"I See Your Schwarz Is As Bier As Mine"

Brewery and Country of Origin: Kulmbacher Brauerei AG of GummistraBe 1, 95326 Kulmbach, Germany

Date Reviewed: 5-30-13

Ah yes, the schwarzbier. Born in the late middle ages in the eastern central states of Thuringia and Saxony, the schwarzbier is an old beer style which is brewed with a range of regional malts, lighter hops, and a bottom fermenting yeast (although the earliest schwarz's were crafted with top fermentation). Today, this lager is primarily brewed all over central and eastern Europe, as well as parts of the United States, where the style has seen a recent rise in popularity. One of the earliest documented examples of the style is Kostritzer, first brewed in 1543, and still in production and distributed around the world today. In general, a schwarzbier is brewed in similar fashion to other cold temperature bottom fermented beers at or around 40-50 degrees F. The biggest difference is the use of dark roasted malt which imparts a dark, blackish brown color which is nearly opaque, a creamy and thick foam head, and a robust bittersweet aroma and flavor. The result is a beer which, in composition, is very similar to many lighter Porters and Stouts. Of course, the main difference there is the yeast used, which in the case of a British porter or an Irish stout, is top fermenting, like an ale. Interestingly enough, the schwarzbier has had a much longer life here on Earth as the first known schwarzbier was brewed in 1390. The first known stout was brewed sometime around the beginning of the 1700s, though this date is disputed (+/- 25 years). Schwarzbiers, like most beer styles, can contain a wide range of alcoholic strength, but most fall within 4.50-6.00% ABV, making them generally weaker than the typical full stout. That said, a good, real, and traditional schwarzbier is a somewhat rare, quirky alternative to your daily porter.
Date Sampled: 5-22-13 At: Deep Ellum, 477 Cambridge Street, Allston, MA 02135, USA
Beer Style: Schwarzbier
Alcohol by Volume: 6.70%
Serving Type: Keg, 500 ml Mug Glass
Rating: 4.05


Monchshof pours fairly smoothly with an average amount of carbonation action, producing a full, thick, inch tall foam head with a medium high retention rate, a creamy texture, and a high density. This beer has a very dark brown/blackish color with a faint shine and a dull reddish glow in the light. This is a clear and filtered beer with no visible sediment. This brew showcases a good amount of lacing.


The medium high strength aroma is full of rich dark roasted malt character of mostly bittersweet dark chocolate and roasted coffee with a sweet flavor overall. This beer has prominent nutty and toasted biscuity secondary notes with a very small amount of balancing hops. This beer's aroma includes no alcoholic tinge or fruity notes.


This is a full bodied beer with a smooth texture and a slightly creamy presence. This beer has a medium full viscosity with a high weight and an medium amount of carbonation. This beer's dull finish is wet and lingering with no alcohol warming or bite. This is definitely a sipping beer which does not offer anything in the way of crispness or refreshment.


Overall, this beer's malt dominated profile has a full roasted coffee espresso flavor mixed in with some dark chocolate notes. This brew contains some toasted bread like, caramel, and nutty notes as well. There are no fruity flavors and no alcohol appears in the taste. Hops are very limited in presence, and the aftertaste lingers with a semisweet malty character.

Our Take

Like most schwarzbiers, this particular beer falls into the niche which any deep malt loving beer enthusiast will go nuts for. Bold coffee and toasted flavors mixed in with a strong and robust aroma make this beer an excellent sensory experience... at least for those looking for something that has a big preference toward the malty unbalance. As this is a lager and not a fully fledged stout, you'd expect this beer to be a bit lighter on the palate and easier to drink than its ale like cousins, but you'd be wrong there. This beer has the presence of a full imperial, without the alcoholic bite. In fact, this beer's probably too heavy for some to enjoy, though it's what should be expected of the style. We enjoyed this beer with a plate of gorgonzola truffle fries, as well as some soft pretzels with ale cheddar - great combination. But if you're looking for something a bit more traditional, we'd recommend stew, pot roast, cream cheese, or brats. Take your pick, but don't worry too much about it, because this beer is good enough to go with just about anything. Except a 93+ degree day at the beach.