1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Bohemian Black Lager - Spoetzl Brewery

Not Rated.
Bohemian Black LagerBohemian Black Lager

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,142 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,142
Reviews: 482
rAvg: 3.44
pDev: 14.83%
Wants: 9
Gots: 54 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Spoetzl Brewery visit their website
Texas, United States

Style | ABV
Schwarzbier |  4.90% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Todd on 09-02-2006)
View: Beers (22) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,142 | Reviews: 482 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of msubulldog25


3.68/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle with a twist-off capped, poured to a pint glass. Thanks to LarryKemp for bringing this to Oregon back in late May and for 'spreading cheer with Shiner beer!'. As I understand it, this once-released beer (commemorating the brewery's 97th year) has been recently re-introduced under the 'Bohemian Black Lager' name.

A: Very dark, 'black' at first glance. Shows with some back-lighting to be a warm mahogany, clear with plenty of rising carbonation. Head starts as a massive, fizzy three fingers of light tan. Drops quickly to a bubbling, pockmarked cap that looks something like a pancake. Not long after, head is almost gone entirely, save for one of two patches of film fed from below. No lace.

S: Sweet and malty, a sensible charred huskiness. Has an oatmeal-like graininess and a faint mineral-like yeastiness.

T: Tastes like dark bread crusts and toasted nuts (pecans, maybe?). A pleasing sugariness, with notes of candied fruit, and a mild tartness mixed with darker grain husks. Finishes with a lingering sweet spice and toasty bittering.

M: Without a "best before"-type date on it, it's tough to know how old this bottle is - suffice to say the carbonation isn't doing much. Sorta flat and thin in the mouth, light feel overall

D: Low, sessionable ABV and satisfying flavor...past experience tells me this would pair nicely with grilled meat. Certainly I want to try this again; Schwarzbier is a style both my wife and I have grown into and this seems like a good one - just want to try it in the freshest state possible. Looking forward to more coming this way from Texas sometime soon.

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2008 04:39:21 | More by msubulldog25
Photo of unionturf

North Carolina

1.5/5  rDev -56.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Picked up a sixer and looked forward to another fine brew from Shiner. This beer poured dark with little head and minimal lacing. Smell was good but but had something I could not put my finger on. Taste was not good at all for me, had a after taste like someone soaked a dirty sock in it or something, had a hard time finishing the glass.

In case my taste buds were having a bad night I tried another a few nights later, no better. I ended up pouring the rest of the bottle down the drain and giving the rest to a friend.

Never could put my finger on what the taste was and maybe I had a bad batch but no thanks on this one.

Serving type: bottle

06-27-2008 09:03:04 | More by unionturf
Photo of ckeegan04


3.43/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Very dark, almost blac beer. Lightens to a dark dark brown around the edges.

S - Faint aroma of coffee. Spicy hops bring it to life some.

T - Tastes alot like a watered down English porter. Roasted coffee taste dominates with a weak spicy hop kick. A little bit of a funky aftertaste. Not a bad beer at all, just not great.

M/D - Strong taste but light to medium bodied. Feels a little thin in the mouth. Well carbonated. A drinkable brew, but nothing spectacular.

Serving type: bottle

06-27-2008 02:10:20 | More by ckeegan04
Photo of GPHarris


3.68/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

black label

a - poured a two-fingers thick bubbly tan head into a tumbler. the head left a light ring throughout but no sheeting. the body was dark brown, almost exactly the color of cola.
s - i can smell strong roasted coffee malts from a distance along w/ hints of vanilla.
t - crisp hop bite but bitter coffee and sweet malts dominate the beer.
m - very thin.
d - decent beer but not something i'd seek out.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2008 14:03:51 | More by GPHarris
Photo of atigerlife


2.63/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a dark brown with light brown highlights. Small creamy head that dissipates rather quickly.

Aroma has some roasted malts and grains. Has some old wood/vegetable aroma that isn't very pleasant.

Taste of malts and some lightly smoked wood. Really, not much taste.

Mouthfeel was medium bodied, cleansing and slightly sticky.

Overall, not too exciting. Easty to drink, but I wouldn't go looking for another one of these.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2008 04:37:02 | More by atigerlife
Photo of malty


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

My bottle has a cool black, pewter & gray neck & body label. The neck label has 'SHINER 97' front and center. I'm guessing this beer has been reintroduced to the Shiner lineup?

Pours a cherry cola/mohagony colored body with a fluffy cream-colored head that starts at 2" and dwindles to 1'2".

Fresh doughy bread notes whaff from the head while burrowing my nose closer into the glass uncovers roasted malt with an interesting mineral twinge bordering on (maybe?) metallic...maybe its the lager yeast they use? It's not a negative by any means, just very interesting and unique.

