Black Bavarian - Sprecher Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Black BavarianBlack Bavarian

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BA SCORE
91
outstanding

460 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 460
Hads: 828
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 8.09%
Wants: 112
Gots: 63 | 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).
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Reviews: 460 | Hads: 828
Photo of emerge077
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
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... (596 characters)

Photo of zeff80
4.07/5  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. (354 characters)

Photo of oberon
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
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. (508 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%
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. (814 characters)

Photo of nickfl
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
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. (937 characters)

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
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. (581 characters)

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.57/5  rDev +12%
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. (1,213 characters)

Photo of Kegatron
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
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! (808 characters)

Photo of mactrail
3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
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. (427 characters)

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
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. (477 characters)

Photo of russpowell
4.68/5  rDev +14.7%
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 (585 characters)

Photo of Rifugium
3.16/5  rDev -22.5%
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* (564 characters)

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
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. (830 characters)

Photo of smcolw
3.97/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reasonable head but it leaves very little lace on the glass (a couple of spots). Deep dark brown but light shines through.

Mild powdered cocoa and semi-sweet chocolate to the nose. There's a touch of sweetness, too.

The taste is more "dark" as if there is a small amount of black patent barley. No sweetness here. Pretty rich body for the style. Good carbonation. Easy to drink and relatively smooth. Short but chocolaty aftertaste. (441 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
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!! (1,221 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
4/5  rDev -2%
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. (711 characters)

Photo of superspak
3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
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. (1,154 characters)

Photo of jwc215
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
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! (478 characters)

Photo of chinchill
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
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} (1,105 characters)

Photo of dbrauneis
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark brown almost black in color with some dark amber highlights and light to moderate amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a half finger tall creamy light beige head that reduces to a medium sized patch of thin film and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: The beer has moderate aromas of dark roasted malts along with some light amounts of caramel and toffee sweetness.

T: The taste is similar to the smell with there being a strong dark roasted malty flavor along with some sweetness - caramel, toffee, milk chocolate, and hints of smoke.

M: Medium bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation. Very smooth.

O: This beer is quite tasty with a pleasant and easy to drink flavor. I think this beer is very sessionable, even in the summer. Definitely one to have again. (856 characters)

Photo of WesWes
4/5  rDev -2%
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. (571 characters)

Photo of mothman
3.92/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into pilsner glass. No freshness date on bottle.

Pours a thick brown head. Surprisingly leaves little to no lace. Color is a deep bronze/brown, almost black.

Aroma is full of honey and chocolate, mainly roaty malts. Taste is quite similar, very malty. Dark chocolate and earthy hops are present.

First thing about the aftertaste is that the malts seem to be very burnt. Other than that, the mouthfeel is very creamy and leaves a dry aftertaste.

Overall, a very tasty beer. Pretty easy to drink. I would have to recommend this one. (543 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer has a near black body with a soft, creamy, khaki colored head. The aroma brings dark chocolates, roast, charred malt, a bit of dark fruits, bread. Nice flavor. Easy to drink. Light to medium in body with moderate carbonation. A touch of molasses in the flavor as well. A solid example of the style. I would drink this again. (333 characters)

Photo of woodychandler
4.52/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is another of tone77's big box o' beer that he dropped off recently in another local, in-person trade.

From the bottle: "This intensely dark Kulmbacher-style lager has a superb malt complexity with the distinctive flavor and aromas of caramelized and chocolate malts. A renonowned smoothness and a creamy, tan head make it a world champion."

I poured a couple of times, due to its desire to jump up to the top of the glass. Once it finished, I had a finger of dense, deep-brown head that sat atop the beer like a petulant child who refuses to go to their room when directed. I was going to spank it before i realized that it had the power to spank me tonight, Color was a deep, dark-brown that allowed just enough light to penetrate to show off its ruby highlights. Showoff! Mouthfeel was thick and creamy. Hey, is this a lager or a milkshake?!? The taste reminded me of Spike's request for dark chocolate-enrobed coconut eggs for Easter. Spike is NOT The Old Lady, but instead both a departmental colleague and my Lunch Duty partner. She helps me with the curriculum and I ply her with chocolate. In the meantime, this was a great pre-Easter beer. Dark chocolate, coconut, smoke and perhaps some wood all interacted to create a phenomenal lager. Finish was semi-sweet and I felt satiated on chocolate for the foreseeable future. Man, thanks to tone77 for a really memorable beer. (1,387 characters)

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.83/5  rDev -6.1%
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. (1,678 characters)

Black Bavarian from Sprecher Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 460 ratings.