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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

758 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 758
Reviews: 454
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 10.57%
Wants: 104
Gots: 35 | 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: 758 | Reviews: 454 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of sliverX
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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 17, 2007
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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
Photo of happygnome
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My 100th review very tasty

a: dark black very difficult to see through half inch of head that dissapears fast leaving a good amount of lacing
s: roared malt aroma with slight hp presence
t: very very nice, roasted malts kinda like a nice porter. slight hop presence extremely enjoyable
m: medium bodied with average carbonation

overall deffinatly one of the better beers ive had

happygnome, Jun 07, 2007
Photo of BigBry
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another draft choice at Clark Street Ale House, one of my favorite styles.
Very dark brown, reddish hilights, with a short off white head. Not much head retention and very little lacing.
Smells of sweet grains with a touch of coffee and chocolate. Flavor starts sweet and malty, slightly bitter finish. Subtle cocoa and coffee notes. Very drinkable, nice level of carbonation, goes down smooth. Flavorful but not so much that it wears out your taste buds with the hoppiness. Top notch.

Note to Self: Ranked #1 Schwarzbier when I tried it.

BigBry, Apr 27, 2009
Photo of objectivemonkey
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep black with just the slightest ruby tones around the edges, a thick long lasting tan head, bubbles here and there, lacing sticking to the glass, breaking up into strands on the way down.. quite nice. Aroma, as advertised, is caramel and chocolate malts, taking on faintly roasted and spiced tones. Taste is a nice slide from roasty malts to a dry, bitter, and almost hopped end. Notes of chocolate and espresso, molasses and burnt malt. Mouth is a not as thick as it looks, which is a little disappointing, but otherwise good, mostly smooth with a slight spring to keep things interesting. And while it isn't as thick as I'd hoped, it makes it a little easier to drink, and combined with the good look, smell, and taste, I'm thinking I'll stock this a little more often now. Definitely Sprechers best offering, a classic midwest brew.

objectivemonkey, Apr 30, 2006
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: A very distinctive squat, short necked, yet larger than normal brown glass bottle. The label has a Teutonic looking Coat of Arms and the word Sprecher in Germanic font. This is repeated in the bulge of the neck, where the word ‘Sprecher’ in raised lettering is molded into the bottle at two locations. A twist crown cap is not unusual, but the 16 fluid ounce, equal to 1 US Pint (a.k.a. One UK “Jessie” Pint, or a 20% short measure) is not. Packaged Date is 06/18/03.

Appearance: As dark and enticing as an Amazon beauty. A deep mahogany in color which, when backlit, reveals a clear lucid body which has a stunningly lovely auburn hue. A smooth tan brown head sits atop the beer. A fantastic looker. If it had brown eyes, and long black hair, I’d marry it. Massive inherent carbonation is revealed when the glass is tipped & swirled.

Nose: Lightly roasted malts dominate the aromas with a hint of ground dark chocolate and walnuts.

Taste: A collection of rather simple tastes, that does not really alter throughout the experience, but they are somehow wielded into a very attractive ‘complete’ offering. Starts with a lightly roasted malt character, middles with some dark chocolates and coffee. Finishes with an astringent hop-bitterness mixed with a light nutty aspect. Simple, but highly effective, and a damn fine beer.

Mouthfeel: Above average, it probably feels better than it actually is. Maybe it has fooled me here – whatever? It works well. The inherent carbonation obviously assists the mouthfeel.

Drinkability: I dearly wish I had some more bottles of this.

Overall: Another Sprecher beer that I really enjoyed. They seem to be able to make beers that are comprised of a handful of characteristic flavors, simple in nature, and blend them in a way that is highly refined. An accomplished offering.

A “Vielen Dank” to BigHuge for this American-Germanic Schwarz-Lager.

TheLongBeachBum, Aug 31, 2003
Photo of Stimack
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brew pours to a black color allowing a slight amount of light through with a fair sized head that has some retention. The aroma is of roasted, burnt malts that give of scents of coffee, caramel, chocolate and toffee. Overall an excellent smelling brew. Has a nice flavor to it, with the malt dominant, caramel, chocolate and toffee like tastes. Also a very dry feel to it. This is a extremely excellent brew, one of my favorite styles as well.

