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Black Bavarian - Sprecher Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Black BavarianBlack Bavarian

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

461 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 461
Hads: 834
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 5.88%
Wants: 113
Gots: 65 | 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:
Beer added by: xlperro on 04-23-1998

Bronze Medal Winner in the European Darks category at the 1988 Great American Beer Festival (GABF).
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Reviews: 461 | Hads: 834
Photo of RoamingGnome
3.57/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Sprecher Black Bavarian

Poured from a 16 oz bottle into an English style dimpled pint glass. Served chilled...

A) Dark brown, nearly black, with a finger of light tan head. This quickly settled to a collar. No lacing...

S) Dark roasted malt, a bit charred, a little cocoa powder, and light coffee. Actually quite milky, and just a whiff of licorice there too.

T) Pretty close to the nose. I noted a little more sweetness in the flavor, kind of an underlying caramel. The finish was bitter earthy hops.

M) Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. This is a smooth brew, right up to a pretty dry finish. The aftertaste is an earthy roasty combo.

O) Still plowing through the Christmas leftovers. This is one of Sprecher's better offerings. (743 characters)

Photo of ryanocerus
3.56/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Being a Schwarzbier lover, I thought I would have liked this better. It poured with a thick tan head and deep black in color. The malty aroma was a little too prominent for me however. The roasty flavor is much heavier than other schwarzbiers I have had also, but as the long lasting flavor lingers on the tongue, I enjoy it more. Not a bad beer, just not my favorite schwarz. (380 characters)

Photo of Pintofbrown
3.55/5  rDev -13%
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. (2,528 characters)

Photo of bashiba
3.54/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured all 16 ounces into a 22ounce pilsner glass. Deep black color with Ruby red highlights and a huge thick tan head that went all the way to the top of the glass and laced down ever so thickly. Great looking beer for sure.

Smell is of very faint Caramal toasted malts.

Taste is a nice light chocolate and Caramel malt flavors with a very nice earthy hop finish.

Mouthfeel is a very filling creamyness about it. Smooth and not thick, but still nice and full.

Drinkability is pretty good as this beer is pleasant tasting with an enjoyable mouthfeel and yet not heavy or overly filling. A nice combination for a session beer.
Good job Sprecher! (657 characters)

Photo of yankeeheel
3.53/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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 (351 characters)

Photo of ommegangpbr
3.53/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From notes taken at the Hop Devil Grill:
Looks... Black! leaves some nice lacing after the off-white head fades.
Scents are sweet and smoky but lacking some punch. This will clearly be a malty time.
Flavors are all sweetened coffee notes. Pretty similar to many porters I've had but underachieving some.
Not too bad all around but something like this I'd expect to be a bit more smooth. (386 characters)

Photo of drseamus
3.53/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: When they say black bavarian style lager, they mean black. Although the "blackest material" was created at RPI where I go to school, this rivals it.

S: Roasted malt and a subtle caramel sweetness.

T: A good sweetness lasts throughout the entire taste but the initial taste is pretty roasty. There is a touch of roast in the aftertaste as well.

M: Medium bodied but finishes pretty thin.

D: A good black lager but not a style I'm generally a fan of. (455 characters)

Photo of JasonA
3.51/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a light dark black. Yes, a strange appearance, though I would guess on style. Little to no carbonation.

Slight malt. Almost smells burt. Light overall

Burnt malt, and yet very refreshing, light. Not much in the palatte, very subtle. For a 5%+ ABV, this beers tastes good.

Refreshing. Doesnt feel like the color. Macro feel, craft subtle.

Very nice. I could drink a few of these pounders. If the price was right, a case seems nice for a warm afternoon with friends. (474 characters)

Photo of Jredner
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%
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. (487 characters)

Photo of philbe311
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%
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... (958 characters)

Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%
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... (1,254 characters)

Photo of DerekQXQX
3.49/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is the highest rated of all of Sprecher's. It is possible that German Beer is just not my thing but I was underwhelmed. It was sweet, but not in the way of hop lacking. It might just not be what I am used to. I have never been to Bavaria, but from the taste of this beer, I'm not going there anytime soon either. (322 characters)

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.48/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I was really excited to try a fresh schwarzbier made here in the states. Unfortunately, this one did not jive with me. 16 oz bottle pours a very dark brown color with a fluffy, tan head. Retention is nice and lacing is excellent. Freshness stamp of 101611017, not sure what that means.

Nose is surprisingly light. Mild chocolate, light sweetness with a definite grain presence. Little bit of cocoa and overall is a pretty clean lager.

