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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.

2,514 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,514
Reviews: 1,434
rAvg: 3.7
pDev: 12.97%
Wants: 50
Gots: 92 | 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)
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Photo of soulgrowl
3.93/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Brownish blackberry black with a cafe au lait-colored head that retains well. Bubbles are big and soft and crawl upward in long lines along the sides of the glass. Delicate lacing frosts the glass thinly.

Smell: As the bottle says, caramel and chocolate malts, with a touch of diacetyl, dates, and DMS. Noble hops poke through with a little leafy spice.

Taste: Mmm, that great, schwarzy, s'mores-like toasted sweetness, along with a nice toffee flavor from the malts. The bottle accurately describes the hops as lending a "soft spiciness" that's especially noticeable on the roof of the mouth. Finish is clean and burnt.

Mouthfeel: Smooth as silk, really quite creamy with a little tingliness.

Drinkability: Good stuff! I could drink many of these.

Photo of kgreen2k1
3.58/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

In the style of Ebert & Roper this is a two-man review. The idea being that two people’s opinions playing off one another might give you a good idea of where your own thoughts would end up.

Me: This is a Schwarz bier! German for black beer. The black only refers to color though, it's not going to be super heavy. Also unlike porters and stouts the bitterness comes from hops instead of roasting the malts.
Me: It's also got a freshness date, which I wish more beers did.
Me: Mine's best by august.
Him: Mine says best purchased before may.
Him: I’m glad I made the cut!
Me: You make no cuts. You are picked last for the kickball team.
Me: Interesting that mine says "enjoy by" and not "purchase by" like yours.
Him: I’m reading the label and it looks like we should expect caramel and chocolate malts.
Him: It also says it is lightly hopped.
Me: That goes somewhat against the Schwarz bier description.
Him: People this is why we do these reviews...to find out who is lying and actually get down to what this beer is like.
Me: I’m so editing that out.
Me: OK pour! I’m using a pint glass.
Him: Same.
Him: There’s a smell, but I’m not sure I like it.
Me: I quite enjoy. Kind of a smoky chocolate.
Him: I smell some caramel too.
Me: I get a bit of a bark smell also.
Him: The head was small and is now gone after sitting for a couple minutes.
Him: It’s very dark, pretty much the color of cola.
Him: This is definitely a beer we could trick our non-drinking friends into drinking.
Me: Except I don't see any signs of carbonation.
Me: It looks good though. I ended up with more head than you did.
Him: Look on the top, there are a lot of bubbles rising to the surface.
Me: I can't see the top because of the head actually.
Me: I was holding it up to the light though, got a bit of a ruby highlight and no bubbles.
Him: So! If you get a lot of head like he does you wont see bubbles, but if you get no head like I do, you will see bubbles.
Me: (laughs) Stop talking to the audience. I’m editing you all out!
Me: Ready to drink?
Him: When am I not?
Him: I definitely taste chocolate and caramel.
Me: That's actually way better than I remember it being. Maybe I had killed my taste buds with something else the first time I drank this.
Him: Yeah this beer tastes great!
Me: It's a little sweet, yum.
Him: The taste doesn’t linger though... Yeah I think the sugars make my mouth water.
Him: I’d say this is a relaxing beer, no bitterness at all.
Me: Agreed. As the flavor fades there's a little something I don't like.. Don't know what I’d call it. Not a huge deal though
Him: Cover it up with more beer.
Me: Just for fun I had a bit of cheese with it. It brought out the fattiness of the cheese. Not recommended with cheese.
Me: Now I’m talking to the audience.
Him: Stop it!

