1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Samuel Adams Black Lager - Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

Not Rated.
Samuel Adams Black LagerSamuel Adams Black Lager

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,457 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,457
Reviews: 1,432
rAvg: 3.71
pDev: 12.94%
Wants: 48
Gots: 69 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
Schwarzbier |  4.90% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: TheJudge on 12-27-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Samuel Adams Black Lager Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,457 | Reviews: 1,432 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bigpoppacueball


4/5  rDev +7.8%

S: A coffee and dark chocolate smell with a hint of sweet floral
T: Great taste, malty with a hint of coffee,chocolate and a nutty flavor on the back end. Its a good flavorful beer but not to rich or overbearing.
A: Look like a glass full of Coca-Cola with no ice. the head is thick and light brown in color with a hint of a purple ring next to the beer. Leaves little to no lace nor a notch on a glass.
This is a very nice beer and a pleasure to drink.

05-13-2010 03:09:48 | More by bigpoppacueball
Photo of sluggermatt15


3.73/5  rDev +0.5%

I picked up a case of this and was impressed with this beer.

A- Pours a darker brownish color and you can see this when you hold it up to the light.

S- Smells of roasted malts, coffee. Nothing too overwhelming here.

T&M- Definitely a full bodied beer. Great taste of malts, no real bitterness with this one.

D- About average here. I wouldn't drink more than one or two of these in one sitting. SA's Black Lager isn't meant to be pounded down, rather it's more or less for relaxing.

Overall, I would definitely pick this one up again. I enjoyed it and if you are a fan of schwarzbiers, take a chance on this one because you won't be disappointed.

05-09-2010 18:55:23 | More by sluggermatt15
Photo of joshotron

North Carolina

4.13/5  rDev +11.3%

Appearence: It's called black lager for a reason folks. It pours black but if you hold it up to the light, you'll see it's really a dark amber.

Smell: Chocolate, coffee, and malts all mixed in one. Really bold.

Taste: Full body. Very deep taste. No bitterness. Extremely refreshing. Nice malt flavor with a chocolate essence mixed with the caramel sweetness.

Feel: Bold but still goes down quite well.

Drinkability: Great beer. It's a winner. Although when I saw that Sam Adams was making a black lager, I really didn't have any doubts. It's a rich and bold beer that still goes down easy.

05-03-2010 23:33:40 | More by joshotron
Photo of nwilson023


4.08/5  rDev +10%

The Boston Beer Company found a winner with the Black Lager. As soon as I poured it from the bottle I was impressed with the rich dark appearance and aromas of chocolate, grain, roasted malt, coffee, and a hint of smokiness. Has a sweet taste but not to overpowering. I felt it was a bit heavier than a typical lager but all in all I like it quite a bit and will buy it again in the future.

04-28-2010 01:25:37 | More by nwilson023
Photo of washburnkid

New York

3.78/5  rDev +1.9%

Reviewed from notes. A 6er of this brew was given to me for free at a local brewfest!

Poured into a perfect pint glass, the beer is black until held up to the light, which reveals nice mahogany edges. The head is light foam about a finger's width. There's a nice cap of retention and good lacing. Aromas include some coffee, with a fitting acidity. Caramel and bitter chocolate on the nose, and it's all followed up with a smokiness that's bordering on burnt but not overwhelming. Flavors are floral in an almost soapy sense, but also not overwhelming or unpleasant. Mild astringency and husky. Big roasty flavor, with an emphasis on the caramel more so than the chocolate. Mouthfeel is crisply carbonated with a medium body and light residuals. Not a bad 6er to hang out with on a rainy day!

04-23-2010 04:30:37 | More by washburnkid
Photo of WhiskerWrangler


3.98/5  rDev +7.3%

12 oz bottle poured into glass.

A- Poured black... held up to the light it is very difficult to see through and has a very dark amber color to it. Half a finger of head that dissipated very quickly. Fair lacing.

S- Hint of chocolate and coffee.

T- Definite coffee flavor. Wonderful aftertaste. Not bitter at all. Deep taste is the best I can describe it.

M- Smooth. Not carbonated. Goes down extremely smooth. Still somewhat heavy on the stomach though.

D- Wonderful taste. Very smooth, easy on the mouth and throat, somewhat heavy on the stomach. Would most definitely drink this again, just not sure how many I could drink in a sitting.

04-20-2010 01:06:19 | More by WhiskerWrangler
Photo of flagmantho


3.68/5  rDev -0.8%

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: very dark brown/amber, almost black, but very clear. Head was a finger of tan foam which dissipated rather quickly, though a nice lace is left as I drink. I rather like the appearance of this.

