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!

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.

2,502 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,502
Reviews: 1,433
rAvg: 3.71
pDev: 12.94%
Wants: 52
Gots: 89 | 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: 2,502 | Reviews: 1,433 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of flanmedic51
3.83/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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!

flanmedic51, Aug 09, 2006
Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

brentk56, Aug 09, 2006
Photo of Zephenbrewid
3.3/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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.

Zephenbrewid, Aug 08, 2006
Photo of hunteraw
3.85/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

hunteraw, Aug 07, 2006
Photo of goschool
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

goschool, Aug 05, 2006
Photo of watermelonman
4.1/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

watermelonman, Aug 03, 2006
Photo of skineg
4.05/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

skineg, Aug 02, 2006
Photo of cbl2
4.08/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

cbl2, Jul 30, 2006
Photo of rebel1771
3.9/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

rebel1771, Jul 28, 2006
Photo of thelagerheads
4.83/5  rDev +30.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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!

thelagerheads, Jul 27, 2006
Photo of Dizzy
3.45/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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.

Dizzy, Jul 26, 2006
Photo of mooseisloose
3.48/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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!

mooseisloose, Jul 22, 2006
Photo of RoyalT
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

RoyalT, Jul 19, 2006
Photo of scoobybrew
3.68/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

scoobybrew, Jul 15, 2006
Photo of AaronHomoya
3.9/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

AaronHomoya, Jul 15, 2006
Photo of HoustonTX
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

HoustonTX, Jul 15, 2006
Photo of
3.63/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

, Jul 12, 2006
Photo of jasonjlewis
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

jasonjlewis, Jul 08, 2006
Photo of akorsak
3.9/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

akorsak, Jul 07, 2006
Photo of Liquids
4.05/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Liquids, Jul 04, 2006
Photo of yemenmocha
4.03/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Beautiful black beer. Light brown laced head.

Very faint nose on this bottled version. maybe it's just the glass shape. Some roasty malt notes, a sugary sweet smell too.

Medium bodied, carbonation is very noticeable, very tame malty sweetness that leads into a somewhat "thin" finish. Very drinkable, as in you could really down several of these fast, but not extremely appetizing (you don't crave the next sip).

A very good evening session beer when you want that malty lager that will go down fast.

yemenmocha, Jul 03, 2006
Photo of kimcgolf
3.4/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Chocolate and heavy malt was evident in the aroma immediately. Appearance was similar to a stout, dark in color with a foamy tan head. I didn’t note much of a spiciness in this, but the malt and chocolate/carmel were very evident and consistent throughout the glass. Tasty beer with a good finish.

kimcgolf, Jul 02, 2006
Photo of scottoale
3.28/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This was one from the "Brewmaster Collection" six-pack and poured into the SA Black Lager slender goblet a dark mahogany-brown with a massive two-inch foamy tan head. I got a little aggro on the pour, thus the huge head...it started settling into a rocky, frothy 3/4 inch and left some good lace initially. Shortly after it died down to a ring and a little bubble lace after each taste.

At first my nose could sense much of anything coming from it, then as it warmed a bit, I could finally smell some dark roasty malt and a faint bit of sweetness of some chocolate malt as well. Not very impressive as compared to it's looks...

The flavor had a nice dark roasted thing going on and a sweet malt with some chocolate down to the finish. Medium body if that, the finish was rather watery, but clean. Mouthfeel kind of watery too.

Easy enough to drink with a mellow ABV, worth a try but wasn't impressed.

scottoale, Jul 01, 2006
Photo of palffyfan
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a thick dark color with some mild head. Does look red on the outside somewhat--very uniform throughout.

Smell - Amazingly chocolaty, some sweet notes, hints of malt, coffee.

Taste - Reminds me of the SA cream stout, yet distinct. The thick roasted coffee finish is the best part about this beer (not bitter at all finish). I would also have to agree with a lot of the other readers that there is no distinct taste to it--theres a concoction of many notes, yet none overwhelm you with the exception of the coffee aftertaste.

Drinkability - This is a pretty drinkable brew. Not something you can get drunk of because of the flavors, but this is definetely enjoyable amongst friends.

palffyfan, Jun 30, 2006
Photo of mithrascruor
4.22/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a mug.

Appearance: Pours a very dark color. Seemingly black, but with a slight ruby glow around the edges. The thin tan head (mostly of carbonation) dissipates quick quickly. I don't quite know why, but I really like how this looks.

Smell: Malts, toffee, roasted nuts, toasted grains, a bit of molasses... they all seem waft out of the glass. Though the smell isn't too powerful (or else it's my allergies).

Taste: The beer has a very rich and warm taste, but not as complex as you'd expect from the smell. Sure, there's malts, grains, and a bit of nuts, but they aren't very distinct and the other elements aren't really present. That said, it's still a really good flavor -- just lacking a bit in the complexity department. Just a pinch of bitterness in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and quite smooth. A light tingle of carbonation is noticable as well. A rather warm feel as well.

Drinkability: A rather rich beer, but very drinkable! Somewhat heavy, but not overbearing by any means. Alcohol is a bit noticable, but under control if you drink it responsibly, enjoying it. Oh, and there's a solution to the lack of complexity in the flavor: just remember to smell it as you sip! Makes quite a difference.

I've never liked S.A.'s Boston Lager, but figured I'd give them another chance by giving this a try. Good thing I did, because I really enjoy this beer! Definitely not an everyday beer, since it's quite rich and a tad heavy, but it hardly has to be one of those "special occasion-only" beers. Give this a try if you haven't already.

mithrascruor, Jun 26, 2006
Samuel Adams Black Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
84 out of 100 based on 2,502 ratings.