Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Bohemian Black Lager - Spoetzl Brewery / Shiner

Not Rated.
Bohemian Black LagerBohemian Black Lager

Educational use only; do not reuse.

509 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 509
Hads: 1,393
Avg: 3.44
pDev: 24.71%
Wants: 18
Gots: 193 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Spoetzl Brewery / Shiner 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.
View: Beers (26) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 509 | Hads: 1,393
Photo of kojevergas
2.61/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with generic label art and twist-off pressure cap acquired as part of a Spoetzl variety 12-pack box at me local HEB grocery and served into an Independence Brewing pilsner glass in me gaff in low altitude Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. Expectations are below average; I'm not confident Spoetzl is the brewery to pull off an amazing (or even average) black lager. Reviewed as a black lager because it identifies as such.

Served cold, straight from me fridge. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as I pour.

Pours a 1.5 finger head of khaki colour. Nice creaminess and thickness. Fluffy complexion. No real lacing as the head recedes. Head retention is above average - about 2-3 minutes.

Body colour is a dark amber-black. No yeast particles are visible. Understated and rich, but I wouldn't call it vibrant given its darkness.

Overall, it's to style.

Sm: Dark malts, vague roast, syrupy caramel, sticky blackstrap molasses, raisin, fennel, and a bit of a vinous and/or herbal note. Not particularly appealing, but it's inoffensive. Definitely comes across as sticky and syrupy, though. Surprisingly, it does have a slight floral hop undertone.

No alcohol or yeast character is detectable. This one's almost all malts.

Not particularly looking forward to it; it's not alive or inviting. Certainly not a unique or special aroma.

T/Mf: Caramel heavy with plenty of molasses. Sticky and syrupy as a result. A buried hint of musty roast does little to satisfy my craving for roast. I do get a vague sense of licorice/fennel, accompanied by an unpleasant sugary sticky sweetness. There's also some of that nebulous vine/herb note I mentioned above. A highlight is its brief foray into mildly dark fruit notes, which yields a hint of grape and maybe dates. Some cola-esque sarsaparilla/sassafrass. A bit of chocolate malt is a nice addition here, but it gets buried by the other less interesting dark malts; we don't get any fine cocoa dust or rich dark chocolate at all. Any hopping is floral in character but generic, and minimal in its presence.

No yeast character or alcohol comes through.

Smooth and wet, with a bit too much body for the lack of depth and diversity of flavour. Flaovur duration and intensity is average for the style. It's not carefully balanced, nor is it gestalt, but there's some cohesion here. It's got a focus and direction. Constructively, it really needs more roast, and I'd like to see the mouthfeel less syrupy and sticky. Overcarbonated in classic Spoetzl fashion; they're almost function like a glorified macrobrewery at this point. A bit too thick; it's got too heavy a presence on the palate. The texture is by no means custom-tailored to the taste, but it does a decent job I guess.

At least it's not harsh, biting, oily, gushed, or hot. But I can't emphasize enough that the stickiness and syrupy quality have got to go.

Dr: A generally drinkable black lager from Spoetzl, but it's not worth getting again - even at its modest price point. I wouldn't recommend it to friends, but I'll kill off the two bottles that came in the box without resentment. It's a tough style to really execute right, and Spoetzl's crowd-pleasing ambitions don't allow for a more refined attempt at a black lager. Overall, it's below average for the style, and I think we can anticipate seeing Spoetzl phase this one out over the next five years.


 3,470 characters

Photo of Weston19
3.09/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Guinness Glass

A: Black with a slight hint of red. The head starts promising and begins to thin into a lacing rather fast. Luckily, unlike some of Shiner's other brews, this lacing sticks around and helps its appearance.

S: Not much. Maybe some faint roasted notes and I mean very faint. There's a slight sweet smell to it but again, it's very faint. There should be more smell to it. As it warms up, however, a hint of dark chocolate can be detected. Kind of reminds me of the dark chocolate that is sold in Whole Foods; subtle, but present.

