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Black Bavarian - Sprecher Brewing Company

Black BavarianBlack Bavarian

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

682 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 682
Reviews: 441
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 10.57%


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)
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Ratings: 682 | Reviews: 441 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of RThomas436
RThomas436

Pennsylvania

3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured out of a bottle - pours dark but not too heavy.

Slight carmelized malty taste with a creamy head with minimal lacing

Rich and malty but was expecting more hops.

Light mouth and is balanced

Easy drinking not a palate killer with the heavy malts.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2011 19:19:49 | More by RThomas436
Photo of Urbancaver
Urbancaver

Ohio

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

Thanks Troy for this tick :)
Who would have thought this would be readily available in Florida.
Pours a dark dark brown. Almost black. Some light white head. Smells roasty but mostly non-aromatic. Tastes sweet and malty. Definitely a lager. Well carbonated. Good mouthfeel. Overall very refreshing.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2011 18:42:49 | More by Urbancaver
Photo of Viciousknishs
Viciousknishs

Virginia

4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- pours dark brown with a finger of tan head. Very good retention.

S- big bready malt with chocolate overtones. Smells like chocolate cake! Slight toasty aromas on the finish.

T- smooth milk chocolate up front with bready malts intertwined. Chocolate cake abounds! Finishes with a balancing hop character that gives it an amazing balance with a toasty quality on the finish.

MF- smooth creamy mouthfeel with a medium body and light carbonation.

D- incredibly drinkable

overall one of the best schwarzbiers I've had to date!

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2011 02:22:57 | More by Viciousknishs
Photo of falloutsnow
falloutsnow

Illinois

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

Bottle purchased from Whole Foods in Omaha, NE.
Poured into an Ayinger half liter glass.
No brewed on date.

Pours a huge, tan head made up of smaller sized bubbles giving it a dense, creamy effect. Foam takes minutes to fully dissipate, eventually leaving a 0.2cm cap atop the body. Leaves significant lacing after the decline, as well as with each swirl of beer. Body is an opaque, very dark brown to black color; totally impenetrable.

Aroma is of roasted and chocolate malts mixed with some nuttiness, particularly hazelnut coffee creamer. Slight nods towards sweetness and char, sweetness slightly fruity (grape or cherry preserves). I've noticed, though, that you need to let the beer warm to fully experience this component.

Taste is of malt sweetness tucked behind flavors of light caramelized malt, cafe mocha, and light chocolate milk. There is a faint bit of char and bitterness in the taste, which I would like to taste a bit more of, as this would balance out the sweetness even better. Aftertaste of residual mocha flavors alongside slight bitter char.

Body is medium, with carbonation strong enough to make itself present, but not overpowering. Wouldn't mind a slight bit more carbonation, probably would make nose and taste all the stronger, but pleasant and agreeable on the palate. Finish is surprisingly dry.

Of the few schwarzbiers I've had, this is an excellent one. I might actually prefer the Rogue version to this, but for price and availability, this is top.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2011 04:09:43 | More by falloutsnow
Photo of adam42381
adam42381

Florida

4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes at World of Beer - Fort Myers on 10/30/11.

Poured on draft into a shaker pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown with caramel highlights and a 1-2 finger creamy tan head. Nice lacing.

Smell: Sweet malt, lactose, chocolate and caramel. Smells delicious.

Taste: Chocolate with german malt and a touch of hops. Roasted malt and chocolate aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: Good drinkability. Goes down smooth.

Overall: Good beer overall. Unfortunately it didn't quite live up to the aroma, but it is definitely worth a try.

Serving type: on-tap

11-05-2011 00:29:58 | More by adam42381
Photo of mobius387
mobius387

Florida

3.83/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into a new belgium snifter

appearance: pours jet black with a small 1/2" brown bubbly head, gives it the look like its going to taste very carbonated

aroma: i dont get much here, light smells of chocolate and caramel.

palate: not as carbonated as it looks. medium bodied in mouth, flavor lasts for awhile along sides of mouth

taste: i get a roasty malt flavor with some sweet tones to it.

overall: a unique beer from a very good brewery. there is complex flavors, but its not a fill-you-up type of beer like some complex stouts. probably one of, if not the, best beers made in milwaukee. definitely a must try for those in the area

Serving type: bottle

10-28-2011 22:22:29 | More by mobius387
Photo of mariposafan
mariposafan

Wisconsin

3.8/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque chocolate brown with a half inch or so of head that persists rather nicely.

The aroma is slightly sweet and malty with a hint of good amount of roasted malts.

The flavor is very similar to the aroma - roasted malts with a bit of sweetness. A bit too much roasty bitterness for me but it's not too bad.

