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Bohemian Black Lager - Spoetzl Brewery

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Bohemian Black LagerBohemian Black Lager

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1,333 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,333
Reviews: 508
rAvg: 3.44
pDev: 14.83%
Wants: 16
Gots: 128 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Spoetzl Brewery 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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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,333 | Reviews: 508
Photo of TMoney2591
3.83/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in an Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull shaker pint glass.

Ah, inexpensive bottles for my mixed-sixer. Love it. This one pours a lovely translucent garnet-brown topped by nearly a finger of off-white foam. The nose comprises light roasted malts, light coffee, cocoa powder, and a twinge o' flowers. The taste holds notes of cocoa, light roasted malts, thick and toasted caramel, and a swig o' roasty toffee. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a wet feel. Overall, a somewhat surprisingly nice schwarz, nothing too exciting but pretty tasty and highly drinkable nonetheless.

Photo of bastardface
4.07/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I really like the specialty beers that Shiner makes even though I'm not a big fan of the original Shiner Bock. I'm also accustomed to black lagers. Shiner Black is one of my favorites. I find myself drawn to it whenever I see that it is available. This was the first I had it out of a bottle. The appearance was tan to a black color. The smell of hops was strong. When tasting it you can taste a burnt flavor which is appetizing. It's easy to drink but be careful because more than a few will get you leaning. Strong but pleasant. I highly recommend this brew. For sure.

Photo of Thorpe429
3.5/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to jsh420 for this bottle. Reviewed from notes.

Pours a deep brown with a light head and not much retention or lacing. Nose is crisp roasted malt with some light caramel and chocolate. Taste is roast with coffee and chocolate and some light earthy hops. Fairly light win good carbonation. Just like others I have had from them, this drinks well but doesn't pack much flavor.

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"

Photo of deadbody
2.79/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours a dark black with a nice head, head recedes quickly leaving minimal lacing. Smells average, nothing great but not bad, a bit weak. Taste is not what I was expecting. Not much there, was expecting more of a stout feel and this is not it. Mouthfeel was very watery. Had the feel of a cheap lager not a richer dark beer. Drinkability average, not a bad beer, but not what I wanted/expected and not something I would seek out again. Wouldn't turn down another but wouldn't pay for it either.

Photo of StephenRich
3.4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

Black Lagers are an interesting breed, at least to me. Black beers by usual convention are heavy, robust, and largely flavorful beers. There are of course many exceptions to this generalization, but you know I mean. Black beers all seem to have a lush and creamy malt flavor that ranges from softly aromatic to robustly pungent - in either case all share a roast or fruity character. The Shiner Bohemian Black Lager is a bit of a different beast. Firstly, the Black Lager is a Lager rather than an Ale. This indicates that the beer has been fermented at colder temperatures, and with a yeast that plays a smaller role in the beers actual flavor; thus allowing the malts to speak for themselves.

Shiner, a Texas based brewery since 1909, has brewed the Black Lager staying as close to the Bohemian tradition as possible. They have imported Czech Saaz and Styrians hops, and used specific roasted malts to recreate a classic beer style that does not get a lot of public attention today. It was originally created as an anniversary beer in 1997, but after huge amounts of enthusiastic customer feedback Shiner decided to move it to regular production - and I'm glad they did!

These beers honestly should get more public attention. It is a great beer to introduce newcomers to the craft beer world with. Someone who is used to drinking flavorless, fizzy yellow beers may be to intimidated or overwhelmed by some of the bigger or more creative craft beers that exist - but the Bohemian Black Lager is filled with flavor, but is masterfully smooth and clean in flavor and mouthfeel. It is just 4.9% abv, and offers significantly more flavor for its alcohol that just about any commodity grade beer.

I opened the Black Lager up cool around 8C (45F) and poured it into a stemmed beer glass. It flowed cleanly from the bottle building a smooth and gentle beer that eventually lifted an airy and soft, pillowy almond and tan colored head. The beer was black at first sight, but when held into the light it reveals soft chocolate browns and dark burgundy hiding in the corners and edges of the beer. It shines clearly with a garnet black beam striking down the middle of the glass.

