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 DaveFL1976
DaveFL1976

Florida

4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap @ Coasters Pub in Melbourne, FL

What a nice change of pace this beer is. It's flavorful without being overpowering. It's full-bodied and satisfying without being chewy. It's one damn fine Schwarzbier.

Opaque black body with a soap-bubble-like tan head. Smell is sharp and chocolaty. Taste is smooth, sweet, but finishes with a bit of tartness. Nice balancing act between the malt and hops. There's not much to dislike about this beer other than my taste buds can't handle a lot of sweetness in one sitting.

Serving type: on-tap

09-05-2008 13:53:19 | More by DaveFL1976
Photo of HWPlainview
HWPlainview

Wisconsin

4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Serving type: on-tap

07-23-2008 22:15:45 | More by HWPlainview
Photo of Derek
Derek

British Columbia (Canada)

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.

Serving type: on-tap

04-13-2008 17:35:05 | More by Derek
Photo of plaid75
plaid75

New York

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

Poured a deep black hue with a one finger frothy tan head. There was very good retention and lacing.

The smell featured burnt malts with hints of charcoal.

The taste consisted of a robust burnt grain with a dry coffee and some smokiness.

The mouthfeel was toward the fuller side for the style and dry.

Overall a very tasty schwarzbier and representative of the style.

Serving type: on-tap

03-12-2008 16:41:17 | More by plaid75
Photo of GeoffFromSJ
GeoffFromSJ

New Jersey

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.

Serving type: on-tap

03-09-2008 19:34:11 | More by GeoffFromSJ
Photo of ommegangpbr
ommegangpbr

New York

3.53/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From notes taken at the Hop Devil Grill:
Looks... Black! leaves some nice lacing after the off-white head fades.
Scents are sweet and smoky but lacking some punch. This will clearly be a malty time.
Flavors are all sweetened coffee notes. Pretty similar to many porters I've had but underachieving some.
Not too bad all around but something like this I'd expect to be a bit more smooth.

Serving type: on-tap

02-20-2008 05:14:33 | More by ommegangpbr
Photo of aaronh
aaronh

Pennsylvania

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

After a few years of waiting to be in the right area to find this beer, it finally happened at the Happy Gnome in St. Paul. Sure I could have traded for it, but the trip is part of the fun, isn't it?

Nice dark, almost black body with a rather thin whitish head. Aroma is clean, with just a hint of malt and noble hops in there. Overall, it's just a really fresh malt aroma. Taste is also clean and a bit malty. A nice hop balance in there, but not much hop flavor - just bittering. Mouthfeel is solid. Better than average, not exactly memorable. Drinkability is very good. I really wish this beer was available near where I live. While not the amzing revalation I was hoping for, it would be a staple lager for me to complement my occasional Prima Pils and Paulaner O'fests.

Serving type: on-tap

01-04-2008 00:37:53 | More by aaronh
Photo of sleazo
sleazo

New York

3.58/5  rDev -12%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-pours as black as a dark night with a cream coloured creamy top. Lacing coats the sides of the glass.

S-Slight charred malt, not very strong

T-Sweetness is the first thing that hits you followed by the slightly charred malt. Slight hints of hops can be detected but most of the bitterness here is from the malt.

M-Light bodied with moderate carbonation

D-This is a good Swartzbier but not on par with some of the European classics. Is a bit sweet for my taste but this is a good one to have on hand.

Serving type: on-tap

09-04-2007 14:48:16 | More by sleazo
Photo of cdkrenz
cdkrenz

Wisconsin

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.

Serving type: on-tap

05-21-2007 03:01:42 | More by cdkrenz
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 kennyo
kennyo

New York

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

On tap at the precher event at the Collins Bar

Pours an opaque black color with a 3/4" head that disappates firly quickly. Could be bar glasses cleaning that makes the head disappear, which always makes it hard t judge beer in bars. The aroma is coffee, chocolate. Taste is smoky, black malt but not overpowering, smooth with a dry finish. This is a good example of a schwarzbier. I would like to try a bottle to see if the appearence and head is different

Serving type: on-tap

01-10-2007 01:48:16 | More by kennyo
Photo of shivtim
shivtim

Georgia

3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

An opaque black brew with tiny hints of brown, and a thin tan head that fades quickly. Looks nice! The nose is syrupy coffee and roasted chocolate. Taste is sweet plums up front, followed by strong coffee and hints of caramel. Coffee taste lingers. Mouthfeel and drinkability are both slightly above average. One of Sprecher's best brews.

