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.
BA SCORE
78
okay

1,216 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,216
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,216 | Reviews: 486 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jmdrpi
3.85/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

appears a nice opaque charcoal black, with a small head. nice roasty aroma with hints of coffee and chocolate.

the taste followed the aroma with roasted malt flavors. the body is on the thinner side, with moderate carbonation.

a much better offering than the Shiner Bock

jmdrpi, Dec 22, 2010
Photo of ChimRichels
2.65/5  rDev -23%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Clear cola-colored body with a head that falls quickly to a thin foam layer and then a mere ring around the edge.

S - Nothing. I honestly smell nothing at all.

T - Some coffee flavors emerge that meld nicely with a toasted bread flavor. Some astringency. Pretty watery.

M - Nice and smooth, but a little thin.

D - Easy to drink, but lacking in flavor.

ChimRichels, Dec 18, 2010
Photo of chchchchia
2.65/5  rDev -23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A - Almost a completely opaque black. Pours a 1 finger head that dissipates quickly. Looks very nice.
S - Hints of coffee and roasted malt as well as a metallic tinge. On the weaker side for a schwarzbier.
T - Toasted malt, chocolate, hint of coffee and a very slight hop bitterness. It's on style, but very lacking.
M - Medium carbonation, light body.
D - High, but lessened by the slight body given to it with the malt.

This is a forgettable schwarzbier. Very watery and not that exciting.

chchchchia, Dec 14, 2010
Photo of JayS2629
3.33/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Beautiful dark cola color but small white head, little retention, and slightly creamy lacing.

S- Almonds, toffee, and faint roasted coffee hints. Very small hint of cocoa.

T- Bitter cocoa, sweet malts, smokey wood characteristics.

M- smooth, crisp and clean but watery.

D- Slightly too bitter. Deep, dark flavors but watery and bland.

JayS2629, Dec 12, 2010
Photo of burgerandbeer
4.03/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Pilsner glass.

First I have to admit I had read some reviews here before I tried this beer.
However I tried to keep this to only my "catches".

I like coffee....I really like coffee. I also like chocolate. Therefore I like
toffee. And so....I really like this beer. Don't let the word "dark" keep
you from trying this beer. It is smooth and flavorful and best of all doesn't
turn your mouth sour like most urine yellow American big brands do.

I bumped my pouring elbow while pouring the beer and that resulted in some
of the beer "sloshing" into the glass. The result was a huge 3 inch soft creamy
brown head. I also got a lot of lacing that was still clinging to the sides of the
glass 5 minutes after I had finished it. My second one I poured normal and
got a 1 inch head but still a lot of lacing.

Carbonation was moderate.

Picking up scents is my very weak spot in reviewing beers, but I picked up
roasted almond, roasted coffee and some floral.

I expected a big thick bitter taste simply due to the name of the beer and look after
pouring. I was surprised at the mild coffee and molasses flavor. Delicious. The
flavor follows all the way through and therefore I can't say there was a finish.

Reading the article on how to review a beer I saw the word "balanced" used. I
stayed away from this term in my reviews so far because I wasn't certain how I
would know if a beer was balanced. I realize now you know it when it slaps you
in the face. This beer is balanced. Spoetzl....don't change a thing.

burgerandbeer, Dec 03, 2010
Photo of mothman
3.03/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours ½ finger of light tan head. Color is pretty much black.

Aroma: Roasted malts, smoke, bacon, and grassy hops.

Taste: More bacon flavors up front with some roasted malts following. Has some chocolate, grassy hips, caramel, and smoke as well.

Mouthfeel: Roasted and dry. Light to medium bodied with a high amount of carbonation. Ends dry and roasted.

Overall, I like the smoke flavors. Good for a lager, but way too much carbonation really throwing this beer off. Somewhat drinkable.

mothman, Nov 30, 2010
Photo of StaveHooks
3.53/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a deep dark brown almost black with mahogany highlights around the edges. 2 finger tan head with some lacing lines left behind.

