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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

766 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 766
Reviews: 454
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 10.57%
Wants: 105
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: 766 | Reviews: 454 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mynie
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Solid Schwarz pour. Very dark red with a retentive, offwhite head.

Smells very light for the style with some deep, very fruity nodes and little hint hint of chocolate malt or anything toasted. I'd almost think it was a little stale, if I hadn't bought it right at the brewery less than two weeks ago. Still, it's a nice aroma. The fruit nodes and solid and pleasant. Just not as complex or intense as I was hoping.

Tastes just as complex and intense as I was hoping, I'm happy to say.

The balance leaves you with a beer that's at once complex and hugely drinkable. Starts out with very ripe fruit, super sweet, and balancing that out you have a more mundane, caramely sweetness. This then falls back into a more traditionally Schwarzy middle of dark roasted chocolate malt, earthen and bitter. The end is dry and bitter.

mynie, Aug 12, 2008
Photo of halfP1NT
3.78/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed this one on 6/8/08. Thanks to johnd513 for this.

This brew pours an opaque black with a tan head that recedes into a thin layer.

Smell is nothing too overwhelming; toasty malts and smoke, woody and slightly sweet.

Taste is smoky, toasted malts and some smooth chocolate. There is also a definite meaty flavor here that's hard for me to ignore. I really don't like the meaty taste here (that's why I don't really like rauchbiers or smoked beers), but there are other things going on here that I do like. The smoky flavor dominates, and lingers after the sip. Nice hops presence balances it all out.

The sweet malts coat my mouth, yet this is a pretty crisp brew. This is a very flavorful lager. Although not my favorite style, I'd recommend trying this one.

halfP1NT, Aug 06, 2008
Photo of MiScusi
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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 JasonA
3.53/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a light dark black. Yes, a strange appearance, though I would guess on style. Little to no carbonation.

Slight malt. Almost smells burt. Light overall

Burnt malt, and yet very refreshing, light. Not much in the palatte, very subtle. For a 5%+ ABV, this beers tastes good.

Refreshing. Doesnt feel like the color. Macro feel, craft subtle.

Very nice. I could drink a few of these pounders. If the price was right, a case seems nice for a warm afternoon with friends.

JasonA, Jul 26, 2008
Photo of schanker21
4.15/5  rDev +2%
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.

schanker21, Jul 25, 2008
Photo of HWPlainview
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.

HWPlainview, Jul 23, 2008
Photo of joshwlt
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reminded me of a lighter rauchbier more than a schwarzbier... Poured thick dark brown/black out of the bottle with a tan brown head that only reached about 3/4 of an inch high and didnt last long... Smelled great... bread, toffee, and lightly meaty. The taste however integrated some light flavors of rauchbier with a smokiness and some jerky flavors and sliiight coffee but accompanied by some sweeter malt. This is a good beer to bridge the gap to a more flavorful in your face rauchbier or stout... other black beers I've had were a bit sweeter and subtle. This has a bit more taste and is restorative.

joshwlt, Jul 23, 2008
Photo of auxiliary
4.43/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance - Nice dark color with a tan brown head.

smell - Malts, dark chocolate.

taste - Nice roasted taste with dark chocolate and java beans up front. Finished with some bitterness and nutty taste.

mouthfeel - Medium-heavy.

drinkability - Very nice beer. #1 for this style. i can see why.

auxiliary, Jul 18, 2008
Photo of Riverwarrior
3.78/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

S = Light roasted coffee beans with chocolate in the background.

T = Malty backbone, roasted grains, semi-sweet chocolate mingling around the other flavors. There was a slight roasted coffee bitterness in the finish. Nothing too bitter, but just enough to balance.

MF = Medium body with moderate carbonation. This one is silky smooth from mouth to stomach.

Overall, this is a very easy to drink schwarzbier with plenty of roasted goodness to enjoy.

Riverwarrior, Jul 15, 2008
Photo of Drewcifer
3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a solid black with a slight reddish tinge to it. A very short tan head that fades to a ring quickly. It's an interesting black - not the murky blacks of stouts and porters, but almost a glossy black.

Aroma is dark, smokey, roasted and burnt grains.

Taste is roasted grains, again, a slight bittersweet chocolate hint, maybe some toffee. Different, but good.

Mouthfeel is a good, solid lager feel - medium body, fair amount of carbonation, not thick but solid.

Overall, a very good brew. Not the most drinkable - I can't see having more than one or two in one sitting - but on a bottle-by-bottle basis, a nice drinker.

Drewcifer, Jun 29, 2008
Photo of pmcadamis
4.43/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - A dense finger of brown cream rises above a mahogany black brew that reminds me of the wood on a grand piano. The head recedes to a thick collar and leaves a lot of whipped lace on the glass.

S - Tootsie Rolls, root beer, sassafras, charcoal, charred firewood, wet slate, roasted grains, and chicory. Holy crap! This is an extremely complex and interesting nose! I just so happen to love smoky and dark aromas like campfire smoke, and this one is really impressing me tremendously. I could sniff this all day on a rainy day like this one.

