Nero's 1st Century Double Dark Malt Ale | Amarcord Birra Artigianale Italiana

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Nero's 1st Century Double Dark Malt AleNero's 1st Century Double Dark Malt Ale

Brewed by:
Amarcord Birra Artigianale Italiana

Style: Bock

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by notchucknorris on 12-09-2011

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Reviews: 48 | Ratings: 92
Photo of zeledonia
3.03/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked this up on the cheap at Trader Joe's. The bottle drew me in. Says "B.B.E. 05/16/13". Best by date?

Pours a very clear cherry wood color. Two finger off-white head, decent retention, but little lacing.

Smells toasty, with a touch of lager yeast, and some mild cinnamon spice. On the bland side.

Taste is just kinda weird. There's actually a lot going on in this beer, but the flavors are fighting with each other, and the result is a bit of a mess. It's like getting punched from different sides, rather than smoothly sliding through different elements of the flavor. Mostly it's malty, but I get some very toasted, some very sugary. Little bitterness. There's a strange flavor running throughout that I don't like - almost like cough syrup, but toned down. This flavor becomes more pronounced through the finish, making it slightly unpleasant.

Mouthfeel is fine, although on the flat side, especially at the beginning. Medium body, slightly syrupy, that starts to feel heavier and thicker as it sits in the mouth.

Overall, not a great beer. Flavors are muddled and just not all that good. I had high hopes, but was disappointed. Oh, well.

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Photo of gueuzeonhigh
3.33/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my glass looking nice-- a hair of lacing, a built up tightly knit head interspersed with larger bubbles like eyes looking back at me.

Slight nose- nothing special. Hints of malt.

Flavor- for what I expected a malt ale should be, I think this beer has a light body and a light flavor. Even the 8% AVB didn't give the beer the push over the edge... I'll bump the rating a half point because it does seem like a lite bock-- a calorie saver. It does have the sweetness of malt and a cordial flavor.

The rest of the flavor is non-descript. It's got the malt, but in slight proportion. There is the signature of hops as well.

The flavor comes on- almost as if garnering whaterever gusto it can manage, then quickly loses steam.

Mouthfeel is good-- what I'd expect of a craft brew-- so that's just the entry credentials.

Overall I'd rate this beer as "OK"-- there are many just "OK" beers out there. I think this is a fine beer to introduce a newbie to craft beers-- someone who's been weaned on American adjuncts-- maybe for guys-- your GF??? But as a bock it's lacking in body, strength and presence. This beer is not going to replace one's daily bread.

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Photo of Boto
2.8/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

500ml bottle from Trader Joe’s: this one pours a slightly cloudy amber color. There was a wisp of a white head that didn’t leave any lacing. Aroma is mainly caramel malt, a little grassiness, and something else I can’t quite put my finger on. Taste is OK, but not great. Caramel, a little alcohol, touch astringent. Not much sweetness. Just rates an OK, don’t know if I’ll be back for another one.

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Photo of BobZ
2.46/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

500ml Bottle poured into my Duvel Tulip.

Appearance: Dark amber in color. Builds a thin 1/2” head that recedes to a ring, minimal lacing.

Smell: Odd, caramel malt, and a sweetness almost like honey.

Taste: Bready malt but unlike other malt–forward beers the sweetness is more honey like than caramel like. Just an odd flavor on the palate. As it warms the flavor intensifies and becomes more unpleasant.

Mouthfeel: Despite the sweetness this beer never becomes cloying, smoothness prevails.

Overall: Not an enjoyable beer but hard to pinpoint the specific flavor element that made the beer taste odd. I guess honey-caramel-grassiness is as close as I can come.

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Photo of ManuelHerrera
2.68/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The good thing about a Trader Joe's risk is that at least it's not a costly risk.

A - Pours from a neatly packaged faux-growler, a ruby red with a faint head.

S - Smells like pure malt, with a little bit of metallic notes and some grassiness.

