1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Black Bavarian - Sprecher Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Black BavarianBlack Bavarian

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

750 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 750
Reviews: 453
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 10.57%
Wants: 102
Gots: 32 | 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: 750 | Reviews: 453 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Gavage
4.47/5  rDev +9.8%

Apeparance: pours a dark black color with a 2" tan colored head that lasts for a long while.

Smell: chocolates, caramel, and malt sweetness are easy to detect by the nose well outside the glass.

Taste: soft roasted malt profile with some chocolate, caramel, molassess, and a hint of plum sweetness makes up most of the flavor profile. Some soft bitterness balances it out.

Mouthfeel: crisp at the start, smooth towards the finish. Very brief aftertaste. Medium bodied beer.

Drinkability: bold flavors make up a nicely drinkable beer. This bottle was consumed quite quickly and too bad there wasn't another one around.

Gavage, Jul 25, 2007
Photo of bluejacket74
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%

16 ounce bottle served in a pint glass, the beer pours dark brown with an inch and half frothy tan head. Head retention and lacing are both good. It smells very malty, like coffee, chocolate and molasses. It's very tasty, it tastes like chocolate, roasted malt, caramel, molasses, coffee and also a bit of a smoky taste. For the most part it's a sweet tasting beer, with some bitterness too. Mouthfeel is medium, with a good amount of carbonation. It's smooth and a bit creamy and slick with a dry finish. Drinkability is good, it goes down very easy and it's hard to stop drinking this. I think this is a good beer, I like it a lot and I'd definitely recommend it.

bluejacket74, Jul 15, 2007
Photo of
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%

12oz. bottle

Not quite opaque, clear at edges. Deep dark brown/mahogany when held up to light. Medium sized, light brown, creamy head. Not much lacing or legs.

Malt bomb - sweet overall. Chocolate & coffee. Roasted notes.

Initially, more bitter than sweet, stays that way, but nicely balanced overall. Roast & coffee notes. Grassy/herbal hops compliment roast & coffee. Touch of smoke.

Medium + body. Medium + carbonation. Not very dry.

Very nicely done. Enjoyed it tremendously!

, Jul 13, 2007
Photo of arizcards
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%

Received in late June as part of the MicroBeerClub shipment.

Beer pours a jet clack with an OK tan head. Nose is of roasted malts. Taste initially was a blast of those roasted malts. Later sips produce notes of chocolate and a bit of molasses. Mouthfeel is medium bodied as this glides very nicely across my palate. Drinkability is near perfect. This is one solid beer that I wish I could put into my rotation!

arizcards, Jul 12, 2007
Photo of PorterLambic
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%

Pours black (duh) with a dark tan, 2" high head. Great retention, tight little bubbles.
Smell is roasted malt, smoke, peat, vanilla, toffee.
Taste is roasted malts, peat, smoke, very light hops, vanilla and toffee.
A medium/full body with a nice smooth aftertaste that just slowly fades away. I could find nothing wrong with this beer at all. Extremely good, great even. Try two or three.

PorterLambic, Jun 22, 2007
Photo of russpowell
4.72/5  rDev +16%

Cheers to PackerFan for this one! Looks great in my Kostrizer glass! Zero head retention or lacing

Pours an effervescent-reddish mahogany with 2+ fingers of tan head.

S: Roasted grain & some coffee

T: Big roasted malt & some molasses & chicory up front. Rich chocolate shows up as this warms. Finishes roasty with a little caramel & more chocolate

MF: Medium bodied with vigorous carbonation & great balance

Drinks very easy, a pretty damn good schwartz, the equal of anything I had in Germany! Shame about the visual, might adjust this if I see better results next time

russpowell, Jun 20, 2007
Photo of shadow1961
3.7/5  rDev -9.1%

Sprecher Black Bavarian Style Lager pours a lovely stiff
brown head over a black brew. The nose is molasses with
a hint of mocha. Carbonation is really hard to guage- this
stuff is black as a stout. The flavor is coffee, molasses, and
a bit of bitter chocolate in the finish. The mouthfeel is light
and crisp- a dark beer that is perfectly refreshing in June.
It's like a bad ass iced coffee, with alcohol! Goddamn-
Sprecher has some master brewers working for them- I've
yet to taste a loser. Tasty.

