Death & Taxes
Moonlight Brewing Company

Death & TaxesDeath & Taxes
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Moonlight Brewing Company
California, United States
European Dark Lager
Ranked #1
Ranked #3,593
4.18 | pDev: 9.33%
Dec 31, 2022
Oct 11, 2003
Death & TaxesDeath & Taxes
Notes: A very dark yet surprisingly light-bodied Lager beer, crisp and refreshing with no heaviness.
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Photo of gamepete
Rated by gamepete from California

4.88/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75
A expensive beer for me that's worth the price...
Dec 31, 2022
Photo of beergoot
Reviewed by beergoot from Colorado

4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Dark brown pour that appears black in the glass; huge, frothy and long lasting tan colored head. Fantastic aroma of coffee and dark roasted grains; notes of cocoa and light milk chocolate. The taste picks up from the aroma; sweeter, more chocolate flavor infused with a nice coffee bitterness. Medium-light body; a nice bit of mildly phenol dryness offsetting the residual sugar feel.

This absolutely beautiful beer is a sheer joy to drink. Rich, malty, yet amazingly smooth and easy drinking.

Pouring temperature: 45 °F; canning info: 09/23/2022
Source: @dimidiata (NBS BIF #16)
Dec 27, 2022
Rated: 3.75 by Ajlvt from Washington

Dec 15, 2022
Photo of o29
Reviewed by o29 from Texas

4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Pours black with a hint of brown and a khaki, creamy head that lingers and leaves good lacing. Nose is dominated by roasted malts expressing themselves as charred coffee and chocolate with a hint of smoke. The taste follows the nose with roasted malts dominating with notes of charred tobacco, chocolate, and coffee. Earthy hops are present as well and provide a nice balance for the malts. Each drink invites another sip. The mouthfeel is excellent -- it's soft and creamy, while remaining light and drinkable. Overall, very good to excellent.
Nov 23, 2022
Photo of Jwale73
Reviewed by Jwale73 from Rhode Island

4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
16oz. Can served in a willibecker. Pours one shade shy of black with a creamy, one-finger, khaki-colored head that dissipates towards the edges leaving a soapy slick across the surface. Nose is lovely - cocoa, roast and a hint of char. Taste follows nose with a char and a bitterness that lingers at the end. Mouthfeel is light in body with an assertive carbonation. Overall, a lovely dark lager.
Sep 08, 2022
Rated: 4.6 by Beecham from California

Sep 01, 2022
Photo of Alieniloquium
Reviewed by Alieniloquium from Florida

4.32/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
16 oz. can. Black body. Big khaki head. Smells of strong roasted malt: coffee, tobacco, light smokey char. Tastes of strong roasted malt as well. Bitter chocolate, coffee, burnt wood, with the slightest hint of malty sweetness. Just when you expect it to be malty and sweet, it drops off in body leaving a pleasant roasted malt bitterness. Light body, exceptionally flavorful. Delicious expression of dark roasted malt.
Jun 11, 2022
Rated: 4.54 by MrDarcy from Massachusetts

Jun 09, 2022
Rated: 4.35 by jmbeerdude91 from Arizona

May 28, 2022
Rated: 4.69 by chossboss from Oregon

May 24, 2022
Photo of Rug
Reviewed by Rug from Massachusetts

4.37/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Canned 1/24/22

So I know European Dark Lager is more of a catch all style category on here, but I love the Czech Dark Lagers I’ve had, which it seems like this is. Tree House’s Nomad is a staple for me, so I’m super excited to see what the top rated beer in the style is all about

Pours a very dark brown with 3 fingers of dark tan head that slowly fades to a cap and leaves minimal lacing

Oh yeah, this has a wonderful balance in the nose as I expected. I’m picking up on aromas of pumpernickel, milk chocolate, herbal hops, toast, acidic coffee, light dates, and a touch of smoke

This is also clean and balanced in taste, with a subtle roast to keep it in check. On the front end of the sip I’m tasting milk chocolate, coffee beans, raisin, light toast, and earthy hops. The swallow brings notes of pumpernickel, medium roast coffee, raisin, caramel malt, light charred wood, and herbal hops

A medium body pairs with gentle carbonation, resulting in a creamy yet roasty beer. Finishes mostly dry with a wonderful balance

Oh yeah, this is great stuff. I need to try more of the style but this is my favorite so far. Fuck, I wish this was readily available in Massachusetts
Feb 23, 2022
Rated: 2.92 by chippo33 from Vermont

Jan 19, 2022
Rated: 4.55 by EB1 from California

Nov 27, 2021
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Rated by pkalix from California

4.21/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
roasty. heady. light but chewy.
Oct 01, 2021
Rated: 4.25 by paulish from New York

Aug 28, 2021
Rated: 4.31 by jakecattleco from California

Aug 18, 2021
Rated: 4.24 by Dsimenson from California

Aug 17, 2021
Rated: 4.14 by Chuckdiesel24 from Illinois

Jul 26, 2021
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Reviewed by BerkeleyBeerSleuth from California

