1. Extreme Beer Fest tickets go on sale Sat, Sep 27 @ Noon EDT.
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Black Bavarian - Sprecher Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Black BavarianBlack Bavarian

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

755 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 755
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Black Bavarian Alström Bros
Ratings: 755 | Reviews: 454 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of afsdan
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%

afsdan, May 22, 2014
Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 ounce bottle into imperial pint glass, bottled 3/29/2012. Pours crystal clear extremely dark reddish brown color with a nice 1-2 finger fairly dense khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty foamy lacing clings down the glass. Aromas of chocolate, caramel, roasted malt, molasses, toffee, raisin, toast, nuttiness, and light herbal. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity. Taste of chocolate, caramel, toast, toffee, molasses, raisin, roasted malt, nuttiness, light coffee, biscuit, earthiness, and herbal spiciness. Light herbal bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of chocolate, toffee, molasses, roasted malt, toast, raisin, nuttiness, and herbal on the finish for a good bit. Nice balance and complexity of flavors; nicely robust with zero cloying after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a creamy and lightly slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a very nice schwarzbier! Nicely robust with good balance and complexity of flavors; very smooth to drink. Really enjoyed this one.

superspak, Dec 09, 2012
Photo of Wasatch
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to brdc for this brew.

Pours a nice dark black color, nice carbonation, nice little creamy tannish head, which leaves some nice sticky lacing behind. The nose is malty, very nice tones of toffee/chocolate/caramel. The taste is malty, big on toffee/chocolate/caramel. Medium body. Drinkable, this is a pretty tasty Schwarzbier.

Wasatch, Apr 05, 2008
Photo of Huhzubendah
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer has a near black body with a soft, creamy, khaki colored head. The aroma brings dark chocolates, roast, charred malt, a bit of dark fruits, bread. Nice flavor. Easy to drink. Light to medium in body with moderate carbonation. A touch of molasses in the flavor as well. A solid example of the style. I would drink this again.

Huhzubendah, May 05, 2013
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.

Stinkypuss, Aug 29, 2011
Photo of Gonzoillini
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Gonzoillini, Feb 20, 2014
Photo of ppoitras
4.47/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

16ozer bottle from prepackaged mixed 8-pack from Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2 inch tall latte-hued head which quickly faded to a small layer of foam. Very dark in color, yet still the slightest of translucency in this brew. Heavy malt nose, with coffee and burnt amlts predominant. Excellent malty flavor, with undertones of coffee, yet smooth like silk. Drinkability is superb, an excellent offering from Sprecher, my definite favorite of the 8-pack.

ppoitras, Mar 13, 2004
Photo of BillRoth
4/5  rDev -1.7%

BillRoth, Dec 15, 2013
Photo of brandoman63
4/5  rDev -1.7%

brandoman63, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of biegaman
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16 oz bottle, ABV listed as 6.0%

Black Bavarian is indeed black in colour, although some chestnut highlights were observed off the pour and are still believed to reside somewhere underneath that thin, chalky head. Though dark as midnight the beer does not look, for whatever reason, the least bit intimidating...

The aroma is indulgent and decadent enough to be downright sinful. Rich and roasty, it boasts notes of bitter cocoa and coffee, sweet chocolate mousse and creamy chocolate truffles, brown sugar, molasses, soy and an underlying garden of hops.

The mouthfeel is unbelievably silky! It curiously somehow captures the flavour of 'roast' without imparting hardly any coarse, smoky, scratchy, or astringent roast qualities. In fact, the beer would have almost no texture at all less for the leafy, vinous bitterness that rings out after each sip.

Indeed, everything about this taste profile is bittersweet; it can just as closely resemble a chocolate and caramel fondue as it can smoked wood and espresso. There's also pine sap and citrus notes courtesy of our little green friends. Some anise-like flavour too.

I vividly remember first trying Sprecher Black Bavarian. It took one sip for me to deem it the best Schwarzbier I had tried to date. Admittedly, I didn't know much about the style back then. But having gained a lot more experience since, I still think it's probably one of the best there is.

biegaman, Jun 20, 2008
Photo of plaid75
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep black hue with a one finger frothy tan head. There was very good retention and lacing.

The smell featured burnt malts with hints of charcoal.

The taste consisted of a robust burnt grain with a dry coffee and some smokiness.

The mouthfeel was toward the fuller side for the style and dry.

Overall a very tasty schwarzbier and representative of the style.

plaid75, Mar 12, 2008
Photo of Latarnik
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Latarnik, May 26, 2014
Photo of sendbeer
2.75/5  rDev -32.4%

sendbeer, Feb 06, 2013
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 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 Bighuge
4.8/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer seems black and has a small tan head that is gone within seconds. This is a beer that you can seemingly smell the thickness. Great malty, toasty, roasty bitter aromas. What a creamy mouthfeel. Feels like velvet as it rolls across the tongue. Great complexity to this brew. There aren't any overbearing tastes, but many underlying ones that mesh well together: coffee, roast malt, biscuit, mocha and toffee to name a few. I just love the taste of this beer. It has been one of my reliables ever since I tried it about 5 years ago. There aren't too many Schwarzbiers available these days, but I'd guess it'd be hard to improve much on this one.

