Guinness Black Lager | Guinness Ltd.

1,974 Ratings
Read the review
Guinness Black LagerGuinness Black Lager

Brewed by:
Guinness Ltd.

Style: Euro Dark Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by mdagnew on 04-03-2010

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 445 | Ratings: 1,974
Photo of plfahey
2.35/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

11.2 oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance-Black with ruby highlights. Very dark but seems moderately clear. Fairly large light tannish head with some nice lacing.

Aroma-Slightly grainy/bready malt profile with light toast and light roast. Very low earthy hop aroma. Aroma is pretty low, weak, and lacking depth. Smells like a light American lager with the lightest touch of roast character.

Flavor-Similar to the aroma, it tastes a little bit like a light American lager, with a touch of hops and roast character. Grainy, light malt character, with a bit of toast/roasted barley. A touch of earthy hop bitterness and hop flavor kicks in in the finish.

Mouthfeel-Smooth and moderately creamy mouthfeel with medium low body and moderate carbonation.

Just not very good at all. Truly, I would expect more from a beer coming out of Guinness. Not horribly offensive, but really nothing to recommend it. Not good.

 925 characters

Photo of StaveHooks
3.43/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pours an opaque black body with 1.5 fingers of tan head that sinks into a cap of micro bubbles.

S - Earthy yeast, wet cardboard, copper, sweet toasted grain.

T - Dark malts, grassy hops, light molasses, spicy bite, hints of fruit, raisins, old coffee, finishes dry some spice.

M - Light to medium body, moderate carbonation.

Better than I expected. Easily sessionable. Alot of people will probably hate on this because its from Guinness but it's actually not too bad for style.

 485 characters

Photo of Swim424
3.43/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured from a 12oz bottle

A-appears black. up to light its very dark amber. nice lightly borwn creamy head that holds a thin layer on the top.

S-maybe a little oatmeal/ or coffee. smell pretty crisp. not really any hops. getting some of the "roasted barley". not a very powerful smell though

T- not a whole lot of flavor here. up front some coffee briefly then mostly a little roasted malt finish and thats about it. some carbonation, not alot. hard to describe but no overpowering flavors.

MF-pretty smooth. sort of creamy. again not a whole lot. decent aftertaste.

O-this is decent. definitely enjoyable. not alot of alcohol. not as thick as it appears. I dont mind this at all. nothing exceptional but overall pretty good.

 732 characters

Photo of yesyouam
3.86/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Guinness Black Lager is a black beer with a waxy, turbanado colored foam that has pretty nice lacing and retention. The aroma is very muted and of wet cardboard. There's a touch of roast and maybe spice in the nose. It's medium-light bodied; fluffy and crisp. It's lightly flavored from a dark malt twang at the first taste to a lightly bitter finish of coffee and medicine. This stuff just goes down like water. It's a very simple, refreshing black lager.

 456 characters

Photo of SWMeyer4141
2.18/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured into a Pint Glass..

Appearance-Black, very thin body, light shines all the way through. Head was an off white that dissipated very quickly and left minimal lacing.

Smell-Grainy, Earthy, very light sweetness. Very bland and not very inviting.

Taste-Ya, just like the smell it really tastes like nothing. I get some subtle earthy tones and light skunkiness towards the end. Just not good.

Mouthfeel-It's Clean. But not so much refreshing and satisfying. Very thin and light in body.

Overall-Not exactly why this beer is being produced. People go to Guinnes to drink Guinness, not this.

 596 characters

Photo of ZAP
2.57/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

I was encouraged by the aroma of this.. coffee...hints of caramel and vanilla...

But the mouthfeel is so bad it really wrecks the whole beer. Fizzy, and watery...

The taste is ok...not munich dunkel good but ok....someroasty notes...a bit of cocoa....

Slightly astringent on the finish...dry....

 312 characters

Photo of DirtyPenny
2.5/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Grabbed the last single I found at the grocery store the other day. Poured it into a Coke glass and I'm sure I could have fooled an unwitting victim into thinking it was one and the same.

A: Black and fizzy. Head disappears about as fast as you'd expect the head on a, you guessed it, cup of Coke to vanish.

S: A faint whiff of cereal grains, but man, not much of one.

T: A black hole of flavor. That is, there's none to speak of. I seriously could not taste much of anything. There may have been the distant, strangled cry of a chocolate malt or two, stranded in some far flung corner of the universe, but it could have just been my imagination.

M: Light-medium and fizzy.

O: Not actively bad, just so bland and inoffensive I can't see why anyone would want one. Sam Adams Black actually has flavor, as does Session Black. Try those instead.

