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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

758 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 758
Reviews: 454
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 10.57%
Wants: 104
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Black Bavarian Alström Bros
Ratings: 758 | Reviews: 454 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kiddynamite920
4.55/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 oz bottle into the Duvel tulip.

A: Probably the darkest schwarzbier I've seen thus far. Takes the appearance of an Imperial stout. Very impressive. Tan head forms a ring around the glass. Wasn't expecting this deep blackness. Very nice.

S: Can already smell the roasty malts with the beer sitting 3 feet from me. Chocolate and caramel malts, big coffee and roasty malt profile. I think I have found the perfect schwarzbier. Just a tad of bready sweetness to balance the roast qualities. Great smokey character as well, almost a cigar like flavor on the back end. I find this perfect for the style.

T: Well balanced, indeed. The bitterness from the roasted malt aroma mellows out perfectly. Has a tobacco and vanilla note. Very smokey as it should be. Just makes you think of the darkest malts you can find thrown into a cold smoker. Huge roast profile as the style would suggest. Again I find this an exceptional example of this style.

M: Creamy, dark and delicious. Carbonation is perfect, sweetness is well balanced.

D: By far the best Schwarzbier I've come across. Perhaps I have to get out more often. This beer is perfect for its style. You need some time to put back this 16 oz stubby bottle. It disperses so many roasted flavors on the tongue that you can't stop sipping on it.

kiddynamite920, May 07, 2010
Photo of tjd112
4.47/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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 metter98
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

metter98, May 01, 2010
Photo of corby112
3.8/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown almost black color with slight amber edges when held to a light source and a 1.5 finger tan head that slowly fades into a lasting ring. Sporadic splotches os soapy lacing left behind.

Roasted chocolate malt aroma with some earthy hop bitterness, roasted coffee, toffee, licorice and some smoked malt.

Medium bodied with a lot of roasted chocolate maltiness with hints of deep roasted coffee, caramel, oatmeal and toffee. There is surprisingly a nice btter hop presence that adds a bit of complexity and lingers into a dry finish.

One of the better beers I've had from Sprecher.

corby112, Apr 30, 2010
Photo of HalfFull
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

16 oz. twist off bottle poured into a pint glass. A somewhat aggressive pour yields a black body with deep mahogany highlights topped by half an inch of mocha foam. Decent retention is offered after having to force the pour a bit and keeping a thin cap.

Initial piney hop notes are soon outstripped by roasted malts, with milk chocolate and light coffee. Intriguing and rich for the style with some earthy hops reemerging with warming.

Porter like in flavor initially with a smooth lager finish, yet one that never gets thin in body. Notes of dark cherry and coffee abound, and finishing with a coarse graininess that belies the style a bit and with a return of chocolate on the close. Feel is pleasant and rich, though perhaps a bit too much for a schwarzbier which limits the drink a bit. Interesting and complex, tending towards an ale in body and character.

HalfFull, Apr 27, 2010
Photo of biggred1
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black coffee with crimson highlights and a finger of whipped mocha foam that leaves superfine lacing behind on the glass. Tootsie roll and cocoa are heavy duty in the nose with a bit of roastiness as well. Rich and chocolatey with plenty of caramel malt and a perfect hop bittering to balance.Full bodied for a lager and creamy with silky smooth carbonation. I'll admit this is not a style I often seek out but Black Bavarian is a fantastic Schwarzbier with perfectly balanced complex flavors.

biggred1, Apr 17, 2010
Photo of alpinebryant
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown with minimal head and lacing.

Smell of molasses, brown sugar, roasted malts , coffee.

Taste of brewers licorice, coffee, black patent malt, molasses and brown sugar with a hint of hops. Nice flavor profiles for a beer made with all malt. There is a light mouthfeel to this beer as a lager, which is typical for the style. Medium to light carbonation. A drinkable schwarzbier, likable and drinkable. I would steer clear in the spring but I couldnt resist as I had not seen it in a shop before.

I was amazed to find a twist off top underneath a wax coated cap. Is this laziness or intentional to have a twist off under wax? :)

alpinebryant, Apr 11, 2010
Photo of ThaBobfather
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pure night sky black with a decent fizz of beige-not quite dark head.
Smell is well malted, a solid grained scent.
Taste is lightly toasted malt with a great bready back-bone, a spot of floral on the back end.
Finish is very dry-light grained after-taste.
Drinks very well-sessionable with the best of its style.

ThaBobfather, Mar 09, 2010
Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.5/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up recently at Whole Foods on Houston St. since it was reasonably priced and I hadn't tried this before. I haven't had very many Schwarzbiers before so it was a chance to branch out a bit as well. When I saw the review on here, I was quite surprised at how highly rated this was. While this wasn't a bad beer, it was not as thick or as flavorful as I had hoped it would be!

Of course, this poured a very dark brown but there wasn't much of any head or lacing to be seen, even after I had to wait since the larger bottle couldn't be poured into my pint glass all at once. The taste was that of licorice, some darker plum-like fruits, and a faint hint of chocolate. This reminded me a bit of Newcastle but not as "brown". It was pretty malty and went down easily, but I expected this to have just a bit more staying power.