The nose is soft but aromatic. Clean and gentle scents of dark brown sugar, caramel and molasses open into your nose. Soon a subtle hint of roast, chocolate, and fresh malts glide in smoothly. Hops are very easy and only hint at a fresh and lightly crisp finish.

This beer right away shows its strength as a session beer. It is clean and smooth from start to finish and offers up well constructed flavors that are easy to enjoy and flow well over your palate. The first gulp reveals everything that the nose was hinting at. Soft and clean malts with hints of roast, caramel, molasses and a touch of chocolate. It is subtle at every end, but not weak.

Malt flavors in the beer are straight forward and don't really bring much complexity to the table. Brown sugar is a soft sweetness in the malt, which predominantly is a charred biscuit flavor hinting at roast. Herbal hops float by gently and really are very delicious. They are soft and elegant, and fit the beer's overall profile very well.

The mouthfeel is clean, but relatively simple. I don't want to say thin, but it is. It is only 4.9% abv, but it feels a bit better than that. The finish is clean with a smooth hop bitterness that lingers on grass and a fresh field. Nothing to rich here, just enough to balance the beer. So yes, it is very balanced, well constructed, and damn easy to drink. But it is not complex, offers no depth, and would bore me quickly.

This is a perfect beer however to add to the middle of a session of beer drinking, and as I mentioned, is a great start for a craft beer newbie. In any case, it is worth the try.

Pics at: http://definitionale.com/2010/10/14/tasting-the-shiner-bohemian-black-lager/

Photo of revolt914
3.87/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was the first beer that got me into drinking beer for the taste rather then for the effect. I picked this one up after trying a drink of my girlfriends Shiner Bock at a local restaurant. I must say when I first tasted this beer all I could think was wow this is a great beer. I see it's not one of the highest rated beers on the site but in personal taste and opinion this is one of my more favorite beers.

I'll go into details as to why I think the beer is so wonderful and deserves a good score in my book.

Appearance: I'd have to put the label and overall look of the bottle it comes in as very elegant and sleek looking, not bad to carry about in the bottle to get some attention at your local Budweiser party. The beer pours a cola color with a decent sized head but not a big head like a Sam Adams.

Smell: When I take a good long inhale of this beer when it's in a pilsner glass I get an aroma of burning wood/ash smell in a pleasant way. I really love the smell of this beer and I really think I'm bias towards this beer.

Taste: Delicious, it has such a unique flavor that I can't help but love it. When I let it sit on my tongue and have a slow exhale I get a taste of sweet but strong bitter hop that sits on my tongue during the exhale remind me of that ash smell and it is an amazing reminder.

Mouthfeel: A category I don't have enough knowledge to judge in a helpful way. I feel as though it's thicker than a usual beer but I realize the style of beer it's kind of thin. I've had the Samuel Adams Black Lager and it is much thicker in feel in my mouth than the Shiner Bohemian Black. I'll be settling in to the Schwartzbier/Black Beer style so hopefully I'll have more of an understanding soon.

Drinkability: I have no trouble putting a 6 pack down just sitting with my girlfriend watching a movie and playing some cards. Shiner Bohemian Black is a great drink that isn't to thick to sit heavy on your stomach and it's not so thin you're needing to run to the bathroom every 15 minutes. I love this beer for social events.

Photo of Landfill21
2.8/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Tried this boehemian lager and poured into my pint glass. Pours dark black with a finger head and disappears to barely noticeable head as you drink.

Smells nutty, some hints of caramel and trace of chocolate.

Has a smooth taste, can taste notes of chocolate, nuts and some fruit.

Mouthfeel is pretty full, pretty thick beer. Thus the drinkability is limited.

Overall a decent beer.

Photo of wesbrownyeah
3.95/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

"Shiner" Bohemian Black Lager. Brewed by Spoetzl Brewery Shiner Texas. 4.9% alcohol poured into a Pilsner glass.

