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

This is an extraordinarily pleasant beer. It pours a midnight black with a very slight head that dissipates fairly quickly (a Sprecher trait perhaps?). The smell of this beer is just about right--a yeasty malt that hints at its flavor. This brew drinks very pleasantly. It has an almost sweet, malty flavor that is backed up by significant body. Unlike some of the other darker beers I enjoy, this beer actually lives up to the billing advertised by its appearance. This brew has a very nice body to it that lends it a significance. It is not at all watery and is chock full of flavor. The only downside to this heft, however, is that it tends to make this a beer best enjoyed in moderation, as it quickly gets a bit filling.

scherbs, Dec 10, 2006
Photo of beveritt
4.4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 16oz bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours with almost an inch of foamy tan head. This settles and leaves a nice ring and some islands of foam in the middle of the glass. The beer itself is almost opaque, a deep, deep mahogany. Evidence of constantly rising bubbles.

Smell: Slightly sweet malt with a hint of roastiness underneath.

Taste: Sweet and caramelly, with roasted barley flavor. Almost the flavor I expect from stouts.

Mouthfeel: A decent level of carbonation, enough to give some bite.

Drinkability: This is definitely a great beer all around. I wish I had more of this, because I could drink plenty. Unfortunately for me, my buddy only picked up two of these for me on his most recent Wisconsin trip.

beveritt, Nov 29, 2006
Photo of demcorhip
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance
A dark black lager poured with a 1/2 finger tan head. Some light comes through the edges, producing a ruby blackness. Finely and actively carbonated, does a decent job of maintaining the head. Substantial yet fine ring of lacing (remnants still present the following day from the top to the bottom of the glass).

Aroma
A rich and creamy aroma of nuts, caramel, espresso and chocolate. Hints of grassy and earthy spice.

Taste
Much like the nose, no big surprises here. Creamy nuts, hint of caramel, and mostly the big bitter flavour of dark chocolate and dark roast coffee. Ends in a mild grassy and earthy hop spice.

Mouthfeel
A good, creamy, medium bodied, balanced lager. Only complaint is the degree of bitterness imparted by the roasted barley or malts slightly detracts from the overall presentation.

Drinkability
A good, drinkable lager. Not only is this sessionable, but it would stand up to more than a few porters and stouts. Will be drinking this one again.

demcorhip, Nov 22, 2006
Photo of bennetj17
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark black appearance, with only the faintest light coming through. The head is tan in color and slim, settling to a swirly crust. The aroma is a bit faint, and I get mostly doughy bread with hints of coffee and caramel in the background.

Dry and only mildly sweet, the taste carries a nice roasted mix of chocolate and coffee malt. The finishing bitterness is subtle, but it lasts awhile and rounds out the flavor nicely. Amazing smoothness, moderately thick with light carbonation.

This beer is great because of well balanced flavors. The dry, toasty malt pairs well with the lingering soft bitterness. At less than 6% the result is a beer with excellent drinkability, highly sessionable in my opinion. Thanks to demcorhip for picking this one out for me....

bennetj17, Nov 05, 2006
Photo of bigdeuce
3.7/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Wow, is this a rich one. Full of chocolate and coffee malts, bursting with terrific high tailed, nutty flavor. Very robust and creamy, great mouthfeel as it is very full bodied. Pours a dark black with a nice pillowy head that leaves lacing all the way down the glass. Slight bitterness on the end, but initial booming maltiness. A top flight beer no doubt!

bigdeuce, Oct 21, 2006
Photo of brdc
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 16 fl oz bottle, this beer has a nice dark color, with a smell of caramel and chocolate that actually resembles a porter, except not as bitter. Smooth and creamy, good flavor to withstand a cold winter night without a large amount of alcohol - 5.8% ABV.

brdc, Oct 14, 2006
Photo of Westsidethreat
3.78/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clean yet pitch dark brew. Head is nice, dark beige and quite frothy really....leaving balanced webby structures all over the place.

S: Licorice, ripe dark berries, cinnamon, peat and toasted cereal

T: Begins with lightly roasted espresso with chocolatey walnut. Some creeping moments of dark grape at just a touch of sourness to the project. Molasses, light bittering hops and minor smoke all play a part. Finishes lightly carmely with some finesses roasted notes.

