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Black Bavarian - Sprecher Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Black BavarianBlack Bavarian

Educational use only; do not reuse.

462 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 462
Hads: 849
Avg: 4.07
pDev: 14.5%
Wants: 116
Gots: 71 | 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:
Beer added by: xlperro on 04-23-1998

Bronze Medal Winner in the European Darks category at the 1988 Great American Beer Festival (GABF).
View: Beers (51) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 462 | Hads: 849
Photo of Sammy
3.86/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

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Photo of GRG1313
3.68/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a big thick and off white head - nice looking and inviting.

Nose is layered with light carmel/toffee and sweet black chocolate. Light but inviting and pleasant.

Mouthfeel is thin and a bit watery with very light carbonation. However, layers of subtle flavors overcome the other weaknesses of this beer.

Flavors are light roasted grains, light brewed coffee and a pleasant burnt toast malt/hop character.

Finish is a pleasant light coffee bitter. Nice flavor profile save this one and it's a nice "lighter" dark beer that's pretty drinkable. Finish is a pleasant long bitter coffee that leaves you wanting more.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.83/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: single finger head on a clear deep amber/mahogany brown body. No lacing to speak of.

S: roasted malts with caramel, vanilla and chocolate.

T: roasted and toasted malts up front fading to an earthy and herbal hop finish. It's a little watery and although both malt and hops well represented, they are understated.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: this is a tough style to do well. It has all the elements for a good schwarzbeir but just not strong enough in the flavor.

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Photo of metter98
4.27/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

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Photo of Knapp85
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.

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Photo of brentk56
4.42/5  rDev +8.6%
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

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Photo of BEERchitect
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.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.3/5  rDev -18.9%
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.

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Photo of emerge077
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...

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Photo of zeff80
4.07/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

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Photo of oberon
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

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Photo of nickfl
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - One finger of medium tan head on top of an opaque black body with just a hint of dark brown highlights showing through. The foam settles quickly and leaves little lace.

S - Rich, malty aroma of toffee, caramel, and light, roasted malt. Some weak, fruity notes of cherry and plum with coffee and a hint of herbal hops.

T - Caramel and roasted malt up front with some sweet, bread and toasted malt notes. More caramel in the middle with some light noble hop flavor. Finishes sweet and smooth with darker flavors of coffee and chocolate. Lingering notes of dark chocolate with a hint of smoke.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a sweet finish.

D - This is a very drinkable black lager. The malt is rich and complex; so much so that it is almost too intense for the style, bordering on being a schwarz-bock. Nicely balanced and drinkable, with light hops but enough bitterness to keep the sweet and rich malt in check.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.8/5  rDev -6.6%
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.

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

16oz bottle into a mug.

Pours a very dark brown (almost black) with a 1+ finger of tan head. It has a nice thin retention across the top and leaves some lacing behind. The aroma is a little light but notes of dark roasted malts and caramel sweetness manage to shine through.

The taste is a flush of caramel, toffee, and vanilla sweetness up front that gives way to a big bite of dark roasted chocolate malt bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a crisp and clean finish.

Wow, I absolutely love Schwarzbiers and this was definitley one of the best I've had. Just a fantastic roasty feel that is perfectly balanced by it's complimentary sweetness characteristics. This was my first beer from Sprecher and the great flavor and big drinkibility of this guy have left a favorable first impression!

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

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Photo of mactrail
3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.57/5  rDev +12.3%
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.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.16/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at TJ's, Paoli, PA

Poured an opaque brown-black with a huge puff of tan head that retained decently and laced well. Mostly roasty dark malts in the aroma, as would be expected; a touch of cocoa. Again, a big roastiness in the taste, dark malts, notes of cocoa and coffee, pumpernickel. Not nearly as flavorful as some of your better schwarzbiers. Medium body and fairly drinkable, but just lacking the flavor I need to inspire me to order another glass. Decent overall.

Edit: Wait, this is the highest ranked schwarzbier on the site? *facepalm*

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Photo of russpowell
4.68/5  rDev +15%
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

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

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Photo of superspak
3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
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.

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Photo of chinchill
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

16 oz bottle served in a pint glass.

A - Dark black with ruby/mahogany highlights only seen when back-lit. Has a thick tan head that soon settles to a lasting ring and partial coat.

S - Dark baked bread and roasted malts with some earthiness and hints of dark fruits and chocolate.

T - Roasted malts dominate in a flavor that could almost be a porter. Not only considerably less sweet than a typical Schwarzbier, but more bitter than sweet. The bitterness is still mild even though there's a clear coffee note in the finish. In one aged bottle, there was an unusual but not particularly objectionable hint of red wine. Both finish and aftertaste provide rich and dark-roasted grain flavor.

M - very smooth and creamy, with a semi-dry finish and a medium-full body. Very good carbonation level.

O - Overall, this is an exceptional black beer that is notably less sweet a more hoppy than a classic Schwarzbier. Well crafted with plenty of rich roasted malt flavor. Be sure to let this warm up a bit if coming from standard refrigeration.

{some revision done with tastings on May 2012 & Feb. 2013}

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Black Bavarian from Sprecher Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 462 ratings.