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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
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Ratings: 2,457 | Reviews: 1,432 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of dbalsock


4.53/5  rDev +22.1%

Appearance: Pours black with a 1 1/2 finger light vanilla head. It has a reddish hue that looks quite nice in candlelight. The only drawback is poor head retention, which counts for a lot in my book.

Smell: A sweet malty character consisting of molasses and caramel is present, and very enticing.

Taste: This is a smokey beer... my first schwarzbier, and it lives up to the name. The molasses also play a role here, along with a more noticeable caramel presence. Moreover, a bit of bakers chocolate is added to the mix. Wonderful.

Mouthfeel: Quite light, considering the flavors, there is again the sense of smokeyness along with a light bitter character.

Drinkability: I find this beer quite sessionable, and easily consumable. I'm almost through my first six pack, and will be buying more. I can't wait to go back and visit Boston this winter (hopefully finding this on tap at Doyles...)

08-23-2006 03:54:11 | More by dbalsock
Photo of etenbus


4.33/5  rDev +16.7%

The Schwartzbier type is relatively unknown in the states, unless you have a good beer retailer or pub that has carried the German Kostritzer. Thankfully, Samuel Adams has added this excellent beer to its rotation.

It pours dark with a decent off white head. It's black until you hold it up to the light when you can see the ruby inside.

The aroma is all about malt, biscuit, some mild chocolate--similar to the aromas coming from the stove when I'm homebrewing.

The taste is hearty. It doesn't have that overpowering maltiness of an Oktoberfest style; it's more chocolaty and sweeter, but not too sweet. The hops come in on the sides of the tongue and cover up the sweetness just in time. It has a dry finish, almost cleansing in nature, with a slight chocolate scone flavor lingering around. Mouthfeel is medium to thin, which is fine since this is a lager.

Overall, a worthy offering from Jim Koch and friends. It takes the lager to new worlds as should be the case when 85% of the world drinks tasteless fizzy yellow bile.

08-20-2006 05:41:01 | More by etenbus
Photo of Freshie


3.78/5  rDev +1.9%

Pours a nice dark colour, almost balck. Good one finger head.

Smells of dark roasted malt, some fruit, licorice, and also a faint smokey character.

The taste is rich in flavour but also light in character and finishes rather clean. Some hop bitterness blends well with carmel malt. I had a pretty overwhleming feeling in my palate of smokiness.

The clean finish makes this very drinkable. I believe this is my first schwarzbier, and I look forward to a few more.

08-11-2006 22:03:52 | More by Freshie
Photo of wcdoyle


3.88/5  rDev +4.6%

Poured from the bottle this beer develops a dense, thick head. This drops down but doesn’t completely disappear. Color trends toward dark tea: brown with trace of red. Unlike the name suggests, it’s not black like a stout.

I can’t speak to this beer’s connection to the German model, but I will say that it’s refreshing to see and taste lagers that show off what the form can do, that they can exhibit the richness and complexity of ales.

The smell is sweet, earthy, and dark (like a Brown ale). Hint of hops, but not much. Taste seems to confirm a low or mild hop profile. There’s a tiny bit of hoppy sharpness on the tongue that quickly, quickly, quickly, gets replaced by the malts. Lots of caramel and chocolate here but the SA Black Lager doesn’t kick you with sweet. Instead, the sweetness comes of as mild, refreshing. Think dark chocolate rather than milk chocolate. This has an awesome mouth feel with some slight carbonation and an aftertaste that’s pleasant, leaving you wanting more, but not in a way that soda and some beers leave you (that treadmill of drink more because it never refreshes and you hope the next taste will do the trick).

I’d drink this as a summer beer, but I can see it making a really good autumn-winter drink. Solid work.

08-11-2006 20:45:17 | More by wcdoyle
Photo of LordHarris


4.03/5  rDev +8.6%

Sam Adams hit the nail on the head with this one, poured 12oz bottle into pint glass, medium off white head, that vanished fast, but left a nice trace in my glass.

Appearance: looks like a stout with an off white head, very nice.

Smell: Slight smell of hops that are over whelmed by a smell of malt with hints of chocolate and coffee.

Taste: very smooth with hints of chocolate and very little bitterness from any hops, also goes down smooth and leaves a slight coffee taste in the mouth.

