1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

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)
View: Beers (41) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Ratings: 682 | Reviews: 441 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of elgiacomo
elgiacomo

Georgia

4.43/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16oz twist-off bottled November 14th, 2012. Served at around 45F.

Pours black with a one-finger creamy light brown head that leaves nice glass-coating sheets of lacing and retains extremely well, almost nitro-like appearance.

Aroma is chocolate, cocoa powder, roasted malts, some burnt malts, bit of coffee, caramel and dark bread. Good strength.

Flavor is chocolate/cocoa, dark roasted malts, hint of burnt toast, caramel, coffee, moderate sweetness, minimal bitterness or alcohol. Very smooth and finishes clean.

Mouthfeel is light/medium bodied, good carbonation.

Really, really nice Schwarzbier. One of the better examples I’ve had. Robust, rich, yet easy to drink. Nice ’un.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2013 02:40:20 | More by elgiacomo
Photo of superspak
superspak

Michigan

3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 ounce bottle into imperial pint glass, bottled 3/29/2012. Pours crystal clear extremely dark reddish brown color with a nice 1-2 finger fairly dense khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty foamy lacing clings down the glass. Aromas of chocolate, caramel, roasted malt, molasses, toffee, raisin, toast, nuttiness, and light herbal. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity. Taste of chocolate, caramel, toast, toffee, molasses, raisin, roasted malt, nuttiness, light coffee, biscuit, earthiness, and herbal spiciness. Light herbal bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of chocolate, toffee, molasses, roasted malt, toast, raisin, nuttiness, and herbal on the finish for a good bit. Nice balance and complexity of flavors; nicely robust with zero cloying after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a creamy and lightly slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a very nice schwarzbier! Nicely robust with good balance and complexity of flavors; very smooth to drink. Really enjoyed this one.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2012 05:55:24 | More by superspak
Photo of burns1066
burns1066

Iowa

4.63/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is an amazing beer! It drinks like a sweet, malty dessert. Tons of caramel and chocolate, malty without being cloying... in general, a fantastic late winter brew. It's mouth filling, but finishes wonderfully. The somewhat high alcohol content is not obtrusive because the beer invites slow savoring. As the temperature of the beer warms, the flavor profile becomes more pronounced and encourages even more measured drinking.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2012 04:43:28 | More by burns1066
Photo of deebo
deebo

Minnesota

3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Poured into a pint glass this beer has a weak yet persistant somewhat creamy tan head. It is clear, black with red tints when held up to the light.

S-Heavily toasted barley malt, aromas of dark chocolate are evident-nothing else noted. Clean aroma.

T-The dark malt pops and is the dominant taste in this beer. Coffee, chocolately with just hints of burnt malt are noted. Clean, quick finish.

M-Fairly weak body/mouthfeel as is customary with this style. Moderately high carbonation. Smooth with just a hint of bitter burnt malt finish. Very little detection of the 6% ABV.

O-A good beer to have when you crave the taste of a dark beer but are looking for something with higher drinkability. Pretty solid but I think the malt used is just a bit overcooked as it's a little too burnt for what I'd like in a dark lager. Another solid beer from Sprecher.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2012 02:06:01 | More by deebo
Photo of BasterdInABasket
BasterdInABasket

Wisconsin

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.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2012 03:56:22 | More by BasterdInABasket
Photo of B967ierhunter177
B967ierhunter177

Pennsylvania

3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours black, period. It has a 1/4 inch head and thin lace. The aroma is of anise, molasses, and burnt toast. The flavor opens with dark roasted malt, baker's chocolate, and coffee notes with a hint of wood and smoke. The mouthfeel is medium and smooth. Sprecher Black Bavarian is a good brew, recommended!

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2012 01:57:38 | More by B967ierhunter177
Photo of Ri0
Ri0

Wisconsin

4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-07-2012 00:53:28 | More by Ri0
Photo of dbrauneis
dbrauneis

North Carolina

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

A: Pours a dark brown almost black in color with some dark amber highlights and light to moderate amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a half finger tall creamy light beige head that reduces to a medium sized patch of thin film and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: The beer has moderate aromas of dark roasted malts along with some light amounts of caramel and toffee sweetness.

T: The taste is similar to the smell with there being a strong dark roasted malty flavor along with some sweetness - caramel, toffee, milk chocolate, and hints of smoke.

M: Medium bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation. Very smooth.

O: This beer is quite tasty with a pleasant and easy to drink flavor. I think this beer is very sessionable, even in the summer. Definitely one to have again.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2012 18:19:13 | More by dbrauneis
Photo of beergoot
beergoot

Colorado

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...

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2012 20:13:29 | More by beergoot
Photo of FosterJM
FosterJM

California

3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1188th Review on BA
Bottle to Mug
16 oz

Thanks to UclaBrewN84 for this one.

App- A very murky looking brown. About 4-5 different shades in the glass. A major dark dark brown lighter colors radiating out and a bit of amber on the edges. A small one finger head that was a bit khaki in color. Maybe a couple dots of cling.