 847 characters

Photo of OWSLEY069
2.45/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a deep amber to black color with a light tan head.. In the aroma, caramel, note of chocolate, and still lager like. In the taste, light chocolate, note of caramel, both very mellow. A small bite and medium to lighter bodied mouthfeel, with a small roast to a clean aftertaste. Lack of flavor, but a lager form of Guinness for sure.

 337 characters

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.1/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

In a pint glass this beer was a very dark brown, almost black color. It had a medium-sized tan head that disappeared quickly.

Roasted malt aroma, sweet cocoa. Kind of faint.

The taste was even fainter. Weak coffee, a tiny bit of chocolate.

Very thin and watery. On the positive side, you could drink a number of these in one sitting.

 336 characters

Photo of bonkers
3.23/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I poured from a bottle into a nonic, dark pour, big white head, nice lacing. A little roast on the nose. It has a light roasted flavor, slight astringent notes, lingering bitter finish. The beer is very light in body, high carbonation, easy drinking. I would not buy this again.

 278 characters

Photo of mterrence5
2.86/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Why make this beer....why not? It's like a Coors light with a Guinness after taste. This seems to be the result of Guinness responding to the population at large's idea that Guiness is a heavy beer and for those who do like it that sometimes they want something lighter (funny in Dublin a met a girl that was drinking Bud heavy cause it was "lighter" than Guinness Draught) That said I'm regular Guinness drinker and while I don't love this I wouldn't mind it here and there.

 475 characters

Photo of yemenmocha
2.74/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Cold brewed? Oh God, here we go. Pours dark brown with light tan head. Nose on the really light side with faint roasty malts & cocoa. Light flavors on palate of roasty malt and watery coffee. Watery light body. Very drinkable, but not much to savor as far as taste and nose though.

 281 characters

Photo of nniicckkww
3.65/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a sexy 11.2 oz. bottle into my Sam Adams contoured glass. 1 inch chocolate milkshake colored head that dissipated quickly. Not much lacing on the glass through the session. The label says black lager but it's just a hair brownish red in the light. Black at a glance.

Not much aroma to be had. Maybe this was because I failed to "drink straight from the bottle" like the label instructed.

Slight lager yeast taste (think Harp). A bit of sulfur. Creamy roasted barley chocolate flavor. Fairly hefty carbonation and light body. Just a tad sweet finish. Sort of a mix of the extra stout and Harp. Not bad. Definitely the most thirst quenching dark beer I've had in a while. Good for what it aims to be. I wonder if it will last??? I might buy it again.

 764 characters

Photo of bnes09
3.3/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Dark brown, almost black brew, mostly opaque with faint hints of ruby when held to light. Weak, light tan head forms and is gone as soon as I set the glass down without a trace remaining.

Odd aroma overall. Corn husk, sour dough biscuits and a touch of skunk. No roasted aroma at all.

Flavor is mostly malty with a bread-like character. Bit of corn thrown in there. Just the faintest hint of roasted barley. Hops are mild with an herbal, leafy spice. Not complex but just enough flavor to keep it interesting.

Lighter consistency and very crisp. Bright, sharp carbonation. Easy drinking.

Not a bad beer. Just doesn't do much for me. Could use more depth and more roasted malt character.

 690 characters

Photo of OneDropSoup
2.33/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured into a shaker pint: Black body with the faintest highlights around the edges, loose, khaki head, two fingers. Head drops quickly & leaves some foam clinging to the sides.

Definitely a lager smell: Damp basement, a little crusty bread, a little grape juice. Maybe the faintest hint of a cocoa powder, but that's a stretch.

Hmmm. Taste is not great. Hoppy up front, mineral, almost reaches a kind of toasty malt but never gets there, then just ends with a burnt flavor. Not so good.

Just sharp, hard water in the mouthfeel. Burnt bitterness sticks around & coats my mouth. Gah.

I was looking forward to trying this, & didn't really even have my expectations set very high, but this was not good. Don't think I'm going to finish this one.

 746 characters

Photo of speter
3.85/5  rDev +25%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I think this is a Schwarzbier rather than a Euro Dark Lager. I have reviewed it as such.

A: Extremely dark ruby, to the point of being black (but for the penlight shining through revealing the true ruby color). The head is a tan, three-finger froth, that fades to a thin layer with clumpy lacing.

S: Chocolate malt with toffee, caramel, and brown sugar.

T: Initial mild sweetness gives way to the roastiness in the mid-palate. The finish is dry and slightly bitter. There is a hint of the trademark Guinness sourness in the aftertaste.

M: Smooth and slightly creamy.

O: Taken as a Schwarzbier, this is pretty good.

