Guinness Black Lager | Guinness Ltd.

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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

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Reviews: 444 | Ratings: 1,965
Photo of Nerudamann
3.15/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.22/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

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Photo of soju6
3.03/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

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Photo of Halcyondays
2.03/5  rDev -34.3%
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.

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Photo of Sorvahr
2.19/5  rDev -29.1%
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.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
2.93/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

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Photo of BeerDocT
3.24/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

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Photo of Jason
3.08/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

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Photo of secondtooth
3.67/5  rDev +18.8%
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.

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Photo of RoamingGnome
3.03/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured out of a bottle into a beer mug

A) Dark brown to black in color. There was a good finger of head, that was actually pretty well maintained during consumption. There was a little lacing.

S) Not an overpowering aroma here. Roasted malt, slightly burnt, hint of coffee.

T) For me, this was like if I was making a half and half, but substituted the Harp pale lager with water. Well, maybe not quite that bad, but it's how I described it to my bro.

M) Pretty light, felt somewhat thin. It had more than adequate carbonation. Okay finish and aftertaste.

O) At $6.99 for a six pack, they're certainly not stealing your money, but you'd be better off spending a bit more and really enjoying what you're drinking.

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Photo of Stockfan42
2.88/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a thin black body with a beige head that fades pretty quickly.

Smells of roasted malts and a hint of dark fruits. Not a very strong smell overall.

Taste is very mellow, malty with a tiny hint of dark fruits. Very light bodied. Not a whole lot of taste but it doesnt taste bad. Pretty drinkable.

Mouthfeel is pretty light and well carbonated.

Overall its not bad. Not something i'd go out of my way to get but I wouldnt say no to a free one!

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Photo of Minkybut
4/5  rDev +29.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this good beer into my tumbler at 45 degrees. The beer was a nice black color. The beer poured a nice pillowy tan head. The smell was like a raw steak. Sorry, thats what I got. The beer really was kinda neutral tasting but I like it. The beer also had good lacing. I think it is a good product with a good name and people who do not want a strong beer will enjoy.

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Photo of silentjay
2.39/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

pours a watery black with a nicely sized khaki head that sticks around a bit, but doesn't lace overly well.

nutty and vegetable aromas with a bit of roasted malts and grains.

tastes like the water you used to boil vegetables in with a bit of roasted malts and some nuts. no hops detectable.

crisp like a lager should be, but with a syrupy stickiness left on the palate that leaves a bad aftertaste.

not great. I was looking for more of a schwarzbier, I guess. barely any roasty/chocolate flavors, but all of the cheap lager flavors I tend to avoid. Glad I picked up a single.

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Photo of jlindros
3.43/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a fizzy 1 finger darker head that fades at a med pace with hints of lacing, over dark black-ish beer with slight light coming through.

Nose has cheap lager aromas, kinda macro but not skunked, hints of darker malts like roast and caramel.

Taste is lighter as well, macro produced lager flavors but not too bad or bitter, hint of metallic, some darker creamy malts, hint of roast and caramel, some bitter hop flavors. the metallic flavor comes out a bit more on the finish with more bitter hops, sticky finish, and touch of dark creamy malts.

Mouth is med bodied but creamy, with decent carb.

Overall kinda meh, drinkable but some off flavors, tastes like it was macro produced but not skunked or terrible, with a bit of hops and creamy malts.

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Photo of scratch69
3.91/5  rDev +26.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured a bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance- Black with a bout a fingers worth of tan head that lingers until the last swallow. Fair amount of lacing.

Smell- Dark roasted malt with a hint of chocolate.

Taste- Sort of like a mellow Guinness stout. Toned down dark malt with a tiny hint of chocolate.

Mouthfeel- Smooth and light bodied. Decent amount of carbonation.

Overall- If you are wanting a strong flavored Guinness, look elsewhere. Otherwise this is a very drinkable brew. I could easily down a 6-pack of these in one sitting.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3.33/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle served in a glass beer mug.

L - black with a beige head that left a few trails of lacing.

S - roasted malt aroma.

T - light grains and mellow roasted malt flavor, it's got enough taste to make me want to drink more.

F - light/medium bodied with mild carbonation.

O - I could enjoy a few of these in a sitting.

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Photo of blakelive784
2.46/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

11.2 oz bottle poured a into a standard pint glass :

A - pours a dark brown/black color. 2 finger head with poor retention and fair creaminess.

T - faint roasted barley notes and some cream. Smells like muted Guinness.

T - quite watery. Real faint roasted barley and chocolate notes. Mild and unimpressive.

M - medium bodied and relatively highly carbonated.

D - this beer seems like an intro to Guinness. Mild aroma and mild taste, and as much as I love Guinness, I'd leave this one be.

