Samuel Adams Black Lager | Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

2,554 Ratings
Read the review
Samuel Adams Black LagerSamuel Adams Black Lager

Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Massachusetts, United States

Style: Schwarzbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.90%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by TheJudge on 12-27-2004

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,554 |  Reviews: 1,434
Photo of Samadamsfan2
3.28/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer produced mixed results for me, it looked and smelled great of chocolate and caramel, however, I tasted it and found that it lacked some flavor and ended being slightly thinner than expected. I'm not entirely let down though, and I would buy it though I hope that it could be improved.

 294 characters

Photo of lawman834
3.28/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A-Dark Red, with thin off-white head.

S-Smoke and Coffee.

T-Smoke, Coffee and Nut.

M-Kinda heavy and thick. Maybe chewy.

D-Not very drinkable. I don't like heavy, thick beers. I like a lot of flavor (e.g. a Vienna or an IPA), but I don't like a heavy beer that drags you down. To date, Sam BL is my favorite daily drinker, so this one was a let down. Got it in a seasonal sampler.

 384 characters

Photo of JRed
3.28/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dark brown with reddish edges and an off white head that lasts. Weak aroma of cinnamon, prunes, medicinal notes, maple. Tastes of maple, cinnamon, prunes, some hop presence toward the finish but a lasting medicinal tang takes over in the aftertaste. Light body with medium carbonation. Tangy with spice but a lil too much.

 322 characters

Photo of YodersBeerEmporium
3.27/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of TAMU99
3.27/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a black-brown with a moderate tan head.
Scents of charcoal and toffee waft from the foam
Tastes mirror the aroma - smoke, caramel and coffee - standard stuff for a beer this dark. Not too bitter. Nicely balanced.
Smooth, no significant bite.
Certainly drinakable. The Stout character is tempered by it's lager roots

 325 characters

Photo of BeerKangaroo
3.27/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Into a pilsener:

A: black body, slightly beige highlights the edges of the white foamy head that quickly fades

S: slight coffee, subdued chocolate and cola

T: mildly sweet,

M: medium, slightly sessionable, smooth aftertaste and finish

O: good for the style and good for me

 278 characters

Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.27/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Presentation: 12oz brown pop top, best by January 2012. From the Autumn/Harvest mix pack.

Appearance: Dark brown in the glass, dark walnut beer with bright clarity when held up to the light. Beige head which falls a bit too quickly.

Smell: Lots of chocolate in the initial nose. Almost s'mores-like, with hints of toasty graham as well. Not typically what I associate with a schwartzbier, but it's not unpleasant. A bit of nice toasty malt character skulking around there in the background, I'm assuming from the Munich malt. A swirl and a bit of warming bring just a ghost of burnt malt.

Taste: Quite honestly, this is fruitier than I expected from a lager. The fruitiness is really what gets you first, and is fairly dominant; the roast (lightly bitter, relatively low in intensity, and pleasant) comes later. The flavor's actually pretty mild. Just a hint of mild, clean hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Too high on the carbonation; makes it seem a bit thin

Overall: I'm not one to hate on Sam Adams, far from it. The Irish Red in this pack was ok, and the Oktoberfest, Rauchbier, and Pumpkin Ale were enjoyable. This one just doesn't do it for me though. There isn't the nice Munich toasty background, nor the roast intensity that make the good German schwartzbiers, and this tastes more like an ale, with the estery profile. It's not a BAD beer, per se, but I don't see myself ever buying a sixer of it (unlike Sam's Cream Stout, which is pretty tasty).

 1,459 characters

Photo of mattcrill
3.27/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle tells me that for brewery fresh taste I need to purchase it before August of '05...ok, fine.

Appearance: A cola-like pour with ruby edges. A nice crusty two-finger head forms at the top of my pint glass.

Smell: Not much going on in this department. Faint wheat bread and carmel noted but nothing else.

Taste: Smoky, roasty, oatmeal, and some walnut notes going on here. A sweeter, slightly carmel finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and kind of prickly due to the carbonation.

Drinkability: I think this is a marvelously quaffable beer. This may be a good "intro" beer to those macro lovers that might have an inclination towards darker beers.

Nice to see that Sam Adams can still make some goodies while still catering to the masses. Recommended.

 771 characters

Photo of sammy44
3.26/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From a bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance was black with ruby colors around the edges. Off white head that was a bit thin. The taste had some dark chocolate and slightly coffee flavors. There was a very slight amount of hops in the after taste. Mouthfeel was nice and not as watery as some stouts can be, of course I guess that's because it's not a stout. As far as drinkabilty goes I guess you could knock back a few. If you get the Sam Adams Holiday pack this has the lowest alcohol in there so it would probably be the only one you could have a few of and not lose your legs.

