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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

780 Ratings
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 780
Reviews: 455
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 10.57%
Wants: 109
Gots: 38 | 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: 780 | Reviews: 455 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MSchae1017
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer was poured from the 16oz glass into a Pilsner glass.

The beer is black laced with hints of amber. Nested on top is a creamy tan head that does not leave much lace. The aroma is full of chocolate, toffee, and caramel. The flavor is much of the same, full of smooth chocolate, toffee and amber. The beer is medium-full bodied, slightly less than your average porter with an incredible creaminess and smooth carbonation. Overall, a great Schwarzbier, very nice.

MSchae1017, Oct 02, 2008
Photo of DoubleJ
4.43/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I just realized something....it's been awhile since I've had high expectations on a schwarzbier! And what better way to come back to the style than with Sprecher's offering? 22 ounce bottle with a gold wax coating over the neck and bottle cap, on to the beer:

Oddly, the bottle is a twist-off. As I pour it into a flute, that beery smell escapes the body and enters my nose. An ebony beauty in the glass, ruby brown highlights on the bottom. Big roasted, smokey, and astringent characterists. First sip is uplifting. Mouthfeel is right on the money with its easy, low carbonation, and medium-heavy feel. Bitter chocolate and astringent coffee flavors ar dominant in this brew. Peaty smoke emerge midway through the experience. Come to think of it, this carries some charactersitcs of a authentic Polish-brewed Baltic Porter, except this one has a smoother flavor. Still fishing for more flavors...I found some black licorice.

Downright tasty.

DoubleJ, Sep 26, 2008
Photo of Yesac
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

From a 16oz bottle

A- Pours solid black, with a small light brown head

S - Chocolate malts, some earthy tones

T - Smooth chocolate and coffee malts

M - Thick bodied and sticky. Medium carbonation.

D - What a great brew to wind down to at night.

Great Schwarzbier!

Yesac, Sep 22, 2008
Photo of LumpyGuitar
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark black with a finger of tan fluffy head. Retention is low, lacing is minimal.

Smells of dark roasted malts, fresh water, licorice.

Taste is good, albeit a bit more bitter than I'd like. Dark roasted malts dominate, licorice and dark chocolate. Mild spice and a bitter finish.

Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied, very dry, but refreshing.

Drinkability is good, goes down easy. Nice to have two in a row. Not the best Schwarz but pretty good nonetheless.

LumpyGuitar, Sep 22, 2008
Photo of dbtoe
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16 oz bottle poured into a pint glass

Look very black body with a finger of tan head that reduced to a ring fairly quick.

Smell a hint of sweet and toasty roasted malt.

Taste yup black roasted malt with a spicy hop end. Something in there I can't ID but really a great smack of flavors.

Feel zesty carbonation with good body Very enjoyable tang.

Drink this is a very enjoyable beer to drink. I had both and was wishing I had more.

Comment had this from a sample pack and wish the 8 pack was 4 of these and 4 of the Special Amber, two very good beers that I'll get again.

dbtoe, Sep 20, 2008
Photo of naproxen
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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 roadhouse
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16 oz. bottle at Beef O'Brady's in Munster into a shaker.

Appeared a very near black brown with some reddish highlights. Thin tan head, maybe 1/3 of an inch thick, sank down quickly and disappeared for good. Even with vigorous swirling it refused to come back.

Aroma was slightly sweet, but a dark chocolate character seemed to dominate along with a charred smokiness.

The taste started out very smoky and burnt, with a bit of dark chocolate but midway through the roastiness became more bitter kind of like coffee. It finishes with a very slight sweetness and a bit of spicy hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel was medium, and typically smooth as most lagers are, but maybe a bit more silky.

I enjoyed this one very much. I don't usually see this around but if I do I might have to get some more of it.

roadhouse, Sep 15, 2008
Photo of DaveFL1976
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.

DaveFL1976, Sep 05, 2008
Photo of shirfan
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Not quite black but incredibly dark brown. Good layer of light tan foam.

Taste: Spot-on schwarzbier. Mild caramel with some rich cocoa and faint coffee notes thrown in. Understated, leafy hops in the finish are there if you take notice, but smooth, dark, drinkable malt is the name of the game here. Perfect balance between sweet and dry, as well as between heavy and light.