4.49/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
Color is very dark brown to black with a big foamy tan head. Aroma is delicious; coffee, cocoa nibs, dark and milk chocolate. Medium bodied chalky flavor almost like a stout. Dark all the way through with bitter coffee, chocolate and nut. Finish is slightly dry. Very good. It's so malty, I can't believe this is a lager. Though you can tell from the hops.
Jul 19, 2021
Rated: 4.36 by Wisconsin_IPA_Lover from Wisconsin

Jul 10, 2021
Photo of jeffdr123
Reviewed by jeffdr123 from Florida

4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
From a can at Sarah and Zak's cookout. Pours dark like Coke. A balanced roasty, slightly smokey flavor like a good German Dunkel. I can see why it's legendary in some circles.
Jun 24, 2021
Rated: 3.96 by vfgccp from New York

Jun 20, 2021
Photo of lucius10
Reviewed by lucius10 from California

4.54/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
Sweet chocolate roasty, toasty bready malty, and hint of dark roasted coffee nose on this one!! Taste follows with a clean, dark roasted malty and dark chocolate-coffee bitterness on the finish. Whoa...this is just a tasty, balanced, and quality dark lager! You can taste the craftsmanship put into this. Great stuff!
May 11, 2021
Rated: 4.02 by Dicers from California

Apr 20, 2021
Rated: 3.75 by MonkeyPilates from Minnesota

Mar 31, 2021
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Reviewed by Beerbom from California

3.81/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
I don't really favor lagers but a dark lager is even more difficult for me to appreciate. I know this beer is considered legendary in some inner circles and I don't live very far from Moonlight but I unfortunately didn't enjoy this at all.
Jan 24, 2021
Rated: 4.07 by skochdopotato from California

Jan 04, 2021
Photo of jrc1093
Reviewed by jrc1093 from Connecticut

4.39/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
Canned on 11/18/20; consumed on 12/22/20

Pours a dense black body with distant blood red-brownish edges and topped with multiple fingers of fluffy, creamy, khaki foam; spectacular head retention yields a finger of rocky cap, an expansive, creamy collar, and a comprehensive spatter of sticky, webby/spotty lacing painting the walls of the glass in near-entirety.

Aroma brings a malty char upfront before welcoming nutty textures deepening to flowing undertones of sweeter milk chocolate against coffee roast; touches of grassy hops develop into the back end as a fine minerality and slick touch of burnt toffee close the bouquet.

Taste opens with robust cacao steadily embracing undertones of rich, nutty milk chocolate and proceeding to a moderate, charry roast; light smoke scurries across the mid-palate and leveled by soft coffee roast as subtle lager yeast and a steady minerality shines into the finish.

Mouthfeel offers a light body, flaky, crisp, and firm, elevated with a higher end carbonation which fades with a prickle to a fluffy mid-palate; an easy, roasty grit builds through the back end as a fading, earthy bitterness tinges the finish.

A black lager reaching the highest tiers of the style not with any deliberate boldness, but with a focused preoccupation with the supreme balance of every element, from texture and roast to sweetness and hops; the comprehensive structure and practiced consistency ultimately see a truly comprehensive black lager shine through.
Dec 23, 2020
Photo of RyanK252
Reviewed by RyanK252 from California

4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
Can poured into a pint glass

A: Pours dark chestnut brown with a frothy tan head that settles to a light layer and laces nicely.

S: Roasty, coffee, char, a hint of smoke, a hint of chocolate, earthy, slightly herbal, toasty biscuity malt, and a touch of dark sugar.

T: Roasty, coffee jumps out, baking chocolate, light char, earthy, slight herbal notes, a bit grassy, faintly nutty, toasty biscuity malt, and a touch of toffee/brown sugar sweetness.

M: Light to medium body, moderately prickly carbonation.

O: Hard to imagine black lagers get much better than this.
Dec 05, 2020
Rated: 4.21 by heymikew from California

Nov 26, 2020
Rated: 4.32 by Manta200 from Kentucky

Nov 20, 2020
Photo of Roguer
Reviewed by Roguer from Connecticut

3.9/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
Very good head production; decent retention; very little lacing. Body is an inviting nutty black.

Nice roasty and toasty nose, bready with dark fruit. Not a lot of hops in the way.

Really interesting on the palate, as it's immediately roasty and toasty up front, yet slick, lively, and almost watery. It's like someone took a porter profile and swapped out the body for a pilsner. The resulting marriage is a very easy drinking yet full flavored dark beer.

Toast and light char up front; some coffee tones and toast. Caramel and brown sugar grow in the middle, along with prunes and grapes, but the sweetness is quite restrained. Caramel and prunes grow through the finish, which caps off with a lovely and immediate note of chocolate-covered nuts, along with a lingering char of lightly burnt toast and coffee.

No off tones of any kind. Remarkably easy drinking. This is a well crafted, straight forward beer, and a delight. Goes down very easily, and I'd love to have a beer like this available on tap.
Nov 14, 2020
Photo of BBThunderbolt
Reviewed by BBThunderbolt from Kiribati

3.81/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25
Thanks to Dimidata for this one from a recent ninja box. 1/248 U.S. Barrel (dated 5/28/2020) poured into 14oz teku. Poured a solid black color with over an inch of tan head that had good retention and lacing.

