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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

767 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 767
Reviews: 454
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 10.57%
Wants: 106
Gots: 35 | 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: 767 | Reviews: 454 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ralerwen
4.12/5  rDev +1.2%

ralerwen, Sep 28, 2014
Photo of wisegreensoul
4.12/5  rDev +1.2%

wisegreensoul, May 01, 2014
Photo of warriorsoul
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A big "thanks" for the second of three offerings from onecrazymofo.
The name says it all....not a fleck of light is passing through this baby. I'd like to view it on a real sunny day and have another look...another time, another beer.
A finger of creamy, tan head. Chocolate and coffee apparent...a clean plentiful aroma to take in.
Taste is a well-balanced brew. This is my first taste of a schwarzbier and I'm liking it. A nice smoked flavor that is very subtle and lasting. I want to compare it to Atlantic's Coal Porter, but with a bit more going on.
Texture is a bit dry, but not bitter at all. Drinkability is very easy with this one....thanks again onecrazymofo....you know a good beer when you drink one.

warriorsoul, Jan 18, 2005
Photo of emerge077
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aroma of yeast esters, banana, and smoky malt all are noticeable upon opening. Halfway through, these aromas are a struggle to find.

Cascading deep tan foam slowly builds into a rich looking head of foam. Surface is convex and craggy. Slow crackling as the foam dissipates.

First taste is earthy roasted malt, with a dry, smoky, earthy hop character in the aftertaste. Very mild bitterness, a slight lactic feel. Slightly light mouthfeel, good for the style. This could be sipped or sessioned, it's pretty balanced.

If you're a big fan of Porters or lighter Stouts, try this one out...

emerge077, Apr 26, 2007
Photo of Ri0
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured 16 oz bottle into a Duvel tulip

A - Color is a very rich dark chocolate brown. Big 2 finger caramel colored head fades into a slight ring around the glass. Only a trace of lacing.

S - Nice dark and milk chocolate with caramel. The malts are roasted as to give a slight bitter coffee scent. Traces of sugars and dark fruit.

T - There is that big chocolate flavor with caramel. Followed by a roasted coffee. Some light hops and dark ripe fruit to finish it off. Very enjoyable to drink on any day, cold or warm.

M - Big rich and creamy feel. Still clean and refreshing so it is easy to drink. The body is medium light even though it looks like a stout.

O - A well crafted beer that any stout lover should try.

Ri0, Jul 07, 2012
Photo of neonbrown82
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This is the first Schwarzbier I have ever had, and it's a damn fine brew at that.

The appearance is an inky black color with absolutely no light penetration, and only a thin but extremely creamy head. Leaves little to no lacing along the glass.


The smell is quite enticing. Smells like caramelized chocolatey malt character, slightly roasty. Smells like a good brown ale with a strong herbal hop in the background. Very earthy.

The taste is also remniscient of a good brown ale: caramel and chocolate malt, only a slight bit roasty. What sets this apart, though, is the hop character. The hops are slightly herbal and grassy with very little spiciness. It is quite well blended between the malt and hop flavors.

The mouthfeel is thick and chewey, just how I like it. Leaves a residual coffee bitterness in the finish, but doesn't end too dry. A slight piney hops character can be found as well.

Drinkability is good, and ABV isn't quite out of control, but nonetheless I couldn't picture myself sessioning these. It is too rich, and is better enjoyed at a snail's pace. Pick it up if you can.

neonbrown82, Jul 13, 2005
Photo of Redrover
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16 oz brown bottle, I forgot to check for freshness dating.

The beer pours a nice black with brown highlights. A compact tan head and nice lacing add up to an attractive beer.

The nose is of slightly roasted malts, a bit of fruits and a touch of sugar. Also a bit earthy.

The taste is similar to the smell. I like how the toasted malts interact with the slightly bitter hops. The beer is sweet in the best way. Complex enough to keep you interested. The earthy taste lingers in the background and compliments the molasses taste which emerges late.

Nice brisk mouth helps off-set the beer’s slight trend towards a syrupy feel. Extremely easy drinker, a great beer to pair with hearty food or to enjoy on its own.

Well done Sprecher!

Redrover, Mar 20, 2006
Photo of Tballz420
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Almost completely opaque black body, slight brown hues when held to the light. Small brown head tops it off. Big chocholate malt scent, some slight roast to it. The main gist of this one is chocolate malts, good amount of roast to them. A touch of bitter hops in the backround. Big, creamy mouth. Not a bad drink.

Tballz420, Sep 12, 2007
Photo of therica
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Let this one warm a bit before drinking. Be patient with this one and you'll be rewarded. I would say maybe 50-55F temp on this one. The warmer it gets, the better it gets.

A= dark black. Modest head, modest tan rimming.

S= not much scent at all when first poured, so I've let it set for a while. Ahhh-- smells like a premium dark Swiss chocolate bar. Dry roasted malts begin to appear. Some light hops florals.

T= rich, very nicely balanced, good dry chocolatey malts, definitely more bold than the classic Kostritzer in flavor. Not at all watery. Modest hops florals in the mix. More dry than bitter.

M= dry chocolate, then very dry dark chocolate. Rich malts lingering. Hints of hops florals.

O= one of the best and robust Schwartz' I've ever had. Don't ruin it with food or worrying about pairings.

therica, May 13, 2011
Photo of SheepNutz
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz. bottle poured into a snifter. It pours a deep black color with two fingers of light tan head. There is just a little bit of lacing left on the glass. The smell is rich in roasted malt. There's lots of chocolate and a little touch of smoke to the nose as well. The taste is chock full of burnt malt. A bit of caramelized sugar and a sweet finish. The mouthfeel is solid and smooth. The drinkability is good as well. A big thanks to Kevin (kmpitz2) for sharing this during the UK/Arkansas game.

SheepNutz, Jan 31, 2005
Photo of evanackerman
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

beer pours black with a beige head.

aroma is pruny malt

taste is a nice combination of roasty malt with a nice acidity to balance it out and just the right touch of hops.

mouthfeel is very very smooth.

drinkability is huge, great session beer.

overall, this is a very easy-drinking and enjoyable take on the style, i love the 16 oz bottle as well. this one is a staple for me.

evanackerman, Mar 10, 2007
Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured into the glass black with a ruby highlight and a tan frothy head which rose tall and fell slowly to lace the glass.

The aroma was nutty and slightly biscuity with a chocolate and a light coffee impression. The aroma contained a light caramel and a light roasted component.

The flavor was malty with with a nice caramel maltiness coupled with a nutty and bready impression. Chocolate and coffee melded together in the lager beer for a very nice combination.

The finish was dry with a lasting chocolate and coffee flavor into the afteraste and beyond. The body was medium and well done. Very nice schwarzbier...highly drinkable with the dry finish.

16 ounce bottle. Thanks MABZ!

GCBrewingCo, Jul 26, 2005
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
Black Bavarian from Sprecher Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 767 ratings.