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Black Bavarian - Sprecher Brewing Company

Black BavarianBlack Bavarian

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

680 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 680
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)
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Ratings: 680 | Reviews: 441 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

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

Great black colour with whte head. Drinkable from bit of sweetness in malts that lasts on, bittersweet atertaste but better than a stout. Molasses taste and aroma. Bit of chocolate and coffee. Session ale.
6% beer is very good. Best I have had for style.

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2004 04:55:35 | More by Sammy
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84

California

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

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a 1 inch foamy tan head that settles to a film on the top of the beer. Small streaks of lace dot the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, molasses, and burnt sugar aromas. Taste is of dark roasted malt, campfire smoke, and some molasses flavors. A very mild roasty bitterness quickly fades after each sip. A good level of carbonation makes for a crisp and smooth mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good schwarzbier with some nice roasty qualities. I am glad I picked one of these up.

Serving type: bottle

09-03-2011 23:24:10 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

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.

Serving type: bottle

08-23-2005 16:11:03 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

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

Appearance: Pours a nearly obsidian color with a surprisingly light beige head that displays remarkable persistance and leaves splashy lacing all over the glass

Smell: Black bread and caramel predominate, with subtle hints of chocolate, smoke and walnuts

Taste: Starts with a black bread and caramel flavor that, after the swallow, is complemented by coffee, dark chocolate and a touch of smoke

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Fantastic; if only other breweries would try brewing a beer in this style, lagers wouldn't have such a bad rap

Serving type: bottle

07-29-2006 20:29:28 | More by brentk56
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BEERchitect

Kentucky

2.98/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

With characteristics that span dark fruit, light roast, and slight vinous notes, Sprecher shows that the timid black beer can be much, much more.

Black Bavarian pours with a very clear, albeit dark brown with garnet highlights. Well headed with a terse off-white froth, the low lying head retains as a sheet with minimal lace.

Light roasted malts and well attenuated starch note start the aromatic journey while thin caramel, grape, and red wine notes add interest and intrigue to the otherwise roast and char of dark grain.

The dry taste of coffee-like roast with walnut backdrop, light starchy malt, and slight campfire smoke seem to exceed the slight scorched taste of caramel, but introduces characterful elements of cherries, grapes, red wine, and cider with low bitterness outside that of roasted grain.

Medium-light bodied, the mouth wants to think heavier because of the roast taste, but the weight of the beer is remarkably light and refreshing; approaching thinness as the tart fruit notes and the slight roast astringency play out over the highly attenuated malt character.

Black Bavarian schwarzbier is a subtle, drinakble, and surprisingly variable beer that shows more flexibility than is normal for the narrowly focused style.

Serving type: on-tap

06-01-2012 19:38:34 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429

Illinois

3.28/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks for BeerFMAndy for the bottle. Served in a pilsner glass.

The pour is near black with an initial two-finger tan had that settles down pretty quickly without leaving much lacing behind. There's just a slight film of light foam on top. Initial whiff brings some light roast and some mild, smooth chocolate.

Flavor is light chocolate and some very mild coffee. There's some light roast malt there as well in addition to a very light amount of caramel. Mouthfeel is light and airy without all that much carbonation. This finish is moderately dry. Pretty good, but nothing fantastic. Definitely not a mind-altering schwarzbier.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2010 01:37:50 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of metter98
metter98

New York

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

A: It poured very dark amber in color (near black) with a creamy beige head into my mug. The head didn't last very long and a moderate level of carbonation is visible.
S: There's a nice aroma of dark, roasted malts with some hints of sweetness in toffee and caramel.
T: Like the smell, the rich taste is dominated by dark roasted malty flavors; there's a bit of sweetness in the overall flavor, which has hints of chocolate, coffee and smoke.
M: It feels medium-bodied and relatively smooth on the palate.
D: The beer is very easy to drink and is quite sessionable, even during the warmer months of the year.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2010 16:44:46 | More by metter98
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ChainGangGuy

Georgia

3.83/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Received from the bartender a simple black body topped with a slim, light beige head.

