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Black Bavarian - Sprecher Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Black BavarianBlack Bavarian

Educational use only; do not reuse.

462 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 462
Hads: 850
Avg: 4.07
pDev: 14.5%
Wants: 115
Gots: 71 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Sprecher Brewing Company visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
Schwarzbier |  5.86% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: xlperro on 04-23-1998

Bronze Medal Winner in the European Darks category at the 1988 Great American Beer Festival (GABF).
View: Beers (51) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Black Bavarian Alström Bros
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Reviews: 462 | Hads: 850
Photo of brakspear
5/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A beer above all others. THIS should be the beer that made Milwaukee famous! The other reviewers have perfectly described the way one taste of this beer informs you that no other Bavarian style beer brewed in America can hold a candle to a malty taste that is so rich and complex followed with a burst of coffee and hop sizzle. Midnight color that revealed a ruby undertone when held to a strong light. If you can find it in a bottle great...but if you can find it on tap....thank whatever god or goddess you pray to....

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Photo of budgood1
4.89/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

pours out of the big, fat, twist off pint size bottle a nearly opaque midnight black colour. ruby hues and crimson tints around the edges. smallish tan head appears and dies off quite quickly, only leaving slight rings of lace. killer nose on this one...dark chocolate and cocoa puffs, with a dark malty sweet aroma mixing in with an ever so subtle flowery hop nose. absolutely love the smell. the taste is a delicate but bold mix of dry, unsweetened chocolate, slight sherry fruitiness, toffee and coffee...with some hints of molasses and slight notes of caramel. hopping for show and balance only; slightly bitter but blooming in flavour also...grassy, herbal and flowery. the malt profile comes across as deeply complex; a bit acidic and somewhat chalky at times...but wow does this one taste fabulous! the lager body is full and rich with a mouthfeel that is dry and puckering. a wonderful compliment to each other. finishes dry, then a bit bitter, then with a lingering sweetness. this is one damn layered, complex, and amazing brew!

drinkability is off the charts...one could drink their fill of this and not get sick of it.

a fantastic schwarzbier. lives up to the hype and most definitely worth seeking out.

i wish i had more access to this as i would drink it on a regular basis.

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Photo of inebrius
4.88/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Whoa...wait a second. Is this for real? Wow!! Poured a sticky, thick and chunky khaki head. Wonderful nose of sweet malt and toasty bear claws. Mildly tart, but full and clean and little astringency to get in the way. Profoundly balanced and a drinker for sure. Top notch!

Cheers to Jon for the sample!

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.86/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

16 oz bottle poured into a Sprecher stemmed pokal.
6% ABV,

A - Schwarzbier means "black beer" in German and Black Bavarian's dark chocolate color demonstrates that perfectly. While pouring, light through the brown highlights shows it's clarity while a lasting ivory cap of foam rests on the beer and leaves lace down the glass.

S - Crisp dark malt releases dried cocoa sprinkled on warmed chocolate-and-caramel bar with a fantastic lager cleanliness. The juxtaposition of robust malt complexity with the sheer perception of easy drinkability is beautiful.

T - Caramel sweetness underscores the chocolate malt's dark chocolate flavor and lightly roasted coffee bean with a Twix-like taste and faint earthy hop finish for balance; the taste is exceptionally smooth.

M - Just enough carbonation dances on the tongue, keeping this medium-bodied lager feeling a bit lighter than it appears. The chocolate malts provide minimal acrid bitterness letting the otherwise transparent hops do the bulk of the work.

O - There's a good reason Sprecher's Black Bavarian continues to command medal after medal in world-renown competitions; it's that good. This is a dark beer that's a great training-wheel beer for people who "don't like dark beer". It's also a great dark beer for people thirsting after a dark beer without the hefty body or higher alcohol. Black Bavarian has the perfect malt combination to balance sweetness with chocolaty, lightly roasted notes for exceptional smoothness and drinkability. May the Schwarz be with you.

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Photo of blackearth
4.78/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased from the Sprecher Brewery giftshop in Glendale, WI. Pours a pitch black body with a thick tan head. Aroma of toffee, chocolate and roasted peat. Medium bodied this beer is a blast of roasted malt in your mouth with a touch of smokiness. Mild carbonation gives it a silky mouthfeel. Pleasant sweetness in the finish. This is what a dark lager should be. Terrific beer.

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.77/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Now THIS is a Schwarzbier!

