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Black Bavarian | Sprecher Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
91
outstanding
473 Reviews
Black BavarianBlack Bavarian
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Sprecher Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States | website

Style: Schwarzbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.86%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Bronze Medal Winner in the European Darks category at the 1988 Great American Beer Festival (GABF).

Added by xlperro on 04-23-1998

BEER STATS
Reviews:
473
Ratings:
895
Avg:
4.07
pDev:
14.5%
 
 
Wants:
129
Gots:
90
For Trade:
1
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Reviews: 473 | Ratings: 895
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: A very distinctive squat, short necked, yet larger than normal brown glass bottle. The label has a Teutonic looking Coat of Arms and the word Sprecher in Germanic font. This is repeated in the bulge of the neck, where the word ‘Sprecher’ in raised lettering is molded into the bottle at two locations. A twist crown cap is not unusual, but the 16 fluid ounce, equal to 1 US Pint (a.k.a. One UK “Jessie” Pint, or a 20% short measure) is not. Packaged Date is 06/18/03.

Appearance: As dark and enticing as an Amazon beauty. A deep mahogany in color which, when backlit, reveals a clear lucid body which has a stunningly lovely auburn hue. A smooth tan brown head sits atop the beer. A fantastic looker. If it had brown eyes, and long black hair, I’d marry it. Massive inherent carbonation is revealed when the glass is tipped & swirled.

Nose: Lightly roasted malts dominate the aromas with a hint of ground dark chocolate and walnuts.

Taste: A collection of rather simple tastes, that does not really alter throughout the experience, but they are somehow wielded into a very attractive ‘complete’ offering. Starts with a lightly roasted malt character, middles with some dark chocolates and coffee. Finishes with an astringent hop-bitterness mixed with a light nutty aspect. Simple, but highly effective, and a damn fine beer.

Mouthfeel: Above average, it probably feels better than it actually is. Maybe it has fooled me here – whatever? It works well. The inherent carbonation obviously assists the mouthfeel.

Drinkability: I dearly wish I had some more bottles of this.

Overall: Another Sprecher beer that I really enjoyed. They seem to be able to make beers that are comprised of a handful of characteristic flavors, simple in nature, and blend them in a way that is highly refined. An accomplished offering.

A “Vielen Dank” to BigHuge for this American-Germanic Schwarz-Lager.

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

The color a deep incarnadine with a resplendent head that is a winsome light tan, the texture that of whipped cream and as it disintegrates a glutinous sheet of lace welds itself to the glass. Nose is deeply malt with hints of toasted grain, somewhat sweet a real treat to the senses. The start is malt-laden and ambrosial with the top intermediate in its feel to the palate. Finish is prickly in its acidity, the hops purposeful in their spiciness, quite dry and lingering aftertaste. A real treat for me as its been years since I’ve had a beer from this magnificent brewery, my thanks go to tavernjef for this bottle “gracias tanto mi amigo”.

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Photo of granger10
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This one poured a dark brown tansparent color with a tan head that lasted only a few seconds. Aroma was bold of roasty malts almost too harsh for my nose. Taste showed me that roatiness again. Very roasted. Molasses was dominant along with caramel as a secondary malt flavor. Not any hop bitterness but this beer shouldn't have any. There was a chalky yeasty finish that wasn't nice at first but improved as I drank it. This wasn't good at first drink but by the end I wanted another immediately!

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Photo of tavernjef
4.45/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Color pours brown out of the stubbie brown pint bottle, settles nearly black, has a definate deep brown tone up to the light with ruby highlights. An inch high tan head of loose bubbly spongyness grew fast but faded nearly just as fast to a thin ring and minimal spotty lace.

Nose is roasty malts, slightly tangy of dark fruits and molasses with a touch of chocolate and light mustyness.

Has a complex mix of malts with alot of roastyness, has a bit of caramel and molasses, a very light touch of chocolate and very mild bitterness, quite smooth the whole way through. Some slight dark fruity tangyness and a smokey burntness pokes through close to the finish. Very subtle and well layered in its complexity.

Feel is solid medium body smoothness picks up some fullness in the middle and finishes smooth, lightly crisp with a mellow tangy smokey lingering dryness. An incredibly drinkable, yummy showing of the style; well rounded and smooth.

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Photo of jcalabre
4.21/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It poured into the glass a very dark brown color w/ some reddish bricking. It was translucent. The head was a tightly bubbled tan color that started out quite large and diminished slowly. The nose had some heavy, sweet, malty tones in it. The flavor has a touchy of smokiness along w/ some hoppy notes. Very enjoyable, very drinkable.

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Photo of jeffboo
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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!

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

Pours a deep brown with hints of ruby and a thin tan head. Aroma is full of molasses, caramel, and some cocoa. Flavor is not terribly complex, but very nicely blended, with sweet caramel malt upfront, and some chocolate and coffee in the finish... has just enough spicy hops to show through as well. Has a medium to full body, and a rough mouthfeel.

This is a very nice American Schwarzbier... nice to see someone doing such a good job with this all-to-neglected style.

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

Rich dark cherry in color with a rather good sized dark brown head. Roasted malts dominate the nose. Flavors range from a subtle chocolate to a moderate roastedness. Observed a light-moderate nuttiness that seemed to fade as it warmed. Smokey flavors underscore everything and hurt the drinkability for me. A fine brew that I wouldn't have had the opportunity to try if it weren't for cokes.

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Photo of Sixpack595
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wow, I can't wait to get some more! Head is solid, but thin and dissipates fairly quickly. Color is a deep red appearing black untill held up to the lights. Very drinkable, with strong chocolate and coffee flavors. New to this style of beer, and getting over a head cold...can't wait to see what else is hiding in that bottle.

