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

716 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 716
Reviews: 447
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 10.57%
Wants: 97
Gots: 24 | 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)
View: Beers (42) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Black Bavarian Alström Bros
Ratings: 716 | Reviews: 447 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of AmberMan22
AmberMan22

Minnesota

4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a near black with ruby highlights, Head is a frothy khaki/tan that disappears a little too quickly. Lacing is nice and pretty.

The smell is a robust, toasty and smoky chocolate malt notes are readily present.

The taste really is wonderful. A smoky heaven of dark roasted malt that leaves a little lingering bitterness.

The carbonation is maybe a little too strong for my liking, but it doesn't ruin overall mouthfeel, which is medium+ bodied, and feels warm and comforting on a chilling evening.

I do love this beer, and it makes for a perfect winter sipper. Glad I'm back in WI where they have this on tap at a bunch of places. Gotta be one of my favorite beers.

Serving type: on-tap

01-31-2010 00:37:46 | More by AmberMan22
Photo of chicano4craft
chicano4craft

Colorado

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

Poured into a shaker glass out of the 16oz bottle. Black with a slight ruby tint in the light. Half inch, bubbly head that disappeared pretty fast.

Sweet roast in the nose. Not much else.

Taste was just as the aroma promised with a sweet roast. Slighlty burn after taste. Pretty standard for the style. Lots of carbonation.

I see this as a dark session beer. Not blown away, but would make for a good start of the night beer. Thanks to nappie for this one.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2010 02:28:44 | More by chicano4craft
Photo of association330
association330

Michigan

4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16 oz. bottle with no freshness date

A - Pours dark brown with ruby tinges around the edges. A pinky of mocha head quickly settles to a thin cap with a thick ring of foam. Just a few spots of lace.

S - Moderate roasted malt character, including caramel, dark chocolate, and molasses. Similar aroma to an RIS, but not as overpowering, rich, or complex - cleaner and more refreshing.

T - Clean lager malt and light hop flavor, then sweeter caramel tones, and a moderately roasty swallow with lingering bitter chocolate and slight hop notes.

M - Body feels a little too heavy. Moderate carbonation, and no astringency.

D - Pretty nice example of the style here - a dark lager with a somewhat roasty character that still maintains a highly quaffable nature that you don't usually find in darker ales. A good one for getting stout and porter drinkers to come around to lagers, or vice versa.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2010 06:19:49 | More by association330
Photo of Soonami
Soonami

Pennsylvania

4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Almost opaque brown, reddish at the edges

S- a little roasted malt like toasting bread

T - Smoky, roasty, but not overly sweet like some stouts might be. Surprisingly dry with crisp acid at the end

M- Light, clean, fresh

D- very good, not thick or overwhelming but pleasant flavorful. For me it wasn't enough to order another but I enjoyed it from the top down.

Serving type: on-tap

12-30-2009 13:34:47 | More by Soonami
Photo of drizzam
drizzam

Wisconsin

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

Poured from the big brown pint bottle into my favorite DFH clear pint glass. Love the fat pint bottles! The bottle reports a 6% ABV while BA reports a 5.86 ABV...close enough I guess.

A - Opaque dark brown body topped with a gorgeous 2 finger fluffy khaki head. Head retention was excellent and it left nice lacing down the inside of the glass.

S - Aromas of dark bitter chocolate, brown sugar and a bit of a smoky campfire aroma.

T & M - Bitter roasted malt body with that campfire smoke I smelled in the nose. I also get some of the dark chocolate I smelled as a complement to the main tastes. Medium bodied and creamy.

D - A tasty little number, and I'm proud it is locally brewed. The fact that it is locally brewed means it's CHEAP locally, which adds to its drinkability. (It certainly doesn't hurt that it is delicious either!) I would certainly recommend it to my friends.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2009 20:58:29 | More by drizzam
Photo of Natural510
Natural510

Ohio

4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Full 16oz brown bottle, no discernible freshness dating.