Me: Appearance!
Him: My head was lacking, I do like the dark beer color, but it is like every other dark beer... 3.
Me: 4 for me.
Me: I got a pretty good head as mentioned and I liked the smooth darkness.
Me: Smell!
Him: I smelled caramel, which I don’t normally smell in beer.
Him: But it was a light smell, so I’ll say 4.
Me: Agree. Liked the scent a lot, every bit as thick as the color. 4.
Me: Taste!
Him: There is a lot going on with this beer. You definitely taste the chocolate and caramel, and it has a smooth finish after a funky taste....4...a tip would be to wash away the funkiness with some more beer!
Me: Yeah the taste was really good. That aftertaste is still bugging me and it's getting worse the more I have. But initially delicious. 4.
Him: Yeah definitely don’t go kiss anyone after this beer, unless they are drunk.
Me: I only kiss drunks as a rule.
Him: I can’t imagine a girl saying "Ooh I just love your smoky musky breath!"
Me: I like the “musky” descriptor.
Me: Mouth feel!
Me: A light feel to it. Not too watery, just very smooth. Very nice pairing with a pretty rich beer otherwise. 4 again.
Him: Yeah I agree with everything you said. 4.
Me: And finally drinkablility.
Him: I think I could only have a couple of these, that muskiness is growing... 2.
Me: Yeah it's like a metallic heaviness. I wouldn't want more than 1. 2 for me too.
Me: Any final comments?
Me: You know, for the audience.
Him: Oh wait I finally get to say something to them?
Me: Sure!
Him: This beer is good and worth a try... but I’m not gonna buy a case of it.
Him: Try it in a variety pack like I did and see which Sam Adams you like best.
Me: (laughs) Sound advice.
Him: Ugh that last bit of it was gross....
Him: NOTE! Gets less pleasant as it gets warmer.
Me: It did the opposite of grow on me. At the end of the glass I realize why I liked it so much more at first sip than I remembered.

Photo of stacey14
3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

After having mixed reviews of different Sam Adam's beers, I was happy after trying this one. It poured out to a nice brown color with an average amount of head. The smell was that of roasted nuts and barley and the taste is the same. My favorite part of this beer was the taste when compared to the texture and mouthfeel. I enjoy stouts and other dark beers, but having a good dark lager is like a less-filling stout. I could definitely drink this beer all night and still enjoy it.

Photo of nitemarebrewer
2.42/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

appearance- black, slight tan head
Nose-dry, slightly roasted, neutral
taste-neutral, malt and hop flavor balanced, almost cancelling each other out, little toasty, smooth, like a guinness without the creaminess, but with significantly less hop bitterness
Mouth feel- thin, not too carbonated
Drinkability- i didnt enjoy drinking it alone, I would prefer to pair it with food

Photo of wingman14
4.25/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a tan head, a great site to see! Roasted smell with hints of chocolate and other sweet characters. A very inviting smell. I love the balance of this beer, not over powering just the right hints of sweet and bitter. This beer is thin like the lager name suggests but packs a flavorful punch, and because of such a great mouthfeel it drives the ease of consumption. If you are a person who likes the flavor of stouts or porters but dislikes the heavy feel to the beer then this lager is right for you. I recommend this beer to anyone because it has something for everyone, one of my two absolute favorite sam adams beers. Cheers!

Photo of tonistruth
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- pours a color damn near black, some light does get through around the edges. Huge ridiculous head, head to let it settle before pouring the rest of the bottle, which took a while because the head retent is very good. Head is tan and fluffy.

S- very clean, refreshing kinda clean. Choclate smell is in their too, shares the spotlight with the clean smell.

T- very interesting. starts clean (bitterness is in start as in warms and increase with the temp), choclate/roasted flavor in middle that becomes overshadowed by this warming spice flavor, than thespice settles and you have a choclate aftertaste.

M- On the thin side, still nice body to it though. Very smooth and fun.

D- smooth, pending the temperature of your beer the first part can surprie you be the middle and end are great.
Though its easy to drink, this seems more of a have one and move on beer, not because its bad, it very good, just because i think that youd be wasting a wonderful sensation for your brain and taste buds if you try and session this beer. Much to complex for that.

Photo of acarroll413
3.83/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured from a 12oz bottle into a glass

A- beautiful! a nice dark, thick black, not dull at all. i would have given this a 5 but the head was kind of brownish, which i didnt care for. then again im used to seeing the fluffy whiteness of guinness with a beer this dark.

S- smelled like toffee, malt, and a hint of chocolate.

