Bohemian Black Lager | Spoetzl Brewery / Shiner

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Bohemian Black LagerBohemian Black Lager
1,476 Ratings
Bohemian Black LagerBohemian Black Lager

Brewed by:
Spoetzl Brewery / Shiner
Texas, United States

Style: Schwarzbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.90%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Todd on 09-02-2006

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Ratings: 1,476 |  Reviews: 535
Photo of TheHoppiest
3.48/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pilsner glass. Pours a very dark brown, with a tan, bubbly head that pillows down. Rather attractive.

Smell is muted, with some smokey grain and grass smells, even a bit of corn.

Taste is thin, with a burnt toffee malt flavor, mild bitter, and earthy undertones. Overall, very mild.

Mouthfeel is thin.

I suppose it is drinkable enough, but more than anything else, it is simply not a very memorable beer. If offered one I'd drink it, but like the other Shiner beers I've recently tried, I don't know that I'd search this beer out.

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Photo of jds1469
3.15/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Expected so much more from this brew. Poured at 50 degrees F.

Dark brown color, with no head at all. Smell is non existent at all. Little flavor to speak of, just booze. Mouthfeel is lite and watery and not too much to speak of. Drinkability is a 3/5 not too good.

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Photo of jlindros
3.63/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

THanks to duff247.

Pours a lighter almost 1 finger fizzy head that fades semi quickly, over dark molasses mahogany brown color.

Nose of dark crystal malts, molasses, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, light roast, smooth brown malts, some light crisp lager fruit aromas.

Taste starts very porter-esque, light creamy dark malts, light oatmeal like, some hints of smoke, plenty of dark crystal malts, toffee, brown sugar, molasses, roast, some light grassy hops, slight bitterness, light crisp lager yeast and light fruits, smooth. Where are the hops? Finishes crisp with a bit of lingering sticky feel, hints of smoke and toffee linger. Pretty flat on the hops, if this were a dark ale it would be a lot better than trying to come off as though it has hops. As it goes I'm starting to get a bit of diacetyl, with hints of buttered popcorn and gritty dry toast.

Mouth is medium bodied with decent carbonation, a little slimy and stick though.

Drink is pretty good, dry crisp finish, smooth and light abv, very sessionable, bit of stickiness.

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Photo of Cylinsier
3.4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz.

Pours black with a dark cherry red glow from light and a caramel colored lacing.

Smells a bit toasty and malty with some buttered bread notes and a whisper of hops.

Tastes mildly toasty with a tinge of hop bitterness and some grain flavor.

Feels thin, a bit watery, tingly carbonation over the tongue.

So-so, looks dark and heavy but the taste isn't very strong. I think it's characteristic of the style but it comes across as a good presentation of just an okay beer.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.34/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, poured into my Darkness glass...A dark brown, bordering black pour. The head is light night, creamy with good retention and lacing. Much better looking than I anticipated...Pretty boring aroma that shows a hint of smoke, and some sweet notes underlying, pretty boring...The taste shows some things, surprising. Nice roasted smoke is the main player here, but shows some accents of bacon and chocolate. Hops show them self at the end in a bitter chalky finish that just seems out of place. Enjoyable though...The feel is really to light, needs to be a little fuller.

An average beer, but good for shiner.

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Photo of Beerbluesbiology
3.41/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown-ruby colored body which would appear as black in low lighting with a tan-brown 1.5inch head which dwindles down to a thin layer of foam. Smells of smokey dark chocolate and a toffee-like sweetness. Tastes of dark chocolate, subtle hints of coffee and smoke, then a hoppy kick. Unfortunately the beer finishes with a carbonated-water like taste and feel which really kind of ends up making the beer feel thin. Overall, this is a good beer, but that strange CO2 water feel at the end has to knock back the score.

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Photo of johntp
2.81/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Black, but clear. Very carbonated and dark red when held up to light. One fingers worth off white bubbly head.

S: Smells like an american lager, a bit metallic.

T: Tastes like an american lager plus lots of smoky roasted malts. Has quite a bit of metallic taste, not sure where this comes from.

M: Thin bodied, plenty of carbonation.

D: Pretty drinkable due to thin body and carbonation.

This tastes alot like an american lager with roasted malts, if i were going for a black beer, i would much prefer Monchshof Schwartz. Also, i don't know why I am tasting metal, its a bit off puting, but may be a bad bottle. I would probably not buy this again, but at the same time, wouldn't turn down a free one. :D

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Photo of Spica66
2.63/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Deep mahogany with little head formation and no lacing.

S: Not much here. Slightly coffee, maybe...

T: Again, not much here. Watery roast flavor with a slight tang that I don't much care for. The finish leaves a coffee sort of aftertaste

Mouthfeel: watery, light body. Medium carbonation.

