1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  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!

Guinness Black Lager - Guinness Ltd.

Not Rated.
Guinness Black LagerGuinness Black Lager

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
73
okay

1,815 Ratings
THE BROS
72
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,815
Reviews: 423
rAvg: 3.13
pDev: 19.49%
Wants: 23
Gots: 162 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Guinness Ltd. visit their website
Ireland

Style | ABV
Euro Dark Lager |  4.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: mdagnew on 04-03-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Guinness Black Lager Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,815 | Reviews: 423 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ZAP
2.53/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

I was encouraged by the aroma of this.. coffee...hints of caramel and vanilla...

But the mouthfeel is so bad it really wrecks the whole beer. Fizzy, and watery...

The taste is ok...not munich dunkel good but ok....someroasty notes...a bit of cocoa....

Slightly astringent on the finish...dry....

Overall...eh

ZAP, Oct 15, 2011
Photo of DirtyPenny
2.5/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Grabbed the last single I found at the grocery store the other day. Poured it into a Coke glass and I'm sure I could have fooled an unwitting victim into thinking it was one and the same.

A: Black and fizzy. Head disappears about as fast as you'd expect the head on a, you guessed it, cup of Coke to vanish.

S: A faint whiff of cereal grains, but man, not much of one.

T: A black hole of flavor. That is, there's none to speak of. I seriously could not taste much of anything. There may have been the distant, strangled cry of a chocolate malt or two, stranded in some far flung corner of the universe, but it could have just been my imagination.

M: Light-medium and fizzy.

O: Not actively bad, just so bland and inoffensive I can't see why anyone would want one. Sam Adams Black actually has flavor, as does Session Black. Try those instead.

DirtyPenny, Oct 15, 2011
Photo of OWSLEY069
2.38/5  rDev -24%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a deep amber to black color with a light tan head.. In the aroma, caramel, note of chocolate, and still lager like. In the taste, light chocolate, note of caramel, both very mellow. A small bite and medium to lighter bodied mouthfeel, with a small roast to a clean aftertaste. Lack of flavor, but a lager form of Guinness for sure.

OWSLEY069, Oct 15, 2011
Photo of lordofthewiens
3.08/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

In a pint glass this beer was a very dark brown, almost black color. It had a medium-sized tan head that disappeared quickly.

Roasted malt aroma, sweet cocoa. Kind of faint.

The taste was even fainter. Weak coffee, a tiny bit of chocolate.

Very thin and watery. On the positive side, you could drink a number of these in one sitting.

lordofthewiens, Oct 15, 2011
Photo of bonkers
3.25/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I poured from a bottle into a nonic, dark pour, big white head, nice lacing. A little roast on the nose. It has a light roasted flavor, slight astringent notes, lingering bitter finish. The beer is very light in body, high carbonation, easy drinking. I would not buy this again.

bonkers, Oct 15, 2011
Photo of mterrence5
2.9/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Why make this beer....why not? It's like a Coors light with a Guinness after taste. This seems to be the result of Guinness responding to the population at large's idea that Guiness is a heavy beer and for those who do like it that sometimes they want something lighter (funny in Dublin a met a girl that was drinking Bud heavy cause it was "lighter" than Guinness Draught) That said I'm regular Guinness drinker and while I don't love this I wouldn't mind it here and there.

mterrence5, Oct 15, 2011
Photo of yemenmocha
2.73/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Cold brewed? Oh God, here we go. Pours dark brown with light tan head. Nose on the really light side with faint roasty malts & cocoa. Light flavors on palate of roasty malt and watery coffee. Watery light body. Very drinkable, but not much to savor as far as taste and nose though.

yemenmocha, Oct 14, 2011
Photo of nniicckkww
3.7/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a sexy 11.2 oz. bottle into my Sam Adams contoured glass. 1 inch chocolate milkshake colored head that dissipated quickly. Not much lacing on the glass through the session. The label says black lager but it's just a hair brownish red in the light. Black at a glance.

Not much aroma to be had. Maybe this was because I failed to "drink straight from the bottle" like the label instructed.

Slight lager yeast taste (think Harp). A bit of sulfur. Creamy roasted barley chocolate flavor. Fairly hefty carbonation and light body. Just a tad sweet finish. Sort of a mix of the extra stout and Harp. Not bad. Definitely the most thirst quenching dark beer I've had in a while. Good for what it aims to be. I wonder if it will last??? I might buy it again.

nniicckkww, Oct 14, 2011
Photo of bnes09
3.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Dark brown, almost black brew, mostly opaque with faint hints of ruby when held to light. Weak, light tan head forms and is gone as soon as I set the glass down without a trace remaining.

