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

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Session Black LagerSession Black Lager

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813 Ratings
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Ratings: 813
Reviews: 343
rAvg: 3.69
pDev: 12.47%
Wants: 21
Gots: 58 | 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: 813 | Reviews: 343 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of liquidsunshine
3.7/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

As one of my Christmas presents I received a "Create your own" 9 pack of tasty beers. Very excited about it. One of which was Session Black, having heard good things in the past I decided to try it first.

The pour was nice, with a thumb or so of tan head which faded to leave some decent lacing around the glass. Very dark in color, when held to the light you can pick out some deep red and brown hues.

I could not seem to get any particularly strong smells out of the beer, but that may be because I have a rather poor nose. There are pleasant, though perhaps faint, notes of caramel, coffee and roasted malt.

The taste is full, flavorful, and develops as it travels across your palate. I get a sweeter chocolate element when it first hits the tongue, which then fades through caramel, and to more roasted malt and coffee as you finish the sip. I find this to be a great characteristic.

It has a very nice variety of flavors which seem to spread out, involving all of your tastebuds, giving the beer a great filling mouthfeel.

Surprisingly drinkable for a dark and flavorful beer.

I would recommend it!

Cheers, Matt

Photo of BDJake
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- dark brown/ruby with beige head and slight retention

S- pretty simple, leaving just dark malts and coffee, not bad at all but also not very exciting

T- same as above, but a hair better

M/D- light body with decent carbonation, goes down with the greatest of ease- it's a perfect beer to offer to those friends of yours who's only experience with anything darker than a BMC was a Guinness, showing a much wider variety than they previously knew about

Photo of Gatch
3.88/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up at T's in Tempe, AZ for $.99 but it was in the "Specials" cooler.

A - Deep brown with an amber hue. A beige, fluffy head.

S - Roasted malt, coffee, not much else.

T - A pleasant maltiness with hints of roasted coffee. Subtle flavors with nothing overpowering. Very enjoyable.

M/D - Real smooth, slight carbonation, light body. While average, the flavors are enjoyable and nice on the palate. Very drinkable, of course.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11 ounce stubby bottle - $5.00 at Taco Mac in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a clear, deep, dark brown body with a sustained inch of light khaki-colored froth which deposits a minor smattering of lace on the descent.

Smell: The malty nose is made up mostly of a basic chocolate scent with lesser, lighter hints of roast and toast and a faint, underlying earthiness.

Taste: Quickly goes from toasty to roasty and then to a smooth, pleasant chocolaty taste. Modestly sweet. With a little warmth on it, it gradually adds some caramel to the mix. Light earthy hops with an expectantly light, brief bitterness, leaving the flavor to tip back towards those initial malty tastes. Finishes drying and malty.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Why, that's a pretty tasty beer, actually! If it's time to have a fine, flavorful beer with a reasonable amount of alcohol then Session Black is a good place to start.

Photo of colts9016
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pokal glass at 41 degrees.

Appearance: A nice one finger head that has some retention, that is creamy, light tan and foamy. The color of the beer is deep mahogany color with rich garnet highlights. The clarity of the beer is clear with effervescence bubbles. The head is leaving lacing on the glass.

Nose: A medium roasted malt aroma with some yeast. There is some anise, coffee, dark chocolate, and a light phenol aroma.

Taste: A medium roasted malt, light coffee, hint of bitter chocolate, biscuit and light phenols.

Overall: The mouth feel is a medium carbonated, slightly dry, and smooth. The body of the beer is a medium light and the finish medium light. This is the first schwarzbier that I have tried and it is descent. There is nothing about this beer that stands out to me.

Photo of BrandonWardlaw
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Dark caramel, one finger head that reduces to lacing.

S: Malty with a slight hint of hops.

T: Mostly malt, and just a hint of chocolate.

M: Well-balanced, medium body with some carbonation.

D: Pretty high for any fan of dark lagers, and as pedestrian as this may seem, it tastes great straight out of the bottle, too. I can't say this is my favorite black lager, but it's definitely a keeper for parties and gatherings, considering its fairly low price point.

Photo of Mdog
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Clear brown, good head.

Smell: Toast, mild tea aroma.

Taste: Mild toasted bread, some light sweetness, and a little tea-like bitterness. Very balanced flavors.

Mouthfeel: Creamy mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Light, yet flavorful, easy to drink. That's why it's a session.

Finally saw the black session so picked up a 12 pack. It's a nice little schwarz that meets the requirement for an upscale session beer. Easy to drink and the stub bottles are cool too.

Photo of shadow1961
3.85/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Session Black pours out a little sandy foam over a black brew. Nose is nice and toasty, with notes of baker's chocolate. Flavor is mild and slightly sweet, again, with toasty malts predominant and notes of mocha and maybe a little licorice. Mouthfeel is crisp and light with a mild toasty aftertaste. This has a lot of flavor for such a modest brew- but not in a way that makes it off-putting to people used to drinking crap beer and lurch into this (or the original Session). As such it's another perfect gateway beer. As with the first Session, this has the rock/paper/scissors game under the caps, though the half cases they are sold in also have a word search printed on the bottom. Nice party beer!

Photo of russpowell
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I managed to find this in Tulsa only 4 days past its sell by date, pretty good for Oklahoma (sigh)

Pours a brown tinged chestnut with 2 fingers of mocha colored head. Good lacing & head retention

S: Brown bread, fruittyness & herbal hops

T: A touch of licorice, dark fruit & woody hops up front. Brown bread, figgyness & leafy hops are all there as this warms. Finishes fruitty, dry & with a bit of brown bread swetness/grainyness, almost pulled a 4.5

MF: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation & great balance

Drinks really easy, will pick this one up again if I can get it fresh. Nice Schwartz bier

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

Poured from an 11 oz bottle into a clear pint glass. Single purchased at local health food store for $1.09.

