California Black Beer | Last Name Brewing

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
California Black BeerCalifornia Black Beer
32 Ratings
California Black BeerCalifornia Black Beer

Brewed by:
Last Name Brewing
California, United States

Style: Euro Dark Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by russpowell on 01-03-2008

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Ratings: 32 |  Reviews: 18
Reviews by mothman:
Photo of mothman
3.72/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into pint glass.

Color is a burnt bark brown. Pours hardly any white head that fades to a thin ring around the edge. No lace noted.

Aroma: Very smoky. Roasted malts, chocolate, caramel.

Taste: Huge smoke flavor. Roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, caramel, earthy hops, and toffee.

Mouthfeel: Very smoky, smooth. Medium bodied with a decent amount of carbonation. Ends with a smoky flavored sticky aftertaste.

Overall, not a bad beer. Very drinkable. It appears that smoke is the main component of this beer and think it might be a little better if the smoke didn't dominate the flavor, still quiet drinkable.

 623 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of LXIXME
3.75/5  rDev +16.5%

Photo of augustgarage
2.47/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Dogfish Head shaped pint glass. Beer was bottled on 5/11/09 (just over 3 weeks ago).

Liquid is somewhere between auburn and bole, and glows a ruby-tinged burnt umber against the light. A substantive but short lived beige head leaves a very thin ring of foam just barely sustained by carbonation. Clarity is excellent.

The aroma is lightly roasted coffee, a slight sourness (perhaps from yeast), and a strong savory whiff of dimethyl sulfide.

It tastes of weak or stale coffee, unripe apples, light malt, and chocolate. Fairly sweet overall. Faintly nutty. Maybe a slight touch of diacetyl (butter/cream). A bit like a poorly mixed black & tan made with a decent porter rather than a stout. Unfortunately, the vegetal flavors become overwhelming...the "creamed corn" aspect interfers with everything else.

Crisp, fairly light-bodied but very smooth, almost slick really. Carbonation is decent but disguised.

A Dark American Lager that does well with appearance and OK with mouthfeel, and has some good flavors, but is pretty much ruined by DMS.

I'm having difficulty finishing my glass...

 1,129 characters

Photo of russpowell
3.07/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Fancy/schmancy bomber with a wine-type foil over the cap pours caramel/brown with chill haze & 2 fingers of sand colored head. Minimal lacing & head retention

S: A bit of chocolate & raspberry, weird

T: Raspberry & a bit of metallic hops up front. As this warms I get slight tartness & chocolate. Finishes with more tartness & a touch of caramel, not bad tasting, just not to style

MF: Light/medium bodied with low carbonation

Drinks okay, but I'm thinking Frambozen versus the breweries style listing. I find it weird the this brewery isn't more reviewed from California BAs, maybe they know something I don't??? This beer is either damaged (obtained from Liqourmax) or out of style (they claim American dark lager as the style). Had to ding this in several areas, due to being out of style

 804 characters

Photo of GRG1313
1.57/5  rDev -51.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Pours brown/black with a very short and thin white head.

Nose is all simple sweet malt and with a candi sugar nose. Some cooked peaches and pears-smells more Belgian that black beer.

Mouthfeel is thin, fizzy and with no body or character.

Flavors are completely missing. There is a thin, citric light lemon character. I would guess lemon or lime Perrier if I had this beer blind.

There is nothing redeeming here. I would say an old bottle (and which is perhaps the case) but I tasted it only within about a week, or so, of purchasing it off the shelves of a local store.

 578 characters

Photo of LycraCladChamp
4.48/5  rDev +39.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I decided to read the BJCP guidelines while judging this beer. this is my first judging for BA so here it goes.

Appearance: Dark red/deep ruby. reminds me of a ruby porter. head disappeared rather quickly but it had a slight brown tint to it. The beer is rather clear. Style: 4.5 Me: 3(I would have liked to have longer lasting head retention)

Smell: Very faint malty notes, a little sourness/DMS (Reminded me of when my dad would sauté squash on the BBQ) NO hop aroma at all. Style: 4.0 Me: 3.0 (I don't like the idea of carbonated squash juice)

Taste: No hop flavor. Very crisp flavor. there is a moderate flavor of Carmel and roasted malts. Style: 4.5 Me: 4.5

Mouth-feel: the beer is light and relatively low carbonation. Style: 4.5 Me:3.5 (I like a full bodied beer)

Drink-ability: the beer is very drinkable Me: 5.0

The beer come up short on the tongue (there is no staying power behind the beer, once you swallow the beer the flavors are gone). This reminds me of the brown tootsie pops from my childhood, or last week. Overall a very well put together beer. I hope when you try the beer you judge it like I did according to style and personal preference SEPARATELY.

You defiantly need to try this beer if you have a chance.

 1,238 characters

Photo of Bung
2.63/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle. Kind of a brown pour, with a nice off white head. Malt aroma with some fruit, citrus? Some roast malt, little caramel/mocha, metallic, but mostly bitter. Finished pretty dry and clean. Reminded me of some of the dark bier I had in Germany. Straight forward, not all that complex. Near watery thin. Didn't really care for them or this one.

 352 characters

Photo of femmebiere
3.76/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It has a dark amber coloring with little light coming through. There was a thin head, but it went away quickly. There was not much of a smell to note any flavors. It was a very smooth drink with a malty taste without being rich. The mouthfeel is smooth and clean. There was a sweet finish with a hint of bitterness. It was a nice beer that isn't complex that is nice to relax with.

 381 characters

Photo of ashishangelo
3.75/5  rDev +16.5%

Photo of Zorro
2.14/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Clear brown beer with a small tan head.

