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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.

769 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 769
Reviews: 338
rAvg: 3.7
pDev: 12.16%
Wants: 15
Gots: 46 | 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: 769 | Reviews: 338 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jujubeast6000
3.63/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed 8/8/2009 (Draft at Flying Saucer, Houston, TX):

Pours a dark brown colored body, some red on the edges. Small off-white head, diminishing. Chocolately roasted aroma, some sweetness. Sweet and enticing. Sweet taste, roasted and chocolate flavoers. Very chocolately very good. A little too sweet after awhile, it would be hard for me to drink this as a session beer.

jujubeast6000, Nov 01, 2009
Photo of Ezone024
3.78/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

trade from wasatch...
pours out a really dark brown/almost black with a red hue. thin creamy head with some lacing.
smells of grains and toffee with a strong hop presence.

drinks like a light porter. perfect winter session for those who don't prefer a nutty winter lager but also can also work as a year round friend.

tastes like coffee/toffee with a nice balance of hops .
check it out, and pour some for your four legged friend!

Ezone024, Oct 27, 2009
Photo of kindestcut
3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from an 11 oz. stubby bottle. I love the bottle but I'm not sure why this is only 11 oz. That really doesn't add good value to a $14 12-pack.

Anyway, on to the beer. The Session Black pours a very dark brown with a slight amber hue. The off-white head is just over a finger high.

The aroma is distant but with an evident maltiness. The aroma is no fluke as this there is a malt character to the taste. Make no mistake, this is a light-tasting beer however there is a sweetness balanced with a slight bitterness,

As a schwartzbier it is not one of the tastiest brews you will have but as a session beer it has been brewed to be tasty enough to keep your interest and light enough to be drinkable. It definitely achieves both of those goals.

kindestcut, Oct 18, 2009
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.63/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bronzed brown with generous Sunkist highlights... that becomes russet when backlit with bright morning sunshine. The several finger head of frothy foam is the exact color of the inside of a Three Musketeers bar. Attractive lace helps the cause.

More dark maltiness would have been nice. I'm well aware that SBL isn't a porter or stout, but still. Fruity-herbal hops are actually the most noted aspect of the nose. Let's see how many of the original 22 IBUs are still around.

Session Black Lager is on the lighter end of the style spectrum... even for a schwarzbier. That's okay because the goal (if I'm reading the label correctly) was to create a session beer. In my opinion, one thing that session beers need to have is sweet-bitter balance. Mission accomplished.

Flavors include hints of cocoa, medium-dark fruit and bitter tea leaves. It's all a little too simple and lacking in boldness to earn the next highest flavor score, but it sure does go down easily. A little more pizzazz would have made for better beer.

The mouthfeel is light without being watery. That, plus carbonation that is on the gentle side, is exactly what it should be for... you guessed it... a session beer.

For some reason, Session Black Lager isn't quite as good as Session Lager. Call me crazy, but when a beer contains the darker malts, I want to taste them as well as see them. Under the cap: paper. So if you have rock, you have been pwned. Stubbies rule!

BuckeyeNation, Oct 05, 2009
Photo of bump8628
3.93/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Short, stubby, bottle with best before of 11/22/09.

Dark brown in color with a bubbly off-white head that dissipates to a thin layer after a few seconds.

The aroma is sweet, clean barley with a touch of roasted, nutty, chocolate.

The flavor is clean maltiness, with roasted nuts, mild chocolate, and even a hint of smoke. Low bitterness and overall hop presence.

Finishes crisp and clean. Definitely a sessionable beer. It has enough character to not be boring, but can still be enjoyed without too much thought.

bump8628, Oct 02, 2009
Photo of hoplover82
3.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a clear deep dark amber color with a meduim sized light tan creamy head that has excellent retention and good lacing.

S-It has a very caramel malty aroma. Simple and plain.

T-The flavor is much of the same with a lot of caramel malt as center stage. A very small amount of bitterness in the finish. Also I do get some smokiness as the beer warms.

M-Very smooth and a hefty carnonation as this should have.

D-Very drinkable indeed. I don't think I'll go out and buy more of this, but it's a solid beer, and I enjoyed it.

hoplover82, Sep 30, 2009
Photo of wertperch
3.65/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I'm often surprised by life's little quirks, and this beer threw me just such a one. Not generally being a lager drinker, I nonetheless accepted the offer of this drink, largely I have to say because of the colour.

