Black Bavarian - Sprecher Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Black BavarianBlack Bavarian

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BA SCORE
91
outstanding

785 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 785
Reviews: 455
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 10.57%
Wants: 111
Gots: 42 | 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: 785 | Reviews: 455 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tchaos
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 16oz bottle.

A- Pours a deep, dark brown, with red tinges. 1 1/2 finger head that is fairly persistent with little to no lacing

S- Lovely roasted coffee aroma. Sweetness and mild hops are also present.

T- Bittersweet, roasted malts on the front end. Long, lingering dark chocolate and bitter finish.

M- Smooth, medium light, with medium carbonation

D- The porter fan in me really enjoyed this. Not quite as much roasted malt or mouthfeel as a porter, but enough to trick my mind a bit. Makes me want to explore the style more, especially as Blackened Voodoo was my craft beer gateway drug almost 20 years ago.

May the schwarzbier with you...

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

black bavarian, by sprecher. code on the bottle says 110830843, which i interpret to mean brewed the 83rd day of 2011. could be wrong but this method of reading the bottles seems to correlate pretty well with perceptions of the age of the stock. anyhow, i was so distracted by the bottling codes i didn't realize this is not a dunkelweisen as i had assumed. damn.

a 3.5-4 it's dark, real dark but translucent around the edges. big whoop. short head falls quickly to a ring. no lace noticed yet. did i mention the foam is creamed coffee colored?

s 3-3.5 definitely the worst nose on a dunkelweisen i've come across. smells like lightly charred dirty lager socks. extra points added since it's not actually supposed to be a dunkelweisen. (grrr)

t 3.5-4 as this is probably like sprecher's best beer or something, i hesitate to rag it too harshly. after resisting the urge to drain pour (due to style orientation displacement) i forced myself to try to enjoy this swill. for starters, it's a tad astringent. touch of charring, spent coffee grounds. hey i bet this would actually be good with some bavarian type food. damnit no pretzels around, no hard cheese, no salami, nothing.
went on a hunt and scared up an everything bagel, homemade pickels, feta, cashews, almonds, low qual dark chocolate, smoked turkey lunchmeat-guess this sh** will have to do. hey there's some bananas, maybe i should mush em up and slip them in to turn it more into what i originally ... nah, i'll resist.

ok, well the beer is drinking a little better now that there's some side nutrition involved, but it really needs dry, sharply flavored dancing partners. the pickles and feta do the best job of standing in for something better. hmm, some good chocolate might go pretty well since this cheap crap works reasonably.

having a full 16oz bottle at hand is mostly a good thing in a situation like this. if it was a 12er i'd have dunkled it by now. i rarely write about pairing food and beer, as i rarely do pair them. most of the time i eat my meal thinking about the beer i want to have afterward, not wanting to waste it on wash-down duty, which despite all the highfallutin talk some do it often turns into. german beers though, a lot of them at least, seem to me to be about eating as much as about drinking. and once accompanied even somewhat correctly, sprecher black bavarian is going down quite nicely--with the food smoothing out just enough of its rough edges yet not silencing it too much. do they leiderhosen (sp?) in xxxl? i might need some.

m 3.5-4 dude, i just wrote like 1000 words already. the mouthfeel is fine! really, it's maybe a touch light but i think that's the style, and the carbonation doesn't have to be buttercream. here it shouldn't be, actually. the slightly abrasive bubbles work with it, helping to keep the snacks happy.

o 4-4.5 by about the 13 oz mark this became a sentimental beer for me. it makes me wander nostalgically through distant memories of my german youth, even though i have never been to germany so far as i know. it's the first sprecher beer i've tried, but probably won't be my only. drinking this stuff is not like drinking most beers, for me at least. if i ever find myself defending it, i'll have to resort to something related to my defense of listening to the grateful dead. it's not about technical virtuosity or brilliant anything, it's about the mood created and the communion with ... now how did that defense go? ah well, peace!

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

Aroma isn't too strong; has definite notes of chocolate along with some roasted character. Light, kind of silky. Not bad.

Love the pint glass bottles! Haven't seen these before from anybody else. The color of the beer is in the name.

Taste is full of dark chocolate and roasted malts but it isn't overally powerful nor rich. A bit thin. Not really sweet in the least. Small but noble bitterness is noticeable on the finish. An espresso taste lingers after the swallow.

A solid, pretty much by the book black lager here. Those who are looking for a sweeter, richer schwarzbier are going to have to look elsewhere.

Photo of TheHoppiest
4.28/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16 oz bottle into a pilsner glass. The bottle is very reminiscent of the Sprecher's root beer bottle.

Pours a dark brown, almost black, with a 1" tan head. Has a nutty, malty smell, with a mild grassiness as well.

Has a subdued nutty taste, with sweet malt and mild bitter. Smooth, slightly sweet and creamy, this is a pleasant tasting brew.

