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.

1,291 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,291
Reviews: 492
rAvg: 3.44
pDev: 15.12%
Wants: 14
Gots: 95 | FT: 2
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 (20) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,291 | Reviews: 492 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BelgianAleSlut
3.08/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours the color of pitch but is opaque on the edges. Light foam, light malt note.

Darkness is deceiving as there is little taste to draw from here. Watery and slightly sweet make for a less than enjoyable drink.

Carbonation is light, but more bubbles would make this even thinner.

Personally I would not drink more than one of these as it is not my favored style of beer.

Photo of tronester
3.38/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown, almost black, with red highlights. Thin tan head. Smell is slightly yeasty and metallic. Taste is light; roasted bitterness that fades into a slightly metallic finish. Very little malt or hops flavor. Mouthfeel is thin, carbonation average. Pretty drinkable though, I could drink several of these, though I've had better Schwarzbiers. Overall I would drink this again, but I would not go out of my way to buy it.

Photo of roblowther
2.68/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

It's Shiner on tap, it must be Texas!
It is...aptly named...black. It has a thin, dense, persistant light tan head. It smells of coffee, cinnamon, and wood. It tastes of roast, roast, and more roast. Almost burnt, really, with a metallic edge. The mouthfeel is thin and watery but slick at the end. The drinkability is, well, as drinkable as the burnt aftertaste allows. Not awful but not....really...memorable.

Photo of bboven
3.03/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Jet black with absolutely no head or lacing. Looks like flat cola.

Lots of roasted barley in the aroma. Not a lot of complexity, but what is supposed to be there is, and very strongly.

Again, huge roasted barley, almost like you're chewing on a mouthful of the stuff. Seems like they really want to showcase it, but it's a little too strong.

Thin, and surprisingly much too highly carbonated.

A bit too one-dimensional and strong in roasted flavor, not the best example of the style in the world. The price is nice though, being about $3 CHEAPER THAN THE Sam Adams equivalent. If you want to know without a doubt what roasted barley tastes like, buy this beer.

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

It's a battle of opposites; I'm never had a schwarzbier I didn't like, but this brewery's flagship beer (Shiner Bock) is the only beer I've tried from it, and Shiner Bock got nominated for a Razzie in the bock category. So on to this beer:

Pours out easy and hard into a standard pint glass, this beer has the appearance of cola brown, maybe a shade of black. The head is white with a little tan. Average aroma, mostly faded roasted flavors. Fortunately, the flavor is pretty good. Mild roasted malts, faint dark chocolate. Watery coffee. The hops form a light processed bitterness. Some astringency exists, but in this case it adds to the character of this brew.

This beer has restored some of my faith in this brewery. It's certainly better than the flagship Bock. Given its affordability and lack of balck lagers on the market, this might get a second purchase.

Photo of Goliath
3.75/5  rDev +9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown, black in the middle and opaque. A thin off white head forms on top and quickly dissipates leaving nothing behind.

Aroma is ok. Slightly fruity, with some sweet dark malts.

Taste is ok. A touch of fruit up front, that quickly gives way to dominant malt features. Dark malt lacking direction other than slightly burnt grain.

Mouthfeel is thin to medium bodied and nicely carbonated giving big tickles down the throat.

Drinkability is moderate to high. This one tastes and feels fine, it's just a bit on the boring end. Nothing wrong with it though, definitely a nice cheap way to keep around a Schwarzbier

Photo of OWSLEY069
2.03/5  rDev -41%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Pours a deep amber to a black color, with a small white head. In the aroma, a faint roasty coffee. In the taste, a small dry roasty coffee, yet kind of bland. A small bite and a light mouthfeel, with a dry, roasty aftertaste. Small body and light to no body. Kind of dry and really kind of weak and not worth it.

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

Appearance: dark brown almost black with a tan head, not a lot of residual lacing.

Smell: toasty malts and coffee.

Taste: toasty malts with a slight hop bitterness to even out the sweetness. Very pleasant.

Mouthfeel: light and smooth for a dark beer, but tingly due to a good deal of carbonation.

Drinkability: a good beer that is well crafted, very drinkable, and widely available. A nice effort by Shiner.

Photo of EnojysAnyBeer
4.53/5  rDev +31.7%
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

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

Acquired via trade from breity, so a big "Thank You" goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep black color, with a thin off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of roasted malts, coffee, lager yeast and a faint touch of hops.

T: The taste is malty but well-balanced with flavors of roasted coffee and dark chocolate up front but it's not overly sweet. There's a mild but complimentary hops presence. The after-taste is slightly bready and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium-to-high carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, good representation of style, I found this beer to be surprisingly refreshing for a dark beer. It's definitely a beer worth drinking several of if you're in the mood for the style.