T- Tastes like, you guessed it, pure malt. Like it's a double malt ale or something. Cooked cabbage and that distinct Simpler Times flavor comes's as one note as a malt liquor.

M - Light and heavily carbonated without any inherent complexity.

O- Meh, it's drinkable at least, but without the novelty of something cheap like Simpler Times.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.74/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

500ml bottle - $3.99 at Trader Joe's in Roswell, Georgia. B.B.E. 05/15/13.

Appearance: Pours out an amber-hued body featuring good clarity, crowned with an inch of off-white foam.

Smell: Bready, scantly grainy-scented malts wrapped in a noted note of gum with lighter hints of ripe fruits and a whiff of booze. The aroma is not exactly repellent, but it isn't inviting, that's for damn sure.

Taste: Toasted grains and bread glazed with lightly nutty caramel and a couple drop of Amaretto. Moderately sweet. Ripe plums and apple juice, then, a small pinch of resin and peppery alcohol. Drying at the very end with a final accent of cheap fruity-flavored gum, just like in the Apecchio.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Overall: I didn't dig the Apecchio and I'm not digging the DDMA.

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Photo of Yojimbo1941
2.22/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a La Chouffe tulip.

A - Medium copper hue, bubbly white head. I wouldn't call this "double dark". Looks more like a pale ale.

S - Malt, light toffee, hint of raisin and other dried fruits. Fig? Some honeyed cereal. Slightly nutty.

T - Hmm, kind of tastes like an amber lager. Not really much going one here. Still not much like a dark ale, or double dark for that matter. Alcohol bite on the backend.

M - Lighter than I expected, and again reminds me of a lager. I'm starting to wonder if the brewery mislabeled this beer.

O - This was disappointing. I expected, like the label advertises, a double dark malt ale but what I got was a sub-par amber lager.

I bought this at Trader Joe's and while they sell some decent beers this is definitely not one of them. What a shame.

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Photo of Kromes
2.56/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Was expecting it to be darker...A clear copper color with a thin off-white head. Comes in a stopper bottle.

S: Smells remarkably like a Budweiser. Sweet grainy aroma with some stale, earthy hop.

T: A sweet honey-like toasted grain and caramel malt flavor with some booze and an acrid finish. That strong, stale bitterness lasts a while.

M: Light in body and a slight burn and bitter edge in the finish.

O: Judging it against other Bocks, I'm afraid that it doesn't measure up. The sweet caramel flavors were OK, but I kept getting the sense of stale beer like in a frat house basement.

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Photo of YouSkeete
3.66/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep brown with an orange hue. Fluffy, two finger pale yellow head with nice retention. Smoky rye and wheat bread and molasses in the aroma. Rye bread, dark malts and bourbon on the first sip. Big bready, malty mouthfeel, not much else penetrates. Big oat flavors with smooth molasses and fresh malts. Really enjoyable bock, very simple.

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Photo of kenito799
3.67/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle poured into a chalice.
Nice dark browninsh amber with decent head on the pour, fades and leaves no lace.
Aroma is pleasant and fresh, some root beer spice notes.
The palate is quite pleasing with some more of that unexpected clovey spice, and a good balance of malt and soft bitterness. I am not sure how classic a bock this is, but I like it.

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Photo of mactrail
2.89/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Nice foam on the clear brown ale in the big globe. The big downer is the smell of old cardboard and your parents' basement. The up side is the big boozy rich malt flavor, though the candy sweetness mars the roast malt some.

Kind of a bitter woodiness. Heading toward astringency with the hops fading into bitterness.

It's a kind of cheap and rustic brew, but then it's three dollars instead of ten, so it gives a lot of beery intrigue for the buck. Not to mention the alcohol factor. Bound to impress the ladies with the sophisticated swing top, and that little gasp as they gulp down a good dose of inhibition-releasing and, oh never mind. Visit your local Trader Joe's.