Smell- A lot going on in this glass. Has a huge roasty note and then is a bit sweet. A lot of caramel comes next and then some brown sugars and a bit of BBQ smoke.

Taste- I am not normally a fan of this style because I havent really found a good one. This is a good one. Caramel, dark malts, bitter hops. Tasty beer with a good balance. Small but thin in a way which is my only knock really.

Mouth- A wee bit thin really. Bordering on a thin medium with a small medium carbonation. Sweet malts and a little bitter with a ton of caramel.

Drink- I am glad I was able to land of one these from a generous BA. Nice balance with good hoppy bitter, roasty flavors.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2012 02:26:35 | More by FosterJM
Photo of horshack7
horshack7

Massachusetts

4.45/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: From a 16oz bottle is a very dark almost opaque. The head is about two fingers thick and is beige in color.

Aroma: Chocolate malts, dark fruits, roasted malts. Hops are roasted, coffee notes, hops have touch of citrus but are leaning towards the floral side of the aroma.

Taste: dark roasted coffee, vanilla, chcolate malts that are semi sweet. Hops are a touch dry but still have a good bite.

Notes: What a remarkable lager very well done. Cheers.

Serving type: bottle

02-29-2012 04:58:40 | More by horshack7
Photo of Duff27
Duff27

Illinois

4.28/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled September 2011

A- Inch tall medium mocha colored head on a black beer. Average head retention and nice looking lacing.

S- Whiffs of light cocoa/coffee...some metallicness.

T- Roasted malts with a slight sweet smokiness. Hints of dark fruits. Drinks right at 6%abv but nevermind the alcohol as this is almost chuggable.

M- Mouthfeel is damn near perfect. Not too thick, not to thin, just right. Good carbonation as well.

D/O- Sooo incredibly easy drinking. Sprecher nailed it...a first for me. If you ever get the "dark beer is so thick!" from others then this may be a prime example of how that's just plain wrong. Sixteen ounce bottles...brilliant!

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2012 04:00:57 | More by Duff27
Photo of WankelEngine
WankelEngine

Illinois

3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16oz bottle into a nonic

A: The beer is a dark brown, almost black with a touch of mahogany around the edge. There is a 3 finger foamy tan head that sticks around for a bit.

S: Smells of roasted malts. There is a bit of smokiness and some wood.

T: Similar roasted malts from the smell. The biggest difference is the addition of a mild fruitness; raisin and grape. The smoky character develops a bit and leaves the finish dry and with a little bit of bitter coffee.

M: Medium carbonation with a smooth, relatively thin body. Easy drinking.

O: A combination of light, drinkable malts and some darker smoke and wood flavors. Overall pretty good.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2012 23:46:09 | More by WankelEngine
Photo of Hawkeye1113
Hawkeye1113

Illinois

4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

-Poured from a 16oz bottle into a Tulip
-Poured/Reviewed on 1/7/12

A- A rich black, opaque, with only about 1 cm of off-white head that dissipates rather quickly. Little lacing.

S- Fruity, caramel notes. Rich roasted nuts and possibly some cocoa.

T- Mild coffee and a bit nutty. A nice, rich, roasted quality exists, with a hint of bitterness on the back end.

M- Smooth, warming, bitter, and very complex. Refreshing amount of carbonation (appropriate for the style) is present.

O- Pretty good example of an American attempt at the Schwarzbier. Very drinkable and interesting. Warming complexity is excellent on a cold, winter night.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2012 07:53:48 | More by Hawkeye1113
Photo of JensVoigt
JensVoigt

Illinois

3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I went into this beer thinking I would have an experience similar to a German Schwarzbier I have had in the past (dark, but not terribly much body, with a reasonable amount of hops). However, I was pleasantly surprised by a relatively full bodied, caramel-like, and almost Imperial Stout sort of taste. It had lots of roasted malt flavor, and it seemed to get better as I drank it.

Overall: I would recommend it.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2011 03:49:07 | More by JensVoigt
Photo of Hex92
Hex92

Virginia

3.8/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Whenever I go to Wisconsin I pick up some of this beer. I don't ever see it here in Virginia.

A- black with thin creamy head
S- toffee and roasted malt
T- roasted malts is the biggest flavor...with a nice muted hop balance
M- a bit thin when compared to the big taste

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2011 03:58:07 | More by Hex92
Photo of DrDemento456
DrDemento456

Pennsylvania

3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Very dark black with only a slight touch of red hues at the base. My pour produced only a slight lace of ring of mocha colored head but a quick swirl gets it nice and sticky.

S - Smells some slight roasted notes, anise, coffee, and toffee. Smells strong.

T - Has a very nice nutty taste, then toffee, then a smooth roast of mild coffee. Finish has a nice bit of hops too.

M - Medium bodied and very creamy. Nice!

Overall I had to take the overall score down since I can't find this around my area but it was a very good black lager. Smooth and drinkable!

