1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Black Bavarian - Sprecher Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Black BavarianBlack Bavarian

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

798 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 798
Reviews: 455
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 10.32%
Wants: 112
Gots: 49 | 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 (41) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Black Bavarian Alström Bros
Ratings: 798 | Reviews: 455 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Haybeerman
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Deep brown/black color; mahogany highlights in the edges up to the light. Poured a 2 finger light brown head with good retention to an even skim. Laced in running patches.

S: Toasted malts; dark bread and chocolate. Faint dark-colored fruits and earthy hay.

T: Big malt flavor very consistent with the nose. A bit of a sour note gives way to a carbonation bite. Then transitions quickly to a building bitter finish with coffee notes in the background. Very interesting beer.

M: Medium body. Ample carbonation; very active on the palate ahead of the finish. Very nice balancing complement.

O: Remarkable balanced for big malt bomb. Lots of flavor, not too sweet, sharply bitter in the finish.

Photo of pheggeseth
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my Surly tulip glass

A: modest tan head, dark, almost opaque, looks pretty inviting

S: very aromatic roasted malts, slight hops and alcohol

T: slightly watery character with strong roasted malts, again, some slight hops and alcohol in the back with a burnt character

M: smooth, but slightly watery, decent carbonation

D: smooth, tasty, not terribly complicated, low abv, well done

Photo of HopDerek
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brownish black with some purplish red hues. 1 finger of creamy tan head has good retention and leaves some spotty lacing. Smells of sweet malts and fruits, caramel, chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, and some earthy hops. Tastes of ripe fruits up front along with some molasses. Roasted malts gives nice change in flavor then more sweetness from chocolate syrup, caramel, and vanilla. Finishes slightly bitter with some coffee and earthen hop notes as well as a slight smokiness. Medium in body with moderate carbonation. Smooth and creamy, sweet, roasty, and bitter. A great Schwarzbier with a lot more sweetness than expected but still providing that nice roastiness. Very easy to drink and sessionable.

Photo of jdhilt
4.06/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a light brown, three-finger head that goes slowly and leaves a good lace. Light to medium carbonation. Very dark almost black ruby color. Nose is chocolate malt. Starts with a rich coffee and chocolate flavor. Finish is sweet with some hops. $1.95 for a 16oz bottle from Colonial Spirits, Acton, MA.

Photo of marcobrau
4.07/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Rocky tan head. Very dark brown with ruby highlights. Coffee aroma. The taste is of dark chocolate and coffee flavors tinged with notes of cocoa. Hops surface in the middle. Finish is a mix of bitter hops and coffee flavors. The mouthfeel is full, at least enough to slow you down, and not quaff this brew.

Overall impression is that this beer drinks pretty much like a stout. It has a bit of the creaminess of a Schwarzbier, but none of the sweetness, with the strength of a bock and because of this I've rated this beer a little lower. I've had some difficulty finding fresh Sprecher beers for awhile, but I'm happy to report this is no longer the case.

Photo of weizenbob
4.07/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

There aren't enough domestic craft breweries doing lager-style beers, yet alone dark lager-style beers; so this brew has been much anticipated for me. This 16 ounce twist-off bottle was purchased at Repete's in Holland, MI. It was bottled May 13, 2011. I twisted off the cap and poured into a pint tumbler.

A standard pour (horizontal bottle, 45-degree glass) manifests a finger of mocha-tinted head atop this cola-colored lager. Head retention is not impressive but lacing coats the glass where once was beer.

The aroma displays some nice roasty chocolate malt. My nose could easily mistake it for porter.

The flavor is also very porter-like. Earthy malts lead the charge with chocolate being the obvious reference point. There is a bit of cooked veggie presence. Alcohol is very well hidden and there is no hop bitterness to speak of. The lagering gives this a nice crisp bite that I haven't experienced in any porter. Therein lies the key difference, and it is a nice touch.