Smell: Nose smelling of roasted, grainy malts for a dull coffee-ish tone, touches of chocolate and caramel with a spoonful of sweet homemade plum jelly.

Taste: Blackened barley malt, with a slow but steady accumulating roasted grain quality to it. Sweet influences of chocolate and caramel, more prominent in the beginning. Subtle albeit continuous ripe plum fruitiness. A hint of herbs pulls in a slight, sweetness-tempering bitterness. Late touch of aniseed. Finishes fairly dry with a light, final touch of chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium-light carbonation.

Drinkability: It's a good schwarzbier tweaked with less than traditional ingredients, though I am not willing to say it is a great one.

Serving type: on-tap

11-10-2010 20:32:53 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of oberon
oberon

North Carolina

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

One of the breweries I miss most not living in the midwest anymore,all of Sprcher beers I have had I really enjoyed.This one is one of the few I like in this style,and I really like it.Black with some ruby highlights with great creamy head,very malty fruity aroma very appetizing.Sweet but not overly sweet tasting with roasted malt the biggest flavor component,but also chocolata and a very appetizing caramel background.For how rich it looks its very easy to drink.Loved it and will be enjoying again soon.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2003 07:46:13 | More by oberon
Photo of NeroFiddled
NeroFiddled

Pennsylvania

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.

Serving type: bottle

09-14-2005 22:48:51 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of feloniousmonk
feloniousmonk

Minnesota

4.4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: dark brown, inching toward black color, coppery-red at foot of glass, head is a triumph, all puffy, creamy, cocoa-tan in color.
Aroma: deep and darkly fruity, warm and toasty,yet creamy, soft, yet earthy, definite nut character, plus cocoa, and and a candyish feel, making it feel like a slightly carbonated, sweet mocha latte.
Taste: warm mouthfeel, ample texture, giving, full of character, dark, yes, but a most companionable brew, slinks and sashays through the mouth, flirting with all the senses. Chocolate dabbles in, nuts flitter around like a social butterfly at play in the senses, and oh, so smooth. Resilient finish, stays solidly and happily on the palate. Wonderfully thick & tasty texture.
What I love about this beer is that you very easily forget that you're actually drinking a lager, for it is so full-bodied and flavorful, you'd think you had a brown ale or a porter in your hands. There's only the slightest bitterness, but the flavor looms so huge...sassafras? sasparilla? anise? molasses?...that it ranks high on drinkability.
This has got to be the best schwarzbier I've ever had, and I'd be only too happy to try any challengers. If they can taste better than this, bring 'em on!!

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2003 00:36:04 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of TheManiacalOne
TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

4.58/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Acquired via trade from brdc, so a big “Thank you” goes out to him. Poured from a 16oz bottle into a mug glass. This was one of the first beers that I added upon realizing that BA had a “wants list” so I’ve been waiting a while with a great deal of anticipation to try this beer.

A: The beer is a deep black color with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of German malts, roasted coffee and dark chocolate along with a little bit of hops.

T: The taste is smoky, malty and sweet with creamy flavors of coffee & chocolate. There’s a mild hops presence, but it’s enough to provide a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is very clean for a style that normally leaves a stickiness.

D: Very tasty, goes down easily, not very filling, decent kick, excellent representation of style. To quote respected fellow BA IntriqKen, “Now THIS is a Schwarzbier!” This is definitely a beer that I could for a very long period of time and was certainly worth the wait. The only thing that I don’t like about this beer is that I haven’t been able to find it in my area.

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2007 04:36:23 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of emerge077
emerge077

Illinois

4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aroma of yeast esters, banana, and smoky malt all are noticeable upon opening. Halfway through, these aromas are a struggle to find.

Cascading deep tan foam slowly builds into a rich looking head of foam. Surface is convex and craggy. Slow crackling as the foam dissipates.

First taste is earthy roasted malt, with a dry, smoky, earthy hop character in the aftertaste. Very mild bitterness, a slight lactic feel. Slightly light mouthfeel, good for the style. This could be sipped or sessioned, it's pretty balanced.

If you're a big fan of Porters or lighter Stouts, try this one out...