M: Medium body with an atractive mouthfeel. Good carbonation going on.

D: Nice balance and easy drinking. Very good but nothing stunning IMO.

Westsidethreat, Oct 10, 2006
Photo of cutthetail
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I first had this beer in 1997 and was my first introduction to the Sprecher Brewery. I enjoy its full body and malty flavor. Typically I like beers that are hoppier. The Black Bavarian offers a a nice balance without being too sweet. Very drinkable even for people who don't like dark beer.

cutthetail, Sep 30, 2006
Photo of sponberg
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice fat little 16 oz. bottle. Pours a deep garnet brown with an tannish head that recedes rather quickly to lace. Aroma of freshly ground roasted malts, almost espresso-like.

My family historically is from the Bad Kostritz area of Germany. There's a damned good chance there's Kostritzer Schwarzbier in my genetic code. So there's a predisposition towards this style. This one doesn't have quite the round Munichy maltiness of the Kostritzer, but it's close - starts with a clean maltiness, decoction sweet with a slightly roasty, cocoa powder like bite, then rounds out into a fine combo of dry cocoa, toffelike malt, roasted barley, hints of espresso... niiiice. I detect similarities to the late, lamented Heavyweight Perkuno's Hammer in this one. Finishes with a lingering roasty/cocoa powder vapor. Just chewy enough. Could drink a few of these before sinking into a recliner for the night.

Thanks to BA JeffKrenner for the bottle!

sponberg, Sep 29, 2006
Photo of EvilKeith
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just as the name suggests, this one poured into the glass nearly black in color. The head was camel in color, but fell rather quickly.

The smell was sweet malt, faint chololate and caramel notes and a light smokiness.

The taste was initially sweet and caramel-like with the middle becoming roasted and bitter. This one finished sweet with a pleasant dryness and mild bittering.

Moderately carbonated. Medium bodied. Crisp, yet somewhat creamy mouthfeel.

I really enjoyed the flavor of this one. I’ll have to find others of this style to try.

EvilKeith, Sep 09, 2006
Photo of Jredner
3.5/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

New in town. Aroma is sweet malts with a metallic twinge and extremely faint smokey and chocolate hints. Body is dark brown approaching full black and sports a rapidly diminishing tan head. Coffee, chocolate, dark roasted malts. Has an almost porter like flavor at first, but with a lighter mouthfeel. Slight hints of molasses through the middle with a bitter lingering finish. At times it has porter and dunkel flavors, but never truly gets all that schwarzbier-y. Still decently tasty.

Jredner, Aug 24, 2006
Photo of RoyalT
4.55/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance – This is gorgeous! The color is a very dark brown as it should be with a beautiful darkly tanned head. I just couldn’t stop looking at this beauty shop.

Smell – The darkly-roasted malts are subdued but rich and complimented well with some doughy yeast. The sweets are small but mate well to the roasty malts.

Taste – This opens up nicely at the taste. The malts are roasty and bold and the sweets are lightly sugared and manage to avoid that offensive tangy flavor that so many pretenders of the style seem to have.

Mouthfeel – This is in between light and medium-bodied and expertly balanced. This is traditional German balancing at its best.

Drinkability – This is one of the best Schwartzbiers that I’ve ever had, to include the six years that I lived in Germany.

RoyalT, Aug 18, 2006
Photo of ElGordo
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a rich black hue with light brown highlights underneath a formidable semi-creamy, semi-foamy tan head that subsides rather quickly. Aroma of dark roasted malt and a touch of a nutty character that's hard to pin down. Palate is again mostly roasted malt, with a touch of chocolatey lactose sweetness and some more nutty notes. Body is richer than I would expect for a schwarzbier, with a full-figured creaminess more characteristic of a porter. Very tasty and very drinkable; I'm pleasantly surprised.

