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

Not Rated.
Session Black LagerSession Black Lager

Educational use only; do not reuse.

838 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 838
Reviews: 353
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 22
Gots: 71 | 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:
Beer added by: msubulldog25 on 06-27-2009

ABV 5.4% IBU 18
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 838 | Reviews: 353
Photo of david18
3.97/5  rDev +7.9%
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

Photo of Gavage
3.58/5  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.

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
2.64/5  rDev -28.3%
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".

Photo of Onenote81
3.94/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

Photo of WesWes
3.38/5  rDev -8.2%
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.

Photo of musicforairports
4.01/5  rDev +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.

Photo of tronester
3/5  rDev -18.5%
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.

Photo of bagpiper2005
3.43/5  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.

Photo of Hojaminbag
3.72/5  rDev +1.1%
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.

Photo of pmlondrigan
4.02/5  rDev +9.2%
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.

Photo of woemad
3.88/5  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.

Photo of AustinBeerLvr
4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
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.

Photo of Halcyondays
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

Photo of jbphoto88
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

Photo of chaz01
3.92/5  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.

Photo of Billolick
3.8/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

Photo of Fatehunter
4.3/5  rDev +16.8%
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.

Photo of dragonWhale
3.86/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

Photo of Fenris244
3.62/5  rDev -1.6%
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

Photo of Pencible
3.73/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

Photo of u2carew
4/5  rDev +8.7%
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.

Photo of FrozenJoe
3.57/5  rDev -3%
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!

Photo of milkbaby9
3.8/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

Photo of letsgopens
4.29/5  rDev +16.6%
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.

Photo of zeff80
3.92/5  rDev +6.5%
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.

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Session Black Lager from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
83 out of 100 based on 838 ratings.