Black Bavarian | Sprecher Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
91
outstanding
476 Reviews
Black BavarianBlack Bavarian
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Sprecher Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States | website

Style: Schwarzbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.86%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Bronze Medal Winner in the European Darks category at the 1988 Great American Beer Festival (GABF).

Added by xlperro on 04-23-1998

BEER STATS
Reviews:
476
Ratings:
898
Avg:
4.06
pDev:
14.78%
 
 
Wants:
131
Gots:
89
For Trade:
1
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Reviews: 476 | Ratings: 898
Photo of mschofield
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a reddish-black topped with a three finger foamy tan-chocolate head, leaves partial rings of lacing.
Sweet caramel aroma, some roasted malt and chocolate.
Sweet taste, chocolate and caramel, I was thinking of a chocolate covered caramel candy when drinking. Rich and roasty taste, a perfume note tucked in there.
Light-medium body, but felt thicker with the dark tastes

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Photo of brentk56
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a nearly obsidian color with a surprisingly light beige head that displays remarkable persistance and leaves splashy lacing all over the glass

Smell: Black bread and caramel predominate, with subtle hints of chocolate, smoke and walnuts

Taste: Starts with a black bread and caramel flavor that, after the swallow, is complemented by coffee, dark chocolate and a touch of smoke

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Fantastic; if only other breweries would try brewing a beer in this style, lagers wouldn't have such a bad rap

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I just realized something....it's been awhile since I've had high expectations on a schwarzbier! And what better way to come back to the style than with Sprecher's offering? 22 ounce bottle with a gold wax coating over the neck and bottle cap, on to the beer:

Oddly, the bottle is a twist-off. As I pour it into a flute, that beery smell escapes the body and enters my nose. An ebony beauty in the glass, ruby brown highlights on the bottom. Big roasted, smokey, and astringent characterists. First sip is uplifting. Mouthfeel is right on the money with its easy, low carbonation, and medium-heavy feel. Bitter chocolate and astringent coffee flavors ar dominant in this brew. Peaty smoke emerge midway through the experience. Come to think of it, this carries some charactersitcs of a authentic Polish-brewed Baltic Porter, except this one has a smoother flavor. Still fishing for more flavors...I found some black licorice.

Downright tasty.

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Photo of beergoot
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The pour leaves a very dark ebony body and a lasting off-white, creamy head.

Exceptional aroma. Very rich, roasted grain scent with hints of bitter chocolate. Subtle yet rich malt grain smell.

Bitter-sweet chocolate with caramel and toffee notes. HInt of softly burnt toast. Delightful blend of hop bitterness infused with a light alcohol warmth peeking through the sweetness in the end.

Very smooth bodied mouthfeel, rich and velvety.

This is one excellent black lager, smooth yet rich. Well-balanced throughout and presenting a lot of dark beer complexity to your palate. Well worth checking out...

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Photo of UnionMade
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a deep black, shining a beautiful mahogany red when backlit. A short beige foam forms with a gentle pour, settling into a thick collar surrounding a patchy mist with an island of larger bubbles in the middle. Good head retention, keeping a thick collar and some swirly mist throughout. Not much in the way of lace, which is a little disappointing. The foam sort of slides down the glass back into the beer.
The aroma is extremely smooth and mild, very authentic. Soft roasted malt hints at coffee, with a rich pruney fruitiness flowing beneath. Well lagered, with that characteristic german smooth featheriness. A passive noble hop bite creates a slight sloral note in the background.
The flavor starts with a tingle of carbonation, giving way to a moderate burnt roastiness. A bit grainy, with a fuller flavor than the german versions. Light toffee sweetness. Moderate coffee continues throughout, with a splash of fig and prune fruitiness. A pleasant floral/herbal noble hop bitterness takes up the finish, although most of the bittering comes from the burnt malt. Some baker's chocolate comes through in the finish, lingering briefly on the tongue in the aftertaste. A lightish medium body, easy bouyed by an assertive, prickly carbonation. The mouthfeel is pretty smooth, the carbonation adds a spiciness that intensifies the grain somewhat.
Really, really nice stuff. I wish more breweries took a stab at this style, because it's lovely. I like the 16oz size, it's a nice touch to get a full pint in every bottle. A welcome addition to the MA distribution line-up.

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Photo of brewdoc75
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my Guinness Pint Extra Stout pint glass. Beautiful black color with hints of mahogany when the light shines on it. A strong, lively 2 inch head sits atop this wonderful lager. The aromas are fantastic w/ strong, sweet malts, followed by chocolate and even a slight roasted coffee aroma. The flavor is also great with more of the sweet, chocolatey malts. There is some caramel and toffee flavors present as well. The beer ends w/ a pleasant roasted coffee taste. There is some slight fruitness present as well. I do get just a hint of the hops, but just enough to add some necessary bitterness. The mouthfeel of this beer is not what you would expect. It is rather light to medium bodied, when one may expect it to be heavy. I like the fact that it is lighter.

