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Black Bavarian - Sprecher Brewing Company

Black BavarianBlack Bavarian

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

680 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 680
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: 680 | Reviews: 441 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of yankeeheel
yankeeheel

Maine

3.53/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark ruby/black with a thin tan head. Leaves some neat foam swirlies in the beer. Smells of straight dark-burnt hops.

The taste starts very stout like with a big rush of dark malt but quickly turns bitter and burnt, but without a lot of hop bitterness. Scant taste of licorice at the end. A very interesting brew. My first schwarzbier

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2003 00:27:51 | More by yankeeheel
Photo of ommegangpbr
ommegangpbr

New York

3.53/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From notes taken at the Hop Devil Grill:
Looks... Black! leaves some nice lacing after the off-white head fades.
Scents are sweet and smoky but lacking some punch. This will clearly be a malty time.
Flavors are all sweetened coffee notes. Pretty similar to many porters I've had but underachieving some.
Not too bad all around but something like this I'd expect to be a bit more smooth.

Serving type: on-tap

02-20-2008 05:14:33 | More by ommegangpbr
Photo of drseamus
drseamus

New York

3.53/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: When they say black bavarian style lager, they mean black. Although the "blackest material" was created at RPI where I go to school, this rivals it.

S: Roasted malt and a subtle caramel sweetness.

T: A good sweetness lasts throughout the entire taste but the initial taste is pretty roasty. There is a touch of roast in the aftertaste as well.

M: Medium bodied but finishes pretty thin.

D: A good black lager but not a style I'm generally a fan of.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2008 01:52:01 | More by drseamus
Photo of JasonA
JasonA

Massachusetts

3.53/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a light dark black. Yes, a strange appearance, though I would guess on style. Little to no carbonation.

Slight malt. Almost smells burt. Light overall

Burnt malt, and yet very refreshing, light. Not much in the palatte, very subtle. For a 5%+ ABV, this beers tastes good.

Refreshing. Doesnt feel like the color. Macro feel, craft subtle.

Very nice. I could drink a few of these pounders. If the price was right, a case seems nice for a warm afternoon with friends.

Serving type: bottle

07-26-2008 21:16:02 | More by JasonA
Photo of Jredner
Jredner

Florida

3.5/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

New in town. Aroma is sweet malts with a metallic twinge and extremely faint smokey and chocolate hints. Body is dark brown approaching full black and sports a rapidly diminishing tan head. Coffee, chocolate, dark roasted malts. Has an almost porter like flavor at first, but with a lighter mouthfeel. Slight hints of molasses through the middle with a bitter lingering finish. At times it has porter and dunkel flavors, but never truly gets all that schwarzbier-y. Still decently tasty.

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2006 11:09:30 | More by Jredner
Photo of philbe311
philbe311

Pennsylvania

3.5/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - The thinnest of fizzy light brown colored heads displays no retention to speak, you'll miss it if you blink... All that remains is a minimal splotchy lacing with a slightly ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass... Completely opaque muted black color... Very still...

S - Mild... Equal parts roasted malt and coffee... Touches of caramel and chocolate... Slightly grainy...

T - Burnt roasted malt to start... Hints of chocolate, coffee, and caramel... A mix of subtle hoppiness and ferocious roasted malts dominate the aftertaste and linger for quite a while...

M - A slightly burnt chalky texture... Medium bodied... Heavy... Biting carbonation... Even and consistent...

D - Being a fan of Schwarzbiers, I was rather disappointed with this offering given many of the reviews I've read... Average for the style at best... Nothing memorable... Really lacking in terms of complexities in all facets that I expect from top notch Schwarzbiers...

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2010 02:34:58 | More by philbe311
Photo of JerzDevl2000
JerzDevl2000

New Jersey

3.5/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up recently at Whole Foods on Houston St. since it was reasonably priced and I hadn't tried this before. I haven't had very many Schwarzbiers before so it was a chance to branch out a bit as well. When I saw the review on here, I was quite surprised at how highly rated this was. While this wasn't a bad beer, it was not as thick or as flavorful as I had hoped it would be!