Pours a very dark, opaque brown color with tan head which leaves a nice coat of lacing on the glass when swirled.
Scent of caramel, dark sugar and a roasted, bitter cocoa.
Brown sugar malt, nicely roasted, with chocolate and caramel notes highlight the bulk of the flavor. A raw coffee bean kicks through as well. Hops are noticeable, but not the main feature, as it should be. Fairly chalky, bittersweet finish.
Full in body, fairly dry and bitter in finish.
Rich, heavy dark lager. Embodies all the good qualities of the style, and proof a beer doesn't require heavy amount of alcohol to be complex. This will likely be my go-to schwarzbier as Moonlight Death & Taxes is unavailable outside of Northern California.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2009 13:15:17 | More by Natural510
Photo of nickfl
nickfl

Florida

4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - One finger of medium tan head on top of an opaque black body with just a hint of dark brown highlights showing through. The foam settles quickly and leaves little lace.

S - Rich, malty aroma of toffee, caramel, and light, roasted malt. Some weak, fruity notes of cherry and plum with coffee and a hint of herbal hops.

T - Caramel and roasted malt up front with some sweet, bread and toasted malt notes. More caramel in the middle with some light noble hop flavor. Finishes sweet and smooth with darker flavors of coffee and chocolate. Lingering notes of dark chocolate with a hint of smoke.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a sweet finish.

D - This is a very drinkable black lager. The malt is rich and complex; so much so that it is almost too intense for the style, bordering on being a schwarz-bock. Nicely balanced and drinkable, with light hops but enough bitterness to keep the sweet and rich malt in check.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2009 04:07:02 | More by nickfl
Photo of will4240
will4240

Minnesota

4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this beer from a 16 oz. bottle tonight. Pours a deep black with a good off white head. The bottle says that the beer has a very good malt back bone, and it is right on in saying so! Never have I had such a full bodied lager, amazingly tastes of caramel and malt. An overall fantastic beer! So tasty and amazingly drinkable. My new favorite german style beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-30-2009 06:17:39 | More by will4240
Photo of dstc
dstc

Florida

4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours like the bottle says, "intensely dark". Big brown head falls to a minimal one. Thin lace.

Big, sweet roasted malt nose.

Big caramel malt flavor. Hints of chocolate. Bitter burnt aftertaste.

Medium bodied in the mouth, smooth with a slight bite.

Decent brew, I like it.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2009 15:07:24 | More by dstc
Photo of juhl31
juhl31

California

3.78/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

-good and dark, but the head doesnt last much at all and theres really no lacing

-smell is definitely potent, but not awesome. smells like theres some licorice in there

-dont know what to give taste. like licorice after mouth, which i dont necessarily like, but its decent

-mouth is fine, not much on the carb end

-not great for me, my mouth feels like i just took a shot of jager and in that case i wish i would have just taken a shot of jager

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2009 02:55:52 | More by juhl31
Photo of blackearth
blackearth

Minnesota

4.8/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased from the Sprecher Brewery giftshop in Glendale, WI. Pours a pitch black body with a thick tan head. Aroma of toffee, chocolate and roasted peat. Medium bodied this beer is a blast of roasted malt in your mouth with a touch of smokiness. Mild carbonation gives it a silky mouthfeel. Pleasant sweetness in the finish. This is what a dark lager should be. Terrific beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-02-2009 02:11:10 | More by blackearth
Photo of KTCamm
KTCamm

New Jersey

3.18/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap for lunch at the Horse & Plow in Kohler, Wisconsin. Served in a standard pint glass.

Pours dark black, hints of brown, with little evidence of foam or lacing.

Mild roasted coffee smell.

Taste is burnt chocolate/coffee backed by a moderate hop. Lightly carbonated in the mouth.

Average drinkability. I enjoyed the beer, but given another chance, I probably would have ventured elsewhere on the menu.

Serving type: on-tap

08-29-2009 18:18:11 | More by KTCamm
Photo of SteveS1
SteveS1

New York

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

From the bottle to a glass-
Look: Completely dark brown/red, a nice tan head, very bubbly.