A- Pours a almost opaque black fluid that produces a dull amber red hue when put up to the sunlight. nice off tan tan head foams up in almost a cola like fashion that slowly falls to a constant quarter inch head leaving some patchy lacing.

S- Smell is of rich chocolate malts and creamy coffee. Has a light scent of tangy hops in the citrus form... very vague.

T- An excellent mix of malts and hops. Upfrontr is a dark roast of burnt malts and barley. Second is a thin flavor of raw coffee grinds and cream. Mouthfeel is ultra smooth with a tongue pleasing carbonation that dances over the taste buds with ease.

D- One hell of a Schwarzbier that I would love to get alot of. Has beautiful drinkablity and a flavor that only makes you want more... cheers!

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.

Photo of Mora2000
3.41/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a black color with red highlights and a tan head. The aroma is roasted malt, but it is a little bit faint. I really expected more from the aroma. The flavor is much stronger. I get the expected roasted malt but I am also getting quite a bit of smoke. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

I have had this beer numerous times over the years and it has always been my favorite Shiner beer. I never remembered the smoke in the beer before, so I am not sure if I always just missed it or if this batch was smokier than others in the past.

Photo of briman
3.63/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours virtually black, but with deep ruby highlights when help up the light.

Aroma has caramel, light roast, and an earthy hop elements way in the back.

Flavor follows suit. Caramel, light roast, maybe a pinch of coffee grounds. Some graininess in the finish, but otherwise pretty clean.

Medium body, with moderate carbonation. Has a slight chewiness to it. Overall a pretty decent Schwarzbier. I wouldn't mind if the roast was kicked up a tad bit, or maybe an element of dark chocolate....just something to add a little more complexity. Very drinkable, and would certainly have again.

Photo of kellypodz
3.93/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Originally released as the limited edition Shiner 97 as part of the brewery's countdown to its 100th anniversary, the dark lager was reintroduced as a permanent part of Shiner's line-up only a short time later due to popular demand.

I love its hoppy undertones, creamy head, and roasted malts.

It's not as desirable as it's older brother, Shiner Bock. But it's wonderful occasionally, especially with spicy cuisine. Being darker than most beers, it may also be better appreciated in the not so hot months of the year. While not my usual my go-to beer, I still must buy a six-pack every once in a while.

You can read my full review on my blog:

Photo of indiapaleale
3.53/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Let the Spoetzl fest continue...

Pours a deep, dark brown to mahogany in color with a half inch of bubbly head.

Aroma reminds me of soggy cereal, brown bread, caramel and coffee grounds.

Flavor is rich, roasty and definitely a fair share of dark roasted malt. Lots of bready flavors mixed with dark roast coffee, burnt toast and brown sugar.

Decent brew. Spoetzl kind of confuses me. Are they going for utmost quality or do they just sort of wing. Some of their stuff reminds me of Saranac when it comes to quality.

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

Photo of albertjr21
3.7/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Black color with bright brown highlights under the reminiscent ring of a beige thin head.

S: A dark roasted malt nose with a mild sweet licorice note.

M/T: A crisp and bubbly carbonated upfront feel with a short lived malt center that leads to a palate scrubbing finish with traces of sour and roasted malt notes.

D: Something perhaps to best be enjoyed with a simply seasoned cut of beef.

Photo of mdwalsh
4.15/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Nice black body, big giant tan head. Maybe too big, but I poured pretty harsh and it's not lingering very long. At least not inappropriately long. Well, it's pretty much gone now. Pretty good lacing though. The beer is very dark brown, pretty much black but not perfectly.

S: Dry, grainy roast, nothing for hops. Not burnt or anything like that, just the smell of cooked and roasted grains. Not unpleasant, fairly typical for the style, but not the best presentation ever.

T: Much, much better than the nose. The taste is a mild roast, still some grainyness, but not a dry unpleasant taste, more like eating barley pilaf. The taste is not overpowering at all, and is very interesting, bordering on complex.

M: I really think they nailed the mouthfeel, light (but not watery) with a smooth texture, totally disconnected from the taste/appearance.

