Black Bavarian Style Lager | Sprecher Brewing Company

BA SCORE
91
outstanding
479 Reviews
Black Bavarian Style LagerBlack Bavarian Style Lager
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:
479
Ratings:
913
Avg:
4.06
pDev:
10.59%
 
 
Wants:
138
Gots:
96
For Trade:
1
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 479 | Ratings: 913
Photo of kaufmaal
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a very dark brown with a few ruby, blood-range highlights. A sizable, inch of head, dark tan, that stays with it. Roasted coffee notes, bittersweet chocolate, some smoky aromas, malt. For a black lager, this one has some umph to it. It is sweeter than most black lagers, and while the sweetness is up-front, it's not dominating. Tastes of chocolate liqueur, candied plums, good coffee, malt, peat, a bit of smoke. It's heavy at times, a bit viscous, but not syrupy. A highly satisfying and well-crafted beer. I'd happily drink it again.

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Photo of MillRat
4.09/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sprecher calls this brew a Kulmbacher-style dark lager. Certainly a very dark lager, definitely assisted by considerable roasted grain, not just the Munich malt of a traditional dunkel. Other than in mouthfeel conforms fairly well to the BJCP schwarzbier definition.

Poured at near-room temperature from a 16 oz twist-off bottle barely fitting into a pint glass. Puts a thin tan fine-bubbled head on top of a brown-black body that is impervious to light. Head fades quickly to a thin persistent ring that leaves occasional specks of lacing on the glass.

First whiff immediately suggests fresh warm slab of pumpernickel bread, full of malt with roasty, coffeeish grain. Flavor comes through with a malt sweetness that is counterbalanced to a degree by the dark malts and hop bitterness unaccompanied by any noticeable flavor or aroma. Carbonation is on the light end of the range for this style.

A little bit on the heavy side for a schwarzbier, with the heaviness offset by stronger than usual roasted grains that begin to trespass on the astringency which schwarzbiers are supposed to avoid. Just pushing equally both the body and the bitterness a bit beyond the envelope. The bitterness leaves that palate clear enough for the next sip, but the heaviness and sweetness while the beer is between the teeth is a bit tiring. A little more carbonation would help the cause here.

Overall a well-crafted beer that pushes the schwarzbier flavor envelope without shredding it.

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Photo of expatsteve
3.83/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Jet black, with low/medium viscosity. Good 1/2 inch head thins to filmy suds cover.

Aroma: Nice metallic lager nose - acidic, with some black pepper and a little espresso.

Taste: Mmmm...a solid, tasty, schwarzbier. Roasted espresso finish complements a smooth and understated front palate. Peppery, rich, a little acidic, but not at all sweet. Some occasional plums, but for the most part a fairly clean brew.

Mouthfeel: Rich without being too heavy. Nice clean malt finish.

Drinkability: Sessionable and pleasant. This was the perfect complement to the baseball game I was watching at the time, and definitely a beer I'll return to. Does a good job avoiding sweetness and remaining true to the style.

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Photo of mariposafan
3.83/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque chocolate brown with a half inch or so of head that persists rather nicely.

The aroma is slightly sweet and malty with a hint of good amount of roasted malts.

The flavor is very similar to the aroma - roasted malts with a bit of sweetness. A bit too much roasty bitterness for me but it's not too bad.

The mouthfeel is pleasant - medium bodied and fairly creamy.

Overall it's a nice beer, the only example I've tried of the style.

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

Poured from 16oz bottle.

A- Pours a deep, dark brown, with red tinges. 1 1/2 finger head that is fairly persistent with little to no lacing

S- Lovely roasted coffee aroma. Sweetness and mild hops are also present.

T- Bittersweet, roasted malts on the front end. Long, lingering dark chocolate and bitter finish.

M- Smooth, medium light, with medium carbonation

D- The porter fan in me really enjoyed this. Not quite as much roasted malt or mouthfeel as a porter, but enough to trick my mind a bit. Makes me want to explore the style more, especially as Blackened Voodoo was my craft beer gateway drug almost 20 years ago.

May the schwarzbier with you...

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Photo of Hex92
3.84/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Whenever I go to Wisconsin I pick up some of this beer. I don't ever see it here in Virginia.

