1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Session Black Lager - Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub

Session Black LagerSession Black Lager

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

676 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 676
Reviews: 329
rAvg: 3.69
pDev: 12.2%

Brewed by:
Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
Schwarzbier |  5.40% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
ABV 5.4% IBU 18

(Beer added by: msubulldog25 on 06-27-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers
Ratings: 676 | Reviews: 329 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of schoolboy


3.28/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a well enough made schwarzbier. It has a decnt appearance and reasonably good aroma. The taste is a bit roasty yet crisp and the aftertaste is much more roasty.

Overall, this is a reasonably priced and very refreshing drink but I doubt that I would want to purchase it again. I would like to try some of their others and see if they can do a decent ale.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2012 00:09:09 | More by schoolboy
Photo of pkalix


3.68/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

average beer all the way around, but very easy to drink in "session". nice color, no smell to speak of, no real taste, but an easy going, easy drinking dark lager which is a little easier than its 'lighter' cousin which is only a 5.0%...

Serving type: bottle

07-14-2012 00:29:08 | More by pkalix
Photo of 1234Jack

4.2/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I think this is the first time I've had this.

First thoughts: "This is a stout." But they call it a dark lager.

Taste out of the bottle is neat, and with that charcoally, espresso feel. These bottles are nice, different, cute almost in their shortness. 11 oz. The bottle caps are charming (rock/paper/scissors, sometimes the scissors are actual scissors, sometimes they're the handsigns).

5.4%, more than the regular Session lager.

For the price I get these ($11.99 a 12), this is a great beer. You have to try to create a head on your pour. Tones of red where light passes through where the beer meets the glass.

Almost no noticeable smell, if any, slight coffee.

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2012 08:41:45 | More by 1234Jack
Photo of TheSixthRing


3.68/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a near black, dark ruby brown with a light tan finger width head. Retention is sub-par, leaving behind a spotty, semi-sticky lacing.

Smell - Faint. Roasted malt aromas of sweet chocolate and light coffee, and a slight hint of grassy hop.

Taste - Flavor hints of sweet milk chocolate with a light coffee edge. Light bitterness. Finishes much in the way it starts.

Mouthfeel - Light in body. Carbonation leads to a crisp, respectable bite. Goes down smooth and easy.

Overall - A fine drinking black lager. Nothing great, but it lives up to it's namesake; definitely a Session beer.

Serving type: bottle

07-03-2012 01:02:13 | More by TheSixthRing
Photo of dwilson01


3.98/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11oz into an indian wells brewing pint glass.

Dark coloration, thin light tan head.

Smell is smooth, malt based with little whif of coffee on the end, just a hint though.

the taste is nice it seriously tastes like a black butte porter but smoother with more muted flavors.

Great name on this one because it's smooth and very drinkable.

I dig, got a 12er and you could drink the whole thing in one night for sure if you really wanted to.

Serving type: bottle

07-02-2012 01:33:57 | More by dwilson01
Photo of Beerevity

3.88/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Black or very very dark brown with a white head that is gone before you know it.

S - Roasted malt. Simple and very inviting.

T - Roasted malts with some chocolate on the nose. Not sweet or particularly bitter.

M - Feels very crisp, clean and thin. The carbonation makes the brew dance around your mouth in a glorious fashion.

O - True to it's name this is the near perfect session beer. It's easy not to over-think this one, just drink and enjoy. Probably the best taste-to-price ratio in it's class. I could easily take down a 12 pack over a weekend, and it packs a good buzz, too!

Serving type: bottle

06-18-2012 03:50:40 | More by Beerevity
Photo of nickfl


3.83/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured with one finger of light tan foam on top of a black body with amber highlights showing through. The head settles fairly quickly and leaves light lace.

S - A roasty, slightly charred aroma with some caramel in the background.

T - Sweet, brown malt flavors up front. Some burnt caramel in the middle with fruity malt notes. Finishes with light bitterness, a touch of smoky coffee and a hint of dark fruit.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a somewhat sweet finish.

D - The aroma is surprisingly excellent but the flavor profile doesn't quite follow through on this. In addition to being a bit less complex than the nose, it has an unbalanced sweetness that hurts the overall drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

06-11-2012 06:37:27 | More by nickfl
Photo of beerluvr

Ontario (Canada)

3.35/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a 12oz. dimpled mug. Light tan head, deep brown almost cola-like color. Sweet malt nose with some dark roastiness backing it. Sweetness giving away to roasted grain then a hint of cocoa. Light refreshing mouthfeel. Gentle carbonation, finishes light and slightly chocolaty. The name says it all, a great session beer..picked up a 12 pack of the stubby bottles and will surely put most of them away by evening's end.

