1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Black Bavarian - Sprecher Brewing Company

Black BavarianBlack Bavarian

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

682 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 682
Reviews: 441
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 10.57%


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)
View: Beers (41) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Black Bavarian Alström Bros
Ratings: 682 | Reviews: 441 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of dbrauneis
dbrauneis

North Carolina

4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark brown almost black in color with some dark amber highlights and light to moderate amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a half finger tall creamy light beige head that reduces to a medium sized patch of thin film and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: The beer has moderate aromas of dark roasted malts along with some light amounts of caramel and toffee sweetness.

T: The taste is similar to the smell with there being a strong dark roasted malty flavor along with some sweetness - caramel, toffee, milk chocolate, and hints of smoke.

M: Medium bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation. Very smooth.

O: This beer is quite tasty with a pleasant and easy to drink flavor. I think this beer is very sessionable, even in the summer. Definitely one to have again.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2012 18:19:13 | More by dbrauneis
Photo of BEERchitect
BEERchitect

Kentucky

2.98/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

With characteristics that span dark fruit, light roast, and slight vinous notes, Sprecher shows that the timid black beer can be much, much more.

Black Bavarian pours with a very clear, albeit dark brown with garnet highlights. Well headed with a terse off-white froth, the low lying head retains as a sheet with minimal lace.

Light roasted malts and well attenuated starch note start the aromatic journey while thin caramel, grape, and red wine notes add interest and intrigue to the otherwise roast and char of dark grain.

The dry taste of coffee-like roast with walnut backdrop, light starchy malt, and slight campfire smoke seem to exceed the slight scorched taste of caramel, but introduces characterful elements of cherries, grapes, red wine, and cider with low bitterness outside that of roasted grain.

Medium-light bodied, the mouth wants to think heavier because of the roast taste, but the weight of the beer is remarkably light and refreshing; approaching thinness as the tart fruit notes and the slight roast astringency play out over the highly attenuated malt character.

Black Bavarian schwarzbier is a subtle, drinakble, and surprisingly variable beer that shows more flexibility than is normal for the narrowly focused style.

Serving type: on-tap

06-01-2012 19:38:34 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of beergoot
beergoot

Colorado

4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
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...

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2012 20:13:29 | More by beergoot
Photo of Rifugium
Rifugium

Pennsylvania

3.15/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at TJ's, Paoli, PA

Poured an opaque brown-black with a huge puff of tan head that retained decently and laced well. Mostly roasty dark malts in the aroma, as would be expected; a touch of cocoa. Again, a big roastiness in the taste, dark malts, notes of cocoa and coffee, pumpernickel. Not nearly as flavorful as some of your better schwarzbiers. Medium body and fairly drinkable, but just lacking the flavor I need to inspire me to order another glass. Decent overall.

Edit: Wait, this is the highest ranked schwarzbier on the site? *facepalm*

Serving type: on-tap

03-31-2012 11:48:56 | More by Rifugium
Photo of FosterJM
FosterJM

California

3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1188th Review on BA
Bottle to Mug
16 oz

Thanks to UclaBrewN84 for this one.

App- A very murky looking brown. About 4-5 different shades in the glass. A major dark dark brown lighter colors radiating out and a bit of amber on the edges. A small one finger head that was a bit khaki in color. Maybe a couple dots of cling.

Smell- A lot going on in this glass. Has a huge roasty note and then is a bit sweet. A lot of caramel comes next and then some brown sugars and a bit of BBQ smoke.

Taste- I am not normally a fan of this style because I havent really found a good one. This is a good one. Caramel, dark malts, bitter hops. Tasty beer with a good balance. Small but thin in a way which is my only knock really.

Mouth- A wee bit thin really. Bordering on a thin medium with a small medium carbonation. Sweet malts and a little bitter with a ton of caramel.

Drink- I am glad I was able to land of one these from a generous BA. Nice balance with good hoppy bitter, roasty flavors.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2012 02:26:35 | More by FosterJM
Photo of horshack7
horshack7

Massachusetts

4.45/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: From a 16oz bottle is a very dark almost opaque. The head is about two fingers thick and is beige in color.

