Black Lager
Devils Backbone Brewing Company

Black LagerBlack Lager
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Lager - Schwarzbier
Ranked #39
Ranked #22,158
3.84 | pDev: 10.68%
Devils Backbone Brewing Company
Virginia, United States
Very Good
Black LagerBlack Lager
Notes: Formerly known as Schwartz Bier

We like this beer for lots of reasons. It’s a traditional old world beer style and it’s a lager, so it takes time to make but it also has roasted & toasted malt flavors. And while it’s light to medium in body, it’s black with a quick, crisp finish. Add in six imported malts and two European hop varieties, you’ll taste why this true to style DB favorite is an award winner!

Malts: Pilsner, Carafa II Special, Dark Munich, CaraRed, Bohemian Pilsner, Melanoidin
Hops: Northern Brewer, Saaz
IBU: 22
COLOR: Black
Reviews: 83 | Ratings: 373 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by OldManMetal:
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OldManMetal from North Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This dark lager is effervescent and darkest brown with ruby highlights, sporting a very-brief-lived, thin light-tan head; the scant lacing consists of thin, retreating bands. The aroma is moderate in intensity, perhaps just a bit strongly expressed for the style, but this is a good thing, as it is a nice blend of cookie-dough malt, toffee, smoke, and minty/licorice herbal notes with hints of coffee and booze. The flavor is moderately intense as well, consisting of a modest, undiscriminated dark malt character over a lagery grain malt foundation, the two being very well balanced; a spicy hop bitterness overcomes any sweetness from the malt, the net result being a typically-modest lager bitterness. The finish is quite clean, and the linger is a mild, vaguely chocolatey flavor that lasts a minute or two. The mouthfeel is appropriately thin, and the texture is creamy and medium-peppery from the well-expressed carbonation. The crisp, creamy texture and light body make this a very drinkable beer, and the enjoyable dark malt character that avoids being over-present make this a good example of the style. (12 oz bottle, code date illegible)

Feb 20, 2016
More User Reviews:
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wedge from North Carolina

3.96/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark, nearly black, brown hue with a thick beige head that quickly fades to a soft covering. Nutty roasted malt and brown bread. Tasty toasty flavors of chocolate, bread, and a low fruitiness. Very smooth with no overly astringent roast. Medium-light, somewhat crisp, and very drinkable. Nicely done.

Dec 01, 2016
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Thesoundandthefury from Washington

3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Jun 02, 2014
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Herze from Virginia

3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aug 25, 2015
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ckollias from Maryland

3.94/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this 12 oz bottle of a large snifter glass.

A: Pours a dark blackish hue with a tan head that slowly dissipates into a solid persistent lace leaving a semi trail down the glass.

S: Malty aroma with deep chocolate overtones.

T: Smooth malty flavor with coffee and chocolate background that finishes on the dry side.

M: Medium body and medium carbonation.

O: Excellent brew – solid flavors and aromas.

Aug 06, 2013
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CaptBreadbeard from Virginia

3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Feb 01, 2015
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Beerasaurus from Virginia

4/5  rDev +4.2%

Aug 12, 2014
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PorterThwarter from Maryland

4/5  rDev +4.2%

Nov 22, 2014
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cyclonece09 from Wisconsin

3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a 14 oz "pint" glass. Pours reddish black with a small off white head. Smells of coffee. Tastes of dark roasted grain and coffee. Beer is light bodied and good carbonation, nice finish. Overall a very good beer.

May 31, 2014
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Dan-76 from Virginia

3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sep 05, 2015
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RonaldTheriot from Louisiana

3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Devil’s Backbone Schwartz Bier has a thin-to-medium, cream-colored head, a very dark brown (lighter around the edges) appearance, some visible stray bubbles, and moderate lacing left behind. The aroma is of toasted, dark bread crust, some cream, and general malt. Taste is of sweet malt, bread crust, and just a kiss of the hops. Mouthfeel is light to medium, and Devil’s Backbone Schwartz Bier finishes semi-wet and highly drinkable.