Smell: sweet malt with a hint of chocolate. Nice, but rather subtle.

Taste: a nice light take on roasted malt flavors. There is a little hop bitterness toward the end to fill out the roasty bitterness at the beginning. Overall, the beer is a little sweet, but it is pretty good despite that.

Mouthfeel: actually quite silky. Body is medium but there is a slight syrupy feel; added to that is a well-integrated carbonation which makes for a nicely creamy brew.

Drinkability: this is quite drinkable, due to the nice flavor and low ABV. I would definitely quaff a few of these in a session.

04-14-2010 01:03:51 | More by flagmantho
Photo of tjsdomer2


4.15/5  rDev +11.9%

Appearance: Black. Purely black. I've never seen a beer that looks like this. Not too much foam, and it's impossible to see carbonation with this sort of color. The only downside is that Black Lager looks a bit oily, but it does leave nice lacing. Otherwise, very unique.

Smell: Mellowed chocolate/caramel/coffee smells. Molasses as well. Surprisingly malty but no hops.

Taste/Mouthfeel: I like this taste a lot. Like the appearance, it can taste a bit oily, especially as it warms. But this tastes very malty with nice hints of molasses and chocolate and a bit of coffee and caramel. Basically like Guinness Draught minues the creaminess. Overall, also very unique.

Drinkability: Highly highly drinkable. As I said, the slight oily texture is kind of odd, but that's being nit-picky and I definitely would not rate this beer a 5/5 overall.

Overall: Of course I'm sure other black lagers exist out there, but I've never had another one, and I don't know many people who have. This is an awesome gateway beer.

04-12-2010 00:37:43 | More by tjsdomer2
Photo of Hoops4life511

New Jersey

3.4/5  rDev -8.4%

Poured from 12oz bottle into footed pilsner glass.
Freshness date: Best by June 10'

Appearance: Pours dark black with off white thin head that quickly disappears into a persistent ring. Appears as a dark mahogany when held up to the light. Very little if any lacing.

Smell: Very faint aroma of chocolate malt, roasty and a little grainy. No sign of hops or alcohol.

Taste: Smoke is the initial flavor that jumps out with some roasted malts. Nothing too impressive, but also nothing deterring me from taking another sip.

Mouthfeel: Thin and oddly carbonated. Beer is very watery and has incessant tingling from the carbonation, although it does finish nicely.

Drinkability: Very easy to drink due to not much going on. Its low ABV makes it very sessionable, although with not much going on in the beer its not one I would hunt down.

Overall opinion, I wouldn't turn it down but also would not hunt it down.

04-10-2010 20:48:03 | More by Hoops4life511
Photo of Kinsman


3.73/5  rDev +0.5%

Poured from 12oz bottle into pint glass. Best by date: August 2010

Pours a dark brown body with lighter red highlights in the thin part of the glass. Moderate fluffy tan head with a lots of bubbles around the glass.

Smell is reminiscent of many English style brown ales and porters. Certainly caramel and chocolate malts are present, and almost no hop aroma. The aroma gives off a moderate sweetness as well as roasted/burnt notes.

Malt profile is up front on that palate. Not as sweet as the nose would suggest, rather the roasted character makes itself known. Some bitterness is perceived, a combination of the roasted flavors with the low hop presence. Hops also provide a little spice flavor in the finish.

Mouthfeel is a moderate-low body, but a seemingly high carbonation level. Bubbles in the appearance hint at this, but it is much more noticeable than expected.

Overall, a very drinkable beer, as this style should be. Really proves the common misconception about dark beer = heavy all wrong.

04-06-2010 16:29:27 | More by Kinsman
Photo of jsh420


2.65/5  rDev -28.6%

best by june 2010

pours dark dark brown with a 2 finger tanish head that left spotted lacing down the glass

smells watery not strong at all - some roasted malt maybe some chocolate

taste is not much better then the nose - the beer is just too thin and the hops (i thinks its the hops) give the beer a sour flavor? - has some roast and chocolate malts but not enough

mouthfeel - this and the look are the best thing about it - light smooth creamy good carbonation

drinkability is not good - if i dont like the flavor why drink it

04-04-2010 01:36:52 | More by jsh420
Photo of soju6


3.8/5  rDev +2.4%

Pours into a glass a nice black with a good head. The smell hints of chocolate and of being roasted. The taste seems to carry over the roasted flavor with a bit of sweetness and finish slightly bitter. It is smooth with a good body and maintains the feel throughout. This is a good beer to enjoy on a winter evening, relaxing next to the fireplace.