S - Roasted malts, hints of chocolate and some roasted grain. Has somewhat of a soapy aroma as well.

T - Roasted malt that starts dry and turns tart. Raisins and molasses followed by roasted grains with a slightly sour characteristic.

M - Light to medium body with moderate carbonation.

Better than I expected. It was nice and dry but a little on the watery side.

StaveHooks, Nov 28, 2010
Photo of alleykatking
3.58/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle.

A- Pours a black color which shows red hues on the sides of the glass when held to the light. One and a half finger tan head shows medium retention and caps the beer. Spotty lacing on the sides of the glass.

S- Roasted malts mix well with caramel malts in the nose. This along with a nice crisp hop scent toward the very end make up the nose. It's nothing much but pleasant to say the least.

T- Roasted malts with a sweet chocoalte malt in the front. The roasted/light smoked flavor goes through the entire beer adding a nice balance from the chocoalte and sweet malts in this beer. There is a light hop bit in the ending but this gets covered up pretty quick with a last blast of roasted malts.

M- Light-medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. Roasted malts left on the palate with more in the aftertaste. Malt forward but balanced in that sense. Light alcohol drying on the palate. Crisp and clean tasting overall for the style and the beer itself.

D- This is a very drinkable beer. The lower ABV makes this a drinker all night without worrying about getting to well...drunk. A nice beer that I personally was surprised with.

alleykatking, Nov 10, 2010
Photo of TMoney2591
3.85/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in an Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull shaker pint glass.

Ah, inexpensive bottles for my mixed-sixer. Love it. This one pours a lovely translucent garnet-brown topped by nearly a finger of off-white foam. The nose comprises light roasted malts, light coffee, cocoa powder, and a twinge o' flowers. The taste holds notes of cocoa, light roasted malts, thick and toasted caramel, and a swig o' roasty toffee. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a wet feel. Overall, a somewhat surprisingly nice schwarz, nothing too exciting but pretty tasty and highly drinkable nonetheless.

TMoney2591, Nov 04, 2010
Photo of bastardface
4.1/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I really like the specialty beers that Shiner makes even though I'm not a big fan of the original Shiner Bock. I'm also accustomed to black lagers. Shiner Black is one of my favorites. I find myself drawn to it whenever I see that it is available. This was the first I had it out of a bottle. The appearance was tan to a black color. The smell of hops was strong. When tasting it you can taste a burnt flavor which is appetizing. It's easy to drink but be careful because more than a few will get you leaning. Strong but pleasant. I highly recommend this brew. For sure.

bastardface, Nov 01, 2010
Photo of Thorpe429
3.5/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to jsh420 for this bottle. Reviewed from notes.

Pours a deep brown with a light head and not much retention or lacing. Nose is crisp roasted malt with some light caramel and chocolate. Taste is roast with coffee and chocolate and some light earthy hops. Fairly light win good carbonation. Just like others I have had from them, this drinks well but doesn't pack much flavor.

Thorpe429, Oct 26, 2010
Photo of SudsMcReilly
4.33/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I really liked this beer. It has a very roasted malt start and a really nice smooth smokey finish. I poured this into a pilsner glass and got a good 1 inch almond colored thick head. I could easily drink multiple bottles of this "American Schwartzbier"

SudsMcReilly, Oct 19, 2010
Photo of deadbody
2.75/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours a dark black with a nice head, head recedes quickly leaving minimal lacing. Smells average, nothing great but not bad, a bit weak. Taste is not what I was expecting. Not much there, was expecting more of a stout feel and this is not it. Mouthfeel was very watery. Had the feel of a cheap lager not a richer dark beer. Drinkability average, not a bad beer, but not what I wanted/expected and not something I would seek out again. Wouldn't turn down another but wouldn't pay for it either.

deadbody, Oct 17, 2010
Photo of StephenRich
3.38/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

Black Lagers are an interesting breed, at least to me. Black beers by usual convention are heavy, robust, and largely flavorful beers. There are of course many exceptions to this generalization, but you know I mean. Black beers all seem to have a lush and creamy malt flavor that ranges from softly aromatic to robustly pungent - in either case all share a roast or fruity character. The Shiner Bohemian Black Lager is a bit of a different beast. Firstly, the Black Lager is a Lager rather than an Ale. This indicates that the beer has been fermented at colder temperatures, and with a yeast that plays a smaller role in the beers actual flavor; thus allowing the malts to speak for themselves.