Pours almost black with just a touch of mahogany red and a nice full finger head that takes it's time melting leaving a sticky map in it's wake.

Aromas of roasted dark malts, coffee, a hint of chocolate, and just a breath of citrus hops. As it warms more, I notice a little tobacco as well.

Flavor is rich and full-bodied. Dark roasted malt for sweetness, rich coffee with just a little chocolate and then the nice hop citrus finish.

Aftertaste is totally clean with nothing cloying at all.

An extremely flavorful Schwarzbier...almost with porter like characteristics.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.77/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer seems black and has a small tan head that is gone within seconds. This is a beer that you can seemingly smell the thickness. Great malty, toasty, roasty bitter aromas. What a creamy mouthfeel. Feels like velvet as it rolls across the tongue. Great complexity to this brew. There aren't any overbearing tastes, but many underlying ones that mesh well together: coffee, roast malt, biscuit, mocha and toffee to name a few. I just love the taste of this beer. It has been one of my reliables ever since I tried it about 5 years ago. There aren't too many Schwarzbiers available these days, but I'd guess it'd be hard to improve much on this one.

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Photo of fbinla
4.76/5  rDev +17%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours the darkest brown you can get before black. Light brown head, med carbonation. A dark roasted maltiness, a hint of dark chocolate, that are pretty strong but somehow the beer manages to be light on the palate. A nice bitterness compliments the sweetness with a perfect balance.

This is one of my favorite beers, dark and roasty yet it still manages to be dangerously easy to drink. Just fantastic.

Thanks to my in laws from bringing me cases from WI every time they visit.

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Photo of Schmidts
4.74/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a deep dark brown/black with a 3/4 inch tan creamy head lacing from top to bottom. Smells of dark Malts, Molasses and Licorice/Anise.
The Taste says the minute you taste it better have another later. It is so creamy smooth malty lots of tastes of deep dark Malts chocolates and endless flavor. Not supper strong just right I can't say enough about the taste of this beer
In your Mouth this is one of the most Creamy wonderful beers I have ever drank!
Overall I have To Give this Beer a 4.75 it is World class in its flavor.

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Photo of johnnieoz
4.72/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Beautiful 22 oz brown bomber with a clean simple label and a golden waxed top. (I'll try to submit a new photo).

A: Near black, the dark brown hue barely shows through when held to a light. A minimal head quickly fades.

S: Roasted malts with coffee and chocolate notes. Very pleasing.

T: While it smelled a bit like a doppelbock, it definitely tastes like a schwarzbier. A very good schwarzbier no less. Balancing out the rich, roasted maltiness, the hop character makes this lager absolutely delicious.

M: Crisp. Dry. Refreshing. Solid. A lingering malty bitterness.

D: At 6% abv, this is a session beer. And if you like darker lagers, chances are that you'll be downing more than one of these bombers.

A great beer that ranks up there with Köstritzer, the East German classic that rules the roost.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.7/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from the bottle into a Libbey style pilsner glass. Twist off cap.

Out of the bottle comes out thick and dark, hitting with big opaque and giant truly black walnut qualities, fine red edges and deep mahogany hues. Head manages a classic tan, creamy all the way and almost nitrous looking, even some capping like retention and island puck whipped up appearances. Excellent looker.

A real unexpected aroma. Rips of grain and dark roast but has a real chewy and fantastic sense of black licorice. Black truly is the theme so far in looks and bouquet. Light bodied and airy, leaving behind lager like crisp qualities in the dust, but also with perhaps a touch of dry coffee in the mix. Great stuff.

Palate is truly exquisite. An absolutely killer mouthfeel holding numerous angles, creamy and thick at first, light and refreshing on the finish, with a full coating and easy drinking quality. The flavors are exquisite and follow this with many surprises. Mid palate has mild roast, but a great nutty quality almost hazelnuts in flavor. The aftertaste is just dynamite, with loads of light coffee, soft chewy molasses and a stunning sense of soft chewy black licorice that builds and builds on the swallow. Mild vanilla and cream like quality sweetness, with brilliant balance of flavors.

What an absolutely killer drinking, flavorful, and fantastic brew. It's large power and big impression on the palate though sort of overwhelms more of classic Schwarz quality, but as a well made beer, this is in a class all its own.