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Photo of mikeg67
2.18/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

500 ml bottle from Trader Joe’s. Pours red with a short lived white head and lively carbonation. Aroma is of caramel malt, grassy hops and some funk. Malt, hops and booze unpleasantly combine on the palate. It was a drain pour beer for me. What a waste of money.

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Photo of smcolw
3.33/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Little head that leaves nearly no lace on the glass. Attractive neutral amber color. Crystal clear.

Sweet, even for a Bock. Not much typical caramel, it smells more like whipped sugar (cotton candy?).

The taste is drier than the smell. The caramel is present in the swallow. Light hop, which I think adds to the flavor. Short aftertaste. Appropriately full bodied with an above average level of carbonation.

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Photo of rinhaak
2.89/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle purchased at Trader Joes.

Pours a clean and clear red hue with a large foamy head.

The smell of rotten banana nearly knocks you over right away. Strong, but a rather unpleasant aroma.

Boozy and syrupy in the mouth, the taste is of alcohol and rotten fruit. There is a bock character, though the label refers to it as an ale. A cough syrup finish.

A curious and not very pleasant offering. Though it is inexpensive, I wouldn't call it worth the price unless you're collecting it for the bottle.

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Photo of Jerone
2.62/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A - Caramel color with red tinges and a thin head that fades quickly, lots of bubbles.

S - Sweet malt, apple, no hops.

T - Taste is initially of malt and apples then goes to an acidic thing that I don't like and fades to a lingering sweetness.

M - Thin and with medium carbonation, dissapointing for this beer.

O - Wouldn't buy again, not terrible but not a well executed beer.

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Photo of Schagg
2.85/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked this up at Trader Joe's after much hype from the staff. Much to my disappointment this beer did not live up to expectations.

The appearance is a dark-red but not double dark as the label indicates.

It pours a nice head about 2-3 fingers high with good retention.

Very light hops with decent malt flavor. Fairly strong fruity flavor (banana is the strongest).

Overall this beer was decent but left me wanting more from it. I will try this brewer's other beers before I get this one again. If anything the bottle is cool and easily reusable for home-brew.

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Photo of whatthehull
3.33/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


A - nice leaning more on the red side copper, one finger off white head and a little lacing

S - lots of sweet malt, nice sweet and bready yeast, fruity (but I can't pin point one), honey, sweet flowers, a slight hop note and some vanilla

T - very sugary up front, vanilla, dried sweet fruits (maybe melons?), crisp water, very fresh calm but tasty hop, nice malts both sweet and toasted, lots of earth, slight booze and nice floral note

M - medium plus body, low acidity, nice balance, low complexity and medium plus finish

D - this is just a simple ale. Good flavor, nice alcohol, refreshing, crisp and goes down great. Not tons going on but still nice

Final thought - $3 and 8% abv, so, my question, why not?

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Photo of jlmorgan4
2.49/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Another disappointing experiment to accompany the Nero's Red Ale I tried a few weeks ago.

As with that one (and the previous reviewer said that the Red Ale is actually blended into this one--I thought I recognized the same nose/flavor there!), this smelled much like an adjunct lager more than a doppelbock. The flavor was similar, with light malts, not much hop character, and the long finish the previous reviewer noticed--it became more pronounced and more unpleasant as the beer warmed up. Mouthfeel was nice enough, coating the tongue.

The best aspect was the appearance, with a nice head and a clear orange/brown color with tiny bubbles. Not particularly dark, but attractive. The head dissipated, leaving a little bit of lacing that disappeared over time.

In general, I had high hopes for these beers, given the provenance and the attractive packaging. I guess I shouldn't judge the beer by the bottling...

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Photo of DoubleJ
2.63/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A 500 ml swingtop bottle, so in case I can't drink the whole bottle in one sitting, I can some the rest for later. Nah. Let's try to kill it in one setting. On to the beer:

Rusty copper colored with visible bubbles runnning through the body and a sturdy enough head which initially is ½ inch thick. Some sweet breads and malt in the nose, also some minerals.