ElGordo, Aug 13, 2006
Photo of shivtim
3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

An opaque black brew with tiny hints of brown, and a thin tan head that fades quickly. Looks nice! The nose is syrupy coffee and roasted chocolate. Taste is sweet plums up front, followed by strong coffee and hints of caramel. Coffee taste lingers. Mouthfeel and drinkability are both slightly above average. One of Sprecher's best brews.

shivtim, Aug 12, 2006
Photo of brentk56
4.43/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a nearly obsidian color with a surprisingly light beige head that displays remarkable persistance and leaves splashy lacing all over the glass

Smell: Black bread and caramel predominate, with subtle hints of chocolate, smoke and walnuts

Taste: Starts with a black bread and caramel flavor that, after the swallow, is complemented by coffee, dark chocolate and a touch of smoke

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Fantastic; if only other breweries would try brewing a beer in this style, lagers wouldn't have such a bad rap

brentk56, Jul 29, 2006
Photo of expatsteve
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Jet black, with low/medium viscosity. Good 1/2 inch head thins to filmy suds cover.

Aroma: Nice metallic lager nose - acidic, with some black pepper and a little espresso.

Taste: Mmmm...a solid, tasty, schwarzbier. Roasted espresso finish complements a smooth and understated front palate. Peppery, rich, a little acidic, but not at all sweet. Some occasional plums, but for the most part a fairly clean brew.

Mouthfeel: Rich without being too heavy. Nice clean malt finish.

Drinkability: Sessionable and pleasant. This was the perfect complement to the baseball game I was watching at the time, and definitely a beer I'll return to. Does a good job avoiding sweetness and remaining true to the style.

expatsteve, Jul 22, 2006
Photo of MuenchenerKindl
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 16 Oz bottle to a big glass mug. This fine brew is a dark brown with beautiful garnet hues. The light brown 2 finger head is big and thick but fades quickly leaving a very nice lace.

The smell is of a nicely toasted dark bread.

The taste is extremely good, A deep roasty taste of malts, bread, nuts and some dark fruit notes. This beer holds up well with warming as more flavors are release.

The mouthfeel very good better then most as this offering tends to be thicker then others. The body is full and the carbonation is good.

Drinkability is very high in fact about as good as this style can get. The beer is full and rich, taste and smooth. It is well balanced with enough edge satisfy lovers of both lighter and darker styles. Prost und Zum Wohl! MK

MuenchenerKindl, Jul 15, 2006
Photo of rhoadsrage
4.45/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a 2L Boot)

A- This beer has a black thick body with a creamy thick head that last and last. No sign of carbonation in this dark body.

S- This beer has a dark roasted malt smell that is smooth and light with an earthy note to the malt There is a faint cream note in the background.

T- This beer has a dark malt flavor that is not bitter and very drinkable. There is a faint black grain note and a chocolate malt flavor that gets stronger as it warms. There is a faint noble hop bitterness at the finish that offers a nice compliment to all the malt flavors. As it warms some hints of molasses and prunes come through but they are dry more that sweet notes.

M- The mouthfeel is medium-light with a creamy texture in the finish that is light also.

D- This beer has nice complexity but is smooth and light making it very easy to drink. The chocolate malt and cream offer a great flavor without being overpowering or sweet.

rhoadsrage, Jun 29, 2006
Photo of Brent
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black? Yes, black indeed - coal black. Had I been given this in a blind taste test, I'd bet a significant amount of money that this was a robust porter, along the lines of Rogue Mocha Porter. Dark roasted malt, without a hint of oxidation (of course, I do have the benefit of drinking the brew in its home state). Thick bitterness at the back of the tongue and a distinct coffee note. Picks up some sweetness at the finish, with a lingering bitterness that is still fairly clean. Whatever the style, this is a nicely done beer.

Brent, Jun 16, 2006
Photo of taez555
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I know it's written right on the label that's it's brewed in Wisconsin, but seriously... you really need to read the fine print or else you might think this is a German brew.

This beer poured a black body with a thin tan head.

Nose had some grain, milk chocolate, figs, caramel, brown sugar, mild burnt smoke and that classic earthy german yeast smell.

Taste was medium bodied and very creamy. Smooth from start to finish. A large carbonation brings out a rather bitter hoppiness in the back-end. Not really much in the way of hop taste other than some mild earth and dirt flavor. Very malty with a slight roasted burnt flavor but very muted and never distracting. Touches of dark fruits. Raisins, figs and even some prunes. A dark coffee, dark chocolate and espresso notes flow.

