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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

766 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 766
Reviews: 454
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 10.57%
Wants: 105
Gots: 35 | 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: 766 | Reviews: 454 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Rayek
3.73/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Stange.

A: Deep walnut, almost black. A rocky cream cap slowly falls to a thin quilt of foam. Leaves a fair amount of lace.

S: Chocolate, molasses and a hint of burnt malt make up most of the nose. There's a light scent of lemon in the background.

T: Molasses and a burnt bitterness are out front. Some bittersweet baking chocolate is along for the ride. Finishes with a slight astringency and lingering burnt wood flavors.

M: The body is fairly heavy and has a bit too much fizz.

D: This is a nice Schwarzbier overall. It's a bit heavier than I was expecting, but its moderate strength was a nice compliment to a cold autumn day.

Rayek, Nov 13, 2010
Photo of twiggamortis420
3.48/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I was really excited to try a fresh schwarzbier made here in the states. Unfortunately, this one did not jive with me. 16 oz bottle pours a very dark brown color with a fluffy, tan head. Retention is nice and lacing is excellent. Freshness stamp of 101611017, not sure what that means.

Nose is surprisingly light. Mild chocolate, light sweetness with a definite grain presence. Little bit of cocoa and overall is a pretty clean lager.

Taste has a fruity edge to it that doesnt seem to fit in a schwarzbier style profile. Decent roast and hop bitterness though. Malts are abundant, but not as sweet and full as I would like. A little more robust than it really needs to be and I get a bit of cooked veggies on it. Decent enough, I was just expecting to be blown away by it...I like Kostritzer and Monchoff better, even with the travel across the big pond.

twiggamortis420, Nov 13, 2010
Photo of ChainGangGuy
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.

ChainGangGuy, Nov 10, 2010
Photo of drabmuh
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.

drabmuh, Nov 10, 2010
Photo of jera1350
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep brown color with a tan head that reduces to a thin layer, yet leaves some nice lacing.

Nutty, chocolatey and earthy with a fair amount of sweetness and some roastiness.

Roasty malts with nutty and chocolate notes. Pretty deep roast with a light burnt sugar sweetness. Chocolate and coffee with a bit of bitterness in the finish.

Carbonation is right on and is mostly soft. Medium bodied with a lightly dry finish.

A very nice beer and spot on for the style. A good all around beer that drinks easily.

jera1350, Nov 10, 2010
Photo of Bitterbill
4.55/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16oz bottle courtesy of hu5om. Thanks Ryan!

Not first encounter with Black Bavarian. It was one of the first beers that really impressed me at my first GABF.

It pours the blackest of pitch blacks with about an inch of tannish foam. Despite having an average head of foam, the lacing is good.

The smell is of chocolate and roasted malt. Some sweet notes, some bitter ones.

The taste is superb! Notes of chocolate, roasted malt, caramel, a touch of fruitiness when I swish it in my mouth, and a nice balancing light bitterness. Delicious!

Medium body, light to medium carbonation, this is an easy drinking and super good example of the style. Maybe the best US sample that I've tried.

Bitterbill, Nov 06, 2010
Photo of SamuelJackson45
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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 dhannes
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Revisited this beer on tap after having had a number of enjoyable bottles. While the appearance resembles a porter in color, it is actually a lager and tastes as such. Hints of cocoa, but not as drinkable or tasty as a porter...in fact, it would have been hard to distinguish this beer from, say, a decent lager, in a blind taste test...well, you could taste a hint of roasting, but not much. Still, a decent once-in-awhile beer.

dhannes, Nov 02, 2010
Photo of tapman
4.58/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Black in the middle and brown around the edges, a very small 1/4 finger head sets a sturdy brown lacing.

Caramel, toffee, toast, noble hops. Smells like a dark chocolate milkshake.

Tastes like a dark chocolate milkshake if they made it with malted barley sugar instead of regular sugar. Also the nice, strong taste of earthy, minty hops. All the flavors in the nose plus pretty sweet. I like the malt flavor in a kostriker a little better, but I would have to try them side by side. Either way a good effort on Sprecher.

Full bodied, slightly chewy, and silken as it glides down your throat.

Everything is great about this beer. My only qualm is that there was no head to speak of and in a black beer there really isn't much to rate it on besides the head. Regardless, just enough roast barley to give that roasty toasty taste without becoming astringent. Great balance between specialty grains and the hops. And it doesn't taste like 6% either.

tapman, Oct 17, 2010
Photo of GRG1313
3.7/5  rDev -9.1%
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.

GRG1313, Oct 10, 2010
Photo of moester13
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Great looking pour, pitch black with a finger of tan head. Good retention and nice looking lacing.

S: Dark and toasty malts with hints of nutty caramel.

T: Delicious dark roasted malt sweetness upfront, with an excellent lingering chocolate bitterness and hints of toasty caramel.

M: Full bodied, very smooth.

D: A nice alternative for porter fans. Very smooth and not as filling

moester13, Oct 09, 2010
Photo of revolt914
4.55/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I drank this beer with nothing holding me back... this is by far one of my top 5 beers to date. I can't think of anything bad about this beer being the style it is. I started with craft beers knowing I loved Black Beers and being a schwarzbier is just that. If you haven't had this beer take some time and get to know it, I really do think this beer deserves no explanation other than a strong push in the, "Go get this beer" category!

revolt914, Oct 05, 2010
Photo of GhostMtnAbbey
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Strong notes of plums, milk chocolate and raisins.

Pours with an amber head that doesn't last long. Lacing could be better.

A pleasant bitterness mixed with deep roasted malts and dark fruits. The blend tends to hold together great in mouth for a round sipping experience.

The best of Sprecher I've had so far.

I'd buy this one again.

GhostMtnAbbey, Sep 26, 2010
Photo of farrago
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

You get three fingers of dark tan foam with a center glass pour, moderate density with nice retention, leaves a few thick streaks of lacing. Pure black liquid, a thin aura of orange at the rims and glass bottom. Good deal of smokiness to the nose, sharp but not acrid, furnishes coffee, dark chocolate, mocha, coconut flakes first, slowly blends in licorice, white grape, apple, pear fruit and a glance of burnt grill fat, basic country style white bread, brazil nuts, subtle length. Full-bodied, foams up during the mouth entry but recedes swiftly enough to let its full weight soak in. Pleasing bitterness, the hoppy grassiness and grains play well with the resonant smokiness, more of that mocha and cocoa dust, coffee bean, grilled nuts and vanilla powder, mouth palate coverage. The pork rind and meat fat persists, a nice bonus. Sufficient sweetness to boost drinkability, the fruit more muted and indistinguishable here, close to no citrus presence. Hard to get the residue out of your mouth, takes more than a glass of water.

farrago, Sep 21, 2010
Photo of drtth
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duvel glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: As poured the beer is a dark, almost black, reddish brown color with a 1" light brown head that slowly recedes leaving patches and streaks of lacing clinging to the sides of the glass. Sipping continues to leave layers of foam and intricate lacing patterns on the sides of the glass for much of the beer.

Smell: The aroma is nice mix of dark chocolate and caramel with no hops showing.

Taste: The flavors are dark and include a semi-sweet chocolate and malt sweetness that sometimes tastes of smoke and slightly burnt roasted malt. Popping out here and there is some dark roast coffee and even some roasted nuts. Even though there are hops here their flavors well integrated and show mostly in the lightly bittered dryness of the finish.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium to full bodied, soft and creamy with fine carbonation. The finish is fairly long, has a semi-sweet dark chocolate beginning and a nice dry ending with a faint roasted and slightly burnt bitterness that takes its time trailing off.

Drinkability: I'm definitely enjoying this one and finding that each sip follows the earlier one quite naturally and easily. I'd be happy to have a second one and it's a certainty that I'll be having this one again. Indeed, one of the nice things about this beer is that while it has the rich complexity that is so nice with this style of beer it does not have the intensity or "in your face" character that some stiyles have that make you think "only one tonight."

drtth, Sep 21, 2010
Photo of CurtisLoew
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 ounce bottle, cool.

Pours extremely dark brown/black color. Can't see anything through the light. Nice cream colored head.

Smells like the inside of a brewery. Very grainy and nice.

Taste is great. Incredibly clean. Nice grainly, malty german taste. A little dark chocolate and coffee undertones present in this beer. Kind of roasty malt, very nice.

Liked this beer a lot. Sprecher has really shot up in my book lately. My last three beers by them have blown me away. Go sprecher!

CurtisLoew, Sep 18, 2010
Photo of silver0rlead
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an extremely dark brown color with a thick cola colored head that retains impressively. The aroma is all dark chocolate, coffee and molasses, with hints of pumpernickel, tobacco, smoke and a hint of earthy hops. The flavor is similar with serious dark chocolate and coffee notes initially, along with blackstrap molasses, roastiness, smoke, earthy hops and alcohol. The mouthfeel is smooth and rich and drinkability is good but limited by the intense roast flavors. Very good schwarzbier, a little more intense than a lot of the domestic versions but very solid nonetheless

silver0rlead, Sep 17, 2010
Photo of jmdrpi
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz bottle poured into nonic pint glass. color is opaque black, with just a few mahogany highlights when held up to the light. tan head.
aroma is roasty malt, almost smells like a dry stout. taste is chocolate roasted malt. big toasty flavor.
medium carbonation, thinner smooth body.
all of the big flavor of a stout, with earier drinkability. could pass as a porter

jmdrpi, Sep 15, 2010
Photo of pokesbeerdude
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to yeahnatenelson for this as an extra. 16oz bottle into my Sam Adams perfect pint.

A: Pours a very dark brown with lots of garnet highlights, light tan head with fine bubbles comes up to about half an inch and then recedes to a small layer. A few spots of lacing here and there. Excellent clarity when held to the light.

S: A few deep caramel notes and a decent amount of roasted malt. I wouldn't quite say coffee, but its pretty dang close. Lots of great malty notes that really shine as it warms. Fairly bready and maybe a bit of butter, but it doesn't detract. Nice smelling beer.