Shiner, a Texas based brewery since 1909, has brewed the Black Lager staying as close to the Bohemian tradition as possible. They have imported Czech Saaz and Styrians hops, and used specific roasted malts to recreate a classic beer style that does not get a lot of public attention today. It was originally created as an anniversary beer in 1997, but after huge amounts of enthusiastic customer feedback Shiner decided to move it to regular production - and I'm glad they did!

These beers honestly should get more public attention. It is a great beer to introduce newcomers to the craft beer world with. Someone who is used to drinking flavorless, fizzy yellow beers may be to intimidated or overwhelmed by some of the bigger or more creative craft beers that exist - but the Bohemian Black Lager is filled with flavor, but is masterfully smooth and clean in flavor and mouthfeel. It is just 4.9% abv, and offers significantly more flavor for its alcohol that just about any commodity grade beer.

I opened the Black Lager up cool around 8C (45F) and poured it into a stemmed beer glass. It flowed cleanly from the bottle building a smooth and gentle beer that eventually lifted an airy and soft, pillowy almond and tan colored head. The beer was black at first sight, but when held into the light it reveals soft chocolate browns and dark burgundy hiding in the corners and edges of the beer. It shines clearly with a garnet black beam striking down the middle of the glass.

The nose is soft but aromatic. Clean and gentle scents of dark brown sugar, caramel and molasses open into your nose. Soon a subtle hint of roast, chocolate, and fresh malts glide in smoothly. Hops are very easy and only hint at a fresh and lightly crisp finish.

This beer right away shows its strength as a session beer. It is clean and smooth from start to finish and offers up well constructed flavors that are easy to enjoy and flow well over your palate. The first gulp reveals everything that the nose was hinting at. Soft and clean malts with hints of roast, caramel, molasses and a touch of chocolate. It is subtle at every end, but not weak.

Malt flavors in the beer are straight forward and don't really bring much complexity to the table. Brown sugar is a soft sweetness in the malt, which predominantly is a charred biscuit flavor hinting at roast. Herbal hops float by gently and really are very delicious. They are soft and elegant, and fit the beer's overall profile very well.

The mouthfeel is clean, but relatively simple. I don't want to say thin, but it is. It is only 4.9% abv, but it feels a bit better than that. The finish is clean with a smooth hop bitterness that lingers on grass and a fresh field. Nothing to rich here, just enough to balance the beer. So yes, it is very balanced, well constructed, and damn easy to drink. But it is not complex, offers no depth, and would bore me quickly.

This is a perfect beer however to add to the middle of a session of beer drinking, and as I mentioned, is a great start for a craft beer newbie. In any case, it is worth the try.

Pics at: http://definitionale.com/2010/10/14/tasting-the-shiner-bohemian-black-lager/

StephenRich, Oct 14, 2010
Photo of revolt914
3.83/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was the first beer that got me into drinking beer for the taste rather then for the effect. I picked this one up after trying a drink of my girlfriends Shiner Bock at a local restaurant. I must say when I first tasted this beer all I could think was wow this is a great beer. I see it's not one of the highest rated beers on the site but in personal taste and opinion this is one of my more favorite beers.

I'll go into details as to why I think the beer is so wonderful and deserves a good score in my book.

Appearance: I'd have to put the label and overall look of the bottle it comes in as very elegant and sleek looking, not bad to carry about in the bottle to get some attention at your local Budweiser party. The beer pours a cola color with a decent sized head but not a big head like a Sam Adams.

