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

Samuel Adams Black LagerSamuel Adams Black Lager

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,376 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2376
Reviews: 1429
rAvg: 3.71
pDev: 12.94%

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 jondeelee


3.55/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Black Lager (though not so black as to be opaque when held up against a light) opens with a caramel-sweet aroma heavy on sugar, cream, caramel, and toffee, with coffee, tobacco, and ash resting only slightly beneath. At first blush, the beer in fact smells quite a lot like a weak milk stout, presenting a good balance between dark and sugary notes. A decent swath of brown bread, toast crust, floury baguette, and spent grains provides an earthy counter, with faint hints of pine resin from the hops to add bitterness. As a whole, the nose is very nice, featuring a wide variety of aromas in decent number and complexity, and faulted mainly for being slightly weak.

On the tongue, the first flavors are black coffee and ash, joined quickly by a surprisingly strong citrusy lemon and grapefruit hop rush. Cream, sugar, caramel, and toffee creep in slowly, as well as spent grain breads and toast crust. The beer seems less balanced here than it did on the nose, with the citrusy hops providing a strange experience when held against the ash and coffee. In subsequent sips much of the nuance and flavor diminishes, and the flavors become watery; the ash and coffee notes are reduced by at least a half, leaving a large and lemony bread flavor that doesn't seem very "black." The aftertaste is a continuation of the strange lemon and ash combo, lingering lightly on the tongue for a few seconds. Mouthfeel is medium-light, and carbonation is medium to medium-heavy, adding to the burning on the tongue and soft palate.

Overall, while the beer isn’t quite as black in appearance as the name suggests, the initial aromas were promising and savory. However, the flavors proved watery, especially over the course of several mouthfuls, and the watery mouthfeel further took away from the overall package. Decent fare, and likely excellent entry-level beer for anyone making the transition into craft beers due to its approachability and the fact that it won’t blast your palate silly, but doesn’t quite keep up with its heavier-hitting peers.

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2012 18:15:59 | More by jondeelee
Photo of Jadjunk


3.85/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Black Lager is brewed in the Schwarzbier style. It has found its way into many Samuel Adams variety packs in the last year, this being the third inclusion in recent memory. "This traditional lager is medium in body with a deep roasted character. Its dark color and rich malty flavor come from specially roasted caramel and chocolate malts. This brew is lightly hopped with Bavarian Noble hops for a soft spiciness and a smooth clean finish. Cheers!"

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a Samuel Adams perfect pint sensory glass. Served at 50º Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a crisp foamy creamy brown head. Retention is slightly above average- could be better, could be much worse. Beer leaves behind a nice medium-thick clingy lacing. Color is a dark brown with deep ruby tones glaring through the thinner parts of the glass. Beer has a nice appearance. 4

(Smell) Heavy tones of dark roasted caramel, a tart nut aroma, and a small hint of bitter chocolate aromas. Hop character is light but adds a bitter floral aroma to the beer. Overall the aroma is mildly bitter with roasted tones in the background. Nothing groundbreaking, but there could be a lot more missing from the aroma; it's quite well balanced and deep in aroma. 3.5

(Taste) Up front bitter chocolate and spicy floral hop character followed through with medium roasted caramel tones and a mildly charred, slightly tart finish. While there's no prominent flavors, nothing is awkward or offensive in the flavor. It's an easily accessible overall flavor for those who are looking for an easy drinking dark lager. 4

(Mouthfeel) Very mild carbonation lends its hand to a slick smooth brew. There's a solid medium body to the beer and a well-concealed alcohol presence. Overall, it lends well to the "lager" style for the beer. 4.5

(Overall) A pretty tasty Schwarzbier, goes for a bit more of a tart bitter flavor than the other options in the category, but very enjoyable nonetheless. Not the best schwarzbier I've ever had but certainly a decent take on the style. 3.5

Boston Beer Company's
Samuel Adams Black Lager

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2012 20:44:06 | More by Jadjunk
Photo of JoLight


4.25/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Blackish, slightly brown and amber in color, with a tan, frothy head. Leaves a lot of lacing.

