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Schlafly Sessions Black Lager Schwarzbier - The Schlafly Tap Room

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Schlafly Sessions Black Lager SchwarzbierSchlafly Sessions Black Lager Schwarzbier

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BA SCORE
83
good

38 Reviews
THE BROS
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(Send Samples)
Reviews: 38
Hads: 99
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 6.04%
Wants: 6
Gots: 6 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
The Schlafly Tap Room visit their website
Missouri, United States

Style | ABV
Schwarzbier |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Realale on 10-21-2002

Sessions Black Lager is a traditional German Schwarzbier with a refreshingly light body. The dark chocolate malts contribute color and hints of roasted coffee balanced by the delicate aroma of German Noble hops. Translated from German, Schwarzbier means black beer.

Schwarzbier originated in the 16th Century in southeastern Germany where it is still brewed today. The style enjoyed a heyday in St. Louis in the late 1800s, but large scale production of dark lagers failed to resurface after Prohibition. In 2007, the beer community of St. Louis honored St. Louis Dark Lager as the official beer of the inaugural St. Louis Brewers Heritage Festival, an annual tasting event that celebrates the many breweries thriving in St. Louis today.

45 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 38 | Hads: 99
Photo of JayQue
3.56/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Nice, light, sessionable lager, I'm sure just what Schlafly was aiming for. Pours a dark brown color into a pint glass. Lots of light coming through on the sides and bottom of the glass. A hard pour gives a big light tan head with somewhat less than average retention, just fades to a ring around the glass. Small patches of spotty lacing.

Aroma is very light, some roasted malt.

Flavor is good, mostly roasted malt and a little coffee. Mouthfeel is light and crisp, just the right amount of carbonation.

Overall this is a good, refreshing summertime/session lager. (568 characters)

Photo of bnes09
3.26/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Nice color with slight clarity. Dense creamy head with good lace. Clean aroma and flavor with just a hint of roasted malt and cooked corn. Light bodied. Average carbonation. Highly sessionable. A little boring in my book but I could drink several of these in one sitting. (271 characters)

Photo of gabrielsyme
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz can in a basic pint glass. The brew pours a dark chestnut brown, quite hazy, with tan head and lacing. I don't get much in the way of smell, maybe a slightly caramel flavor, but that is to be expected with a lager. The mouthfeel is bright and bubbly, and light-to-medium bodied. The initial taste is nutty, bitter, with some toast. There's not much in the way of aftertaste. At 5%, this is highly drinkable. Overall I enjoy this and would buy again. (455 characters)

Photo of Boca-X
3.64/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

This review will consist of one beer out of can and one poured into a glass. This is a session and I believe should be reviewed from can? Chances are if I wasn't going to take this fishing, boating, camping or hiking I wouldn't buy a canned beer.

Can is mostly brown...nothing special. Served very cold from my beer fridge.

Some malty dark chocolate bread on the nose...and aluminum can.

First sip...big carbonation up front followed by mildly sweet caramel...it doesn't last long and finishes with bitter burnt toast, the burnt crust mingles with dark roast coffee that bitterly lingers on the tongue.

Pretty nice lager...much better than any BMC but that isn't saying much. At 5% ABV I wish it wasn't so carbonated but it does help it go down easy. As the can warms the beer softens...creamier, sweeter, richer...the bitterness fades some. Everything considered...a very good session black lager in a can.

Ok...let's pour one into a tulip.

Off white head, deep dark brown pour, almost black...a hint of red/brown sneaks through. Little to no lacing. I let sit a few minutes to warm...

Again the dark chocolate and malty bread hits nose first...although this time there is much more of the roasted dark coffee notes coming through.

First sip...the carbonation is there but less noticeable than from the can...mouth feel is thin. Sweet caramel and again is over run by the bitter finish. Bitter burnt toast...slightly sour? My tongue is left some what're dry.

In finishing I think the beer is much better in glass after it's warmed...much smoother with it's sweetness cutting some of it's bitterness. My review will be as drank from a can...good not great. A few changes to the recipe and bottled and this black lager could be great. (1,744 characters)

Photo of jokelahoma
3.73/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a can into a pint shaker.