Photo of merlin48
3.5/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle pours a clear dark brown body with a small beige head. Some scattered lace is left on the glass. Aroma is a bit subdued, but has some toasted malt, baked dark bread, chocolate, and a hint of spicy hop. Medium body and average carbonation. Taste is spot on for style, with notes of fresh baked brown bread, spicy hops, and a hint of chocolate. Nothing to write home about but a solid example of the style.

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

Poured black with a small head. Some tan lacing around the glass.

Had a roasty malt smell balanced with some mild hop aroma.

Hoppy taste with a malty back. More hops at the beginning and sweeter malt characteristics towards the end.

Nice light mouthfeel despite being so dark.

A refreshing beer that would be great for a hot day. Also a good session beer.

Photo of paulthebeerguru
3.75/5  rDev +9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: snifter. pours a rich black/mahogany color that allows a minute amount of light through. nice tan lacing with a mild retention rate and moderate lacing.

S: some roasted malt aromas, but there is a lingering of sourness, almost metallic in the nose.

T: nice big full flavored schwarzbier. good roasted malts, with a some chocolate notes, with a hint of hops.

M: smooth and mellow mouthfeel, with a good carbonation level to tie it all together. medium to light bodied.

D: very drinkable beer, probably my favorite from Spoetzl thus far. nothing amazing, but very good for a larger brewery.

Photo of PatrickJR
3.2/5  rDev -7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into nonic pint glass.

A - Dark brown/black but certainly not opaque. A finger of light brown head forms but fades rather quickly into nothingness.

S - Toasty and earthy, with a metallic edge.

T - Not a lot going on here. Toasted/slightly burnt bread with the faintest hint of caramel sweetness. Earthy spices like cinnamon and nutmeg make a breif appearance mid palate, and the brew finishes with an unpleasant metallic flavor. Aftertaste of pennies and alcohol.

M - Bordering on watery, with moderate to low carbonation. Either more fizz or a heavier body would improve this beer greatly.

D - It's a very sessionable brew, if uninteresting. Aside from the slightly offensive metallic character, it's a decent, easy drinking beer for the price. I probably won't buy this again, but I doubt I'll have a problem getting through the six pack.

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

12 oz. bottle.

Dark cola brown body. Small, tight, dirty khaki head. Decent lacing. Nose is nice and roasty. Some dark fruit sweetness there as well. A dash of licorice, tobacco, and faint hop spice round it out.

Mild roasted malt presence up front. Hint of cardboard. A bit earthy with a mineral edge. Some chocolate mid-palate. Roasted coffee bitterness takes over into a creamy finish. Not bad. Moderate body with a lively feel up front. Maybe a little thin for my liking, but it sure goes down easy.

Photo of BradLikesBrew
3.5/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

a: black to brown in color with a light tan head and good retention.

s: mild aroma, not particularly pleasing.

t: caramel, brown sugar, very little hop presence.

m: light body, medium carbonation, smooth.

d: very easy drinking, not very flavorful. I don't expect much from shiner, but this one is pretty good.

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

Consumed 07/20/08.

Pours from the bottle a clear dark brown. Appearance in the glass is almost soda-like, with both a thin tan head of medium sized bubbles and many bubbles clinging to the insides of the glass. Also like a soda, lots of bubbles rising to the surface of this brew.

Aroma is slightly metallic with notes of sweet dark malts. Not very pleasing to the nose.

Mouthfeel is a little thick. Flavor is simple maltiness: sourdough bread. Some nuts as well. Slightly sweet and dry. No bitterness or other hop flavors I could detect. Slightest hint of the metallic odor present in flavor as well. Metallic transforms to sour as time passes. Despite all the bubbles visible, the mouthfeel is a bit on the still side.

Overall, a drinkable brew, but not a go-to.

Photo of yemenmocha
3.53/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours near black in regular light, but is obviously a translucent brown when held to any degree of light. Light tan head retains well.

Nose is fairly clean, malty, roasty, and nougat-like.

On the palate is a very carbonated beer that is also light bodied, moderately roasty, and contains a hint of cocoa.

Too easy to drink and light on flavors, even for a Schwarzbier.

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.58/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Dark ruby color - nearly black. Frothy beige head that does not stick around long.

Roasted coffee beans, honey and milk chocolate dominate the nose. I also get hints of egg nog, nutmeg and maybe a bit of clover.

Taste is delicate! Coffee with a biting type sweetness and a dry finish. Carbonation is palpable and assertive. I had this on tap at the brewery and I can tell the difference in the smoothness of the beer, I dont think this one would travel great distances well. Buy it fresh!!

