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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

750 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 750
Reviews: 453
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 10.57%
Wants: 103
Gots: 32 | 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: 750 | Reviews: 453 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of naproxen
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%

major thanks to beerbeagle for this!!

This tasty schwarz poured damn near black (slightly less than opaque, dark dark brown) with a thin creamy tan head that disappeared fairly rapidly. The aroma was exactly what I was looking for when I poured this, slightly smokey, a hint of sweetness, and toasty malts. I picked up some dark chocolate as well, but not overpowering. The nose i felt was well rounded.

The taste did not disappoint either. I was a little surprised on the backend hop flavor that I got, but the bittering overall worked well. Following in kind with the nose my first impression was a toasted dark chocolate bread with a burnt caramel topping (is it lunch time yet?). I did not pick up much of a metallic taste as other reviewers noted, fine by me. Overall this was extremely smooth and relaxing, perfect for a crisp sunny autumn day/early evening. I will absolutely be seeking this out again and again.

naproxen, Sep 16, 2008
Photo of dsa7783
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%

Without a doubt, probably one of the best Schwarzbier's I've ever sampled...
Impressive appearance... Dark-brown hue, creamy, frothy head, thick lacing...
Taste: Deep, dark, rich malt essences, cocoa, and dark latte essences...
Taste: Rich, full-bodied cappuccino, espresso, and dark chocolate flavor... creamy and thick... excellent stuff...
competes easily with German depictions...
Recommended...

dsa7783, Mar 19, 2009
Photo of KarlHungus
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%

This brew pours a opaque black color. The head in one inch in height, light tan in color, and recedes slowly into a nice cap of lacing. The aroma is of caramel, chocolate, and toffee. The taste is like the aroma, but with a little more caramel and a little less chocolate. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with lively carbonation. Overall, this is one of the most authentic German style beer I have had in America. It brings back found memories of some of the great beers I had while I lived in Germany. I will certainly drink this again.

KarlHungus, Nov 11, 2007
Photo of HWPlainview
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%

What an interesting beer. A bit "bigger" in flavor profile than some of the German schwarzbiers I have sampled. This is more of an "American" take on this style, almost like a robust porter.

The beer is dark black, but with garnet highlights when viewed through a light, it has a tannish head than fades but lingers on the glass.

The aroma is roasted malts, with perhaps a hop nose in the backdrop.

The flavor is impressive with lots of roasted malts going on, coffee, with sweetness in the middle, and dry bitterness in the finish. Very drinkable even if it is not as smooth as typical schwarzbiers.

HWPlainview, Jul 23, 2008
Photo of association330
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%

16 oz. bottle with no freshness date

A - Pours dark brown with ruby tinges around the edges. A pinky of mocha head quickly settles to a thin cap with a thick ring of foam. Just a few spots of lace.

S - Moderate roasted malt character, including caramel, dark chocolate, and molasses. Similar aroma to an RIS, but not as overpowering, rich, or complex - cleaner and more refreshing.

T - Clean lager malt and light hop flavor, then sweeter caramel tones, and a moderately roasty swallow with lingering bitter chocolate and slight hop notes.

M - Body feels a little too heavy. Moderate carbonation, and no astringency.

D - Pretty nice example of the style here - a dark lager with a somewhat roasty character that still maintains a highly quaffable nature that you don't usually find in darker ales. A good one for getting stout and porter drinkers to come around to lagers, or vice versa.

association330, Jan 16, 2010
Photo of MiScusi
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%

This was just a really good lightly roasted black lager. I pictured being able to drink this in a half liter mug in autumn and I think it would be perfect for that. Light enough in alcohol and body to be able to quaff yet high enough in flavor to enjoy thoroughly. I love how the mild roastiness and semi-sweetness of the malts comes out over the fairly light body. Really good. Sprecher is becoming one of my favorites, especially since they make the best Root Beer ever, but I digress.

MiScusi, Jul 27, 2008
Photo of Kegatron
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%

16oz bottle into a mug.

Pours a very dark brown (almost black) with a 1+ finger of tan head. It has a nice thin retention across the top and leaves some lacing behind. The aroma is a little light but notes of dark roasted malts and caramel sweetness manage to shine through.

The taste is a flush of caramel, toffee, and vanilla sweetness up front that gives way to a big bite of dark roasted chocolate malt bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a crisp and clean finish.

Wow, I absolutely love Schwarzbiers and this was definitley one of the best I've had. Just a fantastic roasty feel that is perfectly balanced by it's complimentary sweetness characteristics. This was my first beer from Sprecher and the great flavor and big drinkibility of this guy have left a favorable first impression!

