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

Not Rated.
Samuel Adams Black LagerSamuel Adams Black Lager

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1,434 Reviews

(Read More)
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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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,434 | Hads: 2,537
Photo of russpowell
3.76/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice mahogony edging towards black color. Head is tan but drops to a1/4" ring fast. Lacing sticks around okay.

Smell: Toasted malts, fruit, & wiffs of licorice & choclate& red wine???

Taste: Toasted grain, fruit, licorice, dark choclate & molasess(sp??)

MF: A little thinner than I preffer my Schwartzes. Good carbonation , balance is getting there.

This is one of SAs better efforts, can't wit tofind some on draft where they know how to talk care of the product!

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.98/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark ruby brown tone only when held up to the light, forms a fluffy tan two fingered head leaves behind evenly dispersed fine chunky lace. Aroma: Dark roasted malts mild chocolate with an herbal German noble hop tone going on, standard for a schwarzbier. Taste: Easy drinking caramel flowing malt backbone blended nicely with the cocoa slightly burnt flavor, herbal German hop character is subtle but dances nicely in the whole mix. Mouthfeel: A nice medium bodied black lager goes down very smooth carbonation does tickle the gullet just a bit, overall easy drinking. Drinkability: Great representation of a schwarzbier Sam Adams does a nice job brewing this German specialty, the only other version I have had that blows this away was Heavyweight's Black Ocean which was a small beer version of Perkuno's Hammer not mindblowing but solid.

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Photo of smcolw
4.08/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Very impressive beige head--a solid three fingers thick--leaves Pollock inspired lacing on the glass side. Light barely penetrates through the deep brown (no reddish hue) liquor. Appears to be clear.

Strong dark chocolate notes, a touch of burnt toast, and toasted marshmallow. Similar smells to a well-made porter.

Crisp like a lager should be. The beginning of the taste is surprisingly neutral--malt flavors but not as obvious as the smell might indicate. The real treat comes from the swallow--strong caramel and dark chocolate notes with a wonderful blend of hop spiciness. The carbonation also shows up here. The aftertaste is surprisingly dry. In fact, the entire tasting devoid of any significant sweetness.

A short description would be a "lagered porter", meaning it doesn't have the roundness of typical fare. Working from memory, this is a more flavorful schwarzbier than others I've had. Worthy of a six-pack.

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Photo of superspak
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into signature pint glass, best before 8/2014. Pours crystal clear deep brown color with a 2 finger dense khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of caramel, brown sugar, toast, dark bread, chocolate, roasted malt, raisin, plum, herbal, and roast/toasted earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt and fruity yeast ester notes; with good strength. Taste of big caramel, molasses, toast, dark bread, chocolate, roasted malt, raisin, plum, herbal, and roast/toasted earthiness. Light roasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, molasses, toast, dark bread, chocolate, roast, raisin, plum, herbal, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice complexity and balance of dark/roasted malt and fruity yeast ester flavors; with great robustness and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a moderately creamy, smooth, and lightly chalky/bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish as expected of 4.9%. Overall this is a damn nice schwarzbier! All around good balance, robustness, and complexity of dark/roasted malt and fruity yeast ester flavors; and very smooth to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.83/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

caramel-y brown color, crimson shades, thick, rocky brown head, like a chocolate cloud...
Sweet nose, with coffee tones, bittersweet tinges, a a dab syrupy, but ultimately dry.
Choocolate leads the taste, roasted and dry. Starts with a solid flavor, mellows with ease, very easy-drinking. "Quaffable, but not transcendent."
Medium bodied, with a light, but durable finish.
Not bad at all.

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Photo of jwc215
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a brownish black with ruby highlights, a little lighter than expected, and a thin tan head.
The smell was on the thin side, but had hints of roasted coffee, chocolate and caramel.
The taste was of malty chocolate, caramel, and a touch of dark coffee with a hop presence in the background.
The mouthfeel was a bit thin, but refreshing while holding most of the flavors. It did have a sweet kick to it, especially in the aftertaste.
Not a bad example of this style, though I've had several better. It's certainly not one to turn down, and worth buying if better ones are not available (which is often the case with this style, unfortunately.)

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Photo of drabmuh
3.3/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer is dark brown and opaque with a thin off white / tan head that break and still manages to leaves some lacing on the glass. Carbonation low.

Aroma is mild with only minor roast and some pils sweetness.

Beer is thin with a mild roastiness at the back end of the palate, otherwise it's a plain Jane beer. I just don't get much from it, it is unoffensive just not very interesting.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.41/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours black with some ruby color if held up to the light. Has a tan head with good retention. Decent lacing down the sides.

S: A roasted smell with some caramel and chocolate notes, but overall on the weaker side.

T: Has a slight burnt flavor with a good dose of caramel malts. A little bit of hops to round it out as well.