Of course, this poured a very dark brown but there wasn't much of any head or lacing to be seen, even after I had to wait since the larger bottle couldn't be poured into my pint glass all at once. The taste was that of licorice, some darker plum-like fruits, and a faint hint of chocolate. This reminded me a bit of Newcastle but not as "brown". It was pretty malty and went down easily, but I expected this to have just a bit more staying power.

This isn't a very strong beer and I hardly felt the alcohol when I was drinking it. Sure, it has a nice mellow roasted feel to it, but I guess that a German-style beer would be a bit more bold. I probably need to try out more from this style, since the range is probably a lot greater than the few that I've had would indicate. This would certainly fit the bill for a session-like winter beer for the novice drinker...

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2010 00:07:33 | More by JerzDevl2000
Photo of DerekQXQX
DerekQXQX

Illinois

3.49/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is the highest rated of all of Sprecher's. It is possible that German Beer is just not my thing but I was underwhelmed. It was sweet, but not in the way of hop lacking. It might just not be what I am used to. I have never been to Bavaria, but from the taste of this beer, I'm not going there anytime soon either.

Serving type: on-tap

01-16-2014 11:50:16 | More by DerekQXQX
Photo of John
John

New York

3.48/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is very nice, impressive opaque black. Rich, coffee coloured brown head. Aroma consists of chocolate, deep roasted malt, toasted caramel, molasses and brown sugar. Flavors translate into a blend of the pleasant aromas while shifting from a black coffee bitterness to a chocolate and natural sugar cane sweetness. A touch of black licorice is underlying. Strangely these flavors tantalize but trail off way to soon with none of the oscillating lingering roasty bitterness and dark chocolate sweetness typical of the style. Seems to thin as it warms. A decent brew with good drinkability but as I finish the brew there's nothing left to remind of which brew I just drank.

Serving type: bottle

07-29-2004 01:47:42 | More by John
Photo of Vancer
Vancer

Illinois

3.48/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I too was impressed with the black pour from the 16oz bottle, with good inch tan head. Could see the ruby/brown undertones when held to the light. Nice, choc lately malt aroma, smooth easy taste. Not quite as much *earthy, grainy* taste as other black beers. Good lite to medium texture and tingle in the first half of the pint, but the tingle died somewhat by the end. Should have had a couple more to double-check drinkablity.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2005 14:47:51 | More by Vancer
Photo of twiggamortis420
twiggamortis420

Texas

3.48/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I was really excited to try a fresh schwarzbier made here in the states. Unfortunately, this one did not jive with me. 16 oz bottle pours a very dark brown color with a fluffy, tan head. Retention is nice and lacing is excellent. Freshness stamp of 101611017, not sure what that means.

Nose is surprisingly light. Mild chocolate, light sweetness with a definite grain presence. Little bit of cocoa and overall is a pretty clean lager.

Taste has a fruity edge to it that doesnt seem to fit in a schwarzbier style profile. Decent roast and hop bitterness though. Malts are abundant, but not as sweet and full as I would like. A little more robust than it really needs to be and I get a bit of cooked veggies on it. Decent enough, I was just expecting to be blown away by it...I like Kostritzer and Monchoff better, even with the travel across the big pond.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2010 16:43:05 | More by twiggamortis420
Photo of jpro
jpro

South Carolina

3.48/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a couple of these at Sam's in Durham a little while back. Poured into a dimpled mug...

A: Dark brown... not quite black - maybe they should rename it "Almost Black Bavarian"; nice mocha head that leaves some spindly lace and manages some minimal retention in the form of a ring of foam and a few patches here and there.

S: Roasted grain; chocolate; smells very sweet.

T: Some dark fruit sweetness... not what I was expecting; molasses; roasty finish; satisfying, yet not too flavorful.

M: On the lighter side of medium-bodied with some pretty high carbonation going on.