T: Thankfully the taste is much more obvious than the smell. The initial taste is of dark chocolate (although brief) and has a roasted aftertaste. Very little bitterness towards the back of the tongue but nothing. bad. While the flavors are there, they are not as obvious as I would've liked. The quick chocolate that I got at first goes away way too fast and what's left is a roasty flavor. The initial flavor gives some sweetness that is balanced out with the slight bitterness. Not bad but not bold enough compared to other black lagers out there.

MF: A little creamy but the finish is dry. The drinkability of this is rather high though so you can pound quite a few of these and not feel buzzed.

O: This beer gave me enough flavor to enjoy but not enough where I can't share it with friends who are not into the robust flavors of craft beers. Is it the best example of a black lager? No. Is it a nice change and a better choice than a BMC? Hell yes. I enjoyed drinking this. Even though it lacked the flavors that are found in better beers, it wasn't bad. Would have again.

 1,642 characters

Photo of smt1
3.45/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - Very dark color, pours decent amount of head that never complexly fades, fades to slight haze.

Smell - Slightly aromas

Taste - Very smooth, neutral with no distinct overwhelming aromas.

Overall - Very refreshing beer that did not offer any distinct smells.

Serving type: bottle

 296 characters

Photo of Kevin60
4.01/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - A dark color with slight transparency when against light. Pours with an inch or so of frothy head with a light and thin remaining froth around the edges.

Smell - Lacking at times, only a slight hint at random moments. Could be better.

Taste - Again, very smooth with a slight bite at the end of the drink. One of the smoothest brews I have tasted.

Overall - Again, a very good beer smooth taste and feel. An average looking appearance with sub-par smell. A smooth drink. Definitely an upgrade from most beers.

 526 characters

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.45/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a dark ruby color with touches of transparency when held up to a light. There's about a finger's worth of light mocha-shaded head. There's only a modicum of lacing left on the glass, as well.

S: It's more interesting than the other Shiner brews I've sampled, that's for sure. There are touches of caramel, roasted malts, chocolate, and cream. I also notice the slightest hint of adjuncts, but they honestly kind of work here.

T: I like the pleasant roastiness on the opening. This gives way to light dark fruit esters and some cocoa powder. While it's straightforward (a trait ever-so-common with Shiner, seemingly), it also has a richer flavor and an enjoyable subtlety to it others lack - even in the style.

M: Good schwarzbiers can pass for an Irish-style dry stout in terms of mouthfeel; I feel like this one passes that test, to an extent. It's dry at first, but touches of sweetness lingers after a few sips. Carbonation is moderately low, so it's not particularly drinkable.

O: Not bad at all. It's quite good, actually, especially for the style. It's rich, subtle character almost belies its 4.9% ABV. Out of the mixed 6-pack from Shiner (other brewers, take note), this is probably the only one I'd buy a 6-pack of in the future.

 1,285 characters

Photo of makersmarkers
3.59/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A year or two ago, my local package store had a special price for this particular brew from the good folks at Shiner, and I went home with two cases. My college roommate and I went through them in time and with no complaints, but it wasn't compelling enough for me to buy again. And now, many beers and many attempts at calibrating and refining my pallete later, I'm drinking Shiner Bohemian Black Lager once again.

This particular bottle came from a case of Shiner's Family Reunion variety pack and was poured into a double-walled Bodum glass. This is the first time I've actually seen the beer itself! Those two cases we put away so long ago were drank straight from the bottle. It is a dark brew, the color of cold-brewed coffee. It immediately formed a thin tan head which quickly vanished. No lacing whatsoever. Lifting the glass to my nose, I smell malt and a faint suggestion of caramel and sweet chocolate.

I am surprised by the taste. There's a lot going on here: caramel is the most prominent flavor, but there's also strong notes of bourbon with all of its corn sweetness and kick. Sweet pumpernickel bread. Pine bitterness from the hops is present but mild. Crisp, dry finish with lingering notes of carbonization from the roasted malt, ash, or smoke. This beer is light on the tongue, sessionable and very drinkable with moderate carbonation.

