Black Bavarian
Sprecher Brewing Company

Black BavarianBlack Bavarian
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German Schwarzbier
Ranked #3
Ranked #4,176
4.07 | pDev: 10.32%
Sprecher Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States
Black BavarianBlack Bavarian
Notes: Bronze Medal Winner in the European Darks category at the 1988 Great American Beer Festival (GABF).
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Reviews: 494 | Ratings: 963 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance - The beer poured jet black incolor with an off white head.

Smell - The nose was largely roasted malts with bitterness evident.

Taste - The maltiness really comes through in the taste. Bitter coffee notes come more towards the back. The smooth now feel gives a sense of creaminess.

Mouthfeel - Smooth and soft bubbles typify the feel.

Overall - It is not an en vogue style, but this is a solid version of it

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Photo of scaliasux
3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L - Dark brown. Appears clear. Tall, light brown head. Fairly persistent.

S - Sweet dark roasted malts. Chocolate and coffee.

T - Dark malts dominate. Sweet, rich and creamy, but with some coffee bitterness. A little spicy hops.

F - Medium. Smooth.

O - Rich and flavorful dark beer.

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scaliasux from Wisconsin, Jun 25, 2019
Photo of German-Helles
4.32/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The look is right on for the style, dark brown almost black. Starts with about a half inch of tan foam that recedes to a thin tan layer, then a perfect tan ring of foam along the glass.
The smell is roasted malts and a nice chocolate aroma.
The taste is the roasted malt, chocolate, a bit of coffee, then the slight bite of bitter hops.Very good!
The feel is just short of creamy, I can feel the carbonation.
I tend to like cold beer, but with this, the aroma and taste was enhanced as I neared the end of the glass.

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German-Helles from Wisconsin, Feb 23, 2019
Photo of detgfrsh
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From a 12oz bottle. Dark brown-black color with a lacing of bubbles. Smells of roasted malts. Lighter feel. Tastes of roasted malt and chocolate with some lingering bitterness. Very nice!

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Photo of MercInc
4.21/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Very dark. Almost porter like, though not as malty. Nice mouth feel. Smooth, very drinkable and much more flavor than a typical lager. The dark malts are well balanced by the hop finish. I'm sure this will go well with strong flavors of German cuisine.

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MercInc from Wisconsin, Feb 05, 2019
Photo of mothmanscott
4.14/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From notes 4/18/13: Pours a deep brown-black producing 1.5 fingers of tan, variously bubbled, moderately lasting head that leaves thin rings and webs of lacing. Aroma is dark roast and burnt malt; dark chocolate, sweet toffee and caramel. Taste is similar dark malt with a more intense sweet caramel, toffee, milk and dark chocolate with a hint of smoke. Bitter from mid-sip into the aftertaste is has a lively finish and a peppery aftertaste. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, smooth, silky with a moderate to heavy carbonation.

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Photo of BlackBeerPirate
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Taste: rich, deep dark roasted malts, nutty, sweet, slight oily finish but still pretty clean. Malty toasted malt. Brown/black hue, semi clear, soft foam head and lace. Full but not heavy body.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From teh 12 oz bottle in a snifter (like always!). This solid lager pours
a rich blackish brown with ruby highlights and a nice head of light tan foam
that settles to a thick ring, thin light layer, and displays some nice light sudsy lacing.
nose of cocoa, dark roasted malts, subtle light coffee, and light herbal hop notes.
Flavors exceed the nose by presentation with subtle coffee and dark roasted
malts with light cocoa and cola notes that finish with a nice herbal hop
note that brings everything into balance. Very nice mouth feel; medium
carbonation is lively and lightly fluffy, medium body, and a rich roast
laden finish.

Overall a SOLID brew from an excellent brewery.


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Photo of FBarber
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown dish tinged black color. Opaque and shiny. Thin tan head has excellent retention, never fully dissipating.

Aroma has some roasted malts, a hint of cocoa, molasses, a touch of wheat, and a slight spicy hop note on the back end.

