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

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Samuel Adams Black LagerSamuel Adams Black Lager

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1,434 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,434
Hads: 2,537
Avg: 3.74
pDev: 17.11%
Wants: 66
Gots: 139 | 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:
Beer added by: TheJudge on 12-27-2004

No notes at this time.
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Reviews: 1,434 | Hads: 2,537
Photo of BeerandBlues2
2.85/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle. Pours deep mahagoney, almost black, with a small tan foamy head that dissipates to a thin rocky film. Roasted and caramel malt aroma with a dark coffee, chocolate finish. Faint hop notes rise into the air as well. Initially smooth sweet dark chocolate flavor. It finishes lightly hoppy and spicy. Medium body and fizzy, a bit butpy, and crisp finish.

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Photo of jujubeast6000
2.84/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed 2/26/2007 (12oz bottle BB Jun07):

Pours a deep dark brown/black color, some light falls through. Big foamy head, decent lacing, somewhat lasting. Not a very strong aroma, malts, some hops, weak, but not unpleasant. Watery malty taste, not too strong, just average. Clean aftertaste. Not much else to it.

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Photo of Kooz
2.84/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a standard pint glass. Nice color, nice head. Head dissipates quickly, but not completely. Leaves a nice lacing on the glass.

Bitter smell. No thanks.

Tastes okay, but not special. Spicy. To me, this was a bit unexpected from a dark beer. Not unpleasant, but nothing too special either.

Pretty decent mouthfeel. Sam Adams usually gets this right. It's creamy and good. It's just a little too sharp for my tastes though.

This is a fairly drinkable darker beer, but it also has nothing much in common with dark beers except the color. I'm not huge on this one.

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Photo of harrymel
2.83/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Best by Jan, 2012

A: Black, but able to get light through - resulting in dark drown tones. Central cap of off-white foam is also concentric on the edge.
S: Dry malts, slightest hint of smoke and wood. Maybe even a little bit of artificial grape.
T: Dry flavor, wet feeling. Weird dicotomy of experience here. There are some umami tones in this beer. A little bit of burnt pretzel.
M: Light and low carb - very interesting. Semi dry finish.
O: Not sure how I feel about this beer. A little empty for me.

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Photo of benito
2.83/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I had some friends over for dinner last week and wanted to serve them a beer that would cut through the saltiness of the mozzarella in carrozza that I was serving...a Schwarzbier seemed the right pick, and since I can't get Fort Collins Brewing's awesome Kidd Lager except when I'm in the Front Range, Sam Adams was my go-to brew.

Not truly black, this is a deep ruby brew when held to direct light with a thin head and a lager-ish (read, absent) bouquet. The sweetness of the malts did in fact match well with the saltiness of the anchovies in my food, and I also liked this brew for it's quick, refreshing finish. I would definitely serve it again with a similar hors d'oeuvre, but I don't think I'd choose to buy a sixer for pleasure drinking.

Overall, the flavors were competent but unremarkable. It's well-crafted, but this is a "what you see is what you get" affair and I'm not sure that I knew anything about this beer after two pints that I didn't know after two sips.

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
2.81/5  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.

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Photo of DesMoinesMike
2.81/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I tried this one a while back and found it undesirable. Now that my taste is more refined I find it, well, somewhat tolerable. It's look is peculiar with the side edges of my perfect pour glass red and the bottom edge brown. There's a thick finger of foam that lasts a few minutes. The aroma is very feint, just a hint of sweet malt. The taste is mild malty but turns slightly sour at the end that throws of my taste buds. I didn't bother to finish the glass because it just wasn't that enjoyable. I'll probably give away my other bottle.

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Photo of nach0king
2.79/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I've recently developed a taste for black lagers - this one's decent but little more than that. Poured from bottle into pint glass.

A: The colour's right. A bit of light can get through but hardly any. No head to speak of.

S: A little bit of sugar, toffee, malt. A very nice smell but there's not enough of it.

T: As the smell suggested this is mild for a black. That said it's well-balanced - seems more heavily hopped than the ones I'm used to and that's welcome. The bitterness makes it more coffee than toffee. But it just feels like there isn't enough there.

M: Perhaps slightly overcarbonated but still pretty full for a lager - which is a good thing.

Would probably not go looking for this one again. It's perfectly fine but there are better schwarzbiers out there.

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Photo of Shrews629
2.76/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Appearance - Dark brown to very, very dark ruby red. Some slight orange highlights around the edges. Fairly clear with a tan colored head that didn't produce much or have much retention.

Smell - Dark, roasted, chocolate malt. Picked up hints of buttermilk (not my favorite fragrance). It has caramel listed on the label, but I'm not really picking it up. I'm even picking up "cream" hints. Doesn't seem as well balanced as I thought it should be.

