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Black Bavarian - Sprecher Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Black BavarianBlack Bavarian

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

754 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 754
Reviews: 454
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 10.57%
Wants: 103
Gots: 34 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 754 | Reviews: 454 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BeerImmediately
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.

BeerImmediately, Aug 02, 2009
Photo of beer2day
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up at Brusin Ales in Asheville.

Surprisingly black pour with just a hint of red. Thick, velvety 2-finger dark cream head. Excellent retention and very thick lace.

Nose is lightly roasted malt, weak coffee, weaker vanilla. Faint spiciness with nutmeg. Fairly complex.

Bitter, dry chocoloate hit. Dark roast coffee comes in towards the back end. Nice hoppy finish with tart, dry figs. Very nice.

Feel is right on for the style, but does not match the complex taste and nose for me.

At 6%, this is a highly sessionable drinker.

beer2day, Aug 28, 2010
Photo of chinchill
4.14/5  rDev +1.7%
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}

chinchill, Aug 19, 2011
Photo of Beric
4.14/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Serving: Bottle into pilsner
Served: 2 August 2014

Appearance: Pours a deep brown-red color- almost black but you can definitely see the hints of deep copper red color at the bottom of the glass and around the edges. Pours with a two finger light-brown head that sticks around. Magnificent lacing.

Smell: Fresh and clean, crisp like you'd expect, with a soft assertion of roasted notes.

Taste: Really a great beer. Soft notes of dark chocolate and French-roast coffee on a medium-light body that softens the roasted notes. I really like the softening here- it maintains a lot of the roasted malt flavors without sacrificing body or flavor too much, unlike many common light, Irish dry stouts.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation makes this one somewhat silky on the tongue, but still with a nice hit of carbonation overall.

Overall: A marvelous beer- light in body and soft in flavor, but still immensely flavorful. Paired excellently with my slow-smoked ribs. A great beer and one that I would highly recommend. Could be a great beer as a soft introduction to roasted malt beers.

Beric, Aug 04, 2014
Photo of schanker21
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a virtually opaque, very dark brown which looks black when it's not held up to the light. Small tan head doesn't last long. Not a whole lot in the nose. I mean, it smells like beer, but that's about it. I can't detect a whole lot in the smell. The nose is misleading though, because the taste is pretty huge. I taste caramel, as well as a roasted, smoky taste. This is an excellent Schwarzbier. Not quite as smooth as some of the others I've had, but excellent nonetheless.

schanker21, Jul 25, 2008
Photo of Viggo
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased in a Sprecher variety pack.

Pours a clear dark red, almost black, hard to see through, big thick tan head forms, drops down leaving lots of lace, solid layer. Smell is sweet and fruity, some anise, caramel, touch of chocolate, iron, cherries, bit of maple, not bad. Taste is nice, iron, caramel, light roast, fruits, rich chocolate in the finish, some licorice and solid roasty bitterness. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with medium carbonation, pretty smooth. Solid Shwarzbier, best Sprecher I've had.

Viggo, Nov 25, 2007
Photo of schoolboy
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one kind of took me by surprise. My initial thought was how chocolatey this was. It's perfectly dark. And strong enough.

To be truer to the style, it could have a more hoppy taste and more malt too, but I like it just fiine the way it is and I would buy it again.

I have to go back and look at the bottle too. I think they are an odd size - more than 12 OZ. My glass overfloweth.

Good one.

schoolboy, Jan 16, 2009
Photo of farrago
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

You get three fingers of dark tan foam with a center glass pour, moderate density with nice retention, leaves a few thick streaks of lacing. Pure black liquid, a thin aura of orange at the rims and glass bottom. Good deal of smokiness to the nose, sharp but not acrid, furnishes coffee, dark chocolate, mocha, coconut flakes first, slowly blends in licorice, white grape, apple, pear fruit and a glance of burnt grill fat, basic country style white bread, brazil nuts, subtle length. Full-bodied, foams up during the mouth entry but recedes swiftly enough to let its full weight soak in. Pleasing bitterness, the hoppy grassiness and grains play well with the resonant smokiness, more of that mocha and cocoa dust, coffee bean, grilled nuts and vanilla powder, mouth palate coverage. The pork rind and meat fat persists, a nice bonus. Sufficient sweetness to boost drinkability, the fruit more muted and indistinguishable here, close to no citrus presence. Hard to get the residue out of your mouth, takes more than a glass of water.

farrago, Sep 21, 2010
Photo of Oxymoron
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Once you go black. Pours a black color with red highlights around the edge. Good clarity from what I could see. A good pour provided a thick head but did dissipate over time. Lacing was good through out.

