Dark & Roasted beers are dark-colored and generally malty. But if you’ve spent much time on the Beer Frontier, you know that flavor profiles include many styles (and vice versa). So Dark & Roasted brews can be sweet or dry, lighter or fuller bodied, quite sessionable or pack an ABV wallop.
For example, New Holland The Poet and Founders Breakfast Stout are both stouts and look an awful lot alike in your pint glass, but The Poet is moderately bitter and comes in at 5.2 ABV, while Breakfast Stout is far more bitter, with a much higher ABV of 8.3.
Dark & Roasted flavors can vary from notes of toasted bread and nuts to dark chocolate and espresso. The color and flavors come from the addition of kilned (roasted) grains. Grains kilned at higher temperatures develop darker colors and deeper flavors. Kilning can caramelize grain sugars and produce sweet flavors like molasses and toffee, and it can toast grain (just like your toaster), giving it a biscuity or bready flavor.
What’s all that mean? You gotta drink it to know if you’re gonna like it. And there’s no better season than winter, when Dark & Roasted brews are most appreciated, to experiment with a variety of styles. But where to start? We think these five are outstanding choices: