Bohemian Black Lager - Spoetzl Brewery / Shiner

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Bohemian Black LagerBohemian Black Lager

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506 Reviews
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Reviews: 506
Hads: 1,379
Avg: 3.44
pDev: 24.71%
Wants: 16
Gots: 175 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Spoetzl Brewery / Shiner visit their website
Texas, United States

Style | ABV
Schwarzbier |  4.90% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Todd on 09-02-2006

No notes at this time.
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Reviews: 506 | Hads: 1,379
Photo of lanechaffin
5/5  rDev +45.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pretty good stuff. Nice head, lots of wonderful roasted malt aroma. Very dark. To me it taste kind of like Guiness, kind of like Sam Adams BL w/o the piney citrus taste. I notice a chocolate/burnt coffee taste, but its all about the roasted malt. Jmho, this is the best beer Shiner makes.

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Photo of Moose44
4.85/5  rDev +41%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I drink this faithfully on a weekly basis. Love the extra darkness. And the chocolateyfrothy(new word?) head. My favorite is served in a 24 oz. frosted extra stout mug.
Always will be my go to beer.
I drink this with all sorts of grilled meats...especially boneless beef ribs.

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Photo of AnalogReigns
4.8/5  rDev +39.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Very nice appearance, with a decent foamy head, leaves a nice lace on the glass. Not quite as black as Koestritzer or Sam Adams Black Lager, but a very dark brown, which looks black unless you hold it up to the light.

S- Nice crisp dark malt smell--not as sweet and carmelly as SA's BL. Closer in aroma I think to Koestritzer, the classic German example.

T- I'm not a Shiner fan, but this beer is very tastey--extremely well ballanced, and closer, in my opinion to German schwarz than SA's BL. Has a nice crisp bite, from the hops,but smooth, without any bitterness from the black malt. This too fits the "black pilsner" category--you would not know for sure it was black if you were blindfolded. More interesting, in my opinion, than other lager styles--due to its darkness--but tastes nothing like a stout or porter, which it resembles. This really is a great example of Schwarzbier--the best bottled American one I have had.

M- Has a lighter beer feel, much like a Helles or even a Pils--which is strikingly according to style. If one is expecting a stout it may taste thinned out--but that is what it is supposed to be-a light, smooth, but intensely dark beer.

D- Again, like German lagers typically are, this is a very drinkable, "session" type beer, which you could have several, and not feel the worse for it. The ABV is not listed on the bottle, but it can't be much over (or under) 4.5% by the way it tastes. This really is a great style, well captured here, for those who won't be fooled by it's color. Don't expect a porter or stout--think while you drink German or Czech!

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Photo of Nature777
4.75/5  rDev +38.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

It's as dark as motor oil but smoother than a baby's ass! This is an excellent brew that I'd rarely pass up. When I first started drinking beers that went beyond "Generic Light" and "Generic Ice," this was one of my first dark beers. While I was still acquiring a taste for beers that weren't American Light Lagers, this one blew me away. A few years later, this is still at the top of my list.

A- I've been pouring these into common pint glasses. The beer is a beautifully deep black with reddish-mahogany highlights, visible if you hold it up to a light. I also has a dark head.

S- There's a decent sent of roasted malts here. I got some coffee as well.

T- The taste of this beer is astonishing. Despite it's dark color, it is exceptionally light. The coffee and chocolate flavors hit you very quickly up front. I didn't find this very hoppy. But perhaps my addiction to Imperial IPAs sways my judgement here. The malts really come through in the rear.

M- Easily one of the most drinkable beers I have ever had. Again, despite being so dark, it is very light. It's a great beer to give people who think that all dark beers taste the same and are heavy. It'll teach them a thing about real beers. It does not fill you up and with the low alcohol content, you can easily drink several of these without having a problem. I also found this to be minimally carbonated. I've had several lambics recently which were much more heavily carbonated.

This is an overall spectacular brew. I rank it amongst my favorites. It is the lightest of the beers I regularly drink. I tend to lean towards Stone Double Bastard and Dogfish Head 90 Minute IIPA. When I want something refreshing and easy to drink, this is my beer of choice.

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Photo of ElCommodoro
4.62/5  rDev +34.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque brown-black. It smells sweet, of dried fruit and of delicious barley malt. It smells a lot better than I remember. This used to be my favourite beer when I first started drinking beer.
I was really surprised at how good this beer was. I figured I'd come a long way in my taste for beer since the early days of drinking this stuff all the time, but this is really a damn good beer for the money. The sweet dried fruit flavours are perfectly balanced by the bitter roasted malt character and just enough hops. The light body is a nice touch too. I'm not sure what I think about the level of carbonation. Seems like it might be a bit high, but it doesn't really bother me. This is an excellent brew that I will be sure to buy again. I guess my first instincts as a beer drinker were right. This really is one of the best beers in its price range.

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Photo of Estescj2002
4.59/5  rDev +33.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Ok I'm Sorry but this is be best black lager I have ever drank in the U.S. I have been to 21 countries and have tasted a lot of beer. But without a doubt this beer is smooth and satisfying; it taste just like a few beers in Ireland I had!!! I live in Madison, Alabama and we can not buy it around here, I have to drive north for about two hours to get it and its worth the trip!!! I wish I could find it closer!! I guess why I like it do much is because it reminds me of a true taste outside the U.S.

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Photo of belgiumbud
4.53/5  rDev +31.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The first American made swartzbier I have tried...

I have been looking forward to seeing Spoetzl Brewery venture outside of their comfort zone for a while now...Very excited about trying this beer

Pours into a pint glass nicely with a pearl white head about inch high
Not much aroma...smell espresso and caramelized sugar

Very dark brown to black color

The taste was amazing...Espresso, Chocolate and Caramel round out the flavor of this beer...but smooth the entire time

Incredibly enjoyable to drink...amazing flavor...Would of enjoyed this at room temperature poured over some vanilla bean ice cream...

Would like to enjoy this on tap

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Photo of EnojysAnyBeer
4.46/5  rDev +29.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hot damn I love this beer in so many ways. Perfectly balanced with malts on the tongue and hops in the mouth.

A- Pours a dark maple brown and settles in the glass opaque with a light caramel head and garnet-red transparency on the edges.

S- Smell is the only con in this beer. Kinda funky with no hops on the nose and only a hard-to-notice caramel malt note.

T- The perfect flavor in my opinion. While going over the tongue a coarse hop feeling balances with silky dark malts working their way into your palate. When you wash it down your throat a spicy sting of Noble hops fills the mouth and leaves you wanting more.

M- Feels excellent with a light-medium body that carries a surprising amount of flavor.

D- Drinks amazingly well for a dark beer

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Photo of steveh
4.39/5  rDev +27.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Hadn't tried this, but Spoetzl continues to surprise me with their specialty brews and I had a taste for something dark and smooth.

Since Spoetzl is calling this a "Bohemian" Black Lager, I thought I'd review with a lean more toward Ron Pattinson's description of a Bohemian rather than just following the Schwarzbier definition.

From Ron:
11-12º dark - Tmavý Ležák (Lagerbier). 4.5-5% ABV. Vary quite widely in flavour from very sweet beers similar to Austrian Doppelmalz to dry, roasty beers more akin to a Schwarzbier. Mostly only have a quite subdued hop character.

A -- Deep, dark black -- but clear enough to see vague ruby highlights. Tan head that settles rather quickly, but revives well.

S -- Smooth, roasted malts -- coffee-like in character. Some mild breadiness sneaking through - also some vague DMS with warming.

T -- Roasted character up front with some vague graininess. Roasted characters blend into a lightly sweet breadiness that quickly gives way to a bitter finish. Aftertaste is a good blend of roasted malts and mildly sweet bread crust.

M -- Mouthfeel is smooth with a light-medium body. Maybe the lightest astringency from the roasted malts. Finishes dry.

O -- Not a Munich Dunkel by any means, but a smooth beer with roasted character. This is a great textbook of style in the Schwarzbier category -- whether German or Bohemian. Big flavor at 4.9% Spoetzl surprises yet again.

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Photo of Odelay3126
4.36/5  rDev +26.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Extremely smooth and easy to drink. Beautiful black color poured out of a very bottle. Perfect for the beer drinker who wants to endugle in a black lager with a nice amount of malt with no bitter aftertaste. A little thin and the aroma could be a bit richer.

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Photo of whoneeds8
4.35/5  rDev +26.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a very good Black Lager. I never tried their 97 version from 2006, so I can't compare it to that beer.