The nose is pretty close to style. A light malt aroma with just a hint of roast. Very clean with just an inkling of Munich in the backend. Some lighter toffee notes. Some hints of a yeasty undertone, overall very nice.

The taste is similar with a light malt flavor. Very smooth with an almost lactic flavor. The roast comes out a bit more but nothing over the top. More of a burnt which is offsetting, could use more of a chocolate finish. Some lighter noble hop flavors but mostly in the finish.

The body is creamy and lightly carbonated. A nice smooth texture. Overall this a great example of a Schwartz.

Oxymoron, Apr 07, 2008
Photo of CharlesRiver
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I popped the cap and there was no sound at all. I was a bit nervous about the carbonation but it turned out ok. Pours out a very dark brown color with a tan head that is kind of small. Sweet caramel and roasted malt come out in the smell. The first thing you notice in the taste is the smokey notes. It then turns more sweet like caramel and chocolate. Very smooth and well balanced. The smoked flavor is not too overpowering which is something I hate. This is perfect. If you are nervous about trying a beer that has smoked flavor, this is a good starting point.

CharlesRiver, Jul 31, 2004
Photo of botham
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours black without much weight for its color. small, light brown head that dissipates quickly. good looking brew.

smell is roasty with hints of chocolate and caramel. embodies just what a good schwarzbier should be.

taste is little different from the smell. good balance of roastiness and chocolate. the alcohol is very well masked, only slightly coming through as the beer warms a bit.

mouthfeel is light for a beer this dark, true to a good schwarzbier. goes down very smooth with a good aftertaste of the same roastiness and a bit of caramel.

drinkability is good. i could see myself drinking a few of these in a night. it is not too filling, and leaves a good aftertaste behind.

overall this is a great schwarzbier. definitely one of Sprechers better brews. try it in a snifter, the scent of this one is wonderful!

botham, Jun 01, 2007
Photo of deereless
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Thin layer of head, dark coffee in color, no noticeable lacing - 3.50, S: I know it's not your typical aromas but I'm getting a good deal of smoke and jerky, charred coffee and burnt sugar, mildly sweet aroma in a dark molasses way - 4.00, D: Like the nose there is a good amount of smoke on the palate, heavy on the coffee and dark bitter chocolate, mild hop bite as well as some earthy hops, mostly toasty rather than sweet malts - 4.50, M: Medium body and slick mouth feel - 3.50, D: All around a very enjoyable and drinkable beer - 4.00

deereless, Aug 12, 2010
Photo of mynie
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Solid Schwarz pour. Very dark red with a retentive, offwhite head.

Smells very light for the style with some deep, very fruity nodes and little hint hint of chocolate malt or anything toasted. I'd almost think it was a little stale, if I hadn't bought it right at the brewery less than two weeks ago. Still, it's a nice aroma. The fruit nodes and solid and pleasant. Just not as complex or intense as I was hoping.

Tastes just as complex and intense as I was hoping, I'm happy to say.

The balance leaves you with a beer that's at once complex and hugely drinkable. Starts out with very ripe fruit, super sweet, and balancing that out you have a more mundane, caramely sweetness. This then falls back into a more traditionally Schwarzy middle of dark roasted chocolate malt, earthen and bitter. The end is dry and bitter.

mynie, Aug 12, 2008
Photo of ChopperSmith
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.

ChopperSmith, Jul 20, 2009
Photo of IBUnit63
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to flyingbison for this Black Dog...

Excellent compact rye bread head with nice lacing - deep and dark licorice body.

Well-roasted chocolate malt and a little yeast. Not a whole lot of hops just yet. Nice smoke aroma emerges with a little warmth.

Bountiful malt presence combines with such a creaminess to be almost stout-like. Very clean but powerful. Nice! One of the best tasting of the style that I've sampled.

Charred burnt malt is pleasant in mouthfeel - there's a sharp while earthy aftertaste on the palate.

Very nice to drink - I wish we could get more of this around here.

IBUnit63, Apr 27, 2008
Photo of TastyTaste
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The label doesn't lie, all black body, tan well-lingering head. Smell is of bitter chocolate malt, the overall malt smell is dominating and rich. Taste is also extremely malty. Very bitter and rich chcolate flavors. Body is fairly thin for the beer, but this is still a good brew.