Mouthfeel: Stars smooth and stays smooth, a light amount of carbonation that doesn't inter fear with the flavor of the beer.

Drinkability: I wish this beer was a 6 pack of black lager, not the 6 pack of variety beer, because this one you could drink all night.

08-09-2006 01:46:31 | More by LordHarris
Photo of flanmedic51


3.83/5  rDev +3.2%

Poured it into a frosty glass with a quickly disappearing head and left a fine lacing throughout my drink time. The appearance is jet black and stout-like. The smell is pleasant with hops, malt and the smell of coffee stuck out the most I think. The taste is very, very smooth without bitterness along with the notes of coffee and dark chocolate and malt. It is very easy drinking and a great social beer that you will come back for more after the first one is gone.

This lager reminds me of a local brewery, Oak Pond Brewery in Skowhegan, ME., that makes Laughing Loon Lager which has many of the same characteristics as the Sam Adams Black Lager. MMM deeee-licious!

08-09-2006 00:39:13 | More by flanmedic51
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

4/5  rDev +7.8%

Appearance: Pours a deep brown color with ruby highlights; the head retained nicely and left quite a few splashes of lace

Smell: Chocolate shavings and café au lait; rather creamy at that

Taste: Starts out with a brown bread flavor that, after the swallow, is joined by a mild bittering aspect that brings along some of that creamy café au lait that was so present in the aroma; relatively clean finish

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with crisp carbonation; a bit creamy

Drinkability: Pleasant and drinkable

08-08-2006 23:51:19 | More by brentk56
Photo of Zephenbrewid


3.3/5  rDev -11.1%

Rather quickly disappating head. When held to light it reveals a deep red coloration not apparent in a dimmer environment. I smelled notes of salt water taffy but this was very subtle and the smell is rather weak overall. Malts give a roasted character to this while allowing hops to balace very well. It has a light bodied refreshing feel to it and has a slightly lingering malt aftertaste as well.

08-08-2006 22:48:44 | More by Zephenbrewid
Photo of hunteraw


3.85/5  rDev +3.8%

Appearance: Looks like a stout in the glass, very dark with a nice off-white head that displays good retention and lacing. It lives up to its name.

Smell: Sweet-smelling, initially reminded me of a macro for some reason, but as it warmed chocolate was definitely detectable. Not very complex, but surprisingly appealing for a lager.

Taste: Interesting. Only schwarzbier I've had, and it seems like a stout for climates too cold to use top-fermenting yeast. Very similar flavor profile, anyway. Roast, chocolate, but not burnt. A touch of caramel in the finish. Good bit of sweetness, reminiscent of a cream or milk stout. Enough hops to finish fairly dry. No dark fruits present, though, must be the lager yeasts and temps.

Mouthfeel: moderate body, carbonation seems right.

Drinkability: Not bad, but I think if I want a seriously dark beer, I'll go for an ale and get a broader array of flavors. Thickness detracts a bit from drinkability.

08-07-2006 01:37:10 | More by hunteraw
Photo of goschool


4/5  rDev +7.8%

It pours black with ruby highlights. The look and smell of this stuff does a pretty spot on impersonation of a porter or stout, although the roasted malts are far less intense in the taste than those in dark ales. Brown sugar, yeast, chocolate, and Central American coffee, roughly in that order, round out the taste. I appreciate how much BBC is pushing a fairly adventurous style, all things considered, like this one.

08-05-2006 08:44:58 | More by goschool
Photo of watermelonman


4.1/5  rDev +10.5%

This poured to a near black color with minor head and left a small amount of lace.

A fair amount of chocolate comes through in the smell and leads into the taste. Coffee flavor is present but minimal, giving way to more malt and caramel. The mouthfeel is medium, while drinkability is very good.

08-03-2006 06:36:02 | More by watermelonman
Photo of skineg


4.05/5  rDev +9.2%

Awesome, awesome beer. I really enjoyed drinking this beer. I did my research before I started, but the smothness still suprised me. This beer is making me a big fan of Sam Adams. The lack of alcohol is a little worrisome, especially when you can only find this beer in sampler and holiday packs (that I know of), but some of the great things are limited.

I really enjoyed the look and eroma, very subtle nutlike smell. Bottom line: Smooth, good tasting beer. Could be a little stronger with taste and alcolhol, but still really good. Seriously, I'm just getting nit picky, this is a good beer. Well worth a try.