I'm looking forward to tasting this beer again as I work through the case, and I will certainly buy it again someday. Recommended.

 1,489 characters

Photo of cyclonece09
3.49/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a mug. Pours a light black with a small brown head that dissipates very quickly. Smells of dark roasted grain, maybe a touch of coffee, but with sweet sugar. Tastes of dark roasted grain, slight caramel or chocolate taste. Beer is slightly under carbonated, but still goes down for its light body. Overall, a slightly above average beer.

 369 characters

Photo of Drew966
3.3/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Shiner Bohemian Black Lager pours a reddish brown with a thick tan head from a brown twelve ounce bottle. The aroma is a bit grainy and a bit malty. The flavor is mild, mostly malty and kind of a one note type thing, being that there doesn't seem to be any complexity to the flavor. Pleasant enough, but there are better examples of they style out there.

 354 characters

Photo of Billolick
3.29/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12 ounce bottle, part ofthe newly arrived Shiner mix 12 pack box.

Pours near black, darker tan head that stays a spell. Leaving moderate strands of stick.

Nose is mildly of dark malts and a hint of coffee.

Dark malts, some dusty dark chocolate and some cola and thats about it. On the thin and watery side. Nothing special going on here as seems to be the case with all the shiner brews. Almost craft beer. One and done..

 424 characters

Photo of Bockrules
3.92/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

poured from the bottle into a pint glass

A - Pours a used motor oil black with garnet highlights when held up to the light. Streams of small bubbles rush to the creamy, dense, two-finger, tan head. Head stays intact all the way down the glass, the behind a lush wall of sticky lacing on the bottom half of the glass.

S - A hint of maybe crystal and chocolate malt upon opening the bottle with light, earthy hop notes. More chocolate notes emerge once in the glass.

T - A bit of chocolate malt upfront. The body is slightly roasted chocolate on a background of sweet crystal (?) malt with enough earthy hop notes to balance everything out. A little bit of chocolate and bitterness as the beer passes over the tongue leads to a sticky dark chocolate and earthy hop finish.

M - Medium bodied with enough carbonation to keep the beer lively and slightly creamy. Quite good actually.

Having reviewed the other 5 varieties that came in the Shiner variety pack I bought last year, and coming up with several scores in the low 3's, I wasn't expecting much. Turns out I saved the best for last, as this beer turns out to a gorgeous, solidly tasting brew. It is by no means complex, but the chocolate notes and hops are dolled out in the right proportions and the mouthfeel is pretty creamy. I don't know if the year of cellering helped, but I would gladly buy a six of this to find out.

 1,385 characters

Photo of Gmann
3.02/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a cola like brown color with a moderate sized bubble khaki head that settles into a solid ring.

The aroma is sweet mostly from a grainy scent. There is some steely caramel notes; fairly strong metallic aroma. No real roast aroma.

The taste is quite grainy and seems to have an adjunct type flavor. There is a slight chalky roast flavor in the finish but other than that you would think that this is a macro lager. Some caramel sweetness. On par with the Guinness black lager.

The beer has a light body with fizzy carbonation. It drinks very easy and the slight roast bitterness doesn't impede the drinkability. Nice balance on the palate for a brew that you can pound back.

The beer doesn't taste bad but really not much of a schwarzbier. An introduction to what roasted malt tastes like.

 798 characters

Photo of mjurney
3.9/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black color, ruby red highlight. Thick frothy head.

It's very mild, roasted malts, some sweetness, a little chocolate.

Malty, brown bread, roasted, caramel sweetness, some coffee. Hop bitterness is mild. Finish is crisp and semi-dry. Body is light-medium, silky, crisp.

