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Bohemian Black Lager | Spoetzl Brewery / Shiner

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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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Reviews: 529 | Ratings: 1,459
Photo of paulthebeerguru
3.7/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: snifter. pours a rich black/mahogany color that allows a minute amount of light through. nice tan lacing with a mild retention rate and moderate lacing.

S: some roasted malt aromas, but there is a lingering of sourness, almost metallic in the nose.

T: nice big full flavored schwarzbier. good roasted malts, with a some chocolate notes, with a hint of hops.

M: smooth and mellow mouthfeel, with a good carbonation level to tie it all together. medium to light bodied.

D: very drinkable beer, probably my favorite from Spoetzl thus far. nothing amazing, but very good for a larger brewery.

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Photo of PatrickJR
3.22/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into nonic pint glass.

A - Dark brown/black but certainly not opaque. A finger of light brown head forms but fades rather quickly into nothingness.

S - Toasty and earthy, with a metallic edge.

T - Not a lot going on here. Toasted/slightly burnt bread with the faintest hint of caramel sweetness. Earthy spices like cinnamon and nutmeg make a breif appearance mid palate, and the brew finishes with an unpleasant metallic flavor. Aftertaste of pennies and alcohol.

M - Bordering on watery, with moderate to low carbonation. Either more fizz or a heavier body would improve this beer greatly.

D - It's a very sessionable brew, if uninteresting. Aside from the slightly offensive metallic character, it's a decent, easy drinking beer for the price. I probably won't buy this again, but I doubt I'll have a problem getting through the six pack.

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Photo of alexgash
3.72/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle.

Dark cola brown body. Small, tight, dirty khaki head. Decent lacing. Nose is nice and roasty. Some dark fruit sweetness there as well. A dash of licorice, tobacco, and faint hop spice round it out.

Mild roasted malt presence up front. Hint of cardboard. A bit earthy with a mineral edge. Some chocolate mid-palate. Roasted coffee bitterness takes over into a creamy finish. Not bad. Moderate body with a lively feel up front. Maybe a little thin for my liking, but it sure goes down easy.

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Photo of BradLikesBrew
3.46/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

a: black to brown in color with a light tan head and good retention.

s: mild aroma, not particularly pleasing.

t: caramel, brown sugar, very little hop presence.

m: light body, medium carbonation, smooth.

d: very easy drinking, not very flavorful. I don't expect much from shiner, but this one is pretty good.

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Photo of charlzm
3.06/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Consumed 07/20/08.

Pours from the bottle a clear dark brown. Appearance in the glass is almost soda-like, with both a thin tan head of medium sized bubbles and many bubbles clinging to the insides of the glass. Also like a soda, lots of bubbles rising to the surface of this brew.

Aroma is slightly metallic with notes of sweet dark malts. Not very pleasing to the nose.

Mouthfeel is a little thick. Flavor is simple maltiness: sourdough bread. Some nuts as well. Slightly sweet and dry. No bitterness or other hop flavors I could detect. Slightest hint of the metallic odor present in flavor as well. Metallic transforms to sour as time passes. Despite all the bubbles visible, the mouthfeel is a bit on the still side.

Overall, a drinkable brew, but not a go-to.

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Photo of yemenmocha
3.51/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours near black in regular light, but is obviously a translucent brown when held to any degree of light. Light tan head retains well.

Nose is fairly clean, malty, roasty, and nougat-like.

On the palate is a very carbonated beer that is also light bodied, moderately roasty, and contains a hint of cocoa.

Too easy to drink and light on flavors, even for a Schwarzbier.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.58/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Dark ruby color - nearly black. Frothy beige head that does not stick around long.

Roasted coffee beans, honey and milk chocolate dominate the nose. I also get hints of egg nog, nutmeg and maybe a bit of clover.

Taste is delicate! Coffee with a biting type sweetness and a dry finish. Carbonation is palpable and assertive. I had this on tap at the brewery and I can tell the difference in the smoothness of the beer, I dont think this one would travel great distances well. Buy it fresh!!

A pretty good drinker and not bad for an American representation of the style. I will likely revisit this beer once or twice a year in the early summer months with a super fresh six pack.

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Photo of Ragingbull
3.42/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown to black in color. Virtually no head after being poured into a pint glass. A few bubbles of texture and it somewhat causes me to think of "cola." Deep roast caramel nose and "dark" smelling. Malty but with a lighter attack. Smoky flavors of roast malt and smoke come through but are not overdone. Some grainy "macrobeer" aftertaste. It is a good attempt by one of the larger little breweries to make beer that appeals to the niche of some craft beer drinkers. I would grade it a C+ but with some wiggle room.