Taste has notes of roasted malts, cocoa, tobacco, a touch of whole wheat bread , and a nice spicy hop bitterness on the finish. As the beer warms there is a touch of fruitiness in the taste I suspect coming from the hops.

Feel is medium bodied, smooth and very dry throughout and to the finish. Moderate carbonation.

Overall a really well done schwarzbier - one of the top American offerings and a solid beer all around.

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FBarber from Illinois, Apr 21, 2018
Photo of WoodBrew
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got a bottle of this off the single shelf at at a grocery store outside of Milwaukee. It poured a nearly opaque rich mahogany amber with ercu head that is leaving a spotty lace. The scent had chocolate and burnt corn husk appeal. The taste was nicely balanced and easy to drink. The mouthfeel is medium in body with good carbonation. Overall it's a solid beer.

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Photo of Mindcrime1000
3.87/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a single-serve bottle into a pilsner glass.

Pours dark--even darker than expected, with garnet/ruby highlights. Very little head but a nice lacing.

The nose is fairly simple, but clean, straight and inviting. Dark malts very forward, with astringency actually present in the aroma, and just a shade of hops in the background.

The flavor is similarly simple but refreshing and clean. Sweet and dark, but not cloying, balanced with bitterness provided more by the strong astringency from the roasted malts rather than the hops that are "there" but as a note, not a strong flavor. As the beer warms, the malts become more complex, with deceptive fruitiness and diacetyl/caramel stickiness.

The mouthfeel is pretty impressive. Well-carbonated, the astringency keeps the malts from overpowering, and its finishes with a solid crispness.

This brew is a testament to the fact that a beer doesn't have to be complex in aroma or flavor to be a solid brew. And for the price, this is a steal. Highly recommended as a solid brew that can easily be enjoyed for more than just a bottle.

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Mindcrime1000 from South Dakota, Aug 27, 2017
Photo of cdclark81
3.76/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Nice dark pour with a head that dissipated slowly leaving good lacing. Color seemed dark, ruby red. Not much on the smell other than roasted malt. Taste of the same roasted malt that's on the nose. More carbonation than I was expecting. Great beer.

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cdclark81 from Pennsylvania, Jul 24, 2017
Photo of Guppy314
4.01/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From a bottle, pours opaque black with a khaki head. Aroma of roast malt and perhaps toffee. Taste is totally sweet malt forward with caramel and chocolate flavors. OK, this really is a really interesting beer with lots of flavors, but also strangely flat and watery.

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Guppy314 from District of Columbia, Jun 27, 2017
Photo of DrMullet
3.6/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark black as expected.
Smell is light roasted coffee followed by dark chocolate.
Tastes like it smells. Mild dark chocolate with a hint of coffee.

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DrMullet from Florida, Apr 02, 2017
Photo of OhioLimoncello
4.48/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This offering from Sprecher is starting to reinforce that Schwarzbier is becoming one of my favorite go-to styles.

Head was thinner than expected; aroma was a heavy molasses with coffee tones. Taste not overly bitter with burnt and roasted malt characteristics. Feel was full bodied, and should be enjoyed a little warmer than ales and lagers, to get the full complement this beer has to offer.

Will definitely buy again. Found in Cincinnati, OH; hope I can find in the Columbus, OH area going forward.

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Photo of beerguy04
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with a tan head. Smells of coffee and Carmel. Taste is of the same coffee and carmel. But, with molasses. Mouthfeel is nice and heavy. Overall, another good one from Sprecher.

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beerguy04 from Illinois, Jan 06, 2017
Photo of scotorum
3.93/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4


Last of the four from the newest beer shipment. We don't get this Wisconsin brewery's products in my state.

a: Opaque black with ruby highlights at the bottom. Two inch thick tan head receded to even surface foam and spotty lacing.

s; Caramel malt.

t; Roasty char with a moderate hop bite. Ashy finish.

m; Medium, good body and carbonation tingle.

o: A tasty German dark with plenty of smoky roasted malt flavor. A fine cooler weather brew.

