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

Not Rated.
Session Black LagerSession Black Lager

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

721 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 721
Reviews: 333
rAvg: 3.7
pDev: 12.16%
Wants: 15
Gots: 34 | FT: 0
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
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Ratings: 721 | Reviews: 333 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of puboflyons

New Hampshire

3.58/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 11 fl. oz. old style stubby bottle no. 030311-12:49-FL. Sampled on January 6, 2011. It begins with a dark amber-brown pour with nice highlights glistening through but little head. The aroma is a combination of baked malts and nuts. Decent enough medium body. The taste also has a molasses-like maltiness that remind me of candied yams followed by a subtle dry ending.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2011 23:39:51 | More by puboflyons
Photo of VelvetExtract


3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought a 12pack of these, lets hope they're good.

A-Pours a super dark amber color. Brownish but light pours through letting you see the highlights of the beer. Khaki head sits atop the beer and dissapates slowly leaving some decent lacing behind.

S-Darker maltiness comes through with a tingle of hop spice. It is combined with a macro-lager smell as well. Light chocolate notes are nice.

T-Definately not bad at all. Roasty to begin then goes into a light chocolate almost cocoa taste. A bit of caramel hits and a tiny hop bite. This beer does have flavor but it is still "sessionable" in my opinion. Better than I anticipated.

M-Light, a bit watery. Nice carbonation.

D-Very drinkable for a dark beer.

I am a fan, and I don't think I will have too much trouble putting back this twelve pack over a short period of time. I'd rather spend the extre dollar and get these than the Bud, Miller, Coors type.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2011 19:25:21 | More by VelvetExtract
Photo of Kanyon22


3.7/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Poured all of the 11oz. little beautiful I pleasing stubby bottle (wish it was 12oz.) into my tumbler pint glass.

A: This beer isn't so much black but a clear very dark red color with a large bubbled brownish head, with lots of carbonation bubbles on the side of my glass.

S: Fruity sweet malts with a touch of roastedness thrown into the mix as well. Not much going on here but nothing out of the ordinary.

T: Same as the nose I get a sweet fruity malts upfront with a slight and I mean slight bitterness in the middle and finishes with a mild roasted malts in the back in. Maybe a hint of chocolate but maybe that's in my head.

M: Thin but extremely pleasing, carbonation is extremely low but done right giving the mild flavors a chance to shine.

D: Super duper high here would give it a 6.0 but I can't. BMC take not this is a brew that has just enough flavor and still gives you the easy of slugging them down and not feeling bloated doing it.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2011 23:43:14 | More by Kanyon22
Photo of glid02


3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle at Sweet Grass Dairy Cheese Shop in Thomasville, GA.

Pours one shade from black with a one-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of dark malts with hints of dark roast. Also present are slight amounts of earthy hops.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Smooth dark malt flavors that are more robust than the aroma intimated kick things off. Shortly thereafter the flavor profile dries out a bit with the addition of lightly roasted malt flavors. Very slight hints of leafy hop flavors come into play near the end of the sip before receding into a moderately bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is OK. It's got a nice thickness however the carbonation is a bit on the heavy side.

Drinkability is good. I had no problems finishing my glass and could have another.

Overall I found this to be exactly as advertised, a dark beer that's easily sessionable. Worth a shot.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2010 01:15:41 | More by glid02
Photo of tugdriver7


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

I'm a Schwarzbier fan and I was excited to try this one. Something short of black in the glass... about like a good Coca-Cola with a tan head on top. Malty with a (fruity?) hops presence but very subtle. Taste was caramel and biscuity malt with the same hint of fruity/bitter hops for balance. A residual sweetness that hinted of alcohol, but everytime I thought the sweet would become cloying or the alcohol overpowering, it seemed to back off and the flavor remained fairly balanced. A bit on the thin side and lacking any real dramatic flavor, but I get the "Session" tag. Not bad. I'll stick to a more flavorful beer, but this one would be good on tap with food.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2010 00:10:02 | More by tugdriver7
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

3.63/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my schwarzbier glass a deep chocolate brown with a fluffy but quick to fade off white head,some light chocolate and mineral notes in the nose but both are pretty light.Chocolate malt flavors with a bit of licorice,and iron.Subtle flavors lends to easy drinkablility,this would be a good tailgating beer or all day sessionable lager.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2010 23:56:02 | More by oberon
Photo of CPeterson


4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A -- An opaque black/garnet brew that produces a nice head and settles slowly into a light skim.

