Home > Dark Lager, Schwarzbier > Harvestmoon Schwarz (369 of 1001)

Harvestmoon Schwarz (369 of 1001)

Rating: 3.6

One of my last few Japanese beers for a while now, this one being another offering that features in the 1001 beers list and is a bottle that I managed to pick up on my last day in Japan when I spotted it after two plus weeks of looking, finding it in a Liquors Hasegawa store in Tokyo Station before heading back to the airport for my flight home. The bottle I picked up appears to be a 2014 release from the brewery, one from a year that also seen the beer win a silver medal at the Monde Selection awards and this one also marks the fifteenth Japanese beer from the 1001 list that I’ll have reviewed here with the majority being beers that I tried in Japan and leaves another seven to go, although I do have a bottle of one of those still waiting to be tried soon.

Appearance (4/5): Pitch black and opaque looking, this one was very dark with a thin head that sat about half a centimetre tall and was a light beige colour, fading to a thin lacing after a minute or so with some break up around the edges too.
Aroma (6/10): Quite an unexpected nose from this one, there was a lot of roasted malts and dark notes in the early going with far more smoke than anticipated too. Further on there was a coffee bitterness that had a subtle sweetness sitting behind it and some dark, rich smells before a hint of caramel featured towards the end and some grains rounded things off.
Taste (7/10): Caramel malts and a nice sweetness kick things off with the taste, there was a lot of roasted malts and grains not too far behind though with most of them carrying over from the nose. It was again quite a rich beer with some chocolate and earthy flavours around the middle then some of the smoke from the nose making itself known. Towards the end some wood flavours and a little cocoa featured with further sweetness from some vanilla pods seeing things out alongside hints of coffee bitterness.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied, bordering on full at times with a thick feel and plenty of smoke featuring through. This one was a dark and rich offering that was dry towards the end and had plenty of bitterness, mainly from the coffee and roasted malts but it was balanced with some sweetness in there as well thankfully and wasn’t too hard to drink.

Overall (14/20): This one turned out to be quite an interesting offering with nice variety to the beer and a good balance too that helped make it relatively easy to drink. It seemed like it was a stronger offering than the 4.5% abv. on the bottle but this was mainly down to the complexity of the beer rather than any strong alcohol flavours but it was quite a dark and smoky beer too. Further on and some nice sweetness helped to balance things out with the beer, some chocolate flavours featuring to help out but it was the vanilla pods that contributed most in this respect and kept things interesting through; a solid effort and one worth looking out for if you’re in Japan but probably not a beer that I’d go searching for again.

Brewed In: Maihama, Chiba, Japan
Brewery: Roti’s House Harvestmoon Brewery
First Brewed: 2000
Type: Schwarzbier
Abv: 4.5%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Liquors Hasegawa (Tokyo Station, Tokyo)
Price: ¥518 (£3.43 approx.)

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