Smell: Has a sweet fruity smell, cherries, a bit of hops.

Taste: Bitter woody taste at the tongue, finishes with dark fruits and licorice. Bitter aftertaste, but with perplexing sweet caramely flavors.

Feel: Lots of carbonation, but lighter than it looks.

Drink: This is a tasty black brew, but just a pint will do. Enjoy the rich flavors slowly.

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2009 02:47:22 | More by SteveS1
Photo of Wisconsin
Wisconsin

Wisconsin

4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a syrupy, black body with a half inch tan head that fades to a lace quicker than I expected.

S - Roasted malts, chocolate, toffee, caramel and a bready malt smell.

T - Dark roasted malts with a smokey flavor. There is malts, chocolate, caramel, toffee and cream flavor are all present. Very good balance in this beer.

M - Dark, smokey, roasted malts enter your mouth with a nice transition to a chocolate, caramel and creamy finish. Good carbonation keeps the beer balanced.

D - With the style in mind this is a great beer. I could have a few in a sitting.

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2009 22:45:38 | More by Wisconsin
Photo of MadTown1000
MadTown1000

Virginia

3.73/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the usual Sprecher big bulbous 16oz bottle into an imperial pint glass. Smell of thick sweet molasses out of the bottle. Pours a black that on closer inspection in the light is actually a very deep dark cherry red, with about two inches of cherry-tinted foam. The foam recedes without leaving any lace. The taste delivers on the scent - the main character is sweet caramelized malt, with a little bit of bite to it. It does have a slight charred aftertaste I'm not fond of. While the BA description of a schwarzbier suggests they're often light in flavor, this one resembles a porter more than anything else. My favorite Wisconsin dark.

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2009 04:45:42 | More by MadTown1000
Photo of Onenote81
Onenote81

North Carolina

4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wonderful extra received from fatboyjim1 in a recent trade. Thanks, Jim!

Pours a thick dark black with a big frothy tan head on top. Minimal retention leaves some lacing, but little of it. Smells of faint chocolate, fresh dark breads, hints of coffee, and slight minerals.

The mouth is smooth and creamy with just a touch of carbonation bite on the tongue. Big warming bready flavor is all over this beer. Subtle chocolate notes mixed with fresh buttered-bread and light coffee flavor makes this a wonderful drink. There is so much depth to this 'lager,' I could drink this all night. Absolutely wonderful.

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2009 17:52:06 | More by Onenote81
Photo of BeerImmediately
BeerImmediately

Pennsylvania

4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16oz bottle into O'Reilly's Stout glass. Beautiful pour - rich, tan, 2f head hangs out for a while on top of an opaque black body with burgundy edges.

Smell is pleasant - roasted malts are very apparent, coming thru as charcoal and beef brisket. Black strap molasses, with a touch of black licorice. Inviting without being overpowering.

Roastiness continues in the flavor, with a slightly acidic twang, and along with just enough hop bitterness, it keeps the powerful malt balanced.

Good, dry mouthfeel with a fair amount of carbonation. It pulls you back for more.

I give this high marks for drinkability. Might be a little fuller of flavor than most schwarzbiers, but not cloying or heavy by any means. Still keeps the lighthearted nature of the style.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2009 19:58:56 | More by BeerImmediately
Photo of sweemzander
sweemzander

Illinois

3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

16oz. bottle poured into an imperial pint. Bottled sometime in February 2009.

(A)- Pours almost pitch black with a large light brown head that slowly dissipated to a solid 1-finger. Plenty of lacing present.

(S)- Lots of roasted malt richness with a potent woody spice and afterthoughts of creaminess.

(T)- Really cream semisweet lightly roasted malts. Almost like a creamed coffee minus the sugar. Very light bitterness.

(M)- Smooth, creamy, and overall balanced; not overpowering. Good carbonation level.

(D)- My personal favorite schwarzbier. Easy to enjoy; balanced and goes down smooth. It is simple but rewarding. Even better fresh. The smell certainly waned due to its age.

