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

737 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 737
Reviews: 452
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 10.57%
Wants: 100
Gots: 31 | 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: 737 | Reviews: 452 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Hhawk06
Hhawk06

Massachusetts

4.33/5  rDev +6.4%

16 oz. bottle

It poured charcoal black with a quality tan beady head. I got a nice smoke and chocolate smell. The mouthfeel is big, full, and very smooth. Excellent. There is a definitely a chocolate overtone to the taste. Great balance within though. Certainly some carmelized malts involved as well. It finishes quenching and toasty. At the very moment you think its fading to oblivion, you are treated to the slightest roasty bitterness. Amazing how it lingers. Really a treasure, I'm very impressed with Sprecher's offerings.

02-29-2004 02:32:50 | More by Hhawk06
Photo of DrunkMcDermott
DrunkMcDermott

Illinois

3.95/5  rDev -2.9%

Among the pale pilseners at the downtown Chicago Kristkindl market is a keg of pale pilsener's evil twin. Pours with a hearty brown head over a body that looks solid black in a plastic cup, then shows brown highlights as I drink it. Kind of a black bread smell that’s not as prominent as a stout. Definite dark roast malts against a German hop profile. Leaves a taste at the back of the palate where bitterness and astingency are detected. Roast coffee taste, perhaps a note of pear, subdued by its "clean" lager finish. Brings up a bit of a burnt toast taste toward the end that may not be to everyone's liking, but I like its complexity.

12-26-2003 15:45:51 | More by DrunkMcDermott
Photo of marcobrau
marcobrau

Illinois

4.03/5  rDev -1%

Rocky tan head. Very dark brown with ruby highlights. Coffee aroma. The taste is of dark chocolate and coffee flavors tinged with notes of cocoa. Hops surface in the middle. Finish is a mix of bitter hops and coffee flavors. The mouthfeel is full, at least enough to slow you down, and not quaff this brew.

Overall impression is that this beer drinks pretty much like a stout. It has a bit of the creaminess of a Schwarzbier, but none of the sweetness, with the strength of a bock and because of this I've rated this beer a little lower. I've had some difficulty finding fresh Sprecher beers for awhile, but I'm happy to report this is no longer the case.

12-23-2003 03:42:49 | More by marcobrau
Photo of BeerBuilder
BeerBuilder

Minnesota

3.9/5  rDev -4.2%

Pours black with a light brown head. The aroma is of sweet caramel malts and a touch of roastiness. The flavor is of sweet malts and a bit of roasted malts as well. It has a very light hop flavor, and bitterness in minimal. It is a light-medium bodied brew, that is very smooth and easy drinking. An enjoyable brew that I would drink again.

Sampled 9/21/03

11-20-2003 21:56:20 | More by BeerBuilder
Photo of feloniousmonk
feloniousmonk

Minnesota

4.4/5  rDev +8.1%

Appearance: dark brown, inching toward black color, coppery-red at foot of glass, head is a triumph, all puffy, creamy, cocoa-tan in color.
Aroma: deep and darkly fruity, warm and toasty,yet creamy, soft, yet earthy, definite nut character, plus cocoa, and and a candyish feel, making it feel like a slightly carbonated, sweet mocha latte.
Taste: warm mouthfeel, ample texture, giving, full of character, dark, yes, but a most companionable brew, slinks and sashays through the mouth, flirting with all the senses. Chocolate dabbles in, nuts flitter around like a social butterfly at play in the senses, and oh, so smooth. Resilient finish, stays solidly and happily on the palate. Wonderfully thick & tasty texture.
What I love about this beer is that you very easily forget that you're actually drinking a lager, for it is so full-bodied and flavorful, you'd think you had a brown ale or a porter in your hands. There's only the slightest bitterness, but the flavor looms so huge...sassafras? sasparilla? anise? molasses?...that it ranks high on drinkability.
This has got to be the best schwarzbier I've ever had, and I'd be only too happy to try any challengers. If they can taste better than this, bring 'em on!!

11-10-2003 00:36:04 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of yankeeheel
yankeeheel

Maine

3.53/5  rDev -13.3%

Pours a very dark ruby/black with a thin tan head. Leaves some neat foam swirlies in the beer. Smells of straight dark-burnt hops.