Serving type: bottle

04-25-2007 23:17:49 | More by emerge077
Photo of russpowell
russpowell

Oklahoma

4.72/5  rDev +16%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Cheers to PackerFan for this one! Looks great in my Kostrizer glass! Zero head retention or lacing

Pours an effervescent-reddish mahogany with 2+ fingers of tan head.

S: Roasted grain & some coffee

T: Big roasted malt & some molasses & chicory up front. Rich chocolate shows up as this warms. Finishes roasty with a little caramel & more chocolate

MF: Medium bodied with vigorous carbonation & great balance

Drinks very easy, a pretty damn good schwartz, the equal of anything I had in Germany! Shame about the visual, might adjust this if I see better results next time

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2007 03:22:10 | More by russpowell
Photo of WesWes
WesWes

New York

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

The beer pours a deep, dark black color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice complex malt scent that boasts of crystal, chocolate, roasted, and black malts. It's sweet smelling with chocolate notes along with a slightly earthy/roasted edge. The taste is good also. It has a smooth chocolatey flavor that goes down easy and finishes sweet and a bit dry. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium/full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a very good dark lager. It has excellent flavor and aroma; a good drinker.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2006 02:32:26 | More by WesWes
Photo of drabmuh
drabmuh

Maryland

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

My laser like focus on the #1 beers for each style has lead me to this, Black Bavarian, the #1 Schwarzbier on beeradvocate. Another bottle from beerwolf77. Poured into my RR tulip.

Beer is dark brown to black with a weak head (even after an aggressive pour). Head breaks quickly leaving a halo of bubbles around the edge of the glass. No lacing, low carbonation.

Aroma is nearly nonexistent. Mild roast, that's about all.

Beer tastes better than it looks and smell, fortunately. Its sweet at leadoff and medium bodied. The beer is smooth and creamy with an ashy bitterness at the back of the mouth. Finishes a little dry but not too bad. Overall its a decent beer, but I don't think its my favorite schwartz.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2010 03:58:54 | More by drabmuh
Photo of zeff80
zeff80

Missouri

4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes on 2/4.

A - Poured out a jet black color with a two-finger, caramel-colored head that left some lace.

S - It smelled of caramel and roasted malt. There was also a grassy aroma.

T - It tasted of malt, caramel, toffee and vanilla.

M - It was very smooth and soft. A light to medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a very good schwarzbier.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2008 18:10:39 | More by zeff80
Photo of Gueuzedude
Gueuzedude

Arizona

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

Pours with a fluffy, initially three-finger thick, creamed chocolate to tan colored head that sits atop a simply black colored beer. The aroma is full of roast malt notes; notes of burnt espresso beans, roasted grain husks, and even some notes of burnt toast towards the end dominate the aromatic profile. This has a nice malty profile, yes it leans towards roasted grains, but there is also a nice, dry malt character here that, besides the roast profile, leans towards biscuit-like notes and toasted bread character. Perhaps a touch of spicy hop aromas are here as well, but only just so.

The taste is medium full on the palate, and actually has quite a bit more body than I was expecting from the aroma. In fact there is a solid malt sweetness here that really brings out a chocolate note that was not in the aroma. The long finish leads a lingering note of burnt toast, bitter espresso and even some biting hop bitterness. The finish really serves as a nice foil for the sweeter malt / chocolate notes that are noticeable in the fore-front. There is enough roasted grain in this beer that it even has some roast derived acidity to it, it is not overly noticeable, but instead helps to balance some of the sweeter, rounder malt notes. This certainly evokes thoughts of chocolate covered malt balls that have an espresso bean core (wouldn't that be a confection).

