Having seen a variety of it on the shelves in recent times, I decided to conduct some further explorations into dark German beers, expecting to find the results heavy and sweet. That's not how it turned out, though, especially with my first find, Frankenheim Alt. "Old" is almost synonymous with "sweet" in my beer experience, so I was surprised to find this dark German bitingly bitter, sour even, with a rough smoky taste. A quality beer, but not a fun beer.
A much better proposition in this blogger's opinion is Köstritzer Schwarzbier. With the light behind it, this beer will just about admit to being deep red, but is mostly very black indeed. It has quite a gentle taste, with smoke and a hint of caramel. It's still pretty dry though, but in a good way.
Bringing us out into the sweetness and light is Distelhaus Landbier. This is a light tan "dunkle", with a chewy consistency and a sweet toffee flavour that's altogether more fun than the foregoing. Who says Germans can't be frivolous?