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Photo of BryanCarey
3.15/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Shiner 97 Bohemian Black Lager is dark in color but shows some ruby- redness when held up to a bright light source. The aroma of this beer is enticing, with roasted notes, earthy hops, a touch of chocolate, and acidic scents coming through. The head of foam is creamy and lasts for a decent amount of time.

Shiner 97 Bohemian Black Lager offers the taste of roasted malt, some caramel, some chocolate, some iced coffee, and some toasted malt. The flavor of earthy hops finishes off the taste, even though the malts dominate. The body of this beer is light to medium, and there is a small wateriness in the finish.

This black beer offers a fairly enticing scent, but then surprises the drinker with a taste that is slightly different and also somewhat watery. It does include a roasted coffee and black malt taste, and this is nice, but the flavors don't come toward you with full force like I was hoping. They tend toward the subtle side and the beer finishes a little watery and weak. Not bad for a German schwarzbier, but it would be better with a little more body and a less watery finish.

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Photo of omar
3.95/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

What a find, toured the Spoetzl Brewery 3 years ago and this was not one of their taste test offerings.

Good flavor, light taste of caramel. Light head, dark color. Much more flavorful than the standard Shiner Bock

I would describe this as a light stout.

Highly recommend.

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Photo of jeonseh
3.3/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Gift from my father-in-law after recent trip to Texas. Poured into a flute glass.

A - Dark brown color that has a deep, mahogany hue to it as I hold it up to the light. Poured with a one finger head yet the carbonation that I see trailing up the glass just destroyed the head. Can see a good bit of carbonation trailing upwards

S - Smell at first reminds me of a pilsner as I seem grain and barley coming forward. There is a slight hint of a charred barely but just a hint. Mixed in there is also a slight hint of malt sweetness.

T - A rather malty beer that reminds me a bit of a cross between an oktoberfest and a pilsner. At first there is a touch of roasted caramel malt sweetness. Next, comes a grainy barley and even like straw taste that cuts through the beer and reminds me a bit of the taste of a Pilsner Urquell. Throughout there is a large presence of orange zest that dominates the other flavors. The orange zest gives the beer a refreshing finish that would makes this a good beer to have on a hot day.

MF- Decent body that leans a bit towards the lighter side. Also rather light carbonation in the mouth given the amount that I saw in the glass when I poured it. Leaves a slight astringent tingle on the tongue after drinking it.

D - Overall a decent and average session beer that I could see drinking on a hot summer day. It is interesting to have a dark beer that tastes so much like a pilsner. Could see this as a lager to introduce to people who are scared of dark beers since this isn't too bad and easy to drink.

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Photo of diabecktic
3.59/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

One word on the bottle says it all: "schwartzbier" (black beer). This beer is incredibly dark for a lager - it looks almost like a stout. The head formed is minimal; it's not quite one finger, but will vary depending on the bottle.

The smell isn't too great. To me, it smells like some sort of meat product - possibly of the salted variety. A bit pungent with a very faint "burnt" coffee aroma, but predominately overpowered by the "meaty" smell.

For something that smells as odd as it does, it really doesn't taste that bad - it's actually quite good. Again, it tastes almost like a stout. It seems to have that burnt/roasted barley flavor. I can't figure out how to describe the other (minor) flavors, other than to say it's very stout-like.

Looks like a stout, tastes like a stout, goes down like a lager. For as dark as the beer is, it isn't too heavy and it goes down quite smooth without leaving much of an aftertaste.

I'm very glad that Spoetzl has brought this ex-special edition brew into their regular line-up, because it's a well-crafted one. For something that looks and smells the way it does, it goes down quite smooth and leaves you wanting just a little bit more. I would advise against having more than just a few at any setting.

The saying "don't judge a book by its cover" comes to mind here; it's well-warrented because it's a great beer. If Spoetzl would tap the Chicago-area market more, I would place this into my "study beer" category. This is my first review, and I'll say that the only reason that I've had the priveledge of tasting this beer is because I'm in Denver for an internship. Giddy-up Spoetzl - well done.

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Photo of msubulldog25
3.65/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle with a twist-off capped, poured to a pint glass. Thanks to LarryKemp for bringing this to Oregon back in late May and for 'spreading cheer with Shiner beer!'. As I understand it, this once-released beer (commemorating the brewery's 97th year) has been recently re-introduced under the 'Bohemian Black Lager' name.

