Saturday, April 24, 2010

Fade to Black: Schwaben Brau Das Schwarze

Don't be afraid of the dark. There is a common misconception that the darker a beer, the stronger it is. This is just not the case, as the color of a beer has to do with the degree it is toasted/roasted in a kiln. The more you kiln malt the darker it will get. Some malts will be pale and white in color, while others will as dark and roasty as coffee.

Schwarzbier or "black beer" is a great example of a beer that uses dark malts, which gives this beer style its black color. Schwarzbiers have outstanding dark malt aromas and flavors, and are really fantastic dark lagers with tons of flavor and character, yet remain very drinkable beers. If you like dunkle, or even stouts and porters you will like schwarzbier. An excellent example of this style is Das Schwarze from the Schwaben Brau brewery of Nurnberg, Germany.

Das Schwarze pours to a jet black color with a thick, creamy white head, and a good bit of carbonation. When held to the light, you can see this beer is actually a very, very deep, bright brown color. The nose on this beer is excellent with lots of dark chocolate, coffee, and light roast aroma, paired with some grassy hop aroma. The palate on this beer is very smooth and polished with excellent malt flavors, dark chocolate flavor, a touch of coffee, and a touch of light roast. This beer finishes with more excellent dark chocolate and light coffee flavor, then ends with a mild, grassy hop bite that balances this beer to perfection.

This is a great example of schwarzbier. Dark beers are nothing you should be afraid of. The alcohol strength in this beer is on par with dunkel, and helles and its the type of beer you could drain by the liter. Not sure if you can find this one in the U.S. as my example was brought back from Germany by a friend, but its one well worth seeking out. For more information about this beer and the brewery, visit:

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