D: Very drinkable, something I won't be afraid to recommend or add to my personal rotation.

Photo of weller1js
3.48/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

appearance: pours a dark cherry-mohogany with light carbonation; tan foam dissipates leaving a slight lacing.

smell: toasted malty scent with slightly sweet undertones.

taste: toasted malts stand out throughout the beginning, transitioning to a slightly smokey undertone, yielding to a balanced malty and slight sweet hoppy finish; flavor is dark yet has some richer notes.

drinkability: for a darker bock-style, the toasted flavor is neither too intense nor too smoke-infused, the discernable presence of hops makes give it some mild complexity; definitely worth trying.

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.

Photo of Bfarr
2.51/5  rDev -27%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Clear black with red shining through in spots with a tan, thin frothy head with okay retention. Dirty lager aroma. A little molasses and earthy hops that are very muted. Nothing in the finish though I wouldn't call it clean, just nothing, except for a bit of a bad coating in the back of the throat. Medium thin carbonation.

Not much to this one. It was even kind of a chore to drink as all the flavors are quite muted. Nothing I would be looking for again but hey, it was cheap.

Photo of LacquerHead
3.48/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I first had this in a bottle at The Spot in Chicago. It was served very cold which masked the full characteristics of the beer. I had this again in TX and purchased it in a variety 6pck.

Poured this into a Sam Adams pint. The beer pours very dark with a slight translucence that allowed a dark cherry light to shine through. The head retention was not very good. It lasted about halfway down then settled to a very thin lace. Poured it at 50 degrees. It tasted best at temps in high 50's.

Smelled like cooked cherries. The taste was similar to the smell. It had a sort of plum/cherry taste upfront followed by a coffee bean background. This was like a lager invited an English Porter over to hang out. There was a more robust flavor at temps above 59. There was a slight metallic and over carbonated taste and texture.

Overall it was not a bad black lager. This is one of my more favorite brews from the Spoetzl Brewery. I would not mind having this one again and would easily choose it over the Bock. I thought it had a refreshing quality that seemed fitting for the TX heat.

Photo of Bung
3.38/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. Light black pour, brown all around the edges. Minimal off white head.

Aroma, that standard American lager scent. Faintest roast, dark choc. and herbal peat tones.

Taste is watery dark chocolate and peat. Light chocolate and peat. Herbal tones, finishes dry and crisp, but pretty meh.

Certainly on the lighter side, but for a hot night a good brew for a dark beer fan. Lively carbonation. Nothing offensive at all to not allow one to drink many.

Definetely a session black lager, although black lagers are sessionable to begin with. So maybe a good six pack available session lager.

Photo of MbpBugeye
3.3/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Pretty black yet clear with mahogany highlights as it sits in my New Glarus pilsner glass. A small tan head caps it through most of the glass.

S- Pretty hoppy, piny and citrusy over top a minor roasty smell. Touches of coffee and charcoal. Overall the smell is a bit weak.

T- Nice balance with the finish leaning towards bitter with a bite of hops and roasted malts.

M- A little too much on the carbonation perhaps. The body is fairly light and the finish is pretty clean.

Photo of WJVII
3.41/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass this has an aggressive head that was 3 fingers thick milk chocolate brown that left minimal lacing but settled to a nice 1 finger cap. The aroma is faint but some burnt caramel and coffee are present. The taste is of mild chocolate, some slight coffee and a little burnt caramel. Light carbonation and medium body. Not the best dark lager I have had but a decent brew.

Photo of ZAP
3.35/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A nice little Schwartzy I imagine would drink nicely at a summer gathering.

The aroma and flavor both include .some milk chocolate and some light java....really not much in the way of hops and I was hoping for a bit more from the Saaz hops.

Body is on the light side of medium.... clean...smooth but not quite rounded...gets a little watery after it warms

A nice drinker...nothing terribly complex but also nothing terribly wrong with this either....I'd recommend..

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Bohemian Black Lager from Spoetzl Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 1,333 ratings.