Howdy friends! We are back for another exciting edition of Into The Pint Glass with Katie & me!! Oh man, this one was a bit tough, it’s not a beer that has ever stuck out to me. Let’s dive a little deeper into what a Dark Lager is…
Beers in the Dark Lager category are often misunderstood, because of their their dark coloring. Many beer drinkers expect or assume that with the dark coloring, the same flavor profiles, such as coffee, chocolate and other roasted flavors often found in porters and stouts will apply. Where in fact, dark lagers are devoid of any substantial big roasted flavors. A dark malt with no roasted character is used to imparted the color. The black lager style strives for balance, and is defined more by it’s lack of emphasis on individual flavor profiles or ingredients. The wallflower of the dark beer world perhaps.
American Dark Lager
Is a clean lager with minimal hop, malt, or roast character. American Dark Lagers are usually the cleanest, least roasty or malty of the three sub-styles. While usually a little sweeter and more bodied than a traditional American lager, it should finish clean.
Is the maltiest style in the dark lager category. The key flavor profile for this beer is derived from the use of Munich malt, imparting a bread like characteristic, and mild sweetness. This style of dark lager tends to be the sweeter more malt forward of the three.
Schwarzbier (Black Beer)
Has the malt character between an American and a Munich dunkel. It is the darkest, more bitter and often most roasty of the dark lager styles. The key to this beer is balancing the malt, hop, and roast flavors so that no one aspect overwhelms the others, it should be a balance of the three.
This beer style was not the easiest to find here in San Diego, I really had to search for this one. Both beers I tried were drinkable and tasted fine, but neither really stood out to me.
Cismontane Dark Munich-Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
Smell: Sweet, caramel, malty/cereal
Taste: Much lighter mouthfeel than expected given the aroma. Medium to light mouthfeel. Slight bitterness at the end, finishes with a slight sweet dark fruitiness. Maybe a touch of caramel or malt, but very clean and balanced beer. Seemed to be true to style. It was easy drinking, but nothing I would seek out again.
Fall Brewing Mittens-San Diego, CA
While I had a bit harder time finding a bottle of a dark lager, I happened to stumble upon one at our neighborhood brewery. Mittens is a Smoked Schwarzbier. Actually Mittens is the name of a cat my cousins had when I was young, but I guess this beer can be named that too 🙂
Smell: Yeasty, a bit earthy. Reminds me of the mash smell when brewing.
Taste: Very toasted, almost tobacco flavor. A slight juicy/fruitiness is present and a bitter finish that lingers.
Did you find a Dark Lager to try? What was your thoughts, link-up below.
On May 14th for Into The Pint Glass we are going to the funky side of town and exploring Sour Beers.