Friday, October 22, 2010

Category 4: Dark Lagers

Beer: Köstritzer Schwarzbier
Category: Dark Lagers
Subcategory: Schwarzbier

Ah, schwarzbier. This is a style of beer that we don't often get to see or taste here in the US. The name translates literally to "black beer" auf Deutsch. Sam Adams actually makes a fine version of this dark colored lager, but as I have already tried that one, I had to pick up this version, which is authentic German and has a good reputation! This lager tends to carry some chocolate and coffee/toffee/caramel notes like stout, but is much lighter bodied, less roasty/burnt flavored, often has more fruity tones, and of course has a different finish and flavor simply from the fact that is a lager instead of an ale.

Very very dark brown-velvety, dark chocolate color with a nice tan head that fades quickly but leaves beautiful sticky lacing

Aroma: figs, chocolate, toffee, and caramel; a clean little spritz of coffee as well...wonderful aroma

Flavor: similar to the aroma, the flavor has some dark fruit sweetness of figs at first taste, which melts away into some really nice toasty roasted grain flavor, with little chocolate and coffee notes, and just enough hop bitterness to balance out the whole thing (and actually emphasize the coffee flavor even more)

Mouthfeel: silky smooth and light bodied, with fine-bubbled carbonation...very NOT like stout

Overall: yet another style of lager that has pleasantly surprised me. This beer is incredibly drinkable without being boring. Much more interesting malt profile than a helles, and yet it's just as smooth, drinkable, and refreshing with its light body. Very, very nice.

Personal: Wow. I was really surprised by this. What an enjoyable, balanced lager. I would love to host a dinner and serve big steaks with fig and red wine reduction, a mug of this by each place setting. This is delicious and flavorful without being overbearing, drinkable and delicate without being a bore. This one is going in the "like" file...probably the best one I've tried yet in this tasting series!


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