1. Extreme Beer Fest tickets go on sale Sat, Sep 27 @ Noon EDT.
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Black Bavarian - Sprecher Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Black BavarianBlack Bavarian

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

755 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 755
Reviews: 454
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 10.57%
Wants: 103
Gots: 34 | 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:
Bronze Medal Winner in the European Darks category at the 1988 Great American Beer Festival (GABF).

(Beer added by: xlperro on 04-23-1998)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Black Bavarian Alström Bros
Ratings: 755 | Reviews: 454 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mothman
3.93/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into pilsner glass. No freshness date on bottle.

Pours a thick brown head. Surprisingly leaves little to no lace. Color is a deep bronze/brown, almost black.

Aroma is full of honey and chocolate, mainly roaty malts. Taste is quite similar, very malty. Dark chocolate and earthy hops are present.

First thing about the aftertaste is that the malts seem to be very burnt. Other than that, the mouthfeel is very creamy and leaves a dry aftertaste.

Overall, a very tasty beer. Pretty easy to drink. I would have to recommend this one.

mothman, Jan 09, 2009
Photo of tpd975
3.93/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The local beer guy brought in a ton of Sprecher brews and this one seemed to be the most highly acclaimed of the lot so I grabbed it.

A: Pours black as the as of spades (drinking while playing online poker) with a nice thick two finger head made up of the tiniest of bubbles. There is some lacing left behind I must say tt looks rather beautiful in my Maudite Tulip.

S: Nice malty aroma. Definite notes of chocolate and coffee. There is a floral quality about it as well. Can't pick out the flower, but it’s in there and the sweetness is very nice.

T: Very good brew, the best I have ever had from Sprecher. Very malty with a wonderful taste of charred malts that brings out a dark roasted coffee taste with chipped milk chocolate. It finishes with a chary bite. Not sure if its hops, or just deeply charred malts. What ever it is I like it.

M: Medium bodied and pretty flat.

D: I really like it. Goes down smooth and tastes good. What more could ya want.

Overall: I really liked this brew. I still prefer my stouts and porters but that is not to slight this one in any way. It drinks like a porter or stout but is lighter in body. The taste is in the same ball park, but this one is a little more flat than most. All that being said you have to remember this beer is a Lager... Impressive, I don't generally like Lagers. Sprecher made a great beer here there is no doubt about it. I am not real familiar with the style, but I plan to go in search of others.

tpd975, Aug 11, 2007
Photo of Jon_Abbott
3.91/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Very dark brown, almost black. Thin, light tan head dissipated quickly and didn't leave much lacing.

S: Toasted malts, smoke, and an earthy bitterness.

T: Beer is sweet with toasted, caramel undertones. Hints of smokiness and earthy hops. Aftertaste lingers and is almost burnt tasting, but not unpleasantly so. Acidity becomes more pronounced as the beer warms.

M: Somewhere between light and heavy. Medium? Definitely not thin, but not quite as thick as I would have liked and expected. Medium carbonation.

O: Delicious. I have a soft spot for black lagers and this didn't disappoint. I really enjoyed its deep bitterness and it's carbonation is more than I am used to since I drink a lot of porters and stouts, so it was very nice for a change.

Jon_Abbott, Feb 14, 2014
Photo of ElGordo
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a rich black hue with light brown highlights underneath a formidable semi-creamy, semi-foamy tan head that subsides rather quickly. Aroma of dark roasted malt and a touch of a nutty character that's hard to pin down. Palate is again mostly roasted malt, with a touch of chocolatey lactose sweetness and some more nutty notes. Body is richer than I would expect for a schwarzbier, with a full-figured creaminess more characteristic of a porter. Very tasty and very drinkable; I'm pleasantly surprised.

ElGordo, Aug 13, 2006
Photo of HalfFull
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

16 oz. twist off bottle poured into a pint glass. A somewhat aggressive pour yields a black body with deep mahogany highlights topped by half an inch of mocha foam. Decent retention is offered after having to force the pour a bit and keeping a thin cap.

