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Guinness Black Lager - Guinness Ltd.

Not Rated.
Guinness Black LagerGuinness Black Lager

Educational use only; do not reuse.

430 Reviews

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Reviews: 430
Hads: 1,909
rAvg: 3.07
pDev: 18.57%
Wants: 26
Gots: 263 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Guinness Ltd. visit their website

Style | ABV
Euro Dark Lager |  4.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: mdagnew on 04-03-2010

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (36) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 430 | Hads: 1,909
Photo of dbrauneis
2.96/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a clear but opaque very dark amber in color with some garnet red highlights and light amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a two finger sudsy light tan head that quickly reduces to a thin film covering the entire surface of the beer with a slightly thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Very light aromas of roasted malts.

T: Light flavors of roasted malts with a hint of nuts and a very light amount of sweetness. Some very light bitterness in the finish.

M: Slightly heavier than light bodied with slightly more than moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly thin/watery.

O: The beer is easy to drink but really lacks complexity and depth to the flavors and aromas to make it a more desirable beer in my opinion - also, I thick it could benefit from a little fuller body. (837 characters)

Photo of mothman
2.65/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a light tan head. Color is a dark caramel brown.

Aroma: Roasted malts, coffee, caramel, and chocolate.

Taste: Very bland with coffee roast and chocolate. Definitely has the Guinness house flavor, but not much here.

Mouthfeel: Dry and roasted. Light bodied with a higher amount of carbonation. Ends dry.

Overall, this was okay, but nothing special. Not very flavor. My brother described as the equivalent of an American amber. I agreed. (445 characters)

Photo of stakem
3/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Eric for gifting me with one of these. Poured into a matching Guinness pint glass, this brew appears a dark brown color with less than a finger of tan head that quickly fades to a thin lacing atop. Some rising bubbles of carbonation hardly help to maintain a cap. A light swirl revives more bubbles out of solution and forms some thin finger-like patterns of lacing on the glass. When held to the light, some mahogany clarity is seen.

The smell of this brew is lightly roasty with a faint scent of chocolate grains, coffee and some notes of licorice. As it warms up, it picks up an increasingly more sweet note of chocolate. A light swirl emits a touch of sulfur character. Overall the nose doesn't display much depth, it is straight forward and modest in character.

The taste is lightly fruity somewhat like raisins, maybe a touch of molasses but I am stretching here. Fighting to try and find more character in this brew's taste, I faintly pick up on chocolate/coffee but overall the flavor is a bit watered down, even for a Guinness product. It finishes fairly crisp with a minor amount of hop bitterness. Once the brew gets beyond ideal temperature, it has a bit of lingering aftertaste of fresh grains.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. Perhaps it's best attributes are the aroma and crispness to it's finish. The taste really left me expecting/wanting more character. It is easy drinking and overall quite a forgettable experience. (1,482 characters)

Photo of tdm168
3.46/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep black with 1/2" of off white, foamy head that has decent retention. The nose is faint roasted malts and a heavy euro lager yeast. The taste is roasted malt with a faint chocolate finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, well carbonated, rich, and smooth.

Overall, this beer drinks easy and tastes alright, but it's simple so if you're expecting a lot you won't find it here. (387 characters)

Photo of woodychandler
4.03/5  rDev +31.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another CAN courtesy of my local, in-person trader, tone77, who knows how to keep me happy when it comes to The CANQuest (TM)!

From the CAN: "Cold brewed with roasted barley"; "Guinness Black Lager is cold-brewed with roasted barley to deliver the refreshing taste of lager with the unique character of Guinness."

The Crack was loud and enticing and I went with an inverted Glug to get things started right. I got an initial two fingers of deep-brown head that actually lightened in color as the pseudo-cascade took place, finally becoming a finger of light-tan head with decent retention. Color was a deep mahogany with ruby highlights (SRM = 44). Nose was very roasty, like my morning coffee. Mouthfeel was silky and the taste was coffee, dark chocolate, smoke, all adding up to a roasty beer with a lager smoothness. Man, did I drink through this quickly! Finish was semi-dry and had just the right amount of roasted malt flavor to keep it from being over the top.

Original, bottle review dtd 03-09-2013 follows:

My local, in-person trader, tone77, brought this for me to try. It has been an interesting day of beer.

From the bottle: "Cold brewed with roasted barley"; "Guinness Black Lager is cold-brewed with roasted barley to deliver the refreshing taste of lager with the unique character of Guinness. Enjoy ice cold straight from the bottle. [undersigned] Arthur Guinness".

