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: 1,966
Photo of CalgaryFMC
3.29/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

This beer came out a while back and I recall getting a six-pack and destroying this in short order while doing yard work. It served its purpose admirably at this time. Now for the formal review treatment. Does look the part, brownish black with the odd red twinkle, certainly carbonated like a Euro lager, bubbly and can muster a decent off-white to vaguely tan colored head. Smells quite sweet and fruity, some fresh dough along with the requisite dark malt aroma that in this case recalls stale dark chocolate ... There is some pleasant roasted barley character on the nose though, which is of course linked in one's brain to the prototypical Irish dry stout whose fan base this brew is intended to lure over to the lager dark side. Palate is indeed a hybrid of Guinness style roasted flavors and lager traits, including aggressive carbonation and some lager yeast character. Quite dry, tastes roasted but with a little barley sugar sweetness and a fruitiness like red grapes lurks in the background ... I get a licorice toffee effect somewhere at the interface of grainy dough, chalky chocolate, and the aforementioned sweetness. There's the odd boozy note that emerges as well, the alcohol peaking out from behind the roasted flavors, and some grain husk and ash in the dry finish. A few off-flavors, metal and cardboard, but not terrible in this regard. I had the same problem with this beer than I have with its more famous brother ... You keep trying to taste more but at the end of the day its a simple no frills brew. Could be better, could be worse.

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Photo of a0lbudman
3.09/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Jet black with a small tan head with a good lace
S-light roasted caramel malt with some yeast smell present also
T-roasted caramel malt was low and no hop taste
M-smooth, light body and high carbonation
O-This beer had a very smooth taste that had no real flavor

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Photo of DenisKolkin
3.16/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Picked up a single bottle from the LCBO for $2.00 CDN the other day. Had a bottle on the weekend at a friend's house, wasn't impressed then but wanted to do a full write up. Served cold into a pint glass.

Appearance - Very black, almost as light eradicating as some of the big stouts and schwarzbiers I've had in the past. However small 1/2 finger of off white head is well small and disappears quickly leaving no lacing. Can't tell the carbonation levels visually.

Smell - Dark roasty coffee, some dark chocolates and a nutty undercurrent. Also some breadiness in there like many good lagers. Pretty decent for the style and OK overall. It could be a lot worse.

taste - Roasty, but not a ton of flavor. Malt dominated as expected being a black lager, with a slight bit of hops cutting through here and there. But overall not a lot else going on other than it tastes a little darker and roastier than a traditional lager.

Mouthfeel - Nice medium body and medium carbonation, but carried a decent weight for the low ABV. Quite good.

Overall - Seemed a bit better then the last time I had it, which may be due to pouring it into a glass. Overall decent enough for a black lager, but would normally prefer something else. While it may not be as accessible, if you're looking for something in the same vein try Schwarzbier as the roasty characteristics come out even more and flavor and aromas are much fuller. They also don't necessarily cost much more than this either.

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.24/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

I picked up a can of Guinness Black Lager about a week ago for $1.22 at Glenn's Market. I was picking up a couple cheap beers that I haven't had in a while and this happened to be one of them, so lets see how it goes. No visible canning date. Poured from a 12oz can into an imperial pint glass.

A- The can is pretty nice looking, it's got a clean look to it. It poured a nice dark brown color that took on more of a brown color when held to the light with two fingers worth of medium tan head that died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end and left some spotty lacing behind. This beer looked ok, I don't really have any complaints.

S- The aroma starts off with a light amount of medium sweetness followed by some malts that impart a grainy and lightly roasted malt aromas with a slight bit of chocolate coming through. Up next comes a Lager yeast like aroma. The aroma is decent, there seems to be good balance.

T- The taste seems to be fairly similar to the aroma and it starts off with a lighter amount of medium sweetness followed by some lightly roasted malts with some grainy and slight chocolate like flavors. On the finish there was pretty much no bitterness with a lightly roasted aftertaste. This was a decent tasting beer with just enough roast to live up to it's name.

M- Smooth, clean, crisp, lighter bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. The mouthfeel was decent and it worked well with this beer.

Overall I thought this was decent beer and a nice example of the style, the balance was pretty good with all of the aspects showing up just enough and there's no off flavors to be found. This beer had good drinkability, it was smooth, crisp, clean, not filling and the taste did a decent job at holding my attention, I'm sure I could drink more than a few of these if I was in the mood for it. I like the taste the most and the very thin body the least. I might buy this again and I would order it at a bar if nothing better was available. I would recommend this to anyone who wants the lightest possible dark beer, if regular Guinness is too thick for you then this might make a good alternative. All in all this isn't a bad beer and it's about the same as a remember, not a bad choice when there's not a good selection at hand.

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Photo of JimKal
3.09/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

I got this in an 8 pack(cans) of "Irish Beer" featuring Black Lager, Guinness Draft, Smithwick Irish Ale and Smithwick Pale Ale.

