Black Bavarian - Sprecher Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Black BavarianBlack Bavarian

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

821 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 821
Reviews: 458
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 10.59%
Wants: 112
Gots: 57 | 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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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 821 | Reviews: 458
Photo of tavernjef
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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.

Photo of falloutsnow
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

Photo of pmcadamis
4.44/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - A dense finger of brown cream rises above a mahogany black brew that reminds me of the wood on a grand piano. The head recedes to a thick collar and leaves a lot of whipped lace on the glass.

S - Tootsie Rolls, root beer, sassafras, charcoal, charred firewood, wet slate, roasted grains, and chicory. Holy crap! This is an extremely complex and interesting nose! I just so happen to love smoky and dark aromas like campfire smoke, and this one is really impressing me tremendously. I could sniff this all day on a rainy day like this one.

T - Dark wet charcoal. This is like a charcoal grill after you pour water on it ....that hissing smoky woody smell. This tastes like that and reminds me of my childhood camping with my parents. There is also a sweetness to this one that is almost like raw brown cane syrup or maple syrup tapped straight from the tree and then caramelized over an open charcoal pit.

M - Medium bodied and highly carbonated. This is the crazy thin that I love about the style...it's rich and dark and smoky, but it's still a relatively spry lager! The finish is slightly dry and full of charcoal and soy sauce lingering notes.

D - An excellent example of the style. This is so smoky that it's almost like a rauchbier. I would definitely pick up some more of this great brew.

Photo of shbobdb
4.44/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Well, well, well. What a fine beer we have here. The dark malts really shine through, giving this beer a deep roasted chocolate flavour as velvety as its mouthfeel. Wow. It looks nice too, with a pitch black body and nice brown head that collapses into a fine lace. Mmmm.
Very drinkable. Very delicious. It's smell is forgettable, but this beer isn't!

Photo of supercolter
4.44/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a fantastic beer. It was the last of my sampler pack and I couldn't be more excited to have my second.
Appearnce is the only flaw here, black like coffee, like night black, but little head or lacing.
Smell and taste are delicious with slightly sweet malt mixed with coffee, and burnt chocolate.
This beer is medium-heavy.
Drinkability is excellent.

Photo of matjack85
4.43/5  rDev +9.1%
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.

Photo of Theheroguy
4.43/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown approaching black. The flavors of the roasted malt, the sweetness, the coffee tones, the tang from the acid... I feel as though all of these are more pronounced in a schwarzbier than in a porter or stout. The lager yeast just doesn't impart as many flavors as an ale yeast. Not a negative or a positive just an observation. I don't know how traditional this beer is as it's very well hopped. There is a firm bitterness throughout. Personally I feel like this is a good thing because many of the German beer which include a lot of dark roasted malts are overly sweet. All in all highly recommended.

Photo of woosterbill
4.43/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pint bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: A temperate pour results in a perfect 2" head that crests above the rim of the glass and very slowly melts into a solid cap, leaving a good amount of light lacing behind. The body is appropriately black with clear garnet highlights when illuminated directly. Quite nice indeed.

S: All malt here, with caramel and chocolate managing to be both sweet and crisp at the same time. Very clean and pleasant, if not overly complex or deep.

T: Quite restrained and tightly-constructed on the palate, with caramel malt and dry lager yeast combining to provide a very smooth flavor. Again, nothing pyrotechnic, but beautifully simple and simply beautiful.

M: Eminently smooth, with a medium body and plenty of soft carbonation. Excellent.

D: I'm glad this comes in pint bottles instead of 12-ouncers.

Notes: This is by far the best Schwarzbier I've ever had, and really defines the style as far as I'm concerned. Leave it to Wisconsin to produce a top-notch German style lager.

Cheers!

Photo of weatherdog
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

16oz bottle poured into an oversized wine glass

It pours a dark dark brown almost black with a small 1 finger head that dies to a small perimeter of bubbles around the glass.

Dark chocolate malt dominated the smell. There is also a heavy residual sweetness attached similar to an RIS.

The taste has a lot of coffee undertones but then it gets into this heavy chocolate/ caramel malts. Once again I can't help but comparing this to a lagered RIS. There is a large back end sweetness like an RIS but it finishes amazingly dry and crisp which is where the lager characteristic shines through. Its really an interesting taste and I'm enjoying the familiar rich RIS taste with a lager finish; very enjoyable

The mouthfeel is full bodied and rich but my the carbonation is too high for the richness and distracts from the taste. The weird thing is this drinks very similar to 8-10%ABV RIS with all the richness but is less than 6%. Usually it is the other way around. What this means to me is although I am sipping this in a pace similar to an RIS I was able to have three 16oz. bottles in one night without feeling full or drunk which was a huge plus.