Medium bodied, this is smooth and easy drinking beer.

I'll admit that I was skeptical about this brew when I bought it, but I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality and taste of this beer. Smooth, tasty, nutty, I'd definitely have this brew again.

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

I got this beer from guyinchicago. Thanks Chuck!

16oz bottle served in a pilsner glass.

L - dark brown/black color with a tan head that left a trail of lacing behind.

S - roasted malt and a hint of dark chocolate.

T - roasted malt taste upfront leads to a bittersweet chocolate flavor finishing slightly dry making me want another sip.

F - medium bodied with mild carbonation.

O - I did enjoy this beer and would seek it out again.

Photo of Franz4
3.93/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz bottle poured into a 1/2 ltr Paulaner mug

A- pours black with very little light coming through the glass. Head starts off at 3 fingers and then fades to a thin cap within the first 2 minutes of pouring. This is what I would want a schwarzbier to look like.

S- scent is slightly bready, but also has a fresh hop presence that's pleasant, but will surprise you a bit if you're not expecting it.

T- slight caramel notes followed by a nice balance of hoppiness. Slightly bitter but not overly, actually really quite nice.

S- surprisingly light bodied (looks can be deceiving) carbonation is evident and is on the higher end.

O- Very solid brew, 1st time I had it I think I served it too cold, and it wasn't nearly as good. This is a solid, easy drinker that I'm quite impressed with.

Photo of mwilbur
4.43/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from 16 oz bottle into pilsner glass.
A: Pours a nice dark chocolate brown with 1/2 inch tan head that slowly recedes. Reddish hue with backlighting.
S: Cream, chocolate and caramel malt, licorice, and sweet clove.
T: Sweet caramel malt, clove, bananas, mild dry chocolate, and a hint of wood smoke. Very nice especially for style.
M: Smooth and oily feel. Mildly bitter bite at the finish. Light-medium body.
D: One of my favorite session beers. A subtle beauty. Brings back wonderful memories of discovering craft beer and enjoying this one from a keg on a sunny spring day for a friend's bachelor party. Awesome.

Photo of sommersb
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 oz. brown bottle, with a date code of 103421115, which I think means it was bottled on December 8, 2010. Served in a pilsener glass and drank on March 12, 2011.

A - Black beer with ruby highlights when held to the light. Head is tan, creamy and 4 fingers high. A fair amount of lacing on the glass.

S - Toasted and bready malts are featured. Smells like a dark German bread. Also hints of chocolates and some booziness, with a little sweetness as well.

T - Creamy, with dark, roasted malts. A coffee-like bitterness reminds me a bit of a porter or stout ale. There's a bittersweet taste, as well as a slight burnt character.

M - Medium body and fairly high carbonation. Aftertaste is a lingering dark malty bitterness, but is still balanced well with a little sweetness.

D - A very nice black lager. The strong roasted malt profile reminds me of a stout, however.

Photo of beagle75
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a becker glass.

A: Opaque black with dark brown showing just at the edges at first but increasing as the volume of the liquid decreases. One finger of mocha-tinted foam diminishes to a continuous residue. Scant lacing remains on the glass.

S: Slightly smoky with roasty umami. Beyond the influence of the smoke, there is also the subtle presence of unburned hardwood and an equally faint edge of carbonic acid. This beer's smell has an unfortunate similarity to bacon-flavored dog treats.

T: Begins off-dry, with dark roasted malt that starts smooth, but turns husky after a few beats, right after a slight spike of acidity. Earthiness sets in at about the same time, transitioning again into charcoal and cardboard during the dry finish. Bitterness remains restrained throughout the middle and finish, with the latter being fairly short.

M: Medium viscosity, slippery smooth on the palate, with trace amounts of carbonation.

D: Having been let down by the dark lager style before, I approached this beer with low expectations. I went away favorably impressed, finding the multi-layered complexity remarkable. Between the hints of smoke in the smell and the clean roasted flavors, this beer begs to be paired with other savory flavors. As American-brewed dark lagers go, this one is top-shelf--even better than Moonlight's Death and Taxes.

Photo of Tilley4
4.43/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A most magnificent pour of jet black topped by a thick creamy head of 3 inches of caramel foam.. Unreal looking...

Deep dark and dangerously delicious smelling... Lots of bittersweet chocolate present along with a Werther's Coffee Hard Candy aroma as well.. Magnificent...

More chocolatey goodness in the flavors here.. No wonder this is the top rated schwarzbier in the world... Its delicious and has me kicking myself for not picking up a sixer...

World class beer... Its ridiculous... Deserves the rating it has...

