Black Bavarian | Sprecher Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
91
outstanding
468 Reviews
BEER STATS
Reviews:
468
Ratings:
886
Avg:
4.07
pDev:
14.74%
 
 
Wants:
124
Gots:
88
For Trade:
0
Black BavarianBlack Bavarian
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Sprecher Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States | website

Style: Schwarzbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.86%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Bronze Medal Winner in the European Darks category at the 1988 Great American Beer Festival (GABF).

Added by xlperro on 04-23-1998

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 468 | Ratings: 886
Photo of vande
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
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...

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Photo of GeezLynn
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

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Photo of Jammies
3.99/5  rDev -2%
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.

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Photo of RThomas436
3.93/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

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Photo of Urbancaver
3.97/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

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Photo of Viciousknishs
4.12/5  rDev +1.2%
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!

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Photo of falloutsnow
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.

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Photo of adam42381
4.12/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

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Photo of mobius387
3.79/5  rDev -6.9%
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

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Photo of mariposafan
3.83/5  rDev -5.9%
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.

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Photo of weizenbob
4.07/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of JohnnyChicago
3.33/5  rDev -18.2%
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.

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Photo of Haybeerman
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.

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Photo of anglagard1
3.74/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pilsner glass per Beer Advocate directions.
Still getting used to the style, as it looks and smells like a porter or stout. The smell especially reminds me of a quality porter, with rich cocoa/coffee aroma, with perhaps a slight medicinal/bandaid to it. It is in the taste and mouthfeel that I recognize this is a lager; there is nothing that especially makes me want to keep this on the tongue, nor am I reluctant to drink it in gulps. It's a good beer but I'd be hard pressed to find the right occassion for it. Perhaps if you're in the mood for a dark beer on a warm summer night.

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Photo of yankeej13
3.45/5  rDev -15.2%
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!

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a 1 inch foamy tan head that settles to a film on the top of the beer. Small streaks of lace dot the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, molasses, and burnt sugar aromas. Taste is of dark roasted malt, campfire smoke, and some molasses flavors. A very mild roasty bitterness quickly fades after each sip. A good level of carbonation makes for a crisp and smooth mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good schwarzbier with some nice roasty qualities. I am glad I picked one of these up.

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

Sprecher : Black Bavarian

Pours a nice dark blackish brown color, light brown head forms over an inch. Aroma of roasted malts, bready, and alittle floral. In the taste, classic schwarzbier, black malts, dusty cocoa, and a moderate level of bitterness. Very nice roasted malt flavor, mimicking porter and coffee flavors. Easy drinking, dark, roasted brew. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a nice richness. Overall, this is an impressive schwarzbier. Sprecher does German styles better than most.

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Photo of chinchill
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

16 oz bottle served in a pint glass.

A - Dark black with ruby/mahogany highlights only seen when back-lit. Has a thick tan head that soon settles to a lasting ring and partial coat.

S - Dark baked bread and roasted malts with some earthiness and hints of dark fruits and chocolate.

T - Roasted malts dominate in a flavor that could almost be a porter. Not only considerably less sweet than a typical Schwarzbier, but more bitter than sweet. The bitterness is still mild even though there's a clear coffee note in the finish. In one aged bottle, there was an unusual but not particularly objectionable hint of red wine. Both finish and aftertaste provide rich and dark-roasted grain flavor.

M - very smooth and creamy, with a semi-dry finish and a medium-full body. Very good carbonation level.

O - Overall, this is an exceptional black beer that is notably less sweet a more hoppy than a classic Schwarzbier. Well crafted with plenty of rich roasted malt flavor. Be sure to let this warm up a bit if coming from standard refrigeration.

{some revision done with tastings on May 2012 & Feb. 2013}

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Photo of Pintofbrown
3.55/5  rDev -12.8%
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.

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Photo of Lemke10
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I bought a single bottle of this from Woodman's in Janesville, WI for $1.79 in early 2011.

Pours a very dark brown/black color with a long lasting head of light brown foam. Scent is interesting with a mixture of malts with hints of cocoa and coffee. Taste is very robust with roasted and carmel malts, little bit of cocoa, and a little bit of a nutty aftertaste. Has a very nice texture and the taste lasts well after the swallow. Erupts the taste buds very nicely. Makes for a very good slowing drinking beer as it's not something you should consider chugging down.

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

Very dark brown with a glint of red. Roasted malt is the big flavor. Dark, almost burned caramel, but no hint of the sourish charcoal flavors of some stouts. Slightly sweet but well balanced with a touch of hops. Toasty aftertaste. Large head in the glass with nice carbonation in the mouthfeel. Light body with lots of flavor.

Good example of the style. Really drinkable and a great beer if you're in the mood for a dark one.

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

Probably one of the first micro-brewed beers I ever tried, back around 1985. Never reviewed it, had a taste for it, here goes.

A -- Deep, dark black (coincidence?) with ruby highlights only seen with a flashlight, and a thick head that starts with some darker highlights as poured, but settles on tan.

S -- Bready and mildly roasted malts, some light, clay-like earthiness.

T -- Roasted malts right up front. Very Stout/Porter-like in its flavor, but none of the top-fermented esters. Coffee notes and that earthy character, but no sweetness from the malt. All very roasty-bitter with a touch of crisp hop bitterness in the finish and some lightly sweet dark fruit and licorice in the aftertaste.

M -- Smooth, on the verge of syrupy, mouthfeel and a medium to light-heavy body.

O -- Overall, this is a very pleasant dark beer if you're looking for that typical roasted malt hit. But I wish there was just a slight bit more sweetness and smoothness you get from a classic Schwarzbier.

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

Pours a deep dark brown almost black with a small amount of light getting through. It has a 2-3 finger tan head that stays and leaves some decent lacing.
The smell. You get roastiness right off the bat with some dark followed up with a slight caramel. Good smelling brew.
The taste is roastiness and chocolate, it has some caramel and nuttiness to it.
Your mind tricks you A's you taste it because your thinking this is going to be thick based on the flavors. But because it is a lager it has a surprising lightness and creaminess to it.
Overall this is a really good beer that has a high drinkability, good stuff.

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

Poured into a shaker pint. Pours a deep black. Thinner consistency than other stout type beers. Thin tan head. Some lacing.

Aroma is nice and roasty. Bit of caramel but with that dry lager aroma which is unique to this beer.

Taste is similar. Mostly roasty but slight bit of caramel. Bit of lager taste. Bitter roast left on your tongue in the finish.

Mouthfeel is a little thin for my taste but not bad. Nice carb.

Overall a decent beer. Would have it again for sure.

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Photo of DabblinWiscCraft
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A coffee bean black color in the glass, with a very thin head that dissipates quickly but has decent cling. The nose presents toasted malt at the fore with subtle vinegar, mild nuttiness, and slight molasses, as well. I was a little disappointed that the smell wasn't stronger. It has a very prominent coffee flavor with hints of cocoa and lots of toasted malts. If I didn't know any better, I might've thought this was the latest Starbucks beverage. There is some sourness and acidity to the close that actually serves to balance the flavor quite nicely. A mid- to full-bodied mouthfeel with a slight syrup quality, but it does finish very clean.

A very nice dark German lager, with great toasted malt and coffee notes. Goes down very easy and does not overwhelm, despite its pronounced malt flavor and complexity. Definitely worth repeated pours.

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Black Bavarian from Sprecher Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 468 ratings.