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Black Bavarian - Sprecher Brewing Company

Black BavarianBlack Bavarian

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

682 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 682
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: 682 | Reviews: 441 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of jjayjaye
jjayjaye

New York

2.85/5  rDev -30%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

The pour is a clear dark brown color but in the glass the it's too dark to see through. This one has a shallow wispy tan head that fades quickly without leaving much Belgian lacing. Warning, I'm not a big fan that this is a twist off cap...i don't trust'em. The smell is unique. The aroma isn't completely 'roasted', but it's earthy and malt-like with a musty sort of character. Adequately carbonated, the mouth feel is medium bodied. There is a tangy hop to it but i'm a little distracted that the earthy musty thing has carried into the flavor. Full flavored, the taste isn't chaulky but it's quite earthy. There's some chocolate malt and something that i'd loosely characterize as caramelized. This one is not getting it for me. Feel free. Pour...a person has to know there limitations.

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2008 01:17:43 | More by jjayjaye
Photo of BEERchitect
BEERchitect

Kentucky

2.98/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

With characteristics that span dark fruit, light roast, and slight vinous notes, Sprecher shows that the timid black beer can be much, much more.

Black Bavarian pours with a very clear, albeit dark brown with garnet highlights. Well headed with a terse off-white froth, the low lying head retains as a sheet with minimal lace.

Light roasted malts and well attenuated starch note start the aromatic journey while thin caramel, grape, and red wine notes add interest and intrigue to the otherwise roast and char of dark grain.

The dry taste of coffee-like roast with walnut backdrop, light starchy malt, and slight campfire smoke seem to exceed the slight scorched taste of caramel, but introduces characterful elements of cherries, grapes, red wine, and cider with low bitterness outside that of roasted grain.

Medium-light bodied, the mouth wants to think heavier because of the roast taste, but the weight of the beer is remarkably light and refreshing; approaching thinness as the tart fruit notes and the slight roast astringency play out over the highly attenuated malt character.

Black Bavarian schwarzbier is a subtle, drinakble, and surprisingly variable beer that shows more flexibility than is normal for the narrowly focused style.

Serving type: on-tap

06-01-2012 19:38:34 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of PatandDavid
PatandDavid

Massachusetts

3.13/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had on tap at Redbones. Pour appeared almost compelely black, opaque, with some cola colored highlights. No head to speak of. Aroma was slightly syrupy and licorice like. Medium mouthfeel, predominatly malty, I found some roasty and smokey notes in the finish that gave some interest to this one.

Serving type: on-tap

07-03-2004 03:21:22 | More by PatandDavid
Photo of Rifugium
Rifugium

Pennsylvania

3.15/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at TJ's, Paoli, PA

Poured an opaque brown-black with a huge puff of tan head that retained decently and laced well. Mostly roasty dark malts in the aroma, as would be expected; a touch of cocoa. Again, a big roastiness in the taste, dark malts, notes of cocoa and coffee, pumpernickel. Not nearly as flavorful as some of your better schwarzbiers. Medium body and fairly drinkable, but just lacking the flavor I need to inspire me to order another glass. Decent overall.

Edit: Wait, this is the highest ranked schwarzbier on the site? *facepalm*

Serving type: on-tap

03-31-2012 11:48:56 | More by Rifugium
Photo of tone77
tone77

Pennsylvania

3.15/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a brown 16 oz. bottle. Has a black color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is mild, some roasted malts. Taste is also mild, light coffee, a bit of roasted malts, easy drinking but just a bit bland. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a decent beer but nothing great.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2013 22:31:17 | More by tone77
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
Photo of klkatz
klkatz

Pennsylvania

3.18/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

My trip to the local pick 6 had me choosing beers in cool bottles this time. Sprecher's bottle is short and stout with "Sprecher" embossed on the bottle... pretty cool.

Color pours a rich, coffee black... there's a hint of red in the pour...

Aroma is minimal... couldn't really pick up anything... very small hint of malt - only because I knew I was smelling for it.

The taste is average... but it is what you'd expect from a dark lager - it's a decent, slow drinking brew. Enjoyable, but nothing to write home about in my opinion.

I'd drink 'em if you got 'em... but wouldn't get 'em to drink 'em.

Serving type: bottle

05-27-2010 03:00:45 | More by klkatz
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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
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Black Bavarian from Sprecher Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 682 ratings.