Stimack, Nov 28, 2005
Photo of biegaman
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16 oz bottle, ABV listed as 6.0%

Black Bavarian is indeed black in colour, although some chestnut highlights were observed off the pour and are still believed to reside somewhere underneath that thin, chalky head. Though dark as midnight the beer does not look, for whatever reason, the least bit intimidating...

The aroma is indulgent and decadent enough to be downright sinful. Rich and roasty, it boasts notes of bitter cocoa and coffee, sweet chocolate mousse and creamy chocolate truffles, brown sugar, molasses, soy and an underlying garden of hops.

The mouthfeel is unbelievably silky! It curiously somehow captures the flavour of 'roast' without imparting hardly any coarse, smoky, scratchy, or astringent roast qualities. In fact, the beer would have almost no texture at all less for the leafy, vinous bitterness that rings out after each sip.

Indeed, everything about this taste profile is bittersweet; it can just as closely resemble a chocolate and caramel fondue as it can smoked wood and espresso. There's also pine sap and citrus notes courtesy of our little green friends. Some anise-like flavour too.

I vividly remember first trying Sprecher Black Bavarian. It took one sip for me to deem it the best Schwarzbier I had tried to date. Admittedly, I didn't know much about the style back then. But having gained a lot more experience since, I still think it's probably one of the best there is.

biegaman, Jun 20, 2008
Photo of GeoffFromSJ
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was wondering what the big deal was when I heard the buzz about this beer getting to Philly @ the Grey Lodge. Well, the long and short of this is that this is an excellent session beer. Didn't know it was a shwarzbier until looking it up on this site. But the world definitely needs as many good shwarzbiers as possible.

This beer came with a really nice head and lasting lace. The mouthfeel was incredibly smooth. This is an incredibly drinkable beer.

GeoffFromSJ, Mar 09, 2008
Photo of will4240
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this beer from a 16 oz. bottle tonight. Pours a deep black with a good off white head. The bottle says that the beer has a very good malt back bone, and it is right on in saying so! Never have I had such a full bodied lager, amazingly tastes of caramel and malt. An overall fantastic beer! So tasty and amazingly drinkable. My new favorite german style beer.

will4240, Sep 30, 2009
Photo of DemoniChris
4.37/5  rDev +7.4%

DemoniChris, Jun 16, 2013
Photo of soper2000
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I can't believe that this is my first time having this beer. I always seems to be my "second choice" at many bars if other offerings aren't available, but it always gets past over.

Anyways, it pours a beautiful dark ruby tinged brown with a long lasting 2 finger beige head. Aroma is intially very sweet, maybe overly sweet but nice little roasted notes round out the nose. Taste brings me back to Brazil where Schwarz's are fairly common. There is a nice interplay between the sweetness and slightly bitter roastiness that makes this a very versatile beer; great for sessioning or sipping. Top class beer from Sprecher and a great intro into Schwarz's as a style.

soper2000, May 29, 2005
Photo of rallison
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a very nice looking wax dipped 22oz bottle.

A: Dark black with a 1/2 finger tan head that just barely sticks around.

S: Lots and lots of roasted coffee with a nice bit of dark chocolate.

T: Mmmm, if you like coffee and chocolate, you'll like this. Flavor is extremely roasted and dry, with tasty espresso and chocolate. Almost porter-like in this way. Love the dry finish. A very tasty, rich schwarzbier.

M: Very rich and full for a schwarzbier, and I enjoy that. It works really well here.

D: Extremely drinkable - so long as you like the roasted beers, of course.

Highly recommended. One of my favorite schwarzbiers - and from Sprecher no less.

rallison, May 24, 2007
Photo of biggred1
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black coffee with crimson highlights and a finger of whipped mocha foam that leaves superfine lacing behind on the glass. Tootsie roll and cocoa are heavy duty in the nose with a bit of roastiness as well. Rich and chocolatey with plenty of caramel malt and a perfect hop bittering to balance.Full bodied for a lager and creamy with silky smooth carbonation. I'll admit this is not a style I often seek out but Black Bavarian is a fantastic Schwarzbier with perfectly balanced complex flavors.

biggred1, Apr 17, 2010
Photo of CHL
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours very dark, with a tan head, and some deep red brown light showing through. Malty coffee and chocolate aroma.

The malt has definite sweetness and a little coffee bitterness. This beer has a very nice dark taste, but is appropriately medium-bodied. Not a lot of carbonation or hops, and I like it that way. It's creamy, actually, not thin, and goes down very well.