D: Satisfactory, in my opinion; nothing too crazy, yet not bad... middle of the road brew for me.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2010 20:22:10 | More by jpro
Photo of Grabbin2nd
Grabbin2nd

California

3.45/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

From Notes: 2/22/09
Sprecher Brewing Co.
Black Bavarian
5.86% Alc.
16oz. bottle

Appearance= Vigorous pour into New Belgium snifter yields a 2 finger tan head. Black opaque beer w/ minimal carbonation.

Smell= Not a whole hell of a lot going on. Malt, maybe a little bit of chocolate.

Taste= Uh. uh. uh. Nothing bad, nothing really good. Not offensive, just goes down. A little chocolate and malt, that's about it.

Mouthfeel= Nice creamy mouthfeel. Perfect for a beer. Best attribute about this beer.

Drinkability= High I guess. Nothing is bad about this beer, but nothing really stands out. It's great on tap if you can get it. Nothing I would seek out on a consistant basis.

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2009 16:14:19 | More by Grabbin2nd
Photo of crossovert
crossovert

Illinois

3.43/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

16 oz bottle with twist off cap.

Pours into my mug a nice deep, dark brown with red hues when held to light. The head is frothy and creamy at is rises slightly over the lip. It is light tan and does not recede at all really for a long time.

The smell is of cocoa mostly and some standard lager scents: bread and light hops. It isn't the best smelling example of this style, but for what it is it works.

The flavor is good, with some nice roasty malts. It is heavy on the roasted chocolate flavor. It is a bit heavy for the style which is basically a dark colored beer that should drink like a pilsener. This one is more like a porter.

It is a good try for an american company, but there are a few German examples that I would rather have.

Serving type: bottle

06-01-2010 23:56:03 | More by crossovert
Photo of witster18
witster18

Tennessee

3.4/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

not much on the nose.

taste is roasty malts and a dominant fig character, with that typical sprecher sourness from the yeast(which I really don't care for).

This does have some of the same good qualities as say a sammy smith beer... the mouthfeel is fantastic and the look is ominous with lace.... a very english caskness to this for sure.... but taste-wise it's just not my cup'o'tea despite it being one of the better offerings.

May revisit, but when it comes to swarzbier I like a lighter bodied, LESS FUNKY(sour) version....

call me crazy, but if given the choice I'd take a Sam Adam's black lager over this - despite this having that 'exceptional' look and mouthfeel.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2011 19:54:21 | More by witster18
Photo of yankeej13
yankeej13

Florida

3.4/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I enjoyed their scottish ale so I wanted to pick up more stuff from Sprecher.

A- Dark as night with a nice mild lace of a chocolate color foam. Mild amount of carbonation.

S- Has a nice sweet smell. Decently bold smell get hints of chocolate or maybe a coffee malts.

T- Was a little disappointed with the taste not as robust as I thought it would be. A nice mild palette. Has a really nice finish to it, I got more of a bold finish than right from the start.

M- Good drinkability, really smooth good flavor at theh finish.

Overall- I did enjoy it alot, was not disappointed overall and would try again to see if it grows on me even more. Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

09-12-2011 01:19:21 | More by yankeej13
Photo of stlsportster
stlsportster

Missouri

3.38/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark black, smells a bit of yeast. Slight head, but nothing to write home about.

Taste is malty, but still a bit yeasty for my preference, and has a bit of a bite on the finish. Also feels like a bit of an aftertaste.

Perhaps it will be a bit better as the beer warms as I think I have my beer fridge running too cold.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2009 22:52:21 | More by stlsportster
Photo of JackieTH
JackieTH

Minnesota

3.38/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served by the bottle as part of Old Chicago's World Beer Tour

Appearance: Dark brown almost black with a half finger of chunky tan head.

Smell: Lightly burnt malts and molasses.

Taste: Roasted almost burnt carmel malt and black strap molasses semi-sweetness with some wood and semi-sweet chocolate giving a bitter characteristic.

Mouthfeel: Medium and a bit too fizzy.

Drinkability: It isn't something I'd seek out, but it's adequately drinkable as well as enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2010 05:20:08 | More by JackieTH
Photo of proc
proc

Michigan

3.35/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Lager, porter, stout, beer of some sort. I know its a lager, but it had me confused. Very porter-like in appearance and taste. Coffee taste is prevelent but not overwhelming. Lots of malt in this one. I liked it.

