Blackwing Lager | Union Craft Brewing Company

very good
120 Ratings
no score
Send samples
Blackwing LagerBlackwing Lager

Brewed by:
Union Craft Brewing Company
Maryland, United States

Style: Schwarzbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.90%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by RichardMNixon on 01-13-2013

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 15 | Ratings: 120
Photo of brentk56
4.23/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours with a nice bubble show that produces a full three fingers that covers the cola colored liquid; nice retention and lacing action

Smell: Toasted German black bread and tea

Taste: Toasted German black bread; earthy, tea-like tones build through the middle; a hint of malty, almost chocolate, sweetness in the finish

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Union puts out some very nice beers and I always enjoy them when I am in the Baltimore area; this one does a nice job on a style you just don't see very often

 566 characters

Photo of ocelot2500
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, cola color with a tight, off-white head that leaves no lacing.

Smells of roasted malts.

Tastes of the roasted malts layered with a clean finish. Malts lead off with notes of brown sugar, coffee, and some chocolate. This gives way to some roasted bitterness, which is backed by a bit of grassy hops. Finishes fairly clean.

Mouthfeel is medium with a slightly crisp amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is a nicely done Schwarzbier.

 452 characters

Photo of BJB13
4.02/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Canned 10/19/16 Stamped on the bottom of can.
12 oz. can poured into a narrow mug.

Look- Poured a cloudy deep dark brown that was mahogany around the edges but otherwise nearly opaque.
2 fingers of foamy tan head with sticky lacing that diminished to @ 1/4 finger but hung around for the duration.
Smell- Earthy. Aroma of lager yeast and roasted malts with a touch of hops.
Taste- Slightly sweet with medium bitterness. Nutty with roasted malts and a bit of chocolate and dark fruit. Finishes smooth, sweet and a little sour.
Feel- Fairly smooth with light to medium body and good carbonation.
Overall- A light and refreshing, easy drinking dark beer that I would say is within the guidelines for Schwarzbier. Though this can was a little older than I would have liked, I don'the think it was an issue. I will get a fresh 6 pack and see if it is any better.

As with most of Union's other products, there are a few nods to Baltimore/ Maryland heritage on the can. Nice!

 974 characters

Photo of EMV
3.79/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 oz can into a mason glass

L: Clear dark mahogany brown pour, nearly black. A bit of light snakes through around the edges. Two fingers of foamy tan head. Sticky lacing.

S: Roasted malts and grains. A bit tart.

T/F: Roasted malts and grains but more sweetness/caramel than expected. A bit of vanilla. Some mild sour/bitterness from the roast as well as some noble hops. Well carbonated. Smooth and clean... fairly light in body. Finish is a mild sweetness.

O: A tasty Schwarzbier... not a style I visit frequently but this was a great representation and quite good. Things I've come to expect from Union.

 638 characters

Photo of mynie
3.91/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As I am a rank idiot, I've had the Darkwing Duck theme playing in my head since I grabbed this out of the fridge. I just say, out loud in an empty room, "when there's trouble you call BW." And now in my greatest moment of shame, I present my review.

12 ounce can procured direct from the brewery.

Pours a dark and hazy brown with a small head that fades away quickly. Smells like a good, fresh German schwarz: malt-forward, coffee-ish yet crisp.

Tastes somewhat more American but still true to the style. Dark malt up front, coffee and a little bit of cereal grain the middle, with a nearly ester-less finish replete with a light nobel hop profile.

Nothing to write home about, but a well-made iteration of the style.

 728 characters

Photo of stakem
2.25/5  rDev -41.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12oz can poured into a tulip. The brew appears dark brown in color with lighter brown clarity around the edges when held to the light. The cap is khaki in color that fades leaving patchy lace.

Aroma is slightly roasty with minerals and carbonic character filling most the profile with a touch of cola quality.

Taste is a little musty and mineral filled with an aftertaste faintly reminescent of the way stink bugs smell. There is also a stale grain component to this.

This is light bodied and modestly carbonated. Borderline drainpour, the fuck happened here.

 562 characters

Photo of woodychandler
3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I was down in Baltimore during the Fall for Baltimore Beer Week and I had occasion to stop by the brewery to score any of their CANs that I had not previously reviewed. This one required an approved pic before it could be included in The CANQuest (TM), but here we are!

From the CAN: "Give This CAN a [CAN]tract"; "A Champion of Flavor"; "Don't Ruffle Our Feathers [-] Recycle This CAN"; "This crisp, clean dark lager begins with hints of roasted coffee beans and rich chocolate but showcases a surprisingly light body and mouthfeel. This Schwartzbier, German for 'black beer,' is moderately hopped with Noble German hops that [CAN]plement the delicate malt backbone. Not to be underestimated, this dark lager is a true champion of flavor! Caw-caw!"