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2012 23:11:48 | More by beerluvr
Photo of beergoot


3.9/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark reddish brown body with a nice brown head. Lightly roasted malts with a hint of cocoa and vanilla in the smell. An excellent roasted malt taste, smooth with a soft, medium body. Hop bitterness shows up near the finish, but the malted grains are definitely at the fore.

A very delicious dark lager. Rich without feeling or tasting heavy. Plenty of dark grain taste wrapped up in a lager smooth body. This is a year-round standby for me...

Serving type: bottle

06-04-2012 21:29:40 | More by beergoot
Photo of Cyberkedi


3.68/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep coppery brown with a decent, if not persistent, pale tan head. Malty aroma has a caramel undertone and a hint of coffee. Firm flavor is mainly malty plus notes of caramel and coffee of typical quality, as well as just a hint of cloves. Body is about average, though there is a decent amount of fizz. Yes, a good sipping beer, to sample now and then whilst taking in a good book or hobnobbing at a party.

Serving type: bottle

05-25-2012 01:11:14 | More by Cyberkedi
Photo of mikeg67

New Jersey

3.48/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11 oz bottle from Trader’s Joe. Pours brown with a thick, long lasting beige head. Aroma is of bready malt and grassy hops. Body is medium, slightly crisp and creamy. Grassy hops, toasted, bready malt and brown sugar fill the mouth. Finish is long astringent with some saltiness. Not a bad brew but the finish spoils impression.

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2012 18:51:10 | More by mikeg67
Photo of therica


3.73/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

T= deep deep ruby mahogany, ruby light coming thru when held to a lamp. Interesting. Not much head, very slight rimming.

S= very nice nose of roasted malts and nuts when first opened, then roasted malts, light chocolate and hops florals.

T= nice dark malts, slightly dry chocolate, some nice balanced hops. It's not bold but not watery-- it's pretty much right on the mark for a traditional Schwarzbier.

M= slight carbonation bite; residual roasted chocolate malts.

O= overall I sure wish they sold this stuff on a regular basis around here, especially at the $11.99 for 12-pack price quoted in an earlier review. A decent solid entry in the traditional Schwarzbier category.

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2012 01:36:01 | More by therica
Photo of kylehay2004


3.6/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: thin head on a murky mahogany brown body.

S: nose is decently full with mostly smokey and toasted malts.

T: flavor is simple with roasted malts and some molasses, licorice and chocolate notes and some mild bitterness.

M: medium to full body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: I don't like licorice so those notes I want to avoid. Its better than I was expecting but the body wasnt as full as I wanted.

Serving type: bottle

05-10-2012 01:40:02 | More by kylehay2004
Photo of Karyyk

South Carolina

3.43/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I’m always on the lookout for a new beer that might do the trick. I wasn’t familiar with the Full Sail Brewing Company, nor Session Lagers, but looking for something new to try and at $11.99 for a twelve pack (11oz. stubby bottles; 5.4% ABV), I came home with the Session Black Lager.

If pours a very dark brown color, though not quite as opaque as I was expecting from a black beer. On closer examination, there’s also a deep ruby color in the mix (holding it up to a light confirmed this). There was little head to speak of when poured, although if left a nice lacing on the glass as I drank it. The aroma isn’t overpowering, but what does come across are the roasted malts.

As far as drinkability goes, Session Black Lager is up there. It’s much more thin than you’ll be anticipating and it goes down smooth. The roasted malts are quite noticeable at the front end, with hints of chocolate, but they ultimately give way to a much more ordinary, lager-like finish with just a touch of hop at the end (something that Full Sail apparently plays up). I had expected it to be sweeter than it was, and while there’s still some sweetness there, the finish is smooth, lightly-carbonated and surprisingly clean.

I can definitely see myself enjoying these on a regular basis. That would almost seem to be what Session is going for. It’s different, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t good. Full Sail claims that Session will appeal to all beer drinkers, whether they be the craft beer-types, import drinkers or those looking for something to drink while they mow the lawn. I don’t know how well those claims will really hold up (there are some fairly rigid personalities in those demographics), but I can see someone who just likes good beer making Session one of their regular brews.

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2012 05:22:25 | More by Karyyk
Photo of PR_Taste_Tester


3.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I was actually surprised that I hadn't heard of Session before I tasted it. I just saw it on the shelf and decided to give it a shot without ever having been recommended this beer.