The mouthfeel is pleasant - medium bodied and fairly creamy.

Overall it's a nice beer, the only example I've tried of the style.

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2011 20:42:11 | More by mariposafan
Photo of weizenbob
weizenbob

Michigan

4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2011 03:17:02 | More by weizenbob
Photo of JohnnyChicago
JohnnyChicago

Illinois

3.3/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from an oddly shaped bottle into a weiss glass.

A: Pours a dark chocolate brown with an off-white head.

S: Not too much in the nose. There is just the hint of dark malts and caramal with a slight kiss of hops.

T: Pretty weak and thin. The roast from the nose is absent and the hops have fallen off.

D: Not particularly interesting, but it is well-balanced and hides its booze heat.

Overall: I'm not sure I understand the love for this brew. It tastes pretty pedestrian to me. Just a whole lot of nothing. Unoffensive, but not something I'll seek out again.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2011 12:56:46 | More by JohnnyChicago
Photo of Haybeerman
Haybeerman

Colorado

4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Deep brown/black color; mahogany highlights in the edges up to the light. Poured a 2 finger light brown head with good retention to an even skim. Laced in running patches.

S: Toasted malts; dark bread and chocolate. Faint dark-colored fruits and earthy hay.

T: Big malt flavor very consistent with the nose. A bit of a sour note gives way to a carbonation bite. Then transitions quickly to a building bitter finish with coffee notes in the background. Very interesting beer.

M: Medium body. Ample carbonation; very active on the palate ahead of the finish. Very nice balancing complement.

O: Remarkable balanced for big malt bomb. Lots of flavor, not too sweet, sharply bitter in the finish.

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2011 19:10:45 | More by Haybeerman
Photo of anglagard1
anglagard1

Wisconsin

3.68/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pilsner glass per Beer Advocate directions.
Still getting used to the style, as it looks and smells like a porter or stout. The smell especially reminds me of a quality porter, with rich cocoa/coffee aroma, with perhaps a slight medicinal/bandaid to it. It is in the taste and mouthfeel that I recognize this is a lager; there is nothing that especially makes me want to keep this on the tongue, nor am I reluctant to drink it in gulps. It's a good beer but I'd be hard pressed to find the right occassion for it. Perhaps if you're in the mood for a dark beer on a warm summer night.

Serving type: bottle

09-23-2011 02:28:10 | More by anglagard1
Photo of yankeej13
yankeej13

Florida

3.4/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I enjoyed their scottish ale so I wanted to pick up more stuff from Sprecher.

A- Dark as night with a nice mild lace of a chocolate color foam. Mild amount of carbonation.

S- Has a nice sweet smell. Decently bold smell get hints of chocolate or maybe a coffee malts.

T- Was a little disappointed with the taste not as robust as I thought it would be. A nice mild palette. Has a really nice finish to it, I got more of a bold finish than right from the start.

M- Good drinkability, really smooth good flavor at theh finish.

Overall- I did enjoy it alot, was not disappointed overall and would try again to see if it grows on me even more. Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

09-12-2011 01:19:21 | More by yankeej13
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84

California

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

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a 1 inch foamy tan head that settles to a film on the top of the beer. Small streaks of lace dot the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, molasses, and burnt sugar aromas. Taste is of dark roasted malt, campfire smoke, and some molasses flavors. A very mild roasty bitterness quickly fades after each sip. A good level of carbonation makes for a crisp and smooth mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good schwarzbier with some nice roasty qualities. I am glad I picked one of these up.

Serving type: bottle

09-03-2011 23:24:10 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of Stinkypuss
Stinkypuss

Pennsylvania

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

Sprecher : Black Bavarian

Pours a nice dark blackish brown color, light brown head forms over an inch. Aroma of roasted malts, bready, and alittle floral. In the taste, classic schwarzbier, black malts, dusty cocoa, and a moderate level of bitterness. Very nice roasted malt flavor, mimicking porter and coffee flavors. Easy drinking, dark, roasted brew. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a nice richness. Overall, this is an impressive schwarzbier. Sprecher does German styles better than most.

Serving type: bottle

08-29-2011 04:17:34 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of chinchill
chinchill

South Carolina

4.14/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

16 oz bottle served in a pint glass.

A - Dark black with ruby/mahogany highlights only seen when back-lit. Has a thick tan head that soon settles to a lasting ring and partial coat.

S - Dark baked bread and roasted malts with some earthiness and hints of dark fruits and chocolate.

T - Roasted malts dominate in a flavor that could almost be a porter. Not only considerably less sweet than a typical Schwarzbier, but more bitter than sweet. The bitterness is still mild even though there's a clear coffee note in the finish. In one aged bottle, there was an unusual but not particularly objectionable hint of red wine. Both finish and aftertaste provide rich and dark-roasted grain flavor.