shadow1961, Jun 08, 2007
Photo of happygnome
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%

My 100th review very tasty

a: dark black very difficult to see through half inch of head that dissapears fast leaving a good amount of lacing
s: roared malt aroma with slight hp presence
t: very very nice, roasted malts kinda like a nice porter. slight hop presence extremely enjoyable
m: medium bodied with average carbonation

overall deffinatly one of the better beers ive had

happygnome, Jun 07, 2007
Photo of tempest
4.28/5  rDev +5.2%

Got this as part of Sprecher's Beers of Old Bavaria - very tasty. It reminds me more of a baltic porter and Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout (when it's mellow). The aroma is a bit weak, and the taste is bland at first, but then it explodes with rich chocolate. There's a roasted edge to it that's more barley than coffee, but quite nice. There's a decent bitterness and I wouldn't call this a schwarzbier by taste, but it's quite good regardless. Worth finding.

tempest, Jun 05, 2007
Photo of botham
4.15/5  rDev +2%

pours black without much weight for its color. small, light brown head that dissipates quickly. good looking brew.

smell is roasty with hints of chocolate and caramel. embodies just what a good schwarzbier should be.

taste is little different from the smell. good balance of roastiness and chocolate. the alcohol is very well masked, only slightly coming through as the beer warms a bit.

mouthfeel is light for a beer this dark, true to a good schwarzbier. goes down very smooth with a good aftertaste of the same roastiness and a bit of caramel.

drinkability is good. i could see myself drinking a few of these in a night. it is not too filling, and leaves a good aftertaste behind.

overall this is a great schwarzbier. definitely one of Sprechers better brews. try it in a snifter, the scent of this one is wonderful!

botham, Jun 01, 2007
Photo of jasonjlewis
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Decent head and chocolate malt smell.

taste is of chocolate malting with a faint alcohol back and low hop presence. A little bit acidic.

Decent mouthfeel, but a little astringent. Not bad though. I like it.

This beer is a decent beer to make a session out of, but there are better schwarzbiers out there. I'm glad I tried it though. I would definetly order it at a bar.

jasonjlewis, May 26, 2007
Photo of rallison
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%

Poured from a very nice looking wax dipped 22oz bottle.

A: Dark black with a 1/2 finger tan head that just barely sticks around.

S: Lots and lots of roasted coffee with a nice bit of dark chocolate.

T: Mmmm, if you like coffee and chocolate, you'll like this. Flavor is extremely roasted and dry, with tasty espresso and chocolate. Almost porter-like in this way. Love the dry finish. A very tasty, rich schwarzbier.

M: Very rich and full for a schwarzbier, and I enjoy that. It works really well here.

D: Extremely drinkable - so long as you like the roasted beers, of course.

Highly recommended. One of my favorite schwarzbiers - and from Sprecher no less.

rallison, May 24, 2007
Photo of BeerBelcher
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%

I am not a huge fan of most of the beers in the Sprecher portfolio, but this is the one exception. I believe this beer is excellent, and a more substantial Schwarzbier than Kostritzer, which seems to ordinarily define this style. This beer is big, black, and highly roasty.

This beer pours an opaque black with an attractive amount of durable head. Aroma a light roasty. Flavor is very roasty (lots of "burned pizza crust") balanced with a bit of sourness. Mouthfeel is very dry and smooth. Unlike most of its Sprecher brothers and sisters, this is a very nice beer.

BeerBelcher, May 24, 2007
Photo of cdkrenz
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%

$3.00/pint
Scott Street Steak & Pub
Wausau, Wisconsin

Appearance - They're not kiddin when they say, "black". It comes dark as night with a light brown, frothy head about 3/4" thick. As the head melts away it leaves trail which I feel takes away from its luster.

Smell - It offers a subtle sweet scent I didn't expect. It has a hint of chocolate that's quite inviting.

Taste - Very good taste with chocolate and carmel flavors. The taste is not overwhealmingly deep which makes for a very satisfying finish. Nothing bitter about the Bavarian.

Mouthfeel - Its as smooth as any beer out there. No harsheness from carbonation and no bitter hoppyness to fight. Very easy to drink this schwarzbier.