Initial piney hop notes are soon outstripped by roasted malts, with milk chocolate and light coffee. Intriguing and rich for the style with some earthy hops reemerging with warming.

Porter like in flavor initially with a smooth lager finish, yet one that never gets thin in body. Notes of dark cherry and coffee abound, and finishing with a coarse graininess that belies the style a bit and with a return of chocolate on the close. Feel is pleasant and rich, though perhaps a bit too much for a schwarzbier which limits the drink a bit. Interesting and complex, tending towards an ale in body and character.

HalfFull, Apr 27, 2010
Photo of SteveS1
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From the bottle to a glass-
Look: Completely dark brown/red, a nice tan head, very bubbly.

Smell: Has a sweet fruity smell, cherries, a bit of hops.

Taste: Bitter woody taste at the tongue, finishes with dark fruits and licorice. Bitter aftertaste, but with perplexing sweet caramely flavors.

Feel: Lots of carbonation, but lighter than it looks.

Drink: This is a tasty black brew, but just a pint will do. Enjoy the rich flavors slowly.

SteveS1, Aug 24, 2009
Photo of aasher
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It boggles my mind that Sprecher makes such a highly rated beer at all. I've had multiple beers from them and given them too many chances and have been let down every single time.

This beer pours a light bodied true black in color with a light beige lacing around my Aecht Schlenkerla snifter. I really don't get much of anything on the nose. After a couple minutes I think I can finally pick up some dark chocolate but can't get anything other than that. The flavors consist of slight dark chocolate, light roast, and it has this odd milky facet to it. It's somewhere between a porter and dark lager. It's very light in body and isn't an overly noticeable beer. Luckily it gets a little thicker as it warms and eventually turns milky.

Regardless, Sprecher should stick to world class sodas.

aasher, May 31, 2011
Photo of JensVoigt
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I went into this beer thinking I would have an experience similar to a German Schwarzbier I have had in the past (dark, but not terribly much body, with a reasonable amount of hops). However, I was pleasantly surprised by a relatively full bodied, caramel-like, and almost Imperial Stout sort of taste. It had lots of roasted malt flavor, and it seemed to get better as I drank it.

Overall: I would recommend it.

JensVoigt, Dec 20, 2011
Photo of sulldaddy
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This bottle was a gift from Stopper. Thanks man!
I am sampling a chilled sample in a snifter the beer pours dark black with no light penetrating. Small beige surface layer of head remains after an initial small foamy existence.
Aroma is Dark chocolate and some butterscotch, maybe a hint of roasted malt too. The beer exhibits an average body with a slight syrupy texture. Small yet prickly carbonation awakens my tongue as I drink. The flavor is roasted malt and almost bitter coffee (black patent malt?), I almost want to say smokey as well. Verynice finish of roasted malt and coffee in my mouth after I swallow. THe beer is smooth and easy to drink. A tasty treat for sure. Now if these only came into CT!

sulldaddy, Sep 05, 2004
Photo of charlzm
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed 06/06/08 at The Daily Pint, Santa Monica CA.

Pours virtually black with a modest head that fades to lacing fairly quickly.

Aroma is smoky with hints of yeast. A touch metallic.

Flavor is meaty (as in reminds of smoked meat with spices, like jerky) and a little metallic. Smooth lager character helps keep things moving along flavor-wise as subtle malts come and go on the tongue. Well carbonated.

Easy enough to drink, but by the bottom of the bottle, I was about dome with this one. Well, it WAS the fourth pint that night...

charlzm, Jun 07, 2008
Photo of sweemzander
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

16oz. bottle poured into an imperial pint. Bottled sometime in February 2009.

(A)- Pours almost pitch black with a large light brown head that slowly dissipated to a solid 1-finger. Plenty of lacing present.