Aroma: Chocolate malts, dark fruits, roasted malts. Hops are roasted, coffee notes, hops have touch of citrus but are leaning towards the floral side of the aroma.

Taste: dark roasted coffee, vanilla, chcolate malts that are semi sweet. Hops are a touch dry but still have a good bite.

Notes: What a remarkable lager very well done. Cheers.

Serving type: bottle

02-29-2012 04:58:40 | More by horshack7
Photo of Duff27
Duff27

Illinois

4.28/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled September 2011

A- Inch tall medium mocha colored head on a black beer. Average head retention and nice looking lacing.

S- Whiffs of light cocoa/coffee...some metallicness.

T- Roasted malts with a slight sweet smokiness. Hints of dark fruits. Drinks right at 6%abv but nevermind the alcohol as this is almost chuggable.

M- Mouthfeel is damn near perfect. Not too thick, not to thin, just right. Good carbonation as well.

D/O- Sooo incredibly easy drinking. Sprecher nailed it...a first for me. If you ever get the "dark beer is so thick!" from others then this may be a prime example of how that's just plain wrong. Sixteen ounce bottles...brilliant!

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2012 04:00:57 | More by Duff27
Photo of WankelEngine
WankelEngine

Illinois

3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16oz bottle into a nonic

A: The beer is a dark brown, almost black with a touch of mahogany around the edge. There is a 3 finger foamy tan head that sticks around for a bit.

S: Smells of roasted malts. There is a bit of smokiness and some wood.

T: Similar roasted malts from the smell. The biggest difference is the addition of a mild fruitness; raisin and grape. The smoky character develops a bit and leaves the finish dry and with a little bit of bitter coffee.

M: Medium carbonation with a smooth, relatively thin body. Easy drinking.

O: A combination of light, drinkable malts and some darker smoke and wood flavors. Overall pretty good.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2012 23:46:09 | More by WankelEngine
Photo of Hawkeye1113
Hawkeye1113

Illinois

4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

-Poured from a 16oz bottle into a Tulip
-Poured/Reviewed on 1/7/12

A- A rich black, opaque, with only about 1 cm of off-white head that dissipates rather quickly. Little lacing.

S- Fruity, caramel notes. Rich roasted nuts and possibly some cocoa.

T- Mild coffee and a bit nutty. A nice, rich, roasted quality exists, with a hint of bitterness on the back end.

M- Smooth, warming, bitter, and very complex. Refreshing amount of carbonation (appropriate for the style) is present.

O- Pretty good example of an American attempt at the Schwarzbier. Very drinkable and interesting. Warming complexity is excellent on a cold, winter night.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2012 07:53:48 | More by Hawkeye1113
Photo of JensVoigt
JensVoigt

Illinois

3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I went into this beer thinking I would have an experience similar to a German Schwarzbier I have had in the past (dark, but not terribly much body, with a reasonable amount of hops). However, I was pleasantly surprised by a relatively full bodied, caramel-like, and almost Imperial Stout sort of taste. It had lots of roasted malt flavor, and it seemed to get better as I drank it.

Overall: I would recommend it.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2011 03:49:07 | More by JensVoigt
Photo of Hex92
Hex92

Virginia

3.8/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Whenever I go to Wisconsin I pick up some of this beer. I don't ever see it here in Virginia.

A- black with thin creamy head
S- toffee and roasted malt
T- roasted malts is the biggest flavor...with a nice muted hop balance
M- a bit thin when compared to the big taste

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2011 03:58:07 | More by Hex92
Photo of DrDemento456
DrDemento456

Pennsylvania

3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Very dark black with only a slight touch of red hues at the base. My pour produced only a slight lace of ring of mocha colored head but a quick swirl gets it nice and sticky.

S - Smells some slight roasted notes, anise, coffee, and toffee. Smells strong.

T - Has a very nice nutty taste, then toffee, then a smooth roast of mild coffee. Finish has a nice bit of hops too.

