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McSorley's Irish Black Lager - Pabst Brewing Company

Not Rated.
McSorley's Irish Black LagerMcSorley's Irish Black Lager

Educational use only; do not reuse.

163 Reviews
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Reviews: 163
Hads: 344
Avg: 3.5
pDev: 14.29%
Wants: 14
Gots: 14 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Pabst Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Schwarzbier |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: oriolesfan4 on 01-29-2009

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 163 | Hads: 344
Photo of wattoclone
5/5  rDev +42.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the best American dark lager available. It has incredible roasted malt flavor and drinks smooth like a dark lager should. Sure, I would prefer Kostritzer on tap but in the US this is not a real possibility. I actually prefer this beer to the original Kostritzer in the can or bottle and I can afford it as a retired beer lover. At a price point lower than most American adjunct lagers, this flavorful brew is affordable and readily available. Kudos to Pabst for making it available and affordable.

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Photo of brando56894
4.65/5  rDev +32.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I bought this at a liquor store by my apartment and bought it since it said it was an "Irish Black Lager" and I'm of Irish decent. I cracked it open and drank it out of the bottle and was amazed at how great it tasted, definitely one of the best beers I've ever had. It was kind of sweet yet acidic at the same time, no noticeable after taste. Very high drinkability, I could easily drink
a whole six pack in one sitting.

I'm definitely going to get another six pack of this when I kill the current one that I have.

Highly Recommended.

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Photo of pandashaver
4.56/5  rDev +30.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow, what a pleasant surprise!
I had never heard of this, but having liked the Sam Adams Black Lager, I figured I'd give it a try...

Appearance was fantastic, almost stout-like in dark blackness and foamy off-white head. Retained a small white head throughout, and left very good lacing down the side of the glass.

Smell is nice roasty and chocolate. You get some sweet malt on the nose also.

A dry bitterness in the taste, but not too dry. Sweetness is very present in the initial taste, and it seems perfectly balanced to me with the bitter/roasted aftertaste of strong coffee.

Mouthfeel was fully present, not the least bit watery. At the same time, it was not filling. I'm not sure if this beer is really this good, or if I just like the style (as well as stouts), but this is a good brew.

Drinkability - wow, for all the flavor and nice mouthfeel here, this beer's damn drinkable! No ABV listed, but I can't feel it halfway through so I'm guessing it's in the 4-5% range. Also, this beer was VERY cheap considering. I want to pick up a 6 pack in the future.

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Photo of Cubsfan1087
4.55/5  rDev +30%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I really loved this beer. I had never heard of it before and found it on tap at one of the local Bier Stubes. It was a very dark beer. Similar to a stout. Smell and taste of coffee/chocolate. The great thing about this beer is the lack of aftertaste. Most beers like this have a strong bitter aftertaste that lingers. That wasn't the case here. I will definitely have this beer again.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.5/5  rDev +28.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a 12 fl. oz. bottle marked 051809-1613022. Sampled on March 16, 2009.

Before I get into details I must say that this was one of best tasting beers I've had lately.

The pour is deep black with a short-lived tan head. The aroma is a luscious smelling licorice, smokey, pipe tobacco, chocolate malt mixture. I really couldn't define it. All I could think of was a smoke-filled pub (and I don't smoke).

The mouthfeel was medium to heavy and somewhat creamy. The taste was very much like its aroma of licorice and smoke with a vibrant but subtle hoppy sensation. Wow, I wish I picked up a 6-pack of this one.

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Photo of OMGTheyKilkenny
4.5/5  rDev +28.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Draft into two 8 oz. glass mugs.

A- So dark, light cannot escape its surface. Pours a thin hazel head with moderate lacing.

S- Smokey. Rich and heavy with notes of milky coffee.

T- Tasting notes include toffee, cream, and cola. A little smokey. Almost like the lager equivalent of a milk stout.

MF- Crisp, nicely carbonated. Not nearly as heavy as I expected. Goes down surprisingly easy.