Overall a stellar beer. I've had one other schwartzbeer, but I don't really remember it. This beer is definitely memorable and is a worthy adversary to any porter out there. The great thing about this brew is that it is so damn easy to drink. Goodbye 4-pack....

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Photo of JohnQVegas
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle into Sam Smith imperial pint glass. Very happy to see these guys make their way into Tennessee.

Pours ruby brown around the edges with a deep black body, and a thin creamy light khaki head on top. Head settles into a thin, solid cap on top, with decent retention and not much in the way of lacing.

Nose is textbook Shwarzbier. Sharp, almost burnt roastiness is surprisingly smooth, clean, with an almost woody ash character to it, and just a bit of underlying richness.

Taste is the same mellow, smooth lightly-roasty acidity, with an underpinning of just a bit of baker's cocoa. Nice molasses-like sweetness really mellows this one out in a delicious way. Dry finish has just a trace of ash. Beautifully done, very satisfying in the cold winter without being as heavy or full-bodied as a porter or stout.

Mouthfeel is slick, silky, just a bit creamy. Very light, tiny bubbled carbonation provides the perfect amount of tingle. Drinkability is class-defining - delicious, balanced, and mouthfeel is just spot on. Truly a great example of one of my all-time favorite styles.

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Photo of matjack85
4.43/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I found this single 16oz brown bottle at the Binny's store in Plainfield, IL for $2.19. A little bit of information about the beer can be found on the neck label, but as far as any freshness date goes, there is only an undecipherable bunch of numbers and letters etched into the glass under the neck label, so no telling how fresh this bottle is unless you can understand that code.

The beer poured out black, as you would expect from a schwarzbier, but this one gave off purple highlights when held to the light. Nice 1½-finger creamy tan head with good retention and a tremendous amount of lacing. A good looking black beer.

Big burnt roasted malt smell along with some caramel and a touch of coffee.

Lots of flavor to this one. Burnt roasted malt leads the way, followed by some coffee flavor, a touch of caramel, and even some bittersweet dark chocolate. Enough mild hop presence to keep it from being too sweet, in fact it leans more to the dry side with even a bit of puckering tartness. A damn good mix.

Creamy, but not heavy. The beer stays on the light to medium side of things with just a medium amount of carbonation. I found the mouthfeel to be absolutely perfect.

Drinkability is great with absolutely no trace of alcohol at all. By far the best Sprecher product I've tasted yet.

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Photo of Theheroguy
4.43/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown approaching black. The flavors of the roasted malt, the sweetness, the coffee tones, the tang from the acid... I feel as though all of these are more pronounced in a schwarzbier than in a porter or stout. The lager yeast just doesn't impart as many flavors as an ale yeast. Not a negative or a positive just an observation. I don't know how traditional this beer is as it's very well hopped. There is a firm bitterness throughout. Personally I feel like this is a good thing because many of the German beer which include a lot of dark roasted malts are overly sweet. All in all highly recommended.

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Photo of woosterbill
4.43/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pint bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: A temperate pour results in a perfect 2" head that crests above the rim of the glass and very slowly melts into a solid cap, leaving a good amount of light lacing behind. The body is appropriately black with clear garnet highlights when illuminated directly. Quite nice indeed.

S: All malt here, with caramel and chocolate managing to be both sweet and crisp at the same time. Very clean and pleasant, if not overly complex or deep.

T: Quite restrained and tightly-constructed on the palate, with caramel malt and dry lager yeast combining to provide a very smooth flavor. Again, nothing pyrotechnic, but beautifully simple and simply beautiful.

M: Eminently smooth, with a medium body and plenty of soft carbonation. Excellent.

D: I'm glad this comes in pint bottles instead of 12-ouncers.

Notes: This is by far the best Schwarzbier I've ever had, and really defines the style as far as I'm concerned. Leave it to Wisconsin to produce a top-notch German style lager.

Cheers!

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Photo of pmcadamis
4.44/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - A dense finger of brown cream rises above a mahogany black brew that reminds me of the wood on a grand piano. The head recedes to a thick collar and leaves a lot of whipped lace on the glass.

S - Tootsie Rolls, root beer, sassafras, charcoal, charred firewood, wet slate, roasted grains, and chicory. Holy crap! This is an extremely complex and interesting nose! I just so happen to love smoky and dark aromas like campfire smoke, and this one is really impressing me tremendously. I could sniff this all day on a rainy day like this one.

