This beer from Ganstaller took me a little by surprise when I first sampled it. A cursory glance at the label only picked up the ‘schwarze’ in the name, so thinking it would be a nice German dark lager, I wasn’t at all prepared for the aroma and flavour assault that followed.
A little more thorough investigation revealed that this beer was an Imperial Stout Lager, which seems rather a unique style. Maybe a Baltic Porter would be a more commonly used label. Definitely with a lager yeast, but I think this beer has more of the roasted malt character associated with imperial stouts.
The beer pours a very dark brown, with a visibly thick body and very little head. The aroma is a rich mix of chocolate, molasses, roasted malts and a hint of licorice.
There is a strong roasted malt backbone, with less chocolate than the aroma suggests. Dark ripe stonefruit, dried fruits, a little licorice and just the slightest hints of coffee. And a sort of salty minerality, which breaks through.
Whatever label you choose to apply (and I’m sticking with imperial stout) this beer is really delicious, very smooth and rounded and beautifully balanced.