M - very smooth and creamy, with a semi-dry finish and a medium-full body. Very good carbonation level.

O - Overall, this is an exceptional black beer that is notably less sweet a more hoppy than a classic Schwarzbier. Well crafted with plenty of rich roasted malt flavor. Be sure to let this warm up a bit if coming from standard refrigeration.

{some revision done with tastings on May 2012 & Feb. 2013}

Serving type: bottle

08-18-2011 23:06:14 | More by chinchill
Photo of Pintofbrown
Pintofbrown

Iowa

3.6/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: It is definitely black. The malts used give it a great opaque body with ruby highlights. I am turned off that this thing has NO head whatsoever. Just a light halo of film that has built around the sides of the glass, that is leaving no foam traces. Where is my two finger cap Sprecher? Is the beer bad? I hope not.

Smell: There isn’t really a whole lot on the nose either. I think Guinness original stout had more of a profile than this. I caught just the slightest bit of chocolate and caramel malts in there. But really not even that. Okay, a little roasted and bready malt there too. Not impressive however.

Taste: That’s pretty interesting, a good pretty interesting! You start with a surprising hoppy bitterness. Surprising because you couldn’t get that from the nose in a million tries (yeah yeah olfactory fatigue I get it, but you understand what I mean right?). Then it launches fast and furious into roasted caramel malts and sour coffee notes. It’s a nice transition.

Finally, it finishes with an almost pale ale wheat flavor. The light hops make a comeback in the swallow as well. It’s almost like drinking a nice stout and it tries to morph into a pale ale as it passes through. If nothing else, the flavor profile is doing what Sprecher said it is supposed to, and it’s really good.

Mouth feel: The hops and the bitterness are contributing to a semi-dry and light mouth feel. This is very strange to me, since I am thinking I am drinking a heftier stout that is supposed to have a bigger mouth feel.

It’s not necessarily off putting, because it fits with the lighter hops thrown in. However, it borders precariously close to being too light and watery. It doesn’t quite sink to that though.

Overall: I am really torn by the experience of this beer. It’s all there when you take a drink of the Black Bavarian (sounds like a silver age comic’s villain doesn’t it?). However, the nose and mouth feel don’t do it any justice at all.

Give me that impenetrable foam head you see on porters and stouts. Let me smell the malts when I pop the cap. Heck, there was probably even room to let those pale ale malts shine through the dark depths of the caramel and coffee malts all the brighter. As it is though it is a good beer, that I feel Sprecher could make a great one.

They leave me feeling like they can get the flavor profile they want and deliver, now just follow through on the whole experience and this could be a “HOLY SMOKES THAT’S SOME GOOD BEER!” easily.

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2011 16:12:24 | More by Pintofbrown
Photo of Lemke10
Lemke10

Wisconsin

4.28/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I bought a single bottle of this from Woodman's in Janesville, WI for $1.79 in early 2011.

Pours a very dark brown/black color with a long lasting head of light brown foam. Scent is interesting with a mixture of malts with hints of cocoa and coffee. Taste is very robust with roasted and carmel malts, little bit of cocoa, and a little bit of a nutty aftertaste. Has a very nice texture and the taste lasts well after the swallow. Erupts the taste buds very nicely. Makes for a very good slowing drinking beer as it's not something you should consider chugging down.

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2011 05:28:11 | More by Lemke10
Photo of mactrail
mactrail

California

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

Very dark brown with a glint of red. Roasted malt is the big flavor. Dark, almost burned caramel, but no hint of the sourish charcoal flavors of some stouts. Slightly sweet but well balanced with a touch of hops. Toasty aftertaste. Large head in the glass with nice carbonation in the mouthfeel. Light body with lots of flavor.

Good example of the style. Really drinkable and a great beer if you're in the mood for a dark one.

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2011 04:30:12 | More by mactrail
Photo of steveh
steveh

Illinois

3.78/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Probably one of the first micro-brewed beers I ever tried, back around 1985. Never reviewed it, had a taste for it, here goes.

A -- Deep, dark black (coincidence?) with ruby highlights only seen with a flashlight, and a thick head that starts with some darker highlights as poured, but settles on tan.

S -- Bready and mildly roasted malts, some light, clay-like earthiness.

T -- Roasted malts right up front. Very Stout/Porter-like in its flavor, but none of the top-fermented esters. Coffee notes and that earthy character, but no sweetness from the malt. All very roasty-bitter with a touch of crisp hop bitterness in the finish and some lightly sweet dark fruit and licorice in the aftertaste.

M -- Smooth, on the verge of syrupy, mouthfeel and a medium to light-heavy body.