First of all, as a founding subscriber to this website's magazine, I try to read and pay attention to it each time it shows up in my mailbox. The Bros were on about glassware this month and while I may not lay my opinions on others, when I am anywhere that I can decant my beer from its medium of storage into a glass, you can bet your sweet bippy that I will do so. Directions be damned, such as the ones on this bottle or on a CAN of Heady Topper. What, if they told you to drink while jumping from a bridge, would you do that, also? Fine, if you want to be mindless sheep, herded along without hue or cry. I will do my own thing, thank you very much!

This Euro Dark Lager must be a relatively new designation as there are no guidelines listed as yet, but I am already a fan. My pour created two dense fingers of light-tan head with good retention. Color was a deep, dark brown with garnet highlights and good clarity despite its low light penetration. Nose had the characteristic lager honey-like sweetness, but in this case, married with a light roastiness. Chocolate malt, perhaps? I wonder about what, exactly, constitutes "roasted barley" for them. Mouthfeel was on the thin side, even for a lager, but the taste was a pleasant mix of chocolate and smokiness along with a mild sweetness. I do not like Cascadian/Dark/Black IPAs because I feel as though such flavors get in the way of my beloved hops, but in this case, they meld nicely. Finish was semi-dry and the mild smokiness seemed to linger well past the swallow. As usual, I would not want a steady diet of this as a self-avowed hophead, but it beats a lot of other lagers. Not bad. (3,036 characters)

Photo of Billolick
3.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle

Pours dark cola , minor tan head, thin collar and minor lace.

Just a very faint whiff of dark bread on the nose.

Notes of some dark bread, not much else.

Pretty lame and boring brew. Unfortunate that Guinness doesnt seem to care to put out more of an interesting product. Oh well, glad I only poached one of these from a friends assortment box (364 characters)

Photo of Halcyondays
2.03/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

11.2 oz. bottle,

A: Pours black with a firm light tan head, frothy in the glass, good retention, thick lace. As with most Guinness products, the appearance is impressive.

S: Practically non-existent, I feel like I'm smelling a light beer. A hint of roast if I'm being kind.

T: Taste is just as bland. C'mon. Very minor dark chocolate notes, doesn't even taste roasty, some carbonic acid flavour which is never a good sign. I'm drinking beer not Perrier.

M: Light-bodied, thins out in a big way at the finish. Fairly clean, but not really saying much.

O: Guinness Draught was the first beer I ever had back in 2005 so this brewery will always hold a special place in my heart. But this beer is not good. I feel like Guinness just invented the black light lager. That's really what it is. Just reeks of corporatism and dumbing down for the masses. Foreign Extra Stout came out last year and it was great. I was hoping for something similar here. Didn't happen. (964 characters)

Photo of smakawhat
2.61/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass. HEy?! Where did my .8 oz go in this bottle? Cold brewed, that means, uh what?! Anyway let's check this out.

A very large off tan foamy and styrofoamy looking head, that has some very large bubbles in it. Really falls and looks like swiss cheese but manages to keep a good colar while drinking. Cola like sticking bubbles on the edges of the glass and a good dark black walnut body color.

Nose is wet. Not much going on here perhaps some light grains but that's it, it's really faint. There's next to nothing for a nose on this beer.

Palate taste is kind of surprising. At first it feels like a standard Euro lager, with hardly any sense of dark malts at all. There is some faint roast character on the finish, with a little lingering hop bitter but not much. Mouthfeel is a bit watery and sort of tries to hint at coffee roast, but is just far too wet to pull it off with some tight fizzy carbonation.

Overall, this is really unexciting and just not cutting it for me. Really boring with nothing much to offer, I don't get the angle on this brew as to what Guinness was trying to do here, I don't see the appeal. I'd rather have a good Schwarzbier. (1,200 characters)

Photo of DoubleJ
2.51/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Why didn't Guinness use the Harp name to market this dark lager? Maybe cuz more people associate Guinness with dark beer. Let's hope this is not Guinness fermented with lager yeast. On to the beer:

It looks as the name implies, black. Ok, there's a ruby red hue in there too. Head retention is solid. The nose reeks many characters of its famous stout, but without the nitro, so the nose is more intense. Molasses and a lot of bitter roastiness, the latter being annoying.

It's a yo-yo of turn-ons and turn-offs. The turns-ons include the robust flavor intensity at just 4.5% ABV, molasses, bitter chocolate, and charred malts. The turn-offs include the excesive burnt malts and bitternesss and the husky malt that gets in the way. The viscosity is pleasantly on the meaty side, though it is over-carbonated.