 583 characters

Photo of LacquerHead
3.26/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a Sam Adams pint at 51 degrees. I had a dark maroon, almost like a pinot noir, and brown translucence. It tasted best at temps in the high 40's to low 50's.

The aroma reminded me of roasted almonds or walnuts.

The taste had a smoky quality at times along with a brown sugar sweetness. There was a slight bitterness. Overall I thought it had a rusty quality, and I mean that in a good way.

It was very drinkable and had a smooth m/f.

Overall it seemed a bit average. It was okay and I could easily drink this all night, but there was nothing that would keep me going back again and again - I will be moving on.

 628 characters

Photo of scottoale
3.26/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This was one from the "Brewmaster Collection" six-pack and poured into the SA Black Lager slender goblet a dark mahogany-brown with a massive two-inch foamy tan head. I got a little aggro on the pour, thus the huge started settling into a rocky, frothy 3/4 inch and left some good lace initially. Shortly after it died down to a ring and a little bubble lace after each taste.

At first my nose could sense much of anything coming from it, then as it warmed a bit, I could finally smell some dark roasty malt and a faint bit of sweetness of some chocolate malt as well. Not very impressive as compared to it's looks...

The flavor had a nice dark roasted thing going on and a sweet malt with some chocolate down to the finish. Medium body if that, the finish was rather watery, but clean. Mouthfeel kind of watery too.

Easy enough to drink with a mellow ABV, worth a try but wasn't impressed.

 909 characters

Photo of Amalak
3.26/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark, if not completely black, beer. Decent head with good lace and retention.

It has a mild smoky flavor to it like a porter, but a smooth, lager taste and mild aroma. Has a rusty feel to it. Tastes closer to a porter than a lager. It's an odd taste for a lager. It tastes very good.

 285 characters

Photo of Azumel
3.26/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This is a rather light beer for as dark as it looks. While I do enjoy this beer, when I look away and turn back I keep hoping that it will be as hearty as it looks, but alas, that is not the case. Perhaps a nice change when you're just not up for a heavy stout, but want others to think you're having one. I guess this is anything but a glowing review, but I actually do like this beer.

 386 characters

Photo of champ103
3.26/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a black color with some ruby highlights. A small white head forms but recedes fast, and leaves little lace down the glass.
S: I did not enjoy the aroma of this at all. The first thing that hits me is a nasty chemical aroma. Once I get past that, faint chocolate malt and hops can be detected.
T: A nice malt profile is the first thing I notice when I take a sip. As the beer warms, it turns into a very bitter dark chocolate taste. A bit too bitter for me. Some hops are present as well This gives the beer a different kind of bitterness, which is not a bad thing.
M/D: Very watery and thin in the mouth. Though it is pretty smooth and easy to drink.

This is another let down for me with the Brewmaster's Collection. I remember liking this beer a few years back, I guess my palate has changed. I don't think I will try this again.

 840 characters

Photo of mjohn27603
3.26/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours blackish to dark brown in color. Head is tanish and overfills the glass. Aroma is almost non-existent. Not any distinguishable aroma. First sip reveals a roasted taste. Some charcoal and sweetness in the aftertaste. Tastes of ashes and sweetness. Very typical schwarzbier taste. Not my favorite style but definitely a credible example. Part of a variety six pack. Best before Sept. 2005.

 393 characters

Photo of SuomiHobbit
3.25/5  rDev -13.1%

Photo of SinutabRamirez
3.25/5  rDev -13.1%

Photo of Zephenbrewid
3.25/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Rather quickly disappating head. When held to light it reveals a deep red coloration not apparent in a dimmer environment. I smelled notes of salt water taffy but this was very subtle and the smell is rather weak overall. Malts give a roasted character to this while allowing hops to balace very well. It has a light bodied refreshing feel to it and has a slightly lingering malt aftertaste as well.

 399 characters

Photo of astidad
3.25/5  rDev -13.1%

Photo of EBeckett3
3.25/5  rDev -13.1%

Photo of Neptune
3.25/5  rDev -13.1%

Photo of Jirin
3.25/5  rDev -13.1%

Photo of Kunstman
3.25/5  rDev -13.1%

Photo of buzzy
3.25/5  rDev -13.1%

Photo of tommy5
3.25/5  rDev -13.1%

Samuel Adams Black Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.74 out of 5 based on 2,554 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.