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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

750 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 750
Reviews: 453
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 10.57%
Wants: 102
Gots: 32 | 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: 750 | Reviews: 453 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Tjvan2
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Tjvan2, Apr 07, 2013
Photo of brakspear
5/5  rDev +22.9%

A beer above all others. THIS should be the beer that made Milwaukee famous! The other reviewers have perfectly described the way one taste of this beer informs you that no other Bavarian style beer brewed in America can hold a candle to a malty taste that is so rich and complex followed with a burst of coffee and hop sizzle. Midnight color that revealed a ruby undertone when held to a strong light. If you can find it in a bottle great...but if you can find it on tap....thank whatever god or goddess you pray to....

brakspear, Apr 18, 2002
Photo of Garlicjosh
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Garlicjosh, Jun 19, 2012
Photo of chicagoabbot
4.03/5  rDev -1%

A WI classic and definitely the best beer this brewery makes, even if it's not my favorite style.

16 oz into a snifter. Tons of head on top of a deep black body, it just keeps going and going.

Lager funk in the nose from the yeast, quite enjoyable, and deep rich malts too, I feel like I could just inhale the glass.

Super malty on the tongue but not overbalanced and not too heavy. Kind of lively and refreshing but also warming.

They nailed the style on this one, and it's a true bargain beer where I am, works out to about $1.35 for a 16 oz bottle...consider a 24 oz of some garbage like Miller will run you $1.89...seems like a no-brainer if you're looking for something cheap that actually tastes great.

Highly recommended.

chicagoabbot, Jan 26, 2011
Photo of KimbarkBrewCrew
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

KimbarkBrewCrew, May 11, 2012
Photo of jbsteiny
3.35/5  rDev -17.7%

I was excited to find this on tap, as I love schwarzbiers, but I wasn't that impressed by this. After reading everyone else's great reviews, I'm tempted to try it out of the bottle to see if maybe the keg wasn't great...

Poured near black with mahogany highlights. 1/2 an inch of light brown foam dissipated quickly. Smelled crazy malty -- roasted, sweet, even a little burnt -- but not much else in the nose. Some complexity came out in the taste -- the roasted malts diverged into the sweets and a prominent nuttiness (hazelnut?), before a bitter, slightly sour finish. I think it sounds better than it tasted because the nut flavor was too big for all of these other subtler things to come out. Pretty big mouthfeel, and it went down easy enough, but I didn't want another (as opposed to Kolstrizer, which has gotten lesser reviews, but I can down all night).

jbsteiny, May 04, 2007
Photo of tjd112
4.47/5  rDev +9.8%

Presentation - Poured into River Horse glass

Appearance - Very dark black, off-white head that retains well and has somewhat filmy lacing

Smell - Very roasty, malty smell

Taste - Hints of chocolate, caramel, and chestnuts, sorta black forest cake

Mouthfeel - Medium to heavy, somewhat dry

Drinkability - Could have one or two of these at a time

Overall - A solid Schwarzbier

tjd112, May 05, 2010
Photo of IPAdams
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%

Appearance- Pours a very dark brown with some red highlights. Small creamy tan head that recedes quickly and leaves minimal lacing.

Smell- I get a sugary sweet caramel smell mixed with Pepsi. A bit of roasted malt in the background. What I get is a very nice smell but very subdued.

Taste- Very clean and balanced. Slight bitterness from roasted malts, flavors of Cola, light coffee and toasted bread.

Mouthfeel- Moderate body with good visible carbonation. Not overly drying or cloying.

Overall- Very nice beer, easy drinking. Flavors are balanced and go well with a cold winter night or hot summers day.

IPAdams, May 31, 2014
Photo of blackearth
4.8/5  rDev +17.9%

Purchased from the Sprecher Brewery giftshop in Glendale, WI. Pours a pitch black body with a thick tan head. Aroma of toffee, chocolate and roasted peat. Medium bodied this beer is a blast of roasted malt in your mouth with a touch of smokiness. Mild carbonation gives it a silky mouthfeel. Pleasant sweetness in the finish. This is what a dark lager should be. Terrific beer.

blackearth, Sep 02, 2009
Photo of TappaKeggaBrew
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%

A: Deep, dark red - so dark it's black until held up to the light - yet clear. Head is 2+ fingers of golden-brown foam that lingers a long time, leaving a delicate lacing behind.