Taste - Has a deep roasted, earthy, burnt malt to the taste. Some chocolate in there. Again, no caramel. The taste was more balanced than the smell and was just Ok in my opinion.

Mouthfeel - Medium mouthfeel. Mostly dry, creamy and smooth. Coats the palate honorably.

Drinkability - This is not one of my favorite Sam Adams brews, nor is it one of my favorite styles. This is a beer I can finish, but would probably not go for round two. Every time I took a drink, I continually got the "buttermilk" scent. I didn't care for that. Others may enjoy this beer, however I don't think I will try this again.

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Photo of jpkoch1962
2.74/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a deep ebony with a tan two finger head. The smell of sweet bread mixed with licorice made for a subdued aroma. Sweet bread, and faint spicy licorice dominated the taste profile. The beer finished sweet and a bit cloying with some faint sourness. The carbonation was moderate which kept a decent body through out.

This schwartzbier is way too sweet for the style. The noble bittering hops were either missing or in such small quantities that the taste profile suffered. This is a disappointment as SA usually brews some very nice classic beers.

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Photo of kkipple
2.73/5  rDev -27%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

I love the Boston Beer Company. These guys make solid, sometimes great beer that's ubiquitous and cheap. The BBC is anything but traditional; their product line ranges from the insane 25% abv Utopias to little-produced styles, like this Schwarzbier. (Also the Cranberry Lambic, but we won't go there.)

I have to admit this is the first Schwarzbier of any kind I've tried, so I'm curious. A black lager? What's that? Let's see...

Pours a dark coffee color with a small 1/4th inch head. Looks a lot like a Guinness Extra Stout to me. Smell is scant, coffee and malt. Mostly coffee.

Taste is... well, weak. Roasted malt, some sweetness, maybe a hint of caramel. Not much else... pretty watery. Not really sure what I was expecting, but this really is a dark-colored, roasty-flavored lager. Odd.

Mouthfeel is thin, a bit dry, with a malty aftertaste. This isn't filling me up, yet.

I don't much care for lagers, so I won't lie and pretend I liked this one. It's just strange... I mean, if I want stout, I'll drink stout. If I was partial to lager I'd drink cat piss -- I mean, lager. I guess this could be a good cross-over beer for the lager fan who hasn't gotten into darker beer. Kind of mixed on this one. It's not an awful beer but you can get a lot better. Props to the BBC for trying something different, in any case.

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Photo of Hunter
2.73/5  rDev -27%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

appearance: Beer pours dark but not quite black, more akin to cola than a stout. Head of tan foam evaporates on the instant.
smell: Smoke, coffee, and dark chocolate. There's an acrid undertone that's not pleasant but it doesn't detract too harshly.
taste: Complex combination that confirms the aroma. Chocolate smoke and coffee predominate. Aftertaste brings back that acrid aftertaste, much more noticeable.
mouthfeel: Thinner than you would expect.
drinkability: I'm unimpressed. This is something interesting to try occasionally, probably best when paired with strong meats or cheese. By itself it is not particularly refreshing or alluring.

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Photo of CraftBeerTastic
2.71/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ba Review #54
Served On: 9/3/2011
Glassware: Tumbler Pint Glass

Got this one from the 2011 Harvest mixed pack.

Look: Deep deep ruby red color with a small 1 finger tan head. Good carbonation. Lacing already started as the head receded to a thin film.

Smell: Typical lager smell. Strong Sam Adams malty twang. I really can pick up on much else. Maybe some brown sugar. The nose wasn’t real interesting on this one.

Taste: Sweet malts start out and move directly into dark fruits and typical lager notes of breddy yeast and sweet malts. There was also some spice in the finish - similar to the Boston Lager. The mouth feel is definitely a little heavier than a standard lager. I just can’t pick up on anything special with this brew.

Overall this is an OK beer with nothing standing out. The Saranac Black Forest I reviewed yesterday was definitely a step above this one.

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Photo of blakelive784
2.71/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 fl oz brown glass bottle served in pint glass, reviewed live:

A - Pours a deep, dark shade of brown with a light tan 1 finger head, which is pretty thin. Retention is poor, though there's some lacing left on the glass.

S - Incredibly light notes of cream, toasted malts, and caramel. Maybe a bit of smoke in there. Obviously mild strength.

T - Better than I though it'd be, but there's still not much going on. It opens with a fair dose of cream, giving way to light roast. The flavor abruptly ends there. I do like the bit of flavor it's got, but it's far too little. This one could be pretty good with some added complexity and body.

M - Medium bodied, thick and smooth. More reminiscent of a porter that a schwarz.

D - It needs some work. A good foundation, but that's all it is at this point.

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Photo of Jesse13713
2.68/5  rDev -28.3%
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.

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Photo of jsh420
2.66/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

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

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Photo of AleWatcher
2.63/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Served on pint glass.
Deep mohogany reddish hues on the edges of a dark brown, almost black, body. Crey tan head of 2 fingers had good retention and left spotty lacing.