Pours a clear, deep garnet red. Definitely not black nor opaque, which isn't that unusual among shwarzbiers. Still, a little more color would have been nice.

The aroma is extraordinarily faint. You have to work to find a scent here. What finally does hit you is exactly as it should be; clean malt, a slight roasty aroma. Can't really ding them because it isn't highly aromatic, especially when what's there is dead on. But it would be nice to not have to work so hard to smell a brew.

The taste is not bad, either, but as with the color and aroma, it's simply lacking. It has the cleanliness, the grainy base, the very subtle roast of huskless Carafa malts. All that is well and good. But it seems to need more of each. You certainly don't want anything to stand out, but it would be better if everything stood out a bit more, together. They almost had it, but not quite. Sensing a theme yet?

Mouthfeel is a bit on the thin side, without a crispness. It seems a tad creamier than it should be, while still being too thin. Perhaps it's because they're going for sessionable beers with this series, but once again, I'm left with that "almost" feeling, as in "it's almost enough, but not quite".

Overall, this is far from being a bad beer. It's clean, it has all the right flavors and aromas with nothing standing out where it shouldn't. No off flavors that I could detect. It just seems a bit shy, like a wallflower at the homecoming dance. The biggest complaint against this beer is not about what it is, but what it could easily be. It's a solid "almost" brew, and one I'd almost grab off the shelf again. (1,650 characters)

Photo of ONUMello
3.73/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz can dated 8/21/13 poured into a pils glass
A: Pretty. Dark brown with a hint of red and a two-finger head
S: Lots of malts, nutty, a hint of cola
T: Nutty, malty, a hint of cola sweetness, just not quite as complex with those same elements as the nose
M: Medium-bodied yet a bit thin at the same time
O: Still a really enjoyable beer to drink, this isn't available locally but would probably be a go to session beer, easy to drink from the can and tasty, if it was (469 characters)

Photo of woodychandler
4.06/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I scored this on my most recent visit to Max's in Baltimore and passed one on to my local CAN Trader, tone77 for his inclusion in his own CANQuest (TM).

It is a gorgeous CAN, employing metallic brick red, golden yellow and stark black in its coloring. From the CAN: "Bold Flavor"; "Seasonal".

The Crack was loud and inspiring, so I employed an inverted Glug into my Schlafly CAN Sessions CAN-shaped glass. I had two fingers of dense, light-tan head with good retention. Color was garnet (?)/ruby (?) (SRM = > 34, < 44) with NE-quality clarity. Nose smelled very chocolaty and I was ready for some beer to hit me. Mouthfeel was big and full and the taste was both caramel and chocolate and I was really digging it. I ate some spicy curried chicken for lunch and this was a welcome respite from the heat. Finish was smoky, chocolaty and caramel. This was more in line with what I expect from Schlafly and I wish that I had another for the upcoming Hula in the Coola Day (01 Feb, annually). Man, I really dig drinking well-made lagers when there are so many crappy ones on the market. (1,089 characters)

Photo of jmdrpi
3.49/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz can, Aug 07 2013 stamped on the bottom of the can.

just short of black, extremely dark brown. very white creamy thick head. great retention and lacing. not much aroma. nice smooth flavors in the taste - just a touch of roast and some sweetness, some faint mild chocolate. thicker mouthfeel, slick, moderate carbonation. Easy drinkin' . (343 characters)

Photo of tone77
2.94/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Another canned beer from the creator of the canquest, woodychandler. Poured from a 12 oz. can. Has a cola color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is damn near non existent. The faintest notes of malts. Taste is light, mild, some roasted malts, really not much going on. Feels light in the mouth and overall nothing special about this beer, mediocre at best. (351 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
3.77/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Where Lagers are generally assumed to be pale straw, the face lift of schwarz gives it the opposite appearance. In juxtaposition, dark beers are assumed rich or bold where this Lager is lighter bodied and even crisp! What the hell's going on!