S -- Dark fruit, caramel, smoke, and earth.

T -- Nutty, a little sweet, smoky, a light drying and bitter finish. I almost get some woody aftertones.

M -- Velvety and soft, very easy on the palate.

D -- Buy it and drink it. Solid 'session' beer. Pun intended.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2010 01:40:23 | More by CPeterson
Photo of BieresDesMoines


3.78/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

These bottles were badass in my mind till Peace Tree hit the scene, word. Despite it, this beer pours a beautiful black color which is really more of a ruby red when held up to the light. The head is medium and fairly right. There is a moderate lace on the glass. The aroma is clean with a nice rye bread and grainy character. There is a distinct fruity and yeasty note as well, one thing is for sure that this does not smell like your typical lager. The first thing that strikes me about the flavor is the nice smokiness and the sharp bitterness. There is a lot of nice bits of fruitiness both in the hoppy and malty sense. Very straightforward and tasty.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2010 19:16:33 | More by BieresDesMoines
Photo of david18

New York

3.98/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My review of the Session Lager is below, which I had tried a few days earlier than the black. The black is very similar to the non black except there is definitely a distinct roasty flavor and aroma. Very good and worth trying.


I was very excited to see this as the featured bottle beer at my local beer bar. I'd been hearing about it for years and really wanted to try it. Overall I thought it was great and suggested it to numerous people as a more interesting alternative to Stella, Heineken, etc.

The overall characteristics are similar to an American Adjunct but with a lot more interesting things going on. Aroma was not too present but the flavor was similar to a less hoppy german pils.

The best thing about it was I was able to enjoy it the way the name intends it to be enjoyed, drinking many of them and not getting too trashed. It's rare that I feel full from beer before I feel drunk but in this case it was a good thing.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 12-03-2010 19:46:25

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2010 17:53:12 | More by david18
Photo of Gavage

New Jersey

3.6/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a clear dark bronze color with a thin 1/4" head that breaks apart quickly. Some spotty lacing develops.

Smell: light roasted malt tones with some hints of fruit sweetness.

Taste: mild roasted malt, apple sweetness, some grass, and a mild bitterness are the main flavors.

Mouthfeel: lighter side of a medium bodied beer. Crisp throughout with a short aftertaste.

Drinkability: very easy to drink this beer. It has a bit of a refreshing quality to it too.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2010 00:15:04 | More by Gavage
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly

New York

2.63/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

11oz bottle served in a pilsner glass.

L - dark brown with a beige head that left a few trails of lacing.

S - not too much of a Schwarzbier aroma it smells more like a lager.

T - some roasted malt upfront but it finishes like a lager.

F - light/medium body.

D - meh

Note: I would have upped some of the ratings if this were listed as a "American Lager".

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2010 22:47:21 | More by JoeyBeerBelly
Photo of Onenote81

North Carolina

3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Forgot that this was now distributed to SC. Had a bottle at some little bar in downtown Greenville this last weekend. Bartender poured it into a pint glass. Wouldn't have been my choice in glassware, but no matter. Poured a slightly transparent dark black. A thin tan head on top. No lace. The nose was full of roasted malts, some faint chocolate, and some grassy notes.

Moderate body, with ample carbonation. Light feel for this "heavy"-looking beer. Nice mild bittersweet chocolate, light toasted flavors, and a bit of a hop kick on the back end. Another good representation of this style. I wish more American brewers would attempt this one. Becoming one of my favorites. Recommend.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2010 14:36:20 | More by Onenote81
Photo of WesWes

New York

3.4/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a black color with a thin tan head that quickly fades to spotty lacing. The aroma is average. It has a grainy roasted malt scent along with a tangy zing that I can't put my finger on. The taste is decent. It has a grainy, dry roasted flavor with a hint of caramel malts. It does down easy and finishes bone dry with some black malt bitterness. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate/good carbonation. This is an easy drinking, "sessionable" beer, but not the greatest black lager.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2010 20:25:41 | More by WesWes
Photo of musicforairports

New York

4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown, somewhat black. Practically no head, minimal lacing, decent carbonation visible--kind of looks like cola.

Smells like crystal and chocolate malt with a hint of coffee in there.

