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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

98 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 98
Reviews: 39
rAvg: 3.65
pDev: 11.23%
Wants: 7
Gots: 7 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 98 | Reviews: 39
Reviews by the Alström Bros:

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Jballew816
4.44/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good lager. Good flavor. Really like and search for more

Photo of Pyramid_Head
4.01/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

Photo of russpowell
3.88/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Freshness date of 10-24-11

Pours an effervescent mahogany with 3 fingers of tan head. Good head retention & lacing

S: Dark fruit, charred grain & choclate notes

T: Charred grain, stone fruit & some dark chcolate up front.Dark choclate, dryness & a touch of herbal hop spice as this warms, maybe even a touch of vanilla on the edges. Finishes sweet with a touch of caramel & a nice roastyness

MFL Creamy, medium bodied, nice balance

Good take on the style, easy to drink. As usual these guys do a good beer at a nice price

Photo of tone77
2.94/5  rDev -19.5%
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.

Photo of bluejacket74
3.85/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

Photo of MJR
3.68/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, clear reddish-brown with a light tan head with good retention. The aroma is all malt, with hints of coffee and caramel. Starts off with a bit of malt sweetness and roasted grains, then opens up to a smooth caramel/coffee/smoke balance. Ends with a slight earthiness, along with a touch of roasted grain bitterness and toasted malt. Thin-to-medium in body, with a mildly acidic finish that adds to it's clean and crisp mouthfeel. Overall, a solid schwarzbier.

Photo of syrupjoe
3.31/5  rDev -9.3%
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.

Photo of Illtryit
3.96/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

"Bottled with Love" 16 days ago. Super fresh. The ABV is 5% per Schlafly's website.

Pours a cola colored brown, almost black, with an off white head 1 finger deep.

Not much to smell on this one. Just a bit of grain.

Taste is semi sweet grains.. I'm also getting a nutty kick at the end. A little chocolate to boot and I'm starting to like this beer a lot.

Mouthfeel is a little light, but it has plenty of character.

Overall I am pretty impressed with this Lager. Light enough to drink a few, but flavorful enough to bring satisfaction. I recommend it.

Photo of JuicesFlowing
3.88/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

Photo of woodychandler
4.06/5  rDev +11.2%
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.

Photo of karst
3.7/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours deep brown with tan head. Aroma was mostly malts. Malty flavors with some caramel and coffee and some fruity esters. Low carbonation Medium/thinnish body and nearly watery mouthfeel hurt by low carbonation, its finish somewhat bitter (less from hops and more from black patent or dark roast malts) but clean and palate clearing lager nevertheless. I found it very refreashing.

Photo of Realale
3.68/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep black/brown color - definitely more toward dark brown when held to the light. Decent head that remained throughout.

Nose is relatively muted, and not giving much. As the pint warms a bit, some malty notes come out, but not much there.

On the palate, its got a surprising amount of fruity and hoppy flavors. These pretty much overwhelm the malt. Again, as it warms, a bit a diacetyl appears, and definitely detracts from the overall impression. Seems a lot like Schlafly's lager (which does not have the diacetyl) with some roasted barley or black patent added for color.

Schwarzbier is not a style I have a lot of experience with, however this one definitely seemed to be inconsistent with the style, other than the color. That being said, it was a pleasant quaff, but I only had a single pint, before I returned to the excellence of their cask-conditioned pale ale.

Photo of climax
2.81/5  rDev -23%
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".

Photo of Reaper16
3.19/5  rDev -12.6%
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.

Photo of jokelahoma
3.73/5  rDev +2.2%
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.

Photo of gabrielsyme
3.88/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.88/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pretty dark, brown to almost black and clear, with a nice two finger head that lasted, leaving nice lace.

Roasty and chocolatey in both smell and taste. Great light smokiness too. A bit of toffee and just a touch of hops too. Quite tasty and easy to drink.

Medium body with a lightly roasty aftertaste. I'm glad I bought a sixer of this one.

Photo of soju6
3.88/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

Photo of JayQue
3.56/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

Photo of Tone
4.12/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, dark brown color. 1/3 inch head of an off-tan color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of sweet malt, slight roasted malt, yeast, pale malt, slight chocolate, and a hint of hop. Fits the style of a Schwarzbier. Mouth feel is smooth and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, slight roasted malt, slight hops, slight chocolate, hint of pale malt, and a hint of yeast. Overall, great appearance, good blend, body, and aroma.

Photo of DCon
3.93/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on-tap @ Bailey's Range in St. Louis, MO for $5 ("DINNER" size). Tapped from the Black Schlafly Handle w/ a Tan "Schwarzbier" label into a 16oz Pint Glass.

Aroma- Good amount of malt included with some a nice yeasty character. Everything easy going, clean, and nothing big jumps out at me.

Appearance- Received with a 1 finger head that stays for the average amount of time. Has a dark brown colored body but clear within. Leaves a bit of lacing behind.

Flavor- Malty, clean, and sweet. Can tell there is Munich-malt used and has a good amount of noble hops. Light-Medium bitterness but mostly smooth and clean.

Mouthfeel- Light-Medium Bodied, Light-Medium Carbonation, Smooth, and leaves awesome roastiness on the palate!

Overall Impression- While having this many times before, once again, great! Would enjoy many more to come! This is one of my favorites from Schlafly this month and will be going back to this. Would recommend grabbing a 6-pack of this because your friends will also enjoy this smooth, easy going black bier. Enjoy!

Photo of jmdrpi
3.49/5  rDev -4.4%
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' .

Photo of BEERchitect
3.77/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

Photo of zeff80
3.97/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with a one-finger head of foam. It left thin rings of sticky lace on the glass.

S - It smelled very roasty with some floral notes. Nice chocolate aromas.

T - It tasted of chocolate, toffee and caramel. Some subtle bitterness adds balance.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied brew with a dry finish.

O - This is a very solid schwarzbier. Schlafly is so consistently good with everything they brew.

Photo of Pintofbrown
4.02/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I poured this one into a glass stein.

Appearance- The head builds to about one-finger width with pretty decent retention, beige colored. There is a smattering of small bubbles in the smooth cap.

The body is auburn with some lighter brown highlights, decent amount of carbonation columns in the glass.

Smell- A decent hop smell coming through the malt. Mostly earthy and grassy. Underneath that is roasty malt that blends very well.

Taste- A nice amount of roast rides throughout the drink. The hops are actually taking a back seat to the roast, and I enjoy that about this offering.

The finish has the grassy hop flavors. The malt also has a slight buttery aspect to it.

Mouth feel- A medium body and really creamy drink make for a quite decent feel. Coating is not that spectacular, but it does not matter much with how the carbonation is handled.

Overall- I was expecting this one to be a little more hoppy, but the malts taste great and the feel makes for a great drink. The nose does all right, but it could have more to offer. Try it if you see it.

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Schlafly Sessions Black Lager Schwarzbier from The Schlafly Tap Room
83 out of 100 based on 98 ratings.