The flavors of this black lager start out a little leathery then unfold to a nice roastiness which is very representative of the style. A slight hint of cocoa rounds the crisp edges of this offering. The flavors are very balanced and distinguishable.

Mouthfeel is a little more toward the light-medium side and is very aptly carbonated, fine carbonation I might add. A dry ending to a mellow but flavorful finish.

Drinkability is high. I just got back from my softball game and this 12 oz. bottle was finished in 6-7 minutes. A great black lager for vets and newbs alike.

I have to admit my expectations were exceeded with this finely crafted black lager. I'm a big Kostritzer fan and this little number didn't let me down in the least. Nice texture, mellow and balanced 'dark' flavors in the body of a crisp & refreshing lager. I'm impressed!

Serving type: bottle

06-23-2008 02:23:28 | More by malty
Photo of drxandy


3.58/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz to standard pint, pours a deep brown, hints of red, off white head fades fast

smells of spicy hops, smooth/slightly floral, malts abund

taste starts out with hop spice/bitterness followed by chocolate malts, roastiness, smooth overall, extremely drinkable, the best shiner offering i've tasted out of the 3 that came to the michigan market

mouthfeel is crisp, hop bitter, smooth malt, carbonation brings out hop bitterness - nice, i would drink again

Serving type: bottle

06-18-2008 18:36:57 | More by drxandy
Photo of FrognutUnl


1.93/5  rDev -43.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Alright, new beer at my local store...

Pours dark cola colored with a three finger head that leaves virtually no lacing.

Smells of sour dough. not very good first impression.

Taste is of roasted malts with notes of sour harshness that does not suit any beer.

Mouthfeel is thin, very thin.

Ultimately this beer seriously lacks in flavor and what little it does have does not make me want to fish it out of the drain. This is a big disappointment for me, which is a pity as I usually love the style.

Serving type: bottle

06-18-2008 02:50:30 | More by FrognutUnl
Photo of tempest


3.65/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a single while in Fayettecille, AR.

I liked and enjoyed this beer despite the fact it wasn't terribly complexin the malt flavors. Basically there's a really nice roasted malt flavor that provides expresso and dried cocoa flavors. The yeast add a touch of fruitiness and there's also a nice balance of sweet malt sugar with the bitter roasted grains. Worth a try, pretty drinkable and overall a tasty brew.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2008 01:43:47 | More by tempest
Photo of joe1510


3.43/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz Bottle

Received this as an extra in a recent trade with TPoling, thanks again Travis! Shiner's schwarzbier pours the darkest of browns bordering on black with a healthy cascading mocha head of two fingers. Unfortunately the head fades to almost nothing within only a few seconds, as a matter of fact there is now zero head on this beer.

The aroma is that of gently roasted malts. A touch of vanilla sneaks in here and there with a spattering of dark berries, straight forward aroma but one that I enjoy. As it warms a hint of alcohol comes through and actually helps add another layer of complexity.

This is a solid black bier. Roastiness rides through from start to finish and is accompanied with the random flavors the nose suggested. Berries here and there along with a hint of vanilla. There is a solid coffee presence from the roasting that makes this beer enjoyable.

The carbonation on this beer is lacking which causes the body to seem even lighter then what it should be. Thin body with no movement.

I could see myself drinking a couple of these in a sitting but that would be plenty. There's just not enough to hold my attention for very long.

A decent beer from Spoetzl but one that I would probably pass by if available around my area. I do love a good schwarzbier but this falls a little flat.

Serving type: bottle

06-07-2008 00:05:16 | More by joe1510
Photo of sleeven

New Mexico

2.08/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I'm not an experienced reviewer, but after drinking this, I had to tell someone how bad it was.

Poured into a pilsner glass, which fizzed like cola and quickly dissipated. Slightly malty mouthfeel. Tastes like a soda that has been sitting open in the fridge for a while. I cannot discern how this beer manages to accomplish both an over-carbonated yet at the same time very flat drinking experience, but it does just that.

It says this beer is no longer brewed... but I just bought it, partly because I had never seen it before. The label is all black, seeming updated from the pictured version. I thought it might be a different recipe entirely from the one pictured, as it only says "Shiner Bohemian Black Lager" on the main label, but a closer look on the neck label reads "shiner 97." They first made it to commemorate their 97th anniversary, but it seems that they are making it again.

I really like Shiner Bock, Shiner's most popular beer, and it is often a go-to at bars, as it is usually the same price as Michelob Amber Bock but tastes better. I also enjoy their Hefeweisen and Dunkelweisen, even the blonde isn't bad. But this? All I can ask is, "What the hell, Shiner?"