T - Dark wet charcoal. This is like a charcoal grill after you pour water on it ....that hissing smoky woody smell. This tastes like that and reminds me of my childhood camping with my parents. There is also a sweetness to this one that is almost like raw brown cane syrup or maple syrup tapped straight from the tree and then caramelized over an open charcoal pit.

M - Medium bodied and highly carbonated. This is the crazy thin that I love about the style...it's rich and dark and smoky, but it's still a relatively spry lager! The finish is slightly dry and full of charcoal and soy sauce lingering notes.

D - An excellent example of the style. This is so smoky that it's almost like a rauchbier. I would definitely pick up some more of this great brew.

pmcadamis, Jun 29, 2008
Photo of Domingo
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I always thought the name of this was a little weird considering the Schwarz style really isn't all that common in most of Bavaria...but I guess it does have a nice ring to it.
Pours a brown/black color with a huge fluffy head. Unlike many dark ales, this is relatively thin (intentionally) and fairly carbonated. I like that this is a 16oz bottle, so I had to pull out my imperial pint glass for it.
Smells roasty and clean with noble hops.
The taste has lots of coffee, baker's cocoa, and burnt grain flavors. The burnt flavors and kiss of noble hops makes this finish ultra-dry and bitter.
One of the things that makes this so drinkable is that it has a little sweetness up front, but finishes so clean. You just keep going back as a result.
Paired well with chicken skewers and veggies from grill, and I can really imagine it pairing very well with anything grilled.
Spot on for the style and fresher than most imports you're going to find. You might use this as a gateway for beer novices who like dry stout but haven't really branched out.
For experienced BA's, it's a great example of how to have a ton of flavor without being overblown.
Nice one Sprecher.

Domingo, Jun 28, 2008
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 jjayjaye
2.85/5  rDev -30%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

The pour is a clear dark brown color but in the glass the it's too dark to see through. This one has a shallow wispy tan head that fades quickly without leaving much Belgian lacing. Warning, I'm not a big fan that this is a twist off cap...i don't trust'em. The smell is unique. The aroma isn't completely 'roasted', but it's earthy and malt-like with a musty sort of character. Adequately carbonated, the mouth feel is medium bodied. There is a tangy hop to it but i'm a little distracted that the earthy musty thing has carried into the flavor. Full flavored, the taste isn't chaulky but it's quite earthy. There's some chocolate malt and something that i'd loosely characterize as caramelized. This one is not getting it for me. Feel free. Pour...a person has to know there limitations.

jjayjaye, Jun 15, 2008
Photo of almychristopher
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

looks pretty black with a tan head that shrinks up slowly to a lace. the aroma lives up to the dark malts the appearance promises... chocolatey roasted goodness. the malts live on in the taste with a good bit of roastedness, it's well attenuated, with a fine crisp mouthfeel... a pretty good beer.

almychristopher, Jun 12, 2008
Photo of charlzm
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed 06/06/08 at The Daily Pint, Santa Monica CA.

Pours virtually black with a modest head that fades to lacing fairly quickly.

Aroma is smoky with hints of yeast. A touch metallic.

Flavor is meaty (as in reminds of smoked meat with spices, like jerky) and a little metallic. Smooth lager character helps keep things moving along flavor-wise as subtle malts come and go on the tongue. Well carbonated.

Easy enough to drink, but by the bottom of the bottle, I was about dome with this one. Well, it WAS the fourth pint that night...

charlzm, Jun 07, 2008
Photo of DefenCorps
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz bottle poured into my RR pint glass. The bottle opened without much oomph.

A: Black with deep ruby highlights. There's a nice light brown head on this.

S: Bready, roasty, mildly nutty and toffee-ish. Good!

T: Great roasted flavors coming through with some toffee and caramel. The finish is strangely metallic which detracts from an otherwise great flavor profile.

M: Great carbonation, refreshingly so. With a dry finish, this goes down easy but the metallic taste is a little strange

D: A great quaffer for a hot day.

DefenCorps, May 27, 2008
Photo of jmalex
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On a slightly chilly, crisp evening, a schwarzbier seems like a nice beer to sit down with while watching the Phillies. Luckily I've got one of the most highly regarded schwarzbiers there is.

APPEARANCE: Pours into my Sly Fox becker a dark, dark brown with a slight reddish amber highlight. The head is light tan, fine-bubbled, and tight and holds at about a finger high. A few spots of lace even make an appearance.

SMELL: Very distinctly a lager, this one has a slight aroma of roasted grains but not much else. What I smell is great, but it could be stronger.

TASTE: Very crisp and clean. It's got a sharp jolt of toasted and roasted malt, especially on the back end. A bit of hop flavor melds nicely with the bitterness of burnt grains. It's mostly devoid of any sweetness, and in it's place is a huge bready quality. Quite nice.

