lace.
s) Too faint since a lager. Sports roasty aromas of coffee, bitter dark chocolate, candied plums, raisins, and roast marshmallows.
t) Again the candy, offering more depth in all the flavor above, but tempered with roast, a bit of char, and a soy/salt/woody counter balance.
f) Light bodied, low carbonation, best at cask temp, touch of creamy, with a roast and fire wood dryness.
o) Recommended for dessert, esp when low ABV and weight is desired.

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Photo of oberon
3.86/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Popsinc
2.73/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: 500ml can. Pours black with a small tan head.

Smell: Very light nose. Light black licorice sweetness but otherwise very bland.

Taste: Again, very mild on the tongue. Semi-sweet for the most part. A light black licorice sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Average bubbly, off-dry.

Drinkability: It was ok. I haven't had many schwarzbiers before so who knows? Average beer in my book.

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Photo of Marty
4.43/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer is DARK! The only other Schwarzbier I've had was Saranac's Black Forest. This beer is at least as dark, if not darker, than BF. The head is a soft, light beige, with average-sized bubbles; not sticky, but slow to dissipate.

Smell is malty, and not overtly hoppy. I can tell this beer is going to be sweet.

I'm surprised by the taste of this beer. It is deeper than Saranac's, with some chocolatey undertones. Deep, but refreshing. Light with a nice hoppy finish.

I could drink lots of this beer.

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Photo of RoyalT
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance – Schwarz as night with a lively head.

Smell – Burnt bread dough provides the unique signature of this aroma. There’s a deep molasses scent in here as well.

Taste – This is a well-balanced bier. The extra-dry flavors mix well with the molasses sweetness and a slight tarty tang.

Mouthfeel – No carbonation and medium-bodied.

Drinkability – This was a good schwarzbier that went down well.

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Photo of steve86
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got the bottle at the Fred Meyer's in Issaquah.
Deep Black with ruby highlights. Thin tan head dissipated quickly.
Aroma was very subdued. Some malt backbone, No hop aroma. No DMS or Diacetyl. No fruity esters.
Flavor - touch of chocolately malt flavor without the in-your-face roastiness of a stout. Smooth mild hop bitterness, nicely balanced against the malt. No hop flavor. No fruity esters. Finish is very smooth and somewhat dry. Medium-thin body & mouth feel makes this a thirst quencher.
Overall, this is an incredibly drinkable beer. Nice & malty without the astringent tendencies so often found in the other dark beers.

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
2.93/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

On tap at the Up North in Madison, WI.

Dark purple-black, chestnut hewed body with a sticky tan head. Nose is overwhelmingly made up of roasted black malts. Taste is no different. Sweetness is average for style. Little to no hops to speak of. Watery. Thin body with high level of carbonation makes this feel like a black American macro is some respects. Not a good example of the style.

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Photo of JonnoWillsteed
3.1/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

L. Extremely dark chestnut, effectively black. Pours with 1cm tan head, that holds well. Head 1/2-gone by the time I'm half-way down the glass.
S. Fresh toasty malts, some coffee and spicy chocolate.
T. Dry, quite highly hopped. Was expecting something a bit richer.
M. Crisp. A little thin versus what I was expecting. More of a refreshing feel which seems a little counter-intuitive in a black beer to me.
O. Quite light and a refreshing brew. Interesting to have tried it, but I'd not go out of my way to buy more.

330ml bottle. BB: 16/10/18. Turkish Lira 9.53 [=£1.55, Eu1.77, US$ 2.05] from Metro Cash + Carry in Ankara, Turkey.

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Photo of MadScientist
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A very dark brown beer with garnet highlights and excellent clarity. The rocky light tan head doesn't persist but never goes away entirely and settles to a thin ring after a minute.

S: A light malt and very light hop aroma otherwise pretty clean with no DMS, no fruity esters and no diacetyl.

T: A light roast malt flavor ahead of a balanced malt sweetness and hop bitterness. No discernible hop flavor. The finish is dry with a light roast flavor in the aftertaste.

M: Moderately-light bodied with a moderate carbonation. There is a little creaminess as well.

O: This beer is dry, crisp and refreshing like a pilsner with the hop flavor traded for a dry roast flavor and a touch more malt.

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Photo of JudgeRoughneck
3.51/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a dark, molasses colored beer with a spongey, thin, brown-colored head. I don't get much oder here. The taste is good but simple. Not much going on here just light and sweet caramel malt, metalic notes, and fruity hops. Light fuzzy mouthfeel. Refreshing to be sure, but I'd rather a good 'ol dark lager any day.

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Photo of ArrogantDeadGuy
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: balck pour with a short tight head with
little retention.

S: sweet malts with hints of tobacco and smoki-

T: Sweet malts with a fermented grape at the sip
with the slightest bit of hop.

M/D: A little thin lacking good carbonation but
the overall experience is above par for
the style.

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Schwarzbier from Köstritzer Schwarzbierbrauerei GmbH & Co.
Beer rating: 3.91 out of 5 with 2,021 ratings