Budweiser Reserve Black Lager

Budweiser Reserve Black LagerBudweiser Reserve Black Lager
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German Schwarzbier
Ranked #49
Ranked #21,183
3.87 | pDev: 10.08%
Missouri, United States
Very Good
Budweiser Reserve Black LagerBudweiser Reserve Black Lager
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Reviews: 23 | Ratings: 41 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Nass
3.34/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I like the bottle label artwork, great use of color. The pour is in between dark brown & black. The taste is malt, faint chocolate, faint black bread, & molasses. The body is a little thin but what do you expect from a black lager. All in all, this was not a bad offering from Budweiser, I can see myself buying a 4 pack of this at a fair price. In addition to, this beer does drink well for a 7.1% abv black lager. Well hey, it's okay for a Budweiser beer but it could use a little more flavor. Cheers! B-

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Photo of pootz
3.81/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Can from 4Pack - decants a dark clear cola colored lager in the glass with a massive 3 finger tan colored meringue cap which lasts and laces....dank aromas of molasses, oak, whiskey, roast grains, dark dried fruit, cocoa...decent nose for a dunkler bock...Flavor follows aroma with cocoa-roasty-woody-dried fruit flavors in a decadent amalgam...long wet, rich silken finish with a oak intensity....very decent pseudo-barreled dunkler bock...no kids, this is NOT a Schwarzbier...too rich and slightly sweet....i'm impressed, dunkel bockbire is my favorite drink and this offering from a mega brewer is pretty decent.

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Photo of BrewAskew
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Light Tan head, moderate head retention, moderate lacing.

caramel, chocolate, vanilla, oak

Slightly sweet and toasty. No roasted character. Light chocolate and nuts. No strong hop bitterness.

Medium mouthfeel. Moderate CO2. No astringency. feels great.

A really nice sipper that hides the alcohol well and roughly corresponds to the Schwarzbier standard except for the high abv and thicker mouthfeel. Think of it as a high gravity wood-aged interpretation of the style.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.34/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Bottle from Hannaford caught my eye, what the hell I'll try it.
Dark brown with garnet at the edges and a light tan head that persists. Light toasty bready light hints of chocolate and some light vanilla and oak tannin. Not horrible but could use some more body.

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Photo of Claude-Irishman
4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a translucent deep garnet color with an off white quickly receding head. Smell is very muted,picking up on some mustiness,minor barrel note. Except for the one ring lacing this looks like a glass of burgundy in the Teku beer glass. Taste is mild cherry fruitiness, coffee ,cacao,anise, picking up barrel stave notes,almost a woody profile. Feels quite nice,medium body,light juicy finish. Overall I am amazed this is a Budweiser. Really worthwhile trying. I think this could be classified as a Dunkel as well.

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Photo of AccipiterofBeer
3.94/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

To me this beer comes across more like a dopplebock than a schwartzbier. The color is deceptively dark until you hold it to light when it glows a brilliant ruby red. Notes of malt, sweet chocolate and yes, a little bourbon in there. Taste follows suit, The flavor may be the best aspect of this beer. Less bitter with less hop characters than your typical black lager. Goes down smoothly for 7%. If you see it at your distributor or local supermarket, give it a try. You'll be surprised at the quality coming from this King of Beers creation.

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Photo of ScaryEd
4.04/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a shaker pint glass.

Pours a deep, ruby color with 2 fingers of off-white head. The head has modest retention, leaving some cobwebs of lace as it settles into a ghostly thin sheet.

The aroma brings a ton of grains and malt up front; subtly toasted. There are notes of sweet bread, caramel, and very faint vanilla. Mayyyybe some milk chocolate. A very subtle aroma, but also a very pleasant one.

The flavor follows the nose. Lots of doughy malt and toasted grains. There's some caramel, roasted coffee, chocolate, and toffee. Finishes with the absolute vaguest idea of hops. Not picking up any Jim Beam here, outside of maybe a subtle touch of vanilla. Still, a nice flavor.

The feel is medium bodied with pretty good carbonation. Crisp, smooth, and highly drinkable.

Overall, this is a great Black Lager that is surprisingly nuanced yet feels perfectly at home in the Schwarzbier category. A lot of people will understandably be turned off from this beer because it's Budweiser but trust me, it is absolutely worth a try because it is a truly well-made version of the style. Unfortunately the Jim Beam portion is pretty much useless but other than that, this is a freaking great beer.

