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Black Bavarian - Sprecher Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Black BavarianBlack Bavarian

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

780 Ratings
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 780
Reviews: 455
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 10.57%
Wants: 107
Gots: 38 | 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
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Ratings: 780 | Reviews: 455 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of PeprSprYoFace
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a shaker pint. Pours a deep black. Thinner consistency than other stout type beers. Thin tan head. Some lacing.

Aroma is nice and roasty. Bit of caramel but with that dry lager aroma which is unique to this beer.

Taste is similar. Mostly roasty but slight bit of caramel. Bit of lager taste. Bitter roast left on your tongue in the finish.

Mouthfeel is a little thin for my taste but not bad. Nice carb.

Overall a decent beer. Would have it again for sure.

PeprSprYoFace, Jul 12, 2011
Photo of DrunkMcDermott
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Among the pale pilseners at the downtown Chicago Kristkindl market is a keg of pale pilsener's evil twin. Pours with a hearty brown head over a body that looks solid black in a plastic cup, then shows brown highlights as I drink it. Kind of a black bread smell that’s not as prominent as a stout. Definite dark roast malts against a German hop profile. Leaves a taste at the back of the palate where bitterness and astingency are detected. Roast coffee taste, perhaps a note of pear, subdued by its "clean" lager finish. Brings up a bit of a burnt toast taste toward the end that may not be to everyone's liking, but I like its complexity.

DrunkMcDermott, Dec 26, 2003
Photo of cindyjeffsmith
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

appearance: Dark black with ruby highlights when held to light. Huge billowy tan head that leaves swaths of messy lacing. I mean, that head is noisy, cracking bubbles well after the pour.
smell: caramel and malty but a bit subdued, very nice but a little too subdued.
taste: Richer than the nose. Chocolate, caramel, fairly dry, and very tasty.
overall: Damn good.

cindyjeffsmith, Feb 09, 2013
Photo of Brunite
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured into a pint glass. Beer is dark brown to black. The head was quick to disappear after a moderately aggressive pour. No lacing.

S: Very little other than a light, roasted aroma.

T: More taste than the nose was led to believe. Starts off with some sweetness from the malt and ends with some bitterness and just a touch of sour funk.

M: Thin but satisfying.

D: This is a nice drinkable brew that gives a little extra on the backside. The bitter/sour flavor is nice and lingers a bit.

O: I would definitely drink this again. As far as Schwarz's go...this is on my menu due to its reasonable price and freshness from "across the WI border". I may find another that I prefer after more tastings but this one works well for me.

Brunite, Jan 27, 2011
Photo of beagle75
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a becker glass.

A: Opaque black with dark brown showing just at the edges at first but increasing as the volume of the liquid decreases. One finger of mocha-tinted foam diminishes to a continuous residue. Scant lacing remains on the glass.

S: Slightly smoky with roasty umami. Beyond the influence of the smoke, there is also the subtle presence of unburned hardwood and an equally faint edge of carbonic acid. This beer's smell has an unfortunate similarity to bacon-flavored dog treats.

T: Begins off-dry, with dark roasted malt that starts smooth, but turns husky after a few beats, right after a slight spike of acidity. Earthiness sets in at about the same time, transitioning again into charcoal and cardboard during the dry finish. Bitterness remains restrained throughout the middle and finish, with the latter being fairly short.

M: Medium viscosity, slippery smooth on the palate, with trace amounts of carbonation.

D: Having been let down by the dark lager style before, I approached this beer with low expectations. I went away favorably impressed, finding the multi-layered complexity remarkable. Between the hints of smoke in the smell and the clean roasted flavors, this beer begs to be paired with other savory flavors. As American-brewed dark lagers go, this one is top-shelf--even better than Moonlight's Death and Taxes.

beagle75, Feb 19, 2011
Photo of DantheMan75
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%

DantheMan75, Aug 29, 2014
Photo of RThomas436
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured out of a bottle - pours dark but not too heavy.

Slight carmelized malty taste with a creamy head with minimal lacing

Rich and malty but was expecting more hops.

Light mouth and is balanced

Easy drinking not a palate killer with the heavy malts.

RThomas436, Nov 24, 2011
Photo of JohnnyDuvel
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is better than I remember Kostrizter(sp.) being, certainly seems to have more body and bitterness. Overall, acts like a thin porter. Real good, but not very substantial. Definitely a quality brew, but this style has yet to totally impress me, as it is so thin. Chocolate and coffee notes (although subtle), very good balance overall. Real cool bottle, though. Thanks for the sample, Monk.

JohnnyDuvel, Oct 29, 2003
Photo of BeerBelcher
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am not a huge fan of most of the beers in the Sprecher portfolio, but this is the one exception. I believe this beer is excellent, and a more substantial Schwarzbier than Kostritzer, which seems to ordinarily define this style. This beer is big, black, and highly roasty.