Serving type: on-tap

08-12-2006 03:16:29 | More by shivtim
Photo of expatsteve
expatsteve

Wisconsin

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

Appearance: Jet black, with low/medium viscosity. Good 1/2 inch head thins to filmy suds cover.

Aroma: Nice metallic lager nose - acidic, with some black pepper and a little espresso.

Taste: Mmmm...a solid, tasty, schwarzbier. Roasted espresso finish complements a smooth and understated front palate. Peppery, rich, a little acidic, but not at all sweet. Some occasional plums, but for the most part a fairly clean brew.

Mouthfeel: Rich without being too heavy. Nice clean malt finish.

Drinkability: Sessionable and pleasant. This was the perfect complement to the baseball game I was watching at the time, and definitely a beer I'll return to. Does a good job avoiding sweetness and remaining true to the style.

Serving type: on-tap

07-22-2006 03:43:14 | More by expatsteve
Photo of rhoadsrage
rhoadsrage

Illinois

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

(Served in a 2L Boot)

A- This beer has a black thick body with a creamy thick head that last and last. No sign of carbonation in this dark body.

S- This beer has a dark roasted malt smell that is smooth and light with an earthy note to the malt There is a faint cream note in the background.

T- This beer has a dark malt flavor that is not bitter and very drinkable. There is a faint black grain note and a chocolate malt flavor that gets stronger as it warms. There is a faint noble hop bitterness at the finish that offers a nice compliment to all the malt flavors. As it warms some hints of molasses and prunes come through but they are dry more that sweet notes.

M- The mouthfeel is medium-light with a creamy texture in the finish that is light also.

D- This beer has nice complexity but is smooth and light making it very easy to drink. The chocolate malt and cream offer a great flavor without being overpowering or sweet.

Serving type: on-tap

06-29-2006 22:50:15 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of UncleJimbo
UncleJimbo

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on tap at Red Bones.

This Schwarzbier (?) poured a clear, very, very dark brown color with red highlights, with tan foam that settled and coated the glass a bit. The smell was fruity with light caramel. The taste was fruity (raisins) with caramel and malt. The hops were very light, but there was a touch of bitterness in the finish. The mouthfeel was dry and smooth with medium body and moderate carbonation. The flavor lingered lightly. This was a nice beer, though it did not seem to be a typical schwarzbier.

Serving type: on-tap

07-05-2004 22:05:55 | More by UncleJimbo
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 DrunkMcDermott
DrunkMcDermott

Illinois

3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Among the pale pilseners at the downtown Chicago Kristkindl market is a keg of pale pilsener's evil twin. Pours with a hearty brown head over a body that looks solid black in a plastic cup, then shows brown highlights as I drink it. Kind of a black bread smell that’s not as prominent as a stout. Definite dark roast malts against a German hop profile. Leaves a taste at the back of the palate where bitterness and astingency are detected. Roast coffee taste, perhaps a note of pear, subdued by its "clean" lager finish. Brings up a bit of a burnt toast taste toward the end that may not be to everyone's liking, but I like its complexity.

Serving type: on-tap

12-26-2003 15:45:51 | More by DrunkMcDermott
Photo of Jon_Abbott
Jon_Abbott

Tennessee

3.91/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Very dark brown, almost black. Thin, light tan head dissipated quickly and didn't leave much lacing.

S: Toasted malts, smoke, and an earthy bitterness.

T: Beer is sweet with toasted, caramel undertones. Hints of smokiness and earthy hops. Aftertaste lingers and is almost burnt tasting, but not unpleasantly so. Acidity becomes more pronounced as the beer warms.

M: Somewhere between light and heavy. Medium? Definitely not thin, but not quite as thick as I would have liked and expected. Medium carbonation.