S: Burnt sugar, tart grapes, and some light hops notes.

T: Maltiness is mildly sweet, but more bready. There are mild flavors of acrid, burnt grain, but they are faint enough that they add to, rather than detract from, the taste. There's enough tart fruitiness in the middle for balance, before spicy, bitter hops take over in the finish.

M: Moist, with medium carbonation. Much lighter mouthfeel than I expected based on the color.

O: A tasty, very drinkable beer. This American-brewed Schwartzbier gives any German-brewed example a run for its money.

TappaKeggaBrew, Aug 12, 2014
Photo of jmbraxton
5/5  rDev +22.9%

jmbraxton, Apr 02, 2012
Photo of witster18
3.4/5  rDev -16.5%

not much on the nose.

taste is roasty malts and a dominant fig character, with that typical sprecher sourness from the yeast(which I really don't care for).

This does have some of the same good qualities as say a sammy smith beer... the mouthfeel is fantastic and the look is ominous with lace.... a very english caskness to this for sure.... but taste-wise it's just not my cup'o'tea despite it being one of the better offerings.

May revisit, but when it comes to swarzbier I like a lighter bodied, LESS FUNKY(sour) version....

call me crazy, but if given the choice I'd take a Sam Adam's black lager over this - despite this having that 'exceptional' look and mouthfeel.

witster18, Feb 01, 2011
Photo of OtisCampbell007
2.75/5  rDev -32.4%

OtisCampbell007, Nov 27, 2013
Photo of Rilesmiles
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Rilesmiles, Jan 22, 2014
Photo of dbell23
4.48/5  rDev +10.1%

Thanks to Sean at Libation Station for the recommendation. Poured into a tulip. Black with a huge beige head that never completely goes away. Looks like a stout with a big head. Great lacing. Nice looking beer.

I've never smelled a beer like this one. Malty, maybe a chocolate undertone,charcoal maybe. Again, very different.

Taste is really good. Starts malty, slightly stout with a slight bitter sweet middle but not hoppy. Super clean finish with a slight smokey stout like undertone. It's like a stout/porter/lager combination. The roasted malt seems to be the dominate flavor but it almost tastes hoppy from the roasted bitterness. I don't know,what it is but it tastes good.

The mouthfeel is the star. I don't recall a beer more smooth than this one. Really good session beer.

Overall, this is a must try if you like to try different beers and I do. This would be a great beer with German food. It's a great beer to just enjoy too. The low abv makes it sessionable.

dbell23, Nov 09, 2013
Photo of SamuelJackson45
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%

A- Pours a dark black body with a heavy tan head.

S-Smell of hops and caramel and chocolate malts with a sweet smell in the background.

T-Taste of hops and caramel and chocolate malts with sweet bitter taste from the caramel malts.

M- Very creamy and smooth slightly chewy with a velvety texture to the pallet.

D- Very good Bavarian dark lager coming from Wisconsin. This beer has great taste and aroma and not to be taking lightly. This beer can hang with the worlds best.

Cheers..

SamuelJackson45, Nov 05, 2010
Photo of OldSock
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%

Appearance – 16 oz bottle from Julio's. Pours black as any stout, with faint red highlights when held up to the light. On top is an extra creamy tan two finger head that last for a few minutes.

Smell – Light coffee notes with a toasted malt backbone. A bit too roasty for a traditional shwarzbier, but it still smells good to me. No esters or alcohol that I can detect.

Taste – Smooth with mild roast and a slight noble hop twang. Slight dry charcoal bitterness in the finish. Definitely an in-your-face American interpretation of the German original, but its tasty. I would say this beer is a lager cousin to a Dry Irish Stout.

Mouthfeel – Smooth medium body with medium carbonation. A bit heavy for the style, but it fits this particular flavor profile well.

Drinkability & Notes – A tasty lager and my second favorite shwarzbier behind only the fabulous offering from Moonlight. Not exactly to style, but I'm not complaining too much.