M - Medium bodied and very creamy. Nice!

Overall I had to take the overall score down since I can't find this around my area but it was a very good black lager. Smooth and drinkable!

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2011 01:21:54 | More by DrDemento456
Photo of vande
vande

Illinois

4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a - if one didn't no better, I have a Pepsi sitting next to me. I nice, deep dark brown pour with very little head retention...just enough along the the rim of the glass to let one know its carbonated a bit...

s - sweet, slightly nutty w/ hints of carmel...faint coffee

t - one of my favorite sprecher brews actually... a nice smoky taste to it..dark, somewhat rich..mixture of milk-bitter dark chocolates engrained with black, roasted malts.. tasty combo

m - medium bodied, somewhat creamy...

o - like I said, one of my favorite Sprecher offerings. Not an overpowering Schwarzbier, but one that's quite palatable...

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2011 18:54:46 | More by vande
Photo of GeezLynn
GeezLynn

Minnesota

4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep black, with a thin foamy off-white head. Retention is excellent.
S: Licorice, cocoa and a bright, almost fruity sweetness.
T: Licorice flavor is also heavy, along with an equal split of chocolate and berry flavors. Shows a flash of sweetness promptly followed by a light bitterness. Smoked malt becomes very discernable on the back end as the beer warms. Finishes with a dry hit of black malt.
M: Feel is medium bodied with full carbonation. Personally, I’d like just a bit less bubblay, but it’s well within style guidelines.

Always nice to come across this beer. One of the bigger examples of the style out there and one of the better in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2011 05:33:22 | More by GeezLynn
Photo of Jammies
Jammies

Illinois

4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - pours a watery black with a thin layer of foam that immediately disappears.

S - sweet with a slightly nutty coffee odor

T - well balanced. A deep toasty lager with no overbearing flavors.

M - Light and smooth. Slightly malty on the finish as expected

O - Surpisingly well-balanced. Really enjoyed this one.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2011 17:18:06 | More by Jammies
Photo of RThomas436
RThomas436

Pennsylvania

3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured out of a bottle - pours dark but not too heavy.

Slight carmelized malty taste with a creamy head with minimal lacing

Rich and malty but was expecting more hops.

Light mouth and is balanced

Easy drinking not a palate killer with the heavy malts.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2011 19:19:49 | More by RThomas436
Photo of Urbancaver
Urbancaver

Ohio

3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks Troy for this tick :)
Who would have thought this would be readily available in Florida.
Pours a dark dark brown. Almost black. Some light white head. Smells roasty but mostly non-aromatic. Tastes sweet and malty. Definitely a lager. Well carbonated. Good mouthfeel. Overall very refreshing.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2011 18:42:49 | More by Urbancaver
Photo of Viciousknishs
Viciousknishs

Virginia

4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- pours dark brown with a finger of tan head. Very good retention.

S- big bready malt with chocolate overtones. Smells like chocolate cake! Slight toasty aromas on the finish.

T- smooth milk chocolate up front with bready malts intertwined. Chocolate cake abounds! Finishes with a balancing hop character that gives it an amazing balance with a toasty quality on the finish.

MF- smooth creamy mouthfeel with a medium body and light carbonation.

D- incredibly drinkable

overall one of the best schwarzbiers I've had to date!

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2011 02:22:57 | More by Viciousknishs
Photo of falloutsnow
falloutsnow

Illinois

4.45/5  rDev +9.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2011 04:09:43 | More by falloutsnow
Photo of adam42381
adam42381

Florida

4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes at World of Beer - Fort Myers on 10/30/11.

Poured on draft into a shaker pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown with caramel highlights and a 1-2 finger creamy tan head. Nice lacing.

Smell: Sweet malt, lactose, chocolate and caramel. Smells delicious.

Taste: Chocolate with german malt and a touch of hops. Roasted malt and chocolate aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: Good drinkability. Goes down smooth.

Overall: Good beer overall. Unfortunately it didn't quite live up to the aroma, but it is definitely worth a try.