Photo of dbossman
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Quite black with a subtle amber tint; tan colored head, which is thick and frothy--decent retention; lacing is fantastic

S: Very bready aromas: toasty even; also a chocolate undertone; some pleasant hop aromas push through as well; a touch subdued

T: Bready with chocolate notes up front and a dry semi-sweet chocolate flavor on the back end; not very complex but this is a nice malty, bready beer

F: Creamy and thick up front but rather thin as the beer moves toward the back of the mouth; the dry quality makes the beer nearly evaporate from the beer after it is gone

D: A nice malty beer that well represents the style; one of my favorites from Sprecher

Photo of witster18
3.4/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

not much on the nose.

taste is roasty malts and a dominant fig character, with that typical sprecher sourness from the yeast(which I really don't care for).

This does have some of the same good qualities as say a sammy smith beer... the mouthfeel is fantastic and the look is ominous with lace.... a very english caskness to this for sure.... but taste-wise it's just not my cup'o'tea despite it being one of the better offerings.

May revisit, but when it comes to swarzbier I like a lighter bodied, LESS FUNKY(sour) version....

call me crazy, but if given the choice I'd take a Sam Adam's black lager over this - despite this having that 'exceptional' look and mouthfeel.

Photo of JohnQVegas
4.45/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle into Sam Smith imperial pint glass. Very happy to see these guys make their way into Tennessee.

Pours ruby brown around the edges with a deep black body, and a thin creamy light khaki head on top. Head settles into a thin, solid cap on top, with decent retention and not much in the way of lacing.

Nose is textbook Shwarzbier. Sharp, almost burnt roastiness is surprisingly smooth, clean, with an almost woody ash character to it, and just a bit of underlying richness.

Taste is the same mellow, smooth lightly-roasty acidity, with an underpinning of just a bit of baker's cocoa. Nice molasses-like sweetness really mellows this one out in a delicious way. Dry finish has just a trace of ash. Beautifully done, very satisfying in the cold winter without being as heavy or full-bodied as a porter or stout.

Mouthfeel is slick, silky, just a bit creamy. Very light, tiny bubbled carbonation provides the perfect amount of tingle. Drinkability is class-defining - delicious, balanced, and mouthfeel is just spot on. Truly a great example of one of my all-time favorite styles.

Photo of Brunite
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured into a pint glass. Beer is dark brown to black. The head was quick to disappear after a moderately aggressive pour. No lacing.

S: Very little other than a light, roasted aroma.

T: More taste than the nose was led to believe. Starts off with some sweetness from the malt and ends with some bitterness and just a touch of sour funk.

M: Thin but satisfying.

D: This is a nice drinkable brew that gives a little extra on the backside. The bitter/sour flavor is nice and lingers a bit.

O: I would definitely drink this again. As far as Schwarz's go...this is on my menu due to its reasonable price and freshness from "across the WI border". I may find another that I prefer after more tastings but this one works well for me.

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

A WI classic and definitely the best beer this brewery makes, even if it's not my favorite style.

16 oz into a snifter. Tons of head on top of a deep black body, it just keeps going and going.

Lager funk in the nose from the yeast, quite enjoyable, and deep rich malts too, I feel like I could just inhale the glass.

Super malty on the tongue but not overbalanced and not too heavy. Kind of lively and refreshing but also warming.

They nailed the style on this one, and it's a true bargain beer where I am, works out to about $1.35 for a 16 oz bottle...consider a 24 oz of some garbage like Miller will run you $1.89...seems like a no-brainer if you're looking for something cheap that actually tastes great.

Highly recommended.

Photo of TheBoss
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

poured into 0.3 L rastal

Looks as expected, black, my tasting is in a skinny glass and I still cant see through , head was small maybe less than half a finger and was a nice caramel color, decent lasing.

Smell burnt malts and some sweetness and hints of chocolate

Taste smooth, a lot thinner then expected, lingers on the tongue just enough, very very clean finish

Best schwarzbier i ever had, really enjoyed drinking this one.

Photo of JackieTH
3.38/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served by the bottle as part of Old Chicago's World Beer Tour

Appearance: Dark brown almost black with a half finger of chunky tan head.

Smell: Lightly burnt malts and molasses.

Taste: Roasted almost burnt carmel malt and black strap molasses semi-sweetness with some wood and semi-sweet chocolate giving a bitter characteristic.

Mouthfeel: Medium and a bit too fizzy.

Drinkability: It isn't something I'd seek out, but it's adequately drinkable as well as enjoyable.

Photo of Thorpe429
3.28/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks for BeerFMAndy for the bottle. Served in a pilsner glass.

The pour is near black with an initial two-finger tan had that settles down pretty quickly without leaving much lacing behind. There's just a slight film of light foam on top. Initial whiff brings some light roast and some mild, smooth chocolate.

Flavor is light chocolate and some very mild coffee. There's some light roast malt there as well in addition to a very light amount of caramel. Mouthfeel is light and airy without all that much carbonation. This finish is moderately dry. Pretty good, but nothing fantastic. Definitely not a mind-altering schwarzbier.