Its dark appearance strikes the eye as black ...at first. Upon further examination, the beer is dark ruby instead and is only noticeable because of its brilliant clarity as is seen through its ribbons of low light. A creamy colored and semi-firm foam stance holds its structure well and laces randomly as the beer fades.

Fresh-ground coffee, burnt caramel and dark fruit rise to greet the nose with the first whiff. A slight cola-like note provides its caramel-like sweet scent that ties together the charred grain, herbal hops and dark chocolate notes. Its tangy and earthy- like chicory or licorice but in the most friendly way.

Its bittersweet taste is due to its dominant char flavor, that shies away from burnt notes, and its supporting kettle caramelization of pilsner malt. Its balance battles out over the early taste while the middle palate separates the charred toast flavor from the sweetness and links up harmoneously with spicy hops that trail in finish. Easily seen as coffee-type or cocoa bitterness, the finish is delicately earthen with that chicory-licorice blend that was picked up by the nose.

The beer's delicate texture is light even though its taste is more robust. Drinking like Pilsner, the beer's early creaminess separates into trailing bubbles and a linger of malt. Cola-like lightness persists across the middle and lands the beer into a slight watery impression until the hop dryness and light alcohol warmth crispens things up to close the session.

With the likeness of stout-like char upon a body of Lager, Schlafly's Black Lager is easy drinking and characterful but without the challenge of highly complex flavors or high alcohol rates. It's ideal for barbecue and chocolate desserts. (1,966 characters)

Photo of JuicesFlowing
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a shaker pint glass.

The body is a ruby black, not quite brown. An off white head recedes to a light wisp, with very light lacing staying around.

The aroma is very faint on sweetness, but brings out roasted malts, grains, and a very sly grassy note.

The taste is very smooth. Roasted malts, faint coffee and chocolate, and a very slight hop finish.

Mouthfeel is medium to light.

Overall, a very drinkable brew. No wonder they canned it and made it part of their Can Sessions lineup. (499 characters)

Photo of Pyramid_Head
4.01/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Schlafly's Schwarzbier is a sentimental favorite, and my favorite lager.
That is to say it's one of the only lagers i would regularly drink if it wasn't a seasonal product.

The black lager introduces a strong roasted and smokey flavor to the wheat taste of a basic lager. It can best be described as an alcoholic iced coffee with a little wheat to it. I personally love it, but it wasn't released in 2012. In 2013 Schlafly released a canned version which i'll review separately after i've given it a try. (505 characters)

Photo of barczar
3.23/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours an opaque deep brown color with amber highlights and a solid one inch khaki head that dissipates into a layer of foam across the surface.

Nutty, toasted malt and a bit of roast character comprise the aroma, with a bit of caramel sweetness and toffee surfacing late.

Flavor is fairly sweet, almost cola-like, with background notes of tobacco and a touch of roast malt at the finish. There's an underlying chocolate note leading into a fair amount of toasted breadcrust. Fruity esters emerge as it warms, along with a bit of acrid flavor.

Body is moderate to light, with fairly high carbonation and a slight astringency.

Overall, not as roasty as I had hoped. It's pretty sweet for the style and lacks complexity of the malt character. (743 characters)

Photo of rundocrun
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottling date of 10/27/11:

A - Body is dark brown with amber and ruby highlights. No hint of cloudiness. A finger of tan head forms. Retention is decent. No lacing.

S - Lightly toasted sweet malt aroma. Herbal spicy hops. Some fruity smell is present as well characteristic of caramel malts.

T - Lightly sweet and earthy up front. Flavoring hops are definitely prominent here. Not too bitter though. A bit more of the chocolate and caramel flavor from the dark malts come in toward the middle. Finish is hop-spiced with bitter cocoa and lemongrass. An interesting combo.