This isn't a very strong beer and I hardly felt the alcohol when I was drinking it. Sure, it has a nice mellow roasted feel to it, but I guess that a German-style beer would be a bit more bold. I probably need to try out more from this style, since the range is probably a lot greater than the few that I've had would indicate. This would certainly fit the bill for a session-like winter beer for the novice drinker...

JerzDevl2000, Mar 05, 2010
Photo of MrMcGibblets
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: ummm, black. some dark brown around the edges when held to the light. minimal light brown head with decent lacing.

S: dark chocolate, espresso, molasses.

T: light/medium dark sweet malts, chocolatey and roasty, maybe some dark dried fruit underneath. finishes almost dry with an underlying smooth roastiness/bitterness. very tasty. flavorful yet almost crisp on the end.

M: light to medium in body and perfectly carbonated (for me, meaning not too little in this case). frothy and moreish.

D: great flavor but not overwhelming, well balanced. also a great value. this is a beer i could have a few of without tiring of it. also the abv is low compared to many craft offerings, another bonus for me in this category.

MrMcGibblets, Mar 02, 2010
Photo of philbe311
3.5/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - The thinnest of fizzy light brown colored heads displays no retention to speak, you'll miss it if you blink... All that remains is a minimal splotchy lacing with a slightly ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass... Completely opaque muted black color... Very still...

S - Mild... Equal parts roasted malt and coffee... Touches of caramel and chocolate... Slightly grainy...

T - Burnt roasted malt to start... Hints of chocolate, coffee, and caramel... A mix of subtle hoppiness and ferocious roasted malts dominate the aftertaste and linger for quite a while...

M - A slightly burnt chalky texture... Medium bodied... Heavy... Biting carbonation... Even and consistent...

D - Being a fan of Schwarzbiers, I was rather disappointed with this offering given many of the reviews I've read... Average for the style at best... Nothing memorable... Really lacking in terms of complexities in all facets that I expect from top notch Schwarzbiers...

philbe311, Feb 28, 2010
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.8/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another enjoyable effort from Sprecher. Looks like a good black beer. I really dunno what a "schwarzbier" is, but this seems like it may be a lager. The aroma and taste have a fruity yeast feel to it. Surprising hop character for something this dark and Midwest. Sprecher always seems to exceed expectations.

Mouthfeel, a little thin, but doesn't devolve into something I don't like. Pretty drinkable, not too challenging, enjoyable and reasonably priced.

Beerandraiderfan, Feb 27, 2010
Photo of katan
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz into a pint

A - Pours black, 100% opaque. Nothing is visible, so I assume its cleanly filtered. Head formation is very strong, about a 1/2". Well retained - brown colored.

S - Very subdued nose. Almost non-existent. A hint of roasting is there.

T - Starts off with a light malt flavor, some light roasting and burnt notes. Some pils malts are present. Mid-stream gets more astringent, but not overly bitter. Finishes with a potent roasted barley, chocolately as well.

M - Creamy and smooth, but also leaves behind a carbonation bite that is slightly stinging.

D - Easy drinking. Deceivingly strong abv. Not filling.

An interesting combination of strong burnt and light malty flavors.

katan, Feb 27, 2010
Photo of weatherdog
4.47/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

16oz bottle poured into an oversized wine glass

It pours a dark dark brown almost black with a small 1 finger head that dies to a small perimeter of bubbles around the glass.

Dark chocolate malt dominated the smell. There is also a heavy residual sweetness attached similar to an RIS.

The taste has a lot of coffee undertones but then it gets into this heavy chocolate/ caramel malts. Once again I can't help but comparing this to a lagered RIS. There is a large back end sweetness like an RIS but it finishes amazingly dry and crisp which is where the lager characteristic shines through. Its really an interesting taste and I'm enjoying the familiar rich RIS taste with a lager finish; very enjoyable

The mouthfeel is full bodied and rich but my the carbonation is too high for the richness and distracts from the taste. The weird thing is this drinks very similar to 8-10%ABV RIS with all the richness but is less than 6%. Usually it is the other way around. What this means to me is although I am sipping this in a pace similar to an RIS I was able to have three 16oz. bottles in one night without feeling full or drunk which was a huge plus.

weatherdog, Feb 14, 2010
Photo of Strix
4.58/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours very dark, brown-red at the edges, good initial head.

Smell very malty and bready with roasted notes, caramel and chocolate.

Delicious roasted malt, fresh bread, chocolate, caramel, toffee, nuts, and a bit of floral hop towards the finish that finishes it off with a flourish. Very flavorful.

Medium mouthfeel and carbonation.

This was fantastic!

Strix, Feb 14, 2010
Photo of alleykatking
3.63/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 16oz bottle.

A- Pours a black color but shows some red hues when held to the light. One finger brownish tan head comes up and dies slowly. No real lacing left behind on the glass as I'm drinking.

S- Good roasted malts in the front end of this beer. Light hints of chocolate and something a little more sweet like molasses in the middle of the nose. There is some light grassy hops I can pick out very faintly in the background of this beer. Reminds me of the start of a wonderful RIS.