The bottles look definitely didn't entice me or give me the confidence to try it out, but my adventurous nature kicked in and I tried it.

I poured some in a glass, similar to how I like my Guiness Stout and it had a beautiful jet-black darkness to it. Holding it up to the light, I couldn't quite see through to the other side of the glass; instead it glowed with a reddish, dark caramel color. Upon sampling Session Black, very cold, from the glass, it was suprisingly very smooth and instantly made my palate happy

I was expecting a slight bitter taste like Guiness (I love Guiness), but it just wasn't there and I enjoyed that. I took a swig from the bottle and it tasted great, but I have a preference for the glass when drinking a black stout such as this. It didn't have as thick of a head as Guiness, but its richness was still evident.

I let my glass warm up to room temperature and then sampled the stout again and even at room temperature the taste was still good.

Even though it is somewhat average, I will definitely be buying this again. A bottle 12-pack costs about $15 in my area.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2012 16:36:52 | More by PR_Taste_Tester
Photo of atomicbeer

New Mexico

3.28/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a semitransparent quite dark brown raising very minimal head that dissipates to a tan ring. Looks like flat cola. Aroma is roasty malt, molasses, licorice, and lettuce/brussels sprouts. Has a decent swarzbier taste, roasty malt with sweetish notes of molasses, licorice, coffee, dark chocolate followed by a leafy, lettucey hop character. A bit misnamed to me - I wouldn't session this; decent enough but nothing special.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2012 23:12:12 | More by atomicbeer
Photo of dbrauneis

North Carolina

3.63/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a very dark brown to black in color with ruby hints. The beer has a half finger tall beige head that reduces to a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate lacing is observed.

S: Some caramel malt notes, some biscuit notes, and some light hints of hops.

T: Nice roasted malt flavor with some caramel notes and some light biscuity hints. There is a light pleasant bitterness in the finsih.

M: Light to medium bodied. Slightly crisp.

O: This is a very enjoyable beer and definitely an easy one to drink. I could easily go through a couple of these in an evening.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2012 00:06:36 | More by dbrauneis
Photo of RattleheadKV2

New Mexico

3.28/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into 16oz goblet

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown/amber color with a fingers worth of off white head that dissipates rather quickly. Leaves no lacing behind whatsoever.

Smell: Some dark carmel notes are present, but for the most part the smell is dominated by a light biscuity malt scent.

Taste: Crisp and clean, with plenty of the roasted malt flavor, with some slight hop bitterness at the finish to even things out.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and light, pretty much par for the course for the style. Being a Lager there's not much there aside from some carbonation.

Overall: Pretty solid brew for the price, I picked a 12-pack up for $8.99. Perfect for beer hanging out with some friends and knocking back a few.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2012 06:04:24 | More by RattleheadKV2
Photo of rudolphjacksonm


4.33/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a standard pint glass on 2/9/12. Absolutely delicious!

A - Pours a jet black (deep red when held up to light) with a small one finger, off-white head. Not much lacing, but the black color is really striking. I'm used to stouts and porters, but this is the first black lager I've ever had. 4.0

S - Strong smell of roasted malt and a teensy hint of aromatic hops. Some molasses/burnt sugar notes in the middle. 4.0

T - Delicious malty flavor supported by a slightly bitter backing. Subtle flavors of roasted malt, molasses and coffee come through in the middle. 4.5

M - Medium-bodied and highly carbonated. Tingles all over the tongue but doesn't dampen the flavor at all. 4.0

O - For the price of a (relatively) cheap 12-pack you get a wonderfully well-rounded and extremely drinkable beer. I bought this beer with low expectations and wound up loving it. Full Sail's Session series is exactly what the name implies; these are lovingly crafted beers that taste great but yet are light enough to drink as session brews and not get tired of them. I would HIGHLY recommend this beer to everyone who has yet to try it. For that reason, overall this gets a 4.5

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2012 21:16:42 | More by rudolphjacksonm
Photo of StonedTrippin


3.55/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

interesting from a marketing standpoint, but i feel like im being cheated an ounce of beer here. smells bitter and roasty, like a cold cup of black coffee. flavor is malty and smooth, a touch of smoke, and just a hint of hops in there at the end. feel is nice, down really easy and still strong enough to warm you up on a chilly day. overall nothing special here, just as it says, a throw them back style session beer with a lot more to be excited about than a budlight or someother can of crap. not sure ill buy this again, but it serves it role.

