Dismiss Notice
Curious about recent updates to the site and app? Check the Announcements forum for updates.
Dismiss Notice
Love Belgian Beer?

Join us Sep 17 in Portland, Maine for Return of the Belgian Beer Fest, featuring hundreds of authentic Belgian beers and Belgian-inspired offerings.

Tickets + more: beeradvocate.com/belgian

Black Bavarian | Sprecher Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
91
outstanding
475 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:
475
Ratings:
897
Avg:
4.06
pDev:
10.59%
 
 
Wants:
130
Gots:
89
For Trade:
1
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 475 | Ratings: 897
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.

 463 characters

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!

 662 characters

Photo of WankelEngine
3.85/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16oz bottle into a nonic

A: The beer is a dark brown, almost black with a touch of mahogany around the edge. There is a 3 finger foamy tan head that sticks around for a bit.

S: Smells of roasted malts. There is a bit of smokiness and some wood.

T: Similar roasted malts from the smell. The biggest difference is the addition of a mild fruitness; raisin and grape. The smoky character develops a bit and leaves the finish dry and with a little bit of bitter coffee.

M: Medium carbonation with a smooth, relatively thin body. Easy drinking.

O: A combination of light, drinkable malts and some darker smoke and wood flavors. Overall pretty good.

 661 characters

Photo of Hawkeye1113
4.02/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

-Poured from a 16oz bottle into a Tulip
-Poured/Reviewed on 1/7/12

A- A rich black, opaque, with only about 1 cm of off-white head that dissipates rather quickly. Little lacing.

S- Fruity, caramel notes. Rich roasted nuts and possibly some cocoa.

T- Mild coffee and a bit nutty. A nice, rich, roasted quality exists, with a hint of bitterness on the back end.

M- Smooth, warming, bitter, and very complex. Refreshing amount of carbonation (appropriate for the style) is present.

O- Pretty good example of an American attempt at the Schwarzbier. Very drinkable and interesting. Warming complexity is excellent on a cold, winter night.

 639 characters

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

I went into this beer thinking I would have an experience similar to a German Schwarzbier I have had in the past (dark, but not terribly much body, with a reasonable amount of hops). However, I was pleasantly surprised by a relatively full bodied, caramel-like, and almost Imperial Stout sort of taste. It had lots of roasted malt flavor, and it seemed to get better as I drank it.

Overall: I would recommend it.

 413 characters

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

 269 characters

Photo of DrDemento456
3.87/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Very dark black with only a slight touch of red hues at the base. My pour produced only a slight lace of ring of mocha colored head but a quick swirl gets it nice and sticky.

S - Smells some slight roasted notes, anise, coffee, and toffee. Smells strong.

T - Has a very nice nutty taste, then toffee, then a smooth roast of mild coffee. Finish has a nice bit of hops too.

M - Medium bodied and very creamy. Nice!

Overall I had to take the overall score down since I can't find this around my area but it was a very good black lager. Smooth and drinkable!

 562 characters

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

a - if one didn't no better, I have a Pepsi sitting next to me. I nice, deep dark brown pour with very little head retention...just enough along the the rim of the glass to let one know its carbonated a bit...

s - sweet, slightly nutty w/ hints of carmel...faint coffee

t - one of my favorite sprecher brews actually... a nice smoky taste to it..dark, somewhat rich..mixture of milk-bitter dark chocolates engrained with black, roasted malts.. tasty combo

m - medium bodied, somewhat creamy...

o - like I said, one of my favorite Sprecher offerings. Not an overpowering Schwarzbier, but one that's quite palatable...

 620 characters

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

A: Deep black, with a thin foamy off-white head. Retention is excellent.
S: Licorice, cocoa and a bright, almost fruity sweetness.
T: Licorice flavor is also heavy, along with an equal split of chocolate and berry flavors. Shows a flash of sweetness promptly followed by a light bitterness. Smoked malt becomes very discernable on the back end as the beer warms. Finishes with a dry hit of black malt.
M: Feel is medium bodied with full carbonation. Personally, I’d like just a bit less bubblay, but it’s well within style guidelines.

Always nice to come across this beer. One of the bigger examples of the style out there and one of the better in my opinion.