D: If you are after a "sort-of-has-some-taste" beer, there is nothing here to keep you from drinking this.

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Photo of SamN
3.13/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bad pour into a regular water glass, for lack of a proper pint glass.

Dark beer, not opaque, some dark ruby highlights at the edge of the glass. Smell is lacking for the style, not much for roasted malts, dry and thin with a distinct musty aroma. Some crisp hops in the back. Taste features some malts, but still not enough for the style. Woody cedar, light charcoal? The finish of crisper hops is great, really fleshes the beer out, definitely saves it from being a poor tasting beer. Mouthfeel is still too light, needs more body but the carbonation is spot on.

Not much for smell and taste, average brew, good for Spoetzl, pretty poor example of one of my favorite styles. Nothing I would seek out again, but I don't mind finishing the single bottle I bought.

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Photo of nickfl
3.53/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - One finger of very light brown foam on top of a brown-black body with amber highlights showing through. The foam fades away quickly and leaves behind some spotty lace.

S - Brown, malty aromas of caramel and toffee. Some light hops in the background.

T - Toffee and caramel malt flavors dominate the beer initially with a hint of herbal hops that grown in the middle. Notes of brown sugar and licorice with some light roasted notes. The beer finishes with dominant flavors of sweet caramel and light hop bitterness for balance.

M - Medium body, moderately high carbonation, and a somewhat sweet finish.

D - This is a decent beer, but it is lacking in comparison to classic examples of this style. The roast character is a bit subdued with sweet caramel dominating the beer in a way that almost makes it seem more like a bock than a black schwarzbier. The sweet finish only serves to intensify this impression. Drinkable, but not something I would buy again.

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Photo of jmdrpi
3.85/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

appears a nice opaque charcoal black, with a small head. nice roasty aroma with hints of coffee and chocolate.

the taste followed the aroma with roasted malt flavors. the body is on the thinner side, with moderate carbonation.

a much better offering than the Shiner Bock

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Photo of ChimRichels
2.64/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Clear cola-colored body with a head that falls quickly to a thin foam layer and then a mere ring around the edge.

S - Nothing. I honestly smell nothing at all.

T - Some coffee flavors emerge that meld nicely with a toasted bread flavor. Some astringency. Pretty watery.

M - Nice and smooth, but a little thin.

D - Easy to drink, but lacking in flavor.

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Photo of chchchchia
2.65/5  rDev -23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A - Almost a completely opaque black. Pours a 1 finger head that dissipates quickly. Looks very nice.
S - Hints of coffee and roasted malt as well as a metallic tinge. On the weaker side for a schwarzbier.
T - Toasted malt, chocolate, hint of coffee and a very slight hop bitterness. It's on style, but very lacking.
M - Medium carbonation, light body.
D - High, but lessened by the slight body given to it with the malt.

This is a forgettable schwarzbier. Very watery and not that exciting.

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Photo of JayS2629
3.37/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Beautiful dark cola color but small white head, little retention, and slightly creamy lacing.

S- Almonds, toffee, and faint roasted coffee hints. Very small hint of cocoa.

T- Bitter cocoa, sweet malts, smokey wood characteristics.

M- smooth, crisp and clean but watery.

D- Slightly too bitter. Deep, dark flavors but watery and bland.

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Photo of burgerandbeer
4.03/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Pilsner glass.

First I have to admit I had read some reviews here before I tried this beer.
However I tried to keep this to only my "catches".

I like coffee....I really like coffee. I also like chocolate. Therefore I like
toffee. And so....I really like this beer. Don't let the word "dark" keep
you from trying this beer. It is smooth and flavorful and best of all doesn't
turn your mouth sour like most urine yellow American big brands do.

I bumped my pouring elbow while pouring the beer and that resulted in some
of the beer "sloshing" into the glass. The result was a huge 3 inch soft creamy
brown head. I also got a lot of lacing that was still clinging to the sides of the
glass 5 minutes after I had finished it. My second one I poured normal and
got a 1 inch head but still a lot of lacing.

Carbonation was moderate.

Picking up scents is my very weak spot in reviewing beers, but I picked up
roasted almond, roasted coffee and some floral.

I expected a big thick bitter taste simply due to the name of the beer and look after
pouring. I was surprised at the mild coffee and molasses flavor. Delicious. The
flavor follows all the way through and therefore I can't say there was a finish.

Reading the article on how to review a beer I saw the word "balanced" used. I
stayed away from this term in my reviews so far because I wasn't certain how I
would know if a beer was balanced. I realize now you know it when it slaps you
in the face. This beer is balanced. Spoetzl....don't change a thing.