04-03-2010 11:22:43 | More by soju6
Photo of laituegonflable


3.7/5  rDev -0.3%

Pours a dark brown colour, definitely brown all over despite pretense that it's black. Don't need to hold that to the light to see it's just brown. Head is a nice dense cream-colour, sinks slowly to leave a film, with some pleasant trails of off-white lacing at the top. Body is quite clear; looks alright, yeah quite nice.

Nose has a lot of standard dark characters, lots of roasty grain, some spicy character and some smoke in there as well. Lot of carbon, really, spicy smoke and roasty grain. Slightly savoury in character although with hints of cocoa, not very sweet, but pleasant.

Taste is fairly standard schwarz, but nicely balanced. Quite mild with fair roasted grain throughout, a slight cola character on the mid and some chocolate notes. A lot of oak comes through as well and a hint of cherry. There is a particularly fresh, organic woodiness on the finish. A slight port sweetness as well, but yeah, overall a lot of 'brown' flavours and not a lot of black. Maybe I've just been drinking too many imperial stouts lately. Dark malt and dark sugar, not over-cooked.

Fairly foamy and grainy-textured in the mouth, slightly soupy I guess. Pleasant feel and a nice complement to the flavour.

Mild drinking, very little in the way of power or offense here, but not a bad beer at all.

03-23-2010 02:07:09 | More by laituegonflable
Photo of ujsplace


3.78/5  rDev +1.9%

Poured into an over sized wine glass.

Pours a deep black with a hint of brown at the bottom edges of the glass. Big chunky head...

Smells of roasted malts and a hint of chocolate.

Roasted caramel malts and mild chocolate. Mild hop bitters, and nicely spiced.

Good, medium feel in the mouth, good carbonation.

A nice black lager. Would probably be a good crowd pleaser during the colder months. I could really get into a case of this.

03-20-2010 23:27:29 | More by ujsplace
Photo of lacqueredmouse


3.45/5  rDev -7%

Pours a dark deep reddish brown, quite clear in the glass with a filmy head of cocoa coloured foam. Some small bubbled carbonation, but not a lot. No lacing. Body looks a bit thin. Not bad overall.

Smokiness and wet grain on the nose. Darkness is slightly muted, but otherwise it tastes pretty pleasantly roasty and sweet. It's a little thin, but the smoke is quite pleasant.

Dark characters on the palate, some toast and smoke, but they're surrounded (or, I guess, not surrounded) but a rather thin body; a sort of emptiness. It's as though the true characters of the beer are quarantined from my mouth in some way. Mouthfeel is particular is thin.

It's not a bad beer, and it has some really pleasant characters. It's just that they seem either muted or otherwise slightly insipid. Drinkable enough, but not necessarily something I'd seek out or even bother trying again.

03-20-2010 04:52:43 | More by lacqueredmouse
Photo of ocelot2500


4/5  rDev +7.8%

Pours a deep brown, almost black with a tight tan head that leaves little lacing on the glass.

Smells of light roasted malts with a bit of earthy hops.

Tastes of roasted malts followed by a subtle hop bitterness. Notes of chocolate are prevalent with some caramel sweetness. Hops add a light spicy edge with a touch of earthy notes to add depth to the roasted notes.

Mouthfeel is medium light and has a smooth amount of carbonation.

03-14-2010 01:29:23 | More by ocelot2500
Photo of sunrisesolara


4/5  rDev +7.8%

12 oz emptied into a Pokal.

A: Pours espresso black with a strong 2-finger tan head which receeds slowly to a thick ring. Good lacing throughout.

S: Pure roasted malt fills the nose, just a hint of hops in there.

M : Creamy smooth, bordering on thick, body with good carbonation for the style.

T: Follows the smell, with dark chocolatey roasted malt coming to the fore, hoppy undertones provide some balance here but never dominate. Roasted aftertaste which lingers is quite nice here.

D: A very drinkable beer. Nothing complicated for the style, but that's not a detraction here. These go down nice and easy and I welcome them into my home.

03-12-2010 14:19:13 | More by sunrisesolara
Photo of speter

New Jersey

3.93/5  rDev +5.9%

A: Pours black with a two-finger tan head that fades to lace. The beer has deep ruby highlights when held to the light.

S: Roasted malt, with very little of the base malt or of hops.

T: Clean roasty malt, coffee with a hint of dark chocolate. The finish is clean and the roast persists in the aftertaste. The hops provide a good backbone, but are neither particularly bitter nor assertive.

M: Medium with decent carbonation.

D: A very drinkable example of a schwarzbier, albeit more roasty than some, but well within accepted guidelines for the style.

03-10-2010 01:00:10 | More by speter
Photo of kegger22


4.05/5  rDev +9.2%

Samuel Adams Black Lager is a dark brown schwarzbier with a half-inch beige head that faded to a thick collar.