T- Nice lighter roasted malts in the front end of this beer. There is a nice lager taste in the middle of the beer with a added sweetness. I don't know how else to describe it. Light hops in the backend of this beer.

M- Medium heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation was a little lacking and makes this beer more heavy than it should be. Malts dominate everything from the palate to the aftertaste.

D- This beer is good....not great but good. I wouldn't mind have a couple pints of this and then move onto something a little more....less heavy feeling.

alleykatking, Feb 03, 2010
Photo of amccormi
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured 16oz bottle into a 16 ounce pint glass. Black with a hint of ruby at edge of the glass with one finger of tan head on top. Head reduces slowly to a nice mossy covering leaving minimal lacing.

The aroma is dark and roasty with a little bit of grassy hops coming through. Tastes ofroasted and chocolate malt, a slightly bitter and nutty. Finishes with a crisp note of floral hops and slowly fading bitter chocolate flavor.

It is crisp and light as a lager should be and goes down very smooth. A bit higher in carbonation than expected, but not unpleasantly.

I could drink the whole four pack.

amccormi, Feb 02, 2010
Photo of AmberMan22
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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 chicano4craft
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a shaker glass out of the 16oz bottle. Black with a slight ruby tint in the light. Half inch, bubbly head that disappeared pretty fast.

Sweet roast in the nose. Not much else.

Taste was just as the aroma promised with a sweet roast. Slighlty burn after taste. Pretty standard for the style. Lots of carbonation.

I see this as a dark session beer. Not blown away, but would make for a good start of the night beer. Thanks to nappie for this one.

chicano4craft, Jan 20, 2010
Photo of association330
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16 oz. bottle with no freshness date

A - Pours dark brown with ruby tinges around the edges. A pinky of mocha head quickly settles to a thin cap with a thick ring of foam. Just a few spots of lace.

S - Moderate roasted malt character, including caramel, dark chocolate, and molasses. Similar aroma to an RIS, but not as overpowering, rich, or complex - cleaner and more refreshing.

T - Clean lager malt and light hop flavor, then sweeter caramel tones, and a moderately roasty swallow with lingering bitter chocolate and slight hop notes.

M - Body feels a little too heavy. Moderate carbonation, and no astringency.

D - Pretty nice example of the style here - a dark lager with a somewhat roasty character that still maintains a highly quaffable nature that you don't usually find in darker ales. A good one for getting stout and porter drinkers to come around to lagers, or vice versa.

association330, Jan 16, 2010
Photo of Soonami
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Almost opaque brown, reddish at the edges

S- a little roasted malt like toasting bread

T - Smoky, roasty, but not overly sweet like some stouts might be. Surprisingly dry with crisp acid at the end

M- Light, clean, fresh

D- very good, not thick or overwhelming but pleasant flavorful. For me it wasn't enough to order another but I enjoyed it from the top down.

Soonami, Dec 30, 2009
Photo of drizzam
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the big brown pint bottle into my favorite DFH clear pint glass. Love the fat pint bottles! The bottle reports a 6% ABV while BA reports a 5.86 ABV...close enough I guess.

A - Opaque dark brown body topped with a gorgeous 2 finger fluffy khaki head. Head retention was excellent and it left nice lacing down the inside of the glass.

S - Aromas of dark bitter chocolate, brown sugar and a bit of a smoky campfire aroma.

T & M - Bitter roasted malt body with that campfire smoke I smelled in the nose. I also get some of the dark chocolate I smelled as a complement to the main tastes. Medium bodied and creamy.

D - A tasty little number, and I'm proud it is locally brewed. The fact that it is locally brewed means it's CHEAP locally, which adds to its drinkability. (It certainly doesn't hurt that it is delicious either!) I would certainly recommend it to my friends.

drizzam, Dec 27, 2009
Photo of Natural510
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Full 16oz brown bottle, no discernible freshness dating.

Pours a very dark, opaque brown color with tan head which leaves a nice coat of lacing on the glass when swirled.
Scent of caramel, dark sugar and a roasted, bitter cocoa.
Brown sugar malt, nicely roasted, with chocolate and caramel notes highlight the bulk of the flavor. A raw coffee bean kicks through as well. Hops are noticeable, but not the main feature, as it should be. Fairly chalky, bittersweet finish.
Full in body, fairly dry and bitter in finish.
Rich, heavy dark lager. Embodies all the good qualities of the style, and proof a beer doesn't require heavy amount of alcohol to be complex. This will likely be my go-to schwarzbier as Moonlight Death & Taxes is unavailable outside of Northern California.

Natural510, Dec 08, 2009
Photo of nickfl
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
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.

nickfl, Oct 18, 2009
Photo of will4240
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this beer from a 16 oz. bottle tonight. Pours a deep black with a good off white head. The bottle says that the beer has a very good malt back bone, and it is right on in saying so! Never have I had such a full bodied lager, amazingly tastes of caramel and malt. An overall fantastic beer! So tasty and amazingly drinkable. My new favorite german style beer.

will4240, Sep 30, 2009
Black Bavarian from Sprecher Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 758 ratings.