Odd aroma overall. Corn husk, sour dough biscuits and a touch of skunk. No roasted aroma at all.

Flavor is mostly malty with a bread-like character. Bit of corn thrown in there. Just the faintest hint of roasted barley. Hops are mild with an herbal, leafy spice. Not complex but just enough flavor to keep it interesting.

Lighter consistency and very crisp. Bright, sharp carbonation. Easy drinking.

Not a bad beer. Just doesn't do much for me. Could use more depth and more roasted malt character.

bnes09, Oct 13, 2011
Photo of OneDropSoup
2.28/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured into a shaker pint: Black body with the faintest highlights around the edges, loose, khaki head, two fingers. Head drops quickly & leaves some foam clinging to the sides.

Definitely a lager smell: Damp basement, a little crusty bread, a little grape juice. Maybe the faintest hint of a cocoa powder, but that's a stretch.

Hmmm. Taste is not great. Hoppy up front, mineral, almost reaches a kind of toasty malt but never gets there, then just ends with a burnt flavor. Not so good.

Just sharp, hard water in the mouthfeel. Burnt bitterness sticks around & coats my mouth. Gah.

I was looking forward to trying this, & didn't really even have my expectations set very high, but this was not good. Don't think I'm going to finish this one.

OneDropSoup, Oct 12, 2011
Photo of speter
3.88/5  rDev +24%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I think this is a Schwarzbier rather than a Euro Dark Lager. I have reviewed it as such.

A: Extremely dark ruby, to the point of being black (but for the penlight shining through revealing the true ruby color). The head is a tan, three-finger froth, that fades to a thin layer with clumpy lacing.

S: Chocolate malt with toffee, caramel, and brown sugar.

T: Initial mild sweetness gives way to the roastiness in the mid-palate. The finish is dry and slightly bitter. There is a hint of the trademark Guinness sourness in the aftertaste.

M: Smooth and slightly creamy.

O: Taken as a Schwarzbier, this is pretty good.

speter, Oct 11, 2011
Photo of Nerudamann
3.13/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Look – black, with about two fingers’ worth of very light tan-colored foam that dissipates somewhat slowly.

Smell – fairly malty, with a rich texture of sweetness, almost like molasses or other roots.

Taste – much like the smell, fairly malty and sweet/molasses-like, but also with a degree of muskiness to it. Almost spicy, as in coming from peppers, but that hits toward the end of the taste.

Mouthfeel – decently well-balanced but lingers more on the watery side.

Overall – not horrible, but at the same time not the best type of brew I’ve had from Guinness.

Nerudamann, Oct 10, 2011
Photo of Stinkypuss
3.2/5  rDev +2.2%
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.

Stinkypuss, Oct 10, 2011
Photo of soju6
3.03/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a black color with a nice tan head that fades to good lacing.

S: Very muted aroma of roasted malt and bit of caramel sweetness.

T: Starts with a mild bitterness witha trace of roasted malt, not much else and a dry finish.

F: Fairly medium body, quite smooth but no character.

O: A non-discript offering from Guinness. I guess it's for people who want to be hip but do not like stouts.

soju6, Oct 10, 2011
Photo of Halcyondays
2.03/5  rDev -35.1%
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.

Halcyondays, Oct 10, 2011
Photo of Sorvahr
2.17/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Purchased from a gas station in Memphis, TN; unfortunately I forgot the price I paid for it. The label sends off all sorts of warning signs, having a very Bud Light-ish silver and blue color scheme and the message "COLD BREWED FROM ROASTED BARLEY". Having to tell the consumer that the beer is made from beer ingredients sets the bar pretty low. But, if you don't expect a beer to be any good, it can't disappoint you. Poured into a New Belgium snifter, in defiance of the label's ridiculous suggestion to drink it straight out of the bottle.

A: The beer pours a cola-like dark brown with a very light tan head that quickly recedes into a ring. It's obvious right away that this is a far cry from a real schwarzbier. Lacing is virtually nonexistent after the first few minutes.

S: There's not much smell to speak of, and most of what I do smell is metal, like a bucket full of pennies.

