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Bohemian Black Lager | Spoetzl Brewery / Shiner

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Bohemian Black LagerBohemian Black Lager

Brewed by:
Spoetzl Brewery / Shiner
Texas, United States | website

Style: Schwarzbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.90%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Todd on 09-02-2006

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Reviews: 524 | Ratings: 1,443
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.

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Photo of tgbljb
4.17/5  rDev +21.2%
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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of 2wheeledpirate
3.48/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

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Photo of Phatz
3.46/5  rDev +0.6%
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.

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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 barefootbrewer
3.63/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

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Photo of younger35
3.83/5  rDev +11.3%
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.

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.48/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a dark but clear brown with some lovely burgundy highlights. The head is a dirty tan.

Smells of a sweet caramel lager with little hints of coffee.

Tastes about the same with a bit of caramel blended into a pasty lager doughiness. The only problem is that the coffee from the smell is now more of a smoke and it finishes with an odd sourness that took me by surprise.

The mouth feel is light to medium bodied with a light carbonation that lingers long in the mouth, drying out my palate.

Not too bad for the price.

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Photo of acrawf6
3.93/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a clear dark brown, almost black with a nice tan head.

Smell. Lightly toasted malts is what i get first. Bigger whiffs i get more roasted aromas. Is slightly sweet with a hint of fruit preservatives.

Taste. Taste is quite roasty. Has a nice dry taste to it. Malts seem close to a burnt taste. During the swallows i get a small fruit tartness, but immediately turns back to roasted/burned. Very nice finish; turns a little smokey.

Mouthfeel. nice body that fills my mouth just right. Carbonation is at a good level. nice balance.

Overall, a very nice offering from shiner. A well balanced beer with nice roasted flavors. Could enjoy one seperate, or have as a session.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.69/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance - dark from the front, a blackish garnet against light. A light tan head is thin but has some okay staying power.

Aroma - some nice roasted graininess at first. Fades to a faint caramel malt.

Taste - good roasted malt flavor, even a touch of charcoal in there. The swallow is dry but tasty and shows hints of chocolate. The aftertaste has some dry bitterness. Good levels everywhere.

Mouthfeel - rather bubbly, fairly thin.

Drinkability - quite drinkable. Tasty, not too heavy, it's alright!

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.82/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I tried this beer at the Flying Saucer last October, but just came across my notes so I will go ahead and post it. Here we go...

The beer pours clear for a Schwarz, though they are supposed to be clear. I say this only because it is more of a reddish amber than a Black. There was a 1/4" off white head that fell pretty quickly to end up as a small ring to linger for a while. There is definitely some caramel along with a mild roast. The beer is very dry and well attenuated so that it comes across as a bit dry. There is no real hops apparent, so the malt is about all you get in the finish. Once the malt fades, which is pretty quickly, it leaves you with a bit of sweetness to sit on the palate giving a refreshing finish that borders on wet. This is a pretty good beer...especially for Shiner.

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

A - Dark with ruby tones and a short lived tannish head that leaves more of a film than a foam cap.

S - A sweet fruitiness and roasted malt.

T - Some roasted malt, a hint of dark chocolate with a slightly bitter hop finish.

M - Excellent carbonation and smooth, but the beer feels a little bit thin.

D - Not a bad beer but there isn't really anything outstanding here. In a forest of American lights I would choose this, but if given a wide choice of brews, I would pass this one up.

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Photo of ruleof72
3.8/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice dark red/molasses color with thick head that dissipates quickly.
Smell is of roasted maly, chocolate and a hint of fruit
Taste is a bit burnt to me, with some fruity sweetness and hoppy undertones
Mouthfeel is good, carbonation and body are on the medium side
This a decent drinkable beer, the taste is a bit off for me but overall not bad

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Photo of vickersspitfire
3.59/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This one has a very lively taste, with a hint a tartness in it, but goes down quite smoothly and is nicely accompanied by a slighty fruity aroma. It pours out with a nice dark amber color to it and it leaves a hint of flavor right in the back of your throat.

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

Presentation: Came in a bottle. Really enjoyed the unique label.

Appearance: Darl Red, Not much head.

Aroma: Deep fruity smell, malty.

Taste: This was a interesting brew, has a malty body, has some sweet fruit taste, and a bold aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Semi-thick feel, for smooth, light carbination

Overall: I really enjoyed this beer, I will for sure have it again.

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Photo of danielharper
3.63/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received in trade with Morris729. (Thanks Morris!)