Aug 04, 2014
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alyssa1224 from Maryland

4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dec 28, 2014
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cbutova from Massachusetts

4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A- Black body pour to a becher with a light tan, creamy foamy head rising up to two fingers. Pretty good retention. Spotty lace with a few webs.

S- Roast barley and milky cereal grains hinting to a light sweetness. At this stage it reminds me of cocoa cereal, the good stuff. Toasted nuts and just a hint of German yeast esters.

T- Clean and to the point which I find is a strength in this style. Dry roasted grains with a lack of any bitterness giving notes of milk chocolate and toasted nuts. Slight fruits, cereal grains and breadiness.

MF- Very light bodied but kept safe by a smooth creaminess brought on by the moderate bubbles. Light bitterness throughout.

Super smooth and amazingly clean performance from the yeast. Cocoa and cereal grains delivered by a creamy body. A black brew you can drink in super hot weather.

Jun 22, 2015
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3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Not bad, but not great. More like a stout then a lager

Dec 15, 2014
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johnnybgood1999 from Virginia

4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A simple beer that's good when you're wanting a refreshing dark beer. Dark black in appearance with a white head. Taste is breast, roasty, very, very light chocolate on the on the back end. Good for the style.

Apr 15, 2018
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eldoctorador from Chile

3.25/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Dec 21, 2018
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BDF2000 from Virginia

4.75/5  rDev +23.7%

Nov 10, 2013
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PhilHeinricke from Virginia

4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Oh Man

I was at Costco. Precious likes a type of Moscato that they have in the blue bottle. She won't drink anything else. She's funny when she's had a little alcohol so when I was getting her wine, I noticed a combination pack of Devil's BackBone so I picked it up. One of the beers was Black Lager.

Oh, it's beautiful. It pours out a rich dark color like Wendy Williams' thighs. I have a thing for her. The smell is unremarkable, but the taste is just the perfect dark beer taste that I've grown to love over the years.

Oct 18, 2017
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MarvinSnyder from West Virginia

4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nov 29, 2015
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bawaddell from North Carolina

3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Feb 17, 2017
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mikem0487 from Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev +10.7%

Jul 01, 2013
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KWrightVT from Virginia

3.87/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I had never had a black lager before, but was pleasantly surprised. This was poured into a half pint glass from the tap at Devil's Backbone Outpost. Very nice dark brown to black color, with very little head. Aroma was nice and toasty, with slight coffee and chocolate hints. Mouthfeel was light. Excellent stout-like flavor, without being overly powerful. A great drinkable beer with good flavor and balance.

Jan 12, 2015
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jmdrpi from Pennsylvania

3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

on draft, in shaker pint glass

black in color, but not totally opaque. off white head. mild roasty aroma. similar taste- good flavor but not strong. mild coffee, chococlate. medium bodied.

Aug 04, 2013
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Mariomaximus from Virginia

4.81/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Feb 15, 2016
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Jimmys from Pennsylvania

4.36/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle. boned on MAR 11 2013. also, my label states this as a 5.1%ABV brew...

A: a rich brown hued body. dark, but opaque around the edges. head is a light brown and fairly frothy. retention is good.

S: a sizeable roasted malt aroma. chocolate as well. lots of both. smooth and inviting. reminds me a bit of a dry irish stout.

T: sweet, roasty, and fucking smooooth. the nature of this roast gives an impression of bacon at times. plenty of roast, mild sweet chocolate. actually as the sip continues this is all about the roast. that and a very smooth. I cant taste any fermentation flavors, but can tell this was fermented nice and cool as any goofy ale notes are masked.

M: average, fizzy carb on a medium flavored body.

D: a really awesome example of a Schwarz. brewed and packaged as intended. well-done guys. pick some up if given the opportunity.

Jun 20, 2013
Black Lager from Devils Backbone Brewing Company
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 373 ratings