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Black Bavarian | Sprecher Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
91
outstanding
478 Reviews
Black BavarianBlack Bavarian
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Sprecher Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States
sprecherbrewery.com

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:
478
Ratings:
908
Avg:
4.06
pDev:
14.78%
 
 
Wants:
132
Gots:
93
For Trade:
1
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Reviews: 478 | Ratings: 908
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Received from the bartender a simple black body topped with a slim, light beige head.

Smell: Nose smelling of roasted, grainy malts for a dull coffee-ish tone, touches of chocolate and caramel with a spoonful of sweet homemade plum jelly.

Taste: Blackened barley malt, with a slow but steady accumulating roasted grain quality to it. Sweet influences of chocolate and caramel, more prominent in the beginning. Subtle albeit continuous ripe plum fruitiness. A hint of herbs pulls in a slight, sweetness-tempering bitterness. Late touch of aniseed. Finishes fairly dry with a light, final touch of chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium-light carbonation.

Drinkability: It's a good schwarzbier tweaked with less than traditional ingredients, though I am not willing to say it is a great one.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nearly opaque mahogany (suffused with deep crimson) with reddish gold edges reminiscent of autumn leaves. The head is three fingers after the pour and is a fetching shade of gingery beige. It demonstrates good persistence and leaves swaths of thick lace in a high collar when it eventually descends.

I haven't had too many schwarzbiers, but this is the best nose of the lot. There's a lovely mixture of chocolate and caramel that reminds me, strangely enough, of chocolate-covered caramels. There's also a faint molasses tang that I wish was more assertive. Although the nose in general could be more assertive, it's still a keeper. You'd think that with a hop bill as distinctive as this one (Cascade, Chinook, Mt. Hood and Tettnanger), I could appreciate hops in the nose. You'd be wrong though.

Black Bavarian is smashingly good. It's a curious combination of bold, dark flavor crammed into a lager body. A classic schwarzbier in other words. The flavor profile is a bewitching mixture of powdered dark chocolate, black coffee, burnt toffee (think Heath bars), sweet wood smoke and heavily toasted pecans. Hops are now an obvious contributor and are the secret ingredient that puts the flavor into orbit.

There's a minimal sweetness, a moderate sourness and a good deal of hoppy bitterness. This really is a 'best of both worlds' kind of beer and should please both lovers of malt and lovers of hops. Sprecher recommends drinking it at 60 degrees and I would concur. I started it at about 55 and I'm noticing a definite increase in an already bold flavor profile as it warms.

Roasted malt, with all of its attendant flavors, dominates the initial portion of each mouthful and then gradually gives way to hops. Odd for the style is the fact that the finish is dominated by citrus fruit. The mouthfeel is lagery light, yet has a stealth viscosity that makes it feel wonderful in the mouth. For once, I won't ask for a bigger body.

If Sprecher Black Bavarian contained cherries, it would be a dead ringer for the beer equivalent of Black Forest Cake. Come to think of it, that's not a bad idea. I'd hate to mess this one up, though, since it's such a fabulously complex, delicious beer as is. Is it the best American schwarzbier in existence? If not, it's damn close.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.16/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at TJ's, Paoli, PA

Poured an opaque brown-black with a huge puff of tan head that retained decently and laced well. Mostly roasty dark malts in the aroma, as would be expected; a touch of cocoa. Again, a big roastiness in the taste, dark malts, notes of cocoa and coffee, pumpernickel. Not nearly as flavorful as some of your better schwarzbiers. Medium body and fairly drinkable, but just lacking the flavor I need to inspire me to order another glass. Decent overall.

Edit: Wait, this is the highest ranked schwarzbier on the site? *facepalm*

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark brown almost black in color with some dark amber highlights and light to moderate amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a half finger tall creamy light beige head that reduces to a medium sized patch of thin film and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: The beer has moderate aromas of dark roasted malts along with some light amounts of caramel and toffee sweetness.