T - Dark wet charcoal. This is like a charcoal grill after you pour water on it ....that hissing smoky woody smell. This tastes like that and reminds me of my childhood camping with my parents. There is also a sweetness to this one that is almost like raw brown cane syrup or maple syrup tapped straight from the tree and then caramelized over an open charcoal pit.

M - Medium bodied and highly carbonated. This is the crazy thin that I love about the style...it's rich and dark and smoky, but it's still a relatively spry lager! The finish is slightly dry and full of charcoal and soy sauce lingering notes.

D - An excellent example of the style. This is so smoky that it's almost like a rauchbier. I would definitely pick up some more of this great brew.

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Photo of shbobdb
4.44/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Well, well, well. What a fine beer we have here. The dark malts really shine through, giving this beer a deep roasted chocolate flavour as velvety as its mouthfeel. Wow. It looks nice too, with a pitch black body and nice brown head that collapses into a fine lace. Mmmm.
Very drinkable. Very delicious. It's smell is forgettable, but this beer isn't!

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Photo of supercolter
4.44/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a fantastic beer. It was the last of my sampler pack and I couldn't be more excited to have my second.
Appearnce is the only flaw here, black like coffee, like night black, but little head or lacing.
Smell and taste are delicious with slightly sweet malt mixed with coffee, and burnt chocolate.
This beer is medium-heavy.
Drinkability is excellent.

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Photo of SkinnyElvis
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Vancer for this beer of my wants for the BA Anny Club. Pours dark black with a thin head. Nice smell of malts. Rich malt taste with a hint of sweetness. If I tasted this blind, I would have thought it was a well done porter. Extremely drinkable beer. I would drink this all of the time if I could get it.

Cheers.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a 2L Boot)

A- This beer has a black thick body with a creamy thick head that last and last. No sign of carbonation in this dark body.

S- This beer has a dark roasted malt smell that is smooth and light with an earthy note to the malt There is a faint cream note in the background.

T- This beer has a dark malt flavor that is not bitter and very drinkable. There is a faint black grain note and a chocolate malt flavor that gets stronger as it warms. There is a faint noble hop bitterness at the finish that offers a nice compliment to all the malt flavors. As it warms some hints of molasses and prunes come through but they are dry more that sweet notes.

M- The mouthfeel is medium-light with a creamy texture in the finish that is light also.

D- This beer has nice complexity but is smooth and light making it very easy to drink. The chocolate malt and cream offer a great flavor without being overpowering or sweet.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

16ozer bottle from prepackaged mixed 8-pack from Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2 inch tall latte-hued head which quickly faded to a small layer of foam. Very dark in color, yet still the slightest of translucency in this brew. Heavy malt nose, with coffee and burnt amlts predominant. Excellent malty flavor, with undertones of coffee, yet smooth like silk. Drinkability is superb, an excellent offering from Sprecher, my definite favorite of the 8-pack.

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Photo of ManekiNeko
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16 oz. bottle served chilled in a pint glass.

Appearance: Dark black color with crimson highlights. Nice frothy brown head that stuck around in some form or another as the glass was emptied. Wee bits of lacing were left for short periods of time.

Smell: Bittersweet dark chocolate malt and molasses aromas are quite strong, some coffee notes. Cain't wait to take a sip.

Taste: The aroma delivers on its promise. Bittersweet - with emphasis on bitter - chocolate malt flavors dominate the palate. Faint bittering hops on the finish: just enough to support the malts without getting too strong.

Mouthfeel: Not as heavy as I was expecting, not that I'm complaining... Pretty much medium bodied. Somewhere between an IPA and a porter in heaviness, basically.

Drinkability: Rather potable. This would definitely be one to have lying around were it available in my neighborhood. One of the better bottles from a recent trade. Thanks to feloniousmonk for the opportunity to sample a world class beer.

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Photo of horshack7
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: From a 16oz bottle is a very dark almost opaque. The head is about two fingers thick and is beige in color.

Aroma: Chocolate malts, dark fruits, roasted malts. Hops are roasted, coffee notes, hops have touch of citrus but are leaning towards the floral side of the aroma.

Taste: dark roasted coffee, vanilla, chcolate malts that are semi sweet. Hops are a touch dry but still have a good bite.

Notes: What a remarkable lager very well done. Cheers.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Color pours brown out of the stubbie brown pint bottle, settles nearly black, has a definate deep brown tone up to the light with ruby highlights. An inch high tan head of loose bubbly spongyness grew fast but faded nearly just as fast to a thin ring and minimal spotty lace.

Nose is roasty malts, slightly tangy of dark fruits and molasses with a touch of chocolate and light mustyness.

Has a complex mix of malts with alot of roastyness, has a bit of caramel and molasses, a very light touch of chocolate and very mild bitterness, quite smooth the whole way through. Some slight dark fruity tangyness and a smokey burntness pokes through close to the finish. Very subtle and well layered in its complexity.