The beer pours out to a good black color with a tan head. Not too carbonated. Has a very complex taste. Carmel and what chared malt taste. After taste is a little sweet. Very good beer.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.35/5  rDev +26.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

I saw this on the shelf while visiting a DC liquor store over the weekend and thought that it might be a pleasant diversion from the CANQuest.

From the bottle: From the bottle: "This rare and deliscious style of beer is referred to in Germany as a Schwartzbier" or black beer."; "This handcrafted Bohemian black beauty is brewed with select roasted malts and imported hops."; "Every drop of Shiner is brewed in Shiner"; "Don't be Afraid of the Dark"; "Here in Shiner, Texas (pop. 2,070), we've been handcrafting beer since 1909. The passion of our original brewmaster, Kosmos Spoetzl, continues to inspire our efforts today. First brewed to commemorate our 97th anniversary, this Bohemian Black Lager remains true to the old-world heritage of the German and Czech immigrants who settled Shiner. Imported Czech Saaz and Syrian hops, and select roasted malts make this "Schwartzbier" our darkest brew yet. Prosit!"

The pour created two fingers' worth of light-brown/deep-tan head that quickly fell like Wile E. Coyote going over a cliff while holding an Acme Co. anvil. The label read: "Don't be Afraid of the Dark" and while I am not a shrinking violet, this beer might be scary to the uninitiated. They may have called it "Black" but it was really a deep, dark brown with beautiful ruby highlights. The nose was chocolaty with dried dark fruit, like raisins. I thought of a Cadbury Fruit & Nut bar, initially. Wow! Mouthfeel was a bit thin with only the CO2 giving it any real body. Nuts! Still, the taste was very pleasant - slightly chocolaty, slightly smoky, just right after a long workday. The finish was again chocolate with a light smokiness. The ABV made it a welcome addition to my day and I would definitely have it more often.

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Photo of jayrod20
4.35/5  rDev +26.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a fantastic beer. Nice dark flavor with a crisp after touch, but almost too drinkable. This beer, even though as dark as it is can be enjoyed by the appreciative and those who don't enjoy good beers. Very smooth across the entire gulp...six pack...or more.

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Photo of generallee
4.33/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a Pilsener glass. The label has a brief description of the beer but no ABV or freshness date.

Appearance: Its body has a dark almost black color with deep crimson highlights. On top sits a tall creamy light tan head which is long lasting and keeps a small covering to the last sip. Along the way down the glass it makes nice lacing.

Smell: It has a dark roasted and toasted maltiness as well as some sweet candy like notes as well.

Taste/Palate: The flavor is right on with a nice mix of dark roasted maltiness and hop bitterness. There are notes of dark or burnt toast, dark roasted coffee with an underlined sweetness like dark caramel and a slight hint of cherry chough drop. Hops are light but do offer some mellow bitterness. The finish is a little roasty with pleasant bitterness. Its palate feels smooth and mildly carbonated.

Notes: This is a solid example of the style. It's dark and tasty yet supper easy to drink.

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Photo of TCMike
4.33/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a glass it produced a 1 finger, creamy head. The beer color is a very dark brown.

The aroma was of roasted malts, and bread.

The taste was similar but with a hint of chocolate, lager yeast taste, and a slight hop bitterness on the end, ( which quickly faded). Medium mouth-feel, a low-medium carbonation.

This is a very good, and easy drinking beer. Got as part of the family pack. I need to find a store that sells it in it's own packaging, because I want more.

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Photo of Higravity
4.33/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I really like this beer. A really nice dark color and cream tan head that gives some lacing. The smell is of a clean larger with a slight tilt of roast. Really gave a strong first impression with a nice subtle roast malt flavor follwed by a clean and almost crisp finish. Great med-light body that lends itself to a full night of drinking. This should be added to Shiner permenant rotation unlike the less than spectacular marzen from last year.

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Photo of JudgeRoughneck
4.32/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

One finger of dark head sits on this dark, molasses colored beer. It leaves a fractured lace and pushes up aromas of fruity hops, light roasted chocolate, and molasses. Shiner 97 has a killer schwarz taste. Light berry notes play over dark but smooth malt base. Very light chocolate and molasses tones with no roasted or otherwise harsh flavors at all. Very simple and delicious. Mouthfeel is smooth and full-bodied with minimal carbonation. Shiner is 2 for 2 with these special releases.