T: The taste is similar to the smell with there being a strong dark roasted malty flavor along with some sweetness - caramel, toffee, milk chocolate, and hints of smoke.

M: Medium bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation. Very smooth.

O: This beer is quite tasty with a pleasant and easy to drink flavor. I think this beer is very sessionable, even in the summer. Definitely one to have again.

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Photo of russpowell
4.68/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Cheers to PackerFan for this one! Looks great in my Kostrizer glass! Zero head retention or lacing

Pours an effervescent-reddish mahogany with 2+ fingers of tan head.

S: Roasted grain & some coffee

T: Big roasted malt & some molasses & chicory up front. Rich chocolate shows up as this warms. Finishes roasty with a little caramel & more chocolate

MF: Medium bodied with vigorous carbonation & great balance

Drinks very easy, a pretty damn good schwartz, the equal of anything I had in Germany! Shame about the visual, might adjust this if I see better results next time

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Photo of smcolw
3.97/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reasonable head but it leaves very little lace on the glass (a couple of spots). Deep dark brown but light shines through.

Mild powdered cocoa and semi-sweet chocolate to the nose. There's a touch of sweetness, too.

The taste is more "dark" as if there is a small amount of black patent barley. No sweetness here. Pretty rich body for the style. Good carbonation. Easy to drink and relatively smooth. Short but chocolaty aftertaste.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer has a near black body with a soft, creamy, khaki colored head. The aroma brings dark chocolates, roast, charred malt, a bit of dark fruits, bread. Nice flavor. Easy to drink. Light to medium in body with moderate carbonation. A touch of molasses in the flavor as well. A solid example of the style. I would drink this again.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.52/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is another of tone77's big box o' beer that he dropped off recently in another local, in-person trade.

From the bottle: "This intensely dark Kulmbacher-style lager has a superb malt complexity with the distinctive flavor and aromas of caramelized and chocolate malts. A renonowned smoothness and a creamy, tan head make it a world champion."

I poured a couple of times, due to its desire to jump up to the top of the glass. Once it finished, I had a finger of dense, deep-brown head that sat atop the beer like a petulant child who refuses to go to their room when directed. I was going to spank it before i realized that it had the power to spank me tonight, Color was a deep, dark-brown that allowed just enough light to penetrate to show off its ruby highlights. Showoff! Mouthfeel was thick and creamy. Hey, is this a lager or a milkshake?!? The taste reminded me of Spike's request for dark chocolate-enrobed coconut eggs for Easter. Spike is NOT The Old Lady, but instead both a departmental colleague and my Lunch Duty partner. She helps me with the curriculum and I ply her with chocolate. In the meantime, this was a great pre-Easter beer. Dark chocolate, coconut, smoke and perhaps some wood all interacted to create a phenomenal lager. Finish was semi-sweet and I felt satiated on chocolate for the foreseeable future. Man, thanks to tone77 for a really memorable beer.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appears a nearly black ruby tinted mahogany brown hue forms a nice thicket of tan head textured with dimples as it dwindles definitely arose above the rim of my 1/2 liter mug. Lacing is fine and intricate spread evenly, very nice look to it. Aromatics nutty roasted qualities touch of dark cocoa powder with sweet acidic fruit notes arising as well. Flavor is akin to iced black coffee with dark chocolate roasts, toasted nuts, and a touch of creamy caramel. What dominates is a dry powdered dark cocoa, but more flavors arise as it warms up. Light herbal hop presence felt at the end but no hop burps to report. Mouthfeel is medium bodied carbonation is lively and the end is dry with slightly burnt coffee roasts and dark chocolate cocoa. Drinkability is nice all around one of the best Schwarzbiers I've come across, excellent.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.18/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pretty dark brown that shows light. Sizeable tannish head. Mild nose. Flavor is bringing a lot of flavor. Nice malts, noticeable cooked (but not roasted) grain tones. The malts really seem to thicken up to me as time goes on. Mildly sweet as a compliment to everything else. Feel has a nipping carbonation. Liquid is slightly thick. It's a shame that Sprecher isn't more widely distributed here (as far as variety goes). I'd be very open to trying anything they brewed.