In the mouth this is a deceptively full bodied beer. The carbonation level is moderate. The modest 32 IBUs pass below the radar, making Black Bavarian pretty easy drinking, even despite the full flavor. At 6% ABV the alcohol level is moderate. I like that the bottle contains a full pint but doesn't carry a premium price (it works out to about $1.50 per 12 ounce serving). Although this is a year-round release for Sprecher, it feels like a particularly appropriate choice for fall-season drinking. This is a nice change of pace from the barrage of ale-style beers that I'm drinking all year.

---

The Two-Schlitz Scale: (see my profile for an explanation)
I do give two Schlitz for Sprecher Black Bavarian. If you're fortunate to be in an area that distributes Sprecher products, this is worth tracking down.

Photo of demcorhip
4.07/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance
A dark black lager poured with a 1/2 finger tan head. Some light comes through the edges, producing a ruby blackness. Finely and actively carbonated, does a decent job of maintaining the head. Substantial yet fine ring of lacing (remnants still present the following day from the top to the bottom of the glass).

Aroma
A rich and creamy aroma of nuts, caramel, espresso and chocolate. Hints of grassy and earthy spice.

Taste
Much like the nose, no big surprises here. Creamy nuts, hint of caramel, and mostly the big bitter flavour of dark chocolate and dark roast coffee. Ends in a mild grassy and earthy hop spice.

Mouthfeel
A good, creamy, medium bodied, balanced lager. Only complaint is the degree of bitterness imparted by the roasted barley or malts slightly detracts from the overall presentation.

Drinkability
A good, drinkable lager. Not only is this sessionable, but it would stand up to more than a few porters and stouts. Will be drinking this one again.

Photo of zeff80
4.07/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes on 2/4.

A - Poured out a jet black color with a two-finger, caramel-colored head that left some lace.

S - It smelled of caramel and roasted malt. There was also a grassy aroma.

T - It tasted of malt, caramel, toffee and vanilla.

M - It was very smooth and soft. A light to medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a very good schwarzbier.

Photo of taez555
4.07/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I know it's written right on the label that's it's brewed in Wisconsin, but seriously... you really need to read the fine print or else you might think this is a German brew.

This beer poured a black body with a thin tan head.

Nose had some grain, milk chocolate, figs, caramel, brown sugar, mild burnt smoke and that classic earthy german yeast smell.

Taste was medium bodied and very creamy. Smooth from start to finish. A large carbonation brings out a rather bitter hoppiness in the back-end. Not really much in the way of hop taste other than some mild earth and dirt flavor. Very malty with a slight roasted burnt flavor but very muted and never distracting. Touches of dark fruits. Raisins, figs and even some prunes. A dark coffee, dark chocolate and espresso notes flow.

Really a very nice schwarzbier. A big bitterness and some dark malts. If you're in the mood for dark lagers this is a winner.

Photo of silver0rlead
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an extremely dark brown color with a thick cola colored head that retains impressively. The aroma is all dark chocolate, coffee and molasses, with hints of pumpernickel, tobacco, smoke and a hint of earthy hops. The flavor is similar with serious dark chocolate and coffee notes initially, along with blackstrap molasses, roastiness, smoke, earthy hops and alcohol. The mouthfeel is smooth and rich and drinkability is good but limited by the intense roast flavors. Very good schwarzbier, a little more intense than a lot of the domestic versions but very solid nonetheless

Photo of WunderLlama
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a pilsner glass

Black, deep chocolate brown in color. No light passes through. Pours a 1/2 finger dense taupe foam cap.

Aroma of sweet malts.toffee,caramel, chocolate, coffee.

Sips sweetness on the front of the tongue. Toffee, raisins,coffee, chocolate.

Smooth , low carbonation . Whisper of bitterness at the end that quickly fades.

Highest rated beer in found in the cooler of an out of town beer dispensary. Good choice, repeatable. Good beer

Photo of MillRat
4.09/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sprecher calls this brew a Kulmbacher-style dark lager. Certainly a very dark lager, definitely assisted by considerable roasted grain, not just the Munich malt of a traditional dunkel. Other than in mouthfeel conforms fairly well to the BJCP schwarzbier definition.