Taste has a fruity edge to it that doesnt seem to fit in a schwarzbier style profile. Decent roast and hop bitterness though. Malts are abundant, but not as sweet and full as I would like. A little more robust than it really needs to be and I get a bit of cooked veggies on it. Decent enough, I was just expecting to be blown away by it...I like Kostritzer and Monchoff better, even with the travel across the big pond. (856 characters)

Photo of John
3.48/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is very nice, impressive opaque black. Rich, coffee coloured brown head. Aroma consists of chocolate, deep roasted malt, toasted caramel, molasses and brown sugar. Flavors translate into a blend of the pleasant aromas while shifting from a black coffee bitterness to a chocolate and natural sugar cane sweetness. A touch of black licorice is underlying. Strangely these flavors tantalize but trail off way to soon with none of the oscillating lingering roasty bitterness and dark chocolate sweetness typical of the style. Seems to thin as it warms. A decent brew with good drinkability but as I finish the brew there's nothing left to remind of which brew I just drank. (680 characters)

Photo of Vancer
3.48/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I too was impressed with the black pour from the 16oz bottle, with good inch tan head. Could see the ruby/brown undertones when held to the light. Nice, choc lately malt aroma, smooth easy taste. Not quite as much *earthy, grainy* taste as other black beers. Good lite to medium texture and tingle in the first half of the pint, but the tingle died somewhat by the end. Should have had a couple more to double-check drinkablity. (428 characters)

Photo of jpro
3.48/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a couple of these at Sam's in Durham a little while back. Poured into a dimpled mug...

A: Dark brown... not quite black - maybe they should rename it "Almost Black Bavarian"; nice mocha head that leaves some spindly lace and manages some minimal retention in the form of a ring of foam and a few patches here and there.

S: Roasted grain; chocolate; smells very sweet.

T: Some dark fruit sweetness... not what I was expecting; molasses; roasty finish; satisfying, yet not too flavorful.

M: On the lighter side of medium-bodied with some pretty high carbonation going on.

D: Satisfactory, in my opinion; nothing too crazy, yet not bad... middle of the road brew for me. (682 characters)

Photo of Libeertarian
3.47/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear dark brown with red hues in the light, atop with fine, fizzy, light brown head of weaker retention. Roasted meat, soil, chocolate aromas. After these dissipate, I notice caramel as well. Naturally, there's a smoky tartness and an earthen quality on the palate, and calls to mind tobacco and especially coffee in the finish, ever so slightly, if at all, influenced by any hops. Caramel sweetness in there as well. Considerably light in body and smooth as well. Plenty of carbonation, but gentle. Mouthfeel just disappoints me. Still, overall, maybe it's mellowed or maybe I've just acquired the "Schwarzy" taste, but it seems better than the last time or two I've had it (purchased a four pack about ten months ago). (721 characters)

Photo of Grabbin2nd
3.46/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

From Notes: 2/22/09
Sprecher Brewing Co.
Black Bavarian
5.86% Alc.
16oz. bottle

Appearance= Vigorous pour into New Belgium snifter yields a 2 finger tan head. Black opaque beer w/ minimal carbonation.

Smell= Not a whole hell of a lot going on. Malt, maybe a little bit of chocolate.

Taste= Uh. uh. uh. Nothing bad, nothing really good. Not offensive, just goes down. A little chocolate and malt, that's about it.

Mouthfeel= Nice creamy mouthfeel. Perfect for a beer. Best attribute about this beer.

Drinkability= High I guess. Nothing is bad about this beer, but nothing really stands out. It's great on tap if you can get it. Nothing I would seek out on a consistant basis. (679 characters)

Photo of yankeej13
3.45/5  rDev -15.4%
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! (651 characters)

Photo of crossovert
3.43/5  rDev -15.9%
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. (742 characters)

Photo of witster18
3.39/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

not much on the nose.

taste is roasty malts and a dominant fig character, with that typical sprecher sourness from the yeast(which I really don't care for).

This does have some of the same good qualities as say a sammy smith beer... the mouthfeel is fantastic and the look is ominous with lace.... a very english caskness to this for sure.... but taste-wise it's just not my cup'o'tea despite it being one of the better offerings.

May revisit, but when it comes to swarzbier I like a lighter bodied, LESS FUNKY(sour) version....

call me crazy, but if given the choice I'd take a Sam Adam's black lager over this - despite this having that 'exceptional' look and mouthfeel. (677 characters)

Photo of stlsportster
3.36/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark black, smells a bit of yeast. Slight head, but nothing to write home about.

Taste is malty, but still a bit yeasty for my preference, and has a bit of a bite on the finish. Also feels like a bit of an aftertaste.

Perhaps it will be a bit better as the beer warms as I think I have my beer fridge running too cold. (328 characters)

Photo of JackieTH
3.36/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served by the bottle as part of Old Chicago's World Beer Tour

Appearance: Dark brown almost black with a half finger of chunky tan head.

Smell: Lightly burnt malts and molasses.

Taste: Roasted almost burnt carmel malt and black strap molasses semi-sweetness with some wood and semi-sweet chocolate giving a bitter characteristic.

Mouthfeel: Medium and a bit too fizzy.

Drinkability: It isn't something I'd seek out, but it's adequately drinkable as well as enjoyable. (472 characters)

Photo of JohnnyChicago
3.33/5  rDev -18.4%
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. (568 characters)

Photo of stumac
3.33/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this brew pours up a dark brown color with a quickly fading tan head... the nose smells like an ale! chocolate malts and subtle caramel... the taste is toasted malts, chocolate, subtle sweetness, very crisp... medium bodied and low to medium carbo... (250 characters)

Black Bavarian from Sprecher Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 461 ratings.