The taste starts very stout like with a big rush of dark malt but quickly turns bitter and burnt, but without a lot of hop bitterness. Scant taste of licorice at the end. A very interesting brew. My first schwarzbier

11-06-2003 00:27:51 | More by yankeeheel
Photo of JohnnyDuvel
JohnnyDuvel

Florida

3.95/5  rDev -2.9%

This is better than I remember Kostrizter(sp.) being, certainly seems to have more body and bitterness. Overall, acts like a thin porter. Real good, but not very substantial. Definitely a quality brew, but this style has yet to totally impress me, as it is so thin. Chocolate and coffee notes (although subtle), very good balance overall. Real cool bottle, though. Thanks for the sample, Monk.

10-29-2003 05:02:10 | More by JohnnyDuvel
Photo of moulefrite
moulefrite

Massachusetts

4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Black as night with a creamy tan head that fades out quickly while leaving ample, well placed and delicate lacing. Sweet chocolate malts rise up from the glass. In the mouth a sheer delight. Lovely, intense bitter chocolate and a touch of malted milk, followed by creamy mocha. Medium to full bodied yet balanced just right-never over assertive in a sweet cloying way as some Sprecher brews have come off to me. This may be the first Sprecher product that I've wanted to re-visit other than the sodas which are first rate.

10-22-2003 01:21:47 | More by moulefrite
Photo of ManekiNeko
ManekiNeko

Virginia

4.45/5  rDev +9.3%

16 oz. bottle served chilled in a pint glass.

Appearance: Dark black color with crimson highlights. Nice frothy brown head that stuck around in some form or another as the glass was emptied. Wee bits of lacing were left for short periods of time.

Smell: Bittersweet dark chocolate malt and molasses aromas are quite strong, some coffee notes. Cain't wait to take a sip.

Taste: The aroma delivers on its promise. Bittersweet - with emphasis on bitter - chocolate malt flavors dominate the palate. Faint bittering hops on the finish: just enough to support the malts without getting too strong.

Mouthfeel: Not as heavy as I was expecting, not that I'm complaining... Pretty much medium bodied. Somewhere between an IPA and a porter in heaviness, basically.

Drinkability: Rather potable. This would definitely be one to have lying around were it available in my neighborhood. One of the better bottles from a recent trade. Thanks to feloniousmonk for the opportunity to sample a world class beer.

10-13-2003 00:04:45 | More by ManekiNeko
Photo of marburg
marburg

Michigan

3.83/5  rDev -5.9%

Clear black brew that sparkles with hints of brown and red in the light. Pretty thick black foam tops it off. Aromas of burnt grains. Fairly malty and sweet up front. Hops are lightly herbal with a little bit of a kick. Some very faint chocolate or sugar hints throughout. I think a good schwarzbier packs a lot of flavor and a deep color in a medium-bodied package, and this does that well. Not a standout brew in general, but very drinkable and pretty damn good.

09-30-2003 17:56:15 | More by marburg
Photo of bditty187
bditty187

Nebraska

3.7/5  rDev -9.1%

Black with ruddy highlights, tiny tan head that collapses to a collar quickly, no lace was produced. Modestly roasted malts, coffee in the nose… reserved potency. Yeah, that’s roasty! Superb palate, raw, roasty malts, bitter, chalky, coffee, simple but constructed well. Dry finish. Tasty, yes, but uninspiring. Medium body. Clean finish. Quick. Sticky aftertaste, a little sweet… this would limit how many I’d drink in a setting. I can’t say this one knocked my socks off; it is a good Schwarzbier but it just didn’t jive with me.

Thanks tavernjef!

09-26-2003 19:05:58 | More by bditty187
Photo of beerguy101
beerguy101

California

3.8/5  rDev -6.6%

Dark black color. Medium head. Aroma is roasted coffee. Medium bodied. Deeply roasted malts. Chocolate is the predominate flavor, but there is a touch of coffee and nuts. Somewhat earthy tones as well. Slightly sweet. Somewhat porter like. Nice beer. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean. Aftertaste is slightly sweet.

09-24-2003 03:19:59 | More by beerguy101
Photo of AtLagerHeads
AtLagerHeads

Ohio

4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

A very good looking beer that follows through in flavor. This is a beautiful dark mahogany beer that shows translucent and has red hues when held to light. A decent, but vanishing tan head leaves good lace from the residual layer.