Serving type: on-tap

11-05-2011 00:29:58 | More by adam42381
Photo of mobius387
mobius387

Florida

3.83/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into a new belgium snifter

appearance: pours jet black with a small 1/2" brown bubbly head, gives it the look like its going to taste very carbonated

aroma: i dont get much here, light smells of chocolate and caramel.

palate: not as carbonated as it looks. medium bodied in mouth, flavor lasts for awhile along sides of mouth

taste: i get a roasty malt flavor with some sweet tones to it.

overall: a unique beer from a very good brewery. there is complex flavors, but its not a fill-you-up type of beer like some complex stouts. probably one of, if not the, best beers made in milwaukee. definitely a must try for those in the area

Serving type: bottle

10-28-2011 22:22:29 | More by mobius387
Photo of mariposafan
mariposafan

Wisconsin

3.8/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque chocolate brown with a half inch or so of head that persists rather nicely.

The aroma is slightly sweet and malty with a hint of good amount of roasted malts.

The flavor is very similar to the aroma - roasted malts with a bit of sweetness. A bit too much roasty bitterness for me but it's not too bad.

The mouthfeel is pleasant - medium bodied and fairly creamy.

Overall it's a nice beer, the only example I've tried of the style.

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2011 20:42:11 | More by mariposafan
Photo of weizenbob
weizenbob

Michigan

4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

There aren't enough domestic craft breweries doing lager-style beers, yet alone dark lager-style beers; so this brew has been much anticipated for me. This 16 ounce twist-off bottle was purchased at Repete's in Holland, MI. It was bottled May 13, 2011. I twisted off the cap and poured into a pint tumbler.

A standard pour (horizontal bottle, 45-degree glass) manifests a finger of mocha-tinted head atop this cola-colored lager. Head retention is not impressive but lacing coats the glass where once was beer.

The aroma displays some nice roasty chocolate malt. My nose could easily mistake it for porter.

The flavor is also very porter-like. Earthy malts lead the charge with chocolate being the obvious reference point. There is a bit of cooked veggie presence. Alcohol is very well hidden and there is no hop bitterness to speak of. The lagering gives this a nice crisp bite that I haven't experienced in any porter. Therein lies the key difference, and it is a nice touch.

In the mouth this is a deceptively full bodied beer. The carbonation level is moderate. The modest 32 IBUs pass below the radar, making Black Bavarian pretty easy drinking, even despite the full flavor. At 6% ABV the alcohol level is moderate. I like that the bottle contains a full pint but doesn't carry a premium price (it works out to about $1.50 per 12 ounce serving). Although this is a year-round release for Sprecher, it feels like a particularly appropriate choice for fall-season drinking. This is a nice change of pace from the barrage of ale-style beers that I'm drinking all year.

---

The Two-Schlitz Scale: (see my profile for an explanation)
I do give two Schlitz for Sprecher Black Bavarian. If you're fortunate to be in an area that distributes Sprecher products, this is worth tracking down.

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2011 03:17:02 | More by weizenbob
Photo of JohnnyChicago
JohnnyChicago

Illinois

3.3/5  rDev -18.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2011 12:56:46 | More by JohnnyChicago
Photo of Haybeerman
Haybeerman

Colorado

4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Deep brown/black color; mahogany highlights in the edges up to the light. Poured a 2 finger light brown head with good retention to an even skim. Laced in running patches.

S: Toasted malts; dark bread and chocolate. Faint dark-colored fruits and earthy hay.

T: Big malt flavor very consistent with the nose. A bit of a sour note gives way to a carbonation bite. Then transitions quickly to a building bitter finish with coffee notes in the background. Very interesting beer.

M: Medium body. Ample carbonation; very active on the palate ahead of the finish. Very nice balancing complement.

O: Remarkable balanced for big malt bomb. Lots of flavor, not too sweet, sharply bitter in the finish.

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2011 19:10:45 | More by Haybeerman
Black Bavarian from Sprecher Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 682 ratings.