Smell: When I take a good long inhale of this beer when it's in a pilsner glass I get an aroma of burning wood/ash smell in a pleasant way. I really love the smell of this beer and I really think I'm bias towards this beer.

Taste: Delicious, it has such a unique flavor that I can't help but love it. When I let it sit on my tongue and have a slow exhale I get a taste of sweet but strong bitter hop that sits on my tongue during the exhale remind me of that ash smell and it is an amazing reminder.

Mouthfeel: A category I don't have enough knowledge to judge in a helpful way. I feel as though it's thicker than a usual beer but I realize the style of beer it's kind of thin. I've had the Samuel Adams Black Lager and it is much thicker in feel in my mouth than the Shiner Bohemian Black. I'll be settling in to the Schwartzbier/Black Beer style so hopefully I'll have more of an understanding soon.

Drinkability: I have no trouble putting a 6 pack down just sitting with my girlfriend watching a movie and playing some cards. Shiner Bohemian Black is a great drink that isn't to thick to sit heavy on your stomach and it's not so thin you're needing to run to the bathroom every 15 minutes. I love this beer for social events.

revolt914, Oct 05, 2010
Photo of Landfill21
2.8/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Tried this boehemian lager and poured into my pint glass. Pours dark black with a finger head and disappears to barely noticeable head as you drink.

Smells nutty, some hints of caramel and trace of chocolate.

Has a smooth taste, can taste notes of chocolate, nuts and some fruit.

Mouthfeel is pretty full, pretty thick beer. Thus the drinkability is limited.

Overall a decent beer.

Landfill21, Oct 02, 2010
Photo of wesbrownyeah
3.98/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

"Shiner" Bohemian Black Lager. Brewed by Spoetzl Brewery Shiner Texas. 4.9% alcohol poured into a Pilsner glass.

A- Pours a almost opaque black fluid that produces a dull amber red hue when put up to the sunlight. nice off tan tan head foams up in almost a cola like fashion that slowly falls to a constant quarter inch head leaving some patchy lacing.

S- Smell is of rich chocolate malts and creamy coffee. Has a light scent of tangy hops in the citrus form... very vague.

T- An excellent mix of malts and hops. Upfrontr is a dark roast of burnt malts and barley. Second is a thin flavor of raw coffee grinds and cream. Mouthfeel is ultra smooth with a tongue pleasing carbonation that dances over the taste buds with ease.

D- One hell of a Schwarzbier that I would love to get alot of. Has beautiful drinkablity and a flavor that only makes you want more... cheers!

wesbrownyeah, Oct 01, 2010
Photo of generallee
4.35/5  rDev +26.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a Pilsener glass. The label has a brief description of the beer but no ABV or freshness date.

Appearance: Its body has a dark almost black color with deep crimson highlights. On top sits a tall creamy light tan head which is long lasting and keeps a small covering to the last sip. Along the way down the glass it makes nice lacing.

Smell: It has a dark roasted and toasted maltiness as well as some sweet candy like notes as well.

Taste/Palate: The flavor is right on with a nice mix of dark roasted maltiness and hop bitterness. There are notes of dark or burnt toast, dark roasted coffee with an underlined sweetness like dark caramel and a slight hint of cherry chough drop. Hops are light but do offer some mellow bitterness. The finish is a little roasty with pleasant bitterness. Its palate feels smooth and mildly carbonated.

Notes: This is a solid example of the style. It's dark and tasty yet supper easy to drink.

generallee, Sep 27, 2010
Photo of Mora2000
3.43/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a black color with red highlights and a tan head. The aroma is roasted malt, but it is a little bit faint. I really expected more from the aroma. The flavor is much stronger. I get the expected roasted malt but I am also getting quite a bit of smoke. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

I have had this beer numerous times over the years and it has always been my favorite Shiner beer. I never remembered the smoke in the beer before, so I am not sure if I always just missed it or if this batch was smokier than others in the past.

Mora2000, Sep 17, 2010
Photo of briman
3.63/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours virtually black, but with deep ruby highlights when help up the light.

