Dismiss Notice
Hello, is it beer you're looking for?

Learn more about beer. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for as low as 68% off the single issue price.

Subscribe now →

Black Bavarian - Sprecher Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Black BavarianBlack Bavarian

Educational use only; do not reuse.

461 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 461
Hads: 839
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).
View: Beers (50) | 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
Reviews: 461 | Hads: 839
Photo of jwinship83
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- black body with a finger of fleeting tan head. little to no retention or lacing.

S- roasted malts, caramel, and toffee. smells pretty sweet.

T- dark and roasty. very close to how it smells. maybe a bit of black licorice in here as well

M- thin to medium mouthfeel with a good level of carbonation.

D- a good session brew. something i could have about two of before wanting to switch to something else. pretty good bargain as well.

 440 characters

Photo of halfP1NT
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed this one on 6/8/08. Thanks to johnd513 for this.

This brew pours an opaque black with a tan head that recedes into a thin layer.

Smell is nothing too overwhelming; toasty malts and smoke, woody and slightly sweet.

Taste is smoky, toasted malts and some smooth chocolate. There is also a definite meaty flavor here that's hard for me to ignore. I really don't like the meaty taste here (that's why I don't really like rauchbiers or smoked beers), but there are other things going on here that I do like. The smoky flavor dominates, and lingers after the sip. Nice hops presence balances it all out.

The sweet malts coat my mouth, yet this is a pretty crisp brew. This is a very flavorful lager. Although not my favorite style, I'd recommend trying this one.

 771 characters

Photo of Rayek
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Stange.

A: Deep walnut, almost black. A rocky cream cap slowly falls to a thin quilt of foam. Leaves a fair amount of lace.

S: Chocolate, molasses and a hint of burnt malt make up most of the nose. There's a light scent of lemon in the background.

T: Molasses and a burnt bitterness are out front. Some bittersweet baking chocolate is along for the ride. Finishes with a slight astringency and lingering burnt wood flavors.

M: The body is fairly heavy and has a bit too much fizz.

D: This is a nice Schwarzbier overall. It's a bit heavier than I was expecting, but its moderate strength was a nice compliment to a cold autumn day.

 649 characters

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

16 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a very dark ruby color. It only shows hints of opacity when put against a moderately strong light. The head is a three finger mocha shade that doesn't retain particularly well, as expected. Having said that, I love the soft creaminess of the texture, with just a hint of rockiness to suggest it's well hopped. Lacing left on the glass is quite plentiful, also.

S: I get some dark fruit esters, roasted malts, cream, chocolate, caramel, noble hops, and brown sugar on the aroma. Not terribly groundbreaking on its own, but quite impressive given the style. I could certainly compare it to a good porter/stout aromatically.

T: An initial wave of dry chocolate soon gives way to a combination of roasted malts and grassy hops on the back end. While it's simplistic and straightforward, it's also enjoyably balanced and easy to drink.

M: It's crisp and dry like a good lager should be. On the other end of the spectrum, it actually does a good job of feeling somewhat substantial. At times, the general feel is more reminiscent of a porter than a dinky-ass schwarzbier.

O: I wasn't sure what to expect from this one - it's a schwarzbier, yet one of the top examples of the style according to BA. Luckily, I'm finding this one pretty damn good. Probably the best schwarz I've had yet, in fact.

 1,334 characters

Photo of anglagard1
3.74/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pilsner glass per Beer Advocate directions.
Still getting used to the style, as it looks and smells like a porter or stout. The smell especially reminds me of a quality porter, with rich cocoa/coffee aroma, with perhaps a slight medicinal/bandaid to it. It is in the taste and mouthfeel that I recognize this is a lager; there is nothing that especially makes me want to keep this on the tongue, nor am I reluctant to drink it in gulps. It's a good beer but I'd be hard pressed to find the right occassion for it. Perhaps if you're in the mood for a dark beer on a warm summer night.

 598 characters

Photo of edchicma
3.73/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew is presented nicely with a jet black appearance that includes a decent head and ok lacing. Smell was a bit earthy with a definite malt presence. Malt flavor came through in a semi-sweet character...some smoke notes with a slightly tart finish. Mouthfeel was medium, with slightly oily qualities. Drinkability was just ok, not overly smooth with a slight catch in the throat.

 384 characters

Photo of bigdeuce
3.73/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Wow, is this a rich one. Full of chocolate and coffee malts, bursting with terrific high tailed, nutty flavor. Very robust and creamy, great mouthfeel as it is very full bodied. Pours a dark black with a nice pillowy head that leaves lacing all the way down the glass. Slight bitterness on the end, but initial booming maltiness. A top flight beer no doubt!

 357 characters

Photo of dhannes
3.72/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Revisited this beer on tap after having had a number of enjoyable bottles. While the appearance resembles a porter in color, it is actually a lager and tastes as such. Hints of cocoa, but not as drinkable or tasty as a porter...in fact, it would have been hard to distinguish this beer from, say, a decent lager, in a blind taste test...well, you could taste a hint of roasting, but not much. Still, a decent once-in-awhile beer.