Taste is the same as the nose. Flavors are all decent, if a bit underplayed--kind of tastes like a (very successful) macro attempt at a dark beer. There's enough flavor going on here that you won't mistake this for BMC or anything, but I don't think this is designed to be too strong in flavor. As the game reads, it's supposed to be sessionable. Would probably be a good gateway beer for a macro drinker who like Amber Bock or something like that. All that said, I wish more breweries made this kind of style.

Mouthfeel is a little creamier than I expected and a tiny bit fizzy.

The name doesn't lie--this is pretty easy to drink. Tastes just as good out of the neat, stubby bottle; I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2010 03:32:10 | More by musicforairports
Photo of tronester


3/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark brown with red highlights. Not even close to black. Thin tan head. Very unusual sour smell. Taste is a hint of sulfur up front, along with a hint of wierd sourness. Middle is light coffee flavors. Juicy fruity finish with a hint of earthy hops. Mouthfeel is bland and watery. Low carbonation. Not all that drinkable, many real session beers (less than 4% abv) are richer and have more flavor. I guess compared to a dipa this is sessionable, but it really isn't that good of a beer. It's only a couple of months old too so it hasn't gone bad; I am pretty dissapointed with this one.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2010 00:03:44 | More by tronester
Photo of bagpiper2005


3.45/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pour: Clear dark brown color with streaks of red. A small ring of head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass.

Smell: Sweet with hints of chocolate and brown sugar. No hops to speak of, and pretty light.

Taste: Follows the nose almost exactly, but you also get a little bit of coffee in the finish. Not overbearing but pleasant.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied with active carbonation. Typical of ligher American lagers, actually.

Drinkability: Very easy to drink. Great for a hot day.

Final Notes: About as light bodied as darker beers come, but for the price (just a bit over a buck a bottle), it's hard to beat this for decent beer on a shoestring budget. I'll be returning to it.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2010 18:53:20 | More by bagpiper2005
Photo of Hojaminbag


3.7/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Session Black pours a dark brown with ruby highlights. The tan head is a little over a finger high and leaves behind a little bit of lacing.

The aroma is really smoky, with a distinct peat character to it. Also dark, roasted malt.

The flavor is good, but a bit bland. It is made up of equal parts roasted malt and smoke, and once again has hints of peat. There is also a little bit of dark fruit in the middle. A little bit of chocolate is in the back end also.

Mouthfeel is good, almost creamy.

Session black is pretty drinkable and for the price I wouldn't be surprised if I picked up a 12 pack at some point to bring to a party or something along those lines. I could see either of full sail's session beers being good as an introduction to non-macro beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2010 03:26:15 | More by Hojaminbag
Photo of pmlondrigan

New York

4.05/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The head on this beer isn't to great fades very fast, but the color is real nice. A honey color deep brown. Aroma is pretty clean with a hint of roastyness. Really nice taste for a session lager, clean, crisp a little smoke and chocolate notes. Sharp tingly mouthfeel lively and refreshing. This beer will probably become a regular in my fridge for sessions and ball games.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2010 20:09:38 | More by pmlondrigan
Photo of woemad


3.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11oz stubbie bottle, with rock-paper-scissors info on the inside of the bottlecap. This particular example, from a 12-pk picked up on sale at a nearby Rosauer's for $9.99, was rock. According to the stamp on the neck, this is good until Christmas day of this year.

Poured a dark brown color, almost black. When held up to the light, it takes on a dark amber hue. There was an inch or so of tan head that dropped rather quickly, leaving a foam collar and spotty lace.

Sweet like mollasses in the nose, along with a vaguely coffee-ish roasty scent in the background.

Mostly sweet in the taste, but the slightly bitter, roasty flavors in the background keep it from being too sweet. Rather well-balanced, really.

Medium bodied, with a slightly prickly and coating mouthfeel.

Very drinkable. Lives up to it's name. Looking for something in bulk, find this on sale, its a no-brainer.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2010 23:24:35 | More by woemad
Photo of AustinBeerLvr


4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Eleven ounce bottle poured into an American shaker pint glass. Best by freshness date of December 22nd clearly marked.

This is a nice looking beer with excellent lacing and a good, rich appearance. Deep roasted malts full of chocolate,coffee, nuts, vanilla, and caramel with just a touch of piney hops at the end. Excellent clean character from the lager fermentation; which, combined with the relatively high carbonation, makes for a very drinkable dark lager. As for the classification of the style, not sure if this is a true Schwarzbier, but either way, it's an excellent session brew for any beer geek, as it's much more interesting than the pale Session Lager.