Black lagers are outside of my experience, so this was a first for me. I was quite delighted by this brew, from the first pour to the last drop, and I dare say that I could have enjoyed another one or two of them on the night.

Of course it pours a dark brown-black, with a feathery head, and a malty nose is apparent almost immediately. When I stuck my nose in the glass I was delighted to get a sweet and faintly chocolatey and toffee whiff.

The flavour is mild, the body understandably light and refreshing, but there's a slight fruitiness that again came as something of a surprise. I really wanted to quaff it and go back for a second helping, but I failed in that regard, although I see a future in which a few of these will sit in the fridge for those easy session-beer evenings with a few friends.

I'd be curious what would happen if I let it warm up a little as it was served at fridge temperature. Next time I'll pour a pint so it can slowly approach room temperature.

It's an easy beer to drink, not challenging or complex, but yummy enough that I would stock up a little so that I can have a cold one when I fancy it.

wertperch, Sep 23, 2009
Photo of tavernjef
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep glowing maroon mixing with a darker rusty brown. Small light tanned capping developes quickly and fades thusly as it squirts a few strings of lace across the glass.

Aroma is mild of a very nicely sweetened black malt roastyness. Touches a firm, yet light and milding roastyness with a tint of cocoa. Amongst bigger wiffs there is light sensations of plum and vanilla in its sweet tone.

Taste is a simple toned sweetness thats mildly malty with a nice subtlety of very light roastyness, a smidge more dark fruity tangyness of raisin and plum take the mid range, and finishes with sweetness kissed with vanilla and cocoa dryness. Tiny grainyness lays a bit well underneath. Nice and mild with a sublte tone and character.

Lightly medium bodied with an airy smoothness in front backied with a nice little crispness. Malts then create a slight stick and chewy aspect as it then drfits ever so lightly dry with cocoa, ghostly roasted grains, and pale hops.

As Schwarzbiers goes this is pretty solid and definately takes on its namesake of 'Session', ad it truly takes that on with ease. Very drinkable and mildly subtle with a nice craft about it.

tavernjef, Sep 15, 2009
Photo of ArrogantB
3.78/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've already drank about two cases of this over the last two months, very sessionable. very dark brown, not quite black. The aroma is a subtle bit of malt followed by a very malty flavor, chocolate bits, good flavor. This is a very good companion to the regular session and in fact I like the Session Black more.

ArrogantB, Sep 12, 2009
Photo of malthound
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown mahogany in color, though I really expected it to be darker. Light tan head with reasonable retention and larger soda-like bubbles. Some lace.

Aroma is somewhat light for a darker beer, with only a light roast nose with some caramel and light hops.

Very refreshing, easy-drinking beer. Notes of caramel, toasted and roasted malt and just enough caramel to add depth without cloying sweetness. Light to medium mouthfeel, great for session drinking (hence the name, I guess), finishes with medium roasty character. I really like this beer, it will be a great "fridge standard" for the after-work refreshment.

malthound, Sep 05, 2009
Photo of armock
3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured a black color with a thin off white head that leaves some lacing behind

S - Is of roasted malt that give off chocolate scents

T - Follows the nose roasted malt and some chocolate

M - This beer has a thin body with medium carbonation to it

D - This was a good beer that guess what I could session easy to drink with a good taste worth trying sometime

armock, Sep 02, 2009
Photo of MrHungryMonkey
3.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


Nose is softly malt, dark with roast, hints of nut. Smells okay.

Pours a clear deep nut brown with yellow highlights and mild head. Looks good.

Rich malt - fairly complex with nice biscuit/bread body, nutty tones, and soft chocolaty roast. Mild sweetness - roasted sugar and caramel. Mild to moderate tartness. Soft carbonation and smooth body. Finishes with kiss of malt. Tastes good. Feels good. Very good drinkability.

A welcomed addition to the Full Sail linecard.

MrHungryMonkey, Sep 01, 2009
Photo of alexgash
3.58/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

11 oz. stubbie bottle.