O: Delicious. I have a soft spot for black lagers and this didn't disappoint. I really enjoyed its deep bitterness and it's carbonation is more than I am used to since I drink a lot of porters and stouts, so it was very nice for a change.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2014 23:16:17 | More by Jon_Abbott
Photo of jwc215
jwc215

Wisconsin

4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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!

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2014 21:26:00 | More by jwc215
Photo of brewskifan55
brewskifan55

Mississippi

3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter

A: Dark, shoe polish brown with a tan half-finger head that settles quickly to a bubble ring. Light lacing.

S: Charred coffee, dark chocolate. Malts.

T: Follows nose with sweetness and caramel. A smooth finish.

M: Medium with medium to heavy carbonation.

O: One of the better Schwarzbiers I've tried. A great sipper. Even better as it warms.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2014 22:49:44 | More by brewskifan55
Photo of RoamingGnome
RoamingGnome

Wisconsin

3.56/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Sprecher Black Bavarian

Poured from a 16 oz bottle into an English style dimpled pint glass. Served chilled...

A) Dark brown, nearly black, with a finger of light tan head. This quickly settled to a collar. No lacing...

S) Dark roasted malt, a bit charred, a little cocoa powder, and light coffee. Actually quite milky, and just a whiff of licorice there too.

T) Pretty close to the nose. I noted a little more sweetness in the flavor, kind of an underlying caramel. The finish was bitter earthy hops.

M) Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. This is a smooth brew, right up to a pretty dry finish. The aftertaste is an earthy roasty combo.

O) Still plowing through the Christmas leftovers. This is one of Sprecher's better offerings.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2014 19:53:28 | More by RoamingGnome
Photo of Theheroguy
Theheroguy

Maryland

4.41/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown approaching black. The flavors of the roasted malt, the sweetness, the coffee tones, the tang from the acid... I feel as though all of these are more pronounced in a schwarzbier than in a porter or stout. The lager yeast just doesn't impart as many flavors as an ale yeast. Not a negative or a positive just an observation. I don't know how traditional this beer is as it's very well hopped. There is a firm bitterness throughout. Personally I feel like this is a good thing because many of the German beer which include a lot of dark roasted malts are overly sweet. All in all highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2013 06:52:28 | More by Theheroguy
Photo of wac9
wac9

Pennsylvania

3.81/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

what a wonderful beer i frist smelled malty and i was was worried but the taste is wonder full tastey wow just a great beer i want to drink all night just a renowned smoothness and a creamy tan head that i lovve enjoy people its a winner for a winter night it warms the soul on a summer night it continues life love this drink smile enjoy

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2013 04:14:16 | More by wac9
Photo of dbell23
dbell23

Tennessee

4.48/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Sean at Libation Station for the recommendation. Poured into a tulip. Black with a huge beige head that never completely goes away. Looks like a stout with a big head. Great lacing. Nice looking beer.

I've never smelled a beer like this one. Malty, maybe a chocolate undertone,charcoal maybe. Again, very different.

Taste is really good. Starts malty, slightly stout with a slight bitter sweet middle but not hoppy. Super clean finish with a slight smokey stout like undertone. It's like a stout/porter/lager combination. The roasted malt seems to be the dominate flavor but it almost tastes hoppy from the roasted bitterness. I don't know,what it is but it tastes good.

The mouthfeel is the star. I don't recall a beer more smooth than this one. Really good session beer.

Overall, this is a must try if you like to try different beers and I do. This would be a great beer with German food. It's a great beer to just enjoy too. The low abv makes it sessionable.

Serving type: growler

11-09-2013 22:26:49 | More by dbell23
Photo of ckollias
ckollias

Maryland

4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Enjoyed this 16oz bottle out of a Belgian tulip glass.

A: Pours a dark black hue with a thick rN head that slowly dissipates leaving a decentt trail and wispy lace.

S: Roasted malt aroma with hints of dark fruits.

T: Sweet at first but then balanced nicely by the black malt. Finishes with a smokey roast finish.

M: Medium body and medium carbonation.

O: This a good brew – easy drinker – and lots of flavor and aromas.

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2013 02:23:32 | More by ckollias
Black Bavarian from Sprecher Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 682 ratings.