 664 characters

Photo of Jammies
3.99/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - pours a watery black with a thin layer of foam that immediately disappears.

S - sweet with a slightly nutty coffee odor

T - well balanced. A deep toasty lager with no overbearing flavors.

M - Light and smooth. Slightly malty on the finish as expected

O - Surpisingly well-balanced. Really enjoyed this one.

 314 characters

Photo of RThomas436
3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured out of a bottle - pours dark but not too heavy.

Slight carmelized malty taste with a creamy head with minimal lacing

Rich and malty but was expecting more hops.

Light mouth and is balanced

Easy drinking not a palate killer with the heavy malts.

 258 characters

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

Thanks Troy for this tick :)
Who would have thought this would be readily available in Florida.
Pours a dark dark brown. Almost black. Some light white head. Smells roasty but mostly non-aromatic. Tastes sweet and malty. Definitely a lager. Well carbonated. Good mouthfeel. Overall very refreshing.

 298 characters

Photo of Viciousknishs
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- pours dark brown with a finger of tan head. Very good retention.

S- big bready malt with chocolate overtones. Smells like chocolate cake! Slight toasty aromas on the finish.

T- smooth milk chocolate up front with bready malts intertwined. Chocolate cake abounds! Finishes with a balancing hop character that gives it an amazing balance with a toasty quality on the finish.

MF- smooth creamy mouthfeel with a medium body and light carbonation.

D- incredibly drinkable

overall one of the best schwarzbiers I've had to date!

 529 characters

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.

 1,486 characters

Photo of adam42381
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes at World of Beer - Fort Myers on 10/30/11.

Poured on draft into a shaker pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown with caramel highlights and a 1-2 finger creamy tan head. Nice lacing.

Smell: Sweet malt, lactose, chocolate and caramel. Smells delicious.

Taste: Chocolate with german malt and a touch of hops. Roasted malt and chocolate aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: Good drinkability. Goes down smooth.

Overall: Good beer overall. Unfortunately it didn't quite live up to the aroma, but it is definitely worth a try.

 607 characters

Photo of mobius387
3.79/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into a new belgium snifter

appearance: pours jet black with a small 1/2" brown bubbly head, gives it the look like its going to taste very carbonated

aroma: i dont get much here, light smells of chocolate and caramel.

palate: not as carbonated as it looks. medium bodied in mouth, flavor lasts for awhile along sides of mouth

taste: i get a roasty malt flavor with some sweet tones to it.

overall: a unique beer from a very good brewery. there is complex flavors, but its not a fill-you-up type of beer like some complex stouts. probably one of, if not the, best beers made in milwaukee. definitely a must try for those in the area

 643 characters

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.

 450 characters

Photo of weizenbob
4.07/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

There aren't enough domestic craft breweries doing lager-style beers, yet alone dark lager-style beers; so this brew has been much anticipated for me. This 16 ounce twist-off bottle was purchased at Repete's in Holland, MI. It was bottled May 13, 2011. I twisted off the cap and poured into a pint tumbler.

A standard pour (horizontal bottle, 45-degree glass) manifests a finger of mocha-tinted head atop this cola-colored lager. Head retention is not impressive but lacing coats the glass where once was beer.

The aroma displays some nice roasty chocolate malt. My nose could easily mistake it for porter.

The flavor is also very porter-like. Earthy malts lead the charge with chocolate being the obvious reference point. There is a bit of cooked veggie presence. Alcohol is very well hidden and there is no hop bitterness to speak of. The lagering gives this a nice crisp bite that I haven't experienced in any porter. Therein lies the key difference, and it is a nice touch.

In the mouth this is a deceptively full bodied beer. The carbonation level is moderate. The modest 32 IBUs pass below the radar, making Black Bavarian pretty easy drinking, even despite the full flavor. At 6% ABV the alcohol level is moderate. I like that the bottle contains a full pint but doesn't carry a premium price (it works out to about $1.50 per 12 ounce serving). Although this is a year-round release for Sprecher, it feels like a particularly appropriate choice for fall-season drinking. This is a nice change of pace from the barrage of ale-style beers that I'm drinking all year.