A: Very dark, 'black' at first glance. Shows with some back-lighting to be a warm mahogany, clear with plenty of rising carbonation. Head starts as a massive, fizzy three fingers of light tan. Drops quickly to a bubbling, pockmarked cap that looks something like a pancake. Not long after, head is almost gone entirely, save for one of two patches of film fed from below. No lace.

S: Sweet and malty, a sensible charred huskiness. Has an oatmeal-like graininess and a faint mineral-like yeastiness.

T: Tastes like dark bread crusts and toasted nuts (pecans, maybe?). A pleasing sugariness, with notes of candied fruit, and a mild tartness mixed with darker grain husks. Finishes with a lingering sweet spice and toasty bittering.

M: Without a "best before"-type date on it, it's tough to know how old this bottle is - suffice to say the carbonation isn't doing much. Sorta flat and thin in the mouth, light feel overall

D: Low, sessionable ABV and satisfying flavor...past experience tells me this would pair nicely with grilled meat. Certainly I want to try this again; Schwarzbier is a style both my wife and I have grown into and this seems like a good one - just want to try it in the freshest state possible. Looking forward to more coming this way from Texas sometime soon.

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Photo of unionturf
1.56/5  rDev -54.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Picked up a sixer and looked forward to another fine brew from Shiner. This beer poured dark with little head and minimal lacing. Smell was good but but had something I could not put my finger on. Taste was not good at all for me, had a after taste like someone soaked a dirty sock in it or something, had a hard time finishing the glass.

In case my taste buds were having a bad night I tried another a few nights later, no better. I ended up pouring the rest of the bottle down the drain and giving the rest to a friend.

Never could put my finger on what the taste was and maybe I had a bad batch but no thanks on this one.

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Photo of ckeegan04
3.46/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Very dark, almost blac beer. Lightens to a dark dark brown around the edges.

S - Faint aroma of coffee. Spicy hops bring it to life some.

T - Tastes alot like a watered down English porter. Roasted coffee taste dominates with a weak spicy hop kick. A little bit of a funky aftertaste. Not a bad beer at all, just not great.

M/D - Strong taste but light to medium bodied. Feels a little thin in the mouth. Well carbonated. A drinkable brew, but nothing spectacular.

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Photo of GPHarris
3.7/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

black label

a - poured a two-fingers thick bubbly tan head into a tumbler. the head left a light ring throughout but no sheeting. the body was dark brown, almost exactly the color of cola.
s - i can smell strong roasted coffee malts from a distance along w/ hints of vanilla.
t - crisp hop bite but bitter coffee and sweet malts dominate the beer.
m - very thin.
d - decent beer but not something i'd seek out.

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Photo of atigerlife
2.64/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a dark brown with light brown highlights. Small creamy head that dissipates rather quickly.

Aroma has some roasted malts and grains. Has some old wood/vegetable aroma that isn't very pleasant.

Taste of malts and some lightly smoked wood. Really, not much taste.

Mouthfeel was medium bodied, cleansing and slightly sticky.

Overall, not too exciting. Easty to drink, but I wouldn't go looking for another one of these.

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Photo of malty
4.15/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My bottle has a cool black, pewter & gray neck & body label. The neck label has 'SHINER 97' front and center. I'm guessing this beer has been reintroduced to the Shiner lineup?

Pours a cherry cola/mohagony colored body with a fluffy cream-colored head that starts at 2" and dwindles to 1'2".

Fresh doughy bread notes whaff from the head while burrowing my nose closer into the glass uncovers roasted malt with an interesting mineral twinge bordering on (maybe?) metallic...maybe its the lager yeast they use? It's not a negative by any means, just very interesting and unique.

The flavors of this black lager start out a little leathery then unfold to a nice roastiness which is very representative of the style. A slight hint of cocoa rounds the crisp edges of this offering. The flavors are very balanced and distinguishable.

Mouthfeel is a little more toward the light-medium side and is very aptly carbonated, fine carbonation I might add. A dry ending to a mellow but flavorful finish.

Drinkability is high. I just got back from my softball game and this 12 oz. bottle was finished in 6-7 minutes. A great black lager for vets and newbs alike.

I have to admit my expectations were exceeded with this finely crafted black lager. I'm a big Kostritzer fan and this little number didn't let me down in the least. Nice texture, mellow and balanced 'dark' flavors in the body of a crisp & refreshing lager. I'm impressed!

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Photo of drxandy
3.53/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz to standard pint, pours a deep brown, hints of red, off white head fades fast

smells of spicy hops, smooth/slightly floral, malts abund

taste starts out with hop spice/bitterness followed by chocolate malts, roastiness, smooth overall, extremely drinkable, the best shiner offering i've tasted out of the 3 that came to the michigan market

mouthfeel is crisp, hop bitter, smooth malt, carbonation brings out hop bitterness - nice, i would drink again

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Photo of FrognutUnl
1.98/5  rDev -42.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Alright, new beer at my local store...