Feel is solid medium body smoothness picks up some fullness in the middle and finishes smooth, lightly crisp with a mellow tangy smokey lingering dryness. An incredibly drinkable, yummy showing of the style; well rounded and smooth.

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Photo of falloutsnow
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased from Whole Foods in Omaha, NE.
Poured into an Ayinger half liter glass.
No brewed on date.

Pours a huge, tan head made up of smaller sized bubbles giving it a dense, creamy effect. Foam takes minutes to fully dissipate, eventually leaving a 0.2cm cap atop the body. Leaves significant lacing after the decline, as well as with each swirl of beer. Body is an opaque, very dark brown to black color; totally impenetrable.

Aroma is of roasted and chocolate malts mixed with some nuttiness, particularly hazelnut coffee creamer. Slight nods towards sweetness and char, sweetness slightly fruity (grape or cherry preserves). I've noticed, though, that you need to let the beer warm to fully experience this component.

Taste is of malt sweetness tucked behind flavors of light caramelized malt, cafe mocha, and light chocolate milk. There is a faint bit of char and bitterness in the taste, which I would like to taste a bit more of, as this would balance out the sweetness even better. Aftertaste of residual mocha flavors alongside slight bitter char.

Body is medium, with carbonation strong enough to make itself present, but not overpowering. Wouldn't mind a slight bit more carbonation, probably would make nose and taste all the stronger, but pleasant and agreeable on the palate. Finish is surprisingly dry.

Of the few schwarzbiers I've had, this is an excellent one. I might actually prefer the Rogue version to this, but for price and availability, this is top.

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Photo of tjd112
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Presentation - Poured into River Horse glass

Appearance - Very dark black, off-white head that retains well and has somewhat filmy lacing

Smell - Very roasty, malty smell

Taste - Hints of chocolate, caramel, and chestnuts, sorta black forest cake

Mouthfeel - Medium to heavy, somewhat dry

Drinkability - Could have one or two of these at a time

Overall - A solid Schwarzbier

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Photo of meathookjones
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A big thanks to goes to Ben for this tasty brew. Pours out pitch black with a good sized foamy tan head. Decent retention and lacing are left around the glass. Roasty chocolate malts are in full force with a great caramel sweetness backing it up. Some bitter dark chocolate and a small amount of dark fruits aromas are in there as well. Very rich aroma. Taste starts off with a dose of caramel before the huge roastiness comes through. Chocolate is noted as well and this ends with a nice bitter roasty finish. Mouthfeel is medium and very rich and creamy. Goes down quite smooth, I could drink a large number of these. I wish I had a large number to drink as this would make a great session brew. This is really an excellent example of the style really wowed me.

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Photo of dbell23
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Sean at Libation Station for the recommendation. Poured into a tulip. Black with a huge beige head that never completely goes away. Looks like a stout with a big head. Great lacing. Nice looking beer.

I've never smelled a beer like this one. Malty, maybe a chocolate undertone,charcoal maybe. Again, very different.

Taste is really good. Starts malty, slightly stout with a slight bitter sweet middle but not hoppy. Super clean finish with a slight smokey stout like undertone. It's like a stout/porter/lager combination. The roasted malt seems to be the dominate flavor but it almost tastes hoppy from the roasted bitterness. I don't know,what it is but it tastes good.

The mouthfeel is the star. I don't recall a beer more smooth than this one. Really good session beer.

Overall, this is a must try if you like to try different beers and I do. This would be a great beer with German food. It's a great beer to just enjoy too. The low abv makes it sessionable.

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Photo of Gavage
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Apeparance: pours a dark black color with a 2" tan colored head that lasts for a long while.

Smell: chocolates, caramel, and malt sweetness are easy to detect by the nose well outside the glass.

Taste: soft roasted malt profile with some chocolate, caramel, molassess, and a hint of plum sweetness makes up most of the flavor profile. Some soft bitterness balances it out.

Mouthfeel: crisp at the start, smooth towards the finish. Very brief aftertaste. Medium bodied beer.

Drinkability: bold flavors make up a nicely drinkable beer. This bottle was consumed quite quickly and too bad there wasn't another one around.

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Photo of tgbljb
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a very deep reddish-brown color with moderate tannish head.

Smell is loaded with chocolate, coffee, chicory, licorice, and roasted malt. Very strong and very nice.

Taste is also superb. Strong notes of coffee, dark chocolate, and roasted malt abound. The finish shows a nice balancing dryness and is the perfect ending for this beer.

Leaves a nice dry sensation in the mouth that beckons for another taste.

Really a great beer.Part of a sampler pack from my visit to Illinois so I don;t know if I will ever try it again.

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Black Bavarian from Sprecher Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 476 ratings.
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