O -- Overall, this is a very pleasant dark beer if you're looking for that typical roasted malt hit. But I wish there was just a slight bit more sweetness and smoothness you get from a classic Schwarzbier.

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2011 18:25:29 | More by steveh
Photo of Pipmeister
Pipmeister

California

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

Pours a deep dark brown almost black with a small amount of light getting through. It has a 2-3 finger tan head that stays and leaves some decent lacing.
The smell. You get roastiness right off the bat with some dark followed up with a slight caramel. Good smelling brew.
The taste is roastiness and chocolate, it has some caramel and nuttiness to it.
Your mind tricks you A's you taste it because your thinking this is going to be thick based on the flavors. But because it is a lager it has a surprising lightness and creaminess to it.
Overall this is a really good beer that has a high drinkability, good stuff.

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2011 00:43:35 | More by Pipmeister
Photo of PeprSprYoFace
PeprSprYoFace

California

3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a shaker pint. Pours a deep black. Thinner consistency than other stout type beers. Thin tan head. Some lacing.

Aroma is nice and roasty. Bit of caramel but with that dry lager aroma which is unique to this beer.

Taste is similar. Mostly roasty but slight bit of caramel. Bit of lager taste. Bitter roast left on your tongue in the finish.

Mouthfeel is a little thin for my taste but not bad. Nice carb.

Overall a decent beer. Would have it again for sure.

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2011 00:36:40 | More by PeprSprYoFace
Photo of DabblinWiscCraft
DabblinWiscCraft

Wisconsin

4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A coffee bean black color in the glass, with a very thin head that dissipates quickly but has decent cling. The nose presents toasted malt at the fore with subtle vinegar, mild nuttiness, and slight molasses, as well. I was a little disappointed that the smell wasn't stronger. It has a very prominent coffee flavor with hints of cocoa and lots of toasted malts. If I didn't know any better, I might've thought this was the latest Starbucks beverage. There is some sourness and acidity to the close that actually serves to balance the flavor quite nicely. A mid- to full-bodied mouthfeel with a slight syrup quality, but it does finish very clean.

A very nice dark German lager, with great toasted malt and coffee notes. Goes down very easy and does not overwhelm, despite its pronounced malt flavor and complexity. Definitely worth repeated pours.

Serving type: on-tap

07-09-2011 08:49:13 | More by DabblinWiscCraft
Photo of matjack85
matjack85

Illinois

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

I found this single 16oz brown bottle at the Binny's store in Plainfield, IL for $2.19. A little bit of information about the beer can be found on the neck label, but as far as any freshness date goes, there is only an undecipherable bunch of numbers and letters etched into the glass under the neck label, so no telling how fresh this bottle is unless you can understand that code.

The beer poured out black, as you would expect from a schwarzbier, but this one gave off purple highlights when held to the light. Nice 1½-finger creamy tan head with good retention and a tremendous amount of lacing. A good looking black beer.

Big burnt roasted malt smell along with some caramel and a touch of coffee.

Lots of flavor to this one. Burnt roasted malt leads the way, followed by some coffee flavor, a touch of caramel, and even some bittersweet dark chocolate. Enough mild hop presence to keep it from being too sweet, in fact it leans more to the dry side with even a bit of puckering tartness. A damn good mix.

Creamy, but not heavy. The beer stays on the light to medium side of things with just a medium amount of carbonation. I found the mouthfeel to be absolutely perfect.

Drinkability is great with absolutely no trace of alcohol at all. By far the best Sprecher product I've tasted yet.

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2011 05:47:14 | More by matjack85
Photo of Knapp85
Knapp85

Pennsylvania

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

Finally a beer from Sprecher that actually impressed me. This beer poured out as a reay nice deep brown color. The head lasts for just about entire time you're drinking the beer. It doesn't leave a lot of lacing but it still survived for a while. The aroma is a really nicely roasted smell was minor hints or chocolate. There wasn't too much of a grassy lager or pilsner aroma which very good. The taste of the beer had a really nice flavor to it. Malty and roasted leaving a dry mouthfeel. Overall I'm very glad to say that I found a brew the I like from Sprecher, finally.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2011 03:23:30 | More by Knapp85
Photo of Amalak
Amalak

New York

4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had out of a 12 ounce bottle.
a. Black, all black. Solid head and lace.
s. Very nice malt and chocolate.
t. Very intense licorice taste. Malty. A chocolate aftertaste.
M. Smooth taste with a bit of a tart aftertaste.
o. It's a very good stout. Smooth, not too tart, but good flavor.

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2011 00:03:29 | More by Amalak
Black Bavarian from Sprecher Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 682 ratings.