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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

725 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 725
Reviews: 448
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 10.57%
Wants: 98
Gots: 26 | 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)
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Ratings: 725 | Reviews: 448 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JerzDevl2000
JerzDevl2000

New Jersey

3.5/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up recently at Whole Foods on Houston St. since it was reasonably priced and I hadn't tried this before. I haven't had very many Schwarzbiers before so it was a chance to branch out a bit as well. When I saw the review on here, I was quite surprised at how highly rated this was. While this wasn't a bad beer, it was not as thick or as flavorful as I had hoped it would be!

Of course, this poured a very dark brown but there wasn't much of any head or lacing to be seen, even after I had to wait since the larger bottle couldn't be poured into my pint glass all at once. The taste was that of licorice, some darker plum-like fruits, and a faint hint of chocolate. This reminded me a bit of Newcastle but not as "brown". It was pretty malty and went down easily, but I expected this to have just a bit more staying power.

This isn't a very strong beer and I hardly felt the alcohol when I was drinking it. Sure, it has a nice mellow roasted feel to it, but I guess that a German-style beer would be a bit more bold. I probably need to try out more from this style, since the range is probably a lot greater than the few that I've had would indicate. This would certainly fit the bill for a session-like winter beer for the novice drinker...

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2010 00:07:33 | More by JerzDevl2000
Photo of MrMcGibblets
MrMcGibblets

Illinois

4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: ummm, black. some dark brown around the edges when held to the light. minimal light brown head with decent lacing.

S: dark chocolate, espresso, molasses.

T: light/medium dark sweet malts, chocolatey and roasty, maybe some dark dried fruit underneath. finishes almost dry with an underlying smooth roastiness/bitterness. very tasty. flavorful yet almost crisp on the end.

M: light to medium in body and perfectly carbonated (for me, meaning not too little in this case). frothy and moreish.

D: great flavor but not overwhelming, well balanced. also a great value. this is a beer i could have a few of without tiring of it. also the abv is low compared to many craft offerings, another bonus for me in this category.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2010 16:52:24 | More by MrMcGibblets
Photo of philbe311
philbe311

Pennsylvania

3.5/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - The thinnest of fizzy light brown colored heads displays no retention to speak, you'll miss it if you blink... All that remains is a minimal splotchy lacing with a slightly ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass... Completely opaque muted black color... Very still...

S - Mild... Equal parts roasted malt and coffee... Touches of caramel and chocolate... Slightly grainy...

T - Burnt roasted malt to start... Hints of chocolate, coffee, and caramel... A mix of subtle hoppiness and ferocious roasted malts dominate the aftertaste and linger for quite a while...

M - A slightly burnt chalky texture... Medium bodied... Heavy... Biting carbonation... Even and consistent...

D - Being a fan of Schwarzbiers, I was rather disappointed with this offering given many of the reviews I've read... Average for the style at best... Nothing memorable... Really lacking in terms of complexities in all facets that I expect from top notch Schwarzbiers...

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2010 02:34:58 | More by philbe311
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
Beerandraiderfan

Nevada

3.8/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another enjoyable effort from Sprecher. Looks like a good black beer. I really dunno what a "schwarzbier" is, but this seems like it may be a lager. The aroma and taste have a fruity yeast feel to it. Surprising hop character for something this dark and Midwest. Sprecher always seems to exceed expectations.

Mouthfeel, a little thin, but doesn't devolve into something I don't like. Pretty drinkable, not too challenging, enjoyable and reasonably priced.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2010 23:41:19 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of katan
katan

Colorado

4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz into a pint

A - Pours black, 100% opaque. Nothing is visible, so I assume its cleanly filtered. Head formation is very strong, about a 1/2". Well retained - brown colored.

S - Very subdued nose. Almost non-existent. A hint of roasting is there.

T - Starts off with a light malt flavor, some light roasting and burnt notes. Some pils malts are present. Mid-stream gets more astringent, but not overly bitter. Finishes with a potent roasted barley, chocolately as well.

M - Creamy and smooth, but also leaves behind a carbonation bite that is slightly stinging.

D - Easy drinking. Deceivingly strong abv. Not filling.

An interesting combination of strong burnt and light malty flavors.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2010 23:21:18 | More by katan
Photo of weatherdog
weatherdog

Illinois

4.47/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

16oz bottle poured into an oversized wine glass

It pours a dark dark brown almost black with a small 1 finger head that dies to a small perimeter of bubbles around the glass.

Dark chocolate malt dominated the smell. There is also a heavy residual sweetness attached similar to an RIS.

The taste has a lot of coffee undertones but then it gets into this heavy chocolate/ caramel malts. Once again I can't help but comparing this to a lagered RIS. There is a large back end sweetness like an RIS but it finishes amazingly dry and crisp which is where the lager characteristic shines through. Its really an interesting taste and I'm enjoying the familiar rich RIS taste with a lager finish; very enjoyable

The mouthfeel is full bodied and rich but my the carbonation is too high for the richness and distracts from the taste. The weird thing is this drinks very similar to 8-10%ABV RIS with all the richness but is less than 6%. Usually it is the other way around. What this means to me is although I am sipping this in a pace similar to an RIS I was able to have three 16oz. bottles in one night without feeling full or drunk which was a huge plus.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2010 17:57:15 | More by weatherdog
Photo of Strix
Strix

Wisconsin

4.58/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours very dark, brown-red at the edges, good initial head.

Smell very malty and bready with roasted notes, caramel and chocolate.

Delicious roasted malt, fresh bread, chocolate, caramel, toffee, nuts, and a bit of floral hop towards the finish that finishes it off with a flourish. Very flavorful.

Medium mouthfeel and carbonation.

This was fantastic!

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2010 04:58:00 | More by Strix
Photo of alleykatking
alleykatking

Indiana

3.63/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 16oz bottle.

A- Pours a black color but shows some red hues when held to the light. One finger brownish tan head comes up and dies slowly. No real lacing left behind on the glass as I'm drinking.

S- Good roasted malts in the front end of this beer. Light hints of chocolate and something a little more sweet like molasses in the middle of the nose. There is some light grassy hops I can pick out very faintly in the background of this beer. Reminds me of the start of a wonderful RIS.

T- Nice lighter roasted malts in the front end of this beer. There is a nice lager taste in the middle of the beer with a added sweetness. I don't know how else to describe it. Light hops in the backend of this beer.

M- Medium heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation was a little lacking and makes this beer more heavy than it should be. Malts dominate everything from the palate to the aftertaste.

D- This beer is good....not great but good. I wouldn't mind have a couple pints of this and then move onto something a little more....less heavy feeling.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2010 04:54:13 | More by alleykatking
Photo of amccormi
amccormi

Pennsylvania

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

Poured 16oz bottle into a 16 ounce pint glass. Black with a hint of ruby at edge of the glass with one finger of tan head on top. Head reduces slowly to a nice mossy covering leaving minimal lacing.

The aroma is dark and roasty with a little bit of grassy hops coming through. Tastes ofroasted and chocolate malt, a slightly bitter and nutty. Finishes with a crisp note of floral hops and slowly fading bitter chocolate flavor.

It is crisp and light as a lager should be and goes down very smooth. A bit higher in carbonation than expected, but not unpleasantly.

I could drink the whole four pack.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2010 02:02:30 | More by amccormi
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
Black Bavarian from Sprecher Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 725 ratings.