CHL, Apr 30, 2009
Photo of WastingFreetime
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 3/24/11
Pours jet black with thin amber highlights on the sides of my pint glass, two finger tan head that recedes to a thin bubbly cap without any lacing left behind at all. When the cap dissipates, it has an odd oily sheen to its top surface that thankfully does not translate at all into an oily mouth feel. In fact, it is remarkably light bodied and "clean" to the palate for such an engine oil appearance. Carbonation is just perfect, tingly and crisp without being distracting.
A word of advice: Let this one warm up a bit in temp or you won't smell much. It really needs to breathe a bit before the nose reveals charred malt odors with floral and spice hop accents. Not a very complex nose, but it smells exactly like how I want it to. Sometimes less is more.
On tasting, a medium bitterness hits first and transforms into a sudden spike of acidic dry charred malt that sweetens up nicely just before the finish of black coffee grounds takes you for a ride through floral hoptown. Now all of this complexity is happening paradoxically without being as "thick" or rich as a stout or porter. I imagine that feat probably takes some real brewing skill to pull off. If you like your porters and stouts, and want to experience a different kind of mouthfeel for the same sort of flavors, try this brew.

Bizarre Food Pairing Note : Coincidentally this beer paired so incredibly well with my french onion soup I was having for lunch, that I really have to recommend snacking on anything with caramelized onions, onion rings, a burger with fried onions on top, etc. Seriously, both the onion soup and the brew got significantly amplified in deliciousness when tasted together.

WastingFreetime, Jun 08, 2011
Photo of cdkrenz
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

$3.00/pint
Scott Street Steak & Pub
Wausau, Wisconsin

Appearance - They're not kiddin when they say, "black". It comes dark as night with a light brown, frothy head about 3/4" thick. As the head melts away it leaves trail which I feel takes away from its luster.

Smell - It offers a subtle sweet scent I didn't expect. It has a hint of chocolate that's quite inviting.

Taste - Very good taste with chocolate and carmel flavors. The taste is not overwhealmingly deep which makes for a very satisfying finish. Nothing bitter about the Bavarian.

Mouthfeel - Its as smooth as any beer out there. No harsheness from carbonation and no bitter hoppyness to fight. Very easy to drink this schwarzbier.

~ Had I been staying at Scott Street for more than one beer I most certainly would have indulged in a few more drafts of this fine beer. I look forward to my next trip to Wausau so I can stop in and have another. If you get the chance don't pass on the this one.

cdkrenz, May 21, 2007
Photo of beergoot
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The pour leaves a very dark ebony body and a lasting off-white, creamy head.

Exceptional aroma. Very rich, roasted grain scent with hints of bitter chocolate. Subtle yet rich malt grain smell.

Bitter-sweet chocolate with caramel and toffee notes. HInt of softly burnt toast. Delightful blend of hop bitterness infused with a light alcohol warmth peeking through the sweetness in the end.

Very smooth bodied mouthfeel, rich and velvety.

This is one excellent black lager, smooth yet rich. Well-balanced throughout and presenting a lot of dark beer complexity to your palate. Well worth checking out...

beergoot, May 13, 2012
Photo of brewcrew76
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16oz bottle

A - Pours a solid black with very faint ruby highlights when held to the light. A thin beige head skims the surface but quickly fades.

S - Chocolate and caramel with a bit of roasted malt. The aroma is a bit faint but is still very nice and better than other Schwarzbiers I have had.

T - Chocolate, black/burnt coffee, toasted malt that creates just the slightest hint of smoke, and a nice bitterness.

M - Light but not watery like other Schwarzbiers I have had. A nice dry finish.

D - My favorite Sprecher beer and possibly one of the best Schwarzbiers I have had.

brewcrew76, Jan 08, 2007
Photo of doubleshovels
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

If you are going to drink only one Sprecher, then make it a Black Bavarian.
This beer pours picture perfect into a pokel. Looking into the glass, I only see myself reflected back in pure obsidian surroundings.
The only fault I can find in this brew is that its aroma is very faint. One only smells the whispers of molasses.
Once in the mouth, this Schwarzbier opens up full throttle. Running straight up to the roof of your mouth, exploding with malts, coffee, and sweet spice; all gently falling back on to the tongue, wrapping around the sides of your mouth, then drying out and disappearing leaving only a desire for another sip.

doubleshovels, Mar 10, 2007
Black Bavarian from Sprecher Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 758 ratings.