Aroma - sweet, like a stout. Chocolate, dark-roasted malts, and caramel, are the most prominent aromas.

Taste - Dark-roasted malts, sweetness, chocolate, MAYBE a little caramel, and some hops that remind me of strong coffee, and maybe some fruity hops as well.

Finish - semi-dry.

Overall - Feels like a lager, tastes much like a stout.

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2012 07:00:55 | More by JoLight
Photo of kjyost

Manitoba (Canada)

3.48/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Part of a Sam Adams sampler pack. Bottle notched BB July / 12. Poured into a wine glass.

Pours a deep black with brownish edges that appear clear with a tan head. Aroma and body virtually match each other with light notes of molasses, roasted barley and an earthiness behind it all. No sweetness in the body. Finishes almost watery though for so much roasted nature, almost like a nitro Guinness. Good enough.

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2012 19:20:25 | More by kjyost
Photo of BakerMoore

4.13/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Upon pouring it leaves a cream colored one finger head. After a minute or two the head dissipates leaving a nice bit of lacing that lingers. The body is a thick dark brown color with reddish tints. When put up to the light it shows a constant stream of bubbles rising towards the top. Nice overall appetizing appearance.

The smell is very aromatic. The aroma is heavily of roasted malts, coffee, toffee, and hops. Upon smelling you are able to dissect the smells accordingly. However, the aroma could be stronger.

The taste releases a lot of the aroma and flavors. Roasted malts
, coffee and hops are present in this taste. Its a pleasant taste going down. The aftertaste is also pleasant leaving coffee and roasted malts behind.

The mouthfeel compliments the flavor and aroma. The carbonation is present and just right for the taste. Its something that makes a beer almost perfect.

Overall, its an incredibly tasty beer with the right aromas and feels that makes it almost perfect.

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2012 04:18:40 | More by BakerMoore
Photo of necrat

Rhode Island

3.6/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured dark like a malt, but it wasn't as thick, more like a lager. (Go figure.)

Very light smell, smell of hops, malts, coffee, chocolate, and dark bread.

The taste was rather good. I expected less to be honest. Nice malty mix with caramel and coffee notes on the tounge. A very slight toasted finish with a clean finish. As it warms you can taste the hop notes a little too

It was a little too carbonated, which is why I reduced the mouthfeel one notch on this.

Overall this is a definite hit from the Sam Adams collection and you won't regret buying one. I'll buy one again. (I would like to try it on tap)

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2012 21:13:50 | More by necrat
Photo of Jesse13713


2.65/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I reviewed this beer in the past, but I am updating my review because I found quite a few differences in my notes.

Appearance - A dark cola brown that isn't quite black. Very little head and average lacing to the Hoppin' Frog snifter. A very flimsy looking beer.

Smell - This beer smelled great after popping the cap off. Huge notes of roasted espresso malt and dark chocolate. A bit of spicy chocolate milk, which I found quite odd. The smell fades very rapidly.

Taste - A quite tasty chocolaty lager. More cocoa and chocolaty notes than I expected. A very faint spice that is difficult to pinpoint. The malt is half-rich and roasty, but coldly received. Light hops and bitterness can be felt on the tongue.

Mouthfeel and Overall - Very light-bodied and lightly carbonated. Watery at first, but a nice smokey chocolate malt backs it up a bit in the end. With respect, this beer is not terribly great, but it is certainly better and contains more of a body than the Dixi Black Voodoo I just had not too long ago.

Serving type: bottle

07-02-2012 04:48:52 | More by Jesse13713
Photo of Treyliff

West Virginia

3.83/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- pours black but with a bit onf ruby hue when held up to the light. Light-tan thi I and creamy head with great retention long after the pour. Just a bit of lacing.