A pretty good drinker and not bad for an American representation of the style. I will likely revisit this beer once or twice a year in the early summer months with a super fresh six pack.

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

Dark brown to black in color. Virtually no head after being poured into a pint glass. A few bubbles of texture and it somewhat causes me to think of "cola." Deep roast caramel nose and "dark" smelling. Malty but with a lighter attack. Smoky flavors of roast malt and smoke come through but are not overdone. Some grainy "macrobeer" aftertaste. It is a good attempt by one of the larger little breweries to make beer that appeals to the niche of some craft beer drinkers. I would grade it a C+ but with some wiggle room.

Photo of BryanCarey
3.13/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Shiner 97 Bohemian Black Lager is dark in color but shows some ruby- redness when held up to a bright light source. The aroma of this beer is enticing, with roasted notes, earthy hops, a touch of chocolate, and acidic scents coming through. The head of foam is creamy and lasts for a decent amount of time.

Shiner 97 Bohemian Black Lager offers the taste of roasted malt, some caramel, some chocolate, some iced coffee, and some toasted malt. The flavor of earthy hops finishes off the taste, even though the malts dominate. The body of this beer is light to medium, and there is a small wateriness in the finish.

This black beer offers a fairly enticing scent, but then surprises the drinker with a taste that is slightly different and also somewhat watery. It does include a roasted coffee and black malt taste, and this is nice, but the flavors don't come toward you with full force like I was hoping. They tend toward the subtle side and the beer finishes a little watery and weak. Not bad for a German schwarzbier, but it would be better with a little more body and a less watery finish.

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

What a find, toured the Spoetzl Brewery 3 years ago and this was not one of their taste test offerings.

Good flavor, light taste of caramel. Light head, dark color. Much more flavorful than the standard Shiner Bock

I would describe this as a light stout.

Highly recommend.

Photo of jeonseh
3.33/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Gift from my father-in-law after recent trip to Texas. Poured into a flute glass.

A - Dark brown color that has a deep, mahogany hue to it as I hold it up to the light. Poured with a one finger head yet the carbonation that I see trailing up the glass just destroyed the head. Can see a good bit of carbonation trailing upwards

S - Smell at first reminds me of a pilsner as I seem grain and barley coming forward. There is a slight hint of a charred barely but just a hint. Mixed in there is also a slight hint of malt sweetness.

T - A rather malty beer that reminds me a bit of a cross between an oktoberfest and a pilsner. At first there is a touch of roasted caramel malt sweetness. Next, comes a grainy barley and even like straw taste that cuts through the beer and reminds me a bit of the taste of a Pilsner Urquell. Throughout there is a large presence of orange zest that dominates the other flavors. The orange zest gives the beer a refreshing finish that would makes this a good beer to have on a hot day.

MF- Decent body that leans a bit towards the lighter side. Also rather light carbonation in the mouth given the amount that I saw in the glass when I poured it. Leaves a slight astringent tingle on the tongue after drinking it.

D - Overall a decent and average session beer that I could see drinking on a hot summer day. It is interesting to have a dark beer that tastes so much like a pilsner. Could see this as a lager to introduce to people who are scared of dark beers since this isn't too bad and easy to drink.

Photo of diabecktic
3.65/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

One word on the bottle says it all: "schwartzbier" (black beer). This beer is incredibly dark for a lager - it looks almost like a stout. The head formed is minimal; it's not quite one finger, but will vary depending on the bottle.

The smell isn't too great. To me, it smells like some sort of meat product - possibly of the salted variety. A bit pungent with a very faint "burnt" coffee aroma, but predominately overpowered by the "meaty" smell.

For something that smells as odd as it does, it really doesn't taste that bad - it's actually quite good. Again, it tastes almost like a stout. It seems to have that burnt/roasted barley flavor. I can't figure out how to describe the other (minor) flavors, other than to say it's very stout-like.

Looks like a stout, tastes like a stout, goes down like a lager. For as dark as the beer is, it isn't too heavy and it goes down quite smooth without leaving much of an aftertaste.

I'm very glad that Spoetzl has brought this ex-special edition brew into their regular line-up, because it's a well-crafted one. For something that looks and smells the way it does, it goes down quite smooth and leaves you wanting just a little bit more. I would advise against having more than just a few at any setting.

The saying "don't judge a book by its cover" comes to mind here; it's well-warrented because it's a great beer. If Spoetzl would tap the Chicago-area market more, I would place this into my "study beer" category. This is my first review, and I'll say that the only reason that I've had the priveledge of tasting this beer is because I'm in Denver for an internship. Giddy-up Spoetzl - well done.

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.

Bohemian Black Lager from Spoetzl Brewery
79 out of 100 based on 1,291 ratings.