MOUTHFEEL: Medium bodied, maybe leaning towards the lighter side with a slight slickness to it. Carbonation is on the high side which seems appropriate.

DRINKABILITY: Major points here. Just incredibly smooth and easy drinking. It's like the flavor of a porter or doppelbock with the easy drinking of a helles lager or English bitter. What a combo.

I heard a lot of good things about Specher and Black Bavarian delivers on those. And I think I picked the perfect day for it. This is exactly what I wanted.

jmalex, May 20, 2008
Photo of tgbljb
4.47/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a very deep reddish-brown color with moderate tannish head.

Smell is loaded with chocolate, coffee, chicory, licorice, and roasted malt. Very strong and very nice.

Taste is also superb. Strong notes of coffee, dark chocolate, and roasted malt abound. The finish shows a nice balancing dryness and is the perfect ending for this beer.

Leaves a nice dry sensation in the mouth that beckons for another taste.

Really a great beer.Part of a sampler pack from my visit to Illinois so I don;t know if I will ever try it again.

tgbljb, May 19, 2008
Photo of brewdoc75
4.43/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my Guinness Pint Extra Stout pint glass. Beautiful black color with hints of mahogany when the light shines on it. A strong, lively 2 inch head sits atop this wonderful lager. The aromas are fantastic w/ strong, sweet malts, followed by chocolate and even a slight roasted coffee aroma. The flavor is also great with more of the sweet, chocolatey malts. There is some caramel and toffee flavors present as well. The beer ends w/ a pleasant roasted coffee taste. There is some slight fruitness present as well. I do get just a hint of the hops, but just enough to add some necessary bitterness. The mouthfeel of this beer is not what you would expect. It is rather light to medium bodied, when one may expect it to be heavy. I like the fact that it is lighter.

Overall a stellar beer. I've had one other schwartzbeer, but I don't really remember it. This beer is definitely memorable and is a worthy adversary to any porter out there. The great thing about this brew is that it is so damn easy to drink. Goodbye 4-pack....

brewdoc75, May 17, 2008
Photo of Offa
4.53/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a wodnerful schwarziber, complex, full of flaovur, yet very drinkable and smooth.

It's black, almost devoid of carbonation, and has a small, dense, light brown head that steadily thins to a foamy ring.

The aroma is rich, mostly roasted, chocolate, coffee, earth with elements of licorice and molasses.

The taste is similar to the aroma, but lighter. It has toasted malt, chocolate, coffee, licorice, other elements of flowers and spice, a tad like a little good root beer. It has a nice sweet-bitter balance. The flavour is strong and lasting, but incredibly smooth. Despite appearances, it is actually lightly carbonated and has a lively yet creamy feel, and is highly drinkable.

Offa, May 16, 2008
Photo of ncvbc
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours near black, brown edges, tan head with good staying power. Spotty lacing. Light and clean. Chocolate, caramel, grain, faint hops. Taste is very nice. Well-balanced flavors. Great chocolate and caramel sweetness but not overly sweet by any means. A bit roasted/smokey and a decent bitterness to balance. Nutty and bready undertones. Mouthfeel is light and somewhat creamy but has a dry finish. Yep, I like.

Bill is the man...

ncvbc, May 12, 2008
Photo of cjgator3
4.43/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16oz bottle poured into an imperial pint glass. The aroma is sweet roasted malts, molasses, toffee and hints of coffee. The taste is dark and roasty with a good dose of slightly burnt malts, caramel and a touch of smoke. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and the carbonation is spot on. Overall, Black Bavarian is a beer that I really enjoyed and will purchase again in the future. Recommended.

cjgator3, May 01, 2008
Photo of IBUnit63
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to flyingbison for this Black Dog...

Excellent compact rye bread head with nice lacing - deep and dark licorice body.

Well-roasted chocolate malt and a little yeast. Not a whole lot of hops just yet. Nice smoke aroma emerges with a little warmth.

Bountiful malt presence combines with such a creaminess to be almost stout-like. Very clean but powerful. Nice! One of the best tasting of the style that I've sampled.

Charred burnt malt is pleasant in mouthfeel - there's a sharp while earthy aftertaste on the palate.

Very nice to drink - I wish we could get more of this around here.

IBUnit63, Apr 27, 2008
Photo of wheatyweiss
4.28/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a nonic tumbler.

Appearance is black as death with a head that recedes quickly leaving a ring of lace.

Aroma is dark roasted malt with a little chocolate.

Flavor is straight up sweet caramel and dark roasted malt. Chocolate with a touch of raisin. Deep, dark malts that are so darkly roasted they sting the tongue a bit. The sweetness is very well balanced, this is a smooth brew that melds all flavors well. Fruitcake and dark rum with a small bit of alcohol.

Moluthfeel is creamy. Carbonation is nice and soft with enough bubbles to balance the sweetness.

Drinkability is average, this is a heavy beer that for it's weight is lacking in complexity for it's weight on the mouth.

wheatyweiss, Apr 26, 2008
Black Bavarian from Sprecher Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 766 ratings.