(S)- Lots of roasted malt richness with a potent woody spice and afterthoughts of creaminess.

(T)- Really cream semisweet lightly roasted malts. Almost like a creamed coffee minus the sugar. Very light bitterness.

(M)- Smooth, creamy, and overall balanced; not overpowering. Good carbonation level.

(D)- My personal favorite schwarzbier. Easy to enjoy; balanced and goes down smooth. It is simple but rewarding. Even better fresh. The smell certainly waned due to its age.

sweemzander, Jul 29, 2009
Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 ounce bottle into imperial pint glass, bottled 3/29/2012. Pours crystal clear extremely dark reddish brown color with a nice 1-2 finger fairly dense khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty foamy lacing clings down the glass. Aromas of chocolate, caramel, roasted malt, molasses, toffee, raisin, toast, nuttiness, and light herbal. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity. Taste of chocolate, caramel, toast, toffee, molasses, raisin, roasted malt, nuttiness, light coffee, biscuit, earthiness, and herbal spiciness. Light herbal bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of chocolate, toffee, molasses, roasted malt, toast, raisin, nuttiness, and herbal on the finish for a good bit. Nice balance and complexity of flavors; nicely robust with zero cloying after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a creamy and lightly slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a very nice schwarzbier! Nicely robust with good balance and complexity of flavors; very smooth to drink. Really enjoyed this one.

superspak, Dec 09, 2012
Photo of mactrail
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark brown with a glint of red. Roasted malt is the big flavor. Dark, almost burned caramel, but no hint of the sourish charcoal flavors of some stouts. Slightly sweet but well balanced with a touch of hops. Toasty aftertaste. Large head in the glass with nice carbonation in the mouthfeel. Light body with lots of flavor.

Good example of the style. Really drinkable and a great beer if you're in the mood for a dark one.

mactrail, Jul 20, 2011
Photo of
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle

Not quite opaque, clear at edges. Deep dark brown/mahogany when held up to light. Medium sized, light brown, creamy head. Not much lacing or legs.

Malt bomb - sweet overall. Chocolate & coffee. Roasted notes.

Initially, more bitter than sweet, stays that way, but nicely balanced overall. Roast & coffee notes. Grassy/herbal hops compliment roast & coffee. Touch of smoke.

Medium + body. Medium + carbonation. Not very dry.

Very nicely done. Enjoyed it tremendously!

, Jul 13, 2007
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a 1 inch foamy tan head that settles to a film on the top of the beer. Small streaks of lace dot the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, molasses, and burnt sugar aromas. Taste is of dark roasted malt, campfire smoke, and some molasses flavors. A very mild roasty bitterness quickly fades after each sip. A good level of carbonation makes for a crisp and smooth mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good schwarzbier with some nice roasty qualities. I am glad I picked one of these up.

UCLABrewN84, Sep 04, 2011
Photo of BeerBuilder
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a light brown head. The aroma is of sweet caramel malts and a touch of roastiness. The flavor is of sweet malts and a bit of roasted malts as well. It has a very light hop flavor, and bitterness in minimal. It is a light-medium bodied brew, that is very smooth and easy drinking. An enjoyable brew that I would drink again.

Sampled 9/21/03

BeerBuilder, Nov 20, 2003
Photo of zerk
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown with hints of ruby and a thin tan head. Aroma is full of molasses, caramel, and some cocoa. Flavor is not terribly complex, but very nicely blended, with sweet caramel malt upfront, and some chocolate and coffee in the finish... has just enough spicy hops to show through as well. Has a medium to full body, and a rough mouthfeel.

This is a very nice American Schwarzbier... nice to see someone doing such a good job with this all-to-neglected style.

zerk, Mar 10, 2003
Photo of Gtreid
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 oz. bottle poured into an oversized wine glass.

A: Almost black, but when back lit, a mahagony tint shines through. The pour produced one finger of light tan head that stuck around for the entire glass.

