1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

Not Rated.
Session Black LagerSession Black Lager

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

777 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 777
Reviews: 339
rAvg: 3.69
pDev: 12.2%
Wants: 15
Gots: 47 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 777 | Reviews: 339 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of AustinBeerLvr
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
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.

AustinBeerLvr, Nov 08, 2010
Photo of Halcyondays
3.95/5  rDev +7%
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.

Halcyondays, Nov 07, 2010
Photo of jbphoto88
3.88/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

jbphoto88, Nov 06, 2010
Photo of chaz01
3.93/5  rDev +6.5%
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.

chaz01, Nov 03, 2010
Photo of Billolick
3.83/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

Billolick, Nov 02, 2010
Photo of Fatehunter
4.33/5  rDev +17.3%
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.

Fatehunter, Oct 31, 2010
Photo of dragonWhale
3.9/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

ahh shucks, from the cute little stubby. full sail's new classic. dark, almost black, licks the glass. slight roast and chocolate, not a whole lot of aroma, tastes nice, not an overabundance of flavor, but the little roastiness provides a slight abrasive edge to what is otherwise a very smooth drinking dark lager. that edge is what makes this such a distinctive beverage.

dragonWhale, Oct 31, 2010
Photo of Fenris244
3.68/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the nifty bottle into a pint glass, had almost no head that dissipated quickly leaving a small collection of bubbles behind

Smell is syrupy with some coffee some thing fruity and a metallic hint as well

Taste is a little earthy but has some nice roasted coffee flavor, hops are there with a slightly fruit syrup flavor as well as a metallic tinge on the finish

Its smooth and crisp with a nice finish

Its very drinkable that being said i couldnt help but feel the flavors were almost muted other than that though i could session with this beer any day

Fenris244, Oct 29, 2010
Photo of Pencible
3.73/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: This poured a clear dark cherry color, with a little tan head.
S: It smelled like earthy caramel and roasted barley, with a little coffee and copper hops and bread crust.
T: It tasted like dry roasted barley and earthy caramel, with some bitter coffee and copper hops. It had a bitter and surprisingly wet aftertaste.
M: It was slightly thick with moderate carbonation. Not bad.
D: This had a decent smell and taste and body, but nothing too delicious or unique. It was definitely easy to drink, so it fit the bill as a dark session lager. But I couldn't shake an apathetic feeling from drinking it.

Pencible, Oct 25, 2010
Photo of u2carew
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.6 oz stubby. Picked up on a road trip to Idaho.
A) Pours with a thin, wispy head. Clear body. Mahogany in color. Lacing is semi-sticky.
S) Roasted grains. Toffee. Subtle hints of smoked peat.
T) Delightful roasted notes. Hints of smoke, Caramel and coffee.
M) Medium body. Fizzy. Clean.
D) A nice, low budget brew that tastes great. I'd have another.

u2carew, Oct 23, 2010
Photo of FrozenJoe
3.65/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark Coca-Cola color. Average head. Some lacing. If you hold it up to the light there is a nice amber hue to it. Looks inviting.

Smell: This surprised me. I can't smell anything. Maybe a light yeastiness faintly in the background. Certainly no off aromas, but no nice smells either. Just a faint, yeasty sweetness... but it's barely perceptible at all. I expected more.

Taste: In my opinion (which I'm sure many will disagree with) this is what Guinness should taste like. The main flavor is dry roasted grain. Sweet. Burnt chocolate. Light hops add a fruitiness. Very balanced. Not super complex, but it all comes together nicely. Well crafted flavor profile. Not a "big" beer, but very solid. Nice lingering flavor after the sip. Slight bitterness. This is good.

Mouthfeel: Less carbonation than I expected. Perhaps this accounts for the lack of smell. Light fizzy feeling in the mouth. Somewhat heavy and syrupy. Kind of nice for a dark beer. It goes down smooth but has a slight fizzy bite. Well done.

Drinkability: This is a very drinkable beer. It's so balanced. You could give this to someone who likes macros they would probably be able to enjoy it. Yet at the same time someone who has a more sophisticated palate could also enjoy the subtleties and complexity of this beer. There is almost a pumpernickel-like, dark breadiness to this beer that makes it so enjoyable to drink.

Overall: A very nice beer at an excellent price. The only problem I have with this beer is that it is only 11 ounces! I want my 12th ounce!

FrozenJoe, Oct 23, 2010
Photo of milkbaby9
3.83/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11oz stubbie bottle (bottle code 100410, drank 9-16-2010) into Dartington ultimate lager glass. 1cm tan head disappears to a thin ring around the edges, just like the "regular" version of FS Session. Coca-Cola black brown color with a hint of ruby.

Aroma lightly burnt toast, almost milk chocolate sweetness, and hard pretzel. Taste of slightly sour burnt toast bitterness passes quickly through to apple cidery sweet honey lemon malt and caramel toffee.