Smell is not much, little bit of biscuit and cocoa with a cooked vegetable aroma.

The taste starts out with a little malt and Diacetyl and a cooked vegetable flavor. Gets drier as you drink it but the vegetable flavor is annoying. Little bit of bitterness but this isn't what I would call good.

Mouthfeel is Light.

Yeah drinkability, this beer doesn't really have any. Try it once and then you won't ask for a second one.

 465 characters

Photo of jdhilt
3.42/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a one finger light tan head that vanishes leaving no lace. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Clear amber color. Nose is roasted malts. Favor is some caramel and roasted malts. Clean finish. Their best effort so far. $4.49 for a 22oz bottle from Liquorama Upland, CA.

 282 characters

Photo of DeadeyeOTDO
3/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of vurt
2.66/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

22 oz. bomber purchased at Lone Hill Liquors. Enjoyed in a 16 oz. tumbler.

The beer is a deep reddish brown color with amber highlights, somewhere between cola and strong iced tea. It never develops much of a head, though the thin cap of ivory foam hangs around for quite a while. The foam leaves attractive, generous lacing on the glass. This is a good start.

Sweet and malty, with some notes of caramel, dry-roasted nuts, and buttered toast. A little too buttery for my tastes, really. There's also a little dark roasted malt and coffee in there. No hop aroma.

Follows the nose quite faithfully: a malty and slightly nutty sweetness is the main character of this beer. The buttery note is obtrusive and, to my palate, unwelcome. Some tartness develops in the middle and lasts through the swallow, along with an odd fruitiness like underripe blackberries. A metallic hop note leads into a nutty and grainy finish which is pretty tasty.

Carbonation is too low, and the body is flabby and slick. The slickness combines with the buttery flavor component for some unpalatable synergy which makes finishing this beer a real chore.

There are some good elements in this beer, but they are overwhelmed by the defects. It isn't too far off-style, overall, but it is burdened with off-flavors, too much diacetyl for my palate, and an unpleasant mouthfeel.

 1,402 characters

Photo of beerpadawan
3/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of BretSikkink
2.66/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Served from the keg with a thin, tannish head over a brown body with lots of highlights.

The nose is frankly nonexistent; I'm getting a little bit of toasted malt, with a fruity, dark berry-like note. I was hoping for some roasted flavors that just aren't appearing.

Light body and over-carbonated taste has a large influence of dark berry sweetness, a little diacetyl, and a little nutty flavor. Not much to go on, and certainly shy of the connotations of "black beer".

I'm pretty unimpressed by the thin, tart flavor and general lack of assertiveness from the malt and/or hops. Won't go back to this.

 608 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.2/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

On tap at Dale Brothers Brewery in Upland, CA.

Pours a clear dark brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, caramel, and nutty aromas. Taste is much the same with nutty and caramel flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is an average beer that is drinkable but has a much better smell to me.

 564 characters

Photo of Green_street_hooligan
4.28/5  rDev +32.9%

Photo of rob99er
3/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of Gobzilla
3/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of steve8robin
3.45/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this bottle from a friend in CA. 22oz bottle...

A: A clear reddish color with a tiny white bubbles atop the brew. Ok.

S: A malty bready scent upfront. Some faint hints of vanilla in the middle and some wheat on the back. Ok.

T: A watery nutty taste upfront with a huge wheat wall. A creamy oat flavor on the backend. Interesting. Decent.

M: Light body with a good carbonation. A creamy finish. Decent.

D: Goes down very easy for some of the wrong reasons. Good.

All in all, nothing special. Tried 3 beers from this brewery and would not lose sleep to never try anymore judging from these.

 598 characters

Photo of weazal
3.37/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

SMELL: Not very aromatic. Mild dark sweetness a la molasses and maple syrup. The faintest note of smoky coffee. Some dark fruit sweetness comes out as it sits.

TASTE: A pleasant combination of a full mouth-feel with the brisk, easiness of a lager. Similar faint, dark, sweetness. A tangy berry-ness as other's noted. Hard to put your finger on before it goes down pretty quickly. Mild lingering sweetness.

A nice casual beer for when you want something decent but don't want the beer to dominate the experience.

 513 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.08/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottled August 2008; Sampled September 2008
A vigorous pour into my 25cl tulip glass produces an almost three-finger thick, lightly browned tan colored head. The beer is a dark amber / brown color that shows a brilliantly clear, bright red hue when held up to the light. The aroma has an interesting toasted nut not, perhaps a touch of cocoa, a light berry note, a hint of butterscotch and a toasted, lightly burnt grain note towards the finish. The appearance, especially, but even the aroma too, seem to fall short of the black, roast influenced beer that I was expecting.

Well carbonated as it has quite the fizzy texture and a fairly light body. My first sip had a noticeable, berry-influenced sweetness to it that becomes much reduced upon subsequent sips. This actually is fairly dry with a toasted, nutty finish and a bit too much of a carbonic bite. As the beer warms up a bit and loses the carbonation, some definite, buttery diacetyl notes start to intrude in the flavor profile. The diacetyl is fairly subtle, but definitely noticeable to someone who is sensitive to it (namely me).

This has a bit of potential, especially as an American Dark Lager, but the flaws and execution are a bit distracting at this point. Dales seems to be going after the craft beer newbie market, which they might be able to do well at.

 1,328 characters

Photo of nathanmiller
3.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of discostu1113
4.18/5  rDev +29.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of yoitsarch
2.75/5  rDev -14.6%

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
California Black Beer from Last Name Brewing
Beer rating: 3.22 out of 5 with 32 ratings