M/D: Light to medium bodied with decent carbonation. Would have liked a little creamier. Its fine, nothing to write home about, but decent enough.

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Photo of mothman
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Editing this review: originally on 9-18-2008 to 5-11-09

Poured into Sam Adams Sensory Glass.

Pours a dark bronze black color. Pours a 3/4 finger tan head. head fizzles down quickly leaving very little thin lacing.

Aroma is very pleasing for a lager. Dark coffee, caramel, chocolate. Very roasty.

Taste is very roasty and malty. Caramel and chocolate. At the very end comes the coffee.

Mouthfeel is crisp but a little creamy. Ends with a coffee flavor aftertaste. Medium bodied. Low carbonation.

Overall this is a very tasty lager. Big on flavor and body. I enjoy it, but I think I will switch to another beer after this one.

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Photo of stakem
3.55/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Review copied from notes taken last week.

Pours a very dark brown color with a finger of slightly tanned head. Has a sweet nose with a hint of yeasty chocolate. Quite a bit of lacing to be found and the head does not retain long. More smell of malt sweetness. Taste has a medium to light body with slight bitter crisp finish. Can taste notes of both chocolate and coffee. Low carbonation and medium mouthfeel welcomes a second beer. As it warms it takes on some toffee taste as well.

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Photo of WesWes
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a translucent dark brown color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a dry, yet sweet malt scent that boasts of chocolate and caramel malts and a lager yeast aroma. The taste is decent. It has an extremely dry, dark malt flavor which is rich in pale, caramel, and chocolate malts. It goes down easy and finishes with an earthy dry lager yeast feel. The mouthfeel is good. It is a medium bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a good drinking Schwarzbier. I wish it wasn't so dry, but overall it's a fine offering.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown with ruby highlights. The glass is filled with bubbles, initially creating an appearance similar to a highly carbonated cola. The bubbles and head recede after a few moments, leaving a fair amount of lacing on the glass.

S: The aroma is considerably weaker than the taste. Sweet malts at first, with a subtle hint of roast.

T: This beer is a pleasant surprise, and certainly more enjoyable than I had hoped for or expected. There are nice flavors of cocoa, black coffee, chocolate, and roasted malt. The beer finishes with a nice hop bitterness, which helps to round out the overall flavor presentation. Well done.

M: Medium bodied and thicker feeling than I expected from a >5% beer.

D: A good representation of the style. I would drink it again.

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Photo of tdm168
3.94/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, dark brownish black with 1/4" of head that quickly fades to nothing. Smells of deep roasted malts with just a hint of coffee notes. Taste is similar to the smell; roasted malts, just a hint of coffee flavor, and in the finish there is just a hint of chocolate. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and crisp.

Not a bad schwarzbier. Drinkable and flavorful. Sam Adams actually puts together something nice and true to style here.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a black color with an off-white head. The aroma is very nice. I get some chocolate, roasted malt and a nuttyness. The flavor is heavy on the chocolate and roasted malt, but I also get a little burnt character as well as some cream notes. The beer is a lot sweeter than I expected it to be, but there is a nice bit of bitterness from the hops and burnt malt at the end. Medium, creamy mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of GClarkage
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

02/16/08- Purchased at Burlingame Foods in Burlingame, CA.

Presentation- 12oz bottle. Did not look for freshness info. Poured into a random pint glass.

Appearance- Mid range black colored pour with a 1/2 inch off white bubbly head and leaves decent streaks of lace.

Smell- Mostly deep and malty with notes of dark chocolate and earth.

Taste- Suprisingly a mild hop note hit me right off the bat. After that though, it's all mostly mildly sweet and fairly heavy roasted malts. Chocolate flavor is light and more of mild coffee flavors.

Mouthfeel- Medium carbonation level with a light hop aftertaste.

Drinkability- Perfectly fine schwartzbier. In fact it's rather good and quenching for sure. Not the best, but certainly worth trying. I'll be having another sometime down the line.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.86/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

While recently visiting Highland Pizza, my uncle was very interested in many of the Sam. Adams bottles that they had in their cooler. That, in turn, piqued my curiosity and so I filled out a mixed sixer with ones I knew that I had not reviewed, This is one of them.

From the bottle: "Careful, there's a bit of mystery in this one. - a dark, rich, and roasty beer that's somehow smoother and less bitter than a stout. It was first brewed in the medieval forests of Germany. Depp and full-bodied yet fresh and crisp. You won't taste another dark beer like this one. Cheers! [undersigned] Jim Koch".

I had a great pour with a resultant two fingers of deep-tan head with good retention. Color was a deep brown with garnet highlights and seemingly good clarity, allowing for its extremely dark color. Nose smelled of cocoa powder and I was reminded of my Lunch Duty partner who seems to to really dig on chocolate. Mouthfeel was medium with a definite cocoa/smoky taste on the tongue. She claims not to like beer, but I would bet that she would totally dig this. For me, it was a bit too sweet, but not cloying, which I really dislike. Finish was semi-sweet and a decent drink for the style, even if not my bag.