D- Such a solid beer should not be so easy to drink, but sure enough, it is. I can and have easily made an evening out of this beer. Well balanced, delightful stuff.

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Photo of bluetravlr
4.47/5  rDev +27.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is my first time trying this brewery. I've heard good things.

A: Black. When held to the light a bet of dark amber/ burnt orange comes through. Moderate head quickly fades but maintains on the side of the glass throughout. Little lacing.

S: Great licorice smell is dominant with back tones of roasted barley and freshly trimmed grass. Slight coffee tones are also present.

T: Like the scent only not as intense. Licorice, grass, dirt, and roasted coffee are all there in a tremendous balance. There is also a caramel sweetness that plays with the tongue during the middle and into the aftertaste of this beer. The finish is very dry, with a nice hop presence . . . not too bitter, but just a reminder that they're in there (more so than most black beers I've tried). Earthy flavors throughout. Stick your head in some great, intoxicating dirt and this is what you have.

M: Light and dry. Perfect for this style. The carbonation is just a little too high for my liking, and the dryness might turn some people off, but this is nitpicking.

D: I don't know what the abv on this beer is, but the only downfall I see in drinkability is its dryness. Other than that, it is a tasty, smooth, and very drinkable lager.

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Photo of Neorebel
4.29/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It almost looks as if I have Coca-Cola in my mug rather than beer, with its similar , almost translucent deep brown color and thin fizzy head. The aroma is like that of a sweet stout - giving my nose the pleasure of milk chocolate, roasty malts, and a hint of grapefruit hops as well. The light bodied beer coats my mouth nicely with its oily mouthfeel, and as the beer traverses my palate, I begin to again notice a nice mix of sweet stout flavorings, and this time in the taste itself there is a definite pronounced hop bitterness, especially in the finish. This is an excellent everyday beer - very straightforward and mild. I am particularly fond of Schwartzbier, although this is no Kostritzer. Ultimately you really need to take a trip to McSorley's Old Ale House in NYC, get a table, and knock back a bunch of these with some rowdy friends!

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Photo of generallee
4.28/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: The body has a dark brownish color with a slight reddish hue. There is some visible carbonation that flows up to the tall tan head. The head had very good retention and lacing.

Smell: There is a lightly roasted character and sweet malted barley with just a hint of hops.

Taste/Mouth: The flavor has some slight roasted coffee notes with sweet bready and roasted malt notes. Hop flavor is light and brings some mineral/leafy notes to the finish. The finish is rather clean with roasted flavors and hop bitterness fading quickly. The palate is a smooth medium body with just the right amount of carbonation to help clean the palate.

Notes: Overall this is a very enjoyable and very drinkable black lager.

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Photo of CaptJackHarkness
4.27/5  rDev +22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep black/brown with thin tan head. Head does not retain well, hardly laces glass. Smells a bit smokey. Tastes of chocolate, smokey roast coffee beans, hint of caramel or molasses? Overall a smooth drinking brew, not disimilar to a milk stout.
There is a bar of the same name in Manhattan that serves this, though they have nothing to do with brewing.

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Photo of cbinflux
4.26/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I tried it on tap at Bubba's Ale House. A great draft beer to complement pub grub! Very smooth and drinkable.

The taste was between Guiness and Newcastle, closer to the latter. The carbonation was also much closer to that of Newcastle.

I loved the fact that it's American made by Pabst; we can sure use the jobs! It's a 'real' dark beer, not at all like Miller's Lowenbrau Dark.