---

The Two-Schlitz Scale: (see my profile for an explanation)
I do give two Schlitz for Sprecher Black Bavarian. If you're fortunate to be in an area that distributes Sprecher products, this is worth tracking down.

 1,795 characters

Photo of JohnnyChicago
3.33/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from an oddly shaped bottle into a weiss glass.

A: Pours a dark chocolate brown with an off-white head.

S: Not too much in the nose. There is just the hint of dark malts and caramal with a slight kiss of hops.

T: Pretty weak and thin. The roast from the nose is absent and the hops have fallen off.

D: Not particularly interesting, but it is well-balanced and hides its booze heat.

Overall: I'm not sure I understand the love for this brew. It tastes pretty pedestrian to me. Just a whole lot of nothing. Unoffensive, but not something I'll seek out again.

 568 characters

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

A: Deep brown/black color; mahogany highlights in the edges up to the light. Poured a 2 finger light brown head with good retention to an even skim. Laced in running patches.

S: Toasted malts; dark bread and chocolate. Faint dark-colored fruits and earthy hay.

T: Big malt flavor very consistent with the nose. A bit of a sour note gives way to a carbonation bite. Then transitions quickly to a building bitter finish with coffee notes in the background. Very interesting beer.

M: Medium body. Ample carbonation; very active on the palate ahead of the finish. Very nice balancing complement.

O: Remarkable balanced for big malt bomb. Lots of flavor, not too sweet, sharply bitter in the finish.

 698 characters

Photo of anglagard1
3.74/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pilsner glass per Beer Advocate directions.
Still getting used to the style, as it looks and smells like a porter or stout. The smell especially reminds me of a quality porter, with rich cocoa/coffee aroma, with perhaps a slight medicinal/bandaid to it. It is in the taste and mouthfeel that I recognize this is a lager; there is nothing that especially makes me want to keep this on the tongue, nor am I reluctant to drink it in gulps. It's a good beer but I'd be hard pressed to find the right occassion for it. Perhaps if you're in the mood for a dark beer on a warm summer night.

 598 characters

Photo of yankeej13
3.45/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I enjoyed their scottish ale so I wanted to pick up more stuff from Sprecher.

A- Dark as night with a nice mild lace of a chocolate color foam. Mild amount of carbonation.

S- Has a nice sweet smell. Decently bold smell get hints of chocolate or maybe a coffee malts.

T- Was a little disappointed with the taste not as robust as I thought it would be. A nice mild palette. Has a really nice finish to it, I got more of a bold finish than right from the start.

M- Good drinkability, really smooth good flavor at theh finish.

Overall- I did enjoy it alot, was not disappointed overall and would try again to see if it grows on me even more. Cheers!

 651 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a 1 inch foamy tan head that settles to a film on the top of the beer. Small streaks of lace dot the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, molasses, and burnt sugar aromas. Taste is of dark roasted malt, campfire smoke, and some molasses flavors. A very mild roasty bitterness quickly fades after each sip. A good level of carbonation makes for a crisp and smooth mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good schwarzbier with some nice roasty qualities. I am glad I picked one of these up.

 542 characters

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.

 494 characters

Photo of chinchill
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

16 oz bottle served in a pint glass.

A - Dark black with ruby/mahogany highlights only seen when back-lit. Has a thick tan head that soon settles to a lasting ring and partial coat.

S - Dark baked bread and roasted malts with some earthiness and hints of dark fruits and chocolate.

T - Roasted malts dominate in a flavor that could almost be a porter. Not only considerably less sweet than a typical Schwarzbier, but more bitter than sweet. The bitterness is still mild even though there's a clear coffee note in the finish. In one aged bottle, there was an unusual but not particularly objectionable hint of red wine. Both finish and aftertaste provide rich and dark-roasted grain flavor.

M - very smooth and creamy, with a semi-dry finish and a medium-full body. Very good carbonation level.

O - Overall, this is an exceptional black beer that is notably less sweet a more hoppy than a classic Schwarzbier. Well crafted with plenty of rich roasted malt flavor. Be sure to let this warm up a bit if coming from standard refrigeration.

{some revision done with tastings on May 2012 & Feb. 2013}

 1,105 characters

Black Bavarian from Sprecher Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 475 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe