Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine and get 12 issues / year of fresh beer content delivered to your door each month.

Already subscribe? to manage your subscription.

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).
View: Beers (47) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Black Bavarian Alström Bros
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 Theheroguy
4.43/5  rDev +8.6%
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. (608 characters)

Photo of wac9
3.81/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

what a wonderful beer i frist smelled malty and i was was worried but the taste is wonder full tastey wow just a great beer i want to drink all night just a renowned smoothness and a creamy tan head that i lovve enjoy people its a winner for a winter night it warms the soul on a summer night it continues life love this drink smile enjoy (338 characters)

Photo of dbell23
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Sean at Libation Station for the recommendation. Poured into a tulip. Black with a huge beige head that never completely goes away. Looks like a stout with a big head. Great lacing. Nice looking beer.

I've never smelled a beer like this one. Malty, maybe a chocolate undertone,charcoal maybe. Again, very different.

Taste is really good. Starts malty, slightly stout with a slight bitter sweet middle but not hoppy. Super clean finish with a slight smokey stout like undertone. It's like a stout/porter/lager combination. The roasted malt seems to be the dominate flavor but it almost tastes hoppy from the roasted bitterness. I don't know,what it is but it tastes good.

The mouthfeel is the star. I don't recall a beer more smooth than this one. Really good session beer.

Overall, this is a must try if you like to try different beers and I do. This would be a great beer with German food. It's a great beer to just enjoy too. The low abv makes it sessionable. (975 characters)

Photo of ckollias
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Enjoyed this 16oz bottle out of a Belgian tulip glass.

A: Pours a dark black hue with a thick rN head that slowly dissipates leaving a decentt trail and wispy lace.

S: Roasted malt aroma with hints of dark fruits.

T: Sweet at first but then balanced nicely by the black malt. Finishes with a smokey roast finish.

M: Medium body and medium carbonation.

O: This a good brew – easy drinker – and lots of flavor and aromas. (428 characters)

Photo of EagleTalon
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours out to a nice tan head that laces a bit and sticks around. Black color. Aroma is malty and slightly roasted but very muted which is on style. Flavor is more of same with sweet malt balanced by the black malt and soft hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is on heavy side, but slick and smooth. I love the way this brew feels. Overall, a very good Schwarz. (350 characters)

Photo of Fcolle2
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours black with a one finger light tan head that has good retention.

Smell has notes of medium creamy roasted malt with warm toffee notes, a bery light hop presence and clean smelling yeast.

Taste has a nice light roasted coffee like flavor with creamy roasted malt, slight hop prescence and a really clean tasting yeast. There are also some light toffee flavors.

Mouthfeel is awesome, feels creamy, light, clean crisp and very refreshing. This is one of the smoothest beers I've had in a while. (500 characters)

Photo of Schmidts
4.74/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a deep dark brown/black with a 3/4 inch tan creamy head lacing from top to bottom. Smells of dark Malts, Molasses and Licorice/Anise.
The Taste says the minute you taste it better have another later. It is so creamy smooth malty lots of tastes of deep dark Malts chocolates and endless flavor. Not supper strong just right I can't say enough about the taste of this beer
In your Mouth this is one of the most Creamy wonderful beers I have ever drank!
Overall I have To Give this Beer a 4.75 it is World class in its flavor. (529 characters)

Photo of joe1510
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pint Bottle
$6.49 4-Pack
Herman's Package Liquor

This beer poured the darkest shade of brown you can get before it turning to black. Deep dark mahogany edges where the light actually manages to fight it's way through. A one finger creamy mocha cap sits up top after the pour and fades down to a solid creamy cap. This beer looks relly nice on the pour.

The smell invites you in for that first sip. Lots of dark creamy malts. That's right, this beer actually smells creamy. Along with the dark malt there is a hint of molasses and even hazelnut. On top of all that there's a drop or two of cream/milk. Makes my mouth water on this cold evening.

Mmm.. all the aromas are right there in the taste. Starts of doughy and bready for the backbone. The hazelnut and cream both make an appearence and blend nicely. On the swallow I pick up the smallest touch of licorice/anise. Nice touch of accidity. Packed with flavor. For this style Black Bavarian is about as good as I've sampled.

Medium body that gets thinner as it works its way through my mouth. Creamy and smooth. Finishes dry. Nicely done.

On a cold night this could be sipped the whole night through. The lower abv allows you to drink all night. Very easy going down.

This is an excellent made beer from Sprecher. I've seen this around but always passed it by for some reason. I'm sorry that I didn't try it sooner. Great example of the style. Loaded with flavor.

