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Bohemian Black Lager - Spoetzl Brewery

Not Rated.
Bohemian Black LagerBohemian Black Lager

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,215 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,215
Reviews: 486
rAvg: 3.44
pDev: 15.12%
Wants: 12
Gots: 68 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,215 | Reviews: 486 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Murchmac
3.18/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer pours a nice black with a thick foamy head that quickly disappears.

Smells like a cactus in the rain. Not much of a smell at all. Cut grass and deficit spending.

Has a nice burnt malt hoppy taste to it. Good sipping beer, exactly would you would expect, pleasant, but not overwhelming. Not like seeing a giant F-350 from arizona with a dallas cowboys star on the back window.

If you like black beers, purchase a couple. Not a big mouthfeel at all.

Murchmac, Jan 12, 2008
Photo of skittlebrau
3.88/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lately this beer is all over in Houston. I just picked up a six pack and I have already burned through it, which is much faster than I usually do.

A: As promised, the beer is black. The top is covered with a respectable head of tan bubbles. I find I can get a pretty serious head on it if I pour a little harder.

S: Not much to smell, especially compared to what else I've been drinking lately.

T: Tastes pretty good. It's actually a little more complex than other schwarzbiers I've had. I might even call it...chocolatey? Not much on the hops but it's definitely got a roasted malt character. The wierdest thing is, there's still a hint of flavor to it that reminds me of Shiner Bock. If you're from Texas you'll know what I'm talking about. Maybe it's the yeast they are using.

M: Again much more substantial than other schwarzbiers I've had. There's some graininess to the malt.

D: Drinkability is very high. So far I haven't been able to drink just one at a time.

As a side note, I cooked with this beer last night and it turned out pretty good. I used it in a sauce that usually calls for Shiner Bock, but I think it turned out better with this beer.

skittlebrau, Jan 09, 2008
Photo of rowew
3.33/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: This has been repackaged and released again - it appears to be a part of their normal lineup now. Label looks great - old school design with black and silver, but there is no date information on it.

Appearance: Pours as advertised - black, with just a thin head.

Smell: Slightly sweet malt, no roasted aromas though. There is just a bit of diacetyl in there that takes away from it.

Taste: The butterscotch comes through in the flavor too, unfortunately. Medium to light in body, leaves a dry finish. A bit of caramel and malt sweetness.

Overall impression: Not bad - drinkable, but not nearly my favorite example of the style.

rowew, Dec 29, 2007
Photo of NeroFiddled
3.85/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this beer at a backyard barbeque so I have to admit to some lack of care in this review. On the other hand, what I can say is that it fit in nicely, sitting in the shade during a warm summer day with a wide variety of foods and good company.

That said, I was initially impressed by the massive head, and the retention that followed. Typical black body and dark cream/light tan head.

The nose expressed deeply caramelish and dark roasted malts with a hint of espresso and some burnt sugar and sticky dark fruit character.

In the mouth it was medium-light, and fairly bubbly - not exactly what I'd expect of a schwarzbier - but at the same time not off by too much.

The flavor delivers darkly caramelish maltiness wrapped around a bit of roasty bittersweet chocolate. It's moderately bitter, and dry in the finish with a flicker of dark malt acidity. Hops are relegated to far, far background status.

Overall, it's a fairly well-balanced and rounded dark lager that's got more flavor than the usual. Enjoyable and drinkable.

NeroFiddled, Dec 25, 2007
Photo of jasonjlewis
2.95/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a decent head that fades way too quickly. Has a dark brown color.

Smell is of faint faint faint malts. I detect little roasted character at all and little chocolate malt. What happened to the smell?

Taste is pretty lackluster. The malts are sweet with the chocolate, but the roasted characteristic is really masked. This beer is easy to drink, but it lacks on any real complexity and is pretty uninteresting.

Not a bad mouthfeel. A little dry and a little too carbonated.

Easy to drink, but very uninteresting.

jasonjlewis, Dec 25, 2007
Photo of jeffmonarch
3.48/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle in a pint glass.

A - Dark rich brown color with a descent amount of head that disappears quickly.

S - Some malt and chocolate scents.

T - Roasted malt flavor. Hints of chocolate. Slight fruit finish.

M - Light to light/medium body. Almost light citrus taste. Lighter than I was expecting.

D - Good overall flavor and light enough to enjoy a couple.

jeffmonarch, Dec 15, 2007
Photo of HotterThanHell
3.53/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shiner's little Schwarzbier is a decent/good attempt but not quite to the finest of this category. (Which can be found in Bamberg)

Color is spot on but the head makes a very early exit. Do not drink this beer ice cold as the mild complexity just isn't there until the beer warms slightly. Not warm, but warmed slightly from your fridge. Nice chocolate malt flavor with just a hint of hops.

Very good drinking beer as the taste is different from most dark beers and with this beer dark does not equal heavy. I'd definitley drink it again and then once more for old times sake.