The aroma is roasted coffee and some cocoa.

The taste was roasted malts but not particularly sweet. More nutty in flavor than chocolate.

The mouth feel was medium bodied after it warmed, and carbonation was ample.

Drinkability was very good as the flavor was enjoyable, the ABV low and the price reasonable.

One of the better Sam Adams offerings IMO.

03-03-2010 01:09:21 | More by kegger22
Photo of katan


3.48/5  rDev -6.2%

12 oz into a Sam PP

A - Copper, just on the edge of solidly black. Head formation is strong, 2mm which breaks down to a film. Certainly opaque.

S - A malty nose, some pilsner malts, some caramel and roasted notes are present as well.

T - Starts off with the pilsner malt flavors, which is backed up by a roasted, perhaps caramel flavored malt backbone. Mid-stream is more bitter, but hopping is restrained. Finishes with a strong hit of pilsner malts. Roasted barley, dry and burnt, come through in the aftertaste.

M - Seems to be weakly bodied - the carbonation really has to buoy it. Seems watery. Finishes mostly clean, with a light roasted barley acidic bite and some carbonation edge.

D - Pretty drinkable beer. Flavors are pretty easy, almost like a pilsner (due to a load of pils malt I guess). ABV is manageable.

02-27-2010 04:06:51 | More by katan
Photo of jovy1097


4.38/5  rDev +18.1%

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a nonic pint.

Appearance: Pours coffee black with reddish tints around the edges. Not as dark as many stouts. Creamy, thick, caramel head that leaves extensive lacing around the glass and sticks around till the bottom of the glass.

Smell: Smells of toffee and caramel with malty layering. Has some slight nutty character.

Taste: Rich, creamy maltiness with toffee flavoring that morphs into more of a coffee flavor towards the end. Chocolate flavor comes out the more you drink. A delectable flavor that I want more of. Roasty without being burnt.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, smooth, and thick. Almost a velvety feel to it.

Drinkability: This is what I wish most dark beers tasted like. I love it! Give me more.

Comments: Looks very much like a dry stout but tastes nothing like them. A truly delightful brew that will be welcome in my fridge any time.

02-22-2010 04:49:27 | More by jovy1097
Photo of bsp77


4.03/5  rDev +8.6%

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into a tall glass.

Appearance: Exceedingly dark brown with thick, foamy cream-colored head.

Smell: Chocolate, roasted malts, caramel, and metallic and spicy hops.

Taste: Roasted malts with chocolate, light coffee and caramel, balanced by cherry and noble hops that contribute a nice layer of spiciness.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, relatively light but creamy body, semi-dry finish.

Drinkability: Great example of a Schwarzbier, once again proving that Sam Adams can make really good German session lagers.

02-17-2010 23:10:45 | More by bsp77
Photo of ironchefchris


4.5/5  rDev +21.3%

terrific beer. one of my favorite sam adams around. dark rich color matches the smell and taste. you really can't drink many of them though, definetely a beer for food and that's about it. it's heavy, malty, sweet, and a bit nutty. it's your typical dark beer...but does everything really well.

02-17-2010 04:16:38 | More by ironchefchris
Photo of Nezzy


3.93/5  rDev +5.9%

Appearance: Pitch black with a toffee colored three fingers worth of head. Can tell it has a lot of carbonation.

Smell: Very sweet with heavy malts. It shares a smell to some root beers with the sweetness being on the forefront and little hops.

Taste: Surprisingly not what the smell lead on. Instead its heavier, roasted nuts, malts and a little bit of sweetness. It's nice and fuller with oats and chocolate coming through with a little bit of coffee. Reminds me of a cross between a porter and stout with more carbonation.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and pretty highly carbonated.

Drinkability: This brewery to me is often hit or miss and this is a definite hit. A really nice beer that while I couldn't drink as a session, I could have with a great meal.

02-10-2010 19:32:59 | More by Nezzy
Photo of acelin


3.55/5  rDev -4.3%

I was expecting a slightly thinner beer - I could hardly tell that this was a lager. Only for the use of the usual lager hops did it lend any sort of lager taste.

Appearance was unsurprisingly black with brown tinges as it poured. Left a small cream colored head with no lacing.

This beer smelled somewhat like dark chocolate and Saaz hops ( not sure if they actually put Saaz hops in this beer).

Expecting a thicker taste after the smell and appearance, I was relieved to find that this brew was still light with plenty of taste. A pretty decent mouthfeel lends greatly to the drinkability.

02-08-2010 02:00:21 | More by acelin
Samuel Adams Black Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
84 out of 100 based on 2,457 ratings.