There's a strong sensation of alcohol, minerals, caramel, and bread at the begining. More sips come and go, and the stronger the mineral sensation gets while diluting the malt flavor. Not quite full and not quite medium bodied. The aftertaste is tough to take, a pool of bitter minerals that linger on and on.

Initially it looked that this was going to be good, but the aftertaste killed the mood. Not a particularly fun one.

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Photo of Reidrover
3.5/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml swing top bottle ( very attractive package) from TJs Salem Oregon, $3.49 Amber/orange ale with a big ole thick bubbly off white head Subdued aromas..mainlly creamy cereal,roasted peanut..not that bad really Taste is again of course malty..bready,hay..slightly toasted..some semi-dark coffee bittering at the very end. I actually liked the mouthfeel..its rich enough yet still easy..only a touch of the alcohol. I actually did like this beer but its no doppelbock..a nice strong bock/ale hybrid

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Photo of mithrascruor
2.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

500 mL bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear, dull amber color. Not very "dark", and certainly not "double dark". Giant off-white head, though, with a fair amount of lacing.

Smell: Lightly toasted malts and not much else.

Taste: Dry, malty flavor. Kinda toasted, but nothing is really standing out. I do get a brief taste of sweet corn malts, but it isn't very strong. Mildly bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation; a bit grainy.

Drinkability: The 8% ABV doesn't really come out in the taste.

I didn't remember Trader Joe's beers being such duds. (With the exception of the annual holiday ale, of course). Though cheap, there's just not much too this: mediocre taste at best... for the quantity/alcohol/price it is not horrible, but picking up something of the same style, yet better, for the same price is an easy task.

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Photo of Lockedin
3.62/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml Captive cork bottle from Trader Joe's - at 2.99 I figured "why not"

A: Big POP! on opening. Pours a deep red gold and amazing clarity, 2.5 fingers of marbled ivory head with tight bubbles appears and never quite leaves, active small bubbled carbonation continually rises. Nice lacing throughout.

S: Immediate biscuity malt scent fills the room - no surprise as this says it is a malt ale on the label. A bit of wet cardboard; reminds me a bit of a malt liquor. Not bad, but not good either.

T: Very much a malt bomb. Bready, doughy, yeasty malt upfront, sweeter biscuit malt as it coats the tongue, and more malt on the - wait a minute - nice, subtle hop(?) bitterness balances out and blends with the finish (which lasts forever), especially on the exhale. Not at trace of alcohol to be found - amazing for 8%abv. Taste is much better than the smell!

M: Medium body, though somewhat thicker and slicker than I would have thought - I suppose that is part of the extra long finish.

O: This is my first go at this style since I started reviewing. While I lean more to West Coast DIPAs and Belgian styles, this is something that will be in my fridge again when the malt mood strikes. Enjoyable experiment - TY to the Trader Joe's guy that recommended trying it!

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Photo of notchucknorris
2.94/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked up at Trader Joes

A: Clear dark brown color with a gorgeous creamy off white head. Fantastic retention.

S: Some toasted malt, bread and a slight bit of nuttiness.

T: I'll be honest, I can't figure out this style. It's like a weird cross between a bock, a brown and a dark lager. I read in the specs that it's a blend of a few beers but I can't remember them off the top of my head. I'll amend this when I find out. Flavor is super bready with a bit of an off-tasting stale bitterness. I suppose it's hops but I don't really know. Some funky yeast and overroasted malt as well.

OK, so the beer is 60% "Birra al doppio malto" and 40% Red ale, presumably the same red ale that's used in the other Nero beer that just hit Trader Joes. Still not exactly sure what to classify it as.

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Nero's 1st Century Double Dark Malt Ale from Amarcord Birra Artigianale Italiana
3.09 out of 5 based on 92 ratings.
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