Pours dark cola colored with a three finger head that leaves virtually no lacing.

Smells of sour dough. not very good first impression.

Taste is of roasted malts with notes of sour harshness that does not suit any beer.

Mouthfeel is thin, very thin.

Ultimately this beer seriously lacks in flavor and what little it does have does not make me want to fish it out of the drain. This is a big disappointment for me, which is a pity as I usually love the style.

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Photo of tempest
3.65/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a single while in Fayettecille, AR.

I liked and enjoyed this beer despite the fact it wasn't terribly complexin the malt flavors. Basically there's a really nice roasted malt flavor that provides expresso and dried cocoa flavors. The yeast add a touch of fruitiness and there's also a nice balance of sweet malt sugar with the bitter roasted grains. Worth a try, pretty drinkable and overall a tasty brew.

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Photo of joe1510
3.42/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz Bottle

Received this as an extra in a recent trade with TPoling, thanks again Travis! Shiner's schwarzbier pours the darkest of browns bordering on black with a healthy cascading mocha head of two fingers. Unfortunately the head fades to almost nothing within only a few seconds, as a matter of fact there is now zero head on this beer.

The aroma is that of gently roasted malts. A touch of vanilla sneaks in here and there with a spattering of dark berries, straight forward aroma but one that I enjoy. As it warms a hint of alcohol comes through and actually helps add another layer of complexity.

This is a solid black bier. Roastiness rides through from start to finish and is accompanied with the random flavors the nose suggested. Berries here and there along with a hint of vanilla. There is a solid coffee presence from the roasting that makes this beer enjoyable.

The carbonation on this beer is lacking which causes the body to seem even lighter then what it should be. Thin body with no movement.

I could see myself drinking a couple of these in a sitting but that would be plenty. There's just not enough to hold my attention for very long.

A decent beer from Spoetzl but one that I would probably pass by if available around my area. I do love a good schwarzbier but this falls a little flat.

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Photo of sleeven
2.09/5  rDev -39.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I'm not an experienced reviewer, but after drinking this, I had to tell someone how bad it was.

Poured into a pilsner glass, which fizzed like cola and quickly dissipated. Slightly malty mouthfeel. Tastes like a soda that has been sitting open in the fridge for a while. I cannot discern how this beer manages to accomplish both an over-carbonated yet at the same time very flat drinking experience, but it does just that.

It says this beer is no longer brewed... but I just bought it, partly because I had never seen it before. The label is all black, seeming updated from the pictured version. I thought it might be a different recipe entirely from the one pictured, as it only says "Shiner Bohemian Black Lager" on the main label, but a closer look on the neck label reads "shiner 97." They first made it to commemorate their 97th anniversary, but it seems that they are making it again.

I really like Shiner Bock, Shiner's most popular beer, and it is often a go-to at bars, as it is usually the same price as Michelob Amber Bock but tastes better. I also enjoy their Hefeweisen and Dunkelweisen, even the blonde isn't bad. But this? All I can ask is, "What the hell, Shiner?"

*I upped my original ratings, as I did end up finishing the six pack (over time) but mainly because maybe this just isn't my style of brew... maybe my palette just doesn't agree with this style... so, benefit of the doubt goes to Shiner's black lager.

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Photo of nem2006
2.81/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I poured the beer into a nonic glass. The color was a very dark brown, not quite black. There was very little head and what head there was, actually dissipated quickly.

The smell was difficult to place at first, but after a little consultation, it was clear as day. Wet dog. I don't know if this was a bad batch or something happened to the bottle or what, but the smell was overpowering once I figured it out.

And oddly enough, the taste was actually a little distinct from the smell. There was a slight coffee hint with the roasted malts and a little sweet, then a bitterness to finish it off from the hops. The bitterness was actually pretty well balanced. I would definitely be more jazzed about the beer if the smell had not ruined it for me.

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Photo of zeff80
3.83/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a dark brown color with hints of ruby. It had a two-finger, tan head that was fairly bubbly and left behind some lace.

S - It smelled of malt and a mossy/earthy quality.

T - The first sip had a coffee-like taste with a malty kick. It was rather bittersweet.

M - It was soft and smooth. A light to medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a pretty good brew. The coffee taste is unique.

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Bohemian Black Lager from Spoetzl Brewery / Shiner
3.45 out of 5 based on 1,459 ratings.
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