T: The most succinct way I could describe this taste would be to take an inexpensive dark lager, water it down, and drop pennies into it. There's that same bottley metallic taste as Guinness Extra Stout but here it is the predominant taste instead of an unpleasant background note. The malts have a roasty dark-lager taste but are weak and seemingly watered down. There may or may not be hops in this beer. I cannot say for sure, because I can't taste any. But it's a beer and it's not 1650 so I must assume that they're in there somewhere. The finish is unnatural and chemical-tasting. The intense roasty bitterness of say, McSorley's Irish Black Lager is nonexistent. There's not much point in letting it warm up either; what you taste after five minutes or so is all you'll get.

M: Fizzy, spritzy, watery. There's no body or thickness to this at all, just excessive carbonation. I guess you could call it "clean" since it's so empty there's nothing to make it "dirty" but it certainly isn't interesting. It's not filling or satisfying at all, and makes you wonder if it was made more for chugging and getting wasted on than actually enjoying.

O: This is a bland beer. Really, really bland. It's not offensive like Bud Light, but it's not good either. It reminds me of Beck's, with much the same ho-hum taste profile and watery feel. Warsteiner Dunkel easily bests this in pretty much every aspect, and is cheaper than most Guinness offerings. Avoid.

Sorvahr, Oct 09, 2011
Photo of ryan1788a5
2.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Consumed at Brennan's Place in Holyoke, MA.

A: Black with some garnet hues to it. Thick tan head has decent retention, but eventually settles into nothing.

S: Some dark chocolate, espresso-like roasted barley, dark bread, a touch of molasses, and a faint whiff of some grassy hops. Muted overall.

T: Starts out sweet with some sugary molasses flavors, then moves into some dark chocolate and roasted barley tastes. Very mild acidity. Hop bitterness and taste are very tame, just a whisper of some grassy hop flavors. Maybe just the slightest hint of a vague fruitiness, but it seems to be coming from the malt rather than esters. There really isn't any yeast character here, it's pretty clean and neutral.

M: Thin, watery, and overly-carbonated. Slight syrupy feel. Nothing good here.

O: Pretty average. It isn't absolutely terrible, there is some flavor to it. But really, what's the point?

Notes: I can't figure out what Guinness is trying to do with this beer. To whom is this supposed to appeal? My best guess is that they're trying to capture a new market segment by making a beer that's more America-friendly while still staying true to the essence of their brand. They know there's a lager bias here, and they imitate American macro marketing strategies by plastering "Cold Brewed" and other such nonsense on the label. But they had to keep it dark and roasty, lest they stray too far from the image they have crafted for the brand. The problem with this is that the misconceptions surrounding "light beer" and "dark beer" are too powerful to overcome by playing the "lager" card. "Lager" has become synonymous with "light beer" over here. The average Joe doesn't care that it's a lager, or that it's "Cold Brewed," because it's still a dark beer; the fact that it's dark is what alienates people. So who will drink this? People who don't mind dark beer, i.e. regular Guinness drinkers. But regular Guinness is better, and has a cult following, so they won't drink it. No new market segment will drink it. Ultimately I think this beer will be a colossal failure here, and I'm already starting to see it happen. I asked around at all the local bars, and sales are miserable. What's even more befuddling is the fact that Guinness has other brands (Harp and Smithwicks) that are already (seemingly) effectively capturing other market segments for them. So why bother? What's the point of this beer? I don't know what else to say.

ryan1788a5, Oct 08, 2011
Photo of BeerDocT
3.28/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a chilled, wide-mouthed glass.

-Appearance 4.0: Poured with a nice, half-inch head that (again!) quickly dissipated. Jet black with slight amber around the edges of the glass. Very striking and attractive beer.

-Smell 2.5: What? Almost no bouquet at all. I do smell a very slight hint of toasted barley. Not impressed.

-Taste 3.5: There is an interesting hoppiness that hits you in the front of the mouth at first, followed by a middle taste of...nothing. Just cool liquid. A slight toasted barley hint sneaks in before swallowing. This grows slightly after swallowing but quickly disappears. All of these tastes are very subdued and nuanced.

-Mouthfeel 3.0: Too much carbonation. This is, I suppose, an attempt to be "lagery," but it doesn't enhance the tasting experience. Not bad, just average.

-Overall 3.5: This is an interesting beer, with many unique characteristics. As such, one wonders what the master brewers at Guinness were trying to do. Create a "light" stout? Create an entirely new type of beer? I have no idea. If you have never tried this beer, I would recommend it, for novelty reasons if for nothing else.

$7.99 for a six pack in Atlanta, GA.

BeerDocT, Oct 08, 2011
Photo of Jason
3.08/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

330ml brown bottle w/ no freshness date.

LOOK: Off black color w/ reddish hue. Good lacing.

SMELL: Sweet, cocoa, mild charcoal, lightly bready, clean.