 297 characters

Photo of kshizzle101
3.4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Poured from 12oz bottle into pint glass

A - pitch black with a 3 inch off-white head which goes away rather quickly. minimal lacing

S - roasted malts, chocolate, slight caramel, slight hops

T - burst of chocolate up front followed by caramel and roasted malts. slight hop note at the end. light on flavor

M - medium bodied, good carb

Overall - not worth your time or money, you could do much better for the same style beer at the same price. this is at least drinkable though.

 481 characters

Photo of Omnium
3.7/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle > Pint Glass
A - Pours a nice coffee color, not totally pitch black but close enough, finger head with very little lacing.
S - Smells very good, chocolate and coffee roasted malts, and lager yeast with some euro hop scents.
T - Taste falls a little short, but for a black lager its still refreshing, you get some bite from the hops and the dark malty texture.
M - Smooth like a lager should be, with the roasts lasting a while.
O - A good and very drinkable black lager, not too complex, but decent.

 509 characters

Photo of StJamesGate
3.52/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black that's garnet in light and loose tan froth.
Flinty grain and ashy roast on the nose - light. A touch of sugary licorice, too.
Sweet licorice twists, a sweet roasty hit and mild grassy hops.
Camp coffee finish and tingly linger.
Thin, crisp, round.

Watery, too sugary and not enough bite, from hops and roast both. But hey, it's Shiner, so this is made for easy sunshine drinking. A great gateway lager.

 411 characters

Photo of steveh
4.39/5  rDev +27.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Hadn't tried this, but Spoetzl continues to surprise me with their specialty brews and I had a taste for something dark and smooth.

Since Spoetzl is calling this a "Bohemian" Black Lager, I thought I'd review with a lean more toward Ron Pattinson's description of a Bohemian rather than just following the Schwarzbier definition.

From Ron:
11-12º dark - Tmavý Ležák (Lagerbier). 4.5-5% ABV. Vary quite widely in flavour from very sweet beers similar to Austrian Doppelmalz to dry, roasty beers more akin to a Schwarzbier. Mostly only have a quite subdued hop character.

A -- Deep, dark black -- but clear enough to see vague ruby highlights. Tan head that settles rather quickly, but revives well.

S -- Smooth, roasted malts -- coffee-like in character. Some mild breadiness sneaking through - also some vague DMS with warming.

T -- Roasted character up front with some vague graininess. Roasted characters blend into a lightly sweet breadiness that quickly gives way to a bitter finish. Aftertaste is a good blend of roasted malts and mildly sweet bread crust.

M -- Mouthfeel is smooth with a light-medium body. Maybe the lightest astringency from the roasted malts. Finishes dry.

O -- Not a Munich Dunkel by any means, but a smooth beer with roasted character. This is a great textbook of style in the Schwarzbier category -- whether German or Bohemian. Big flavor at 4.9% Spoetzl surprises yet again.

 1,414 characters

Photo of Estescj2002
4.59/5  rDev +33.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Ok I'm Sorry but this is be best black lager I have ever drank in the U.S. I have been to 21 countries and have tasted a lot of beer. But without a doubt this beer is smooth and satisfying; it taste just like a few beers in Ireland I had!!! I live in Madison, Alabama and we can not buy it around here, I have to drive north for about two hours to get it and its worth the trip!!! I wish I could find it closer!! I guess why I like it do much is because it reminds me of a true taste outside the U.S.

 500 characters

Photo of Immortale25
3.6/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Florida Beer Co. tapered glass. No freshness date.

A- Pours a mostly opaque black color with a 1/2 inch light tan head that retains a bit before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a light strip of surface foam. Slippery lacing slides down the glass.

S- Crisp, refined lager aroma with some faint roasted malt. Slight note of chocolate.

T- Subtle roasted malt flavor with a hint of smoke and chocolate. Mild hop taste creates some balance. Alcohol is barely noticeable thus providing high drinkability.

M- Such a light body for a beer as dark as this. Feel is a tad chalky and dry. Medium carbonation.

O- Decent for a Shiner product but I've definitely had better schwarzbiers.

