We all know about Heineken and their reputation as an “ultra-premium” imported beer. It seems Heineken is a status symbol of sorts, even though most people openly admit that it suffers from skunk beer syndrome (it is said that green bottles do very little to protect against this skunky smell).
Heineken Dark is a completely different creature than it’s older brother. For starters it comes in a brown bottle to help differentiate it – though the labeling and graphics are very similar to a regular Heineken. I remember the first time I had a Heineken Dark – I was home visiting my parents and dad pulled me one out of the fridge – I immediately braced myself for the impending skunkiness and was surprised to not find it. Instead I found a very drinkable beer.
Like it’s elder brethren, Heineken Dark is brewed in Amsterdam, Holland. It pours a dark ruby brown color with a roughly 1/2 inch tan head that dissipates rather quickly. It smells very different from a regular Heineken – a lot less skunky with a strong coffee and earth aroma. The taste is somewhat subdued and muted – a lot milder than you’d expect – but you pick up roasted malts, coffee (leaning towards lighter rather than darker roast), earth and molasses. The mouthfeel is a good medium weight – not too heavy. The aftertaste is actually quite smooth with a slight sweet edge to it. It’s a good finish.
It’s really a pretty good brew and almost comes across as an anti-Heineken. It could be a lot bolder though – it’s so mild that you almost wish it would take a stronger stand (this is no doubt because it’s a lager and not an ale). In that regard it may be a good dark beer for people who don’t tend to favor darks because they’re “too strong” (as most of the dark beers tend to be ales). It is quite drinkable though and is a fairly good complement to food. It’s worth a six pack and you’ll find yourself wanting to drink a couple.
Heineken Dark Rating: 5 out of 10 (?)
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