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2011 01:21:54 | More by DrDemento456
Photo of vande
vande

Illinois

4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a - if one didn't no better, I have a Pepsi sitting next to me. I nice, deep dark brown pour with very little head retention...just enough along the the rim of the glass to let one know its carbonated a bit...

s - sweet, slightly nutty w/ hints of carmel...faint coffee

t - one of my favorite sprecher brews actually... a nice smoky taste to it..dark, somewhat rich..mixture of milk-bitter dark chocolates engrained with black, roasted malts.. tasty combo

m - medium bodied, somewhat creamy...

o - like I said, one of my favorite Sprecher offerings. Not an overpowering Schwarzbier, but one that's quite palatable...

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2011 18:54:46 | More by vande
Photo of GeezLynn
GeezLynn

Minnesota

4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep black, with a thin foamy off-white head. Retention is excellent.
S: Licorice, cocoa and a bright, almost fruity sweetness.
T: Licorice flavor is also heavy, along with an equal split of chocolate and berry flavors. Shows a flash of sweetness promptly followed by a light bitterness. Smoked malt becomes very discernable on the back end as the beer warms. Finishes with a dry hit of black malt.
M: Feel is medium bodied with full carbonation. Personally, I’d like just a bit less bubblay, but it’s well within style guidelines.

Always nice to come across this beer. One of the bigger examples of the style out there and one of the better in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2011 05:33:22 | More by GeezLynn
Photo of Jammies
Jammies

Illinois

4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - pours a watery black with a thin layer of foam that immediately disappears.

S - sweet with a slightly nutty coffee odor

T - well balanced. A deep toasty lager with no overbearing flavors.

M - Light and smooth. Slightly malty on the finish as expected

O - Surpisingly well-balanced. Really enjoyed this one.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2011 17:18:06 | More by Jammies
Photo of RThomas436
RThomas436

Pennsylvania

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.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2011 19:19:49 | More by RThomas436
Photo of Urbancaver
Urbancaver

Ohio

3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks Troy for this tick :)
Who would have thought this would be readily available in Florida.
Pours a dark dark brown. Almost black. Some light white head. Smells roasty but mostly non-aromatic. Tastes sweet and malty. Definitely a lager. Well carbonated. Good mouthfeel. Overall very refreshing.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2011 18:42:49 | More by Urbancaver
Photo of Viciousknishs
Viciousknishs

Virginia

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

A- pours dark brown with a finger of tan head. Very good retention.

S- big bready malt with chocolate overtones. Smells like chocolate cake! Slight toasty aromas on the finish.

T- smooth milk chocolate up front with bready malts intertwined. Chocolate cake abounds! Finishes with a balancing hop character that gives it an amazing balance with a toasty quality on the finish.

MF- smooth creamy mouthfeel with a medium body and light carbonation.

D- incredibly drinkable

overall one of the best schwarzbiers I've had to date!

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2011 02:22:57 | More by Viciousknishs
Photo of falloutsnow
falloutsnow

Illinois

4.45/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased from Whole Foods in Omaha, NE.
Poured into an Ayinger half liter glass.
No brewed on date.

Pours a huge, tan head made up of smaller sized bubbles giving it a dense, creamy effect. Foam takes minutes to fully dissipate, eventually leaving a 0.2cm cap atop the body. Leaves significant lacing after the decline, as well as with each swirl of beer. Body is an opaque, very dark brown to black color; totally impenetrable.

Aroma is of roasted and chocolate malts mixed with some nuttiness, particularly hazelnut coffee creamer. Slight nods towards sweetness and char, sweetness slightly fruity (grape or cherry preserves). I've noticed, though, that you need to let the beer warm to fully experience this component.

Taste is of malt sweetness tucked behind flavors of light caramelized malt, cafe mocha, and light chocolate milk. There is a faint bit of char and bitterness in the taste, which I would like to taste a bit more of, as this would balance out the sweetness even better. Aftertaste of residual mocha flavors alongside slight bitter char.

Body is medium, with carbonation strong enough to make itself present, but not overpowering. Wouldn't mind a slight bit more carbonation, probably would make nose and taste all the stronger, but pleasant and agreeable on the palate. Finish is surprisingly dry.

Of the few schwarzbiers I've had, this is an excellent one. I might actually prefer the Rogue version to this, but for price and availability, this is top.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2011 04:09:43 | More by falloutsnow
Photo of mobius387
mobius387

Florida

3.83/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into a new belgium snifter

appearance: pours jet black with a small 1/2" brown bubbly head, gives it the look like its going to taste very carbonated

aroma: i dont get much here, light smells of chocolate and caramel.

palate: not as carbonated as it looks. medium bodied in mouth, flavor lasts for awhile along sides of mouth

taste: i get a roasty malt flavor with some sweet tones to it.

overall: a unique beer from a very good brewery. there is complex flavors, but its not a fill-you-up type of beer like some complex stouts. probably one of, if not the, best beers made in milwaukee. definitely a must try for those in the area

Serving type: bottle

10-28-2011 22:22:29 | More by mobius387
Black Bavarian from Sprecher Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 682 ratings.