 715 characters

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

Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a very dark chestnut brown with a thin light brown head that dissipates to a thick ring around the glass and light lacing. Aroma of toasted and light bready malt, hint of chocolate. Flavor is attenuated toasted malt with hints of coffee and grassy hops. Light bodied. I got hopeful as I poured this, because it looks pretty good, but this is really light flavored, almost tastes watered down. Too bad because the basic components seem nice.

 490 characters

Photo of Lemke10
3.28/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

This pours a dark brown color with a beige colored head. The aroma has some sweet malts to it, but that’s about it. The taste is simple and perhaps weaker than expected. There is a taste of chocolate and roasted malts but it is weak. Overall this is a very sweet, easy drinking taste that is smooth refreshing. Could use a little more boldness, but that’s just me.

 368 characters

Photo of AzImbiber
3.44/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I went from bottle to gut, no glass. Bought on sale at local grocer.

Unsure what "shwarzbier" actually means, as labeled (I should look it up..). This beer is definitely a try at a darker lager. Smells great: chocolate, coffee, citrus. Better than all the other Shiner products, in my opinion, since this beer actually seems to have discernible alcohol content.

Finishes quite nice with the low sour tones on back of tongue. Goes down thin in spots. Thin means sometimes you taste through to the base. I think I taste corn syrup. Let me put it this way--with Sam Adams I know what I'm getting; I can abide. Shiner's Black has that welcoming aromatic smell, after prying the cap off, and a great mouthful. And another great mouthful. Sam is the same way, but the heaviness is streamlined for usage, meaning there's a crispness and lightness that Shiner's Dark doesn't have. My comparison here is simply about enjoyable consumption and nothing else. No real carbonation or chatty head here with Shiner'S Dark...just the meat...and the meat is workable but not a lager-lover's dream...

Objective as I can get. I drink lighter lager for fun but dark is a treat. If it's as low as 4.99 go for it. If 5.99 or more, no.

 1,216 characters

Photo of MattSweatshirt
3.14/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Dumped really hard into a big ol mug generating a hefty off white head on a dark bodied beer with orange and amber highlights at the bottom. Berry nice looking.

Mild aroma of roasty toasty coffee, caramel, and some hop character.

Flavor is mild as well. Basically that roasted malt coffee flavor. Nice but I want more like I get in a Schwärzla or Köstritzer.

Light watery body with a touch of prickly carbonation.

One of my favs as far as the Shiner lineup is concerned.

 477 characters

Photo of babayaga
2.77/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

From a 12 oz bottle into a pilsner glass.

Appearance- Pours with a decent off-white head, body is black with a bit of ruby showing.

Aroma- Slight roasty malts, that's about it.

Flavor- Coffee, light bread, slight bitterness. A ~woody component. Maybe licorice. Short finish.

Mouthfeel- Watery, moderate carbonation.

I've only had two schwarzbier, and this is my least favorite of the two.

 393 characters

Photo of TCMike
4.33/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a glass it produced a 1 finger, creamy head. The beer color is a very dark brown.

The aroma was of roasted malts, and bread.

The taste was similar but with a hint of chocolate, lager yeast taste, and a slight hop bitterness on the end, ( which quickly faded). Medium mouth-feel, a low-medium carbonation.

This is a very good, and easy drinking beer. Got as part of the family pack. I need to find a store that sells it in it's own packaging, because I want more.

 477 characters

Photo of Damian74Shensky
3.53/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into pint glass.

A- Very dark brown, almost black. Had 2 finger head that went away quick. Left some lacing on the glass
S- roasty malts, cocoa, hint of coffee and caramel
T-roasted malts with a hint of chocolate.. then some dark malts and a coffee bitterness
M- a little thin body. high carbonation
O- Was better then I thought it would be. Would buy again if I saw a six pack by itself and not part of the SHINER family reunion variety pack. Didn't care for half the beers in there.

 492 characters

Bohemian Black Lager from Spoetzl Brewery / Shiner
79 out of 100 based on 509 ratings.