Bighuge, Apr 08, 2002
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
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.

Beerandraiderfan, Feb 27, 2010
Photo of harpus
4/5  rDev -1.7%

harpus, Aug 27, 2014
Photo of Derek
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Black with a medium tan head, some retention, light lacing.

S: Big malty aroma (bread & cola) with a touch of roasted grain and hop spicing.

T: Bready & roasted grain with subtle hints of coffee & molasses. Modest bitterness with light grassy-spicyness from the hops.

M: Moderate body is smooth & creamy, with a somewhat dry finish.

D: I'm generally not a fan of Schwarzbier, but this one is quite drinkable.

Derek, Apr 13, 2008
Photo of Gusler
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The color a deep incarnadine with a resplendent head that is a winsome light tan, the texture that of whipped cream and as it disintegrates a glutinous sheet of lace welds itself to the glass. Nose is deeply malt with hints of toasted grain, somewhat sweet a real treat to the senses. The start is malt-laden and ambrosial with the top intermediate in its feel to the palate. Finish is prickly in its acidity, the hops purposeful in their spiciness, quite dry and lingering aftertaste. A real treat for me as its been years since I’ve had a beer from this magnificent brewery, my thanks go to tavernjef for this bottle “gracias tanto mi amigo”.

Gusler, Aug 24, 2003
Photo of dirtylou
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16oz single

appearance: pours dark brown but the aggregate is near black, tinted blood red when held to the light...creamy tan head, minimal lacing of the rim

smell: theres a number of things going on in the nose of this one...sweet dark fruit, dark chocolate, mild coffee, a little smoke, cherry, toffee

taste: The first thing I notice is a delicate smoke flavor, followed quickly by that of cherrys covered in dark chocolate. There are some coffee grounds buried somewhere in this collage of flavor. Toffee is also noted...very malty with a somewhat spicy finish

mouthfeel: a little dry and spicy in the finish, medium bodied

drinkability: slightly above average


This is only the 2nd Sprecher I have tried ( I sippped on a maibock in chicago this summer) but I will probably try to sample some more of their stuff in the future.

dirtylou, Oct 09, 2005
Photo of Rhettroactive
3/5  rDev -26.3%

Rhettroactive, Aug 06, 2013
Photo of scruffwhor
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance- Pours a slowly rising to three finger head tha makes a slow recession to nothingness on the surface of my 16oz's of beer. Color is a deep, deep brown with some brownie/blood highlights.

Smell- Your are hit with complex malt aromas of smokey beech wood, toasty and roasty breads. With a lager like pop in the nostrils for the finish.

Taste- Strta out with mostly roost, but then you catch resurging waffs of smoke intermitant with a middle of toasty malts and a little burnt lager like grass flavors in the end.

Mouthfeel- The malts were awesome moving over my mouth. They mixed well with my garlic enveloped pizza. A little cloying...maybe. The malts I mean.

scruffwhor, May 19, 2006
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.

Bitterbill, Nov 06, 2010
Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.85/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

16 oz bottle poured into a Sprecher stemmed pokal.
6% ABV,

A - Schwarzbier means "black beer" in German and Black Bavarian's dark chocolate color demonstrates that perfectly. While pouring, light through the brown highlights shows it's clarity while a lasting ivory cap of foam rests on the beer and leaves lace down the glass.

S - Crisp dark malt releases dried cocoa sprinkled on warmed chocolate-and-caramel bar with a fantastic lager cleanliness. The juxtaposition of robust malt complexity with the sheer perception of easy drinkability is beautiful.

T - Caramel sweetness underscores the chocolate malt's dark chocolate flavor and lightly roasted coffee bean with a Twix-like taste and faint earthy hop finish for balance; the taste is exceptionally smooth.

M - Just enough carbonation dances on the tongue, keeping this medium-bodied lager feeling a bit lighter than it appears. The chocolate malts provide minimal acrid bitterness letting the otherwise transparent hops do the bulk of the work.

O - There's a good reason Sprecher's Black Bavarian continues to command medal after medal in world-renown competitions; it's that good. This is a dark beer that's a great training-wheel beer for people who "don't like dark beer". It's also a great dark beer for people thirsting after a dark beer without the hefty body or higher alcohol. Black Bavarian has the perfect malt combination to balance sweetness with chocolaty, lightly roasted notes for exceptional smoothness and drinkability. May the Schwarz be with you.

BeerFMAndy, May 15, 2014
Black Bavarian from Sprecher Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 755 ratings.