TastyTaste, Nov 15, 2004
Photo of jreitman
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Rich dark cherry in color with a rather good sized dark brown head. Roasted malts dominate the nose. Flavors range from a subtle chocolate to a moderate roastedness. Observed a light-moderate nuttiness that seemed to fade as it warmed. Smokey flavors underscore everything and hurt the drinkability for me. A fine brew that I wouldn't have had the opportunity to try if it weren't for cokes.

jreitman, Feb 14, 2003
Photo of Sixpack595
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wow, I can't wait to get some more! Head is solid, but thin and dissipates fairly quickly. Color is a deep red appearing black untill held up to the lights. Very drinkable, with strong chocolate and coffee flavors. New to this style of beer, and getting over a head cold...can't wait to see what else is hiding in that bottle.

Sixpack595, Dec 17, 2002
Photo of shirfan
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Not quite black but incredibly dark brown. Good layer of light tan foam.

Taste: Spot-on schwarzbier. Mild caramel with some rich cocoa and faint coffee notes thrown in. Understated, leafy hops in the finish are there if you take notice, but smooth, dark, drinkable malt is the name of the game here. Perfect balance between sweet and dry, as well as between heavy and light.

Drinkability: HUGE. Incredible. As quaffable as a cold iced tea on a hot day. This beer does not beg another sip, it seductively demands one. Velvet smooth.

shirfan, Sep 05, 2008
Photo of BrownAleMale
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap poured into a Sprecher Mug.

Appearance- Very dark brown with a finger of kakhi head that dissipates into about a third finger all the way to the bottom leaving light lacing.

Smell- Molasses and chocolate. Not strong smells here but it is on tap so it's expected.

Taste- Lots of molasses and coco with some twinges of dark fruit and citrus hops.

Mouthfeel- A little light here but make for a very drinkable Schwarzbier. The carbonation and hop finish work well here.

Overall- Great drinkable German dark beer and the best beer from Sprecher.

BrownAleMale, Sep 05, 2012
Photo of Fcolle2
4.19/5  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.

Fcolle2, Aug 29, 2013
Photo of Golden2wenty1
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass from a 16 oz. bottle at Wilson's Bar and Grill on Atwood Ave here in Madison. My first review of a german beer and first schwarzbier as well.

I've never seen such a dark lager before, pours porter black with a decent creamy tan head that fades to a spotty coating. Nose is subtle, slightly hoppy lager smell, with faint chocolate/coffee malts at the tail end. Taste follows suit, bitter chocolately malts balanced out by mild hops with some dark fruity notes. Mouthfeel is a little on the thin side, but its decent carbonation makes it refreshing on a summer day like today which is bordering 100 degrees. Gotta love Wisconsin summers. A pleasant surprise from Sprecher here. Their Special Amber was pretty good as well, but as a dark beer man, I enjoyed this one considerably more. Give it a try.

Golden2wenty1, Jul 24, 2005
Photo of bluemoonswoon
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16oz pint twist off bottle (boohoo) poured into pint glass.

A: Pitch black, even when held up to the light I cannot see through this beer. They weren't kidding when they daid Black Bavarian Style. The 1.5 inch brown bubbly head fades into a ring with minimal lacing down the glass.

S: Woo this is a tasty smelling beercarmalized sugar in a cafe mocha is what this beer reminds me. It doesn't even smell like a beer, but I suppose that is a subjective statement. Just a nice and sweet malted smeel. Good, good good.

T/MF: Feels initally slick and smooth on the tongue then the bitterness, not unlike coffee, opens up soon after and bites the tongue through the finish leaving a prickly feeling all over. Initially tastes of candied plums then the chocolate and coffee characters come in and form a nice balance of sweet and bitter.

D: Was a little bitter on the back end but maybe that's because I was eating pickels before trying this beer. Very tasty and drinkable dark beer, fits well any time of year.

bluemoonswoon, Aug 05, 2007
Photo of 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.

Wisconsin, Aug 19, 2009
Photo of turkob
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A; Tan head, leaves plenty of lace on the glass. A nice rich black color with a little red if you look real close.

S: Kind of small. I pick up a little dark chocolate and coffee, but not a whole lot going on.

T: Nice rich flavors. More dark chocolate with a hint of sweetness, but not much. Roasted but not burnt.

M: Good carbonation. Pretty full-bodied.

O: If it had a richer nose, it'd be exceptional. Still plenty of nice roasted flavor that's in balance with the beer. I like the touch of sweetness that makes this very drinkable.

turkob, May 20, 2010
Black Bavarian from Sprecher Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 754 ratings.