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Photo of cokes
4.68/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Nice and black with some ruby highlights. The pillowy head lasts for the duration. Strong aromas of dark fruit and malt sweetness.
The taste starts out quite sweet, with definate carmel notes. Almost sugary. This all rides on top of a delectable roasted malt. After the sip, as the sweetness begins to fade, the mouth is jolted with a bitter charcoal roasted blast. Intially, I found this to be somewhat jarring and unpleasant, but as I became acclimated to it, I began to enjoy this taste. It seemed to tie a ribbon around the excellent mix of flavors in this brew. A very nice closure to the experience.
A supreme example of what is quickly becoming one of my favorite beer-styles. I wish more breweries would take a stab at this.
As a footnote, those of us in Southern Central Wis. should count our blessings, as we have two great schwarzbier offerings to enjoy. The other being Tyranena's Rocky's Revenge (sadly, only a late-winter seasonal). You can't go wrong with either.

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Photo of russpowell
4.68/5  rDev +15%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Cheers to PackerFan for this one! Looks great in my Kostrizer glass! Zero head retention or lacing

Pours an effervescent-reddish mahogany with 2+ fingers of tan head.

S: Roasted grain & some coffee

T: Big roasted malt & some molasses & chicory up front. Rich chocolate shows up as this warms. Finishes roasty with a little caramel & more chocolate

MF: Medium bodied with vigorous carbonation & great balance

Drinks very easy, a pretty damn good schwartz, the equal of anything I had in Germany! Shame about the visual, might adjust this if I see better results next time

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Photo of burns1066
4.65/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is an amazing beer! It drinks like a sweet, malty dessert. Tons of caramel and chocolate, malty without being cloying... in general, a fantastic late winter brew. It's mouth filling, but finishes wonderfully. The somewhat high alcohol content is not obtrusive because the beer invites slow savoring. As the temperature of the beer warms, the flavor profile becomes more pronounced and encourages even more measured drinking.

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Photo of gestyr
4.65/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

16 oz bottle poured into a pub glass.

A: Pours a deep brown/black with ruby/garnet tone when held to the light. The tan head is long lasting and made of compact bubbles.

S: Malty with caramel and a slightly smokey overtone. Also has a slightly fruity aspect.

T: Nice rich malt flavor with caramel and coffee flavors and a slightly fruity aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied and satisfying

O: A very good beer. The flavor and mouthfeel make it a nice sipping beer.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
4.65/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Big rocky head on top, then microbubbles. Black body with ruby highlights. Chocolate, coffee, and hops in the nose. Wonderful smooth across the tongue. Great malts, but with perfect balance between sweet and bitter. Could be drunk as a session beer, except it could spoil you. This might be the best dark lager I've ever had. What can their Imperial Stout do as an encore?

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Photo of francisweizen
4.63/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is an awesome schwartzbier. They must have really "used the schwartz" when they brewed up this one. A dark black beer with brown edges and a small chestnut coloured head of foam. The aromas are spicy and nutty with roasted malts in the mix as well. This smells just like a schwartzbier should to me. The taste is spicy up front with a nice roasted nuttiness. The middle is sweeter, and more full with a distinct roasted maltyness. Finally, the finish is dry, refreshing, spicy, and faintly hoppy. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and perfect, as is the drinkability. A first class lager brewed in the good ole' USA.

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Photo of JamieDuncan
4.58/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Picked up this little beauty after my beer guru clued me in on Sprecher. Gould it at Super Subs and Six Packs in DuBois. Outstanding looking beer with plenty of malt and smoke for the nose. Very tasty beer that is very easy to drink. A very tasty beer that I hope to have again in the future and I hope to try other of the Sprecher beers.

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Photo of guityler83
4.58/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: At first glance this beer is black and opaque but when held up to the light, a redish brown hue shines through from the edges. Very fine bubbles in the off-white/brown head just over the top of the pint.

S: Spicy, chocolatey and a hint of roast

T: Chocolate and roasty flavors are the focal point of your taste buds but not the main attraction. The spicy, earthy noble hops are what I love about this beer. They don't dominate the palate but enhance all the other flavors while artfully and tastefully giving Black Bavarian a drinkability factor of 10.

M: A nice clearn crisp mouth feelfeel with no astringancy.

O: Schwarzbier is one of my favorite styles and until I get a chance to visit Germany, Black Bavarian will be my benchmark to what all other schwarzbiers are compared (and even then I might) so far non have come close. Find this beer, drink it, buy some more. You won't be disappointed.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.57/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Acquired via trade from brdc, so a big “Thank you” goes out to him. Poured from a 16oz bottle into a mug glass. This was one of the first beers that I added upon realizing that BA had a “wants list” so I’ve been waiting a while with a great deal of anticipation to try this beer.