M - Thin mouthfeel. Well carbonated. Feels for the most part like a lager, but the hops were a little aggressive and took away some of the smoothness that I normally look for in a good lager. (766 characters)

Photo of bluejacket74
3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, bottled on 12/9/2011. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours a mahogany brown color with about a half inch off-white head. Both the head retention and lacing are decent enough. The brew smells like roasted and bready malt, coffee, nuts and some chocolate. Taste is similar to the aroma, but there's the addition of some caramel and a bit of an earthy flavor. Mouthfeel/body is light/medium, it's a bit creamy and goes down easy. I think it's a solid brew overall. I'd buy this one again, hopefully a fresher bottle next time around. Still, even now it's worth a try at $1.75 for a single bottle. Purchased at Party Town, Florence, KY. (651 characters)

Photo of htomsirveaux
3.92/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle tried 10 Dec 2011. Served in the 0.4 L Eder Pils mug.

Large brown head. Well carbonated. Clear dark molasses brown in color. Light aroma, earthy, light roastiness, moderately sweet. Starts sweet and malty. Some roastiness. Medium body, moderate ethanol. Earthy, malty, finishes lightly sweet. A slight bit of mineral in the finish and aftertaste.

Not a complex beer but tasty. (394 characters)

Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12oz brown pop top with nice label; bottled with love on 10-20-11.

Appearance: Poured into my Schlafly Kolsch (stange) glass to show off the color a bit, this pours nearly black, but shows deep chestnut/walnut brown when held up to the light. Light beige cap with good stick and a bit of lace.

Smell: Light roast, but much cleaner than your average porter or stout. A light bit of fruity German hop presence as well as some mild, bready malt from the combination of pale, European pilsener, and Munich malts.

Taste: Overall fairly mild. A bit of fruity, German hops, clean, lager-yeast finish, and a touch of mild roast and toasted malt on the finish. Remarkably easy-drinking. Not a huge depth of flavor, but I'm not sure that the style necessarily needs to be particularly 'big'. I have heard some people refer to Scharzbiers as 'black pilseners', but this one isn't that crisp or sharp. It's more like a slightly roastier dunkel, with significantly less emphasis on the fat, bready Munich-malt middle. Overall, a nice, simple quaffer.

Mouthfeel: Light side of medium

Overall: Great to see Schlafly branching out and trying some new things with the Brewer's Choice series. Their weissbier was quite tasty, and this brew follows suit. Not something I'd get all the time, but if it came out once a year, in the autumn, perhaps, I'd likely pick up a sixer.

Overall: B (1,387 characters)

Photo of KellyL
2.94/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Schlafly is my favorite local brewery, but this is not a good example of their beer. It's much better on tap, it loses something in the bottle.

A: Poured into a pilsner glass it lets light shine through and shows off a beautiful deep mahogany color. One finger of light tan head dissipates quickly but the top of the beer stays a nice tan color.

S: Very slight hints of roasted malt, little if any hop aroma.

T: Faint hints of dark chocolate, roasted malt, and herbal hops up front. Finishes with a balance between the malt and hops, but the malt flavor lingers.

M: Thin like it should be, it's deceiving because dark beers are associated with creamy mouthfeel. Not bad, but nothing spectacular.

O: It's a very drinkable beer, I'd stick with the APA but for something different pick it up and try it. It's much better than a standard lager. (846 characters)

Photo of climax
2.81/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a pint, a nice brown with bright garnet highlights sits below a decent sticky alabaster head.

The aroma seems mundane; the distinguishable flavors are hidden behind a front of weak generic malt flavor. The scant sweetness and feeble bitterness require no effort to balance one another. Non-offensive is it's only attribute.

The flavor continues to disappoint. A slight metallic finish with fleeting licorice and grassy notes follow up a taste that's pretty feeble. It edges out the aroma by short marks, considering a slight astringent and roasty dry finish.

It doesn't take much to drink it swiftly; And the flavor doesn't take much getting used to, because there is none. This beer is paltry to a beer advocate. The only application I can think of is someone who enjoys bland lagers, but wants to be seen drinking something "heavier". (854 characters)

Photo of TheWhiskerReview
3.97/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A ruby-hued black pour has a 1.5-finger off-white head that retains a ring throughout the brew, leaving a bit of sticky lace at the top of the glass.

