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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.

802 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 802
Reviews: 341
rAvg: 3.69
pDev: 12.47%
Wants: 20
Gots: 55 | 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: 802 | Reviews: 341 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Beaver13, Nov 19, 2009
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.

seand, Nov 17, 2009
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.

Kromes, Nov 14, 2009
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.

merryjoulton, Nov 11, 2009
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.

tempest, Nov 10, 2009
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!

WhatsNewinBooze, Nov 08, 2009
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.

Kegatron, Nov 06, 2009
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.

drunkboxer1, Nov 06, 2009
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.

jujubeast6000, Nov 01, 2009
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!

Ezone024, Oct 27, 2009
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.

kindestcut, Oct 18, 2009
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!

BuckeyeNation, Oct 05, 2009
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.

bump8628, Oct 02, 2009
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.

hoplover82, Sep 30, 2009
Photo of wertperch
3.65/5  rDev -1.1%
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 24, 2009
Photo of tavernjef
4/5  rDev +8.4%
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 +2.4%
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 +8.4%
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 +4.3%
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 +5.7%
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%
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 +5.7%
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 +5.1%
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 -0.3%
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 +0.3%
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
Session Black Lager from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
84 out of 100 based on 802 ratings.