A: Dark with a one inch tan head that dissipates quickly leaving no lacing behind.

S: Toasty

T: Roasted malt flavor but on the mild side.

M: Very light and watery.

O: I'm glad there were only two in the eight pack. It isn't bad but I won't be looking for it.

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Photo of Caj1
3.81/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

As a fan of dark beers (stouts and porters especially, though I enjoy a good dark lager) I was wanting to try the new Guinness Black Lager I'd been seeing in the supermarkets and on TV for a while now. Gifted with a six pack of the stuff, I enjoyed it, but not as much as I had hoped I would.

The beer is quite black, but to me lacks the ruby-brown tinge that a true Guinness stout should always have. Also much unlike a traditional Guinness, there is almost no head to speak of, and minimal lacing. The head foamed up to about a finger's worth and receded all in the span of about forty-five seconds.

The smell is much better than the appearance, thankfully. Both the aroma and flavor intensify as the beer warms. Toasty notes, brown earthy and coffee smells all predominate, with a touch of sweet fruit and malt, but minimal hops. The taste is lacking in comparison to the Guinness stout (obviously) but there is still plenty here. The toast and coffee, the earth, and some butterscotch are first on the tongue, with malty sweetness and the slightest touch of hop astringency following. The mouthfeel is thin but foamy and refreshing.

This could have been better, but taking into account that it's a lager and not meant to be a meal in a bottle, this could also be much worse. It's a good beer to bring to parties, that's for sure, and I may go get myself some more when the weather starts to warm up again. There's nothing particularly special in this so I ask you to use your discretion, but I enjoyed it. To good health and good beer.

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Photo of biegaman
3.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Guinness Black Lager is about as dark as Guinness' ubiquitous Stout, tough it lacks the brand's trademark chunky, foamy head; it doesn't even have a single bubble or thread of lace. The fact that it's no more black than the stout - both have a deep ruddy tinting - says more about the stout than this - Dark Lagers are expected to have a little colour.

The aroma has very mild notes of roast, smoke, and dark purple fruits (plum, raisin) as well as a trace of hazelnut and restrained sweetness. It's an encouraging sign: this is exactly what I'd expect from the style. Fortunately the smell of the adjuncts is just as mild as those of the grain.

The flavour kicks off with the same notes as the aroma (roast, subtle coffee, dried fruits) but quickly turns sweet and starts to taste more like corn syrup than I care for. I was anticipating a mild tasting beer based in the nose and the brand's reputation, but this is thin and textureless even for a lager. You wouldn't know dark malts were used if not for the colour.

Guinness Stout is a true Stout only as much as Kraft Singles Slices can be considered real cheese - it may be true on a technicality but mass- and industrial-production as well as intentional watering down (figuratively speaking) strip the product of virtually all of its character...

Guinness Black Lager, however, is a half-decent example of a Dark Lager. Its dulled, forgettable features, mind you, are unmistakably those of a very hackneyed, commercialized offering. As such, it's best suited as an introduction to those accustomed to mainstream lagers; drinkers already familiar with German Schwarzbiers and quality craft renditions need not bother with it.

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Photo of Huffs
3.18/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a pint glass, nice head developed, semi-dense and tan in color, good lacing and retention. Aroma was a milt malt and coffee with the appearance being, as expected, black. Had a dry taste with some coffee notes. Mouthfeel was lighter than expected, almost watery. Dry aftertaste. Seemed like Guinness Stout light to me.

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Photo of TheHammer
3.3/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A single finger of head that did not lace or retain doesn't bode well. It's odd because thee is carbonation that you can see in the murky, black body.

Smell: It's not overly strong and warming doesn't really help it's case, but notes of toffee malt, coffee and a slight grape note.

Taste: Starts with a somewhat fruity note of plum and grapes that give way to a toffee malt that builds into dark chocolate that ends with a hint of coffee. The fruit was certainly an interesting surprise.

Mouthfeel: The transistioning of the beer is exceptional, but the carbonation falls flat quick. It's odd to, it's like is courser lager carbonation when you thing something a bit creamier might be appropriate. The sweet malt and chocolate aftertaste that doesn't overstay it's welcome though is good.

Drinkability: It's not quite as heavy as I'd expect it to be, but it's medium bodied without a doubt. It's low carbonation does in favours, as does the mild aftertaste, but it seems to come across as stout light or a excessively heavy lager.

Final Thoughts: All in all a good experience, but world shattering it isn't. It's certainly something different from the brewery well known for it's stout, and I suppose this is a decent enough test of them to bring stout aspects to a Lager. Worth a go.

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Photo of JMScowcroft
3.12/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Guinness Ltd. - Guinness Black Lager, poured into an Otter Creek pint glass.