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Photo of mothman
3.05/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours ½ finger of light tan head. Color is pretty much black.

Aroma: Roasted malts, smoke, bacon, and grassy hops.

Taste: More bacon flavors up front with some roasted malts following. Has some chocolate, grassy hips, caramel, and smoke as well.

Mouthfeel: Roasted and dry. Light to medium bodied with a high amount of carbonation. Ends dry and roasted.

Overall, I like the smoke flavors. Good for a lager, but way too much carbonation really throwing this beer off. Somewhat drinkable.

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Photo of StaveHooks
3.46/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a deep dark brown almost black with mahogany highlights around the edges. 2 finger tan head with some lacing lines left behind.

S - Roasted malts, hints of chocolate and some roasted grain. Has somewhat of a soapy aroma as well.

T - Roasted malt that starts dry and turns tart. Raisins and molasses followed by roasted grains with a slightly sour characteristic.

M - Light to medium body with moderate carbonation.

Better than I expected. It was nice and dry but a little on the watery side.

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Photo of alleykatking
3.56/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle.

A- Pours a black color which shows red hues on the sides of the glass when held to the light. One and a half finger tan head shows medium retention and caps the beer. Spotty lacing on the sides of the glass.

S- Roasted malts mix well with caramel malts in the nose. This along with a nice crisp hop scent toward the very end make up the nose. It's nothing much but pleasant to say the least.

T- Roasted malts with a sweet chocoalte malt in the front. The roasted/light smoked flavor goes through the entire beer adding a nice balance from the chocoalte and sweet malts in this beer. There is a light hop bit in the ending but this gets covered up pretty quick with a last blast of roasted malts.

M- Light-medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. Roasted malts left on the palate with more in the aftertaste. Malt forward but balanced in that sense. Light alcohol drying on the palate. Crisp and clean tasting overall for the style and the beer itself.

D- This is a very drinkable beer. The lower ABV makes this a drinker all night without worrying about getting to well...drunk. A nice beer that I personally was surprised with.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.83/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in an Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull shaker pint glass.

Ah, inexpensive bottles for my mixed-sixer. Love it. This one pours a lovely translucent garnet-brown topped by nearly a finger of off-white foam. The nose comprises light roasted malts, light coffee, cocoa powder, and a twinge o' flowers. The taste holds notes of cocoa, light roasted malts, thick and toasted caramel, and a swig o' roasty toffee. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a wet feel. Overall, a somewhat surprisingly nice schwarz, nothing too exciting but pretty tasty and highly drinkable nonetheless.

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Photo of bastardface
4.07/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I really like the specialty beers that Shiner makes even though I'm not a big fan of the original Shiner Bock. I'm also accustomed to black lagers. Shiner Black is one of my favorites. I find myself drawn to it whenever I see that it is available. This was the first I had it out of a bottle. The appearance was tan to a black color. The smell of hops was strong. When tasting it you can taste a burnt flavor which is appetizing. It's easy to drink but be careful because more than a few will get you leaning. Strong but pleasant. I highly recommend this brew. For sure.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.5/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to jsh420 for this bottle. Reviewed from notes.

Pours a deep brown with a light head and not much retention or lacing. Nose is crisp roasted malt with some light caramel and chocolate. Taste is roast with coffee and chocolate and some light earthy hops. Fairly light win good carbonation. Just like others I have had from them, this drinks well but doesn't pack much flavor.

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Photo of SudsMcReilly
4.3/5  rDev +25%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I really liked this beer. It has a very roasted malt start and a really nice smooth smokey finish. I poured this into a pilsner glass and got a good 1 inch almond colored thick head. I could easily drink multiple bottles of this "American Schwartzbier"

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Photo of deadbody
2.79/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours a dark black with a nice head, head recedes quickly leaving minimal lacing. Smells average, nothing great but not bad, a bit weak. Taste is not what I was expecting. Not much there, was expecting more of a stout feel and this is not it. Mouthfeel was very watery. Had the feel of a cheap lager not a richer dark beer. Drinkability average, not a bad beer, but not what I wanted/expected and not something I would seek out again. Wouldn't turn down another but wouldn't pay for it either.

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Photo of StephenRich
3.4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

Black Lagers are an interesting breed, at least to me. Black beers by usual convention are heavy, robust, and largely flavorful beers. There are of course many exceptions to this generalization, but you know I mean. Black beers all seem to have a lush and creamy malt flavor that ranges from softly aromatic to robustly pungent - in either case all share a roast or fruity character. The Shiner Bohemian Black Lager is a bit of a different beast. Firstly, the Black Lager is a Lager rather than an Ale. This indicates that the beer has been fermented at colder temperatures, and with a yeast that plays a smaller role in the beers actual flavor; thus allowing the malts to speak for themselves.

