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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

769 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 769
Reviews: 454
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 10.57%
Wants: 106
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: 769 | Reviews: 454 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of e11a627
4.4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a New Belgium globe glass and shared with the wonderful hu5om.

A: Opaque, dark brown, nice tan ring of foam. Looks like a stout but it's a dark lager. Never would have guessed by looking at it that it was a lager and not a stout.

S: The aromas seem for simple. Malty, dash of chocolate.

T: Good high quality chocolate taste post-swallow. Malty. Looks like a stout but tastes like a lager.

M: Quite smooth! Never enjoyed a dark lager before but this one was great. So smooth and yummy!

D: I could probably drink a few of these. And it's pretty because it looks like a stout. Gorgeous.

e11a627, Jul 16, 2010
Photo of hu5om
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

split in new belgium goblets with e11a627
a-black but not impenetrable. ring of khaki foam, light lacing

s-dark malts, chocolate, slight hoppy freshness and licorice

t-biscuit, dark malts, german chocolate, licorice

m-med. carbonation. very smooth for a beer that packs these tastes. decently clean and light.

d-my kind of lager! friggin great. i'd say better than their amber and pub brown. very happy. schwarzbier's: who knew? i might start buying these more often!

hu5om, Jul 16, 2010
Photo of beerwolf77
3.83/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my pint glass the beer is duh black as coal. An aggressive pour leaves me with three fingers of creamy light almond hued head. Superb retention. After a serious wait the glass is covered with sticky webs of lace.

The aroma is light for sure. What is there is roasted malt with hints of coffee. Maybe a bit of smoke and hops.

The flavor is heavy on the smoked malt. It has a fairly robust burnt coffee tone to it. Not much else going on here.

Thin bodied with very little carbonation. Spot on for the style.

Overall although not huge in the nose and taste it's well done for the stlye and super easy to drink.

beerwolf77, Jun 30, 2010
Photo of superdedooperboy
3.6/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16-ounce brown glass bottle with twist-off cap poured into a pilsner glass.

Opaque at first glance, it pours a deep, dark brown, showing ruby tones when held to the light. The small half-finger of light tan foam shows excellent retention but fails to leave any remnant of itself on the walls of the glass.

Aroma is patently malty, with some light roast along with caramel and chocolate, even a hint of smokiness.

A little fuller in body than anticipated for the style, with a light carbonation. Big, rich malt flavors envelop the palate, sweet with caramel and dark chocolate, roasty and smoky as well, with a moderate hop bitterness showing up in the middle to balance a bit but allowing the malt presence to take center stage. The sweet malt character brings itself to a head, surprisingly, toward the back, bringing in a finish that is sweet with cocoa and burnt caramel, though with a light dryness to even things out.

Delicious, but much more reminiscent of a porter than a Schwarzbier, as this brew possesses nowhere near the finesse of the finest examples of the style. Pleasing in itself no doubt, but whereas one expects Pils-like drinkability from a Schwarz, this might actually fit in better with an American-style Porter or even a Baltic Porter for that matter.

superdedooperboy, Jun 08, 2010
Photo of crossovert
3.43/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

16 oz bottle with twist off cap.

Pours into my mug a nice deep, dark brown with red hues when held to light. The head is frothy and creamy at is rises slightly over the lip. It is light tan and does not recede at all really for a long time.

The smell is of cocoa mostly and some standard lager scents: bread and light hops. It isn't the best smelling example of this style, but for what it is it works.

The flavor is good, with some nice roasty malts. It is heavy on the roasted chocolate flavor. It is a bit heavy for the style which is basically a dark colored beer that should drink like a pilsener. This one is more like a porter.

It is a good try for an american company, but there are a few German examples that I would rather have.

crossovert, Jun 02, 2010
Photo of klkatz
3.18/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

My trip to the local pick 6 had me choosing beers in cool bottles this time. Sprecher's bottle is short and stout with "Sprecher" embossed on the bottle... pretty cool.

Color pours a rich, coffee black... there's a hint of red in the pour...

Aroma is minimal... couldn't really pick up anything... very small hint of malt - only because I knew I was smelling for it.

The taste is average... but it is what you'd expect from a dark lager - it's a decent, slow drinking brew. Enjoyable, but nothing to write home about in my opinion.

I'd drink 'em if you got 'em... but wouldn't get 'em to drink 'em.

klkatz, May 27, 2010
Photo of turkob
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A; Tan head, leaves plenty of lace on the glass. A nice rich black color with a little red if you look real close.

S: Kind of small. I pick up a little dark chocolate and coffee, but not a whole lot going on.

T: Nice rich flavors. More dark chocolate with a hint of sweetness, but not much. Roasted but not burnt.

M: Good carbonation. Pretty full-bodied.

O: If it had a richer nose, it'd be exceptional. Still plenty of nice roasted flavor that's in balance with the beer. I like the touch of sweetness that makes this very drinkable.

turkob, May 20, 2010
Photo of djhowell
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A Very dark, nearly black body with a tan head that doesn't last long. Some pretty good lacing though.

S Lots of roasted malts, a little chocolate.

T Like it smells: lots of roasted malts, a touch of sweet chocolate. Finishes slightly bitter.

M Very balanced, medium bodied, carbonated perfectly.

D Good from start to finish and low enough ABV that I didn't hesitate to order another.

djhowell, May 07, 2010
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
Black Bavarian from Sprecher Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 769 ratings.