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Black Bavarian - Sprecher Brewing Company

Black BavarianBlack Bavarian

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

682 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 682
Reviews: 441
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 10.57%


Brewed by:
Sprecher Brewing Company visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
Schwarzbier |  5.86% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Bronze Medal Winner in the European Darks category at the 1988 Great American Beer Festival (GABF).

(Beer added by: xlperro on 04-23-1998)
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Ratings: 682 | Reviews: 441 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of brakspear
brakspear

Wisconsin

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....

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2002 18:45:36 | More by brakspear
Photo of inebrius
inebrius

Michigan

4.9/5  rDev +20.4%
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!

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2002 00:43:35 | More by inebrius
Photo of budgood1
budgood1

Minnesota

4.9/5  rDev +20.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2008 23:47:37 | More by budgood1
Photo of Bighuge
Bighuge

Minnesota

4.8/5  rDev +17.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2002 21:25:27 | More by Bighuge
Photo of IntriqKen
IntriqKen

California

4.8/5  rDev +17.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2007 02:58:09 | More by IntriqKen
Photo of fbinla
fbinla

California

4.8/5  rDev +17.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2009 07:02:19 | More by fbinla
Photo of blackearth
blackearth

Minnesota

4.8/5  rDev +17.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-02-2009 02:11:10 | More by blackearth
Photo of Schmidts
Schmidts

Pennsylvania

4.76/5  rDev +17%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-23-2013 22:07:21 | More by Schmidts
Photo of johnnieoz
johnnieoz

Texas

4.75/5  rDev +16.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-25-2008 03:19:17 | More by johnnieoz
Photo of russpowell
russpowell

Oklahoma

4.72/5  rDev +16%
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

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2007 03:22:10 | More by russpowell
Photo of cokes
cokes

Wisconsin

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.

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2002 00:45:12 | More by cokes
Photo of RonfromJersey
RonfromJersey

New Jersey

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?

Serving type: bottle

04-26-2002 22:11:05 | More by RonfromJersey
Photo of francisweizen
francisweizen

Arizona

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.

Serving type: bottle

09-14-2004 22:40:35 | More by francisweizen
Photo of burns1066
burns1066

Iowa

4.63/5  rDev +13.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2012 04:43:28 | More by burns1066
Photo of guityler83
guityler83

Wisconsin

4.63/5  rDev +13.8%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

01-08-2013 01:53:43 | More by guityler83
Photo of nomad
nomad

Kansas

4.58/5  rDev +12.5%
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.?

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2005 16:36:52 | More by nomad
Photo of TheManiacalOne
TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

4.58/5  rDev +12.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2007 04:36:23 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of Halcyondays
Halcyondays

California

4.58/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22 oz. bomber, listed as 6% on the label,

A: Pours a very dark brown, black-looking from afar into a mug, with a medium dark-tan head which slowly fades, light lacing as well.

S: Smells of light coffee and dark chocolate, as the beer warms, a distinct roast and smoke scent comes out.

T: This is a truly exceptionally tasting black lager. Sweet dark cocoa and bitter coffee combine to form a rich, tasty brew, that is almost like drinking a liquid dessert, very reminiscent of an RIS. There are a wealth of flavours hidden in this beer, delicious dark roast and chocolate. Just the perfect amount of sweetness balances the roast bitterness.

M: Smooth and soft, easy drinking, just makes you want to take another gulp.

D: Smooth and a pleasure going down, by far the best schwarzbier I have ever had, Sprecher has truly made a classic. Highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2007 03:54:06 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of Strix
Strix

Wisconsin

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

Pours very dark, brown-red at the edges, good initial head.

Smell very malty and bready with roasted notes, caramel and chocolate.

Delicious roasted malt, fresh bread, chocolate, caramel, toffee, nuts, and a bit of floral hop towards the finish that finishes it off with a flourish. Very flavorful.

Medium mouthfeel and carbonation.

This was fantastic!

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2010 04:58:00 | More by Strix
Photo of tapman
tapman

Illinois

4.58/5  rDev +12.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2010 03:12:06 | More by tapman
Photo of RoyalT
RoyalT

Ohio

4.55/5  rDev +11.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-18-2006 01:49:50 | More by RoyalT
Photo of bowersdm
bowersdm

Ohio

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

16 oz bottle (I think) poured into a German pilsner glass

A - Dark, almost like an Imperial Stout. The head was very small (<1cm)

S - roasted barley, other malts, and a hint of chocolate

T - roasted barley and chocolate followed by a dry roasted barley bitterness (like the tail end of the taste of Guinness), followed by a slight chocolate taste, and some vanilla and coffee, but not as much as the chocolate or roasted barley.

M - nice, it had a surprisingly good level of carbonation considering the weak head.

D - I would definitely have another one of these. It's pretty filling for what I consider to be a pretty low ABV brew.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2009 05:07:50 | More by bowersdm
Photo of kiddynamite920
kiddynamite920

Pennsylvania

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

16 oz bottle into the Duvel tulip.

A: Probably the darkest schwarzbier I've seen thus far. Takes the appearance of an Imperial stout. Very impressive. Tan head forms a ring around the glass. Wasn't expecting this deep blackness. Very nice.

S: Can already smell the roasty malts with the beer sitting 3 feet from me. Chocolate and caramel malts, big coffee and roasty malt profile. I think I have found the perfect schwarzbier. Just a tad of bready sweetness to balance the roast qualities. Great smokey character as well, almost a cigar like flavor on the back end. I find this perfect for the style.

T: Well balanced, indeed. The bitterness from the roasted malt aroma mellows out perfectly. Has a tobacco and vanilla note. Very smokey as it should be. Just makes you think of the darkest malts you can find thrown into a cold smoker. Huge roast profile as the style would suggest. Again I find this an exceptional example of this style.

M: Creamy, dark and delicious. Carbonation is perfect, sweetness is well balanced.

D: By far the best Schwarzbier I've come across. Perhaps I have to get out more often. This beer is perfect for its style. You need some time to put back this 16 oz stubby bottle. It disperses so many roasted flavors on the tongue that you can't stop sipping on it.

Serving type: bottle

05-07-2010 04:22:41 | More by kiddynamite920
Photo of revolt914
revolt914

Colorado

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!

Serving type: bottle

10-05-2010 06:36:23 | More by revolt914
Photo of Bitterbill
Bitterbill

Wyoming

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

16oz bottle courtesy of hu5om. Thanks Ryan!

Not first encounter with Black Bavarian. It was one of the first beers that really impressed me at my first GABF.

It pours the blackest of pitch blacks with about an inch of tannish foam. Despite having an average head of foam, the lacing is good.

The smell is of chocolate and roasted malt. Some sweet notes, some bitter ones.

The taste is superb! Notes of chocolate, roasted malt, caramel, a touch of fruitiness when I swish it in my mouth, and a nice balancing light bitterness. Delicious!

Medium body, light to medium carbonation, this is an easy drinking and super good example of the style. Maybe the best US sample that I've tried.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2010 19:45:30 | More by Bitterbill
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Black Bavarian from Sprecher Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 682 ratings.