Reviewed: 2/4/07 (1,448 characters)

Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.53/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Sprecher Black Bavarian has a very thick, creamy, beige head, a dark brown (ruby, under light) appearance, and lots of thick, cream-like lacing left behind on the glass. The aroma is of dark-roasted, almost burnt, barley malt, sweetness, and brown bread crust, and the flavor is of creamy, dark-roasted malt, charcoal, dark coffee, chocolate powder, black cherries, slight licorice, underlying, soft bitterness, and brown bread crust. Mouthfeel is medium and slick, and Sprecher Black Bavarian finishes fairly crisp, rich, and quite drinkable. Overall, this is most excellent, and I highly recommend it!

RJT (609 characters)

Photo of kaufmaal
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a very dark brown with a few ruby, blood-range highlights. A sizable, inch of head, dark tan, that stays with it. Roasted coffee notes, bittersweet chocolate, some smoky aromas, malt. For a black lager, this one has some umph to it. It is sweeter than most black lagers, and while the sweetness is up-front, it's not dominating. Tastes of chocolate liqueur, candied plums, good coffee, malt, peat, a bit of smoke. It's heavy at times, a bit viscous, but not syrupy. A highly satisfying and well-crafted beer. I'd happily drink it again. (542 characters)

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

16 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a very dark ruby color. It only shows hints of opacity when put against a moderately strong light. The head is a three finger mocha shade that doesn't retain particularly well, as expected. Having said that, I love the soft creaminess of the texture, with just a hint of rockiness to suggest it's well hopped. Lacing left on the glass is quite plentiful, also.

S: I get some dark fruit esters, roasted malts, cream, chocolate, caramel, noble hops, and brown sugar on the aroma. Not terribly groundbreaking on its own, but quite impressive given the style. I could certainly compare it to a good porter/stout aromatically.

T: An initial wave of dry chocolate soon gives way to a combination of roasted malts and grassy hops on the back end. While it's simplistic and straightforward, it's also enjoyably balanced and easy to drink.

M: It's crisp and dry like a good lager should be. On the other end of the spectrum, it actually does a good job of feeling somewhat substantial. At times, the general feel is more reminiscent of a porter than a dinky-ass schwarzbier.

O: I wasn't sure what to expect from this one - it's a schwarzbier, yet one of the top examples of the style according to BA. Luckily, I'm finding this one pretty damn good. Probably the best schwarz I've had yet, in fact. (1,334 characters)

Photo of TTAmod
4.02/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a 20 oz. glass mug at the Sprecher Restaurant in Lake Geneva, WI.

A: This beer pours very dark with a one finger tan head. The head dissipated quickly, but I attribute this mostly to the serving temperature of the beer; it was a bit on the cold side.

S: Smell is of heavy roasty malts, chocolate, caramel, toffee, and cream. The smell is quite reminiscent of a stout.

T: Taste follows the smell quite well, but the roasted malt flavor is extremely strong; however I wouldn't consider it burnt, so it's still pleasant. There is chocolate and a touch of coffee, too. Ends slightly bitter, metallic, and roasty.

M: Mouthfeel is very good...it's smooth, creamy, but is light and well carbonated. This brew goes down extremely easily.

O: The best way to describe this beer is a stout with very easy drinkability. It tastes like a stout, but it has the mouthfeel of a pilsner. There were some off-tastes in the beer, but for the most part it's pretty top notch for the style.

Honestly, before trying this beer, I only thought of Sprecher as a good soda company...I have always overlooked their beers. I've definitely learned my lesson and will try more of their beers in the future. (1,198 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer has a near black body with a soft, creamy, khaki colored head. The aroma brings dark chocolates, roast, charred malt, a bit of dark fruits, bread. Nice flavor. Easy to drink. Light to medium in body with moderate carbonation. A touch of molasses in the flavor as well. A solid example of the style. I would drink this again. (333 characters)

Photo of MDDMD
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A-dark brown black color with a light tan head and good lacing

S-dark roasted malt, coffee, caramel, floral

T-dark roasted malt, caramel, floral hops, caramel, nice bitter finish

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, creamy and smooth

O-a tasty beer with great body and easy drinkability (294 characters)

Photo of goochpunch
4.02/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Black beer (go figure) with a thin tan head. Smells of roasted malts leaning towards coffee and a whiff of eurohops. Flavor up front is very malty with notes of caramel. I perceive more bitterness from the hops rather than from the roasted grain. Finish tastes roasty, burnt, ashy and almost smokey. Carbonation isn't too strong. A little heavy and sticky. Overall this is pretty tasty, but the mouthfeel kind of weighs it down. (428 characters)

Photo of woodychandler
4.52/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is another of tone77's big box o' beer that he dropped off recently in another local, in-person trade.

From the bottle: "This intensely dark Kulmbacher-style lager has a superb malt complexity with the distinctive flavor and aromas of caramelized and chocolate malts. A renonowned smoothness and a creamy, tan head make it a world champion."