08-02-2006 01:44:41 | More by skineg
Photo of cbl2

New York

4.08/5  rDev +10%

Best by April 2006 clearly notched.


Pours an almost black-brown with hints of amber peeking through topped by a luscious looking inch of tight tan foam.


A pleasantly sweet & creamy roasted nut aroma.


A coarse mouthfeel spils an otherwise excellent beer, with a rich bodied roasted coffee flavor that is slightly sweetened, reminiscent of a classic porter. This goes down easy (maybe too easy), though at 4.9%, and with only 2 in the holiday pack, I'm in no danger of OD'ing on this Black Lager.

07-30-2006 14:37:48 | More by cbl2
Photo of rebel1771


3.9/5  rDev +5.1%

Pours very dark brownish black with a decent off-white head.

Decent roasted malt aroma is present in the nose along with a bit of a coffee aroma

The flavor starts out with burnt malt and coffee flavors and fades into slight sweetness.

This is an enjoyable brew and another quality beer from Sam Adams.

07-28-2006 01:21:54 | More by rebel1771
Photo of thelagerheads


4.83/5  rDev +30.2%

O my good daddy who built me with my knockers on the low! I love this sap! It is the perfect accoutrement for the low-class denizen desserter of Keebler cookies and Chips Ahoy! I'm not a fan of coffee but this reminds me of coffee with a dark chocolate brain. It thinks burnt but says savor. I could easily become a drunk rotting my teeth out further on this brimmed black wizened wine of puddings! All stars here along with his step uncle SCHWARZ!

07-27-2006 22:14:48 | More by thelagerheads
Photo of Dizzy


3.45/5  rDev -7%

Poured this one into a pint glass from 12 oz. bottle. Dark brown/black color, off white head. Aroma of roasted malts. Taste is roasted malt with some malty sweetness. Seems light to medium bodied with moderate carbonation. I could easily drink another. This is a good beer, but if I'm looking for a Schwarzbier I think I would opt for Rahr's Ugly Pug if I have the choice.

07-26-2006 01:36:25 | More by Dizzy
Photo of mooseisloose


3.48/5  rDev -6.2%

Pours to a dark chocolate color. Nice clingy beige head. Roasted chocolate malt starting like a stout with a robust lager finish. Good carbonation and a slight lager characterictic bitter flavor, with a smooth non-bitter finish. A good hearty beer to enjoy with a hamburger or a nice thick steak. Yet another tasty selection from Samuel Adams who never dissappoints!

07-22-2006 20:33:09 | More by mooseisloose
Photo of RoyalT


4/5  rDev +7.8%

Appearance – This was a dark brown in color as it should be with a deceivingly growing off-white foamy head.

Smell – The subtle roasted malt aroma is mixed with some lightly burnt yeast and a smidgen of raw sugar. The grain smell here is dark but nothing is pungent. There’s a smoothness to this bouquet that is quite nice.

Taste – The yeast comes out a bit more at the taste and the sweets step back a tad, but otherwise the driving force is the subtle roasted grain that I caught in the nose. The flavor forms a crescendo on the palate, flowing nicely from burnt toast to roasted malts smoothed by dark yeast then petering out with a mild sugariness.

Mouthfeel – This is between light and medium-bodied with a harmonious feel in the mouth and not at all bitter.

Drinkability – This was a tad off-style but is an excellent drinker and incredibly smooth. It’s an obscure style but Sam Adams gave us a nice rendition here.

07-19-2006 03:40:11 | More by RoyalT
Photo of scoobybrew


3.68/5  rDev -0.8%

I poured this from the bottle into a pilsner flute. It has a dark color, very dark amber when held up to the light. The head is very nice and has very good retention. The aroma has a roasted malt character with almost no hops perceptible. Upon tasting, the toasted malt character is most notable, but it is well balanced. There is a slight hop finish. It has a medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall, this is not a bad beer. I personally prefer a bit more hop presence in the flavor, but a decent offering. If I were more familiar with the schwarzbier style, I might rate this higher or lower.

07-15-2006 13:18:02 | More by scoobybrew
Photo of AaronHomoya


3.9/5  rDev +5.1%

12 oz brown bottle from holiday sampler.