Serving type: bottle

07-29-2009 01:24:51 | More by sweemzander
Photo of rfgetz
rfgetz

New Jersey

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

On tap at Prohibition Tap Room

A - Dark and stout-like. Minimal head and lacing.

S - Roasted malts, slight hint of bitter cocoa.

T - Dark roasted malts, slight notes of roasted nuts, bitter cocoa and burnt popcorn. Earthy flavors.

M - Medium bodied. Earthy feel and finish. Ample carbonation.

D - Pretty full and filling... great malt flavors and low ABVs make this a drinker

Serving type: on-tap

07-27-2009 15:04:43 | More by rfgetz
Photo of ChopperSmith
ChopperSmith

Minnesota

4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Deep black with very little light getting through when held to the sun (a slight dark ruby color detected) with a thin tan head that didn't last long and had little lacing.

Smell: Roasted barley, burnt caramel and hops.

Taste: It has a unique rye flavor to it, bready and malty yet surprisingly light for such a dark brew. Was a nice taste that I could see seeking out again in the fall or winter.

Mouth feel: Crisp, well carbonated and slightly thinner than I expected. But in a good way.

Drinkability: I could do a session with this, but probably not now in the summer. More of a fall or winter beer. It's definitely got a unique taste I could see myself craving at some time...I love rye bread and rye flavors, so I will be having this again.

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2009 01:53:17 | More by ChopperSmith
Photo of fbinla
fbinla

California

4.8/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours the darkest brown you can get before black. Light brown head, med carbonation. A dark roasted maltiness, a hint of dark chocolate, that are pretty strong but somehow the beer manages to be light on the palate. A nice bitterness compliments the sweetness with a perfect balance.

This is one of my favorite beers, dark and roasty yet it still manages to be dangerously easy to drink. Just fantastic.

Thanks to my in laws from bringing me cases from WI every time they visit.

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2009 07:02:19 | More by fbinla
Photo of yesyouam
yesyouam

New York

4.53/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sprecher Black Bavarian is a solid black lager with a fluffy brown head. Wooden spice, sweet malt and roast are in the aroma. It's medium-full bodied and incredibly smooth with a slightly astringent finish. Big, chewy roasted malt is the flavor here. It's balanced, bold and simple. The wooden spice is in the taste too. It's almost a touch tart. This is very enjoyable-- a supreme lager!

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2009 22:19:37 | More by yesyouam
Photo of Ragingbull
Ragingbull

California

4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black in color with light mocha head that quickly dissipates. Roasted malts on the nose. Clean attack that gives way to a heavy flavor of lightly roasted malts (if that isn't contradictory). Sweet towards the finish but still finishes as clean as it starts. There is a mild smokiness to the aftertaste and it leaves just a little bit of sweetness on the tongue. I must say that this is for sure my favorite of the Sprecher beers that I have tried.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2009 14:55:41 | More by Ragingbull
Photo of ClockworkOrange
ClockworkOrange

Pennsylvania

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

A stubby 16 ounce bottle poured into my nonic Imperial pint glass. Appears a clear deep chestnut brown color with about two fingers of light ecru foam. Smells and tastes of dark roasted grains, mild coffee and chocolate, caramel, earthy bitter hops. Falls somewhere between medium and full bodied for a schwarzbier and is amply carbonated as well. Certainly worth your time.

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2009 23:31:13 | More by ClockworkOrange
Photo of sliverX
sliverX

S. Georgia & S. Sandwich Isls.

4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured a very dark brown/ black with a small mocha colored head that faded to just a ring of bubbles
the smell is interesting it comes across like a burnt caramel malt, intriguing
taste is heavy coffee and dark chocolate can pick up some hop bitterness but more of a burnt bitterness than hoppiness
mouthfeel is light not like a stout or even a porter but if a "lite" version of such ever existed it would be like this
Drinkability well this is just a wonderful beer will definitely search out more in this style

Serving type: bottle

06-03-2009 00:17:31 | More by sliverX
Black Bavarian from Sprecher Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 716 ratings.