HotterThanHell, Dec 14, 2007
Photo of champ103
3.88/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Black/Brown in color, and clear. A Good tan head forms and recedes to leave some chunky lace on the side.
S: Not much there. Some sweet malt, a slightly fruity background. Metallic and chemical that detracts a bit.
T: Again, sweet malt with more chocolate than in the nose. I really like the taste of this. At first I thought I detected a metallic taste, but after the beer warms up it goes away. An interesting dark fruity flavor as well.
D: Love the drinkability of this beer. Very smooth and easy to drink. I put back three of these without a thought at a friends party. It went great with the spicy chili we had.

This is a simple beer, but an enjoyable one. A beer I will revisit. A good black lager.

champ103, Dec 12, 2007
Photo of russpowell
3.68/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Decided to try this since I saw the new packaging. Loved the labeling

Pours chestnut with reddish tinges & 2 fingers of tan head. Above average lacing & head retention

S: Roasted malt & licorice notes

T: Roasted malt, a bit of caramel & smokeyness up front. Dryness & some nice fruitty notes as this warms. Finishes dry, with slight sour notes & herbal hops, a bit of caramel & molasses

MF: Light/medium bodied with a little too much carbonation

Drinks good, but needs more malt backbone, still, this is better than I remember the 97 tasting

russpowell, Dec 04, 2007
Photo of HardTarget
3.68/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle Inspection: Great label from an art perspective. Black with silver lettering. Claims to be a Schwarzbier, with Czech Saaz and Styrian hops. Served in a Shiner pint glass.

Aroma: Mild corn similar to Shiner Bock, also some malt sweetness and dark roasted grain which has a bit of coffee and chocolate in it.

Appearance: Opaque black with a tan head that struggles to hold a cover but gives some loops of lace.

Flavor: Dark roasted grain is at a great level, giving a full roasted taste but hardly any astringent bitterness. The beer is a bit sweet but well balanced. No real hop flavors to speak of. Again, a mild corn note which may be a house yeast element.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, high carbonation (a touch too high for me), lingering finish.

Overall Impression: A solid beer. I’m glad to see another Shiner choice out there. This would pair well with some BBQ.

HardTarget, Nov 30, 2007
Photo of PaleAlien2
2.38/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I’m surprised this one’s rated as high as it is. Looks like a headless, watery stout. Has an unfortunate lager smell, which is nothing but malt with a bit of skunkiness. Palate is thin, yet somehow filmy. Flavor is malt with a bit of chocolate and maybe caramel. I detected a metallic flavor as well, but no real hop bitterness.

PaleAlien2, Nov 17, 2007
Photo of hiikeeba
4.28/5  rDev +24.4%
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.

hiikeeba, Nov 14, 2007
Photo of brentk56
3.5/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a cola color with a moderate head that leaves a bit of lace around the glass

Smell: Rather sweet, with a modest aroma of chocolate and caramel

Taste: Like the aroma, this one is rather sweet, kind of on the milk chocolatey side; not much flavor development after the swallow; becomes watery on the finish

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: What happened to the hops? Just to sweet and lacks complexity; easy to drink, however

brentk56, Oct 01, 2007
Photo of pojo41
4.1/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a very dark brown to almost black. Quickly dissipating off-white head. Aroma of roasted malt. Flavor of dark roasted malt and coffee. This is a very tasty offering from Shiner on their 97th birthday. They should consider making this a permanent addition to their beer line-up.

pojo41, Sep 04, 2007
Photo of WVbeergeek
3.35/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Again gotta love this little German style brewery from down in Texas and anyone who's ever driven through the lonestar state knows there basically two options that people drink as their local, Shiner Bock or Lonestar. Nice to see other German style popping up from them this one appears a dark cola ruby brown almost dark black nearly opaque...nice sized tan head dwindles rather quickly with light even lace that sticks to the glass well. Aromatics have alot of those dry slightly bitter dark chocolate roasted qualities mild watered down coffee with herbal hop traces going on. Flavor more watered down roastiness with dark chocolate cocoa powder and a subtle caramel sweetness with mild herbal hop finish overall a very light schwarzbier. Mouthfeel is light bodied evenly carbonated nothing too remarkable but definitely smooth going down . Drinkability is decent better than most dark style lagers around but I tend to want more flavor hell with Sam Adams Black Lager there's just no need to ever go for this one again.

WVbeergeek, Aug 10, 2007
Photo of biggmike
4/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured dark, deep brown almost black with little head that was quickly gone. Very smooth with the proper amount of carbonation. I really liked this beer, probably my favorite from the Shiner line. Extremely drinkable and satisfying. One of the better Schwarzbiers I have had lately. I could drink this and Sam Adams Black Lager exclusively for a month or so. Good stuff.

biggmike, Jul 29, 2007
Photo of shererjt
3.53/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

No, it's not back. (Errr... well, it wasn't at the time this review was originally posted!) I'm just now getting around to entering my tasting notes from when I tried it last year. Yeah, I know.

