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Black Bavarian - Sprecher Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Black BavarianBlack Bavarian

Educational use only; do not reuse.

461 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 461
Hads: 840
Avg: 4.07
pDev: 14.25%
Wants: 116
Gots: 69 | 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).
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 461 | Hads: 840
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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Photo of Strix
4.53/5  rDev +11.3%
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!

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

Sprecher Black Bavarian is a solid black lager with a fluffy brown head. Wooden spice, sweet malt and roast are in the aroma. It's medium-full bodied and incredibly smooth with a slightly astringent finish. Big, chewy roasted malt is the flavor here. It's balanced, bold and simple. The wooden spice is in the taste too. It's almost a touch tart. This is very enjoyable-- a supreme lager!

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Photo of bowersdm
4.52/5  rDev +11.1%
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.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.52/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is another of tone77's big box o' beer that he dropped off recently in another local, in-person trade.

From the bottle: "This intensely dark Kulmbacher-style lager has a superb malt complexity with the distinctive flavor and aromas of caramelized and chocolate malts. A renonowned smoothness and a creamy, tan head make it a world champion."

I poured a couple of times, due to its desire to jump up to the top of the glass. Once it finished, I had a finger of dense, deep-brown head that sat atop the beer like a petulant child who refuses to go to their room when directed. I was going to spank it before i realized that it had the power to spank me tonight, Color was a deep, dark-brown that allowed just enough light to penetrate to show off its ruby highlights. Showoff! Mouthfeel was thick and creamy. Hey, is this a lager or a milkshake?!? The taste reminded me of Spike's request for dark chocolate-enrobed coconut eggs for Easter. Spike is NOT The Old Lady, but instead both a departmental colleague and my Lunch Duty partner. She helps me with the curriculum and I ply her with chocolate. In the meantime, this was a great pre-Easter beer. Dark chocolate, coconut, smoke and perhaps some wood all interacted to create a phenomenal lager. Finish was semi-sweet and I felt satiated on chocolate for the foreseeable future. Man, thanks to tone77 for a really memorable beer.

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Photo of kiddynamite920
4.52/5  rDev +11.1%
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.

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Photo of blackie
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

appearance: The pour into my imperial pint glass creates a big, fluffy, khaki head that recedes very slowly, and then persists in the form of a generous layer throughout the experience. The beer is a very dark brown in color.

smell: Though the beer is dark, the malt presence on the nose is somewhat subdued, as expected. At first I notice overripe bananas and banana bread, with some light caramel and milk chocolate notes in the background. The hop aroma is moderate. Smells good.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is on the lower end of the medium range, and very smooth. The body is medium, and very smooth and creamy.

taste: Delicious, subtle notes of milk chocolate and caramel on the tongue. Also subdued notes of roasted malt. Hop flavor is light, and the bitterness is just right...lingering into the finish with some roasted flavors.

drinkability: Definately easy drinking.

Picked up a single at Riley's while visiting Madison, WI. The characters 30108 FL 92701210 are printed on the neck of the bottle. Damn good beer.

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Photo of Erdinger2003
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a nice head that doesn't dissapate easily and leaves a little lacing behind. It's black and beautiful. The smell is coffee roasted malts that are great. The taste is a bit bitter, but not overly bitter with coffee taste. The mouthfeel is pretty smooth. Overall this is my favorite lager to date, so I will be having more.

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Photo of AmberMan22
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a near black with ruby highlights, Head is a frothy khaki/tan that disappears a little too quickly. Lacing is nice and pretty.

The smell is a robust, toasty and smoky chocolate malt notes are readily present.

The taste really is wonderful. A smoky heaven of dark roasted malt that leaves a little lingering bitterness.

The carbonation is maybe a little too strong for my liking, but it doesn't ruin overall mouthfeel, which is medium+ bodied, and feels warm and comforting on a chilling evening.

I do love this beer, and it makes for a perfect winter sipper. Glad I'm back in WI where they have this on tap at a bunch of places. Gotta be one of my favorite beers.

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Photo of GhostMtnAbbey
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Strong notes of plums, milk chocolate and raisins.

Pours with an amber head that doesn't last long. Lacing could be better.

A pleasant bitterness mixed with deep roasted malts and dark fruits. The blend tends to hold together great in mouth for a round sipping experience.

The best of Sprecher I've had so far.

I'd buy this one again.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
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.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
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.

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Black Bavarian from Sprecher Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 461 ratings.