Dark amber to cola brown body. Thick finger of dense, dirty khaki head. Good lacing. Traces of roasted malts on the nose mix with licorice, tobacco, and scorched caramel. Some good smells, but a little subdued overall. Lightly roasted malts and mineral-y bitterness up front. Earthy, tobacco-y malt flavors come in. Mineral-y bitterness and a little cardboard around the edges. A little licorice and fruit in the finish, but mostly tinny roasted bitterness. Watery body with gentle carbonation. Goes down easy enough and tasty enough to session.

alexgash, Sep 01, 2009
Photo of morimech
3.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color with two inches of off-white head that had excellant retention. The head eventually settles to a thick cap. Moderate amount of lacing is left on the glass surface. Has a sweet malty aroma with just a hint of floral hops. I would of like to have more of a hop presence. The flavor consists of a slightly sweet malt with a hint of floral and herbal hop flavor. Bitterness is low. Light body with nice carbonation for a session beer. Very easy to drink with decent flavor. Just needs a little more hops and bitterness in the finish.

morimech, Aug 30, 2009
Photo of DeathbySexyBT
3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Not black, but extremely dark brown with that ruby halo effect when placed in front of a light source. Minimal head that dissolves into a tan disc and leaves tiny patches of lace.

S: Big sweet malts present immediately. Cocoa, caramel, and some burnt sugars. The sweetness is cut, though I would prefer more cutting, by the hops spice and a charcoal hint.

T: Dry and roasty malts are the name of the game. The sweetness is not overpowering as the nose might suggest. The caramel is there, but that cutting effect is well-placed. The fruity oils and hop spice come in on the back of the palate which is great. This beer is dangerously close to the sweet line, but the term I would use in this case is 'rich.'

M: Light and crisp. Some bitter notes on the aftertaste and a slight mucousal effect.

D: As the name suggests, this is a sessionable beer. Not quite as sessionable as its fairer brother, but still very nice.

DeathbySexyBT, Aug 28, 2009
Photo of Viggo
3.68/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz stubby, picked up at Biercafe in Portland.

Pours a clear dark orange/light brown, pretty thick off white head forms, drops to a thin ring and leaves some sporadic spots on the glass. Smell is nice, very malty, a touch of chocolate and roast, slightly vegetal, caramel middle, biscuit, a bit sugary, pretty neat but I could use a little more roast character. Taste is solid, toasty and biscuity, caramel, quite malty, lightly sugary, some bready malt, light chocolate, clean finish, again needs a bit more roast. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with low to medium carbonation, goes down smooth. Lives up to its name, great session lager.

Viggo, Aug 27, 2009
Photo of jasonjlewis
3.7/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I'm going to make this review a little shorter because I'm exhausted from brewing all day.

Color is a brown/amber mix with great head and retention.

Smell is somewhat chocolatey with caramel malts and a slight bit of roast.

Caramel malt flavors come through well with a bit of a chocolate overtone. There is a bit too much roastiness for the style.

Mouthfeel is a little bit too carbonated, but the residual sugars and lingering sweetness lend themselves well.

This is a decent sessionable schwarzbiers, but in judginf to the style, there are some technical flaws.

jasonjlewis, Aug 25, 2009
Photo of allengarvin
3.13/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Another beer in the darling little old-fashioned bottle! This one pours out a dark red color with a small head on top. The aroma is light but pleasantly malty, with a lot of caramel. The flavor doesn't offer much more than a moderately malty caramel with a very light roast. The body is downright watery.

Like the ordinary session beer, I don't find anything appealing here apart from the cute old-fashioned look of the packaging.

allengarvin, Aug 24, 2009
Photo of JohnGalt1
3.83/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Brenda, Sam, and I drank a bunch of these last night (out of the bottle.... yeah I said it.... you wanna make something of it? :-) ... I was careful to put one in the back of the fridge because I wanted to give it a proper review....

Poured into my Delirium snifter.... short lasting 1/2" lite tan head... the brew is dark brown.. not quite black.. beautiful red highlites when held to a light....

The nose is every bit a good dark lager.. Schwarzbier... I think so too... all the expected dark malts and very clean throughout.

Flavor is really pretty good too... maybe not as "dark" tasting as a bunch of American interpretations on the style.. but this is a damn fine brew... roasty malts are a bit lite... but some serious toasted malts come in and help carry the palate for longer than I was expecting... no real hop flavors that I can pick out.

The body is light.. and looking at the label... I'm honestly surprised this is a 5.6% brew... NEVER would have guessed it... Drinkability is amazing... I am seriously digging this one and hope that Full Sail makes this a year round offering.... I buy the regular Session quite a bit just to have in the fridge... but this adds a nice dimension and I will certainly buy again... probably often.

JohnGalt1, Aug 24, 2009
Photo of Sweasty
3.73/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Session black...well its not that black. This beer pours a nice deep mahogany brown color. Its topped off by a light khaki colored head. The head settles to a ring and leaves adequate lacing down the glass.

The aroma is a bit light. Some light roast coffee shows up. A fair amount of grassy/herbal notes are present as well. A light bit of caramel rounds things out.