Poured a clear, reddish-black color with a moderate amount of carbonation and an average head. Pretty. Nose was somewhat assertive roasted malt and spicy hops. Medium body with plenty of roasted malt. A little dryer than expected; the balance was slightly to the hops. Had a bit of an acidic bite. Did I mention roasty? Mouthfeel was above average, as was the drinkability.

A nice schwarzbier. Personally I'd prefer a little more sweetness, but plenty good as-is.

shererjt, Jul 24, 2007
Photo of tgbljb
4.2/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a very dark-brown color with massive creamy tannich head. Spotty lacing noted.
Taste is significant for roasted malt, with some nice chocolate and coffee essences also present.
taste is splendid. Lots of nice roasted tastes found. Very refreshing with a light bitterness that creaps in at the ending.
Very creamy in the mouth with good taste retention,
Extremely drinkable. Very nice beer.

tgbljb, Jun 08, 2007
Photo of Dogbrick
3.48/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This brew is dark chocolate brown with a thick and foamy beige head that has decent retention. Patchy lacing spattered on the glass. Aroma of malt and nuts, as well as a bit of chocolate. Medium-bodied with a roasty character and dark malt and chocolate flavors. The flavor is pretty good, but the body becomes increasingly thin throughout. The finish is sweet malt and caramel, with a touch of hops on the back. Above average overall, but not by a lot.

Dogbrick, May 11, 2007
Photo of supercolter
3.55/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I am in agreement with many of the others that have reviewed this beer. It is just ok. Very dark in appearance but the flavor doesn't quite match the intensity of the color. The smell is hints of cocoa and other various malts, but again, kinda weak and soft. Mouthfeel was nice and creamy which I did like.

supercolter, Apr 29, 2007
Photo of 2wheeledpirate
3.53/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

When held up to light, this black lager shows it's ruby hues. Small head that tries it best to hang around till the end. Nose is faint, with a small sweet, chocolate note. Taste is also sweet and malty and comes to a clean finish. Mouthfeel is a little thinner than expected. This is what I would call a good dinner beer.

2wheeledpirate, Mar 20, 2007
Photo of Phatz
3.48/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Some information on the label boasts that the 97 is celebrating the 97 years of brewing history of Spoetzl Brewery. That is an accomplishment. The label claims The beer is third darkest and it uses Saaz hops.

I am a real fan of roasty Schwarzbiers so I had high hopes. this is just OK. a bit of a let down but in all fairness a very decent beer. Still there is a market for just OK cheap beer, and as it warmed even more and I got further down the glass the beer did grow on me.

Appearance: Pours dark almost black with read highlights. The small head lacks luster but the lacing is very attractive.

Smell: The aroma is very small but present; there are hints of burnt caramel, black malts and licorice. A small element of butter in a frying pan. I had to burry my nose in the beer to dig out these aromas but with enough effort they were there.

Taste: Burnt malt and grains, coffee, bitter chocolate and coffee. Simple, quaffable.

Mouthfeel: Many of the Schwarzbiers I have had, are similarly thin lagers with the roastedness to compensate. This beer is light in the mouth but not quite intense enough to cover the light body.

Drinkability: It is very approachable and a decent drinking beer though it lack pizzazz!

Hope this is helpful.

Phatz, Mar 12, 2007
Photo of AnalogReigns
4.83/5  rDev +40.4%
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!

AnalogReigns, Mar 10, 2007
Photo of barefootbrewer
3.68/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This beer poured a back color with a thin creamy head which lasted a long time. The smell was malty ans slightly sweet. The taste is bitter with a hint of sweetness that makes a nice balance. It has a surprisingly thin mouthfeel. The smoothness and lighter body of this beer make it quite drinkable.

barefootbrewer, Feb 27, 2007
Photo of younger35
3.85/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Weizen glass at about 40 degrees. This is my first experience with this type of beer and was pretty excited to try it.

Appearance- Poored a lightish brown/very darkish amber. Has a very nice dark amber outline. Can still still light through the beer. Very little lacing.
Smell- Has a nice sour malty smell. Lightly roasted malts show nicely with maybe a slight hop backround.
Taste- A lot lighter than expected. A very light roasted malt flavor is the first thing that hits me. Slightly smokey and dry with very slight hop bitterness. Finishes quite dry and a almost sour (pleasent) on the back of the tongue. No noticable alcohol undertones.
Mouthfeel- Light carbonation and a very watery feel. Very little body.
Drinkability- Overall a pretty decent change of pace. I really like the very slight smokey flavor. Pretty nice.

younger35, Feb 15, 2007
Bohemian Black Lager from Spoetzl Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 1,215 ratings.