Poured at near-room temperature from a 16 oz twist-off bottle barely fitting into a pint glass. Puts a thin tan fine-bubbled head on top of a brown-black body that is impervious to light. Head fades quickly to a thin persistent ring that leaves occasional specks of lacing on the glass.

First whiff immediately suggests fresh warm slab of pumpernickel bread, full of malt with roasty, coffeeish grain. Flavor comes through with a malt sweetness that is counterbalanced to a degree by the dark malts and hop bitterness unaccompanied by any noticeable flavor or aroma. Carbonation is on the light end of the range for this style.

A little bit on the heavy side for a schwarzbier, with the heaviness offset by stronger than usual roasted grains that begin to trespass on the astringency which schwarzbiers are supposed to avoid. Just pushing equally both the body and the bitterness a bit beyond the envelope. The bitterness leaves that palate clear enough for the next sip, but the heaviness and sweetness while the beer is between the teeth is a bit tiring. A little more carbonation would help the cause here.

Overall a well-crafted beer that pushes the schwarzbier flavor envelope without shredding it.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appears a nearly black ruby tinted mahogany brown hue forms a nice thicket of tan head textured with dimples as it dwindles definitely arose above the rim of my 1/2 liter mug. Lacing is fine and intricate spread evenly, very nice look to it. Aromatics nutty roasted qualities touch of dark cocoa powder with sweet acidic fruit notes arising as well. Flavor is akin to iced black coffee with dark chocolate roasts, toasted nuts, and a touch of creamy caramel. What dominates is a dry powdered dark cocoa, but more flavors arise as it warms up. Light herbal hop presence felt at the end but no hop burps to report. Mouthfeel is medium bodied carbonation is lively and the end is dry with slightly burnt coffee roasts and dark chocolate cocoa. Drinkability is nice all around one of the best Schwarzbiers I've come across, excellent.

Photo of EagleTalon
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours out to a nice tan head that laces a bit and sticks around. Black color. Aroma is malty and slightly roasted but very muted which is on style. Flavor is more of same with sweet malt balanced by the black malt and soft hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is on heavy side, but slick and smooth. I love the way this brew feels. Overall, a very good Schwarz.

Photo of wedge
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've been wanting to try this one for years. It was available in a couple of stores I used to frequent in MA, but never fresh, so I always passed over it. Now it's recently been introduced to the NC market (at least Asheville), so I snatched one up when I saw it.

Deep, dark blackish color, showing a subtle mahogany glow at the bottom of the glass. A small, creamy tan head sits on top. Lightly sweet, clean roasted malt aroma...light notes of molasses and dark chocolate. Roasted, somewhat smokey malt flavor; clean and lager-y. Rich German malts: bread and caramel with light noble hops and a faint frutiness. Light and fluffy in the mouth...creamy and bitter. More and more chocolatey as it warms. This is quite the tasty Schwartzbier!

Photo of Amalak
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had out of a 12 ounce bottle.
a. Black, all black. Solid head and lace.
s. Very nice malt and chocolate.
t. Very intense licorice taste. Malty. A chocolate aftertaste.
M. Smooth taste with a bit of a tart aftertaste.
o. It's a very good stout. Smooth, not too tart, but good flavor.

Photo of dbtoe
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16 oz bottle poured into a pint glass

Look very black body with a finger of tan head that reduced to a ring fairly quick.

Smell a hint of sweet and toasty roasted malt.

Taste yup black roasted malt with a spicy hop end. Something in there I can't ID but really a great smack of flavors.

Feel zesty carbonation with good body Very enjoyable tang.

Drink this is a very enjoyable beer to drink. I had both and was wishing I had more.

Comment had this from a sample pack and wish the 8 pack was 4 of these and 4 of the Special Amber, two very good beers that I'll get again.