T- bitter up front but not too bitter. the tasted of malt comes through and shines. very tasty. and surprisingly not very dry. i guess thats what seperates this type of beer from an irish dry stout.

M- perfect texture, not thin, but not jello either. and very smooth, much more so than the Guinness extra stout.

D- sure, id probably drink it again if it was on tap or in the single's rack of my favorite liquor store.

Photo of Greenfloyd
3.45/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Black Lager...a name much more mysterious than the taste itself. A pint glass reveals a nice deep, very dark chestnut (no it's not actually that black) hue with a rapidly dissipating burnt ivory head. In fact you have to pour somewhat aggressively to achieve a decent head to begin with. Roasted toffee greets the nose as you notice a chocolaty malt flavor, followed by an almost Dry Irish Stout-like bitter finish. The medium body however lends itself to more social drinking, but I'm not so sure I could drink to many in one sitting. I'll try. Have this American Schwarzbier with any meat & potato combo, or a roasted poultry & veggie dish. Enjoy

Photo of bditty187
3.43/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dark brown in hue, not black, but there are ruby highlights. Frothy beige foam, at the apex the head was two finger’s tall. Good head retention, a soapy cap lasted the entire consumption. There was minimal spotty lacing. Overall, this is a good looking beer.

The nose is soft with roasted notes, some chocolate and caramel. It is not too chatty but the aromas do say “Schwarzbier.” I can’t ask for much more… okay, I do wish the aromas were louder. Still, it is pleasant. Inviting.

The palate is juicy, especially for the style. I like the mix of caramel and chocolate with the roasted coffee notes in the background. There is not much going on after that, sweet finish. I like the Schwarzbiers but I don’t think this is all that great. It is a bit sweet for me. Regardless of style, I am not thrilled with it. I’m bored. It is okay to drink in the moment but if I start thing about it… zzzz.

Medium in body, low but natural carbonation, the mouthfeel fits this beer well enough.

Easy to drink but I’m uninterested. Sure, I could drink it again but it is nothing I’m picking out of an impressive line-up. Give me Mönchshof any day. I purchased a six-pack in Sioux Falls, SD but I have seen it in Nebraska since. It is decent. I am happy Sam Adams has beers like this on the market. Props to SA!

Photo of alexgash
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black, peat-like, with a dense creamy, light andy head. Roasted malts, coffee bitterness on the nose with some sugary malt sweetness. Tobacco leaves too. Nice, sweetish malt melds with singed, roasted character on the palate. Leathery-tobacco notes. Roasted coffee bitter finish. Medium-bodied to light with moderate carbonation. A great offering from SA and I can only hope to find this on tap as frequently as I find the Boston lager...

Photo of pjwilson
3.38/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

bought at local corner store in a mixed 6 pack containing: black lager, hefe, and the brown ale. cool idea. i like to try alot of beers, but i am most anticipating the black lager i have never seen any of these beers in california before. best before june 2006, so you know it's fresh.

appearance: dark black color, yet held to the light it turns a deep amber color. the two finger head is awsome, but then settles down to a half inch or so.

smell: more lagery yeasty smell, no hint of the roasted malts. after you've had death and taxes....well you except some ommffff.

taste: an improvment for sure. reminisant of an irish dry stout, but with some more coffee and chocolate tones. frankly, there is little lager like about this beer, i would buy it is as a stout. very little in the way of what i would except in a swarzbeer. (not that the beer claimed it was)

mouthfeel: a nice and thick fullness, greater than excepted. i guess creamy is the word. i'm giving it lower points because this a lager, it should have lighter mouthfeel. if they called it a stout it might be a 4.

drinkability: this is a disapointment. i'm still waiting to find the perfect shwarz, but am still looking. this is not it. still, this is decent, but i certainly wouldn't seek it out.

Photo of Koolbreeze2
2.4/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance: I do like the way this beer looks. I'm a stout lover and dark beers make my day. (usually). Dark with some head that vanishes quickly.

Smell:A little toasty, malty. And I do mean a little. Very light on smell of any kind.