S- sweet malts, bready grain and an earthy hop spice.

T- Sweet malts with a slight burnt edge, a bit of smokiness with a light molasses sweetness. Finishes a bit astringent with a a spicy hops kick, then dries out.

M- light bodied with a smooth creaminess. Med-low carbonation, very refreshing.

O- a refreshing beer that is suitable for winter or summer. It has the characteristics of porters or stouts but is much lighter and versatile. A great offering from Boston Beer Co.

Serving type: bottle

06-22-2012 00:57:13 | More by Treyliff
Photo of intensify


3.7/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark brown, almost black body. Nice head on the pour but quickly went away and did leave a fair amount of lacing. Hints of roasted malts, dark chocolate, coffee, toffee, and some hops present. Taste followed closely behind leaving a roasted taste in the finish. Full bodied with an oily mouthfeel and medium carbonation.
Makes for a decent desert or goes well with a chocolate donut. Made to be drunk on a cold night, which it complements well.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2012 06:18:56 | More by intensify
Photo of Hopswagger

South Carolina

3.85/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

P:  Full finger of foamy cappuccino head.  Black body with glistening deep amber translucence.  Recedes to a thin spotty layer across the top. 

S:  Roasted toffee, coffee beans, rich caramel and bittersweet dark chocolate. 

T/M:  Light body with a touch of bubbly carbonation on the tongue. Rich roasted malts, dark bread, caramel with a touch of salt, chocolate and timid earthy and floral hops. I detect a slight taste of vegetation but not sure what kind, molasses and red delicious apples.  Finish is smooth with a dryness toward the end.  Bittersweet chocolate lingers on the palate. 

O:  Mild but flavorful and smooth drinking. One of my personal favorites from the Boston Beer Company. I enjoy this anytime of the year and highly recommend it.  Not sure how it represents the style because this is my first of this style but a delicious beer none the less. 

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2012 01:46:52 | More by Hopswagger
Photo of FakeDeniro


4.4/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A deep dark black/brown color! Small off white head. An amazing smell of dark breads and roasted grains The taste is much the same with a brilliant light body to balance out the heavy smell and taste. A great beer the lets your drink a dark or bigger bold tasting beer when you want a light body beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-21-2012 17:57:39 | More by FakeDeniro
Photo of BostonHops


3.85/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle served in a standard pint glass.

pours a dark, cola-like brown while yielding a finger of off-white head; modest retention and lacing.

nose is strongly lead by roasted malts, followed by lesser notes of chocolate and hops. roasted malts is also at the forefront of the flavor. a bit of bitter chocolate and hops are evident behind the malt; approaching a stout but not quite. not a bad tasting beer at all.

mouthfeel is OK but there is significant room for improvement; light bodied and a bit - a bit - watery. but definitely drinkable; all in all it's not a bad beer, definitely something you would consider sessioning.

originally reviewed: 09-06-2010

Serving type: bottle

05-10-2012 23:19:15 | More by BostonHops
Photo of scootny

New York

3.6/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark, clear, with a darkish off white head. Nice head and lacing. A light covering remains as I drink. Aromas of dark breads and deeply roasted grains. Some molasses and toasted pumpernikel. A bit of yeasty fruit esters. Taste is much like the nose with a clean crisp signature. Finish is roasty and mildly hopped with earth and a bit of charcoal that folds itself into a dark bread with a thin spread of brown rice syrup. A tea leafiness and lingering dryness. Feel is smooth and crisply carbonated with a medium weight. A solid beer overall with much to enjoy.

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2012 06:39:41 | More by scootny
Photo of AtrumAnimus


3.85/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This one is a decent drinkable beer.

The beer pours black and is almost dark enough to prevent light from passing through it; about 95% blockage of light. The head is decently thick and settles ate a medium to slow rate and leaves adequate lacing down the glass.