Look - Pours a brown that settles black like the Draught but this one has a much more impressive head that retained a bit and tons of chunky lacing.

Smell - Roasted barley and some other faint chocolate.

Taste - Slightly sweet roasted finish, real subtle and flat in terms of character. Some bitterness but not really notable.

Mouthfeel - Rests basically nothing, fades so fast. Zero booziness and almost zero desire to drink this one down. I guess that makes it somewhat drinkable.

Overall - Meh, this is about as "average" a brew can get. It's not horrible but not good either. Would particularly recommend.

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Photo of PorterPro125
3.36/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I picked this one up not knowing what to expect. I had a feeling that Guinness was out of their realm with this one but gave it an honest try regardless.

A- This black lager poured a silky, cola like hue that when held to the light, displays some sexy ruby colours. 1 Finger width of tan head that quickly disappears into a thin film. Minimal to no lacing.

S- The smell is very faint but notes of toffee and roasted malt can be picked up. Nothing aromatic about this brew.

T- Upon diving into this one I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Guinness had managed to successfully make their entry into the world of Black Lagers. The taste mirrors the nose but with a little more intensity; very roasty and caramel/toffee like. Personally, I could not find anything much in the way of hop characteristics. Otherwise, the taste is very pleasing.

M- The mouth on this particular brew is very thin with light carbonation. Going off my experiences and enjoyment of other Guinness products, I decided to give it a fairly high score (all had similar mouthfeels).

O- Guinness Black Lager is a worthy effort from a legendary brewery. Although I didn't find it extremely great, I would recommend it nonetheless. If Guinness bumped up the carbonation and hopping, I believe this would be an excellent brew.

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Photo of ronniebruner
3.57/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

This is a very worthy effort from Guinness. Although not a traditional lager, this is something completely original in the lager category. The beer is not as dark as one may think, it is a dark amber color and pours a nice amount of head and lace. The beer has an earthy aroma and taste, leaving a nice hint of earthy malts on the palette. Overall this beer is great and easy to find, making it a great choice when the selection is limited at your local supermarket.

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Photo of B_Sloane89
4.43/5  rDev +43.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I'm surprised that Guinness Black Lager is rated as poorly as it is on the site. I thoroughly enjoy this beer, and if I'm ever out somewhere that has it, I almost always get it rather than whatever I was going to order before I saw it on the menu. This beer not only looks cool with it's dark appearance, but is surprisingly smooth considering how dark it is. It still packs a good lager flavor, though. Of course it's not traditional Guinness, but it's just as enjoyable to me.

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Photo of Olek4374
3.32/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

poured from a 341ml bottle into a pilsner glass of all things. The beer pours black. what a shocker. The smell is faint, but there are some nice malty and roasty aromas - it's nothing fantastic but it's okay. This is a beer that is less than meets the eye for sure - it looks like it'd be similar to guinness in taste, but it's a lot more milder. It's slightly sweet and slightly malty with a very clean finish and no unpleasant aftertaste. It reminds me of waterloo dark lager in that it is opaque as anything but doesn't deliver a huge hit of taste. That's not really bad though - this is still a fine beer and i'd gladly drink it again, but wouldn't buy a six pack - there is better stuff available.

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Photo of Vixie
3.23/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Looks like you would expect from Guinness, dark with a full tan head that leaves a bit of lacing. There is ruby red around the edges when held up to the light.

The smell isn't very strong, there is some roasted malt in there, with hints of chocolate and coffee.

Has that classic Guinness bitter bite to it, no doubt who made this one. It has a bit of sweetness to it, along with a bit of smokey bitterness. Finishes dry with a lingering bitterness.

Not as thick as I expected from how dark this is, but fairly typical of the style.

I actually liked this one. It has that Guinness quality to it without being as in your face. This is more a version to drink on a hot day, it goes down pretty easily and smoothly, yet still true to its heritage.

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Photo of schnauzeborne
2.95/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I would put this on the same level as Sam Adam's Boston Lager; significantly better than most of the "adjunct" lagers (Budweiser, Miller, Coors, etc.), but still below most ales (including Guinness's stout) on the market, especially on the craft beer circuit. It's basically what you would expect from the same wort used in making Guinness "extra stout", but with a lager yeast: chocolatey and slightly bitter (like vinegar bitter, as opposed to hops bitter), but with the bubbly, slightly acidic crispness characteristic of a lager. It definitely has that characteristic lager aftertaste that anyone used to drinking a lot of Budweiser or Miller would be familiar with, and I respect anyone looking for that particular note. However, for me, this beer is just okay. In fact, it is so okay, it will be the beer I mark as baseline when rating other beers in the future. I would not have bought it if it had not been on sale ($3.99 US for a 6-pack), and will likely be taking cost into consideration in my purchase in the future.

Tl;dr: it went . . . okay.