Really a very nice schwarzbier. A big bitterness and some dark malts. If you're in the mood for dark lagers this is a winner.

taez555, May 20, 2006
Photo of scruffwhor
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance- Pours a slowly rising to three finger head tha makes a slow recession to nothingness on the surface of my 16oz's of beer. Color is a deep, deep brown with some brownie/blood highlights.

Smell- Your are hit with complex malt aromas of smokey beech wood, toasty and roasty breads. With a lager like pop in the nostrils for the finish.

Taste- Strta out with mostly roost, but then you catch resurging waffs of smoke intermitant with a middle of toasty malts and a little burnt lager like grass flavors in the end.

Mouthfeel- The malts were awesome moving over my mouth. They mixed well with my garlic enveloped pizza. A little cloying...maybe. The malts I mean.

scruffwhor, May 19, 2006
Photo of objectivemonkey
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep black with just the slightest ruby tones around the edges, a thick long lasting tan head, bubbles here and there, lacing sticking to the glass, breaking up into strands on the way down.. quite nice. Aroma, as advertised, is caramel and chocolate malts, taking on faintly roasted and spiced tones. Taste is a nice slide from roasty malts to a dry, bitter, and almost hopped end. Notes of chocolate and espresso, molasses and burnt malt. Mouth is a not as thick as it looks, which is a little disappointing, but otherwise good, mostly smooth with a slight spring to keep things interesting. And while it isn't as thick as I'd hoped, it makes it a little easier to drink, and combined with the good look, smell, and taste, I'm thinking I'll stock this a little more often now. Definitely Sprechers best offering, a classic midwest brew.

objectivemonkey, Apr 30, 2006
Photo of ColoradoBobs
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Interesting-looking 16 ounce dark-brown bottle. Wish more American brewers would bottle their "normal" beers in this size! The label indicates an ABV of 6%.

Moderate pour produced an immensely huge tan head (mildly reverse-cascading!), over an opaque black-ruby body. As the head tightens and reduces, it gets rocky and chunky, and the lacing sticks like paint to the glass.

Smell is caramel, chocolate, burnt sugar, malty malted malt, with some fig and raisins. Hops? There's a SLIGHT peppery hint.

Taste is espresso, chocolate, burnt toast, biscuity malt, with a very dry bitter finish.

Mouthfeel is way more thin than the head and lacing made me think it would be.

Very quaffable.

Overall, a fascinating mix of Doppelbock smell and lager mouthfeel. Surprisingly good.

Cudos and thanks to shbobdb for hooking me up with this excellent midwestern brew. I had never even heard of it. Oh, the joys of a blind trade!

ColoradoBobs, Apr 23, 2006
Photo of Redrover
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16 oz brown bottle, I forgot to check for freshness dating.

The beer pours a nice black with brown highlights. A compact tan head and nice lacing add up to an attractive beer.

The nose is of slightly roasted malts, a bit of fruits and a touch of sugar. Also a bit earthy.

The taste is similar to the smell. I like how the toasted malts interact with the slightly bitter hops. The beer is sweet in the best way. Complex enough to keep you interested. The earthy taste lingers in the background and compliments the molasses taste which emerges late.

Nice brisk mouth helps off-set the beer’s slight trend towards a syrupy feel. Extremely easy drinker, a great beer to pair with hearty food or to enjoy on its own.

Well done Sprecher!

Redrover, Mar 20, 2006
Photo of alexgash
4.47/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark, oily brown with cola-amber edges that barely let the light pass. Light creamy tan head.

Charred, toasted, roasted malt/barley. Soda-like sweetness rises above somehow. Molasses, a little smoke, and coffee bitterness.

Balanced sweetness and toasted bitterness up front. Scorched brown sugar perhaps? Roasted, smoky bitterness pervades. Very nice. Light warming alcohol in the finish with lingering malt and roasted bitterness.

Medium plus body with an oily feel.

Muy bien!

alexgash, Mar 02, 2006
Black Bavarian from Sprecher Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 769 ratings.