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2002 07:00:43 | More by proc
Photo of jbsteiny
jbsteiny

Hawaii

3.35/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I was excited to find this on tap, as I love schwarzbiers, but I wasn't that impressed by this. After reading everyone else's great reviews, I'm tempted to try it out of the bottle to see if maybe the keg wasn't great...

Poured near black with mahogany highlights. 1/2 an inch of light brown foam dissipated quickly. Smelled crazy malty -- roasted, sweet, even a little burnt -- but not much else in the nose. Some complexity came out in the taste -- the roasted malts diverged into the sweets and a prominent nuttiness (hazelnut?), before a bitter, slightly sour finish. I think it sounds better than it tasted because the nut flavor was too big for all of these other subtler things to come out. Pretty big mouthfeel, and it went down easy enough, but I didn't want another (as opposed to Kolstrizer, which has gotten lesser reviews, but I can down all night).

Serving type: on-tap

05-04-2007 02:30:33 | More by jbsteiny
Photo of stumac
stumac

Texas

3.33/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this brew pours up a dark brown color with a quickly fading tan head... the nose smells like an ale! chocolate malts and subtle caramel... the taste is toasted malts, chocolate, subtle sweetness, very crisp... medium bodied and low to medium carbo...

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2009 19:50:07 | More by stumac
Photo of JohnnyChicago
JohnnyChicago

Illinois

3.3/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from an oddly shaped bottle into a weiss glass.

A: Pours a dark chocolate brown with an off-white head.

S: Not too much in the nose. There is just the hint of dark malts and caramal with a slight kiss of hops.

T: Pretty weak and thin. The roast from the nose is absent and the hops have fallen off.

D: Not particularly interesting, but it is well-balanced and hides its booze heat.

Overall: I'm not sure I understand the love for this brew. It tastes pretty pedestrian to me. Just a whole lot of nothing. Unoffensive, but not something I'll seek out again.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2011 12:56:46 | More by JohnnyChicago
Photo of MTNboy
MTNboy

Germany

3.28/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is a good beer without a doubt but maybe it is just me but I do not believe this beer to be as great as it has been made out be. Honestly though this beer is not my usual style.

Appearance- The color is very nice. The body is black and the head is a beautiful light tan with a little staying power. There was not much for lace though.

Smell- Sweet! A lot of roasted malt tones and a little floral.

Taste- Overall the taste was alright. A strong roasted malt taste. I would compare with a porter. It was a little smokey but not bad. It was the aftertaste that I was not over keen on I cannot put my finger on it but something was off.

Mouthfeel- Average with a little carbonation.

Drinkability- Was good easy to drink but I had better in Germany but not bad for an American Schwarz.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2007 13:25:07 | More by MTNboy
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429

Illinois

3.28/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks for BeerFMAndy for the bottle. Served in a pilsner glass.

The pour is near black with an initial two-finger tan had that settles down pretty quickly without leaving much lacing behind. There's just a slight film of light foam on top. Initial whiff brings some light roast and some mild, smooth chocolate.

Flavor is light chocolate and some very mild coffee. There's some light roast malt there as well in addition to a very light amount of caramel. Mouthfeel is light and airy without all that much carbonation. This finish is moderately dry. Pretty good, but nothing fantastic. Definitely not a mind-altering schwarzbier.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2010 01:37:50 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of KTCamm
KTCamm

New Jersey

3.18/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap for lunch at the Horse & Plow in Kohler, Wisconsin. Served in a standard pint glass.

Pours dark black, hints of brown, with little evidence of foam or lacing.

Mild roasted coffee smell.

Taste is burnt chocolate/coffee backed by a moderate hop. Lightly carbonated in the mouth.

Average drinkability. I enjoyed the beer, but given another chance, I probably would have ventured elsewhere on the menu.

Serving type: on-tap

08-29-2009 18:18:11 | More by KTCamm
Black Bavarian from Sprecher Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 680 ratings.