Taste: I had several over a few months. At first I was not impressed with the taste. I am still not impressed with the taste. Not a beer I will buy or drink again. Watery, very little taste. I almost feel bad that I don't care for this beer because so many people seem to enjoy it. But I must be true to myself and my picky taste buds.

Mouthfeel: Nice feel. Makes the mouth feel good but it needs something- like taste!

Drinkability: Like the Lager but not the Black Lager. All show and no go.

Photo of BEERchitect
3.83/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

One of Sam Adams better offerings. Medum body with a powerful, yet smooth, with a powdery roasted flavor and texture. Black at first sight, but then allows amber highlights to perminate. Promising, lightly tanned head retention starts off thick and creamy, but fades quickly under the lighter than expected body. Moderatly malty sweet with roasted grain (not quite coffee) bitter balance. A light cocoa flavor adds character and complexity. Low hopping allows for grain to supply bitterness. Finishes nicely clean and lightly charcoal-like. Quite enjoyable and remarkably easy to drink despite it's bold roasted character.

Photo of hero27
2.95/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle. Brewmaster's Collection. Best before July 2006.

Clear burnt mahogany, tight head of foam. Very light aroma of dark roasted malts...I might be able to pick up some weak chocolate if I use my imagination. The taste is more bold, with the roastiness showing off a bit and the chocolate being actually noticeable. A thinnish body with modest carbonation. Nothing too memorable for me, but it's alright for the style.

Photo of badbeer
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance wise, I don't think you can get better for the style. Black color with a tan head that stays throughout with spotty lacing. Smell is of coffee, toffee, and roasted grain with a hint of hops hidden. Taste hits me with some burnt caramel flavor, with coffee kicking in right behind it, no real detectable hops in the taste, but it doesn't need them. Pretty light bodied with average carbonation, but seems just about right. Very drinkable, this would be great with a meal or just having a couple whenever. Definately a good decision.

Photo of oelergud
4.2/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black body only letting a little light through at the edges giving it a ruby brown tint. Tan head with low retention and lace.
Smell is roasted coffee beans, strong molasses and slightly spiced honey.
Strong sweet dark chocolate and molasses in the taste reigned in well by spiced hops, well balance and a slew of interesting flavors hard to nail. Aftertaste is dry, big hops walking hand in hand with a little malt. Good duration on the aftertaste.
Full and slick mouthfeel. Dry finish.
Interesting brew and very easy to enjoy.


Photo of BeerRun13
3.7/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First off, I bought a Sam Adams variety pack at the supermarket... I thought that that was a cool idea, especially because I wasn't sure what I was in the mood for at the time. It had 2 each of the Brown Ale, Black Lager, and Hefeweizen. I imagine that this is a part of their recent advertising campaign touting the many styles of beer Sam Adams has to offer.

The beer is a very dark brownish black. Glimmers of red show through in the light. A nice 2 finger creamy tan head shrinks and stays with little lacing.
Only my second schwarzbier and now the style is starting to make since. smell to me is very slight much like the other I tried:
Coffe and roasted malt aromas.
Caramel and coffee flavors A little sweeter than the other, but there is still that grassy sourness. Could be the hops or maybe just the flavor charicteristics of the lager yeast. It is still a pretty tasty brew. A light roasted bitterness shows itself at the swallow.
Mouthfeel is good. Smooth and well carbonated.
Me thinks me is starting to like this beverage you call Schwarzbier.
Drink up. I will.

Photo of palliko
3.18/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I was able to pick up just one bottle to try. Appearance is dark brown with copper, a beige foam and some lacing. Aroma is of charred oak, toasted grain, semi-sweet dark chocolate. Initial taste is caramel and chocolate followed by a few bitter hops that try but cannot overcome the caramel sweetness. Kind of watery and over carbonated. Acidic finish. This is a good beer for a schwarzebier, but I keep thinking: with a little more body it would make a decent porter – I miss the creaminess. Not sure it is my style, or that I would try another.