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scotorum from Massachusetts, Nov 07, 2016
Photo of mooseisloose
4.19/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

This is one of Sprechers brews I haven't tried let's give it a whirl. Popping the top I get a waft of molasses and black licorice. Pours to a deep deep brown with a tan head. Taste is very rich and deep, molasses and licorice with a nice roasted and lightly bitter aftertaste. I am drinking this after a good porter and it is blowing it away. Highly recommend this brew for the imbiber of dark beer.

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Photo of bowzer4birdie
4.21/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

My brother had this one in his fridge so I thought I'd check it out and glad I did! First schwarzbier and it won't be my last. Nice depth of flavor for under 6%ABV.

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Photo of RacerX5k
2.53/5  rDev -37.8%
look: 3 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

IDK. Years ago I loved this beer, 4 paks 16oz stubbys ran like $7, great buy and a great beer to take to a poker game. Roasted, with notes of chocolate and coffee, nicely bitter. That beer would easily rate a 4 - 4.25, best in class. This beer? Lousy. Smell almost non existent and taste was like a mild, sweet, little hoppy black ale. So did the recipe change? Or is this just a case of old beer? I'm going to guess old beer, and no one will ever tell me about aging beer. Changes yes. Improves? No. Waste of time, and my $4 for the single.

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RacerX5k from Pennsylvania, Jul 15, 2016
Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.74/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Black Bavarian pours - surprise - a black rooty color, with some edges of chocolate and a 2 finger khaki head.

Aroma of licorice, rye bread, dark barley, and some sticky karo syrup.

Flavor is very aggressive in its dark bread crust bitterness, with touches of pumpernickel, rye crouton, sesame, and scorched earth. Tons of dark pumpernickel rye bread bitterness. A touch of malty sweetness on the finish. Very respectable but a touch too burnt in this category for me.

The feel is heavy, creamy, but still flows down the throat easily. Leaves a nice carbonated finish on the palate.

Sprecher's BB is no joke. It's a real beer with real intentions. Unfortunately one of the greatest things about beer is its enjoyability, and this one was just a little too much of a chore to drink without my mind focusing on it.

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The-Adjunct-Hippie from South Dakota, Jul 14, 2016
Photo of Mitzvahman72
3.65/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Quick Take: With a straight black color, you're basically tasting black coffee that is very slightly sweet with a little molasses and sharp carbonation. Nevertheless, it's still good for the style. Meanwhile, it has a slightly acidic, but creamy mouthfeel and aftertaste.

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Mitzvahman72 from California, Jun 29, 2016
Photo of Ottoj55
3.72/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown/black beer with an off white head. Smells like dark chocolate malts. The taste is on the deeply kilned side like black malts, I like schwarzbier to be a bit less roasted. Medium bodied, its a bit heavier in the mouth than an Oktoberfestbier. Its Sprecher's flagship beer and I can get it from the brewery.

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Ottoj55 from Wisconsin, Jun 06, 2016
Photo of dbl_delta
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle (undated) into pint glass. Pours a very dark but not quite black with a thin tan head. Initial impression is subtle caramel and chocolate malts, with a very balanced profile and a smooth nutty finish. Medium mouthfeel. My first beer of this style, and I must say it's a good place to start!

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dbl_delta from Pennsylvania, Jun 06, 2016
Photo of Shippy
4.09/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown color with a thick, tan head. Very nice appearance. Smell is roasty and dark with lots of typical malt characteristics, followed by some spice and a hint of oak. Flavor has a similar profile with chocolatey, roasty flavors and some nuttiness. Feel is medium-light, but creamy. I'm not generally a huge fan of this style, but this particular beer is very good. I wish I had a few more my fridge.

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Shippy from Colorado, May 29, 2016
Black Bavarian from Sprecher Brewing Company
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 963 ratings