Black Lager | Devils Backbone Brewing Company

Black LagerBlack Lager
337 Ratings
Black LagerBlack Lager

Brewed by:
Devils Backbone Brewing Company
Virginia, United States

Style: Schwarzbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.10%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Formerly known as Schwartz Bier

Added by on 07-24-2009

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 337 |  Reviews: 70
Photo of PhilHeinricke
4.12/5  rDev +7.6%
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.

 530 characters

Photo of Montgomery
4.11/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of BeerAndGasMasks
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From the bottle, it pours a dark, black color with a tan head. The head soon diminishes to a ring. Definite roast malt in the nose. The same in the mouth - nice!

 164 characters

Photo of Spanglish2
3.89/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Nice roasted malt taste. Hints of chocolate. Carbonation was on point, a light yeast after taste. Overall a good drinkable schwarzbier.

135 characters

Photo of Knapp85
3.94/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Tone
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a black color. 1/3 inch head of an off-tan color. Good retention and slight lacing. Smells of roasted malt, sweet malt, lactose, hint of chocolate, slight yeast, and hint of pine. Fits the style of a Schwarzbier. Mouth feel is smooth and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of roasted malt, sweet malt, lactose, hint of chocolate, slight yeast, and hint of pine. Overall, average appearance, good aroma, feel, blend, and body.

 452 characters

Photo of PorterLambic
3.72/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Extremely dark brown with short-lived tan head. No lacing.
Smell is malty, light smoke, nuts, caramel.
Taste is malts, roasty, toasty, nuts, caramel, faint smoke.
Medium plus body, sharp carbonation. Good stuff.

 211 characters

Photo of deac83
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Dave1999
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of avalon07
3.74/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

L: Poured from a bottle to a pilsner glass. had a dark brown / black color and a thick texture. There was a thin, tan-colored, long-lasting, foamy head. Below average lacing.

S: A good aroma of roasted malt, chocolate, and a bready quality.

T: Tasted of some chocolate notes (could have used more in my opinion), a lot of roasted malt, the aforementioned bready quality, grain, and a tinge of coffee as well. This is one of those flavors that would be great, if only they pushed it just a bit further. Tasty, but almost too subtle for its own good.

F: A solid amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

O: While this beer has its flaws, it's definitely drinkable. Worth a look.

 694 characters

Photo of BJB13
3.77/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz. bottle poured into a narrow mug.

Pours almost black with mahogany edges. It started with almost one finger of tan head that diminished to a nice half finger cap with fine lacing. Weak nose of roast and sweet malts, maybe chocolate or dark fruit. Tastes mostly malty, roast and caramel malt. Slightly sweet with just a bit of bitterness and a mostly clean finish. Light bodied but not thin, with decent carbonation. Crisp and easy drinking. This is OK, but not great.

 474 characters

Photo of maximum12
3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had a really good local lager last week that’s turned me back on to them after a time away, so I snagged this out of the fridge. 12 oz. bottle.

Poured into #properglassware, my old Devil’s Backbone glasses from a BIF who knows how many years ago - they are well loved. Pours on the darker spectrum of brown. Light roast, chocolate, & black waybread in the nose.

Devil’s Backbone Schwartz Bier! Really, all this reminds me of is the mugs of big black beer we had to use both hands to lift & swig at U Flecku in Prague. Mimics the nose like a mirror, with the exception that the black bread has now been well toasted & I could identify the lager yeast in the dark. Clean, light, easy to drink, this is exactly what I was looking for.

No dabbing or bat-flipping here, just a good, solid lager.

 801 characters

Photo of Onenote81
3.44/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of bawaddell
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of JoeYarchak
4.24/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dark with a smoky bouquet and a smooth, dry, chocolate flavor. A nice tan head that laced the glass. An enjoyable drink.

122 characters

Photo of duvel1979
2.5/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Photo of Mikemcgrath4
4.25/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Amedlin18
3.96/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Adam1993
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Photo of Pantalones
3.81/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Last bottle of this one from my Christmas six-pack -- bottling date is November 1st, 2016 so just barely over two months old.

Pours a dark brown, settling into a nearly black color once in the bottle -- can just barely see some dark brown around the edges. Shining a light through makes the streams of rising bubbles visible, must be pretty clear despite the darker color. Nice big layer of light tan foam on top at first, which has now shrunk down to a thinner cap but still looks pretty nice. It's leaving behind really nice rings and lacing on the inside of the glass as I drink it, too.

Smell is roasty dark malts right away, with maybe a tiny bit of sweetness hiding in the background. A bit chocolatey, I'm especially noticing this aspect of it when I sniff the now-empty bottle for some reason. Maybe a little bit of a metallic-seeming thing in there, which is unfortunate; I don't remember noticing this in previous bottles I've had, though, so that may be the glass rather than the beer.

The taste is also primarily roasty dark malt. It's quite dry, not really getting any of that background sweetness that I picked up a bit of in the smell. There's a kind of woody/chalky/almost smoky thing in the background that mixes well with the other flavors. Smoky/char is probably the best word for it. Kind of a dark bread and grain aftertaste. Some nuttiness going on in there, too. Unfortunately I do occasionally pick up just a bit of that metallic thing I was getting from the smell, but it's not strong enough to throw off an otherwise very tasty beer.

Mouthfeel is really nice -- it's got that soft bubbly thing to it, feels light but substantial and very easily drinkable.

Overall, this is another beer from Devil's Backbone that's readily available and consistently good -- and in a style that's difficult to find around here, no less. I'll have to have it again in the not-too-distant future to see if that metallic thing I was picking up in the smell (and slightly in the taste) was just the fault of the glass I'm drinking it out of or my nose doing something weird; that's honestly the only thing I found any issue with in this beer, and if not for that my smell and taste ratings would both definitely be a bit higher.

 2,250 characters

Photo of Colin32
3.71/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Dewsby
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of wedge
3.96/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

 329 characters

Photo of KeyWestGator
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of AMBNT_notes
3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

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Black Lager from Devils Backbone Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.83 out of 5 with 337 ratings
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