*I upped my original ratings, as I did end up finishing the six pack (over time) but mainly because maybe this just isn't my style of brew... maybe my palette just doesn't agree with this style... so, benefit of the doubt goes to Shiner's black lager.

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2008 01:44:50 | More by sleeven
Photo of nem2006


2.9/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I poured the beer into a nonic glass. The color was a very dark brown, not quite black. There was very little head and what head there was, actually dissipated quickly.

The smell was difficult to place at first, but after a little consultation, it was clear as day. Wet dog. I don't know if this was a bad batch or something happened to the bottle or what, but the smell was overpowering once I figured it out.

And oddly enough, the taste was actually a little distinct from the smell. There was a slight coffee hint with the roasted malts and a little sweet, then a bitterness to finish it off from the hops. The bitterness was actually pretty well balanced. I would definitely be more jazzed about the beer if the smell had not ruined it for me.

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2008 01:01:17 | More by nem2006
Photo of zeff80


3.85/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a dark brown color with hints of ruby. It had a two-finger, tan head that was fairly bubbly and left behind some lace.

S - It smelled of malt and a mossy/earthy quality.

T - The first sip had a coffee-like taste with a malty kick. It was rather bittersweet.

M - It was soft and smooth. A light to medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a pretty good brew. The coffee taste is unique.

Serving type: bottle

05-28-2008 12:27:13 | More by zeff80
Photo of gford217


3.58/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle courtesy of mhewes poured into a snifter.

A: Pours deep brown, almost black, with ruby edges when held up to the light. Head is small and dense and dissipates to a few bubbles with almost no lacing.

S: Main aroma is of sweet malts with a little bit of coffee thrown in. Not a lot standing out in the smell.

T: Light malt taste up front with a bit of dark fruits and coffee in the middle. Hops are present in a crisp finish.

M: Mouthfeel is light and crisp with a bit of a carbonation twinge on the tongue.

D: This may not be the best or most complex dark lager I've had, but it is very drinkable. I'd actually buy this again.

Serving type: bottle

05-14-2008 02:35:43 | More by gford217
Photo of everetends


3.18/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this as a sixer from Grub Mart here in Jacksoville. Poured into a pint tumbler.

A: Poured a black with ruby coming through when held to the light. Does let a lot of light through.

S: Not much going on here. Kinda smells a bit of roasted malt and coffee, but this smell is super faint.

T: Once again it has flavors of malt and coffee, maybe a touch of nuts and cream. This tastes like a thin Guinness without any aftertaste. I mean zero aftertaste.

M: Has a medium carbonation but this beer is pretty thin/watery. Not very creamy or heavy.

D: Very drinkable because it is so light. Has a bit of heavy taste but nothing dynamic or complex.

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2008 23:23:29 | More by everetends
Photo of Mdog


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

Appearance: Black with red highlights when held to light, fast fading head.

Smell: Toast.

Taste: Roasted malt and some slight coffee bitterness.

Drinkability: Relatively light, could have a few in a sitting.

Another beer brought back from Omaha. Not quite up to the Sprecher schwarz's level but not too bad. Worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2008 22:51:20 | More by Mdog
Photo of BigRedN


3.8/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Poured from the 12 oz bottle into a pilsner glass. The beer is black in colr, as expected. My somewhat soft pour produces a good brownish head, just over an inch. Head fades to a near cover on the liquid and leaves some good lace.

Smell: The aroma is malt-centric. Lightly roasted malts, nothing in the way of hops.

Taste: Following the scent the beer has lightly roasted malts. Very slight bitter finish, but one needs not worry, there is nothing really too bitter here.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a natural feel to the caronation, it doesn't seem forced. Smooth going down with a crisp clean finish.

Drinkability: An very good beer IMO. Good enough taste to not be boring or wear you out. I think this is sessionable. This will find its way into my fridge again.

Serving type: bottle

05-10-2008 04:35:11 | More by BigRedN
Photo of Redrover


3.55/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I had this one a bunch during my recent visit to San Antonio. From a 12 oz bottle poured into a standard pint, the beer is dark brown with garnet highlights. There is a skim of beige foam.

The aroma of slightly charred malts and some alcohol.

Lightly roasted malts a bit of ripe plum and a slight solvent taste. Taste improves as it warms and the smoky malts become more prominent.

The mouth is a trifle thin, but this is a easy drinking hot weather type of black lager.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2008 18:33:41 | More by Redrover
Photo of jayrod20


4.38/5  rDev +27.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-06-2008 03:40:21 | More by jayrod20
Photo of dedrinker


3.6/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Darkest brown - more like a German dunkel in color than a schwartzbier. Mild aromas of roasted malts, caramel, and coffee. Once again, it tasted more like a dunkel - a dunkel with more roast to it. Medium body glides around the mouth with ease, leaving a little caramel but mostly dry finish. This is a Shiner I can finally stand behind without hesitation.