Kegatron, Mar 24, 2008
Photo of bluejacket74
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%

16 ounce bottle served in a pint glass, the beer pours dark brown with an inch and half frothy tan head. Head retention and lacing are both good. It smells very malty, like coffee, chocolate and molasses. It's very tasty, it tastes like chocolate, roasted malt, caramel, molasses, coffee and also a bit of a smoky taste. For the most part it's a sweet tasting beer, with some bitterness too. Mouthfeel is medium, with a good amount of carbonation. It's smooth and a bit creamy and slick with a dry finish. Drinkability is good, it goes down very easy and it's hard to stop drinking this. I think this is a good beer, I like it a lot and I'd definitely recommend it.

bluejacket74, Jul 15, 2007
Photo of Boilermaker88
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%

One of the last beers I had left from my June trip back to Boston. Somehow this one got lost in the shuffle and only recently resurfaced in the DBF. The 500ml bottle decanted easily into the (also) recently rediscovered mug I've grown fond of again, yielding a brew displaying a blackish color with brown edges, copious carbonation, and a thick foamy light beige head that was quite durable.
The nose was laden with a thick caramel aroma, some cocoa and molasses. Lighter oats and grain aromas are present. Very faintly, a hint of alcohol, too.
Medium-light as I'd expect a schwarzbier to be yet this one thickens up as it warms a little. Rolling waves of chocolate and caramel flavors swirl and merge together for a singularly sweet taste. As it moves back on the palate, a light coffee flavor makes an introduction and lingers mildly.
Overall, a really nice example of the style, one I wish I could find out here. Definitely worth picking up if you can.

Boilermaker88, Sep 16, 2005
Photo of jwc215
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%

Pours very dark brown with a creamy tan head. Lacing sticks.

The smell is of chocolate, light roast, earthy tones - Dark malt aroma blends well with hops.

The taste is of chocolate, caramel/toffee, light roasted coffee. Tasty hops add a bitter balance in the finish, while allowing it to be appropriately malt-forward.

It is a creamy, exceptionally smooth full-bodied lager.

This is an excellent example of the style. Dark, smooth, well-balanced. Very enjoyable black lager!

jwc215, Feb 08, 2014
Photo of cutthetail
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%

I first had this beer in 1997 and was my first introduction to the Sprecher Brewery. I enjoy its full body and malty flavor. Typically I like beers that are hoppier. The Black Bavarian offers a a nice balance without being too sweet. Very drinkable even for people who don't like dark beer.

cutthetail, Sep 30, 2006
Photo of animal69
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%

this one came highly recommended ; huh, a screw-off top w/ no date, pours a deep garnet brown w/ a thin tan head which dissipates quickly leaving some lacing behind in my nonic ; a sour roasted malt smell similar to an imp. stout w/ coffee & floral/piney hop notes throughout ; a rich, burnt-toast & coffee flavor initially w/ some piney hop as well, followed by dark fruit (dates) and roasted nuts, a smokey, slightly metallic note to the finish ; surprisingly light for a beer this rich, the co2 makes this a creamy delight ; an excellent brew, not just for a schwartz, but in general, a must try for sure...

animal69, Apr 06, 2008
Photo of Deuane
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%

A-Deep ruby-brown almost black until held up to the light. Thick tan head that dwindles and leaves some lacing.

S-Light roasted malt and a bit of nuttiness. Nothing big..as I would expect from a lager.

T-Whoa! Why cant all lager beers have flavour like this? Chocolate, coffee and a deep roasted malt which all ends in a nicely astrigent. This is a seriously flavourful brew!

M-Medium bodied with nice lively carbonation. A dry feeling left on the palate.

D-Seriously...this is some great stuff. I was skeptical at first but upon the first sip I was hooked! I have had quite a few German schwarzbiers and while they are one of my favorite lager styles I have had NONE that have this much flavour. Well done Sprecher!

Deuane, Mar 20, 2008
Photo of pokesbeerdude
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%

Big thanks to yeahnatenelson for this as an extra. 16oz bottle into my Sam Adams perfect pint.

A: Pours a very dark brown with lots of garnet highlights, light tan head with fine bubbles comes up to about half an inch and then recedes to a small layer. A few spots of lacing here and there. Excellent clarity when held to the light.

S: A few deep caramel notes and a decent amount of roasted malt. I wouldn't quite say coffee, but its pretty dang close. Lots of great malty notes that really shine as it warms. Fairly bready and maybe a bit of butter, but it doesn't detract. Nice smelling beer.

T: Great flavors, some nice roasty bitterness and a decent amount of earthy hops underneath the whole thing. Slightly minerally as well which is nice. On the end there is just a little bit of smoke in there as well. A few chocolatey notes and even more on the rich caramel note. Overall very tasty.

M: Medium to light body, fairly dry as well, doesn't finish quite as sweet as I had anticipated, but that's okay and to be expected. Overall nice here.