I poured a couple of times, due to its desire to jump up to the top of the glass. Once it finished, I had a finger of dense, deep-brown head that sat atop the beer like a petulant child who refuses to go to their room when directed. I was going to spank it before i realized that it had the power to spank me tonight, Color was a deep, dark-brown that allowed just enough light to penetrate to show off its ruby highlights. Showoff! Mouthfeel was thick and creamy. Hey, is this a lager or a milkshake?!? The taste reminded me of Spike's request for dark chocolate-enrobed coconut eggs for Easter. Spike is NOT The Old Lady, but instead both a departmental colleague and my Lunch Duty partner. She helps me with the curriculum and I ply her with chocolate. In the meantime, this was a great pre-Easter beer. Dark chocolate, coconut, smoke and perhaps some wood all interacted to create a phenomenal lager. Finish was semi-sweet and I felt satiated on chocolate for the foreseeable future. Man, thanks to tone77 for a really memorable beer. (1,387 characters)

Photo of Mojo
3.86/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

16 ounce bottle -> Dogfish Head Glass

This beer pours up very black with a one finger tan head, decent retention, and some lacing. Nose is faint, but mostly malt and caramel. Taste is similar to the nose with there being several sweet flavors including malt, chocolate, and caramel. A small bit of coffee can be detected on the finish. Mouthfeel is okay, but not particularly memorable. A decent beer, if somewhat indistinctive. (432 characters)

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
3.94/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

appearance: Dark black with ruby highlights when held to light. Huge billowy tan head that leaves swaths of messy lacing. I mean, that head is noisy, cracking bubbles well after the pour.
smell: caramel and malty but a bit subdued, very nice but a little too subdued.
taste: Richer than the nose. Chocolate, caramel, fairly dry, and very tasty.
overall: Damn good. (364 characters)

Photo of tone77
3.16/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a brown 16 oz. bottle. Has a black color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is mild, some roasted malts. Taste is also mild, light coffee, a bit of roasted malts, easy drinking but just a bit bland. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a decent beer but nothing great. (284 characters)

Photo of TheSSG
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dense, thick, light-tan head that has good persistence. A light roasted malt aroma, and a touch of floral hop. The mild aroma misleads you. Black. Starts with a floral hop bitterness and acidity, with roasted malt in the back. This is silky smooth and slick across the tongue. Builds to a medium bitterness, when the crushed coffee bean roasted earthiness bursts through into the finish, which is floral hop bitterness wafting in past the toasted malt. I love how the acidity milds in the finish and just blends to well with the roasted malt and floral hops. It's just great.

This is the brew that converted me to American craft bier (7 years ago), and I'm glad to see it's still great. Just a fantastic example of the style. (734 characters)

Photo of guityler83
4.58/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: At first glance this beer is black and opaque but when held up to the light, a redish brown hue shines through from the edges. Very fine bubbles in the off-white/brown head just over the top of the pint.

S: Spicy, chocolatey and a hint of roast

T: Chocolate and roasty flavors are the focal point of your taste buds but not the main attraction. The spicy, earthy noble hops are what I love about this beer. They don't dominate the palate but enhance all the other flavors while artfully and tastefully giving Black Bavarian a drinkability factor of 10.

M: A nice clearn crisp mouth feelfeel with no astringancy.

O: Schwarzbier is one of my favorite styles and until I get a chance to visit Germany, Black Bavarian will be my benchmark to what all other schwarzbiers are compared (and even then I might) so far non have come close. Find this beer, drink it, buy some more. You won't be disappointed. (906 characters)

Photo of elgiacomo
4.41/5  rDev +8.1%
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. (688 characters)

Photo of superspak
3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 ounce bottle into imperial pint glass, bottled 3/29/2012. Pours crystal clear extremely dark reddish brown color with a nice 1-2 finger fairly dense khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty foamy lacing clings down the glass. Aromas of chocolate, caramel, roasted malt, molasses, toffee, raisin, toast, nuttiness, and light herbal. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity. Taste of chocolate, caramel, toast, toffee, molasses, raisin, roasted malt, nuttiness, light coffee, biscuit, earthiness, and herbal spiciness. Light herbal bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of chocolate, toffee, molasses, roasted malt, toast, raisin, nuttiness, and herbal on the finish for a good bit. Nice balance and complexity of flavors; nicely robust with zero cloying after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a creamy and lightly slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a very nice schwarzbier! Nicely robust with good balance and complexity of flavors; very smooth to drink. Really enjoyed this one. (1,154 characters)

Photo of burns1066
4.65/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is an amazing beer! It drinks like a sweet, malty dessert. Tons of caramel and chocolate, malty without being cloying... in general, a fantastic late winter brew. It's mouth filling, but finishes wonderfully. The somewhat high alcohol content is not obtrusive because the beer invites slow savoring. As the temperature of the beer warms, the flavor profile becomes more pronounced and encourages even more measured drinking. (429 characters)

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