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Photo of jwc215
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours very dark brown with a creamy tan head. Lacing sticks.

The smell is of chocolate, light roast, earthy tones - Dark malt aroma blends well with hops.

The taste is of chocolate, caramel/toffee, light roasted coffee. Tasty hops add a bitter balance in the finish, while allowing it to be appropriately malt-forward.

It is a creamy, exceptionally smooth full-bodied lager.

This is an excellent example of the style. Dark, smooth, well-balanced. Very enjoyable black lager!

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Photo of smakawhat
4.7/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from the bottle into a Libbey style pilsner glass. Twist off cap.

Out of the bottle comes out thick and dark, hitting with big opaque and giant truly black walnut qualities, fine red edges and deep mahogany hues. Head manages a classic tan, creamy all the way and almost nitrous looking, even some capping like retention and island puck whipped up appearances. Excellent looker.

A real unexpected aroma. Rips of grain and dark roast but has a real chewy and fantastic sense of black licorice. Black truly is the theme so far in looks and bouquet. Light bodied and airy, leaving behind lager like crisp qualities in the dust, but also with perhaps a touch of dry coffee in the mix. Great stuff.

Palate is truly exquisite. An absolutely killer mouthfeel holding numerous angles, creamy and thick at first, light and refreshing on the finish, with a full coating and easy drinking quality. The flavors are exquisite and follow this with many surprises. Mid palate has mild roast, but a great nutty quality almost hazelnuts in flavor. The aftertaste is just dynamite, with loads of light coffee, soft chewy molasses and a stunning sense of soft chewy black licorice that builds and builds on the swallow. Mild vanilla and cream like quality sweetness, with brilliant balance of flavors.

What an absolutely killer drinking, flavorful, and fantastic brew. It's large power and big impression on the palate though sort of overwhelms more of classic Schwarz quality, but as a well made beer, this is in a class all its own.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: dark brown, inching toward black color, coppery-red at foot of glass, head is a triumph, all puffy, creamy, cocoa-tan in color.
Aroma: deep and darkly fruity, warm and toasty,yet creamy, soft, yet earthy, definite nut character, plus cocoa, and and a candyish feel, making it feel like a slightly carbonated, sweet mocha latte.
Taste: warm mouthfeel, ample texture, giving, full of character, dark, yes, but a most companionable brew, slinks and sashays through the mouth, flirting with all the senses. Chocolate dabbles in, nuts flitter around like a social butterfly at play in the senses, and oh, so smooth. Resilient finish, stays solidly and happily on the palate. Wonderfully thick & tasty texture.
What I love about this beer is that you very easily forget that you're actually drinking a lager, for it is so full-bodied and flavorful, you'd think you had a brown ale or a porter in your hands. There's only the slightest bitterness, but the flavor looms so huge...sassafras? sasparilla? anise? molasses?...that it ranks high on drinkability.
This has got to be the best schwarzbier I've ever had, and I'd be only too happy to try any challengers. If they can taste better than this, bring 'em on!!

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Photo of Billolick
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ouncer, with gold wax/rubber covering the cap. No freshness info. Pours the expected black, just a bit of a head, quite quickly departing and then leaves some fine, splattered lace. Nose is of a chocolate milkshake, with a hint of coffee and lightly roasted malts. Pleasant enough stuff, notes of more light chocolate and cafe au lait. Allowed to warm up this one shows some moderate complexity and more nice soft chocolate notes. Nice beer. Worth trying especially for dark lager fans.

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Photo of drabmuh
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My laser like focus on the #1 beers for each style has lead me to this, Black Bavarian, the #1 Schwarzbier on beeradvocate. Another bottle from beerwolf77. Poured into my RR tulip.

Beer is dark brown to black with a weak head (even after an aggressive pour). Head breaks quickly leaving a halo of bubbles around the edge of the glass. No lacing, low carbonation.

Aroma is nearly nonexistent. Mild roast, that's about all.