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Photo of slitherySOB
2.96/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.75

This is what I call a m'eh beer. It's okay, but nothing special. Not quite as good as Guinness stout, but a decent offering by Guinness brewery. Appearance is dark chocolate black, with a three finger head that quickly dissipates to nothing. Smells of stale coffee, plums, raisins, and malts. Taste has a bit of dark chocolate, with heavy plums and raisins. Oddly, the aftertaste is stronger than when the beer is actually in your mouth. Mouthfeel is thin and watery. Overall, a m'eh beer. I'd pick it up if it were cheap or free at a party, but the stout is a better beer.

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Photo of wordemupg
3.31/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

330ml bottle poured into pint glass 28/6/13

A looks like dark cola but has a maroon glow when held to the light, about as many bubbles as one could fit in a glass with a thumbs width of mocha foam that quickly falls to a thick film leaving some random lace on the way down

S coco, plum and faint cold coffee, a little raisin smells fairly faint and basic

T more chocolate but that's not saying much, less coffee and more plum and raisin, not a whole lot going on but decent for the style

M thin bodied and a little slick in the mouth, almost creamy but falls short, faint molasses on the finish, perhaps more flavor after you swallow the liquid than while its in your mouth

O nothing special but easy enough to drink but lacking intensity, one for the masses I suppose

basic black lager where there's nothing wrong but nothing standing out either, I wouldn't say no if passed to me but I doubt I'd spend my hard earned money on this one

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

Several bottle samples at the LCBO on WIlson as I explained what the term and style was to the friendly rep they sent out. Its black without much head, or unfortunately much taste either. It's not up to the style. Better than the stout they serve here.A bit thin and overcarbonated.

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Photo of gerite
3.84/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I was in my local beer buying place today looking for something new and grabbed a 6-pack of the Guinness Black Lager since I like black beers and lagers. I knew it would now be as strong or have the body and flavor of a traditional Guinness Stout. But that was what I was looking for. Since the 6-pack was already chilled I had one when I got home and found it to be very refreshing and drinkable by its self on a hot summer day. This is a great dark beer with a low ABV that allows you to have several at one sitting.

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Photo of Baron_Von_Brewhi
3.22/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

I recently purchased a 12 pak of cans at a too good to refuse price $11USD and apparently I really liked them and likely had a few too many. As I stated in my ratings, there was nothing not to like about this beer, until mid-way through my sleep cycle and into the next day.
Thankfully, I was alone and had no obligations the next day. I'm talking intestinal distress, folks, that will turn your friends and lovers against you and could cause permanent damage to your relationships. I hope I did not step out of bounds on this review, but I thought it an important note to my brothers and sisters who have lives and reputations to uphold.

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

A crushing disappointment that is being rated this highly solely due to its St. James' Gate namesake.

Bottle pours an impressive black (for a lager), with a tan head that disappears quickly. Aroma is somewhere between "non-existent" and "offensive", as the raw grains have a metallic brassiness that do not serve it well. There is less copper in the taste, although it remains simple and one-dimensional. Roasted, malted barley is present, but not well balanced or complemented.

Overall, nothing like their benchmark dry Irish stout.

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Photo of plaid75
3.61/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured a deep brown hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured light roasted malts and a soft sweetness.

The flavor was likewise round and moderately roasty with a grassy hop at the finish.

The mouthfeel was typical of the style.

Overall a tasty easy drinking beer.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
2.89/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Poured into a beer mug.

Look: The color of coffee in a glass, with ruby coming through in the light. A fizzy soda pop head recedes to a light film. Light spots of lacing on the glass.

Aroma: Faint grains, roasted malts, maybe coffee. Smells like an adjunct lager.

Taste: There's coffee in the finish. Everything else is very much in the vein of a non-skunky Euro lager.

Mouthfeel: Light and carbonated.

Overall: Really, no complexity or taste. Only tried it out of curiosity, and you know what that did to the cat ...

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Photo of olfolxholme
3.14/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle into Spaten Optimator dimpled mug

A - Pours with about two fingers of dark tan foam. Beer is a very dark brown and sucks up all nearby light particles. Patchy but present head retention.

S - A little flat, but features roasted malt. Something in the background that reminds me of bleach. Some nuttiness as it warms.

T - Tastes like roasted barley. More on the husk side of the spectrum. Very little sweetness. Dry and bready. Reminds me of sparkling water with barley flavor added.

M - A little thin, a little over carbonated.

O - Too much like fizzy barley water, for me. If you like the plain, bready maltiness of some Belgian Dubbels and Biere de Gardes, this could appeal to you. That sounds snarky, but it is meant sincerely. Also worth trying for fans of Newcastle. You never know when the magic will strike, right?


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Guinness Black Lager from Guinness Ltd.
3.09 out of 5 based on 1,966 ratings.
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