A- black with thin creamy head
S- toffee and roasted malt
T- roasted malts is the biggest flavor...with a nice muted hop balance
M- a bit thin when compared to the big taste

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Photo of grynder33
4.18/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark pour nice but quickly disappearing head not to much aroma on first whiff, it got chocolately on the second whiff and mocha malty on the third, chocolately malty taste with a wonderful smooth aftertaste, theres a little bitterness, chocolate and malt hang around till end, on my top 20 list

 294 characters

Photo of Hhawk06
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

16 oz. bottle

It poured charcoal black with a quality tan beady head. I got a nice smoke and chocolate smell. The mouthfeel is big, full, and very smooth. Excellent. There is a definitely a chocolate overtone to the taste. Great balance within though. Certainly some carmelized malts involved as well. It finishes quenching and toasty. At the very moment you think its fading to oblivion, you are treated to the slightest roasty bitterness. Amazing how it lingers. Really a treasure, I'm very impressed with Sprecher's offerings.

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

Fairly dark, basically black (just like the label suggests), with a lively tan head. The smell is nice and malty, with some coffee, chocolate, and a hint of herbal hops. I was shocked at the first sip, quite bold. Lots and lots of burnt malts and a fair amount of hop, with a lager-yeast taste as well. In truth, the taste is a lot like an American double stout, but the mouthfeel is thinner and more carbonated. It lacks the alcohol punch of a stout, but the flavor is nearly as complex as a sipper. It's hard to call this one refreshing, but it is satisfying for sure.

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Photo of longarm
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thin carbonation disipates quickly. I'd like to see a little more foam standing proud on top of the brew. Completely devoid of light.

Caramel flavors blend exceptionally with roasted malts in both flavor and aroma. Little to no alcohol and no hops present in the nose.

Exceptionally complex malt bill balanced not with hops but a little spiciness, perhaps from rye. Very, very, very small hint of smoke seems to be hiding behind the roasted malt making it nearly imperceptible. If there is smoked malt, it's being coy. This is a tasty beer that has warming characteristics of darker beers with a nice clean finish typical of any exceptional lager.

Mouthfeel seems a little thick at first, but the hops make their presence felt helping scrub the palate for the next sip. Ends-up fairly balanced if perhaps a little cloying.

Overall a very nice beer and easy to drink. Sprecher continues to be one of the great underappreciated breweries specializing in quality lagers.

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Photo of kennyo
3.7/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the precher event at the Collins Bar

Pours an opaque black color with a 3/4" head that disappates firly quickly. Could be bar glasses cleaning that makes the head disappear, which always makes it hard t judge beer in bars. The aroma is coffee, chocolate. Taste is smoky, black malt but not overpowering, smooth with a dry finish. This is a good example of a schwarzbier. I would like to try a bottle to see if the appearence and head is different

 459 characters

Photo of Wisconsin
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a syrupy, black body with a half inch tan head that fades to a lace quicker than I expected.

S - Roasted malts, chocolate, toffee, caramel and a bready malt smell.

T - Dark roasted malts with a smokey flavor. There is malts, chocolate, caramel, toffee and cream flavor are all present. Very good balance in this beer.

M - Dark, smokey, roasted malts enter your mouth with a nice transition to a chocolate, caramel and creamy finish. Good carbonation keeps the beer balanced.

D - With the style in mind this is a great beer. I could have a few in a sitting.

 574 characters

Photo of gestyr
4.65/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

16 oz bottle poured into a pub glass.

A: Pours a deep brown/black with ruby/garnet tone when held to the light. The tan head is long lasting and made of compact bubbles.

S: Malty with caramel and a slightly smokey overtone. Also has a slightly fruity aspect.

T: Nice rich malt flavor with caramel and coffee flavors and a slightly fruity aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied and satisfying

O: A very good beer. The flavor and mouthfeel make it a nice sipping beer.

 461 characters

Photo of association330
4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16 oz. bottle with no freshness date

A - Pours dark brown with ruby tinges around the edges. A pinky of mocha head quickly settles to a thin cap with a thick ring of foam. Just a few spots of lace.

S - Moderate roasted malt character, including caramel, dark chocolate, and molasses. Similar aroma to an RIS, but not as overpowering, rich, or complex - cleaner and more refreshing.

T - Clean lager malt and light hop flavor, then sweeter caramel tones, and a moderately roasty swallow with lingering bitter chocolate and slight hop notes.

M - Body feels a little too heavy. Moderate carbonation, and no astringency.

D - Pretty nice example of the style here - a dark lager with a somewhat roasty character that still maintains a highly quaffable nature that you don't usually find in darker ales. A good one for getting stout and porter drinkers to come around to lagers, or vice versa.

 891 characters

Photo of nickynick
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sprecher Black Bavarian poured a very nice dark brown, even appearing black. Very little head. Smell was of sweet malts, hints of chocolate as well. Taste is sweet and dark malts, hints of chocolate and even a hint of smoke. Mouthfeel was ok, IMO a little thick for this style of beer. Drinkability was ok as well, again felt a bit filling for the style. Overall this is another very good beer from a very good brewery. I have yet to drink a Sprecher that I have not enjoyed and wanted to buy again.