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Photo of Winter
3.91/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured black in color with red hues apparent where light hit on the bottom and sides of the glass. Foamy tan head. Aroma had a roasted malt sweetness to it. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Thin body. Finish has a bitterness to it combined with a robust chocolate malt flavor. Slight nuttiness to it. Smokiness present throughout also. Excellent beer to combine with hearty German fare or BBQ. Definitely one of Sprecher's finer offerings.

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Photo of Scoats
3.96/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A friend of mine mentioned he picked up a couple of cases slightly past date at a tasty price. Happily the beer was tasty too, very tasty. The case Sean found was 16ouncers (wonder if that is the regular size). I had a couple at Sean's house while watching the Eagles lose last Sunday.

What a wonderful beer! Heaven knows why more breweries don't make a schwarzbier. What a totally underutilized beer style, and this brand executes it perfectly. This is a wonderfully quafable beer to enjoy on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Very thick and hearty without any off tastes.

A perfect session beer, big taste, medium ABV I think. Pour it into large mug, sit back and enjoy.

I just wish this was more easily available around here.

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

Beautiful mahogany color and a tan head that struggles to maintain. The roasted malt is soooo roasty here that I hazard a guess that some of it has been subjected to a smoker, a la Bamberg Rauchbier. The neck label claims it as a "Kulmbacher" style, one that I'm not familiar with. Flavorful sweetness combines with coffee grounds, and bitter chocolate. The finish is medium in length with a breath of stainless steel. Not bad. Unique.

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Photo of inebrius
4.88/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Whoa...wait a second. Is this for real? Wow!! Poured a sticky, thick and chunky khaki head. Wonderful nose of sweet malt and toasty bear claws. Mildly tart, but full and clean and little astringency to get in the way. Profoundly balanced and a drinker for sure. Top notch!

Cheers to Jon for the sample!

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Photo of Jon
4.23/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one poured black, just like the name would imply. When held up to the light, it shows a little burgundy color, but still, this sucker is black. I smell roasted malt. The taste is of roasted malt with a very faint hop bite. It has a bit of a coffee-like mouthfeel, which is pleasing to my palate. This is an excellent schwarzbier from the great brewery that is Sprecher.

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Photo of ryanocerus
3.56/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Being a Schwarzbier lover, I thought I would have liked this better. It poured with a thick tan head and deep black in color. The malty aroma was a little too prominent for me however. The roasty flavor is much heavier than other schwarzbiers I have had also, but as the long lasting flavor lingers on the tongue, I enjoy it more. Not a bad beer, just not my favorite schwarz.

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Photo of ADR
3.63/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Good head on a hard pour, medium bubbles and a stiff one inch layer. Color is a ruby-black, lets light through. A little yeasty in smell, mostly sweet. Malty flavor but not overly sweet, close to rich and nutty but attenuated. A little on the light bodied side, but fresh tasting. Drinkable but not as tasty as a Saranac Black Forest...

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Photo of proc
3.33/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Lager, porter, stout, beer of some sort. I know its a lager, but it had me confused. Very porter-like in appearance and taste. Coffee taste is prevelent but not overwhelming. Lots of malt in this one. I liked it.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
4.65/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Big rocky head on top, then microbubbles. Black body with ruby highlights. Chocolate, coffee, and hops in the nose. Wonderful smooth across the tongue. Great malts, but with perfect balance between sweet and bitter. Could be drunk as a session beer, except it could spoil you. This might be the best dark lager I've ever had. What can their Imperial Stout do as an encore?

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Photo of brakspear
5/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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....

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Photo of Bighuge
4.77/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer seems black and has a small tan head that is gone within seconds. This is a beer that you can seemingly smell the thickness. Great malty, toasty, roasty bitter aromas. What a creamy mouthfeel. Feels like velvet as it rolls across the tongue. Great complexity to this brew. There aren't any overbearing tastes, but many underlying ones that mesh well together: coffee, roast malt, biscuit, mocha and toffee to name a few. I just love the taste of this beer. It has been one of my reliables ever since I tried it about 5 years ago. There aren't too many Schwarzbiers available these days, but I'd guess it'd be hard to improve much on this one.

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Photo of cokes
4.68/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Nice and black with some ruby highlights. The pillowy head lasts for the duration. Strong aromas of dark fruit and malt sweetness.
The taste starts out quite sweet, with definate carmel notes. Almost sugary. This all rides on top of a delectable roasted malt. After the sip, as the sweetness begins to fade, the mouth is jolted with a bitter charcoal roasted blast. Intially, I found this to be somewhat jarring and unpleasant, but as I became acclimated to it, I began to enjoy this taste. It seemed to tie a ribbon around the excellent mix of flavors in this brew. A very nice closure to the experience.
A supreme example of what is quickly becoming one of my favorite beer-styles. I wish more breweries would take a stab at this.
As a footnote, those of us in Southern Central Wis. should count our blessings, as we have two great schwarzbier offerings to enjoy. The other being Tyranena's Rocky's Revenge (sadly, only a late-winter seasonal). You can't go wrong with either.

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

Presentation: 1 US pint brown bottle with a twist-off cap. Very German looking label with beer notes on the neck label. "No Additives, No Perservatives, All malt beer"

Appearance: Black with extreme crimson tinges against the light. Produces a thick tan froth that sticks.

Smell: Caramelized sugars with an almost burnt aroma. Hints of spicy hops.

Taste: Sweet and roasted in the beginning then puckers with a black malt acidity. Very malty with a hint of spicy bitterness and chocolate notes.

Notes: Very well brewed. The acidity of the black malt strikes you hard, but it does not make this undrinkable. In fact it makes it a bit more enjoyable.

Thanks again to Genevieve Futrelle for sharing her treasured Sprecher with us.

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Black Bavarian from Sprecher Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 473 ratings.