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Photo of dsr0116
4.25/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I think this is an exceptional find for any Irish stout lover. The overall characteristics are very similar to the Guinness 250 Anniversary edition brew. This has the same sourness that Guinness is synonymous with (especially the foreign or extra stout strains). While not as complex as Guinness foreign stout, it seems very similar to Guinness 250 edition. It has slightly more mouthfeel and slightly less maltiness (due to it being a black lager to be sure). If you find it cheaper then Guinness at your market, then this is a definite buy. I'm comparing this to Guinness simply because it seems to emulate it so much: it has the same basic acidity and maltiness of the recent 250 variety (IE it has more flavor then the Guinness draught versions but it's not as heavy as the "foreign stout" versions). The main thing that I like about this beer over other Irish ales is it seems to have the same Brettanomyces strains of sourness that I like in Guinness. This is the first time I've had a McSorley's, and from what I've gleened, this is a relatively new contract from Lion brewery. Will be interesting to see if this keeps going: I think it's good for what it is: a lighter Guinness foriegn stout.

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Photo of SisuPride
4.21/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

When you have the name Irish on your beer there are expectations. When you also stick the word "black" on the label the expectations increase. This beer poured a dark dark brown and even looked plain brown for the last third. A nice tan head with a scent that said "welcome old friend." Smelled just like a beer should. I need McSorley's to make a candle of this beer. Taste was rich not overbearing - I could make a night with a few of these - Very very smooth.

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Photo of WissBrauSean
4.13/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I can reuse this bottle for hombrewing so I am giving some extra sumtin for dat! But look at that head! It is a very nice tan one finger head of tiny to small sized bubbles that fade to a heavy ring around the glass and a cap in the center and leaves a nice little Hopi village in the side of sandstone cliff kind of lacing on the glass. The beer pours a clear but opaque black. I poured this beer at about 50 degrees F.

At an instant an aroma of dark roasted malts hit me. Underneath that are some sweet malts and a bread like note. Someone reviewed it as the dark toasted crust on a slice of bread. They were not too far off. It's pleasant to say the least.

Taste wise once again like with many beers is amazingly similar to the aroma. At first the dark roasted malts are apparent and they carry through with the sip, but just after and sort of under that flavour is a darkened caramel sweetness almost like cola (as another reviewer put it) and then as the beer continues on the sweet fades to mild to medium English bittering hops on the back of the tongue with some dryness and a hint of licorice. Again, it is dry and a little bitter, but only enough so as to get you to drink more!

The mouthfeel is often described as crisp and I tend to agree. It's body is light to moderate with just over moderate carbonation which puts forth the crispiness. It's balanced and refreshing.

Overall, I would say that this is an excellent Schwarzbier at the least. I would totally seek this out AND recommend it to the beginning craft beer drinker as a good transition beer as well as an alternative to a stout in which they may not like. It is a great alternative to the latter in the winter as you feel like you can session this 5.5 % ABV beer without getting bloated and hammered. 4 out of 5!

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Photo of zymurgy4all
4.06/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What a unique find! Black lagers other than German Schwarzbiers aren't too common. This beer has a great roasty aroma with no hop in the nose at all. It pours a deep brown/black color. It is very light on the tongue, and very clean like a schwarzbier. It isn't the most impressive beer, but very drinkable indeed!

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark black with ruby highlights when held toward the light, head is light tan forms nicely with a sturdy pour into a tulip chalice from the dollar store. Aroma slight milk chocolate with roasted dark malts and light coffee characteristics. Flavor hits me with a wicked lactic sour note that I wasn't expecting, still has roasted malt dark chocolate with a hint of coffee but there's this wild ripe fruit note with the souring effect I didn't care for in a black lager, but it honestly reminds me of a lighter Stegmaier Porter in a weird way. I think they mixed this recipe with the Penn Dark recipe, because this looks moore like the Penn Dark of old than the newly bottled stuff from the Lion does. Really solid dark lager when said and done and after the slightly sour twang goes away it gets better with each sip. Mouthfeel is creamy with sturdy carbonation a very velvety feel to it all. Drinkability overall is quality impressed to see a decent beer coming from a McSorley's label I remember an Irish Red that was pretty shitty at one point in my drinking career.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

McSorley's Black Lager has a minimal, yet creamy head and is very dark brown is appearance, just short of black. Carbonation is low. The aroma is light nutty. Taste is very slightly hoppy and mild, almost like root beer without much sugar. Mouthfeel is watery. Overall, I think this is a good black lager to try, and I found it to be superior to others I have tried.