Beer tastes better than it looks and smell, fortunately. Its sweet at leadoff and medium bodied. The beer is smooth and creamy with an ashy bitterness at the back of the mouth. Finishes a little dry but not too bad. Overall its a decent beer, but I don't think its my favorite schwartz.

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Photo of tempest
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this as part of Sprecher's Beers of Old Bavaria - very tasty. It reminds me more of a baltic porter and Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout (when it's mellow). The aroma is a bit weak, and the taste is bland at first, but then it explodes with rich chocolate. There's a roasted edge to it that's more barley than coffee, but quite nice. There's a decent bitterness and I wouldn't call this a schwarzbier by taste, but it's quite good regardless. Worth finding.

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Photo of Duff27
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled September 2011

A- Inch tall medium mocha colored head on a black beer. Average head retention and nice looking lacing.

S- Whiffs of light cocoa/coffee...some metallicness.

T- Roasted malts with a slight sweet smokiness. Hints of dark fruits. Drinks right at 6%abv but nevermind the alcohol as this is almost chuggable.

M- Mouthfeel is damn near perfect. Not too thick, not to thin, just right. Good carbonation as well.

D/O- Sooo incredibly easy drinking. Sprecher nailed it...a first for me. If you ever get the "dark beer is so thick!" from others then this may be a prime example of how that's just plain wrong. Sixteen ounce bottles...brilliant!

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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 WesWes
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a deep, dark black color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice complex malt scent that boasts of crystal, chocolate, roasted, and black malts. It's sweet smelling with chocolate notes along with a slightly earthy/roasted edge. The taste is good also. It has a smooth chocolatey flavor that goes down easy and finishes sweet and a bit dry. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium/full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a very good dark lager. It has excellent flavor and aroma; a good drinker.

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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 aasher
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It boggles my mind that Sprecher makes such a highly rated beer at all. I've had multiple beers from them and given them too many chances and have been let down every single time.

This beer pours a light bodied true black in color with a light beige lacing around my Aecht Schlenkerla snifter. I really don't get much of anything on the nose. After a couple minutes I think I can finally pick up some dark chocolate but can't get anything other than that. The flavors consist of slight dark chocolate, light roast, and it has this odd milky facet to it. It's somewhere between a porter and dark lager. It's very light in body and isn't an overly noticeable beer. Luckily it gets a little thicker as it warms and eventually turns milky.

Regardless, Sprecher should stick to world class sodas.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to brdc for this brew.

Pours a nice dark black color, nice carbonation, nice little creamy tannish head, which leaves some nice sticky lacing behind. The nose is malty, very nice tones of toffee/chocolate/caramel. The taste is malty, big on toffee/chocolate/caramel. Medium body. Drinkable, this is a pretty tasty Schwarzbier.

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Photo of Hopheadjeffery
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted in a Spiegelau lager glass from a 1 pt bottle. Look is black with a thick tan head and sticky lacing–. Smell is cocoa, spices, burnt caramel and dark roasted malt aromas. Taste is roasted nuts, dark bitter chocolate, spices and smokey roasted malt flavors. Feel is light to medium in body and has a nicely balanced finish. A fine American schwarzbier.

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Photo of tone77
3.16/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a brown 16 oz. bottle. Has a black color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is mild, some roasted malts. Taste is also mild, light coffee, a bit of roasted malts, easy drinking but just a bit bland. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a decent beer but nothing great.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sprecher : Black Bavarian

Pours a nice dark blackish brown color, light brown head forms over an inch. Aroma of roasted malts, bready, and alittle floral. In the taste, classic schwarzbier, black malts, dusty cocoa, and a moderate level of bitterness. Very nice roasted malt flavor, mimicking porter and coffee flavors. Easy drinking, dark, roasted brew. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a nice richness. Overall, this is an impressive schwarzbier. Sprecher does German styles better than most.

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Black Bavarian from Sprecher Brewing Company
4.06 out of 5 based on 908 ratings.
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