Drinkability: HUGE. Incredible. As quaffable as a cold iced tea on a hot day. This beer does not beg another sip, it seductively demands one. Velvet smooth.

shirfan, Sep 05, 2008
Photo of johnnieoz
4.75/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Beautiful 22 oz brown bomber with a clean simple label and a golden waxed top. (I'll try to submit a new photo).

A: Near black, the dark brown hue barely shows through when held to a light. A minimal head quickly fades.

S: Roasted malts with coffee and chocolate notes. Very pleasing.

T: While it smelled a bit like a doppelbock, it definitely tastes like a schwarzbier. A very good schwarzbier no less. Balancing out the rich, roasted maltiness, the hop character makes this lager absolutely delicious.

M: Crisp. Dry. Refreshing. Solid. A lingering malty bitterness.

D: At 6% abv, this is a session beer. And if you like darker lagers, chances are that you'll be downing more than one of these bombers.

A great beer that ranks up there with Köstritzer, the East German classic that rules the roost.

johnnieoz, Aug 25, 2008
Photo of yourefragile
4.43/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

16 oz bottle poured into a pilsner.

A: Black liquid that is clear against light with amber fringes. Frothy tan head, that dissipates to a ring and doesn't leave much lacing.
S: Rich malty aroma, caramelized sugar, toasted burnt flavors, slight hop touch.
T: Medium body with very strong carbonation. Starts with a rich, roasted malt flavor and finishes slightly more acidic, but still sweet. In between, toasted, coffee flavors persist. Very creamy and smooth, despite slight bitterness and acidity. Lingering roasted malt flavor. Very good, I like this beer a lot. Very drinkable.

yourefragile, Aug 22, 2008
Photo of gmcfarre
4.4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16 oz bottle poured into Saison Dupont glass

A - Pours a dark, opaque, pitch black color with a thick, frothy one inch latte colored head. Head lasts very well, but lacing is moderate.

S - Strong roasted malt with some toffee and coffee flavors, as well as bitter dark chocolate. Scent is a little underwhelming in power. Caramel sweetness.

T - Starts with good roasted flavors and caramel sweetness. Again, toffee, coffee and dark bitter chocolate are touched upon. Nice and dry at finish with roasted flavor coming on again at aftertaste. Sweet, but refreshingly so.

M - Good carbonation with a medium body and creamy mouthfeel. A bit drying at the finish, but still retains some sweetness.

D - A really nice lager from Sprecher. Perfect with bratwurst I would imagine. Easy drinking despite its dark flavors and appearance.

gmcfarre, Aug 21, 2008
Photo of ffejherb
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16oz. bottle into Sam Adams glass on 8/15/08. Thanks to brewslut for sharing.

A - Deep, dark brown body that's about two shades lighter than pure black with some hazelnut accents around the edges underneath a half-finger creamy tan head that settled into a thin film of retention and spotty lacing.

S - Roasted and chocolate malt notes with hints of coffee, caramel and just a bit of earthy hops.

T - Just as the aroma implies, this black lager boasts an almost porter-esque flavor packed with plenty of roasted malt and chocolate. There are also mild hints of caramel and vanilla in the back. Finishes with a bit of earthy hop and coffee bitterness.

M - Medium body with a smooth, creamy texture and light carbonation. This just glides right down the throat. Nice moderate bitter bite on the back of the tongue.

D - Fantastic Schwarzbier from Sprecher that is the absolute standout of their roster, in my opinion. Extremely drinkable and very well done. This is also one of my wife's favorite beers.

Brewslut's Quote of the Day:
"I get a little bit of beef jerky... well, maybe not beef jerkey... maybe soy sauce."

ffejherb, Aug 16, 2008
Photo of WJVII
4.43/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice dark brown, held to the light is slightly opaque. Nice light brown head leaving decent lacing on the glass. This brew has a nice deep aroma with hints of finely roasted malt with hints of chocolate, coffee, and caramel. The taste is bold, but smooth. Chocolate malts with roasted caramel hit the palate with nice balance and a smooth taste. This is a nice brew near my home town in Milwaukee...drink up!

WJVII, Aug 14, 2008
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
Black Bavarian from Sprecher Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 780 ratings.