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Photo of Brent
4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer can give the generally well-regarded Sam Adam's black lager a run for its money. Black with caramel highlights and a moderate tan head. Nice roasted malt flavors, with a clean, slightly dry body. For a brewery that produces a variety of labeled products, Lion nailed the style on this one.

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Photo of fx20736
4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass, served cool.

Black with 2 finger khaki head.

Aroma; Deeply toasted malt, a touch of roastiness and a faint hoppiness.

Mouthfeel; nice, mousselike

taste: malty, with a dry finish, and a slight aftertaste of licorice and smoke.

notes: this is good. This is very good beer,

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Photo of Bung
3.98/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. A very dark brown pour, limited off white head. Some chocolate and roast, malt and earthy peat. Good smooth light/med. lager body. Taste has some chocolate and roasted tones. Has that pronounced lager yeast. Good amount of carbonation. Clean slight roast/bitter finish. A pretty darn good drinker. Euro-dark lager, not sure what that is, but I like this one.

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Photo of JoePat
3.98/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a very dark brown almost black in the glass with an off white head that dissipates fairly slowly leaving a small amount of lacing behind.
The smell is not too complex with mostley a faint smell of roasted malts.
The flavor combines chocolate malts with the roasted flavors rounding out to a smooth finish.
This beer is very soom and creamy almost guiness nitro creamy which makes it easy to go down and rounds out the beer great.

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Photo of Arenbeer
3.95/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into Snifter

A- Pours a solid black with a thin 2 finger tan head that left decent lacing.

S- Sweet malts with coffee. Maby some dark chocolate.

T- Like the smell there wasn't too much going on here. Roasted malts and coffee hit you up front with a bit of bitter sweetness from the chocolate.

M- Medium body with moderate carbonation, really tickles the tounge on the way down and a bit bitter but not bad. One big flaw with this beer is it's extremely dry finish. Leaves you wanting a glass of water when your done. But other than that it's pretty solid for the price IMO a solid darker session beer.


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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.92/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Mc Sorley's Irish Black Lager displays a beautiful dark mahogany-brown body beneath a short head of frothy tan. Unfortunately the head retention and lacing are fairly limited.

The nose offers up notes of dark chocolate, a very soft roastiness, and hints of sweetish malt.

The flavor is mainly deeply-caramelish and gently sugary. Some cocoa-ish notes appear along with some nuttiness, but the chocolate suggested by the nose is simply not found except for a suggestion of it in the finish. The roastiness isn't really present in the flavor either, except until the finish. It's balanced by a solid bitterness, and although it appears sweetish at the outset, it finishes quiet dry.

Overall it's a fairly drinkable lager with a nice character, but nothing special.

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Photo of AmberMan22
3.92/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Surprised to see this labeled as a Euro Dark. I don't feel that's necessarily an appropriate label, because if it was I'd be giving it some 5's.

Pours a deep brown color with an inappropriately light colored head. The head doesn't stick around long and there isn't much lacing to speak of. The brown borders on black, and has good clarity.

Smell is of dark chocolate, heavy on the malts, a slight amount of smokiness is there too.

Taste is solid, I'd place it between a schwarzbier and a Euro Dark, if that helps anyone. It does have a ton of dark malt though. Along with the malty overload of goodness, is a nice underlying smoky flavor, along with possibly some espresso in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly thin for a beer this dark and with this much malt.

Overall, a solid brew for my first taste of Lion Brewery. Definitely worth a try -- it's an easy drinker for being so dark.

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Photo of huxcrunner
3.9/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

this is a very dark brown to black beer with good tan head and lacing

good smell of hops and malt

good malt and heavy taste with nice bitterness to it

nice mouthfeel good heavyness to it

great drinkable and a good overall beer even better from the

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McSorley's Irish Black Lager from Pabst Brewing Company
80 out of 100 based on 163 ratings.