Carbonation medium but nice and crisp upon drinking, a bit watery light bodied, finishing clean. Actually looks a little like Coca-Cola and with carbonation of a slightly flatter Coke.

Another winner, like Full Sail's Session lager but with a bit of roastiness from the dark malts. Nice, agreeable, and drinkable.

milkbaby9, Sep 29, 2010
Photo of letsgopens
4.33/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An attractive pour from a unique, 11 oz. bullet bottle. Displays a deep, ruby brown body with some copper colored highlights. The very pale beige head is somewhat thin and recedes rather quickly but is still substantial.

Cocoa, hops and a somewhat minerally aroma hits me at first. Some weak coffee and a earthy, creamy note. Raw milk, some black roast and just a hint of licorice. Pronounced for the style and very appetizing.

Mellow, pleasing and extremely well balanced. Some bold cocoa and sweetened coffee up front fading to grassy, fresh hops and half and half. More of a milk chocolate note comes through as well and finishes with a hint of tart, acidic black cherry and licorice. As it warms, the booze shines through just a bit but doesn't diminish the drinkablity or burden the palate.

A fantastic Schwarzbier and, true to its namesake, a great session brew. A rather low ABV and a balanced, interesting flavor profile make it extremely drinkable.

letsgopens, Sep 24, 2010
Photo of zeff80
3.95/5  rDev +7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with a one-finger, tan head of foam. The head was short-lived and it left little to no lacing.

S - Great roasty aroma with toffee and chocolate notes, too. Some mild floral aromas.

T - It had a rich roasty malt flavor with chocolate and toffee. It had a nice bitter hop bite.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry finish.

D - This is a tasty, easy drinking lager. Nicely done by Full Sail, again.

zeff80, Sep 23, 2010
Photo of chinchill
3.55/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11oz. bottle served in standard pint glass

A - dark orangish brown. Clear. 1/4" tan head quickly dissipates.

S - subtle

T- little dark malt flavor. Summer schwarzbier? Quite tasty for a lager, with a nice hint of hops.

M - light. Good carbonation level

Has neither flaws nor any particularly attractive or special qualities. Still, easy recommended as an economical session beer.

chinchill, Sep 16, 2010
Photo of Elimination
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This seems to be a sort of hipster beer in my area, people love it, swear by it, so I thought ide give it a try.

Pours a pretty dark black, barely any light shine through.

Smell is light cocoa, coffee, slight roast malt, licorice and a bit of plastic?

Taste is the same above but without the plastic, the roast malt is actually quite pleasent while still being light. For a lager, this is pretty good, makes me more interested in shwarzbiers.

Mouthfeel is very light despite the look of the beer, of course most people, even I think most 'dark' beers will present a thickness, but this doesnt.

The drink is very high, this is honestly be a great session beer (yes, if its name it...it better fit the description) Might have to buy this more often for events I dont want to savor every drop, but still drink.

Elimination, Sep 12, 2010
Photo of StoneBrewFanatic
3.48/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Pours dark brown into my pint glass with about a finger and a half of head, dissipates pretty quickly leaving a nice little ring and minimal lacing.

S - Roasted malts, with a but of cocoa, hops, and maybe some molasses.

T - Mostly I am getting roasted malts, along with a bit of sweetness and some hops. There may also be hints of dark fruit and molasses in there.

M - A little too much carbonation, makes it appear lighter than it is.

D - Very drinkable, I definitely see why it's labeled as a Session beer.

StoneBrewFanatic, Sep 12, 2010
Photo of mralphabet
3.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: Dark brown w/ hints of red. Nice finger and a half of head that settles to a ring.. Not much lacing.

S: I'm getting roasted malt with a molasses like sweetness.

T: Very sweet with a little tangy aftertaste... Very tasty.

M: Pretty light with sharp carbonation but really gets sticky and slightly chewy as it warms up.

D: Low ABV and great flavor makes this a rather good session beer. Just as the name says... Session.... Worth picking up.

mralphabet, Sep 07, 2010
Photo of Beeryce
4.15/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Nice bottle, excellent for taking on a hike or playing disc golf.

Brownish in color with a tan head that quickly disappears, leaving little lace.

Rich aroma of Carmel and Chocolate malts, and light floral hop notes.

Full, but light enough to be very drinkable. Lots of steely Carmel malts give way to a long Chocolate malt taste that lingers into the balanced hop finish.

The mouthfeel is very good and a balance between a weighty malts and a moderate carbonation induced lightness.

This is a great session beer and one of my favorite styles so I might be a bit biased.

Beeryce, Sep 06, 2010
Photo of aeminter
4.15/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Very dark brown and clear with a thin head that dissipates quickly to nothing more than a ring along the edge of the glass.