 429 characters

Photo of clvand0
3.71/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a very dark color with a small head that leaves a little lacing on the glass once it falls. It has a slight smell of the 'lager stank' at the beginning, but there are some malty notes in there. Some roasted malts, mostly. The flavor is comprised mostly of the roasted malts (coffee), but there is a little chocolate flavor in there as well. Finish is dry. Drinkability is nice. Body is a little light for me, but still good.

 440 characters

Photo of B967ierhunter177
3.7/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours black, period. It has a 1/4 inch head and thin lace. The aroma is of anise, molasses, and burnt toast. The flavor opens with dark roasted malt, baker's chocolate, and coffee notes with a hint of wood and smoke. The mouthfeel is medium and smooth. Sprecher Black Bavarian is a good brew, recommended!

 315 characters

Photo of barefootbrewer
3.7/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: This beer poured a brownish black color.

S: The aroma is initially big of malt. There are toffee and burnt caramel smells that are also quite apparent.

T: Roasted and toasted flavors are the first to reach the palate. A coffee type bitterness is persistent and works very well.

M: The mouthfeel is a bit thin. I would like for a little more body, but it seems to be suited to the style description.

D: This is a very drinkable brew. The thin body makes it just slide down.

 479 characters

Photo of kennyo
3.7/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the precher event at the Collins Bar

Pours an opaque black color with a 3/4" head that disappates firly quickly. Could be bar glasses cleaning that makes the head disappear, which always makes it hard t judge beer in bars. The aroma is coffee, chocolate. Taste is smoky, black malt but not overpowering, smooth with a dry finish. This is a good example of a schwarzbier. I would like to try a bottle to see if the appearence and head is different

 459 characters

Photo of GreyMorel
3.7/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had in botle form, served cold into a tumbler.

A - Reasonably dark. Not a black, but rather a very dark brown that becomes apparent when held up to the light. Head was of an off-white color, single finger thickness. Head was not long lived.

S - Smelled very sweet, with a noticable hop aroma.

T - The tast was very sweet from malts, and yet a little hopy; very pleasent. I wasn't expecting such an uplifting taste from a "dark" beer.

M - Nothing outstanding to report here. It feels rather smooth with moderate carbonation. It was rather light bodied, not heavy.

D - I only rated it average. I was very gung-ho about drinking it at first, but the sweet flavor just kept building up in my palate to the point where I couldnt finish it. If you sip it slow, its a great beer; don't go overboard.

 797 characters

Photo of GRG1313
3.68/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a big thick and off white head - nice looking and inviting.

Nose is layered with light carmel/toffee and sweet black chocolate. Light but inviting and pleasant.

Mouthfeel is thin and a bit watery with very light carbonation. However, layers of subtle flavors overcome the other weaknesses of this beer.

Flavors are light roasted grains, light brewed coffee and a pleasant burnt toast malt/hop character.

Finish is a pleasant light coffee bitter. Nice flavor profile save this one and it's a nice "lighter" dark beer that's pretty drinkable. Finish is a pleasant long bitter coffee that leaves you wanting more.

 635 characters

Photo of shadow1961
3.68/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Sprecher Black Bavarian Style Lager pours a lovely stiff
brown head over a black brew. The nose is molasses with
a hint of mocha. Carbonation is really hard to guage- this
stuff is black as a stout. The flavor is coffee, molasses, and
a bit of bitter chocolate in the finish. The mouthfeel is light
and crisp- a dark beer that is perfectly refreshing in June.
It's like a bad ass iced coffee, with alcohol! Goddamn-
Sprecher has some master brewers working for them- I've
yet to taste a loser. Tasty.

 510 characters

Photo of bditty187
3.67/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black with ruddy highlights, tiny tan head that collapses to a collar quickly, no lace was produced. Modestly roasted malts, coffee in the nose… reserved potency. Yeah, that’s roasty! Superb palate, raw, roasty malts, bitter, chalky, coffee, simple but constructed well. Dry finish. Tasty, yes, but uninspiring. Medium body. Clean finish. Quick. Sticky aftertaste, a little sweet… this would limit how many I’d drink in a setting. I can’t say this one knocked my socks off; it is a good Schwarzbier but it just didn’t jive with me.

Thanks tavernjef!

 559 characters

Photo of alleykatking
3.65/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 16oz bottle.

A- Pours a black color but shows some red hues when held to the light. One finger brownish tan head comes up and dies slowly. No real lacing left behind on the glass as I'm drinking.

S- Good roasted malts in the front end of this beer. Light hints of chocolate and something a little more sweet like molasses in the middle of the nose. There is some light grassy hops I can pick out very faintly in the background of this beer. Reminds me of the start of a wonderful RIS.

T- Nice lighter roasted malts in the front end of this beer. There is a nice lager taste in the middle of the beer with a added sweetness. I don't know how else to describe it. Light hops in the backend of this beer.

M- Medium heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation was a little lacking and makes this beer more heavy than it should be. Malts dominate everything from the palate to the aftertaste.