Smells roasty. Huge roasted malt notes-- caramel and chocolate malts are over-roasted, taking away most points of sweetness that those malts usually give off. The beer has a spicy bitterness on the finish. Smells sweeter than it tastes, and the taste gets drier as it crosses fromthe front of my tongue to the finish.
Body is Medium and a bit hefty feeling. Good carbonation. Slight gritty coffee-like feel, and the bitterness reminds me of coffee as well.

Overall, not terrible. This is not one I'll be reaching for again, but it is not entirely undrinkable.

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Photo of Floydster
2.61/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce bottle from Cooke's in El Segundo

Poured into a pint glass and was not quite black, dark brown, but could see right through the glass

Small off white head about 1/4 inch

Smell was very weak and did not have much but roasted something

Taste was too bitter and dry

Could not drink a lot of these, heavy for style of beer

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Photo of kojevergas
2.58/5  rDev -31%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

33cl brown glass bottle served into a generic hefeweissbier glass in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live.

A: Pours a four finger head of nice cream lacing, decent thickness, and pretty good retention. Colour is a solid black, though it might in actuality be an extremely dark ruby.

Sm: Caramel, light roast, and caramelized malt. I didn't pick up the noble hops per the label. Aroma is mild in strength.

T: Generic barley, very light cream, and maybe some caramel. If roast is there, it's extremely light. It's a very simply built beer and isn't particularly balanced. A faux-rauchbier light as hell smokey note is barely detectable on the climax. Meh.

Mf: Smooth and wet, but a touch too thick. Could use a lot more cream.

Dr: It's very easy to drink but is also bland. The ABV is average. As a schwarzbier, I guess it's a minute success. I won't be purchasing it again.

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Photo of LeRose
2.56/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Hard to follow the rules on this one. My original notes were:

Dark black pour, smells like badly burnt toast. Too carbonated. Expected a lot, got nothing. Would not buy.

But I did try again.

Pours nice - very black, opaque, nice foamy head with decent retention. What hit me first again was burnt - overwhelming burnt notes. Taste was the same - I couldn't even call it smoky, really. Some malty flavor in there. Maybe a touch of chocolate and toffee. Seems a bit sour as well, especially as it warmed up. I am not seeing how this example matches with the definition of the style - I didn't find any hops character to it. Other than being light on the mouth feel and well-carbonated I don't see it fitting the overall style.

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Photo of noknife83
2.54/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a pint glass, about an inch of thick creamy foam. Super dark chocolate taste, with a thick syrupy feel to it. I can't really describe the smell but I didn't care for it. A very heavy beer, but not much in the alcohol dept. only 4.9

Not my favorite by a long shot, but not horrible.

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Photo of jtierney89
2.5/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Smells of dark fruit and burnt coffee. pours a pretty clear brown color with amber tints and a massive fluffy off white head. thin mouthfeel but the flavors are good and well blended. nice thin caramel and chocolate flavors on the side of the mouth with a very modest clean finish of coffee and balancing hops. very good in flavors that are blended together well but the watery body doesn't do justice to how much better it could've. balance is there and all it just needs a richer body. The thinness of the beer really hurt this one unfortunately.

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Photo of nitemarebrewer
2.49/5  rDev -33.4%
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

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Photo of HardTarget
2.49/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Sept. faintly notched, out of the sample pack, thanks to Pegasus for the sample
Aroma: 1st whiff was actually repulsive. Over burnt grains, too much black patent, dark chocolate and some “off” characteristic, perhaps DMS.
Appearance: Nice two finger tan multi-sized bubble head on a dark brown clear glass with good clarity.
Flavor: Over toasted, burnt quality in the grains that comes across as charcoal. A real hop bitter that’s over the top and an artificial sweetness that tastes almost like lactose.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, firm carbonation, fairly smooth
Overall Impression: Flawed. My review doesn’t capture the off flavors. All I can say: artificial, burnt, wrong. Avoid.

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Photo of rtratzlaff
2.48/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

From a Brewmaster's six pack

Pours a black beer with ruby hues around the edges. An off white head sticks around but isn't nearly what I got from the SA honey porter. It does leave a small amount of lacing.

Smells a bit of bitter chocolate, some sweetness, not getting any hops in the nose.

Taste is chocolate, but chocolate that has sat out for a while and dried up a bit, not creamy or sweet, but sort of chocolate-like. Hops even out the malt. I should have had this before the honey porter as it doesn't stand up to it in flavor. This isn't bad, but it just doesn't provide much to keep me interested.
The bottle claims a medium mouthfeel, but I would say on the lighter side of medium. A solid offering, but pales in comparison to the other SA brewmaster beers.

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Samuel Adams Black Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
84 out of 100 based on 1,434 ratings.