Rough all around despite the ups, and it's only a matter of time till my palate can't take anymore. I'm craving an Eisenbahn Dunkel to revive my mind.... (967 characters)

Photo of tempest
2.84/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Picked up a single for $2. Poured a near-black brown with a tan head. Huh, this is essentially a blander version of Guinness Draught. There's no sour tang, and also almost no aroma - just a faint bready, not roasty, malt note. It's similarly bitter through the finish and the body is light. It's drinkable and there's a vague cocoa taste - I'd even say there's more citrus hop flavor than malt - but there's not a lot going on here. It's a boring beer. (452 characters)

Photo of Stinkypuss
3.22/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Guinness Black Lager

Dark brown colored brew, with an aroma of roasted malts, still very much like Guinness. In the taste, clean lager yeast with a touch of roasted malt. Reminds me of a dunkel. Light char and hop notes. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Overall, a lager with roasted malts, somewhere between a dunkel, schwarzbier and regular Guinness. (382 characters)

Photo of johnnnniee
2.86/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Curious little bottle attracted my attention when I wasn't really looking to buy beer. I've had a lot of Guinness over the years and while I don't drink it much anymore it's still got a special place...
So anyhow this pours a dark brown with ruby highlights and a creamy off white head that quickly dissipates to a cap. No widgets in here to release nitrogen and keep this head stable for an hour. Smells, yup it smells, just like a macro lager. Pilsner malt, grainy, grassy, corny. There's a faint and I mean faint aroma of roasted grains, but I would imagine most of the color from this thing came from sinamar. Taste follows the smell really well and ends with quite a dry finish. Light body, medium carbonation, thin watery mouthfeel. Maybe this would make a good gateway beer for someone, but for me this one was a let down. Nothing exciting here at all. (859 characters)

Photo of Zorro
3.8/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear brown colored beer a small tan colored head.

Smells malty with a slight smoke scent. Mildly sweet with a grassy hop scent. This maybe faintly smells like Guinness Stout but truly this smells a lot like Harp lager.

Starts out mildly sweet with a little char and a lot more grassy hop flavor. Grass and a Nobel hop taste with a slight amount of smoke and a bigger than expected hop bite in the aftertaste. There is a bit of an ethanol flavor here but it is sort of like a Dark Pilsner in taste.

Mouthfeel is OK.

Overall I like it. Tasted on its own this is a decent Pilsner beer. Just don't expect it to taste like Guinness Extra Stout; this is its OWN beer. (666 characters)

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.18/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a weisse vase, the beer pours jet black, with a large, foamy cascade that is like watching a Guinness Stout cascade on fastforward. You end up with a huge, chunky, airy, foamy, light brown head that starts around two inches, but settles into an uneven covering. Sparse lacing along the glass as the head settles. Aromas are clean, with a dark roasted scent riding alongside a grainy nose. Flavors are rich, with a roasted, almost charred flavor throughout the backbone, and a bitter, light hopping at the end. Also, the beer has hints of coffee throughout. The aftertaste is short and sweet, with a round, sweet, somewhat nutty flavor to it. Very clean, smooth finish. Interesting brew from the Guinness company. (724 characters)

Photo of biegaman
3.25/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Guinness Black Lager is about as dark as Guinness' ubiquitous Stout, tough it lacks the brand's trademark chunky, foamy head; it doesn't even have a single bubble or thread of lace. The fact that it's no more black than the stout - both have a deep ruddy tinting - says more about the stout than this - Dark Lagers are expected to have a little colour.

The aroma has very mild notes of roast, smoke, and dark purple fruits (plum, raisin) as well as a trace of hazelnut and restrained sweetness. It's an encouraging sign: this is exactly what I'd expect from the style. Fortunately the smell of the adjuncts is just as mild as those of the grain.

The flavour kicks off with the same notes as the aroma (roast, subtle coffee, dried fruits) but quickly turns sweet and starts to taste more like corn syrup than I care for. I was anticipating a mild tasting beer based in the nose and the brand's reputation, but this is thin and textureless even for a lager. You wouldn't know dark malts were used if not for the colour.

Guinness Stout is a true Stout only as much as Kraft Singles Slices can be considered real cheese - it may be true on a technicality but mass- and industrial-production as well as intentional watering down (figuratively speaking) strip the product of virtually all of its character...