Shiner, a Texas based brewery since 1909, has brewed the Black Lager staying as close to the Bohemian tradition as possible. They have imported Czech Saaz and Styrians hops, and used specific roasted malts to recreate a classic beer style that does not get a lot of public attention today. It was originally created as an anniversary beer in 1997, but after huge amounts of enthusiastic customer feedback Shiner decided to move it to regular production - and I'm glad they did!

These beers honestly should get more public attention. It is a great beer to introduce newcomers to the craft beer world with. Someone who is used to drinking flavorless, fizzy yellow beers may be to intimidated or overwhelmed by some of the bigger or more creative craft beers that exist - but the Bohemian Black Lager is filled with flavor, but is masterfully smooth and clean in flavor and mouthfeel. It is just 4.9% abv, and offers significantly more flavor for its alcohol that just about any commodity grade beer.

I opened the Black Lager up cool around 8C (45F) and poured it into a stemmed beer glass. It flowed cleanly from the bottle building a smooth and gentle beer that eventually lifted an airy and soft, pillowy almond and tan colored head. The beer was black at first sight, but when held into the light it reveals soft chocolate browns and dark burgundy hiding in the corners and edges of the beer. It shines clearly with a garnet black beam striking down the middle of the glass.

The nose is soft but aromatic. Clean and gentle scents of dark brown sugar, caramel and molasses open into your nose. Soon a subtle hint of roast, chocolate, and fresh malts glide in smoothly. Hops are very easy and only hint at a fresh and lightly crisp finish.

This beer right away shows its strength as a session beer. It is clean and smooth from start to finish and offers up well constructed flavors that are easy to enjoy and flow well over your palate. The first gulp reveals everything that the nose was hinting at. Soft and clean malts with hints of roast, caramel, molasses and a touch of chocolate. It is subtle at every end, but not weak.

Malt flavors in the beer are straight forward and don't really bring much complexity to the table. Brown sugar is a soft sweetness in the malt, which predominantly is a charred biscuit flavor hinting at roast. Herbal hops float by gently and really are very delicious. They are soft and elegant, and fit the beer's overall profile very well.

The mouthfeel is clean, but relatively simple. I don't want to say thin, but it is. It is only 4.9% abv, but it feels a bit better than that. The finish is clean with a smooth hop bitterness that lingers on grass and a fresh field. Nothing to rich here, just enough to balance the beer. So yes, it is very balanced, well constructed, and damn easy to drink. But it is not complex, offers no depth, and would bore me quickly.

This is a perfect beer however to add to the middle of a session of beer drinking, and as I mentioned, is a great start for a craft beer newbie. In any case, it is worth the try.

Pics at:

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Photo of revolt914
3.87/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was the first beer that got me into drinking beer for the taste rather then for the effect. I picked this one up after trying a drink of my girlfriends Shiner Bock at a local restaurant. I must say when I first tasted this beer all I could think was wow this is a great beer. I see it's not one of the highest rated beers on the site but in personal taste and opinion this is one of my more favorite beers.

I'll go into details as to why I think the beer is so wonderful and deserves a good score in my book.

Appearance: I'd have to put the label and overall look of the bottle it comes in as very elegant and sleek looking, not bad to carry about in the bottle to get some attention at your local Budweiser party. The beer pours a cola color with a decent sized head but not a big head like a Sam Adams.

Smell: When I take a good long inhale of this beer when it's in a pilsner glass I get an aroma of burning wood/ash smell in a pleasant way. I really love the smell of this beer and I really think I'm bias towards this beer.

Taste: Delicious, it has such a unique flavor that I can't help but love it. When I let it sit on my tongue and have a slow exhale I get a taste of sweet but strong bitter hop that sits on my tongue during the exhale remind me of that ash smell and it is an amazing reminder.

Mouthfeel: A category I don't have enough knowledge to judge in a helpful way. I feel as though it's thicker than a usual beer but I realize the style of beer it's kind of thin. I've had the Samuel Adams Black Lager and it is much thicker in feel in my mouth than the Shiner Bohemian Black. I'll be settling in to the Schwartzbier/Black Beer style so hopefully I'll have more of an understanding soon.

Drinkability: I have no trouble putting a 6 pack down just sitting with my girlfriend watching a movie and playing some cards. Shiner Bohemian Black is a great drink that isn't to thick to sit heavy on your stomach and it's not so thin you're needing to run to the bathroom every 15 minutes. I love this beer for social events.

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Bohemian Black Lager from Spoetzl Brewery / Shiner
Beer rating: 3.44 out of 5 with 1,476 ratings