TASTE: Smooth, slick, lighter body, wet, mild roasted grain, dried grass, muted hops, bitterness, residual dextrins.

I was not sure what to expect but after several goes at it I am still trying to wrap my head around its inception. Regular draught Guinness does a great job ... consistent, drinkable, the story behind it. Sort of a lesser Guinness that has a typical carbonation of a Euro Lager. I guess I just don't see the market for it. I can understand why FES was brought to the states, 10-15 years late to the party but this concoction just does seem to hit it with me. Not saying it is bad at all, it hits the right elements ... drinkable, easy going flavor. Is it for 38-56 year old males who make more than $75,000 a year that are not into beer that much but are sick other Euro Dark Lagers? If someone was looking for a dark lager why wouldn't they just look for a solid Munich Dunkel or a dark Czech lager? Go figure, best of luck guys ... still trying to figure this one out. Regardless, it is worth a tick.

Jason, Oct 08, 2011
Photo of secondtooth
3.7/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep and black (as Guinness well should be), this new brew leaves a large but erratic lace on my pint glass.

Nose is grainy like most lagers, barely hinting at the flavors to follow.

Tastes mildly burnt/roasty - but still light on the body, as opposed to the usual heavier stout. Very enjoyable, and though I'd rather sip on a warmed Guinness Foreign Extra Stout, this one hit the spot.

secondtooth, Oct 08, 2011
Photo of RoamingGnome
3.03/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured out of a bottle into a beer mug

A) Dark brown to black in color. There was a good finger of head, that was actually pretty well maintained during consumption. There was a little lacing.

S) Not an overpowering aroma here. Roasted malt, slightly burnt, hint of coffee.

T) For me, this was like if I was making a half and half, but substituted the Harp pale lager with water. Well, maybe not quite that bad, but it's how I described it to my bro.

M) Pretty light, felt somewhat thin. It had more than adequate carbonation. Okay finish and aftertaste.

O) At $6.99 for a six pack, they're certainly not stealing your money, but you'd be better off spending a bit more and really enjoying what you're drinking.

RoamingGnome, Oct 08, 2011
Photo of Stockfan42
2.9/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a thin black body with a beige head that fades pretty quickly.

Smells of roasted malts and a hint of dark fruits. Not a very strong smell overall.

Taste is very mellow, malty with a tiny hint of dark fruits. Very light bodied. Not a whole lot of taste but it doesnt taste bad. Pretty drinkable.

Mouthfeel is pretty light and well carbonated.

Overall its not bad. Not something i'd go out of my way to get but I wouldnt say no to a free one!

Stockfan42, Oct 08, 2011
Photo of Minkybut
4/5  rDev +27.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this good beer into my tumbler at 45 degrees. The beer was a nice black color. The beer poured a nice pillowy tan head. The smell was like a raw steak. Sorry, thats what I got. The beer really was kinda neutral tasting but I like it. The beer also had good lacing. I think it is a good product with a good name and people who do not want a strong beer will enjoy.

Minkybut, Oct 07, 2011
Photo of silentjay
2.35/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

pours a watery black with a nicely sized khaki head that sticks around a bit, but doesn't lace overly well.

nutty and vegetable aromas with a bit of roasted malts and grains.

tastes like the water you used to boil vegetables in with a bit of roasted malts and some nuts. no hops detectable.

crisp like a lager should be, but with a syrupy stickiness left on the palate that leaves a bad aftertaste.

not great. I was looking for more of a schwarzbier, I guess. barely any roasty/chocolate flavors, but all of the cheap lager flavors I tend to avoid. Glad I picked up a single.

silentjay, Oct 07, 2011
Photo of jlindros
3.45/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a fizzy 1 finger darker head that fades at a med pace with hints of lacing, over dark black-ish beer with slight light coming through.

Nose has cheap lager aromas, kinda macro but not skunked, hints of darker malts like roast and caramel.

Taste is lighter as well, macro produced lager flavors but not too bad or bitter, hint of metallic, some darker creamy malts, hint of roast and caramel, some bitter hop flavors. the metallic flavor comes out a bit more on the finish with more bitter hops, sticky finish, and touch of dark creamy malts.

Mouth is med bodied but creamy, with decent carb.

Overall kinda meh, drinkable but some off flavors, tastes like it was macro produced but not skunked or terrible, with a bit of hops and creamy malts.

jlindros, Oct 06, 2011
Guinness Black Lager from Guinness Ltd.
73 out of 100 based on 1,815 ratings.