D: Very flavorful, I haven't had many schwarzbiers but have enjoyed them all. Really nice flavors in this beer with excellent balance between the sweet flavors and the roasty flavors and just a little bit of a hoppy profile as well. This is a nice beer and I wish I could get it a little easier as this would be a great cooler weather beer.

Thanks Nate!

pokesbeerdude, Sep 15, 2010
Photo of TheSSG
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%

Pours a dense, thick, light-tan head that has good persistence. A light roasted malt aroma, and a touch of floral hop. The mild aroma misleads you. Black. Starts with a floral hop bitterness and acidity, with roasted malt in the back. This is silky smooth and slick across the tongue. Builds to a medium bitterness, when the crushed coffee bean roasted earthiness bursts through into the finish, which is floral hop bitterness wafting in past the toasted malt. I love how the acidity milds in the finish and just blends to well with the roasted malt and floral hops. It's just great.

This is the brew that converted me to American craft bier (7 years ago), and I'm glad to see it's still great. Just a fantastic example of the style.

TheSSG, Jan 08, 2013
Photo of Hhawk06
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%

16 oz. bottle

It poured charcoal black with a quality tan beady head. I got a nice smoke and chocolate smell. The mouthfeel is big, full, and very smooth. Excellent. There is a definitely a chocolate overtone to the taste. Great balance within though. Certainly some carmelized malts involved as well. It finishes quenching and toasty. At the very moment you think its fading to oblivion, you are treated to the slightest roasty bitterness. Amazing how it lingers. Really a treasure, I'm very impressed with Sprecher's offerings.

Hhawk06, Feb 29, 2004
Photo of Onenote81
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%

Wonderful extra received from fatboyjim1 in a recent trade. Thanks, Jim!

Pours a thick dark black with a big frothy tan head on top. Minimal retention leaves some lacing, but little of it. Smells of faint chocolate, fresh dark breads, hints of coffee, and slight minerals.

The mouth is smooth and creamy with just a touch of carbonation bite on the tongue. Big warming bready flavor is all over this beer. Subtle chocolate notes mixed with fresh buttered-bread and light coffee flavor makes this a wonderful drink. There is so much depth to this 'lager,' I could drink this all night. Absolutely wonderful.

Onenote81, Aug 06, 2009
Photo of OldSock
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%

Appearance – 16 oz bottle from Julio's. Pours black as any stout, with faint red highlights when held up to the light. On top is an extra creamy tan two finger head that last for a few minutes.

Smell – Light coffee notes with a toasted malt backbone. A bit too roasty for a traditional shwarzbier, but it still smells good to me. No esters or alcohol that I can detect.

Taste – Smooth with mild roast and a slight noble hop twang. Slight dry charcoal bitterness in the finish. Definitely an in-your-face American interpretation of the German original, but its tasty. I would say this beer is a lager cousin to a Dry Irish Stout.

Mouthfeel – Smooth medium body with medium carbonation. A bit heavy for the style, but it fits this particular flavor profile well.

Drinkability & Notes – A tasty lager and my second favorite shwarzbier behind only the fabulous offering from Moonlight. Not exactly to style, but I'm not complaining too much.

OldSock, Dec 28, 2005
Photo of sliverX
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%

poured a very dark brown/ black with a small mocha colored head that faded to just a ring of bubbles
the smell is interesting it comes across like a burnt caramel malt, intriguing
taste is heavy coffee and dark chocolate can pick up some hop bitterness but more of a burnt bitterness than hoppiness
mouthfeel is light not like a stout or even a porter but if a "lite" version of such ever existed it would be like this
Drinkability well this is just a wonderful beer will definitely search out more in this style

sliverX, Jun 03, 2009
Photo of Atron67
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%

A- poured a black, but without particulates, with a brown head that faded relatively quickly, but it was a gentle pour.

S- smells of roasted malts, a little malty sweetness, but more bitter

D- roasted maltiness throughout, a solid flavor, a well balanced bitterness,fades off the tongue really well

M- medium/light body, a fine carbonation, and smoothness on the tongue

D- a solid lager.

Atron67, Sep 16, 2007
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%

Nearly opaque mahogany (suffused with deep crimson) with reddish gold edges reminiscent of autumn leaves. The head is three fingers after the pour and is a fetching shade of gingery beige. It demonstrates good persistence and leaves swaths of thick lace in a high collar when it eventually descends.

I haven't had too many schwarzbiers, but this is the best nose of the lot. There's a lovely mixture of chocolate and caramel that reminds me, strangely enough, of chocolate-covered caramels. There's also a faint molasses tang that I wish was more assertive. Although the nose in general could be more assertive, it's still a keeper. You'd think that with a hop bill as distinctive as this one (Cascade, Chinook, Mt. Hood and Tettnanger), I could appreciate hops in the nose. You'd be wrong though.