Guinness Black Lager, however, is a half-decent example of a Dark Lager. Its dulled, forgettable features, mind you, are unmistakably those of a very hackneyed, commercialized offering. As such, it's best suited as an introduction to those accustomed to mainstream lagers; drinkers already familiar with German Schwarzbiers and quality craft renditions need not bother with it. (1,686 characters)

Photo of plaid75
3.61/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured a deep brown hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured light roasted malts and a soft sweetness.

The flavor was likewise round and moderately roasty with a grassy hop at the finish.

The mouthfeel was typical of the style.

Overall a tasty easy drinking beer. (326 characters)

Photo of Wasatch
2.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a nice black color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy off-white head, with some sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with some grains and grass. The taste is slightly sweet, kinda malty, but with some grains/grass, and caramel. Medium Body. Not too bad, but still would not buy again. (301 characters)

Photo of JohnGalt1
2.43/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25


Bottle from the COOP... Clear dark walnut brew, foamy light khaki head sticks around for a bit... Nose shows washed out dark malt and little else. Flavor is dry bitter maltiness with background dry toast... No hops to speak off... watery.. Won't ever buy again.

3.75/2.5/2.25/2.5/2.25 (289 characters)

Photo of Tone
3.24/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a black color. 1/3 inch head of a off-tan color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of slight roasted malt, sweet malt, slight pale malt, and a hint of sulfur. Fits the style of an Euro Dark Lager. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of slight roasted malt, hint of sweet malt, slight pale malt, hint of hop, and slight sulfur. Overall, great appearance, good blend, but only average mouth feel, and the aroma and body are lacking. (480 characters)

Photo of vfgccp
3.53/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Black with deep cranberry highlights, nice head on the initial pour but it dies out, low lacing.

S - Roasted malt aroma. Pretty subtle overall.

T - Roasty and malty with a touch of bitterness on the front end. The finish is a light dry roast.

M- Pretty standard for a black lager, slightly thin but nice bubbly feel.

O- Average drinkability, it is a nice malty and smooth dark beer.

---Rated via Beer's Advocate for iPhone (432 characters)

Photo of beertunes
3.88/5  rDev +26.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into 9oz pilsener glass. Poured a clean, clear, translucent black with over an inch of medium tan head that had good retention and lacing.

The aroma had good, solid grains, a lightly pleasant amount of soft roast, some very gentle hops and, surprisingly, a bit of yeastiness. The flavors were pretty similar, good malts and the hops had a bit sharper presence. The flavors were nicely balanced and complemented each other well.

The body was very good, clean and crisp with a dry finish. Drinkability was very good, you could easily drink several of these low ABV brews with wiping out your taste buds. Overall, a very nice little brew that easy on your palate and on your wallet. Worth trying for most people, and a must try if you like the style. (756 characters)

Photo of flagmantho
3.41/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 330mL bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: nearly black in color with a clear body; dark ruby highlights are let through when held up to the light. Head is a thick finger of pillowy tan foam. Quite nice.

Smell: aroma is rather grainy with something of an adjunct-laden quality. Not great, but par for the Euro lager course.

Taste: lightly grainy with a nice malt component. There is some caramel flavor as well as a mild,dark fruitiness. Not too bed.

Mouthfeel: medium-light body with a moderate carbonation. There's a tingly effervescence which borders on creaminess.

Overall: this beer isn't half bad. Granted, I'm partial to the Euro dark lager style, but I'd definitely have this again. (708 characters)

Photo of tone77
3.28/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 11.2 oz. bottle. Has a black color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of roasted malts. Taste is mild, some malts, a touch of bitterness at the finish, not very flavorful. Feels light in the mouth and overall is a decent but unspectacular beer. (260 characters)

Photo of DrJay
2.86/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Black with reddish highlights and a fluffy tan cap. Decent head retention and lots of clingy lacing. Mild aroma with just a hint of roast, green grapes and dry maltiness. Mostly the same in the flavour, with low bitterness faint chocolate. I'm just not a fan of how the roast and malt character clashes with the grapey fruitiness. Light bodied with plenty of carbonation. This is pretty middle of the road for me. I won't look for it again though due to the odd combination of flavours. (486 characters)

Photo of Bitterbill
3.11/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

11.2oz bottle.

It pours a very dark brown and has some reddish hues. A good 2 finger head of foam leaves some lacing.

The smell is of roasted malt, not much else but is decent.

The taste is roasted malt, has a bit of a sweet/bitter thing going on. Not very complex but I wasn't expecting that given the style.

It's close to medium bodied and has moderate carbonation. A relatively good mouthfeel and is pretty easy to drink. It's not bad. (442 characters)

Guinness Black Lager from Guinness Ltd.
71 out of 100 based on 430 ratings.