A-Pours a medium brown with a one finger beige head that recedes quickly leaving scant lacing. Looks a lot like a brown ale.

S-Roasted grainy malts and some fruity hop presence.

T-Lightly toasted chocolate malt sweetness and some bitterness.

M-Smooth, well balanced, crisp, and refreshing.

D-Very easy drinking. Disappointing that it is only an 11 oz. bottle.

Photo of troutmask96
3.78/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A big fan of Session Lager, I sprung for a twelver of big brother Session Dark. Taste is surprisingly appealing for a dark lager, though fairly uncomplex. A nice, nutty nose with dark molasses and coffee undertones, this is a supremely drinkable dark beer. Reminds me a bit of Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale, which is meant as a compliment. A perfect starter on a cold autumn night as your palette works it way to bolder offerings...

Photo of Beaver13
4.03/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11 oz bottle. Pours a medium brown with a medium frothy off white head that goes to a film that laces the glass.

The aroma is chocolate and roasted grainy malts with a little coffee. Some fruits come out as it warms.

The flavor is lactic chocolate and roasted malts with some coffee. The mouthfeel is fairly full and creamy.

Overall, a nice surprise. This is a very tasty schwarzbier. The first sips are really good, but as it warms I like it a bit less.

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

A: Pours a dark translucent reddish brown, with a relatively small amount of tan head. Retention and lacing are ok, not great.

S: A fairly thick roasted malt smell with a touch of hops.

T: A light sweetness, finishing a little bitter. Relatively mild flavors, but pleasant enough.

M: Thin to medium body, though the finish feels a bit more chewy. Fairly low carbonation.

D: True to it's name, it's drinkable like a session beer should be.

Photo of Kromes
4.18/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Clear dark brown with a thin line of tan colored bubbles for a head. Looks to have lots of carbonation.

S: Very simple aroma, but it's a pleasant roasted malt aroma with some sweet honey.

T: Again very simple, but balanced and tasty. Sweet roasted malts with a tiny bit of fruitiness and floral hop flavor. The finish is a nutty, roasted malt with a little bitterness to offset the sweetness of the malt.

M: A little watery, but the carbonation fills it out.

D: That being said, the beer is as drinkable as you can get. Good aroma, good taste, good aftertaste, balanced, light mouthfeel.

Photo of merryjoulton
3.93/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a very tight well constructed lager. Pours a shining dark brown/black with an airy tan head. I looked for smoke on the nose but couldn't really pick it out. Smells very toasty and roasted, malty, sweet, hoppy, crisp. Taste is very clean and nutty. Mouthfeel and drinkability are great, one of the fullest and creamiest lagers out there.

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

Appears clear dark brown with a little off-white lacing. The aroma is rich with roasted barley, bread crust and dark chocolate. The flavor follows up with the same tasty roast followed by a big candy note that reminds me of chocolate-covered caramel. There's a light kick of herbal hops and the beer goes back to the dark, smokey grains. Not too heavy or sweet, just tasty and drinkable. A fine beer, reminds me of Kostrizter Schwarzbier, but a touch lighter.

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

Just because a beer is dark does not mean that it is heavy, in fact some of the most famous darker beer are actually quite light. The darker color of these beers comes from the use of roasted malts, which is basically barley or wheat roasted until the grain has a dark brown color. The Sessions Black Lager is truly unique with its old school squatty bottle, its retro looking label and great flavor. The beauty of Sessions is that it is not a microbrew, not a macrobrew nor an import, it is all of them and none of them at the same time. The beer itself is smooth, dark and surprisingly refreshing with initial tastes of chocolate and caramel malts with a touch of citrus. The hops and malts are balanced nicely providing a long, smooth and slightly bitter finish. Definitely a beer I will drink all summer long!

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

12 oz stubby bottle into a pint glass. Thanks go to Wackyfoot for this in a recent trade.

Pours a deep clear amber, with 1 1/2 fingers of light tan colored head. Retains with a thin yet still frothy look, leaving back some thickish foamy patches of lace. The aroma is smooth in the nose with light roasted chocolate malts that mix in with some citric hop character to give this a tangy smell in the back. A fresh floral feel gives this some brightness in the nose.

Roasted malts once again darken the taste up just enough, while still allowing the sweetness of the chocolate and citrus to really come out. A pleasant tingle of spicy bitterness runs throughout, giving this a light smack of dryness in the finish. The mouthfeel has a lighter-medium bodied feel to it, with an even mix of crispness and a more creamier presence as well. Very easy and quaffable. Earns it's session name well.

This was flavorful and easy drinking but I was maybe looking for a little more roastiness to the overall profile. Still darn tasty though.

Photo of drunkboxer1
3.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Paired with Hamburger Helper Lasagna. Chocolately brown color. Not really black. Smells like roasted grains. Drinks easy, thin mouthfeel. Printing "Session" in fancy-assed lettering on their bottle probably helps it seem that way. Reasonably-highly carbonated. Little or no bitterness. A little metallic, maybe from the hops. Not bad.

Photo of jujubeast6000
3.63/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

Photo of Ezone024
3.78/5  rDev +2.4%
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!

Photo of kindestcut
3.85/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.63/5  rDev -1.6%
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!

Photo of bump8628
3.93/5  rDev +6.5%
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.

Photo of hoplover82
3.9/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

Session Black Lager from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
83 out of 100 based on 813 ratings.