T: Great flavors, some nice roasty bitterness and a decent amount of earthy hops underneath the whole thing. Slightly minerally as well which is nice. On the end there is just a little bit of smoke in there as well. A few chocolatey notes and even more on the rich caramel note. Overall very tasty.

M: Medium to light body, fairly dry as well, doesn't finish quite as sweet as I had anticipated, but that's okay and to be expected. Overall nice here.

D: Very flavorful, I haven't had many schwarzbiers but have enjoyed them all. Really nice flavors in this beer with excellent balance between the sweet flavors and the roasty flavors and just a little bit of a hoppy profile as well. This is a nice beer and I wish I could get it a little easier as this would be a great cooler weather beer.

Thanks Nate!

pokesbeerdude, Sep 15, 2010
Photo of beer2day
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up at Brusin Ales in Asheville.

Surprisingly black pour with just a hint of red. Thick, velvety 2-finger dark cream head. Excellent retention and very thick lace.

Nose is lightly roasted malt, weak coffee, weaker vanilla. Faint spiciness with nutmeg. Fairly complex.

Bitter, dry chocoloate hit. Dark roast coffee comes in towards the back end. Nice hoppy finish with tart, dry figs. Very nice.

Feel is right on for the style, but does not match the complex taste and nose for me.

At 6%, this is a highly sessionable drinker.

beer2day, Aug 28, 2010
Photo of wedge
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've been wanting to try this one for years. It was available in a couple of stores I used to frequent in MA, but never fresh, so I always passed over it. Now it's recently been introduced to the NC market (at least Asheville), so I snatched one up when I saw it.

Deep, dark blackish color, showing a subtle mahogany glow at the bottom of the glass. A small, creamy tan head sits on top. Lightly sweet, clean roasted malt aroma...light notes of molasses and dark chocolate. Roasted, somewhat smokey malt flavor; clean and lager-y. Rich German malts: bread and caramel with light noble hops and a faint frutiness. Light and fluffy in the mouth...creamy and bitter. More and more chocolatey as it warms. This is quite the tasty Schwartzbier!

wedge, Aug 25, 2010
Photo of woosterbill
4.45/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pint bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: A temperate pour results in a perfect 2" head that crests above the rim of the glass and very slowly melts into a solid cap, leaving a good amount of light lacing behind. The body is appropriately black with clear garnet highlights when illuminated directly. Quite nice indeed.

S: All malt here, with caramel and chocolate managing to be both sweet and crisp at the same time. Very clean and pleasant, if not overly complex or deep.

T: Quite restrained and tightly-constructed on the palate, with caramel malt and dry lager yeast combining to provide a very smooth flavor. Again, nothing pyrotechnic, but beautifully simple and simply beautiful.

M: Eminently smooth, with a medium body and plenty of soft carbonation. Excellent.

D: I'm glad this comes in pint bottles instead of 12-ouncers.

Notes: This is by far the best Schwarzbier I've ever had, and really defines the style as far as I'm concerned. Leave it to Wisconsin to produce a top-notch German style lager.

Cheers!

woosterbill, Aug 15, 2010
Photo of deereless
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Thin layer of head, dark coffee in color, no noticeable lacing - 3.50, S: I know it's not your typical aromas but I'm getting a good deal of smoke and jerky, charred coffee and burnt sugar, mildly sweet aroma in a dark molasses way - 4.00, D: Like the nose there is a good amount of smoke on the palate, heavy on the coffee and dark bitter chocolate, mild hop bite as well as some earthy hops, mostly toasty rather than sweet malts - 4.50, M: Medium body and slick mouth feel - 3.50, D: All around a very enjoyable and drinkable beer - 4.00

deereless, Aug 12, 2010
Photo of bsp77
4.28/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Imperial Pint/Pilsner hybrid.

Appearance: Near black reddish-brown with thin brown head.

Smell: Bittersweet chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, molasses, and spicy,metallic noble hops.

Taste: Molasses and chocolate malt upfront with light roasted notes and coffee. Very light noble hops on the finish.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, creamy and smooth body, fairly full for a lager.

Drinkability: Excellent Schwarzbier that may almost have too much flavor to be as easy drinking as some within the style.

bsp77, Jul 26, 2010
Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance -- Pours like strong-brewed coffee. No haze, but barely transparent. Two fingers of sudsy khaki head.

Smell -- Rich roast malt, cocoa powder, molasses, and faint fruitiness from the lager yeast.

Taste -- Up front is quite rich with roast malt character with ripe dark fruits, and dark chocolate. There's a fair amount of hop bitterness toward the back end. Finish is clean.

Mouthfeel -- Medium in body with moderate creamy carbonation.

Drinkability -- Overall, not bad. Would've preferred it have a lighter body, but still a nice option for summer if you want something dark and rich, or winter if you want something with great roast flavors but don't want another heavy stout.

yeahnatenelson, Jul 23, 2010
Black Bavarian from Sprecher Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 766 ratings.