~ Had I been staying at Scott Street for more than one beer I most certainly would have indulged in a few more drafts of this fine beer. I look forward to my next trip to Wausau so I can stop in and have another. If you get the chance don't pass on the this one.

cdkrenz, May 21, 2007
Photo of terrabyte
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Pours a dark black with a large dark-brown head that quickly dissipates into nothing.

Aroma is light, mostly dark malts. It doesn't start as much, and even starts to fade.

Flavor works best when warmed up, and quite enjoyable. A nice smokiness that almost burns in the aftertaste. Nice, black, husky earth flavors. There might be some chocolate here, but it's not sweet, and it's burnt as hell. I'm really digging it that way.

Mouthfeel is has an enjoyable creaminess. It literally allowed the flavors to tumble over your tongue. There is also some thickness here, and almost a nice soot-like buildup on the tongue.

Drinkability is very good. Might be a little heavy and earthy for some, but it's bread & butter here. Very enjoyable.

terrabyte, May 10, 2007
Photo of pacond
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%

16oz bottle with old school logo

Black but slightly red. This beer smells like goodness. Roasted, malt, a little coffee. It is one of my favorite beers right now. It is super drinkable and it can sit it my mouth before it goes down smooth and awesome! It has a bitter taste, but it is still sweet and rich. It has a burnt caramel aftertaste that leaves my lips smackin'. If you haven't tried this beer and you like porters, you've got to try this one.

pacond, May 04, 2007
Photo of jbsteiny
3.35/5  rDev -17.7%

I was excited to find this on tap, as I love schwarzbiers, but I wasn't that impressed by this. After reading everyone else's great reviews, I'm tempted to try it out of the bottle to see if maybe the keg wasn't great...

Poured near black with mahogany highlights. 1/2 an inch of light brown foam dissipated quickly. Smelled crazy malty -- roasted, sweet, even a little burnt -- but not much else in the nose. Some complexity came out in the taste -- the roasted malts diverged into the sweets and a prominent nuttiness (hazelnut?), before a bitter, slightly sour finish. I think it sounds better than it tasted because the nut flavor was too big for all of these other subtler things to come out. Pretty big mouthfeel, and it went down easy enough, but I didn't want another (as opposed to Kolstrizer, which has gotten lesser reviews, but I can down all night).

jbsteiny, May 04, 2007
Photo of emerge077
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%

Aroma of yeast esters, banana, and smoky malt all are noticeable upon opening. Halfway through, these aromas are a struggle to find.

Cascading deep tan foam slowly builds into a rich looking head of foam. Surface is convex and craggy. Slow crackling as the foam dissipates.

First taste is earthy roasted malt, with a dry, smoky, earthy hop character in the aftertaste. Very mild bitterness, a slight lactic feel. Slightly light mouthfeel, good for the style. This could be sipped or sessioned, it's pretty balanced.

If you're a big fan of Porters or lighter Stouts, try this one out...

emerge077, Apr 25, 2007
Photo of tonistruth
3.58/5  rDev -12%

A- black w/ stop light red hues, 1/4 tan head disappeared quickly

S- roasted, sweet cream, choclate

T- nicely balanced, stale burnt bitterness toward finish, sweet chocolate, caramel, roasted malts, dry coco at finish, coffee in after

M- smooth, creamy, carbonation tickle, dry finish, light body

D- complex and tasty (though that stale flavor felt off, and carbonation felt awkwardly flat at times), enjoyable and drinkable, worth a shot, i'd have another

tonistruth, Mar 30, 2007
Photo of Mdog
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%

Appearance: Black with a nice brown head. A little bit of red can be detected when held to light.

Smell: Slight roasted aroma.

Taste: Roasted coffee, chocolate, moderate bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, bitterness holds on for a while.

Drinkability: Definitely could have a couple of these in a sitting.

Another beer that reminds me of a porter. This one's a lager so points for originality. Reasonably priced and tasty to boot. Good stuff.

Mdog, Mar 24, 2007
Photo of mcallister
4/5  rDev -1.7%

The bottle does not lie, well maybe a little. Damn close to black but some deep ruby/brick highlights are noticeable. Head is small and tan and fades quickly. No lace.

Nice dark bready aromas, with a dark malt front, A bit of earthy quality that is loamy in ways. Very clean and refreshing aromas with a tad bit of toffee.

One solid lager. Bold and with good complexity and a round full mouth. Again very clean and refreshing. Moderate carbonation, and the ability too session for...well a good long session. Toffee from the nose is leaning more toward caramel, and a slight floral hop bitterness helps round out the finish.

mcallister, Mar 21, 2007
Photo of doubleshovels
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%

If you are going to drink only one Sprecher, then make it a Black Bavarian.
This beer pours picture perfect into a pokel. Looking into the glass, I only see myself reflected back in pure obsidian surroundings.
The only fault I can find in this brew is that its aroma is very faint. One only smells the whispers of molasses.
Once in the mouth, this Schwarzbier opens up full throttle. Running straight up to the roof of your mouth, exploding with malts, coffee, and sweet spice; all gently falling back on to the tongue, wrapping around the sides of your mouth, then drying out and disappearing leaving only a desire for another sip.

doubleshovels, Mar 10, 2007
Photo of evanackerman
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%

beer pours black with a beige head.

aroma is pruny malt

taste is a nice combination of roasty malt with a nice acidity to balance it out and just the right touch of hops.

mouthfeel is very very smooth.

drinkability is huge, great session beer.

overall, this is a very easy-drinking and enjoyable take on the style, i love the 16 oz bottle as well. this one is a staple for me.

evanackerman, Mar 10, 2007
Photo of AltBock
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Most breweries put most their beer in those little 12 oz. bottles, but not Sprecher. They put most of their beer in those more economic 16 oz. or pint bottles. Basically, more bang for your 12 oz. bottle buck. The label they put on the bottle is just a plain and simple black label with the Sprecher coat of arms smack dab in the front. The same coat of arms can be found of the cap as well. Information of the beer can be found on the black with gold trim neck label. There is no date anywhere on the label, but there is some kind of small coded bin or batch number where the neck meets the bell (lower half) of the bottle. Don't use a bottle opener because this one has a twist off cap.

Appearance: When poured into a standard American Bell's Brewery pint glass, the beer is a dark chocolate schwarz with ruby red highlights that can actually make this beer look like it's a very dark brownish color. The head of foam was a bit less than half an inch in height and was the color of a mocha. It quickly dissipated away, but left plenty of mocha rings and lace around the glass.

Smell: I wish I could say that it had plenty of aroma to it, but I can't. The aroma was too small, but still good with roasted malts, caramel, and roasted coffee beans. I would have loved to see (smell) those flavors enhanced just a bit. If you swirl the beer around, a fresh not too sweet aroma of dark fruits will come out from behind the minor aroma of roasted malts.

Taste: Light in aroma, but strong in flavor. This is where all of those light aromas will come out of it's hiding hole. The first taste I encountered was the strong taste of roasted and caramelized malts. Then after that comes a little bit more caramel, dark chocolate, roasted Arabica coffee beans, a touch of dark fruits, and all of this ended with a slight taste of herbal hops. I have to give it too Sprecher for making this light beer chock-full of really good roasted flavors.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy, not too dry, somewhere on the light and medium bodied border, and with a slight aftertaste of roasted malts and herbal hops. I would have to say that it's actually quite refreshing.

Drinkability: Do you enjoy refreshing, flavorful, light beers? If you do, then you should pick up or trade for this one. Would I drink it again? I sure wouldn't mid another one. If I'm ever in the mood for a light flavorful dark beer, then I'm going to definitely going to pick up a more bang for your buck 16 oz. pint bottle of Sprecher's Black Bavarian.

AltBock, Mar 07, 2007
Photo of SkinnyElvis
4.47/5  rDev +9.8%

Thanks to Vancer for this beer of my wants for the BA Anny Club. Pours dark black with a thin head. Nice smell of malts. Rich malt taste with a hint of sweetness. If I tasted this blind, I would have thought it was a well done porter. Extremely drinkable beer. I would drink this all of the time if I could get it.

Cheers.

SkinnyElvis, Mar 03, 2007
Black Bavarian from Sprecher Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 750 ratings.