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Photo of scruffwhor
4.3/5  rDev +25%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep brwon with some even deeper ruby highlights. A nice one and a half finger tan head, but light bubbling. Very light creamy and heavy toasty, roasty aroma. The taste has a lot of dark polish rye bread. with some very light creamy butter. Very smooth and dark palate, yet light and easy. Great beer.

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Photo of SudsMcReilly
4.3/5  rDev +25%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I really liked this beer. It has a very roasted malt start and a really nice smooth smokey finish. I poured this into a pilsner glass and got a good 1 inch almond colored thick head. I could easily drink multiple bottles of this "American Schwartzbier"

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Photo of mistascott007
4.27/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Looks like red wine when held directly up to the light. Otherwise hard to see light through it. Creamy head that sticks around for awhile but eventually dissipates with plenty of bubbles.

Smell: Caramel and chocolate aroma. Very pleasant. Roasted sweet malt.

Taste: Soothing maltiness. Mild carbonation. Slides down the throat nicely. Chocolate hints with caramel tones. Delicious. Pleasant aftertaste. Can be a bit watery at times (toward the end).

Mouthfeel: Smooth. Doesn't get old until the last few sips. Doesn't bite.

Drinkability: Excellent. I could drink this beer for hours by itself or with food. For a beer this heavy and dark, it is surprisingly refreshing on a summer day.

Overall: The best Shiner I have had to date. This beer outshines The Commemorator. It should have been their 100th Anniversary beer.

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Photo of tobymugg
4.26/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Not quite "black" but close. Looks great.

S- Roast malt, chocolate, caramel, ferment.

T- Mild roasted malt and chocolate, smoke? Cool tasty gentle aftertaste. Complex and entertaining. Good with a padron.

M- Thin, doppelbock-ish.

D- Better than you would expect, but not a beer to pound, poundable though it may be.

Very manly bottle, black with a black label, no colours or label turning blue when its cold or anything else effeminate. Texan and proud to drink it.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of Scrapss
4.25/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I can't believe that a dark beer is this simple and drinkable. Not over carbonated, but has a lighter head and super dark looks. Roasted notes on smell and taste, there's some hops under there too. Taste is one of the smoothest dark beers ever. drinkabiliity is "session level", it's a great beer overall.

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Photo of hiikeeba
4.23/5  rDev +23%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours up black with a thin off-white head. The aroma is very subdued roast smell.

The taste is wonderful. Some malt sweetness at the beginning, and finishes with roasted malts on the back of the tongue. Its a full-bodied beer and sessionable. The roasted malt taste doesn't overpower.

This was my favorite specialty brew Shiner so far. Easily outshines the Amber, and is well ahead of the 96 Marzen. I think this replaced Shiner Bock as My Beer.

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Photo of willyumlong
4.22/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

well i first tried this on tap at a local bar then had to move to bottles after they quit carrying it. big disappointment as it was amazing on tap but not so much out of the bottle.
love the label design on the black bottle
very dark with little head or lacing
tap had a berry hint which i liked but isnt present in the bottle.
tap taste was exceptionally smooth with a bit of a blueberry aftertaste, nicely carbonated, pretty much heaven in a bottle but now by the bottle it has no berry tones only malty with a hoppy bite.
great mouthfeel
used to love to drink it but it is still a nice beer by the bottle to sit down with
this beer is the reason i found this site and wanted to learn more about beer so i owe it a big thanks for that

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Photo of BeerSox
4.22/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into mug

Pours an almost opaque deep brown. Light ruby red edges at the bottom of the mug. A soft tan one inch head is formed, which slowly settles to a thin cap. Respectable lacing along the glass.

Creamy scents swirl around roasted malts. Hard to detect, but there also seems to be a fruity element in this.

Roasted malts are obvious, with the slightest bit of hop bitterness toward the end. Bits of creaminess. Slightly chalk-like finish.

Medium bodied with lighter carbonation. Very smooth finish.

This is a very well made beer by Shiner. It has the feel of a porter, but it's not quite as heavy. A very enjoyable beer.

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Bohemian Black Lager from Spoetzl Brewery / Shiner
79 out of 100 based on 506 ratings.