The aroma is of roasted coffee and chocolate along with a bit of a nut sense. This is followed in the flavor where nice complexity is noted. As with other Sprecher beers an initial sense of sweetness is followed by an amazing dryness in the finish. It's as if the taste evaporates as it fades from the tongue. A lovely finish to a very nice beer that has decent feel and good drinkability.

09-17-2003 12:22:56 | More by AtLagerHeads
Photo of daledeee
daledeee

Iowa

4/5  rDev -1.7%

This is a nice American Schwartz-type beer. Pours a nice dark color with a decent head.

Smells of roasted malt coffee and chocolate. The taste follows right along. Decent carbonation and malt up front. Malt and chocolate and coffee in the taste. Good mouthfeel. I don't like drinking this too cold. It actually tastes better as it rests in the glass.

09-05-2003 02:56:19 | More by daledeee
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
TheLongBeachBum

California

4.35/5  rDev +6.9%

Presentation: A very distinctive squat, short necked, yet larger than normal brown glass bottle. The label has a Teutonic looking Coat of Arms and the word Sprecher in Germanic font. This is repeated in the bulge of the neck, where the word ‘Sprecher’ in raised lettering is molded into the bottle at two locations. A twist crown cap is not unusual, but the 16 fluid ounce, equal to 1 US Pint (a.k.a. One UK “Jessie” Pint, or a 20% short measure) is not. Packaged Date is 06/18/03.

Appearance: As dark and enticing as an Amazon beauty. A deep mahogany in color which, when backlit, reveals a clear lucid body which has a stunningly lovely auburn hue. A smooth tan brown head sits atop the beer. A fantastic looker. If it had brown eyes, and long black hair, I’d marry it. Massive inherent carbonation is revealed when the glass is tipped & swirled.

Nose: Lightly roasted malts dominate the aromas with a hint of ground dark chocolate and walnuts.

Taste: A collection of rather simple tastes, that does not really alter throughout the experience, but they are somehow wielded into a very attractive ‘complete’ offering. Starts with a lightly roasted malt character, middles with some dark chocolates and coffee. Finishes with an astringent hop-bitterness mixed with a light nutty aspect. Simple, but highly effective, and a damn fine beer.

Mouthfeel: Above average, it probably feels better than it actually is. Maybe it has fooled me here – whatever? It works well. The inherent carbonation obviously assists the mouthfeel.

Drinkability: I dearly wish I had some more bottles of this.

Overall: Another Sprecher beer that I really enjoyed. They seem to be able to make beers that are comprised of a handful of characteristic flavors, simple in nature, and blend them in a way that is highly refined. An accomplished offering.

A “Vielen Dank” to BigHuge for this American-Germanic Schwarz-Lager.

08-31-2003 05:38:59 | More by TheLongBeachBum
Photo of Gusler
Gusler

Arizona

4/5  rDev -1.7%

The color a deep incarnadine with a resplendent head that is a winsome light tan, the texture that of whipped cream and as it disintegrates a glutinous sheet of lace welds itself to the glass. Nose is deeply malt with hints of toasted grain, somewhat sweet a real treat to the senses. The start is malt-laden and ambrosial with the top intermediate in its feel to the palate. Finish is prickly in its acidity, the hops purposeful in their spiciness, quite dry and lingering aftertaste. A real treat for me as its been years since I’ve had a beer from this magnificent brewery, my thanks go to tavernjef for this bottle “gracias tanto mi amigo”.

08-24-2003 22:56:19 | More by Gusler
Photo of granger10
granger10

Wisconsin

3.98/5  rDev -2.2%

This one poured a dark brown tansparent color with a tan head that lasted only a few seconds. Aroma was bold of roasty malts almost too harsh for my nose. Taste showed me that roatiness again. Very roasted. Molasses was dominant along with caramel as a secondary malt flavor. Not any hop bitterness but this beer shouldn't have any. There was a chalky yeasty finish that wasn't nice at first but improved as I drank it. This wasn't good at first drink but by the end I wanted another immediately!

08-11-2003 19:54:46 | More by granger10
Photo of tavernjef
tavernjef

Minnesota

4.47/5  rDev +9.8%

Color pours brown out of the stubbie brown pint bottle, settles nearly black, has a definate deep brown tone up to the light with ruby highlights. An inch high tan head of loose bubbly spongyness grew fast but faded nearly just as fast to a thin ring and minimal spotty lace.

Nose is roasty malts, slightly tangy of dark fruits and molasses with a touch of chocolate and light mustyness.