The nose is acceptable with hints of coffee, malt and subtle smoky aromas.
The flavor is the best part with an immediate burst of coffee, dark chocolate, bread and a nicely balanced amount of bitter hops. The flavors are well balanced and very enjoyable. For a black lager this one is good enough for enjoying even on a hot summer day when I would usually prefer such a beer in the fall or winter.

For perspective: I tend to like darker heavier beers the cooler the weather gets and prefer lighter wheat type beers as summer hits it’s 110 degree peaks. That said; I see this being a year round beer.

As for the mouthfeel it is lighter than the black beers I am used too but it is not watery. Just light enough to be good year round (See above).

Overall I am really enjoying this beer and will definitely be getting it again. It is a very satidfying and quaffable black lager.

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2012 22:40:04 | More by AtrumAnimus
Photo of jmarklan


3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a clear ebony/ dark brown. Dense head last a little while and leaves good lacing.

The aroma is rather faint; slightly roasty, cappuccino, slight vanilla and chocolate.

Tastes like the aroma, but with a touch of hops that balances the malt very well. Ends with caramel and coffee.

Medium body, slightly syrupy. Very drinkable and even refreshing.

Overall: I don't know if this represents the style well or not, but it's a very good brew regardless. Goes down quick and easy.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2012 04:36:52 | More by jmarklan
Photo of CuteZombieDoll

New Jersey

3.98/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Very dark, a tinge of red when held by a light. Not the fullest head, but decent.

S- Toasty, almost coffee like.

T- Almost comes off like a porter, with a nice toasted coffee flavor initially, followed by mild hop flavors, then chocolaty on the finish. It's fairly complex.

M- Refreshing yet full bodied. Very nice.

O- Probably one of Sam Adam's best! Definitely one to have in the fridge. Full flavored, not terribly expensive or hard to get.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2012 05:20:50 | More by CuteZombieDoll
Photo of rawfish


3.85/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appears black on the pour but very much dark brown with grape juice highlights when held to the light. Thin tan head, half a finger high with spotty lacing all over the glass from some moderate retention.

Very straight forward with finely roasted malt, that doesn't hide any of the straw, grass and lager yeast. Mild coffee and raw grain.

Bready with plenty of roasted character and weak coffee. Dark fruit springs up in some areas, plum and berry. Finishes with some dry grassy hops, tartness from the roast is evident on the tongue as the beer develops a lemon pith brightness.

Uplifting and prickly carbonation with a body that is less dense than let on. Sticky on the palate with lots of residual acidity left after the drink.

Very nice offering by Samuel Adams, rich and roasty lager with an uplifting character that does well to adapt to the seasons. Curbing the sloppy finish with the tartness and stick would help this alot. I came away fairly impressed.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2012 08:31:28 | More by rawfish
Photo of Florida9


3.6/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Appears black in the glass, but allows a good deal of light around the edges revealing a dark reddish-brown beer. Forms a minimal tannish colored head that reduces down to just the faintest bit of a ring around the edges. No lacing.

S: The smell is inviting, full of dark fruit, roasted malts, raisin, molasses, and dark caramel.

T: Unfortunately, the flavor isn't as well developed. Light flavor of roasted malts and some caramel. Minimal noble hops. Very mild bitterness.

M: On the lighter side of medium with appropriate carbonation. Fairly dry mouthfeel with a slight chalkiness.

O: A decent, very drinkable beer. Somewhat simplistic on the palate, but not flawed either. Certainly not the best I've had in the style, but very approachable.

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2012 01:25:42 | More by Florida9
Photo of Arborescence


3.1/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Black, pours a decent creamy head.

Aroma: Very mild. Slight hint of chocolate and malt.

Taste: Still mild, but there is some roasted malt present. Bitterness in the aftertaste. Not much depth.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied, rolls nicely on the tongue; oily.