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

S: The aroma is of German malts, roasted coffee and dark chocolate along with a little bit of hops.

T: The taste is smoky, malty and sweet with creamy flavors of coffee & chocolate. There’s a mild hops presence, but it’s enough to provide a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is very clean for a style that normally leaves a stickiness.

D: Very tasty, goes down easily, not very filling, decent kick, excellent representation of style. To quote respected fellow BA IntriqKen, “Now THIS is a Schwarzbier!” This is definitely a beer that I could for a very long period of time and was certainly worth the wait. The only thing that I don’t like about this beer is that I haven’t been able to find it in my area.

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Photo of tapman
4.57/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Black in the middle and brown around the edges, a very small 1/4 finger head sets a sturdy brown lacing.

Caramel, toffee, toast, noble hops. Smells like a dark chocolate milkshake.

Tastes like a dark chocolate milkshake if they made it with malted barley sugar instead of regular sugar. Also the nice, strong taste of earthy, minty hops. All the flavors in the nose plus pretty sweet. I like the malt flavor in a kostriker a little better, but I would have to try them side by side. Either way a good effort on Sprecher.

Full bodied, slightly chewy, and silken as it glides down your throat.

Everything is great about this beer. My only qualm is that there was no head to speak of and in a black beer there really isn't much to rate it on besides the head. Regardless, just enough roast barley to give that roasty toasty taste without becoming astringent. Great balance between specialty grains and the hops. And it doesn't taste like 6% either.

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Photo of nomad
4.57/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A beer that I've enjoyed a few times but always with a less-than-fresh bottle. Over a big plate of beef brisket, South Carolina rice, and collard greens, this one came in great condition.

Pours seemingly black but truly deep brown with bare red highlights. Low, sudsy, and mocha colored head and occasional lace.

At first cocoa and coffee dominated with a touch of base malt sweetness, it opens to a deep and alluring caramel-dipped cherry scent and surprising touch of noble hop minty and floral zing. Full in effect and wide ranging in character, a surprising sniffing beer.

Flavor is crackling with a tight blend of pils-like bitterness and minty tinge with the smoothest rough cocoa and coffee. That's right, rough and roasty but impeccably smooth, and even rounded out by just enough caramel sweetness. Amazing pair with sweet and spicy barbecue sauce, sharpening the amazing rotation of roast, mint, sweet, roast, and smooth finish.

Who says there are no good lager brewers in the U.S.?

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Photo of revolt914
4.55/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I drank this beer with nothing holding me back... this is by far one of my top 5 beers to date. I can't think of anything bad about this beer being the style it is. I started with craft beers knowing I loved Black Beers and being a schwarzbier is just that. If you haven't had this beer take some time and get to know it, I really do think this beer deserves no explanation other than a strong push in the, "Go get this beer" category!

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Photo of RoyalT
4.53/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance – This is gorgeous! The color is a very dark brown as it should be with a beautiful darkly tanned head. I just couldn’t stop looking at this beauty shop.

Smell – The darkly-roasted malts are subdued but rich and complimented well with some doughy yeast. The sweets are small but mate well to the roasty malts.

Taste – This opens up nicely at the taste. The malts are roasty and bold and the sweets are lightly sugared and manage to avoid that offensive tangy flavor that so many pretenders of the style seem to have.

Mouthfeel – This is in between light and medium-bodied and expertly balanced. This is traditional German balancing at its best.

Drinkability – This is one of the best Schwartzbiers that I’ve ever had, to include the six years that I lived in Germany.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.53/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Sprecher Black Bavarian has a very thick, creamy, beige head, a dark brown (ruby, under light) appearance, and lots of thick, cream-like lacing left behind on the glass. The aroma is of dark-roasted, almost burnt, barley malt, sweetness, and brown bread crust, and the flavor is of creamy, dark-roasted malt, charcoal, dark coffee, chocolate powder, black cherries, slight licorice, underlying, soft bitterness, and brown bread crust. Mouthfeel is medium and slick, and Sprecher Black Bavarian finishes fairly crisp, rich, and quite drinkable. Overall, this is most excellent, and I highly recommend it!


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Black Bavarian from Sprecher Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 462 ratings.