Black Bavarian is smashingly good. It's a curious combination of bold, dark flavor crammed into a lager body. A classic schwarzbier in other words. The flavor profile is a bewitching mixture of powdered dark chocolate, black coffee, burnt toffee (think Heath bars), sweet wood smoke and heavily toasted pecans. Hops are now an obvious contributor and are the secret ingredient that puts the flavor into orbit.

There's a minimal sweetness, a moderate sourness and a good deal of hoppy bitterness. This really is a 'best of both worlds' kind of beer and should please both lovers of malt and lovers of hops. Sprecher recommends drinking it at 60 degrees and I would concur. I started it at about 55 and I'm noticing a definite increase in an already bold flavor profile as it warms.

Roasted malt, with all of its attendant flavors, dominates the initial portion of each mouthful and then gradually gives way to hops. Odd for the style is the fact that the finish is dominated by citrus fruit. The mouthfeel is lagery light, yet has a stealth viscosity that makes it feel wonderful in the mouth. For once, I won't ask for a bigger body.

If Sprecher Black Bavarian contained cherries, it would be a dead ringer for the beer equivalent of Black Forest Cake. Come to think of it, that's not a bad idea. I'd hate to mess this one up, though, since it's such a fabulously complex, delicious beer as is. Is it the best American schwarzbier in existence? If not, it's damn close.

BuckeyeNation, Aug 23, 2005
Photo of barnzy78
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%

16oz. Pours near black with some ruby and chestnut hues at the edge of the glass when held to the light. Foamy tan head dissipates fairly quickly and leaves nearly no lacing on the glass. Aromas are mainly roasted malts with hints of bittersweet chocolate. Tastes are again roasted malts and chocolate - also espresso. Finishes slightly bitter and dry, but very crisp. Love this style, and this is a great example of the style for a great price - paid $5.69 for a 4-pack of pint bottles!

barnzy78, Apr 20, 2009
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%

The black-brown robe of this quite authentic schwarzbier rests gently beneath a creamy head of khaki froth. The head retention is quite good, and it leaves spots of lace about the glass.
Suggestions of caramel and roasty dark chocolate abound in the nose, welcoming you to imbibe.
In the mouth it's delicately crisp with a very fine-bubbled, moderate carbonation.
The flavor is rich with a bready and caramelish malt, and notes of dark toffee, light chocolate, spent coffee grounds, and a delicate thread of fruitiness.
It finishes dry with a lingering note of dark chocolate.

NeroFiddled, Sep 14, 2005
Photo of MuenchenerKindl
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%

Poured from a 16 Oz bottle to a big glass mug. This fine brew is a dark brown with beautiful garnet hues. The light brown 2 finger head is big and thick but fades quickly leaving a very nice lace.

The smell is of a nicely toasted dark bread.

The taste is extremely good, A deep roasty taste of malts, bread, nuts and some dark fruit notes. This beer holds up well with warming as more flavors are release.

The mouthfeel very good better then most as this offering tends to be thicker then others. The body is full and the carbonation is good.

Drinkability is very high in fact about as good as this style can get. The beer is full and rich, taste and smooth. It is well balanced with enough edge satisfy lovers of both lighter and darker styles. Prost und Zum Wohl! MK

MuenchenerKindl, Jul 15, 2006
Photo of drtth
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%

Poured into a Duvel glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: As poured the beer is a dark, almost black, reddish brown color with a 1" light brown head that slowly recedes leaving patches and streaks of lacing clinging to the sides of the glass. Sipping continues to leave layers of foam and intricate lacing patterns on the sides of the glass for much of the beer.

Smell: The aroma is nice mix of dark chocolate and caramel with no hops showing.

Taste: The flavors are dark and include a semi-sweet chocolate and malt sweetness that sometimes tastes of smoke and slightly burnt roasted malt. Popping out here and there is some dark roast coffee and even some roasted nuts. Even though there are hops here their flavors well integrated and show mostly in the lightly bittered dryness of the finish.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium to full bodied, soft and creamy with fine carbonation. The finish is fairly long, has a semi-sweet dark chocolate beginning and a nice dry ending with a faint roasted and slightly burnt bitterness that takes its time trailing off.

Drinkability: I'm definitely enjoying this one and finding that each sip follows the earlier one quite naturally and easily. I'd be happy to have a second one and it's a certainty that I'll be having this one again. Indeed, one of the nice things about this beer is that while it has the rich complexity that is so nice with this style of beer it does not have the intensity or "in your face" character that some stiyles have that make you think "only one tonight."

drtth, Sep 21, 2010
Black Bavarian from Sprecher Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 750 ratings.