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2008 15:11:34 | More by dedrinker
Photo of bilyboy65


4/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pilsner glass. Don't see a BBD on the bottle.

A: It's black to its name and pours a 1 finger thick tan head that lasts forever. The head leaves a light lacing that fades quickly, but there is a fairly heavy film left on the glass. A good amount of carbonation can be seen around the outside of the glass.

S: Smell is almost perfect for a dark lager. Nothing fancy or complicated about it. Almost a pure dark roasted malt scent with a hint of a chocolate coffee following.

T: Taste is fairly bitter throughout. The dark malts are very dominant, but there is a coffee after taste that finishes this beer up very nicely.

M: Dry light bodied beer. Not a lot of carbonation to be had on the tongue.

D: A little to bitter to be a very drinkable beer. Other than that there is nothing stopping me from having a few in one sitting.

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2008 03:19:09 | More by bilyboy65
Photo of ffejherb


3.08/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle into shaker pint glass

A - Very dark brown body with deep garnet highlights and sparse tan head that receded into a wispy film.

S - Slight aroma of roasted malts and earthy hops. Perhaps a bit of dark fruit in the mix as well, but overall the nose is pretty weak.

T - Taste is largely roasted malts with a bit of chocolate in the back to sweeten the pot just a little. There's also an earthy hop bitterness that spices things up a bit. Not too exciting overall.

M - Medium body with a pretty thin, watery texture and very lively carbonation, resulting in a tingling sensation all throughout the mouth. Slightly dry, metallic finish overall with some mild bitterness.

D - Eh? Not bad, but not a whole lot of flavor or aroma in this brew. Also, I feel that it is way too carbonated. It's not hard to drink by any means, it's just not all that exciting.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2008 22:23:05 | More by ffejherb
Photo of tugdriver7


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

What a pleasant surprise. Saw this at the store today. A fan of the style, I noted the great "black on black" packaging and decided to give it a try. Definitely not on par with the Sam Adams Black or Saranac Black Forest, but a tasty, drinkable option for us Schwarzbier fans. Very dark (cola-black) in the glass, nice foamy head that left quickly. Rich, roasted malt in the nose and in the initial taste. Refreshingly light body. Not bad.

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2008 02:44:25 | More by tugdriver7
Photo of BeaBeerWife


4/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Texas aint no nuffin about Ales, but Shiner sure knows its Lagers. This brewery does a lot of creative things with Lagers, and they need to keep it up. Back from retirement, and a new label design, Shiner 97... all the things you despise in a lager, plus all the things you love in an ale. Certainly worth trying. They got this one right.

Serving type: bottle

04-26-2008 21:33:08 | More by BeaBeerWife
Photo of BuckeyeNation


3.25/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Dark cola brown with generous scarlet and gold highlights. The beer looks opaque, but then it's an overcast early morning outside my front window. Unfortunately, the head drags the appearance score down with it. The styrofoam-like foam is soft and airy and fizzy and completely unsticky.

The nose delivers a dark caramel and molasses vibe reminiscent of dark Karo syrup. Looks like the flavor has some work to do. Note: warming opens things up just enough to earn a bump in score.

Bohemian Black Lager is just an okay schwarzbier. Spoetzl Brewery, for the most part, hasn't impressed me yet. Like the vast majority of their offerings, it's too light and too simple. Yeah, it's probably inexpensive, but so what? Quality has always been more important than quantity for true Beer Advocates.

It tastes like a Euro dark lager that's a little bit darker than usual. There is something here that's worthwhile, but there isn't enough of it. The flavors include the same dark caramel and molasses of the aroma, as well as an undercurrent of black licorice. The Czech Saaz and Styrian Goldings hops provide a balancing amount of bitterness and no real flavor.

The mouthfeel is BBL's Achilles' heal. A lack of malt results in a disturbing thinness, even when taking style into consideration. In addition, the bubbles are too big and soda-like, which leads to an initial harshness, followed by a flat feel as the carbonation fades too quickly.

The black and silver label is great and is exactly how the label on a schwarzbier (black beer) should look. Too bad the contents of the bottle aren't quite up to snuff. I would have no trouble drinking Bohemian Black Lager in a pinch, but it isn't a beer that I'll buy again.

Serving type: bottle

04-25-2008 12:16:14 | More by BuckeyeNation
Bohemian Black Lager from Spoetzl Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 1,142 ratings.