Photo of cjgator3
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16oz bottle poured into an imperial pint glass. The aroma is sweet roasted malts, molasses, toffee and hints of coffee. The taste is dark and roasty with a good dose of slightly burnt malts, caramel and a touch of smoke. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and the carbonation is spot on. Overall, Black Bavarian is a beer that I really enjoyed and will purchase again in the future. Recommended.

Photo of auxiliary
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance - Nice dark color with a tan brown head.

smell - Malts, dark chocolate.

taste - Nice roasted taste with dark chocolate and java beans up front. Finished with some bitterness and nutty taste.

mouthfeel - Medium-heavy.

drinkability - Very nice beer. #1 for this style. i can see why.

Photo of WJVII
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice dark brown, held to the light is slightly opaque. Nice light brown head leaving decent lacing on the glass. This brew has a nice deep aroma with hints of finely roasted malt with hints of chocolate, coffee, and caramel. The taste is bold, but smooth. Chocolate malts with roasted caramel hit the palate with nice balance and a smooth taste. This is a nice brew near my home town in Milwaukee...drink up!

Photo of mschofield
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a reddish-black topped with a three finger foamy tan-chocolate head, leaves partial rings of lacing.
Sweet caramel aroma, some roasted malt and chocolate.
Sweet taste, chocolate and caramel, I was thinking of a chocolate covered caramel candy when drinking. Rich and roasty taste, a perfume note tucked in there.
Light-medium body, but felt thicker with the dark tastes

Photo of brentk56
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
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

Photo of DoubleJ
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I just realized something....it's been awhile since I've had high expectations on a schwarzbier! And what better way to come back to the style than with Sprecher's offering? 22 ounce bottle with a gold wax coating over the neck and bottle cap, on to the beer:

Oddly, the bottle is a twist-off. As I pour it into a flute, that beery smell escapes the body and enters my nose. An ebony beauty in the glass, ruby brown highlights on the bottom. Big roasted, smokey, and astringent characterists. First sip is uplifting. Mouthfeel is right on the money with its easy, low carbonation, and medium-heavy feel. Bitter chocolate and astringent coffee flavors ar dominant in this brew. Peaty smoke emerge midway through the experience. Come to think of it, this carries some charactersitcs of a authentic Polish-brewed Baltic Porter, except this one has a smoother flavor. Still fishing for more flavors...I found some black licorice.

Downright tasty.

Photo of beergoot
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The pour leaves a very dark ebony body and a lasting off-white, creamy head.

Exceptional aroma. Very rich, roasted grain scent with hints of bitter chocolate. Subtle yet rich malt grain smell.

Bitter-sweet chocolate with caramel and toffee notes. HInt of softly burnt toast. Delightful blend of hop bitterness infused with a light alcohol warmth peeking through the sweetness in the end.

Very smooth bodied mouthfeel, rich and velvety.

This is one excellent black lager, smooth yet rich. Well-balanced throughout and presenting a lot of dark beer complexity to your palate. Well worth checking out...

Photo of UnionMade
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a deep black, shining a beautiful mahogany red when backlit. A short beige foam forms with a gentle pour, settling into a thick collar surrounding a patchy mist with an island of larger bubbles in the middle. Good head retention, keeping a thick collar and some swirly mist throughout. Not much in the way of lace, which is a little disappointing. The foam sort of slides down the glass back into the beer.
The aroma is extremely smooth and mild, very authentic. Soft roasted malt hints at coffee, with a rich pruney fruitiness flowing beneath. Well lagered, with that characteristic german smooth featheriness. A passive noble hop bite creates a slight sloral note in the background.
The flavor starts with a tingle of carbonation, giving way to a moderate burnt roastiness. A bit grainy, with a fuller flavor than the german versions. Light toffee sweetness. Moderate coffee continues throughout, with a splash of fig and prune fruitiness. A pleasant floral/herbal noble hop bitterness takes up the finish, although most of the bittering comes from the burnt malt. Some baker's chocolate comes through in the finish, lingering briefly on the tongue in the aftertaste. A lightish medium body, easy bouyed by an assertive, prickly carbonation. The mouthfeel is pretty smooth, the carbonation adds a spiciness that intensifies the grain somewhat.
Really, really nice stuff. I wish more breweries took a stab at this style, because it's lovely. I like the 16oz size, it's a nice touch to get a full pint in every bottle. A welcome addition to the MA distribution line-up.

Photo of brewdoc75
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my Guinness Pint Extra Stout pint glass. Beautiful black color with hints of mahogany when the light shines on it. A strong, lively 2 inch head sits atop this wonderful lager. The aromas are fantastic w/ strong, sweet malts, followed by chocolate and even a slight roasted coffee aroma. The flavor is also great with more of the sweet, chocolatey malts. There is some caramel and toffee flavors present as well. The beer ends w/ a pleasant roasted coffee taste. There is some slight fruitness present as well. I do get just a hint of the hops, but just enough to add some necessary bitterness. The mouthfeel of this beer is not what you would expect. It is rather light to medium bodied, when one may expect it to be heavy. I like the fact that it is lighter.