D- This beer is good....not great but good. I wouldn't mind have a couple pints of this and then move onto something a little more....less heavy feeling.

 1,047 characters

Photo of ADR
3.63/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Good head on a hard pour, medium bubbles and a stiff one inch layer. Color is a ruby-black, lets light through. A little yeasty in smell, mostly sweet. Malty flavor but not overly sweet, close to rich and nutty but attenuated. A little on the light bodied side, but fresh tasting. Drinkable but not as tasty as a Saranac Black Forest...

 341 characters

Photo of NODAK
3.63/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Aroma isn't too strong; has definite notes of chocolate along with some roasted character. Light, kind of silky. Not bad.

Love the pint glass bottles! Haven't seen these before from anybody else. The color of the beer is in the name.

Taste is full of dark chocolate and roasted malts but it isn't overally powerful nor rich. A bit thin. Not really sweet in the least. Small but noble bitterness is noticeable on the finish. An espresso taste lingers after the swallow.

A solid, pretty much by the book black lager here. Those who are looking for a sweeter, richer schwarzbier are going to have to look elsewhere.

 615 characters

Photo of blitheringidiot
3.63/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle breakout of dark brown meets black hues topped with a frothy settling spotty thin wafer cap.

Nose is a burnt malty, slightly licorice, and dark cake.

First swigs: Burnt black cold coffee flavor and astringency. Tobacco leaf notes ingrained with a hop balance that makes for a darn good black bavarian that was fairly cheap too. Dry and caramelized sugar finish. Lingering aftertaste.

Decent feel of middle ofthe road body and dense carbonation.

Last swigs: Loads of dark chocolate an caramel. Nice. Thanks to wbfarr for the heads up! Great suggestion.

Beer is good.

 588 characters

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.63/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle. Pours black with a small light tan head. Aroma of rich bready malt and roasted lager malts with a slight hint of chocolate. Flavor is quite similar, with a smooth palate. Some vegetal notes with a sweet finish. Not as roasty as some schwarzbiers are and its malt character reminds me more of a doppelbock. A nice beer.
7/4/7/4/15 (3.7/5)

 346 characters

Photo of superdedooperboy
3.6/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16-ounce brown glass bottle with twist-off cap poured into a pilsner glass.

Opaque at first glance, it pours a deep, dark brown, showing ruby tones when held to the light. The small half-finger of light tan foam shows excellent retention but fails to leave any remnant of itself on the walls of the glass.

Aroma is patently malty, with some light roast along with caramel and chocolate, even a hint of smokiness.

A little fuller in body than anticipated for the style, with a light carbonation. Big, rich malt flavors envelop the palate, sweet with caramel and dark chocolate, roasty and smoky as well, with a moderate hop bitterness showing up in the middle to balance a bit but allowing the malt presence to take center stage. The sweet malt character brings itself to a head, surprisingly, toward the back, bringing in a finish that is sweet with cocoa and burnt caramel, though with a light dryness to even things out.

Delicious, but much more reminiscent of a porter than a Schwarzbier, as this brew possesses nowhere near the finesse of the finest examples of the style. Pleasing in itself no doubt, but whereas one expects Pils-like drinkability from a Schwarz, this might actually fit in better with an American-style Porter or even a Baltic Porter for that matter.

 1,278 characters

Photo of Thads324
3.59/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

given to me by my father, of all people!

A : pours a super dark oil color with a finger and half of solid and thick tan head, little tiny bubbles. german looking label, although it is american.

S : not much to speak of. a little hint of roasted malt. smells dry and has a hint of old chocolate bar.

T : begins with a musty and earthy hop, not bitter, but slightly flavorful. The middle is dominated by a vibrant roasted almost coffee taste. undertones of sweet chocolate bits. Followed up by another hint of flavor hops and a crisp finish. the finish has a hint of caramel in it.

M : clean, crisp and easy to drink. Finishes very nice and easy.

A nicely done beer. Lacking in aroma, but that may be the tulip I used (only clean glass I had today). a good surprise from a brewery I have never heard of and I would pick it up again.

 835 characters

Photo of sleazo
3.59/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-pours as black as a dark night with a cream coloured creamy top. Lacing coats the sides of the glass.

S-Slight charred malt, not very strong

T-Sweetness is the first thing that hits you followed by the slightly charred malt. Slight hints of hops can be detected but most of the bitterness here is from the malt.

M-Light bodied with moderate carbonation

D-This is a good Swartzbier but not on par with some of the European classics. Is a bit sweet for my taste but this is a good one to have on hand.

 505 characters

Photo of tonistruth
3.58/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- black w/ stop light red hues, 1/4 tan head disappeared quickly

S- roasted, sweet cream, choclate

T- nicely balanced, stale burnt bitterness toward finish, sweet chocolate, caramel, roasted malts, dry coco at finish, coffee in after

M- smooth, creamy, carbonation tickle, dry finish, light body

D- complex and tasty (though that stale flavor felt off, and carbonation felt awkwardly flat at times), enjoyable and drinkable, worth a shot, i'd have another

 468 characters

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