S - At first pour I get a nice full Munich or Pilsner malt smell. Then comes a nice roasted malt smell, though a little on the acrid side, with just a touch of campfire in the distance.

T/M - Clean with a dry finish...malt sweetness is very low and the roastyness of the malts give a slight hint of chocolate. The body and carbonation are both medium.

aeminter, Aug 26, 2010
Photo of allforbetterbeer
3.48/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tall thin glass. 11 Oz? I suppose I pay the price of one ounce to have such an interesting stubby bottle.

A: Darker body than expected. Clear, but the color is unique in its smoked crimson look. Nice. Pours with 2 fingers of head that rises in the middle to form a little peak. This falls very slowly over the course of a couple minutes. High marks for a nearly flawless presentation. Now if it could only look more vibrant...

S: At first I think I am smelling a bock, but then I realize this is something totally different. The hops in the nose are fresher and milder than the hops in the nose of most bocks, and the malt is much less at the forefront. Detecting some butter-cream and East Coast lawn-flower notes.

T: This beer is definitely malt based, but the malts here present in a far less ruddy or grainy way than usual. Rather sweeter than I expected. The Hops are subdued and mild, and don't show through much in their pure form, but more as if they were soaked in butter and mixed with some flower petals. After drinking the whole bottle and letting the aftertaste sit in my mouth for a few minutes, I realized that there is flavor in the beer similar to chamomile tea, or maybe even a thin rooibos tea. That is totally unique.

M: Almost cloying from the sweetness, but there is some dryness in there that never come close to overpowering the sweetness, but keeps it enough in check to keep the mouthfeel within the limits. Otherwise it is moderately carbonated, lighter bodied and relatively smooth.

D: Quite drinkable, but would be more so in my opinion if there was a bit more hop oil to balance things out.

Conclusion: An interesting example of the style. There is room for improvement, but then again I have not sampled many scharzbiers, so maybe this is spot on.

allforbetterbeer, Aug 25, 2010
Photo of WeezyBoPeep
3.45/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a little stubby bottle into a pint glass.

A: Dark brown with shadesof red and a minimal head.

S: Dirty with burnt nuts and a 'amber' scent. Notes of caramel and molasses.

T: Watery for a 'dark beer' with a light malty presence and hints of pine hops fading in the background.

D: They don't call it Session for nothin. This is a 12 pack beer.

Value: Recently, I saw this on sale for $10.99 for a 12-er. Goood deal.

WeezyBoPeep, Aug 20, 2010
Photo of Kaiser81
3.73/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to AAvgerinos for this beer. I'm currently dog/house sitting for him, and it was in the "too be drunk" fridge, so I'm drinking it.

Poured from a bottle into a snifter glass.

A - Minimal head from the pour. Nice lacing on the glass, with the darkest color brown when held up to the light.

B - Smells of coffee, and roast, and a touch of ash. There's a bit of smoke in there too.

T - Roast is the dominant flavor. It's much lighter than the tastes you get from stouts or porters. There's a hint of dark fruit, and just a touch of molasses. Bitterness, maybe from the coffee, finishes this off.

M - Light body with high carbonation...maybe a bit too high. There's a dry finish to it.

D - It's not bad. I think it needs some vanilla ice cream though! Beer float time!

Kaiser81, Aug 13, 2010
Photo of PDXHops
3.78/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Stubby 11 oz bottle, poured into a pilsner glass. Not so much black as deep molasses brown, with a dense cap of tan foam. Some drippy lacing here and there.

Very light nose, crisp toasted malt, a faint whiff of chocolate cake. The flavor is much more robust, with a surprising fruity bitterness and a some tangy molasses (almost enough of the latter to limit sessionability a bit). Plenty of nutty and roasted malt- it's rather like a good, but tame, porter, actually.. The finish is somewhat dry and oily simultaneously. Hints of coffee and toasted malt linger.

Overall impression: I'm more of a fan of the regular Session, but this one's not bad at all. Recommended.

PDXHops, Aug 10, 2010
Photo of flagmantho
3.7/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 11oz stubby into a pint glass.

Appearance: rich, dark brown with a finger of frothy tan head. Not too bad looking, but I would like it a little bit darker and would like a bit more head retention.

Smell: light roasted malt aroma with a little bit of grain. It reminds me a bit of a dark mild ale, in fact. I rather like it.

Taste: sweet roasted malt; a good flavor though not a dense one. There's a little bit of tart astringency paired with graininess that fades into the sweeter malt toward the end. It's not too bad, but it's not my favorite schwarzbier.

Mouthfeel: medium-light body with a pretty good level of carbonation. The overall feel isn't too bad.

Drinkability: I find this to be a nicely refreshing and flavorful beer. It proved at hit at my band practice last week, so what else can a guy ask?

flagmantho, Aug 10, 2010
Session Black Lager from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
83 out of 100 based on 777 ratings.