Photo of Derek
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Black with a medium tan head, some retention, light lacing.

S: Big malty aroma (bread & cola) with a touch of roasted grain and hop spicing.

T: Bready & roasted grain with subtle hints of coffee & molasses. Modest bitterness with light grassy-spicyness from the hops.

M: Moderate body is smooth & creamy, with a somewhat dry finish.

D: I'm generally not a fan of Schwarzbier, but this one is quite drinkable.

Photo of jsanto
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

s - on tap in phila. pint glass.

a - dark brown, and no head, or it dissapeared very quick.

s - it smelled like cherries, and alcohol, but was pleasant.

t - it tasted like it smelled, but very enjoyable to the taste.

m - light carbonation, and it stayed good to the end.

d - very drinkable beer, i could have had another one, but decided to try something else.

Photo of garymuchow
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aroma is dark malt, not heavy and has a quality of oatmeal stout.
Excessive head that settles fairly quickly. Lacing. Almost black with garnet hues. Clear. Good looking.
Dark malt. Smooth bitter from malt more than hops. Mild dryness. Little more malty than chocolate, but leaves bitterness that lingers. Roast presents lightly as warms.
Incrediably smooth and easy to drink. Low carbonation.
Very easy drinker. Good lager in that sense. Flavors present more as warms, yet remains light to drink. Very nice lager. Went well with some dark chocolate I was eating.

Photo of beveragecaptain
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16 ounce bottle. Pours out a dark brown, tinted red. There is not much head. The aroma is dark malts with nuts. Dark roasted malt flavor at first. The hops come in with some spiciness. Medium mouthfeel, but big on flavor. This beer has a great balance between the malt and hops. I haven't had many schwarzbiers, but this is a very tasty one. Putting it in 16 ounce bottles is a nice touch, since 12 ounce bottles occasionally leave you thirsting for more.

Photo of schanker21
4.11/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a virtually opaque, very dark brown which looks black when it's not held up to the light. Small tan head doesn't last long. Not a whole lot in the nose. I mean, it smells like beer, but that's about it. I can't detect a whole lot in the smell. The nose is misleading though, because the taste is pretty huge. I taste caramel, as well as a roasted, smoky taste. This is an excellent Schwarzbier. Not quite as smooth as some of the others I've had, but excellent nonetheless.

Photo of schoolboy
4.11/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one kind of took me by surprise. My initial thought was how chocolatey this was. It's perfectly dark. And strong enough.

To be truer to the style, it could have a more hoppy taste and more malt too, but I like it just fiine the way it is and I would buy it again.

I have to go back and look at the bottle too. I think they are an odd size - more than 12 OZ. My glass overfloweth.

Good one.

Photo of Ri0
4.12/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured 16 oz bottle into a Duvel tulip

A - Color is a very rich dark chocolate brown. Big 2 finger caramel colored head fades into a slight ring around the glass. Only a trace of lacing.

S - Nice dark and milk chocolate with caramel. The malts are roasted as to give a slight bitter coffee scent. Traces of sugars and dark fruit.

T - There is that big chocolate flavor with caramel. Followed by a roasted coffee. Some light hops and dark ripe fruit to finish it off. Very enjoyable to drink on any day, cold or warm.

M - Big rich and creamy feel. Still clean and refreshing so it is easy to drink. The body is medium light even though it looks like a stout.

O - A well crafted beer that any stout lover should try.

Photo of adam42381
4.12/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes at World of Beer - Fort Myers on 10/30/11.

Poured on draft into a shaker pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown with caramel highlights and a 1-2 finger creamy tan head. Nice lacing.

Smell: Sweet malt, lactose, chocolate and caramel. Smells delicious.

Taste: Chocolate with german malt and a touch of hops. Roasted malt and chocolate aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: Good drinkability. Goes down smooth.

Overall: Good beer overall. Unfortunately it didn't quite live up to the aroma, but it is definitely worth a try.

Black Bavarian from Sprecher Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 798 ratings.