 621 characters

Photo of Nerudamann
3.15/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Look – black, with about two fingers’ worth of very light tan-colored foam that dissipates somewhat slowly.

Smell – fairly malty, with a rich texture of sweetness, almost like molasses or other roots.

Taste – much like the smell, fairly malty and sweet/molasses-like, but also with a degree of muskiness to it. Almost spicy, as in coming from peppers, but that hits toward the end of the taste.

Mouthfeel – decently well-balanced but lingers more on the watery side.

Overall – not horrible, but at the same time not the best type of brew I’ve had from Guinness.

 620 characters

Photo of Stinkypuss
3.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Guinness Black Lager

Dark brown colored brew, with an aroma of roasted malts, still very much like Guinness. In the taste, clean lager yeast with a touch of roasted malt. Reminds me of a dunkel. Light char and hop notes. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Overall, a lager with roasted malts, somewhere between a dunkel, schwarzbier and regular Guinness.

 382 characters

Photo of soju6
3.03/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a black color with a nice tan head that fades to good lacing.

S: Very muted aroma of roasted malt and bit of caramel sweetness.

T: Starts with a mild bitterness witha trace of roasted malt, not much else and a dry finish.

F: Fairly medium body, quite smooth but no character.

O: A non-discript offering from Guinness. I guess it's for people who want to be hip but do not like stouts.

 397 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
2.03/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

11.2 oz. bottle,

A: Pours black with a firm light tan head, frothy in the glass, good retention, thick lace. As with most Guinness products, the appearance is impressive.

S: Practically non-existent, I feel like I'm smelling a light beer. A hint of roast if I'm being kind.

T: Taste is just as bland. C'mon. Very minor dark chocolate notes, doesn't even taste roasty, some carbonic acid flavour which is never a good sign. I'm drinking beer not Perrier.

M: Light-bodied, thins out in a big way at the finish. Fairly clean, but not really saying much.

O: Guinness Draught was the first beer I ever had back in 2005 so this brewery will always hold a special place in my heart. But this beer is not good. I feel like Guinness just invented the black light lager. That's really what it is. Just reeks of corporatism and dumbing down for the masses. Foreign Extra Stout came out last year and it was great. I was hoping for something similar here. Didn't happen.

 964 characters

Photo of Sorvahr
2.19/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Purchased from a gas station in Memphis, TN; unfortunately I forgot the price I paid for it. The label sends off all sorts of warning signs, having a very Bud Light-ish silver and blue color scheme and the message "COLD BREWED FROM ROASTED BARLEY". Having to tell the consumer that the beer is made from beer ingredients sets the bar pretty low. But, if you don't expect a beer to be any good, it can't disappoint you. Poured into a New Belgium snifter, in defiance of the label's ridiculous suggestion to drink it straight out of the bottle.

A: The beer pours a cola-like dark brown with a very light tan head that quickly recedes into a ring. It's obvious right away that this is a far cry from a real schwarzbier. Lacing is virtually nonexistent after the first few minutes.

S: There's not much smell to speak of, and most of what I do smell is metal, like a bucket full of pennies.

T: The most succinct way I could describe this taste would be to take an inexpensive dark lager, water it down, and drop pennies into it. There's that same bottley metallic taste as Guinness Extra Stout but here it is the predominant taste instead of an unpleasant background note. The malts have a roasty dark-lager taste but are weak and seemingly watered down. There may or may not be hops in this beer. I cannot say for sure, because I can't taste any. But it's a beer and it's not 1650 so I must assume that they're in there somewhere. The finish is unnatural and chemical-tasting. The intense roasty bitterness of say, McSorley's Irish Black Lager is nonexistent. There's not much point in letting it warm up either; what you taste after five minutes or so is all you'll get.

M: Fizzy, spritzy, watery. There's no body or thickness to this at all, just excessive carbonation. I guess you could call it "clean" since it's so empty there's nothing to make it "dirty" but it certainly isn't interesting. It's not filling or satisfying at all, and makes you wonder if it was made more for chugging and getting wasted on than actually enjoying.

O: This is a bland beer. Really, really bland. It's not offensive like Bud Light, but it's not good either. It reminds me of Beck's, with much the same ho-hum taste profile and watery feel. Warsteiner Dunkel easily bests this in pretty much every aspect, and is cheaper than most Guinness offerings. Avoid.

 2,343 characters

Photo of ryan1788a5
2.93/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Consumed at Brennan's Place in Holyoke, MA.

A: Black with some garnet hues to it. Thick tan head has decent retention, but eventually settles into nothing.

S: Some dark chocolate, espresso-like roasted barley, dark bread, a touch of molasses, and a faint whiff of some grassy hops. Muted overall.