The nose is dark and clean with unmuddled aromas of dark bread, coffee grounds, toasted pecan and a faint woody spice.

Light-med bodied palate is malty and bready with a nice touch of acrid roastiness bringing the balance with more flavors of coffee grounds and roasted pecan. Bitterness is mild, seemingly bigger with the darker malt, while the finish ends clean with malty bread and a lingering juiciness with final hints back at that pecan.

Overall, quite a tasty Schwarz. Everything I'd expect- clean, dark and quenching- but it's that persistent pecan note really making this delicious. (746 characters)

Photo of soju6
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a very deep mahogany color with a nice tan head that fades slowly to lacing.

S: Aroma of roasted malt, some nuts, and a bit of chocolate.

T: Flavor of roasted malt and some nuttiness with a bit of chocolate sweetness. A nice bitterness throughout and a dry finish.

F: Fairly medium body, smooth with a somewhat creamy texture. Very nice balance.

O: Very enjoyable offering. Not an overpowering beer, but still a beer with lots of character compared to other of this style I have tried. Well worth checking out. (523 characters)

Photo of TippySelenoid
3.45/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pilsner.

It's a clear, dark brew with a tan head.

It's got a roasty smell. There is a nice amount of bittering hops.

It's got a roasted flavor in the malts. Almost smoky. This isn't a sweet beer. The hops play well amoung the burnt malts.

It's pretty light bodied with a nice carbonation.

Overall, this beer is true to style and pretty authentic. It's a pretty good beer. (390 characters)

Photo of syrupjoe
3.31/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a root beer brown color. Dark and perfectly clear. Very light one finger head - almond meat colored.

Nose is roasty, slightly sulfuric, clean but faint.

Taste is roasty and slightly burnt tasting. Thin bodied with notes of lactic and bitterness on the finish.

Moderately high carbonation with slight acidic harshness and fairly thin body.

Overall a thin and somewhat unbalanced beer for this style. Looks great, but doesn't taste amazing. (450 characters)

Photo of Reaper16
3.19/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle (bottled on 10/27/2011) served into a nonic pint glass

Pours a Pepsi cola brown color. Black lager? Hardly. This beer doesn't even approach black. It's not even darker than the glass bottle it comes in. Head size is miniscule, with about zero retention.

Schlafly Schwarzbier smells mostly like grains and nuts. Pecans, almonds, and assorted cereal grains (I even smell oatmeal, though I'm pretty sure oatmeal is not a part of the grist) that have been lightly toasted. It isn't exciting or complex. But a straightforward aroma that is style-appropriate is not a bad thing at all.

Lots of German malt flavors right upfront: assorted nuts and black bread. There's a cola like sweetness too, sort of like Mr. Pibb. A bit of sassafras too. It finishes primarily with a pecan & almond flavor. It should be a very versatile beer with lunch; it should pair nicely with stead sandwiches, hamburgers, even ham sandwiches.

The mouthfeel is above average for the style. It is light like a lager should be. It's a wet, sweet beer but it isn't too slick like poor lagers can be. Overall, this is a pretty average schwarzbier. Apart from the appearance, Schlalfy made a faithful rendition of the style. Merely being faithful doesn't make this a good beer, but it certainly isn't a bad one. (1,295 characters)

Photo of mrfrancis
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a seriously attractive mahogany with a thick, puffy khaki head.

S: Very clean on the nose with hints of mocha, roasted grain, and heavy cream.

T: Notes of heavy cream, molasses, dark chocolate, coffee, roasted grain, and grassy, herbal hops wash across the palate. The finish is balanced and flavorful with a pleasant mixture of grassy hop and toasty, chocolatey malt flavors.

M: Light to medium in body and very creamy. Carbonation is subtle, but just firm enough to keep this lager from feeling watery.

O: This is a quality schwarzbier. Schlafly continues to impress me. (585 characters)

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Schlafly Sessions Black Lager Schwarzbier from The Schlafly Tap Room
83 out of 100 based on 38 ratings.