A: Black, with a reddish brown tinge in the middle. A bit of head that dissipates rather quickly.

S: Malty, but fruity -- notes of raspberry deep in the heart of this beer.

T: Still the malty body, with a nice bready aftertaste. Some notes of vaguely-defined fruit on the tip of the tongue. Interesting, enticing.

M: Heavily carbonated, but overall fairly moderate mouthfeel. Tickles the tongue, but goes down easily.

D: Overall, makes me think more of a sweet bock or Marzen than a schwarzbier. Really not a bad beer if you can find it relatively cheap, or are just looking for a palate cleanser. This is pretty much what I wish mainstream beer would be in America.

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Photo of beeragent
3.9/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle, into a pint glass. The beer appeared a dark brown/black color, with a 1/2 inch head, that quickly faded, leaving little to no lacing on the glass. The smell is sweet, mostly chocolate aroma. The moutfeel is medium, thicker than a lager, but about average for this style. The taste is very much like a porter, not as strong, but still enjoyable. This is easily my favorite beer from Shiner. Definitely a session beer, and at a reasonable price too.

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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 terrabyte
3.33/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown color, bordering on black. Small head that quickly disappears.

Aroma was mild. Roasted malts and an Unknown source for sweetness.

Flavor consists of roasted malts. It has a hint of bitter coffee and chocolate, but barely enough to register. A light hops that sticks out in a watery brew.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin. Great carbonation.

It's an easily quaffable brew. It is light, and has a decent flavor. Because of that, I'm not sure if I'd seek it out. However, it was quite interesting to drink this dark beer but feel like I was drinking something else. Matched the description of Schwarzbier perfectly. If you had your eyes blindfolded, this could have been an Amber I've had recently, or any number of brews. The flavors were hard to pin down. Checking out some of the reviews here, I'd say everyone had the same difficulty. A deer in the headlights when your eyes see one thing, but your tastebuds seem to be decieved.

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Photo of jmbranum
4.21/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought at a dirt cheap price ($5.76/6 pack) at Byron's Liquor store in OKC.

Beautiful dark black beer with a short fluffy tan head. When held up to the light, there is a tinge of transparent dark ruby-redness, but if not held up to light it looks completely black.

The flavor is nice and roasty with some hop bitterness, a tiny bit of chocolate and a pleasant aftertaste.

The body and mouthfeel is a bit between say Abita Turbodog and Shiner Bock.

A great beer for a great price. I think this may be my favorite new Shiner beer.

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

Pours to a fluffy beige head that falls to a thin ring of foam and bits of lace. Color is dark cola/Dr Pepper. Crystal clarity. Aroma is very mild with pale lager-like malt and spicy noble hops evident. Very faint roast in the aroma. Flavor is very mild and lagery; it has very little in common with its appearance. Saaz hops give nice balance to the mild sweet dark malt. Nice clean finish with residual malt and hop notes. Mouthfeel is light to medium. It has a bit of fullness to it in the finish. Carbonation is moderate. A good beer that is as good as any other schwarzbier made in the USA.

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.53/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Got a thick bumpy head out of the pour that took a good while to settle. On top is a pitch-black color that gives off a ruby tint when held up to the light. So not entirely opaque, but darn close.

Aroma is a light chocolate with espresso notes in the background. A bit faint all around, but what's there is nice.

Flavor is cocoa and overripe dark fruits, a nice chocolately taste laying itself over the tongue in the finish. Hops are detected but are light, making way for the more robust, sweet elements of the malt. Decent toasty feel to this beer. Would be so much better if the beer had some weight. The mouthfeel is very thin, nearly watery, failing to fully deliver the heartiness brought on by the flavors.

Certainly drinkable and likeable, but a tad timid for a style considered especially desirable in the colder months.

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Photo of jubnat
3.06/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I bought this in a sample pack at my local wine cellar. Hadn't seen it before so I thought I'd give it a try.
Pours dark brown with I slight ruby tint. Not much aroma.
Has the typical "dark" taste of its color, but I can't seem to discern much else about it. Sort of toasty with a slightly sweet aftertaste. Feels thinner than it looks like it should, which is not bad, but it has too much carbonation. Too much tingle on the tongue. Not impressed with this. Though I do enjoy their hefeweizen.
Not a bad beer, but I've got too many other good beers to try out to bother with this one again.

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Bohemian Black Lager from Spoetzl Brewery / Shiner
79 out of 100 based on 524 ratings.