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Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.02/5  rDev +30.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle purchased at Shaw's in North Hampton. Pours a nearly opaque dark brown to black body with a half inch or so of light tan head. Malt and milk chocolate comprise the aroma. Roasty coffee, chocolate, malty notes make up the flavor, though it finishes relatively clean. Medium to light in body with ample carbonation. An easy drinker - the flavors mesh well and don't clobber you over the head and the carbonation, body, and clean finish make this beer seem fairly light. Not bad overall but I'm not sure I'll be having this again any time soon.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.41/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Looks inviting. I get a pretty nice black with hue of read and a inch and a half of opaque colored head, which is surprisingly kind of sticky.

S - Not too much lager yeast or in your face roast, but it is there. Smell is not offending just not great.

T - Well how can I put this... Bluntly it's kind of like Yuengling amber lager mixed with the Guinness draft, which is not bad for my palate. Slight taste of roast and chocolate meets a bit of lager hops and yeast with only I slight bit of dry finish. Not bad

M - Could be what I didn't like most about it, the body is medium when it should drink like a light lager (under 5 percent) Still a thicker body is not frowned upon here.

Overall I know there are tons more offerings that are more complex or have more hops but this seems to work pretty well. I was kind of shocked to see such low ratings on this one since it could easily stack up again some craft offering in the B or B+ category. To each his own I guess.

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Photo of wvsabbath
2.98/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearancer -Dark black with some traces of tan. 1/2 inch creamy head, some lacing.

Smell - Some yeast, light malt aroma, some dark fruits like plum. Not much smell here.

Taste - Starts out with yeast and some hops. There is a trace of malts but main this is so watered down. Very plain, bland.

Mouthfeel - Light, weak, barely much of a trace of anything for mouth to deal with. Some yeast on the tounge, minimal malts on the palette, aftertaste is non existent.

Overall - Not worth the time to drink really, too watered down, lacks flavor, complexness and anything to remember. Pass on this.

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Photo of BeerManDanNYC
2.45/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I am in a bodega in Brooklyn a week ago and, what is this? Black lager from Guinness? I had to try it. Not a very good one from a solid brewery. A bit too strong initially, but not overpowering. The flavors linger too long on the palate and not in a pleasant way. Don't go out of your way for this one.

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Photo of BrewAskew
2.73/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours to a thick but quickly receding buff head and ruby-black color. Aroma is very weak sweet grainy lager smell with very little roast detected. Flavor is equally weak and bland. I would not know there was any roasted barley in it blindfolded except for the finish. Mouthfeel is OK and there is where the "unique character of Guinness" shows up. Overall, I ask myself "what's the point?" I could have had a regular Harp lager and not known much different.

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Photo of Beejay
3.03/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Deep black in color, with a very soft and frothy cappuccino colored head.

S: It has the light fruity notes that I find in light lagers, but a roasted grain kick in the back. There is an almost flour note in there.

T: Light fruity flavors, with a slightly roasted aftertaste. I don't know what to make of this, very light in flavor, and not as much contribution from the roasted grain as I would have imagined.

M: Light in body, very high in carbonation. Slightly dry.

O: Overall light and mostly bland. With my eyes closed there is very little roasted flavor at all. Seems like this was created for a crowd who likes adjunct lagers, but wanted a change in color.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.61/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From a 12 fl. oz. bottle marked: 15:13-L1208GF001.Sampled on September 29,2011. The pour is a nice looking dark brown with a thick, fluffy head and excellent retention. There is a nice aura of roasted malts and barley that teases the nose in a subtle, mellow fashion.The body is better than medium. The flavor brings out a muted maltiness with the slightest of hop bitterness brining up the rear. I found it to be more appealing than a lot of previous reviewers.

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Photo of Mitchster
3.46/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

$1.59 for a 12oz bottle. "Cold brewed with roasted barley", "Enjoy ice cold straight from the bottle". Hrmmm. OK, here we go.

Pours out to a near black, deep brown, clear, forming a tall soapy light tan head with very good retention and solid lacing. Moderately brisk carbonation. The aroma is rather weak...suggestions of a lager yeast strain and grassy hops like Harp with a little bit of sourness and roast. The mouthfeel is a little acidic, flimsy, with a light body. The taste opens with grassy hops, pale malts, a clean ferment, a mild to moderate pleasantly balanced bitterness and a decent touch of roasted character in the finish.

Nothing spectacular, which is what happens when you brew a beer with mass appeal, but not too shabby either. It's decent and easy to drink and would satisfy me in a pinch, but I'm not inclined to buy it again either.

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Guinness Black Lager from Guinness Ltd.
3.09 out of 5 based on 1,965 ratings.
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