Photo of Viggo
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear brown/red, small tan head forms, goes fast and leaves some spots of lace. Smell is sweet cherries, lots of roasted character, chocolate, dates and some floral. Taste is slightly oxidized, some dates, chocolate, roast, and caramel. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, slightly sweet, low carbonation and a watery finish. Pretty good.

Photo of Applesauce1
3.15/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured about a 1 - 1/4" head into my pint glass. Pretty good appearance.

Smell wasn't very noticable. Mostly just some coffee tones.

Taste- decent, not anything great though; coffee, a strange bitterness, some nutty flavor too

Drinkability - decent, could have another, but probably won't for a while

Photo of tattooedtolley
3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into pint glass.

Appearance: Very dark color, resembles a stout. Lots of thick light tan head that stays. Some deep red highlights in good lighting.

Smell: Roasted malts mostly, fairly sublte aroma.

Taste: Roasted malts mostly, overall this beer is fairly subtle in aroma and taste. Its not a big complex beer, but that doesnt make it any less good.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is not quite as thin or crisp as a typical lager but there's still no mistaking that this is indeed a lager style.

Dinkability: Very drinkable. The color, the head, the taste, and the fact that these things go down with lager ease, make this beer very easy to put away several.

Overall this beer is my favorite out of the current Brewmaster's Collection from Sam Adams. If only we could have just this beer alone in a 12 pack...

Photo of DogFood11
3.38/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark deep brown to black, Easily managed head forms nicely and leaves at a minimum a paper coating, lacing is admirable. Quite the inviting treat...what lay ahead?

Chocolate is up front, some burnt or charred type quality in the backend. Sweet and slightly unbalanced for the most part. I found the hops to have just enough to make this a solid offering. Malts are sweet and unchallenged, you can get some bitterness from the toasted, charred quality. Finishes pretty clean and crisp. I would have never guessed that it would finish clean, but there is just a whisp of lingering malts.

I have to admit I've stayed away from Sam Adams brews for years. Why? No valid reason whatsoever as I've discovered recently. They are consistent, drinkable, fundamental offerings.

Photo of DaPeculierDane
2.78/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Interestingly translucent yet black. It looks kind of cool. First impressions are good.

Nose is grainy and chocolaty. Touches of caramel, nougat, toffee, and a general Snickers odor enter into play. Not what I’m used to but this works too.

Taste/MF…weak, real weak. This is a style that I admire for its full-on boldness both in the taste and mouthfeel categories that blend with an easy drinkability but this one comes up short in both categories. Notes of charred grains, wood, caramel are present but all are light and the big roasted-burnt malt flavor that I want is nowhere to be found. Carbonation is on the light side too.

Drinkablitiy: With Sprecher around, this just isn’t up to par.

Photo of arguemaniac
3.8/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a moslty opaque black (surprise) with a fairly creamy head and a thick, well-retained lace. Caramel and chocolate in the nose. The caramel flavor in the palate is huge, yet very smooth, and though not as assertive, the various chocoalte flavors (bitter chocolate, sweet chocolate, etc.) are pretty smooth too. But there are also some other more minor flavors like coffee bitterness, vanilla and just a touch of brown sugar. The mouthfeel is silky though a bit watery with a mild carbonation tang.

A good stab at the style and, overall, a pretty tasty and drinkable brew. But, just like most of the other beers from Sam Adams (Boston Beer Co.) it’s solid not stellar. However, I do think that the Boston Beer Co. deserves a little more credit for this one: they were actually bold enough to market a beer style that most average beer drinkers no doubt found unusual but perhaps even a bit intimidating (“if it’s dark, it must be really strong!”). But, by all accounts, it’s been well received. Recommended.

Photo of Jredner
4.22/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Didn’t expect a coffe, almost stout like, aroma. Plenty of malt aroma and a little chocolate as well. Dark brown with ruby tones and a firm finger thick head. Ok this tastes like a watery porter. Very roasty with a lot of coffee notes. Malt sweetness there with a touch of chocalate again and some vanilla. It is actually a solidly good beer. It just tastes like a porter and not a Schwarzbier

Samuel Adams Black Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
84 out of 100 based on 2,514 ratings.