This is quite an enjoyable brew, and I am quite happy that it came in a 16oz package as it is the perfect beer to have more than twelve ounces of. Perhaps a touch to hard with the acidity and bitterness in the finish, but enjoyable all the same. Before I know it this beer is gone, so I must have liked it.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2007 01:05:49 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of Knapp85
Knapp85

Pennsylvania

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

Finally a beer from Sprecher that actually impressed me. This beer poured out as a reay nice deep brown color. The head lasts for just about entire time you're drinking the beer. It doesn't leave a lot of lacing but it still survived for a while. The aroma is a really nicely roasted smell was minor hints or chocolate. There wasn't too much of a grassy lager or pilsner aroma which very good. The taste of the beer had a really nice flavor to it. Malty and roasted leaving a dry mouthfeel. Overall I'm very glad to say that I found a brew the I like from Sprecher, finally.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2011 03:23:30 | More by Knapp85
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 RblWthACoz
RblWthACoz

Pennsylvania

4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pretty dark brown that shows light. Sizeable tannish head. Mild nose. Flavor is bringing a lot of flavor. Nice malts, noticeable cooked (but not roasted) grain tones. The malts really seem to thicken up to me as time goes on. Mildly sweet as a compliment to everything else. Feel has a nipping carbonation. Liquid is slightly thick. It's a shame that Sprecher isn't more widely distributed here (as far as variety goes). I'd be very open to trying anything they brewed.

Serving type: on-tap

04-10-2009 00:07:20 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of WVbeergeek
WVbeergeek

Ohio

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

Appears a nearly black ruby tinted mahogany brown hue forms a nice thicket of tan head textured with dimples as it dwindles definitely arose above the rim of my 1/2 liter mug. Lacing is fine and intricate spread evenly, very nice look to it. Aromatics nutty roasted qualities touch of dark cocoa powder with sweet acidic fruit notes arising as well. Flavor is akin to iced black coffee with dark chocolate roasts, toasted nuts, and a touch of creamy caramel. What dominates is a dry powdered dark cocoa, but more flavors arise as it warms up. Light herbal hop presence felt at the end but no hop burps to report. Mouthfeel is medium bodied carbonation is lively and the end is dry with slightly burnt coffee roasts and dark chocolate cocoa. Drinkability is nice all around one of the best Schwarzbiers I've come across, excellent.

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2008 20:12:13 | More by WVbeergeek
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Gavage

New Jersey

4.47/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Apeparance: pours a dark black color with a 2" tan colored head that lasts for a long while.

Smell: chocolates, caramel, and malt sweetness are easy to detect by the nose well outside the glass.

Taste: soft roasted malt profile with some chocolate, caramel, molassess, and a hint of plum sweetness makes up most of the flavor profile. Some soft bitterness balances it out.

Mouthfeel: crisp at the start, smooth towards the finish. Very brief aftertaste. Medium bodied beer.

Drinkability: bold flavors make up a nicely drinkable beer. This bottle was consumed quite quickly and too bad there wasn't another one around.

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2007 12:51:57 | More by Gavage
Photo of Halcyondays
Halcyondays

California

4.58/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22 oz. bomber, listed as 6% on the label,

A: Pours a very dark brown, black-looking from afar into a mug, with a medium dark-tan head which slowly fades, light lacing as well.

S: Smells of light coffee and dark chocolate, as the beer warms, a distinct roast and smoke scent comes out.

T: This is a truly exceptionally tasting black lager. Sweet dark cocoa and bitter coffee combine to form a rich, tasty brew, that is almost like drinking a liquid dessert, very reminiscent of an RIS. There are a wealth of flavours hidden in this beer, delicious dark roast and chocolate. Just the perfect amount of sweetness balances the roast bitterness.

M: Smooth and soft, easy drinking, just makes you want to take another gulp.

D: Smooth and a pleasure going down, by far the best schwarzbier I have ever had, Sprecher has truly made a classic. Highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2007 03:54:06 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of mactrail
mactrail

California

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

Very dark brown with a glint of red. Roasted malt is the big flavor. Dark, almost burned caramel, but no hint of the sourish charcoal flavors of some stouts. Slightly sweet but well balanced with a touch of hops. Toasty aftertaste. Large head in the glass with nice carbonation in the mouthfeel. Light body with lots of flavor.

Good example of the style. Really drinkable and a great beer if you're in the mood for a dark one.

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2011 04:30:12 | More by mactrail
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Black Bavarian from Sprecher Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 680 ratings.