This beer pours an opaque black with an attractive amount of durable head. Aroma a light roasty. Flavor is very roasty (lots of "burned pizza crust") balanced with a bit of sourness. Mouthfeel is very dry and smooth. Unlike most of its Sprecher brothers and sisters, this is a very nice beer.

BeerBelcher, May 24, 2007
Photo of ThaBobfather
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pure night sky black with a decent fizz of beige-not quite dark head.
Smell is well malted, a solid grained scent.
Taste is lightly toasted malt with a great bready back-bone, a spot of floral on the back end.
Finish is very dry-light grained after-taste.
Drinks very well-sessionable with the best of its style.

ThaBobfather, Mar 09, 2010
Photo of brewskifan55
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter

A: Dark, shoe polish brown with a tan half-finger head that settles quickly to a bubble ring. Light lacing.

S: Charred coffee, dark chocolate. Malts.

T: Follows nose with sweetness and caramel. A smooth finish.

M: Medium with medium to heavy carbonation.

O: One of the better Schwarzbiers I've tried. A great sipper. Even better as it warms.

brewskifan55, Jan 12, 2014
Photo of cookin420
3.93/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to brdc for this and many others.
Bottle poured into a pubglass.

Very black. What does show through is a yellow and brown tint not much red at all. Small head. Thin with a good coating of thin lace.

Smell is an intense caramel/coffee with bakers chocolate. Many layers involved in this brew. Some sort of sweet, citric aroma that I want to say is a malt aroma but could also be a hop smell as well.a
Abundant dark fruit and again, the heavy coffee, or mocha even, is very prominent.

Mellow and mild, this brew is full of contradictions. It is smooth and sweet but very dry at the same time, woody, with undertones of unsweetened chocolate and what I can only describe as unsweetened toffee and caramel. I am tasting big caramel flavors without the sweetness that usually comes with that. Stout-like in many respects. The yeast is responsible for a pizza dough-like flavor.

A very slick and creamy brew for something so dry. Well carbonated for the style.

Sooo drinkable. Black, yet crisp and refreshing. (the perfect brew?) Very well done.

cookin420, Apr 24, 2008
Photo of BasterdInABasket
3.93/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 oz. bottle, bottled June 29, 2012 (3.5 months old), poured into Duvel Tulip
A- Deep black in color with very slight ruby highlights up to light, 1.5 finger cream colored head, nice layer of head retention, leaves some lacing
S- Toasted and roasted malts, some sort of nut flavor (not 100% sure what), chocolate, not a huge aroma
T- Similar to the nose with more a more pronounced chocolate flavor, some balancing bitterness
M- Very smooth and drinkable, a little watery, would like the flavors to coat the mouth a little more
O- Some really nice dark flavors yet very drinkable and probably a little too thin. I like this beer every once in a while.

BasterdInABasket, Oct 16, 2012
Photo of ken3c
3.93/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Virtually black. Decent head dwindles to mostly foamy. Laces a little.

Slightly malty smell.

Chocolate chalky. hops sense. Dry finish. Great taste.

Medium carbonation. Medium body. Smooth and creamy.

I typically dislike lagers but this one had a wonderful taste that will bring me back.

ken3c, Oct 10, 2004
Photo of Winter
3.93/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured black in color with red hues apparent where light hit on the bottom and sides of the glass. Foamy tan head. Aroma had a roasted malt sweetness to it. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Thin body. Finish has a bitterness to it combined with a robust chocolate malt flavor. Slight nuttiness to it. Smokiness present throughout also. Excellent beer to combine with hearty German fare or BBQ. Definitely one of Sprecher's finer offerings.

Winter, Dec 16, 2002
Photo of Franz4
3.93/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz bottle poured into a 1/2 ltr Paulaner mug

A- pours black with very little light coming through the glass. Head starts off at 3 fingers and then fades to a thin cap within the first 2 minutes of pouring. This is what I would want a schwarzbier to look like.

S- scent is slightly bready, but also has a fresh hop presence that's pleasant, but will surprise you a bit if you're not expecting it.

T- slight caramel notes followed by a nice balance of hoppiness. Slightly bitter but not overly, actually really quite nice.

S- surprisingly light bodied (looks can be deceiving) carbonation is evident and is on the higher end.

O- Very solid brew, 1st time I had it I think I served it too cold, and it wasn't nearly as good. This is a solid, easy drinker that I'm quite impressed with.

Franz4, Mar 23, 2011
Photo of clayrock81
3.93/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark brown body with good head and minor lace retention. Aroma is roasted malts and grainy lager like with touches of caramel and dark chocolate. The beer is smooth and easy to drink with balance of roasted malts and chocolate/caramel sweetness and finishes dry. This would've received a higher score but for some reason at times I get this weird oily aftertaste which I assume must be something only I have encountered b/c it doesn't make sense.

clayrock81, Jun 25, 2014
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 Giesch
3.92/5  rDev -3.7%

Giesch, Sep 25, 2014
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
Black Bavarian from Sprecher Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 780 ratings.