Overall a stellar beer. I've had one other schwartzbeer, but I don't really remember it. This beer is definitely memorable and is a worthy adversary to any porter out there. The great thing about this brew is that it is so damn easy to drink. Goodbye 4-pack....

Photo of JohnQVegas
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle into Sam Smith imperial pint glass. Very happy to see these guys make their way into Tennessee.

Pours ruby brown around the edges with a deep black body, and a thin creamy light khaki head on top. Head settles into a thin, solid cap on top, with decent retention and not much in the way of lacing.

Nose is textbook Shwarzbier. Sharp, almost burnt roastiness is surprisingly smooth, clean, with an almost woody ash character to it, and just a bit of underlying richness.

Taste is the same mellow, smooth lightly-roasty acidity, with an underpinning of just a bit of baker's cocoa. Nice molasses-like sweetness really mellows this one out in a delicious way. Dry finish has just a trace of ash. Beautifully done, very satisfying in the cold winter without being as heavy or full-bodied as a porter or stout.

Mouthfeel is slick, silky, just a bit creamy. Very light, tiny bubbled carbonation provides the perfect amount of tingle. Drinkability is class-defining - delicious, balanced, and mouthfeel is just spot on. Truly a great example of one of my all-time favorite styles.

Photo of elgiacomo
4.41/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16oz twist-off bottled November 14th, 2012. Served at around 45F.

Pours black with a one-finger creamy light brown head that leaves nice glass-coating sheets of lacing and retains extremely well, almost nitro-like appearance.

Aroma is chocolate, cocoa powder, roasted malts, some burnt malts, bit of coffee, caramel and dark bread. Good strength.

Flavor is chocolate/cocoa, dark roasted malts, hint of burnt toast, caramel, coffee, moderate sweetness, minimal bitterness or alcohol. Very smooth and finishes clean.

Mouthfeel is light/medium bodied, good carbonation.

Really, really nice Schwarzbier. One of the better examples I’ve had. Robust, rich, yet easy to drink. Nice ’un.

Photo of Tilley4
4.41/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A most magnificent pour of jet black topped by a thick creamy head of 3 inches of caramel foam.. Unreal looking...

Deep dark and dangerously delicious smelling... Lots of bittersweet chocolate present along with a Werther's Coffee Hard Candy aroma as well.. Magnificent...

More chocolatey goodness in the flavors here.. No wonder this is the top rated schwarzbier in the world... Its delicious and has me kicking myself for not picking up a sixer...

World class beer... Its ridiculous... Deserves the rating it has...

Photo of mwilbur
4.4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from 16 oz bottle into pilsner glass.
A: Pours a nice dark chocolate brown with 1/2 inch tan head that slowly recedes. Reddish hue with backlighting.
S: Cream, chocolate and caramel malt, licorice, and sweet clove.
T: Sweet caramel malt, clove, bananas, mild dry chocolate, and a hint of wood smoke. Very nice especially for style.
M: Smooth and oily feel. Mildly bitter bite at the finish. Light-medium body.
D: One of my favorite session beers. A subtle beauty. Brings back wonderful memories of discovering craft beer and enjoying this one from a keg on a sunny spring day for a friend's bachelor party. Awesome.

Photo of yourefragile
4.4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

16 oz bottle poured into a pilsner.

A: Black liquid that is clear against light with amber fringes. Frothy tan head, that dissipates to a ring and doesn't leave much lacing.
S: Rich malty aroma, caramelized sugar, toasted burnt flavors, slight hop touch.
T: Medium body with very strong carbonation. Starts with a rich, roasted malt flavor and finishes slightly more acidic, but still sweet. In between, toasted, coffee flavors persist. Very creamy and smooth, despite slight bitterness and acidity. Lingering roasted malt flavor. Very good, I like this beer a lot. Very drinkable.

Photo of beveritt
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

Photo of nocheinsbitte
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this from a 16 oz bottle into a nice glass.
Appearance: rich, thick, almost milk-shake looking in pouring-appearance (not that thick, but close. Clings to the side of the glass letting you know that you are going to be drinking a nice, thick, well-made bier. A 2-4 finger head that billows as it settles. Stays for quite a bit of time.
Smell: chocalatety, coffee-like, but subtle and reassuring. Not over powering at all.
Taste: I mentioned the milk-shake reference earlier, well, it tastes as good as that. No harsh after taste, just a nice mouthful of bier that is very satisfying and pleasurable.
Drinkability: I am having one right now...it is 12 deg outside, dark, and depressing here on the shores of lake michigan; but with the glass of black bavarian, I am one happy camper and enjoying my night of lounging.
I would suggest trying the same, easy to drink, good taste, and overall a high-quality bier.

Black Bavarian from Sprecher Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 821 ratings.