The Crack! unleashed a squirt from the brimful CAN and I could only smile. I upturned the CAN and began an inverted Glug, producing a finger of dense, light-tan head with decent retention. Color was Dark Brown to Very Dark Brown (SRM = > 27, < 34) with mahogany highlights. Nose had a chocolatiness that I would characterize as milk chocolate, as opposed to dark or bittersweet. Roasty? Not really, at least not on the nose. Mouthfeel was medium-to-full, approaching creamy. The taste was very much of milk chocolate, leading me to wonder about their mention of "roasted" in the description. Was I missing something, or did they overstate their case? No matter, either way, but it might lead to misplaced expectations. Granted, I got a light smokiness of the finish that rendered it semi-sweet overall, but this was sweeter than I expected.

 1,592 characters

Photo of smakawhat
3.86/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the can into a Libbey style Pilsner glass.

Deep mahogany brown body, with some faint tan edges, even some dark lemon yellow towards the bottom. Head is swiss cheese in a consistency, and light coffee brown in color. A bit soapy with some moderate retention. Falls to a simple collar after some time with no lacing.

Solid nose on the beer. Good clean lager yeast with crisp mix and roast character. Hints of light drip coffee and piping brewed warmth. Nice ripping dry grain it seems with a bit of toasty arid qualities as well.

Palate comes nicely. Soft malts, but with a light almost watery body. Coffee flavors come and finish quite quickly. Dry arid qualities match as well, finishing very dry and with a mineral like finish. Quite a bit crackery feeling, and a little bit of chocolate sweetness is buried in there as well.

It's a pretty solid schwarzbier but is a little fleeting with a light body, almost too light. Still enjoyable.

 953 characters

Photo of fourstringer
3.96/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz can into a glass tumbler. Moderate hand. No identifiable date on the package.

A: Dark brown-red with good clarity. 1 finger off-white head. Ok retention. Minimal lacing.

S: Roasted malt with a great nuttiness. Flourishes of coffee, chocolate. Trace hops. Wisps of indistinct dark fruit character.

T: Roasted maltiness opens, but sweetness is limited. A light-to-moderate hop bitterness develops before a fairly dry, clean finish. No significant alcohol. Slightly burnt bitterness lingers in the aftertaste.

M: Moderate carbonation with a rather light body. Easy drinking with a slight prickliness.

O: Ample roasty/toasty malt notes in a light-bodied beer. American-style hopping with noble-type hops. Would function well in either warm or cold weather. Sessionable.


 801 characters

Photo of tone77
3.51/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. can. Has a cola color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of smoke, coffee, roasted malts. Taste is coffee up front, some smoke and roasted malts, touch of hops, mild bitterness. Feels light in the mouth and overall is a pretty good beer.

 254 characters

Photo of delta490
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a deep, almost black, brown with a pale tan head. No retention or lacing left. The aroma is pleasant, with nice deep roasted malt, slight coffee and maybe some hints of anise or liquorice. The taste is really phenomenal, with the roasted flavors up front and center and a nice earthy hops in the background. There is a pleasant silky mouthfeel and and little bite from the hops. This is a really good dark lager, full of flavor but not too heavy.

 456 characters

Photo of gillagorilla
3.28/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Sample on tap at Smaltimore (3/11/14)

A: Black with only a collar head. Decent lacing.

S: Smokey rye. Watery. Burnt. Toasty.

T: Smokey but not too much. Watery. Black. Lots of rye and some malt. Eh.

M: Smooth. Massage. Bubbles.

O: Ok. I had to get this because it was $3 for a pint and it is Union's new addition to their canning line. This was decent but a bit bland.

 373 characters

Photo of mentor
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a finer of off-white head over a clear very dark brown liquid. Smells dry coffee roast with a little bit of cherry sour to the roast. Newspaper and mild earthy noble hops. Tastes dry roast with a mild sweet chocolate playing underneath. Very light alcohol and absent of esters. Earthy hop bitter carries into the aftertaste with the lingering dry roast. Medium light in the mouth with moderate carbonation. I'm not a fan of this style, but this beer is a pretty decent drinking for a Schwarzbier.

 502 characters

Photo of cyclonece09
4.24/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a pint glass. Pours with a nice one finger head with a reddish black body. Smells of coffee, small bit of chocolate, very inviting. Tastes of coffee with a good dark roasted malt body. Beer is very light extremely drinkable and carbonated well. Overall a very good beer.

 282 characters

Photo of RichardMNixon
4.26/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Had a few on tap at the brewery, listed as a black lager. I think it fits Schwarzbier better than Euro Dark. They brew this one less often than the other two flagships just due to the extra capacity required to lager it, but it's the closest they have to a third flagship.

It pours a cloudy brown that sort of belies the black title. It's easy to forgive though as aromas of roasty malt drift up to your nose. The taste is even better: roasted caramel and chocolate with crisp and gentle hops for a clean ending. Fantastic amount of flavor for such a light beer.

 565 characters

Blackwing Lager from Union Craft Brewing Company
3.82 out of 5 based on 120 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.