Appears a near black color with a nice tan head. Aroma is malty and roasty. The taste is a smooth balance of sweetness and roasted malts and a touch of coffee with just a nice hint of hops in the finish. Mouthfeel is good and this beer is very drinkable, especially at only 4.90% ABV.

07-15-2006 03:29:52 | More by AaronHomoya
Photo of HoustonTX


3.75/5  rDev +1.1%

12oz bottle from mixed pack, poured into chimay goblet.

A - Deep black from afar, rich deep redish/brown in reality. Decent head, and trails of lacing line the goblet.

S - Malt/Wheat.

T&M - Taste is dark roasted malt, hint of coffee/caramel undertones, and Noble Bavarian hops balance the flavors out. Works well together. Medium bodied. Mouthfeel is rich, creamy, and light on the palate.

D - Crisp and smooth, you can drink these all night.

One of Sam's best brews, and definitely one I can recommend.

07-15-2006 02:18:42 | More by HoustonTX
Photo of

3.63/5  rDev -2.2%

12 oz. bottle from Sam Adams Mixed 12 pack. Appearance was a dark mahogany color with red highlights. The beer was clear, but almost opaque. Moderately tan head. The aroma was malt, bittersweet chocolate, caramel, and molasses. Taste was similar, with a balance of hop bitterness which was present mainly in the finish. The mouthfeel was medium in body, moderately carbonated, and somewhat drying. A very drinkable beer.

07-12-2006 15:16:23 | More by
Photo of jasonjlewis


4/5  rDev +7.8%

My first Schwarzbier. I was eager to try this. A black lager that was medium bodied and sweet, interesting.

Appearance: Nice dark color and medium head retention. Looks like a coke.

Smell: faint chocolate and caramel smell. Chocolate is the dominant smell to me.

Taste: Medium bodied, tastes like dark chocolate and caramel. Stimulates the sweet tastes buds and leaves a sort of bitter taste, but with chocolately feel (probably from the mixture of malts ( I know chocolate malts are not chocolate.. Not a lot of hops in this beer. But a note from Jim Koch said that was what he was going for.

Mouthfeel- Nice carbonation,. Goes down easy.

I would buy this again, I usually like a little more hops in my beer, but it's nice for the style and a good malt fix.

07-08-2006 20:52:52 | More by jasonjlewis
Photo of akorsak


3.9/5  rDev +5.1%

This is a 12 oz bottle of Black Lager served in a Three Philosophers goblet. The ale is near room temp.

Appearance: A deep brown to black color, the lager betrays ruby hints when held to light. There is a smallish head that rings the glass only.

Smell: There is a slight roasted aroma that fades a bit over the beer. It provides a hint of things to come.

Taste: The roasted malts give the beer a slight milk chocolate flavor. There are also some caramel notes to provide the beer with a flavor that is surprisingly soft on the palate. I am pleased with this.

Mouthfeel: This beer's malts provide a tinge of sweetness that finishes long and makes you want another sip.

Drinkability: A moderate to low abv and great taste? What's there not to like. I am thoroughly impressed by this.

07-07-2006 01:51:27 | More by akorsak
Photo of Liquids


4.05/5  rDev +9.2%

Black with a crown-amber hue that peeks through in the light. Yields a thin but very creamy almond colored head. Smells sweet and thick, with a distinctly german lager aroma. Tastes sweet and roasty but no harshness to speak of, mostly just dark sweetness. Very non-threatening, sweet and rich with an extremely slight alcohol aroma in the finish. Caramel malts are dominant but the darker malts add great complexity here. Very appealing. I'm new to this style. It's darker than a brown ale, and definately not as intense in the dark malts as a porter, and distinctly a lager for another twist. Mouthfeel is thich and full, but slightly more carbonated that desirable. Excellent drinkability and all around, this is Sam Adams? Impressive. I actually think I'd reccomend this beer more often than I'd drink it most likely. I doubt I'd buy a sixer of it too often, but I can see friends enjoying it and picking up a single for myself from time to time. with my only concern being that most people might at first be unaacustomed to the german hops and lager yeast characteristics when expecting a dark stout like beer by appearance. Overall, a great offering.

07-04-2006 13:21:33 | More by Liquids
Samuel Adams Black Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
84 out of 100 based on 2,457 ratings.