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2012 03:08:30 | More by StonedTrippin
Photo of CloudStrife

New York

3.85/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Expiration date on the bottle is 10/28/11. No wonder it was $5.50 a twelve pack.

A: Pours a dark ruby that almost appears black. Thin off-white head. Still a clear beer with visible carbonation. Does leave some lacing on my glass.

S: Initial lager-alcohol smell. Comes around with some good dark chocolate notes. Roasted malt and some dark fruit smell.

T: Always been a fan of Schwarzbiers. Starts off with a chocolaty malt taste, hints of smokiness. Then transitions a little to more of a lager taste and finishes with more of a sweet chocolate. Can see some caramel and molasses if I look.

M: Would consider it a light-medium body. Lighter than you would expect for the color. Very drinkable. Good carbonation.

Overall been pleased with the session line-up. Most of the time they are well priced and always easy to drink. My favorite from the session line-up...for now.

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2012 00:25:17 | More by CloudStrife
Photo of scottfrie


3.9/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11oz bottle into pilsnerish glass. $0.99 cent beer? Yes please.

A: Pours a very dark brown color that is cranberry when held up to the light. The head is a dark cream color with a splash of tan, and about a finger thick. Pretty decent lacing was left down the glass.
S: I get light notes of roasted grains and just a hint of smoke. Roasted, toasted and malty overall.
T: Roasted flavors are light and come through in the finish. I get flavors of seltzer water as well. There is a bit of caramel and raisins, and some black licorice comes out as the beer really warms. The finish is quick and easy, and the aftertaste has a nice lingering roasted oat flavor.
M: Medium body, full and clean mouthfeel with tingly ample carbonation.
O: Very easy to drink and fairly flavorful and straightforward.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2012 21:18:11 | More by scottfrie
Photo of KajII

North Carolina

3.33/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

[Best served in a lager glass]

The pour was a very murky dark brown with some ruby highlights and an average sized (1-2 finger) creamy beige head that was mostly diminishing, leaving behind a very thin layer of residue and a small foamy ring thus producing some good spotty lacing.

The aroma was of dark roasted caramel malts, a mild resin hop and a leathery yeast with mild notes of coffee, chocolate, molasses and a bit of black licorice.

The taste was decently malty and mildly bitter all the way through with notes of molasses and licorice early on and then having hints of chocolate and coffee at the finish. The flavor lasted an average duration with the mild dark roasty flavor left to linger for just a little while.

Mouthfeel was just a shade or two under medium in body with a watery and mildly creamy texture and a prickly carbonation.

Overall a nice mellow dark brew, very easy to drink, yet still having that wonderful dark beer flavor. Absolutely a great session beer, hence the name...

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2012 21:41:08 | More by KajII
Photo of TechTriumph


3.75/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled: 01/29/12; Poured in a pint glass.

A - One inch of light tan creamy head; Very dark brown in color with a ruby hue when held to the light; Moderate lacing left behind

S - Not a very strong aroma; Notes of leafy/earthy hops and light roasted coffee and chocolate

T - Immediate leafy/earthy hops up front that soon give way to caramel, chocolate, and subtle roasted coffee flavors; Light chocolate and caramel linger in the aftertaste

M - Light to medium bodied; Above moderate carbonation; A bit wet and thin for the mouthfeel

O - Overall, I enjoyed getting to try this beer from Full Sail. The strongest point is its nice balance of leafy, caramel, chocolate, and coffee flavors, as well as its nice drinkability. I could easily put a few of these away in one sitting and plan on trying this one again in the future for sure.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2012 01:40:20 | More by TechTriumph
Photo of sulldaddy


3.63/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Cellar temp bottle poured into a snifter. The beer pours a fizzy cola brown with minimal beige head foaming up and fading rapidly to an edge layer and some surface islands. The color does allow some light to pass through and shows some ruby highlights.
Aroma is some clean roasted malt hits and some grainy malt, maybe a bit of light cocoa powder. No real hop presence that my nose can detect.
First sip reveals an average body with fine spacious carbonation and a smooth textured body. This beer is very drinkable and goes down easy with each mouthful.
Flavor is rich roasted malt and some general sweetness mixed in. The flavor isnt overly complex which only adds to the drinkability of this beer living up to the Session part of the label.
a decent enough beer that is easy to drink and wont leave you pondering too much in your brain as you tip it back. Worth trying and good to have around to quaff and not think too much.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2012 04:20:50 | More by sulldaddy
Session Black Lager from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
83 out of 100 based on 676 ratings.