Death & Taxes
Moonlight Brewing Company

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German Schwarzbier
Ranked #1
Ranked #2,300
4.18 | pDev: 9.33%
Moonlight Brewing Company
California, United States
Notes: A very dark yet surprisingly light-bodied Lager beer, crisp and refreshing with no heaviness.
Reviews: 135 | Ratings: 328 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by magictacosinus:
Photo of magictacosinus
4.19/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

In my journey of rediscovering the beauty of Moonlight Brewing's offerings, I luckily found a place that had this in addition to Reality Czech. Poured on tap into a shaker pint glass at Thalassa.

Wow, this has to be the most opaque and blackened dark Euro lager I've ever seen! Granted, when held against the light it does promote a bit of reddish, plum hue, but it's overall quite dark and its off-khaki head would convince anybody that it was a stout, a porter, or something similar. Head retention is best for this beer in these crappy shaker pint glasses compared Moonlight's other offerings, as it leaves behind about a half finger of head rather an a ring, as well as extra sticky splattered lacing at the glass's edges as it dissipates.

Whoa, smells like a porter (or stout) as well! Big roasted notes resembling cold pressed coffee, some dark chocolate, black licorice, as well as some notes of raisins, prunes, and light bittered berries. Contains a green tea tannic consistency at the back, as well as some notes of black pepper. Quite malty and charred at the finish, resembling pumpernickel or something similar. The roasted grainy sensations get a bit oppressive in the long run (as the does the licorice), but it's remarkable to see a lager produce a bready flavor of this caliber, even here. Let's see how it translates to the flavor.

As expected, this is a tremendously high roasted malt bomb - although it's luckily enjoyable overall due to the variety of flavors that go with it. It starts with a rich charred and toasted graininess that coats the palate with an extreme astringency, which then is washed up by the coffee and chocolate notes, as well as the brief hints of raisins and cherry pits, as well as some molasses. The finish is a little less astringent, although it contains similar herbal properties to black tea, sage, and (yes) some anise. Slightly leathery as well, which comes as one hell of a surprise. It's an amazingly dense flavor, and the low ABV makes it nearly sessionable, but I feel it may also be to its detriment - there's a lack of residual sweetness and body that makes it a little difficult to wade through, and this becomes a bit of a drag to finish over time, unfortunately. While I could down a ton of their Reality Czech beers, I'd never be able to that here. Good, but a bit challenging at times.

This is by far their most intensely flavored beer I've been able to sample from them so far, but it's also the most challenging to finish a full pint of, unfortunately. I'm astonished on how a dark lager could ever taste this bready, thick, and intense, and yet still retain a low gravity. Definitely not a bad offering during the colder months, however - and I always gladly revisit this whenever I'm in the mood. Recommended for those wanting an adventurous new favorite lager!

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More User Reviews:
Photo of ArrogantB
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Toronado in San Francisco and only $5. Dark black, good head. Aroma is dark malts, nice. Flavor is dark malts with hints of mild chocolate and a definite lager flavor. This definitely tastes like a schwartzbier. Another nice beer from Moonlight.

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Photo of RaulMondesi
4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Toronado in San Francisco, CA.

It took a sip or two, but after the third one, Raulsky almost done lost his mind like Nietzsche in 1889. As I came back from my stupor, I was awaked by beautiful and glorious notes of chocolate and roasted coffee. Then, as the main man went in for another sip, it was almost his mind that became roasted. Beautiful and "light," but light with rich and robust flavors.

I suggest riding the Midnight Ghost like Kerouac up to San Francisco to try this one, my children.

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Photo of Smakawhat
4.47/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured on tap into a shaker pint at Toronado SF.

Deep mahogany brown, presented up to the rim with a faint tan collar, and just a smidge of brown head. While finishing the beer may actually be red, hard to tell might be the neon in the bar.

Absolutely ripping grain aroma on the brew. Ripped husky grain and lots of milk chocolate quality on the nose. Clean smelling. Big and nearly rich, but waffery all over. Fantastic.

Palate does not disappoint. Big crackling grain notes in the mid palate, followed by waffered chocolate and a bit of coffee. Literaly tastes like chocolate covered grain seeds. Mild sensing notes and a great lager crisp body all over.

Wonderfully balanced and presented, with a classic lager feel. Wonderful brew.

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Photo of phingdong
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of jnatkins
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of PunkFloyd
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of emaciated
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of acurtis
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of beerme411
4.75/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of WillCarrera
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Toronado SF, poured into a pint glass.

A- Pours pitch black with a creamy brown head, leaves good lacing.

S- Big smoky malt, some chocolate and caramel, big malt bomb basically.

T- Huge malts again, chocolate and dry, smoky coffee, lightly charred grain and peat.

M- Medium-bodied, creamy and smooth feel.

O- An awesome beer, Moonlight makes some of the most flavorful lagers I've had in a long time, this is a really drinkable, tasty beer.

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Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Photo of jtosch
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of Montanabeerz
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of jstewart1130
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Photo of od_sf
4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Popp24
4.75/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of crobinso
3.87/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of codynevels
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Photo of mc4z
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of dbauer
4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of IBUQT
4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of flayedandskinned
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of bird22
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of avaldivia
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Coddingtown Whole Foods Tap Room in Santa Rosa.

A: Very dark with a thick off white head. Leaves nice lacing all the way down.

S: Roasted smoky smell. Coffee and dark chocolate are on the forefront.

T: Same as smell. Smoky, roasted coffee flavor with a bit of chocolate. Leaves a bit of an aftertaste that I really enjoy. Very nice and complex.

M: Medium bodied with good carbonation.

O: Awesome. Very complex beer. Whenever I see this on tap, I order it. At 5% this is a beer you can and should have a few of.

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Death & Taxes from Moonlight Brewing Company
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 328 ratings