Photo of jpro
3.48/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a couple of these at Sam's in Durham a little while back. Poured into a dimpled mug...

A: Dark brown... not quite black - maybe they should rename it "Almost Black Bavarian"; nice mocha head that leaves some spindly lace and manages some minimal retention in the form of a ring of foam and a few patches here and there.

S: Roasted grain; chocolate; smells very sweet.

T: Some dark fruit sweetness... not what I was expecting; molasses; roasty finish; satisfying, yet not too flavorful.

M: On the lighter side of medium-bodied with some pretty high carbonation going on.

D: Satisfactory, in my opinion; nothing too crazy, yet not bad... middle of the road brew for me.

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

Poured into a Stange.

A: Deep walnut, almost black. A rocky cream cap slowly falls to a thin quilt of foam. Leaves a fair amount of lace.

S: Chocolate, molasses and a hint of burnt malt make up most of the nose. There's a light scent of lemon in the background.

T: Molasses and a burnt bitterness are out front. Some bittersweet baking chocolate is along for the ride. Finishes with a slight astringency and lingering burnt wood flavors.

M: The body is fairly heavy and has a bit too much fizz.

D: This is a nice Schwarzbier overall. It's a bit heavier than I was expecting, but its moderate strength was a nice compliment to a cold autumn day.

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.48/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I was really excited to try a fresh schwarzbier made here in the states. Unfortunately, this one did not jive with me. 16 oz bottle pours a very dark brown color with a fluffy, tan head. Retention is nice and lacing is excellent. Freshness stamp of 101611017, not sure what that means.

Nose is surprisingly light. Mild chocolate, light sweetness with a definite grain presence. Little bit of cocoa and overall is a pretty clean lager.

Taste has a fruity edge to it that doesnt seem to fit in a schwarzbier style profile. Decent roast and hop bitterness though. Malts are abundant, but not as sweet and full as I would like. A little more robust than it really needs to be and I get a bit of cooked veggies on it. Decent enough, I was just expecting to be blown away by it...I like Kostritzer and Monchoff better, even with the travel across the big pond.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.83/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Received from the bartender a simple black body topped with a slim, light beige head.

Smell: Nose smelling of roasted, grainy malts for a dull coffee-ish tone, touches of chocolate and caramel with a spoonful of sweet homemade plum jelly.

Taste: Blackened barley malt, with a slow but steady accumulating roasted grain quality to it. Sweet influences of chocolate and caramel, more prominent in the beginning. Subtle albeit continuous ripe plum fruitiness. A hint of herbs pulls in a slight, sweetness-tempering bitterness. Late touch of aniseed. Finishes fairly dry with a light, final touch of chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium-light carbonation.

Drinkability: It's a good schwarzbier tweaked with less than traditional ingredients, though I am not willing to say it is a great one.

Photo of drabmuh
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My laser like focus on the #1 beers for each style has lead me to this, Black Bavarian, the #1 Schwarzbier on beeradvocate. Another bottle from beerwolf77. Poured into my RR tulip.

Beer is dark brown to black with a weak head (even after an aggressive pour). Head breaks quickly leaving a halo of bubbles around the edge of the glass. No lacing, low carbonation.

Aroma is nearly nonexistent. Mild roast, that's about all.

Beer tastes better than it looks and smell, fortunately. Its sweet at leadoff and medium bodied. The beer is smooth and creamy with an ashy bitterness at the back of the mouth. Finishes a little dry but not too bad. Overall its a decent beer, but I don't think its my favorite schwartz.

Photo of jera1350
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep brown color with a tan head that reduces to a thin layer, yet leaves some nice lacing.

Nutty, chocolatey and earthy with a fair amount of sweetness and some roastiness.

Roasty malts with nutty and chocolate notes. Pretty deep roast with a light burnt sugar sweetness. Chocolate and coffee with a bit of bitterness in the finish.

Carbonation is right on and is mostly soft. Medium bodied with a lightly dry finish.

A very nice beer and spot on for the style. A good all around beer that drinks easily.

Photo of Bitterbill
4.55/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16oz bottle courtesy of hu5om. Thanks Ryan!

Not first encounter with Black Bavarian. It was one of the first beers that really impressed me at my first GABF.

It pours the blackest of pitch blacks with about an inch of tannish foam. Despite having an average head of foam, the lacing is good.

The smell is of chocolate and roasted malt. Some sweet notes, some bitter ones.

The taste is superb! Notes of chocolate, roasted malt, caramel, a touch of fruitiness when I swish it in my mouth, and a nice balancing light bitterness. Delicious!

Medium body, light to medium carbonation, this is an easy drinking and super good example of the style. Maybe the best US sample that I've tried.

Black Bavarian from Sprecher Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 785 ratings.