Has a complex mix of malts with alot of roastyness, has a bit of caramel and molasses, a very light touch of chocolate and very mild bitterness, quite smooth the whole way through. Some slight dark fruity tangyness and a smokey burntness pokes through close to the finish. Very subtle and well layered in its complexity.

Feel is solid medium body smoothness picks up some fullness in the middle and finishes smooth, lightly crisp with a mellow tangy smokey lingering dryness. An incredibly drinkable, yummy showing of the style; well rounded and smooth.

08-09-2003 01:11:54 | More by tavernjef
Photo of jcalabre
jcalabre

California

4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

It poured into the glass a very dark brown color w/ some reddish bricking. It was translucent. The head was a tightly bubbled tan color that started out quite large and diminished slowly. The nose had some heavy, sweet, malty tones in it. The flavor has a touchy of smokiness along w/ some hoppy notes. Very enjoyable, very drinkable.

06-13-2003 17:34:23 | More by jcalabre
Photo of jeffboo
jeffboo

Minnesota

4.4/5  rDev +8.1%

This is a classic Milwaukee microbrew when there were not that many to choose from.I've enjoyed this beer since the late 1980's and this fresh sample brought back many memories.

A beautiful black color with red highlights, it's topped off with a creamy tan head that hangs for a while. Malt, this style features malt and it begins with the aroma, rich malt,slightly smokey, and a hint of earthy hops. The complex malt flavor is chewy caramel, with a nutty,smokey,toasty finish to dry off the malt and keep the beer close to my lips.It has a nice medium body and a very creamy texture with maybe a hint of roast malt thrown in to complete the malt maze. A classic rare style, a little larger than a dunkel but very inviting as a session brew. Yum!

04-24-2003 12:59:19 | More by jeffboo
Photo of oberon
oberon

North Carolina

4.22/5  rDev +3.7%

One of the breweries I miss most not living in the midwest anymore,all of Sprcher beers I have had I really enjoyed.This one is one of the few I like in this style,and I really like it.Black with some ruby highlights with great creamy head,very malty fruity aroma very appetizing.Sweet but not overly sweet tasting with roasted malt the biggest flavor component,but also chocolata and a very appetizing caramel background.For how rich it looks its very easy to drink.Loved it and will be enjoying again soon.

03-23-2003 07:46:13 | More by oberon
Photo of zerk
zerk

California

3.9/5  rDev -4.2%

Pours a deep brown with hints of ruby and a thin tan head. Aroma is full of molasses, caramel, and some cocoa. Flavor is not terribly complex, but very nicely blended, with sweet caramel malt upfront, and some chocolate and coffee in the finish... has just enough spicy hops to show through as well. Has a medium to full body, and a rough mouthfeel.

This is a very nice American Schwarzbier... nice to see someone doing such a good job with this all-to-neglected style.

03-10-2003 19:32:25 | More by zerk
Photo of jreitman
jreitman

California

4.18/5  rDev +2.7%

Rich dark cherry in color with a rather good sized dark brown head. Roasted malts dominate the nose. Flavors range from a subtle chocolate to a moderate roastedness. Observed a light-moderate nuttiness that seemed to fade as it warmed. Smokey flavors underscore everything and hurt the drinkability for me. A fine brew that I wouldn't have had the opportunity to try if it weren't for cokes.

02-14-2003 16:23:45 | More by jreitman
Photo of Sixpack595
Sixpack595

Michigan

4.18/5  rDev +2.7%

Wow, I can't wait to get some more! Head is solid, but thin and dissipates fairly quickly. Color is a deep red appearing black untill held up to the lights. Very drinkable, with strong chocolate and coffee flavors. New to this style of beer, and getting over a head cold...can't wait to see what else is hiding in that bottle.

12-17-2002 23:59:29 | More by Sixpack595
Photo of Winter
Winter

Wisconsin

3.93/5  rDev -3.4%

Poured black in color with red hues apparent where light hit on the bottom and sides of the glass. Foamy tan head. Aroma had a roasted malt sweetness to it. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Thin body. Finish has a bitterness to it combined with a robust chocolate malt flavor. Slight nuttiness to it. Smokiness present throughout also. Excellent beer to combine with hearty German fare or BBQ. Definitely one of Sprecher's finer offerings.

12-16-2002 20:53:33 | More by Winter
Black Bavarian from Sprecher Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 737 ratings.