Aroma has caramel, light roast, and an earthy hop elements way in the back.

Flavor follows suit. Caramel, light roast, maybe a pinch of coffee grounds. Some graininess in the finish, but otherwise pretty clean.

Medium body, with moderate carbonation. Has a slight chewiness to it. Overall a pretty decent Schwarzbier. I wouldn't mind if the roast was kicked up a tad bit, or maybe an element of dark chocolate....just something to add a little more complexity. Very drinkable, and would certainly have again.

briman, Sep 06, 2010
Photo of kellypodz
3.95/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Originally released as the limited edition Shiner 97 as part of the brewery's countdown to its 100th anniversary, the dark lager was reintroduced as a permanent part of Shiner's line-up only a short time later due to popular demand.

I love its hoppy undertones, creamy head, and roasted malts.

It's not as desirable as it's older brother, Shiner Bock. But it's wonderful occasionally, especially with spicy cuisine. Being darker than most beers, it may also be better appreciated in the not so hot months of the year. While not my usual my go-to beer, I still must buy a six-pack every once in a while.

You can read my full review on my blog:
http://1yob.com/post/974359083/shinerblack

kellypodz, Sep 05, 2010
Photo of indiapaleale
3.53/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Let the Spoetzl fest continue...

Pours a deep, dark brown to mahogany in color with a half inch of bubbly head.

Aroma reminds me of soggy cereal, brown bread, caramel and coffee grounds.

Flavor is rich, roasty and definitely a fair share of dark roasted malt. Lots of bready flavors mixed with dark roast coffee, burnt toast and brown sugar.

Decent brew. Spoetzl kind of confuses me. Are they going for utmost quality or do they just sort of wing. Some of their stuff reminds me of Saranac when it comes to quality.

indiapaleale, Sep 02, 2010
Photo of belgiumbud
4.6/5  rDev +33.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The first American made swartzbier I have tried...
Exceptional!

I have been looking forward to seeing Spoetzl Brewery venture outside of their comfort zone for a while now...Very excited about trying this beer

Pours into a pint glass nicely with a pearl white head about inch high
Not much aroma...smell espresso and caramelized sugar

Very dark brown to black color

The taste was amazing...Espresso, Chocolate and Caramel round out the flavor of this beer...but smooth the entire time

Incredibly enjoyable to drink...amazing flavor...Would of enjoyed this at room temperature poured over some vanilla bean ice cream...

Would like to enjoy this on tap

belgiumbud, Aug 24, 2010
Photo of albertjr21
3.73/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Black color with bright brown highlights under the reminiscent ring of a beige thin head.

S: A dark roasted malt nose with a mild sweet licorice note.

M/T: A crisp and bubbly carbonated upfront feel with a short lived malt center that leads to a palate scrubbing finish with traces of sour and roasted malt notes.

D: Something perhaps to best be enjoyed with a simply seasoned cut of beef.

albertjr21, Aug 23, 2010
Photo of mdwalsh
4.2/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Nice black body, big giant tan head. Maybe too big, but I poured pretty harsh and it's not lingering very long. At least not inappropriately long. Well, it's pretty much gone now. Pretty good lacing though. The beer is very dark brown, pretty much black but not perfectly.

S: Dry, grainy roast, nothing for hops. Not burnt or anything like that, just the smell of cooked and roasted grains. Not unpleasant, fairly typical for the style, but not the best presentation ever.

T: Much, much better than the nose. The taste is a mild roast, still some grainyness, but not a dry unpleasant taste, more like eating barley pilaf. The taste is not overpowering at all, and is very interesting, bordering on complex.

M: I really think they nailed the mouthfeel, light (but not watery) with a smooth texture, totally disconnected from the taste/appearance.

D: Very drinkable, something I won't be afraid to recommend or add to my personal rotation.

mdwalsh, Aug 10, 2010
Bohemian Black Lager from Spoetzl Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 1,216 ratings.