A: Very spicey, malty nose. Also a very prevelent wood and smoke aroma. Some very light coffee and chocolate also present.

T: Very much like the nose. The black roasted malt stand out. The beer finishes dry with a very slight alcohol heat.

M: Unexpected medium body. From the look of the brew I thought it would be much heavier. A good amount of carbonation gives it a tingle at the back of the palate.

D: Overall very good for the style. At 6%, if schwarzbier is your thing, Black Bavarian is sessionalbe. Will be having this again. Skal.

Gtreid, Mar 30, 2009
Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A stubby 16 ounce bottle poured into my nonic Imperial pint glass. Appears a clear deep chestnut brown color with about two fingers of light ecru foam. Smells and tastes of dark roasted grains, mild coffee and chocolate, caramel, earthy bitter hops. Falls somewhere between medium and full bodied for a schwarzbier and is amply carbonated as well. Certainly worth your time.

ClockworkOrange, Jun 16, 2009
Photo of IPAdams
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- Pours a very dark brown with some red highlights. Small creamy tan head that recedes quickly and leaves minimal lacing.

Smell- I get a sugary sweet caramel smell mixed with Pepsi. A bit of roasted malt in the background. What I get is a very nice smell but very subdued.

Taste- Very clean and balanced. Slight bitterness from roasted malts, flavors of Cola, light coffee and toasted bread.

Mouthfeel- Moderate body with good visible carbonation. Not overly drying or cloying.

Overall- Very nice beer, easy drinking. Flavors are balanced and go well with a cold winter night or hot summers day.

IPAdams, May 31, 2014
Photo of Mdog
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black with a nice brown head. A little bit of red can be detected when held to light.

Smell: Slight roasted aroma.

Taste: Roasted coffee, chocolate, moderate bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, bitterness holds on for a while.

Drinkability: Definitely could have a couple of these in a sitting.

Another beer that reminds me of a porter. This one's a lager so points for originality. Reasonably priced and tasty to boot. Good stuff.

Mdog, Mar 24, 2007
Photo of chicano4craft
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a shaker glass out of the 16oz bottle. Black with a slight ruby tint in the light. Half inch, bubbly head that disappeared pretty fast.

Sweet roast in the nose. Not much else.

Taste was just as the aroma promised with a sweet roast. Slighlty burn after taste. Pretty standard for the style. Lots of carbonation.

I see this as a dark session beer. Not blown away, but would make for a good start of the night beer. Thanks to nappie for this one.

chicano4craft, Jan 20, 2010
Photo of almychristopher
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

looks pretty black with a tan head that shrinks up slowly to a lace. the aroma lives up to the dark malts the appearance promises... chocolatey roasted goodness. the malts live on in the taste with a good bit of roastedness, it's well attenuated, with a fine crisp mouthfeel... a pretty good beer.

almychristopher, Jun 12, 2008
Photo of Sammy
3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Great black colour with whte head. Drinkable from bit of sweetness in malts that lasts on, bittersweet atertaste but better than a stout. Molasses taste and aroma. Bit of chocolate and coffee. Session ale.
6% beer is very good. Best I have had for style.

Sammy, Jul 04, 2004
Photo of morimech
3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Pours a solid black with a creamy two fingered head that slowly builds and lasts quit awhile leaving some sticky lacing as it disipates.

The aroma is malty with a hint of dark chocolate and coffee. Like an Imperial Stout but more subdued.

The malt is definately on display here. Hints of bitter chocolate and espresso add to the complexity. I don't sense much for hops in aroma or taste which I think would add to the beer as it is very sweet. It feels heavy for a Schwarzbier (Sprecher calls it Kulmbacher) but has a excellant creamy, smooth feel. Just mild carbonation tickles the tongue. Feels a little heavy as I think it could be confused for a stout so it doesn't have the consumption rate of other black lagers and their drinking appeal.

morimech, Nov 03, 2007
Black Bavarian from Sprecher Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 755 ratings.