T: Starts out sweet with some sugary molasses flavors, then moves into some dark chocolate and roasted barley tastes. Very mild acidity. Hop bitterness and taste are very tame, just a whisper of some grassy hop flavors. Maybe just the slightest hint of a vague fruitiness, but it seems to be coming from the malt rather than esters. There really isn't any yeast character here, it's pretty clean and neutral.

M: Thin, watery, and overly-carbonated. Slight syrupy feel. Nothing good here.

O: Pretty average. It isn't absolutely terrible, there is some flavor to it. But really, what's the point?

Notes: I can't figure out what Guinness is trying to do with this beer. To whom is this supposed to appeal? My best guess is that they're trying to capture a new market segment by making a beer that's more America-friendly while still staying true to the essence of their brand. They know there's a lager bias here, and they imitate American macro marketing strategies by plastering "Cold Brewed" and other such nonsense on the label. But they had to keep it dark and roasty, lest they stray too far from the image they have crafted for the brand. The problem with this is that the misconceptions surrounding "light beer" and "dark beer" are too powerful to overcome by playing the "lager" card. "Lager" has become synonymous with "light beer" over here. The average Joe doesn't care that it's a lager, or that it's "Cold Brewed," because it's still a dark beer; the fact that it's dark is what alienates people. So who will drink this? People who don't mind dark beer, i.e. regular Guinness drinkers. But regular Guinness is better, and has a cult following, so they won't drink it. No new market segment will drink it. Ultimately I think this beer will be a colossal failure here, and I'm already starting to see it happen. I asked around at all the local bars, and sales are miserable. What's even more befuddling is the fact that Guinness has other brands (Harp and Smithwicks) that are already (seemingly) effectively capturing other market segments for them. So why bother? What's the point of this beer? I don't know what else to say.

 2,479 characters

Photo of BeerDocT
3.24/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a chilled, wide-mouthed glass.

-Appearance 4.0: Poured with a nice, half-inch head that (again!) quickly dissipated. Jet black with slight amber around the edges of the glass. Very striking and attractive beer.

-Smell 2.5: What? Almost no bouquet at all. I do smell a very slight hint of toasted barley. Not impressed.

-Taste 3.5: There is an interesting hoppiness that hits you in the front of the mouth at first, followed by a middle taste of...nothing. Just cool liquid. A slight toasted barley hint sneaks in before swallowing. This grows slightly after swallowing but quickly disappears. All of these tastes are very subdued and nuanced.

-Mouthfeel 3.0: Too much carbonation. This is, I suppose, an attempt to be "lagery," but it doesn't enhance the tasting experience. Not bad, just average.

-Overall 3.5: This is an interesting beer, with many unique characteristics. As such, one wonders what the master brewers at Guinness were trying to do. Create a "light" stout? Create an entirely new type of beer? I have no idea. If you have never tried this beer, I would recommend it, for novelty reasons if for nothing else.

$7.99 for a six pack in Atlanta, GA.

 1,180 characters

Photo of Jason
3.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

330ml brown bottle w/ no freshness date.

LOOK: Off black color w/ reddish hue. Good lacing.

SMELL: Sweet, cocoa, mild charcoal, lightly bready, clean.

TASTE: Smooth, slick, lighter body, wet, mild roasted grain, dried grass, muted hops, bitterness, residual dextrins.

I was not sure what to expect but after several goes at it I am still trying to wrap my head around its inception. Regular draught Guinness does a great job ... consistent, drinkable, the story behind it. Sort of a lesser Guinness that has a typical carbonation of a Euro Lager. I guess I just don't see the market for it. I can understand why FES was brought to the states, 10-15 years late to the party but this concoction just does seem to hit it with me. Not saying it is bad at all, it hits the right elements ... drinkable, easy going flavor. Is it for 38-56 year old males who make more than $75,000 a year that are not into beer that much but are sick other Euro Dark Lagers? If someone was looking for a dark lager why wouldn't they just look for a solid Munich Dunkel or a dark Czech lager? Go figure, best of luck guys ... still trying to figure this one out. Regardless, it is worth a tick.

 1,174 characters

Photo of secondtooth
3.67/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep and black (as Guinness well should be), this new brew leaves a large but erratic lace on my pint glass.

Nose is grainy like most lagers, barely hinting at the flavors to follow.

Tastes mildly burnt/roasty - but still light on the body, as opposed to the usual heavier stout. Very enjoyable, and though I'd rather sip on a warmed Guinness Foreign Extra Stout, this one hit the spot.

 390 characters

Guinness Black Lager from Guinness Ltd.
3.08 out of 5 based on 1,974 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.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.