 499 characters

Photo of bowersdm
4.52/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 oz bottle (I think) poured into a German pilsner glass

A - Dark, almost like an Imperial Stout. The head was very small (<1cm)

S - roasted barley, other malts, and a hint of chocolate

T - roasted barley and chocolate followed by a dry roasted barley bitterness (like the tail end of the taste of Guinness), followed by a slight chocolate taste, and some vanilla and coffee, but not as much as the chocolate or roasted barley.

M - nice, it had a surprisingly good level of carbonation considering the weak head.

D - I would definitely have another one of these. It's pretty filling for what I consider to be a pretty low ABV brew.

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Photo of Mitzvahman72
3.65/5  rDev -10.1%
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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Photo of Schmidts
4.74/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a deep dark brown/black with a 3/4 inch tan creamy head lacing from top to bottom. Smells of dark Malts, Molasses and Licorice/Anise.
The Taste says the minute you taste it better have another later. It is so creamy smooth malty lots of tastes of deep dark Malts chocolates and endless flavor. Not supper strong just right I can't say enough about the taste of this beer
In your Mouth this is one of the most Creamy wonderful beers I have ever drank!
Overall I have To Give this Beer a 4.75 it is World class in its flavor.

 529 characters

Photo of ken3c
3.91/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Virtually black. Decent head dwindles to mostly foamy. Laces a little.

Slightly malty smell.

Chocolate chalky. hops sense. Dry finish. Great taste.

Medium carbonation. Medium body. Smooth and creamy.

I typically dislike lagers but this one had a wonderful taste that will bring me back.

 298 characters

Photo of Riverwarrior
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

S = Light roasted coffee beans with chocolate in the background.

T = Malty backbone, roasted grains, semi-sweet chocolate mingling around the other flavors. There was a slight roasted coffee bitterness in the finish. Nothing too bitter, but just enough to balance.

MF = Medium body with moderate carbonation. This one is silky smooth from mouth to stomach.

Overall, this is a very easy to drink schwarzbier with plenty of roasted goodness to enjoy.

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Photo of elmore
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 16oz bottle into a pint glass. Thick, tan 2 finger head from a brisk pour. Head quickly receded and left a shoulder that coated the sides with foamy lace. Dark black, when held up to light, it reveals an amber hue at the edges of the glass.

Smells of roasted malts, toffee and caramel. Taste is similar with a hint of espresso and a smoky aftertaste.

Moderate carbonation. Somewhat thin, which is expected for a lager. Very smooth and drinkable. I definitely could put a few of these away.

My first review of a Schwarzbier. I really like the style and plan on seeking out more.

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Photo of RacerX5k
2.53/5  rDev -37.7%
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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Photo of ryanocerus
3.56/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Being a Schwarzbier lover, I thought I would have liked this better. It poured with a thick tan head and deep black in color. The malty aroma was a little too prominent for me however. The roasty flavor is much heavier than other schwarzbiers I have had also, but as the long lasting flavor lingers on the tongue, I enjoy it more. Not a bad beer, just not my favorite schwarz.

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Photo of bnuttz
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a ruby dark brown/black with a fizzy tan head. Smells of roasted nuts and slight coffee, very mild smell. Taste is exceptional. Slight coffee and chocolate notes, a definite acidic bitterness from the malts shines throught. Hopping is mild. Yeast makes a small twangy appearance towards the end. Mouthfeel is great, very smooth, and full, yet light, making this beer very drinkable. A top notch session dark beer. I love this stuff and am thankful to live in Milwaukee because this stuff is readily available on tap. It is even better on tap.

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Photo of johnnieoz
4.72/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Beautiful 22 oz brown bomber with a clean simple label and a golden waxed top. (I'll try to submit a new photo).

A: Near black, the dark brown hue barely shows through when held to a light. A minimal head quickly fades.

S: Roasted malts with coffee and chocolate notes. Very pleasing.

T: While it smelled a bit like a doppelbock, it definitely tastes like a schwarzbier. A very good schwarzbier no less. Balancing out the rich, roasted maltiness, the hop character makes this lager absolutely delicious.

M: Crisp. Dry. Refreshing. Solid. A lingering malty bitterness.

D: At 6% abv, this is a session beer. And if you like darker lagers, chances are that you'll be downing more than one of these bombers.

A great beer that ranks up there with Köstritzer, the East German classic that rules the roost.

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Black Bavarian Style Lager from Sprecher Brewing Company
4.06 out of 5 based on 913 ratings.
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