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Photo of Gavage
4.51/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: clear black in color with a thick 2" tan head that nicely lasts. Decent lacing develops throught the drink.

Smell: the aroma is of roasted malts, licorice, and slighty earthy.

Taste: the flavor is superb, as roasted malts are nicely balanced with other components such as bitter chocolate, coffee, and soft licorice. Nice bitterness levels. One of the more flavorful schwarzbiers I have encountered.

Mouthfeel: crisp at the start. The finish is relatively clean, as the roasted tones fall off the tongue quickly. Light to medium in body.

Drinkability: great as this can be quaffed all night long. One of Sam's better brews.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass. More Samuel Adams festing continues I guess...

A good solid large three finger head off the pour and an off tan color, but with some light foamy consistency and not much retention. Body is at first appearance extremely black walnut but to the light is a very dark red, even clear.

Bouquet, is a mild ripped grain and light roast. Small coffee sense typical of a schwarzbier. Small but quite decent.

Taste overall is a little lacking but still manages to deliver flavor. Palate hits in the finish with a little milky malt almost milk stout. Dry roof top dry mouth on the finish for feel. Leaves also some dry mildly burnt coffee almost on the swallow which I actually kind of like.

Overall fairly decent and surprising, tastes like a schwarzbeir to me and not too bad for one either.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.78/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a thick, frothy full tan colored head that sits atop a deep amber colored beer that shows clear ruby highlights when held up to the light. The aroma is fairly tame with notes of chocolate, and astringent roast coffee. The taste is smooth and almost creamy up front, it then moves to a malty sweet note that accentuates the notes of chocolate that are also found in the taste. It finishes with a bit of hoppy spiciness and a lightly biting bitterness. The chocolate notes of this beer are the most noticeably and make for an easy drinking smooth beer. This is a pretty good attempt, but I must admit I like a bit more smooth roast character in my Schwarzbiers.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Part of a make your own 6-pack, on to the beer:

Creamy head with a nice black body, this beer is what you would expect from a schwarzbier. Deep assorted chocolate aroma in the smell, more of the same in the flavor, a touch of hop flavor, and a mild grainy finish. I knew I should have gotten myself a Hershey's bar to go along with this beer.

A few months after this review, I got some more of this. No changes in the score, but I popped the top of one that had in sitting in my trunk for a week. In other words, I consumed it at room temperature. It was pretty tasty, and the intensity of the flavor is greater. Try one out the next time you get a 6-pack of this.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
4.13/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into pint glass.
Smell hit first. Some coffee and nut, but mostly chocolate and malt. Some roasted malt, toast
Black (go figure) and brownish head, small, diminishing. Good solid body.
The roast comes out most in the taste. Chocolate and coffee come mid-way, and the hops end it. A good balance

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a very dark brown, not black, into a pint glass. Dark tan head has great retention, but leaves little lacing.

S: Roasted malts, and chocolate, some baked bread, and a hint of earthy hops.

T: Dark malts predominately, dark baked bread and chocolate, molasses.

M: Lighter in body than you would expect from such a dark, pernicious looking brew, smooth and creamy.

D: Could put a few of these away, a fine Schwarzbier, one of my dad's favourites, a very unique style to be had for sure.

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Photo of tempest
3.33/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this in a Sam Adams Mix Pack.

Pours a dark dark brown body with about a one finger head and leaves a little lacing. Nice, full malty aroma. A little sweet too.

Nice tasting, but not a standout in flavor for a schwarzbier. There are no off flavors, but its lightest tasting black lager I've had. Very similar to Saranac Black Forest.

Goes down easy and isn't terribly filling for a dark beer, but I think this is only because the flavor and body are too light for the style.

Very drinkable and I'd never refuse one of these. However, if I wanted a cheaper black lager, I'd still go with Saranac Black Forest. Possibly a good beer for someone just starting to try darker beer.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.47/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

LOOK: Dark brown with an amber hint. Off white foam.

SMELL: Roasted malt and bread. Cocoa.

TASTE: Roasted malts and a simple herbal/lemony citrus hop. Chocolatey and a note of raisin/plum. Coffee like at times. A faint smoke. Well balanced.

FEEL: Medium bodied and well carbonated. Solid overall feel.

OVERALL: A solid dark beer option, and in the same vein of some of my favorite import schwarzbiers. This still tastes like an American take on the style. Tasty beer.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown, almost black with a decent head and very spotty lacing. The nose is lightly sweet and malty followed by lightly toasted grain. The taste is similar- nicely balanced maltiness and toasty grain, but relatively dry. The mouthfeel is soft, rounded and creamy. Even though there is a little sweetness in this one, no real stickiness. Nicely done, and a very nice session beer.

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