OldSock, Dec 28, 2005
Photo of fuzzbalz
4/5  rDev -1.7%

fuzzbalz, Jul 21, 2014
Photo of evanackerman
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%

beer pours black with a beige head.

aroma is pruny malt

taste is a nice combination of roasty malt with a nice acidity to balance it out and just the right touch of hops.

mouthfeel is very very smooth.

drinkability is huge, great session beer.

overall, this is a very easy-drinking and enjoyable take on the style, i love the 16 oz bottle as well. this one is a staple for me.

evanackerman, Mar 10, 2007
Photo of aubzachsyd
4/5  rDev -1.7%

aubzachsyd, May 10, 2014
Photo of pebbs
4/5  rDev -1.7%

pebbs, May 21, 2012
Photo of jeffboo
4.4/5  rDev +8.1%

This is a classic Milwaukee microbrew when there were not that many to choose from.I've enjoyed this beer since the late 1980's and this fresh sample brought back many memories.

A beautiful black color with red highlights, it's topped off with a creamy tan head that hangs for a while. Malt, this style features malt and it begins with the aroma, rich malt,slightly smokey, and a hint of earthy hops. The complex malt flavor is chewy caramel, with a nutty,smokey,toasty finish to dry off the malt and keep the beer close to my lips.It has a nice medium body and a very creamy texture with maybe a hint of roast malt thrown in to complete the malt maze. A classic rare style, a little larger than a dunkel but very inviting as a session brew. Yum!

jeffboo, Apr 24, 2003
Photo of AmberMan22
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%

Pours a near black with ruby highlights, Head is a frothy khaki/tan that disappears a little too quickly. Lacing is nice and pretty.

The smell is a robust, toasty and smoky chocolate malt notes are readily present.

The taste really is wonderful. A smoky heaven of dark roasted malt that leaves a little lingering bitterness.

The carbonation is maybe a little too strong for my liking, but it doesn't ruin overall mouthfeel, which is medium+ bodied, and feels warm and comforting on a chilling evening.

I do love this beer, and it makes for a perfect winter sipper. Glad I'm back in WI where they have this on tap at a bunch of places. Gotta be one of my favorite beers.

AmberMan22, Jan 31, 2010
Photo of weizenbob
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%

There aren't enough domestic craft breweries doing lager-style beers, yet alone dark lager-style beers; so this brew has been much anticipated for me. This 16 ounce twist-off bottle was purchased at Repete's in Holland, MI. It was bottled May 13, 2011. I twisted off the cap and poured into a pint tumbler.

A standard pour (horizontal bottle, 45-degree glass) manifests a finger of mocha-tinted head atop this cola-colored lager. Head retention is not impressive but lacing coats the glass where once was beer.

The aroma displays some nice roasty chocolate malt. My nose could easily mistake it for porter.

The flavor is also very porter-like. Earthy malts lead the charge with chocolate being the obvious reference point. There is a bit of cooked veggie presence. Alcohol is very well hidden and there is no hop bitterness to speak of. The lagering gives this a nice crisp bite that I haven't experienced in any porter. Therein lies the key difference, and it is a nice touch.

In the mouth this is a deceptively full bodied beer. The carbonation level is moderate. The modest 32 IBUs pass below the radar, making Black Bavarian pretty easy drinking, even despite the full flavor. At 6% ABV the alcohol level is moderate. I like that the bottle contains a full pint but doesn't carry a premium price (it works out to about $1.50 per 12 ounce serving). Although this is a year-round release for Sprecher, it feels like a particularly appropriate choice for fall-season drinking. This is a nice change of pace from the barrage of ale-style beers that I'm drinking all year.

---

The Two-Schlitz Scale: (see my profile for an explanation)
I do give two Schlitz for Sprecher Black Bavarian. If you're fortunate to be in an area that distributes Sprecher products, this is worth tracking down.

weizenbob, Oct 15, 2011
Photo of BeccaH
3.5/5  rDev -14%

BeccaH, Friday at 07:39 PM
Black Bavarian from Sprecher Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 750 ratings.