The flavor follows the nose. The caramel is much more prominent. Light roast and grassy/herbal hops come into play. The finish is bitter with a lingering toasted graininess. The mouthfeel is on the light end of medium. The carbonation is more than adequate.

As far as Schwarzbiers go this one is fairly light all around. This is a nice easy drinking session brew. When I need a dark beer fix this will gladly do the trick. It may not be on par with the style, but that is not a bad thing.

Sweasty, Aug 21, 2009
Photo of twiggamortis420
3.38/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark amber color with a nice cap of light tan foam that displays nice retention and very little lacing.

Nose is a bit of roasty malts with a few hints of chocolate, rye bread and a sunflower seed nuttiness. It's ok, not a great smelling beer....somewhere between a dunkel and a schwarzbier.

Roasty malts are prominent and there is a bit of a black licorice flavor in there. Fairly thin bodied and a fair amount of carbonation. A bit too much roast for me to want to 'session' more than a couple of these. I like the red label better for what I am buying it for. Gimmie a German dunkel before this anyday.

twiggamortis420, Aug 19, 2009
Photo of Dotcubed
3.93/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

An impulse buy at the Four Firkins.
My wife almost opened it thinking it was a root beer. A little annoyed that it was a twist off, wasn't cheap beer. Has a stamp on the glass of 110709 on it which I guess is a consume by date.

Looks like one in my glass, very dark brown. Reminds me of coke, but with a creamy foam.

Smells earthy.
Tastes carbon, well roasted smokey. I think it's a nicely well muted rauch beer. Crispy, mouth watering. More palatable than the few rauch beers I've had. A little sweet.

Tastes good & isn't watery or light. Medium to heavy body. This is a great food beer. I could enjoy a few of these but I'd need something salty with it to fully enjoy.

Dotcubed, Aug 18, 2009
Photo of Docer
3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Snagged up a 12'er of this at Whole Foods... recently just tried the regular session....

- Kind of a cola colored dark and brown.. bubbly head, mocha colored... like an A & W in a way....

- Smells like a bitter light porter... roasted malt, small bit of coffee bean, bitter chocolate... some bitter spicy hop...

- Flavorful lager with bitter chocolate and hop flare as well and a roasty porter-like quality.... very tasty.

- Somewhat parched aftertaste due to its bitterness.. but overall..

- Sessionable as the name states, and a nice difference in comparison to the standard Session.. quite drinkable and unique!

Docer, Aug 17, 2009
Photo of Rayek
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Pilsner glass.

A: Deep chestnut brown, with garnet highlights and nice clarity. A fizzy tan head struggles to form and has only middling retention. Leaves no lace. Easily the beer's weakest aspect.

S: Very chocolaty, with a heavy dose of baking chocolate and even a bit of espresso. There's a hint of lemon in the background.

T: The chocolate parade continues. The bittersweet chocolate is joined by a slight, almost stout like, burnt bitterness. Some lemony bitterness brings up the rear. Finishes with a mild lingering bitter-sweetness.

M: The light body is slightly oily. The carbonation level feels about right.

D: Like Session Lager, Black is eminently drinkable. It has just enough complexity to keep me interested, and a low enough ABV to feel, well, sessionable.

Rayek, Aug 16, 2009
Photo of FMetzger
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Great clarity. Dark brown with a slightly tan head. Brown highlights in the head.

S: Rich malt with slight hoppiness. I love this beer. As it warms the aroma is that of wort after the first hop addition. It is truly fantastic. This beer accurately captures the delicious cereal malty graininess I crave without going overboard and killing me with alcohol.

T: Caramel maltiness, rich flavors of grain. This is a great example of a Schwarzbier/Dark Lager/Euro Dark Lager, or whatever the hell you want to label it.

M: Not much to mention, except that it is smooth and the carbonation is perfect (at least in the bottle I had). Not thick, which is not surprising given the fact that it is a lager, but IS surprising given the rich grain taste.

D: As the name implies, this is a Session-able beer. Only 5.4% abv, so more than one is not going to be a problem, and I am truly astounded by the flavor.

This beer is cheap ($8.99 for a 12pack), and I am very fond of it. The temperature hit 110F today, so I am sure I will be enjoying this beer for a while during the hot summer months. Hats off to Full Sail for this one. Really a pleasant surprise.

FMetzger, Aug 13, 2009
Session Black Lager from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
84 out of 100 based on 769 ratings.