Overall: Decent attempt, but nothing special. The Czech and the Germans do this type of beer much better.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2012 23:37:21 | More by Arborescence
Photo of TheCondor


3.65/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a mug, bought in a brewers variety pack. Pretty interesting variety in there.

Appearance – Pours nicely into the mug as a black beer, just like advertised. Some light can get through, it just doesn’t look as thick as a porter or stout (because it isn’t). Has a decent little one finger head which dissipates at a moderate pace, no lacing to speak of.

Smell – Roasted malts, dark chocolate, very similar to a porter or stout, but not as pronounced. A little more subdued on the nose

Taste – Like the nose, tastes similar to a porter or stout, follows the nose closely. It is rather rich, hearty, and a little on the sweet side. Very nice

Mouthfeel – A defining characteristic and what truly separates it from a porter or stout, which is what it looks like. Not as creamy or heavy, but finishes much more clean and refreshing.

Overall – This is truly a solid beer offering from the Boston Beer company. I have been a little disappointed in some of their beers in that brewers collection, but this one is good. Nothing to really freak out about, but a solid beer, very drinkable, something a little different for an avid dark beer fan.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2012 02:24:31 | More by TheCondor
Photo of Beerandraiderfan


3.4/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark pour, but not thick dark, like a black schwarz should be (said the hefty white girl), equal parts black and brown but with enough clarity for a dark beer. Aroma is dry cocao powder, caramel.

Taste allows the sweet and hoppy side of the beer to come through, like a good schwarz should. Don't forget about the toffee like taste with a lil more sweetness. High carbonation, but appropriate. Good bitterness, but the dryness of the beer keeps it from becoming abrasive (the adjective, not the beer) at any point.

A solid beer at a solid price from a solid brewery. What more you want?

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2012 00:12:36 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of CMUbrew


3.1/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a mug

A: Poured with less than a finger of darker off-white head. Faded quickly. Color is actually very dark brown with deep ruby highlights.

S: I get some spicy hop smell.

T: Spicy hops up front with a small bit of roasted malt on the back end. Aftertaste is somewhat metallic.

M: Feels kind of watery and flat with some foam.

O: My least favorite from Sam Adams so far. It seems to follow style, but this really isn't that drinkable or good in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2012 23:43:58 | More by CMUbrew
Photo of srandycarter


3.63/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - It's pretty dark brown to black. Tan light head, leaves to ring quick. Spotty lace.

S - Roasted malt, coffee, but very subdued.

T - The smell attributes fall flat here. Some coffee and roasted malt, but mostly middle of the road light lager flavors with a hint of toastiness.

M - Light bodied, good carb, fair balance.

D - Easy drinker for sure.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2012 05:04:31 | More by srandycarter
Photo of jimmah120


3.38/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle best by june

Dark mahogany, almost black. Decent head retention and lacing. Smell is sweet malt and floral hops, very light. Taste is crisp, bready malts with a roasted toffee undertone. Good amount of carbonation and a creamy feel.

Overall it's very drinkable but decidedly average.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2012 08:32:52 | More by jimmah120
Photo of jifigz


3.63/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a pint glass.

The appearance is a seemingly black brew, although the room is a little dark so mahogany hues might be present. The head was virtually non-existent and there is no lacing. The smell is slightly smoky and a bit sweet. There is a strange acidic coffee aroma thrown in there too. The taste is exceptionally smooth with a great presence of many different flavors. The beginning is rather flavorless which gives way to a full sweetness with a nice little hop character, the end is nicely smoky. The flavor is very light yet satisfying. The MF is nice and light, low carbonation and a thin body. It fits this beer very well as that is what I feel a Schwarzbier should be like.

A nice beer. It is very light and refreshing yet enjoyable with enough flavor to keep it interesting. It's nice that such a common brewery has brewed a style that is rather uncommon.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2012 03:23:04 | More by jifigz
Samuel Adams Black Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
84 out of 100 based on 2,376 ratings.