Full Sail was obviously going for a sessionable beer for beer geeks, as unlike the pale version, the dark color and roasted character may scare away some pedestrian beer drinkers. In my opinion, they nailed it with this one, balancing great character with overall drinkability in a style of beer rarely brewed in the U.S. Just a couple of suggestions---Although the brewery advertises just drinking this straight from the bottle, like every other good beer with this much character, it greatly benefits from being poured into a glass. Also, don't drink this one as cold as you would a pale lager, as it definitely masks the roasted malt character which is the best part of this brew to appreciate.

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2010 00:15:58 | More by AustinBeerLvr
Photo of Halcyondays


3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11 oz. bottle, finally found an open 12-pack I could buy a single out of,

A: Pours a deep mahogany with red highlights. Appears black on a superficial look. Mild off-white head, fizzy, hardly any lace - spotty.

S: Dark chocolate, some molasses, a mild nose though.

T: Taste comes around. Sweet caramel initially, never roasted at all. Malt heavy, but never a tough cloying sweetness. Dark fruit is heavy at the end, but the lager character smooths everything out. Very much in the Xingu-style of black beer.

M: Light-bodied, biting carbonation - it would make a good palate cleanser with food for sure and can match up with a lot of dishes without taking over.

D: A fantastic value and a great beer. For $9.99 a 12er this and its lighter brother are 2 of the best deals in all of craft beer. The B belies my true feelings on this brew.

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2010 01:15:59 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of jbphoto88


3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a stubby 11oz bottle. The beer is a deep mohagonay brown that has a touch of muddy haze. The head is off white and thin.

The nose is sweet and malty with a nice roast to the aroma. Hints of dark, heat rendered sugars mixed with a little molasses and coffee. Very nice.

Wow the smell doesn't do this beer justice. The taste is a bold malt bomb. Deep roasted grains with strong molasses flavors build the complexity of this brew. It's sweeter then what I would expect and the roasted flavors comes close to a stout or porter but are slightly thinner.

Great mouthfeel. Think a thinner version of a porter with not quite as much bitterness but still a little chewy. I'd put the body at medium and the thinner amount of carbonation really let's the grains shine. Quite a tasty brew that's well worth checking out.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2010 21:54:55 | More by jbphoto88
Photo of chaz01


3.93/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

short, stubby 12 ounce bottle courtesy of a neighbor (thanks Joe!)

A: Dark brown, cola colored with a frothy head that recedes quickly.

S: Dark fruity aroma of dates, raisins, cherries with some Christmas-like spices.

T: Some coffee and roasted malt flavors with less spice as the aroma indicates, yet picking up some cinnamon like flavors in the aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied, good carbonation with a creamy type mouthfeel.

D: Nice warming flavor, yet somewhat light and very drinkable. Nice session beer for a cold, rainy day. A little bit of a metallic taste disappears as the beer warms, otherwise very enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2010 02:29:44 | More by chaz01
Photo of Billolick

New York

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

stubby 11 ounce bottle, available at DeCicco's in Ardsley, NY. This one pours clearvery dark almond amber, under a slight and fairly quick to depart dark tan head, leaves just barely better then minimal bits of lace. Dark chocolate in the nose. More chocolate malts, dry dark tea notes. In general a fairly bland and unexciting dark lager.

Not really my thing, decent enough, but not likely I'd go for this one again real soon.

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2010 21:11:58 | More by Billolick
Photo of Fatehunter


4.33/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured from the stubby bottle into a tulip glass. Very dark, but not black. Held up to the light there are some red hues. A nice 1 inch thick head formed. Eventually it went down to just barely covering the surface.

S - Fairly aromatic for a lager. The dark malt is most evident with a slight hint of dry hay.

T - Mmm. A lager with some dark malt flavor. However, the malt does not turn this beer into a sweet tasting beer like many other Schwarzbiers. For that, I really like this. The taste is a straight forward lager with the added bit of dark maltiness and a slight bitterness at the end.

M - Light and moderately carbonated.

D - All day long. It is a "Session" beer after-all. Those who appreciated a little more flavor in their lagers will enjoy this even more.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2010 19:55:26 | More by Fatehunter
Session Black Lager from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
84 out of 100 based on 721 ratings.