The aroma had light roast at the front, with some softer grains behind. Just a hint of grassy hops showing through.

On the tongue, the roast was notably stronger, but still not overpowering. The backing grains shone a touch more, and the hops still just floated around the edges.

The body was light, smooth, crisp, and had a dry finish.

Drinkability was excellent, I could easily drain these on the regular.

Overall, a really nicely done version of the style. A must-try if you get the chance.
Nov 11, 2020
Rated: 4.5 by JohnTaber from California

Oct 13, 2020
Photo of larryi86
Reviewed by larryi86 from Delaware

4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
Blind review:
16 oz can poured into a pint glass

A- Black with a three finger light tan head. 4.25

S- Roasted malts, some dark chocolate, touch of pale/Pilsner malts, earthy, hints of fruitiness. 4.25

At first looking at it I thought this might be a stout or porter but now based off of the nose I’m leaning toward this being a schwarzbier

T- Dark chocolate, roasted malts, touch of pale malts, earthy, some hints of coffee. 4.25

M- Smooth, light to medium body. 4

O- After tasting this it moves back into the world of a stout or porter. Whatever this is I can say in confidence that it is a well brewed low ABV dark beer that I truly enjoy. 4.25
Oct 11, 2020
Photo of Ahypercube
Reviewed by Ahypercube from California

4.79/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75
Long had I awaited the chance to taste the legendary Death & Taxes Dark Lager. Alas, it was not until my family happened to be passing through Windsor, California on our way down from a camping trip in the redwoods that I happened upon this brew while we were using the restroom at the local Raley's. I secured a four pack of pints of this as well as some devilishly fresh Hoptimum IPA--an old favorite which I will review shortly.

It pours with a gorgeous thin black body and voluptuous quantities of dark khaki head which linger in sudsy layers of thick fluff on the glass like stalactites on a cave ceiling. Beautiful can art. Appropriate for such a notable brew.

Aromas of whole wheat bread, chocolate, medium roast coffee and pretzel with hints of brown rice, caramel, marshmallow, clove and charcoal on the finish.

Delicious. Dry roasty malty goodness with a nice creamy edge that makes it incredibly smooth. I can almost guarantee that if you like dark beer you will find this heavenly. Notes of chocolate, marshmallow, pretzel, charcoal and rice milk with hints of clove and a beautifully restrained biscuit sweetness to tie it together.

And a super smooth texture, like a nitro cold brew, but less acidic.

I had a decent Irish Dry stout recently, and while Old No. 38 Stout is pretty decent, this is so much smoother. That said, if I daresay, Alternate Present by Fiction Beer Co. was even smother than this, if my memory serves me correctly. Excepting that, this is finest schwartzbier I have ever laid lips upon. Prost!
Aug 23, 2020
Photo of woosterbill
Reviewed by woosterbill from Kentucky

4.4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
16oz can, dated 3/20/20, slow-poured into a footed Pilsner glass.

A: Pitch black body with garnet highlights under a creamy, chunky tan head that towers effortlessly above the rim of the glass and settles ever-so-slowly into a doughnut of dense foam while leaving rocky lacing everywhere. Stunning.

S: Simple, straightforward roasted malt dominates, with dark chocolate and coffee notes. A nice touch of grassy hops in the background. Quite nice.

T: Straight from the fridge a notable metallic flavor was the first thing I noticed, but as it warms that thankfully subsides into smooth, rich roasty goodness. Baker's chocolate on top of bread crust. Very dry and moderately bitter finish, without any discernible hop flavor - just dusty bittersweet malt. Supremely drinkable, and very focused on the core flavors.

F: Soft and fairly light-bodied, with mildly spritzy carbonation and some significant dryness - not quite to the point of astringency, but approaching the borderline. Pretty much spot-on for the style.

O: This definitely deserves its acclaim among Schwarzbiers, and I can't think of another one I've had that I would prefer. Not as transcendent as Reality Czech, but what is? Always great to tick another top-rated beer for its style - 48 down,

Jun 14, 2020
Rated: 3.9 by HaoleBoy from California

Apr 21, 2020
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Reviewed by GreesyFizeek from New York

4.89/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
This one pours a fairly dark black color, with a small white head and lots of lacing.

This smells like dark roast, light coffee, slightly spicy hops, smoke, dried fruit, and dark chocolate.

This is just so well balanced and crisp - everything is in perfect harmony, pretty much. There’s a hint of smoke - but not too much. There’s a hint of dried fruit sweetness - but not too much. There’s a nice creaminess too, but it doesn’t prevent the beer from finishing dry and super crisp. I also get a hint of slightly bitter hops on the back end - herbal and spicy.

This is light bodied, super creamy and clean, with a fantastic drinkability to it.

This is crazy good stuff. If you’re at all a fan of dark lagers, you are gonna love this stuff.
Apr 19, 2020
Rated: 4.19 by wip998001 from Massachusetts

Feb 09, 2020
Death & Taxes from Moonlight Brewing Company
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 369 ratings