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Photo of defunksta
3.63/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a dark, black, but slightly clear amber color with an off-white head. SRM of 20-21. (4.00)

Aroma: Aroams of milk chocolate, slightly roasted. A little bit of smoke. Lots of milk chocolate on the nose. (4.00)

Flavor: More strong chocolate on the tongue. A little bit of burnt, smokiness. Then a profound bourbon flavor. Sort of a mashed, over-ripened apple flavor. Maybe some hints of vanilla if I'm stretching. Just mostly milk chocolate with a smokey, bourbon finish/bite. (3.50)

Feel: Heaver-bodied as expected for 7.1%. Heavy and under-carbonated. Drinks a little like bourbon in that regard. Leaves a bourbon/alcohol bite on the palate. (3.25)

Overall: Some nice milk chocolate flavors get washed out by a smokey bourbon flavor. I suppose many will like this, but for me bourbon and beer don't really mix well. Has that fire-safety drill smokehouse smokiness to the flavor. Then the alcohol is stronger and has a heavy bite. (Final Rating: 3.63)

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Photo of buschbeer
4.16/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 FL. OZ. bottle
Served in a Miller pint glass

This beer pours a deep mahogany color with ruby highlights. It is topped with an inch of tan head that leaves little lacing.

The smell is roasted malt with hints of smoke, coffee, and chocolate.

The flavor is a combination of coffee, smoke, and chocolate. It is actually quite good.

Medium bodied with a smooth mouthfeel

This is actually a good beer. I bought it on a whim and am quite impressed. Most of their stuff is flavorless swill. This beer has good flavor and aroma for an underappreciated style. I would not hesitate to buy this again. It is probably the most flavor you are gonna get from a Budweiser lager.

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Photo of EvershineDan
3.54/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Interesting flavor. It's robust and dark roasty malty, but with a very distict "dryness" about it, and with the slightest hint of smokiness at the end. Overall it's a decent brew.

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Photo of Tantonys
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

For a Budweiser pretty decent, yet not the best. Delivers at 7.1% but misses the mark, maybe not by a long shot, so I am going to give them a 5 for effort. Maybe adding more Pale malt might help..'''

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.99/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 ounce aluminum bottle, best before date of 29MAR20 printed on the bottle. Served in a dimpled mug, the beer pours a mostly clear dark ruby red/brown color with about an inch tan head. Head retention and lacing are both decent enough. Aroma is nice, the brew smells like dark bread, coffee, cocoa, and some nuttiness. For the most part I think the taste is the same as the aroma, but there's also some vanilla, caramel and grainy malt flavors noticeable too. It's sweet tasting, don't really pick up any bourbon in this but it's tasty. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit slick and has a good amount of soft carbonation. I liked this brew, I wasn't expecting much but I thought this was an enjoyable beer, it was a nice surprise. Certainly worth a try, especially if you can pick up a single like I did. $2.99 for a single bottle.

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

Aroma is toasted malts, mild fruit and a hint of ash/burnt/smoke. The flavor is toasted malts, fruit, mild coffee and a slightly sweet/acidic finish.

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Photo of SierraNevallagash
4.09/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Admittedly, I have very strong negative opinions of Budweiser and its family of beers, however, I will set all that aside, and review this as honestly as I can, as though I were given this in a blind setting.

12oz stubby bottle - BB 11MAR20 - poured into an ale pint at 46F.

Pours a brilliant mahogany brown colour, nearly crystal clear, and remarkably red when held to the light. The beer is topped with nearly four fingers of incredibly light tan, dense, and foamy head, which has some impressive staying power. Some tenacious lacing is left behind as the head slowly slinks down. A very fine trail of effervescence can be seen rising straight up the middle in a thin pillar.

Nose: That classic clean lager crispness with these deep, warm, rich toasted malt aromas. There's very simple grains at the base of it. After spending some tine nosing it, the roast really comes to the forefront, and begins to smell more and more like a stout. Rich caramel, cocoa, nutty toasted barley all serve to create a very "dark beer"-like aroma, and yes, the Jim Beam barrel stave influence is quite there, and doesn't need much digging for.

Palate: As with many dark lagers, that first sip is always quite surprising. After having your nose buried in a wafting bouquet of dark toasty malt, you condition yourself to expect a rich roasty experience, and are subsequently taken aback by the light lager delivery. However, do not be fooled, as this is truly nothing like Budweiser's (in)famous American adjunct lager - watery and bland, seemingly lacking any and all flavour. No, this is actually quite flavorful and stout. It's similar to a dopplebock in many ways. Clean, smooth lager malt, almost fresh and bright, and then the gentle roasty notes flood in, caramel, toffee, a bit of cocoa, a touch of coffee, with the dry roasty character getting a bit roastier as it progresses. The bourbon barrel stave influence is also detectable, with a hint of bourbon and a hint of oak flashing here and there. The only real Budweiser influence comes near the finish, with this thin, light, slightly metallic taste that seems to linger for a bit, though thankfully masked a bit by the dry roasty finish. It isn't particularly complex or groundbreaking, and the bourbon influence isn't tremendous, but it has all the trademarks of a black lager, with a little bit of something extra.

Mouthfeel/Body: This is the first thing that captured my attention upon taking the first sip. I was expecting a weak, watery mess, but that just isn't the case. This actually has some heft to it. It sits in this perfect little area between light and crisp, and smooth and heafty. It's crisp and drinkable like a lager should be, yet there's a wonderful roundness to it, that really helps accentuate the roasted malts. Effervescence is fair, very fine in nature, and a bit on the lacking side, but not so much where the beer drinks flat. Some roasty drying in the finish.

Overall: Admittedly, I'm not only surprised, both also rather impressed that Budweiser managed to pull off an enjoyable beer. It's a shame they don't put the same effort into their core lineup. In the grand scheme of things, is the beer itself something to write home about? Probably not. Is it so unique and interesting, that it practically stands in its own category? No, hardly. Is it a fairly enjoyable, fairly affordable beer that stands a bit above its brand reputation? Absolutely. If you just want a good black lager, and aren't looking to blow $16 on a four pack of pints, I highly suggest giving this a try. I know it says the B-word on the label, but just try to ignore that long enough to take a sip...it's not so bad.

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Photo of CLD92
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An overall good showing from Budweiser, as I’ve found most of their specialty brews are. Budweiser in itself is so so in my opinion, but I’ve really enjoyed the special stuff they release like the Copper Lager, Discovery Reserve and now this. It’s a good brew that will get you where you’re going quickly if you don’t watch. Enjoy carefully, friends.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.69/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Budweiser Black Lager has a very thick, beige head, a clear, bubbly, copper appearance, and minimal glass lacing. The aroma is of faint brown bread crust, and the flavor is similar, but more pronounced, along with a syrup aspect, but no bourbon, from what I could detect. Mouthfeel is high medium, and Budweiser Black Lager finishes medium dry. RJT

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Photo of huthuty
4.29/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark red almost black, little head retention
Aroma is cocoa and vanilla but EXTREMELY light
Taste is much more impressive, coconut, and cocao hide the alcohol perfectly
I'm not a fan of budweiser but this is undeniably good

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Photo of wl2bill
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Nice black lager. Hint of bourbon in the background. This is the best of the special beers that they have come out with yet. That said, it is only a little better than average. This beer won't scare the average bud drinker.

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Photo of MackT
3.08/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured from “stubby” with a twist off cap.
Label said I have 5 months & 2 weeks, counting ahead, 27MAR20 (euro style date sequence). Poured black, vigorous pour produced ample head. Aroma is faint in all aspects, coffee, chocolate, bourbon. Taste is bourbonesque, chocolate/coffee, this sounds more interesting than the reality. BTW, label says “aged on real Jim Beam bourbon barrel staves”. I don’t understand what that means. Mouthfeel is slightly effervescent, slightly metallic. I’ve tried all the Bud “Special edition” brews, this is better than their other efforts, would I offer this to a friend? No.

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Photo of singletary
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

It pours a dark reddish color with a tan head that foams up good but disappeared to a small amount for the rest of the drink. It has a roasted malt smell, the taste is a sweet malt with a mildly faint hint of the Jim Been. Overall it was a pleasant surprise.

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Photo of Retroman40
3.67/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured a very dark tan with a good persistent white foam head. A lot of roasted malt in the smell with some oak in the background. The roasted malts are very pronounced on the tongue with the oak/bourbon notes coming with the surprisingly long finish. Although the mouthfeel is a tad thin, there is no "heat" from the 7.1% ABV either. Overall this is a decent beer, but at 9 bucks for a 4 pack it's a little on the pricy side. Still, if you like this style (with a kick) it's certainly worth a try.

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Photo of Freshwill
3.99/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: poured into a 12 oz glass, nice head about 1 1/2 finger. Dark tan, not black.

S: really nice smell of roasted malts, little vanilla, and some smoky notes.

T: very very smooth. Strong malt, sweet vanilla, little Smokiness that lingers at the end. You can taste a little bit of the bourbon Barrel aging but it’s not very pronounced.

O: this is a great drinking beer. It’s very smooth has good flavor, and a good showing from Budweiser. I personally like the copper lager more, but this is an easy drinker. Just be careful 7.1% ABV you can easily find yourself in trouble haha

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Photo of donspublic
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from stubby into a tulip, good 2+ finger tan head, great retention and lacing. Rubyish black in the glass, light can get thru, and it is crystal clear. Smells of roasted malt, slight vanillin. Taste is roasted malt in the front, some faint coffee, maybe a slight wisp of what might have been bourbon a while back. But it is super smooth, from front to end with the slight roast/coffee carrying thru the whole sip. There is a very slight bitterness on the finish that makes you go back for more. Seriously dangerous drinker at 7%. The bourbon brings a small amount of vanillin to the beer along with a slight twang (can't think of a better word) to the finish. Will gladly finish off the remaining 3 beers.

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Budweiser Reserve Black Lager from Anheuser-Busch
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 41 ratings