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

2,558 Ratings
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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

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Ratings: 2,558 |  Reviews: 1,437
Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.78/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: When the corner is held to the light, you can tell that the beer is a deep dark garnet color that has a 1/4" head of tan bubbles that stuck around for about a minute. There is some lacing left on the glass after the beer recedes.

Aroma: The aroma of sweet chocolate malts are the dominant force in the aroma, but there is also a pretty well defined hop presence that adds a floral sweetness of its own. After the head falls, there is a more noticeable dark caramel aroma coming out, but the chocolate still rules.

Taste: The flavor follows the aroma pretty closely. You get plenty of chocolate in the beginning and then there is a medley of flavors that mix after that. You can pick out the caramel and some hops. The bittering hops are reserved in this beer, and leave most of the balance to come from the dark malts. With the reserved bittering hops, the balance in the finish is definitely sweet. There is a mild syrupy feeling that coats your throat to give the finish a candy-like quality.

Opinion: This is a pretty good beer, and one of the best I have tried from Sam Adams. I have noticed that he likes to have one particular flavor stand out in the beer, and in this one it is the sweet chocolate. I really wonder if this is the base beer for his Chocolate Bock as the impression is very similar. I would drink this beer again, but I wouldn't go out of my way for it.

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Photo of danielharper
3.78/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Purchased from Great Spirits, Huntsville, AL as part of a Sam Adams mixed-pack that also included the Hefeweizen and the Boston Ale. My favorite of the beers in that pack.

Appearance is really pretty good on this beer, almost like a stout or porter. Pours pure black with a nice foamy head. No discoloration around the edges of the beer noted, and the head dissipates slowly.

The nose here was complex, dark and full of coffee flavors, much like a stout, but also with a hint of licorice. The hop profile didn't dominate this beer the way it does on a lot of Sam Adams brews.

Taste was also positive, again like a stout or porter, with the coffee flavors well-balanced by the hops. Again, the flavor of licorice was present somewhere in the background of this brew.

Mouthfeel was also good -- this beer was somewhat more watery than I would have liked, but it had a nice foamy texture to it and was quite pleasant.

The finish on the beer is a bit bitter, but overall the brew is pretty nice, and I think it's pretty drinkable. I really prefer the Sam Adams Cream Stout to this one, if we're comparing SA dark beers, but this was certainly worth the try and if I can ever find it in a six-pack by itself I'll probably buy it.

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Photo of shabbtastic
3.78/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pick this up as a brewmaster pack as well.

A - Pours a black body with a 2 finger white foamy head. Fades to a nice mid cap with nice lacing.

S - Very malty, roasted chocolate, bready with minimum hop scent.

T - Very smooth with roasted malt up front followed by a carmel roasted malt. A bit bitter up front as well. This is a really well balanced brew.

M - Smooth full bodied feel. A dry finish.

D - Very drinkable, great version of a Schwarzbier. Good effort by Sam Adams, recommended.

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Photo of Squire123
3.78/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark reddish brown color with tan cap and lacing.

Aroma of dark roasted malt with toffeeish undertones. A dark bread malty richness with just a whif of hop coating.

Taste is rich dark malt with a sense of liquid toffee touched with a hint of licorice. These rich flavors on entry mellow out mid palate while hops play some light notes in the background. I was expecting some sweetness to show up and was pleasantly surprised when it didn't. Flavors fade in the aftertaste ending with a touch of cocoa bitterness.

Medium texture with balancing carbonation.

They managed to make this one rich while keeping it dry. Not a complex brew but well crafted.

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Photo of jimj21
3.78/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Twelve ounce bottle with best by date of July 2009. Poured into a snifter. Pours black with some brown and red highlights. Big, fluffy, three finger mocha head with moderate retention. Leaves a bunch of lace all over the glass.

The smell is very malty. Aromas of caramel and roasted barley. A little smoky even. Very sweet smelling. Not much in the way of hop aroma. Maybe a little floral if anything.

There are a lot of different flavors going on in this beer. Sweet upfront. Caramel or molasses, some chocolate, a little coffee. There is a roasted flavor hovering in the background but it's slight. There is a touch of smoke in there as well. Hops present with a bit of tea-like flavor. A bit of hop bitterness on the finish. Good balance, but leaning more to the sweet side.

Medium bodied. Good carbonation. A bit crisp. Not dry at all. Pretty smooth. Good overall.

This was one of my first craft beers on my path to enlightenment. It's great that Boston Beer Company has made this, being a rarer style. This also tends to be considered one of the better beers that BBC makes, and I agree with that. It is great when you want some chocolate or roasted flavors without the heaviness of a stout or porter. It's not my favorite Sam Adams offering, but it is another good offering from them.

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Photo of BrewAskew
3.79/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours to a thin off-white head with bits of lace. Color is deep, brilliant ruby. Aroma suggests a lagerlike slickness blended with the roastiness you'd expect from a porter or stout. Low amount of noble/spicy hop aroma. Flavor is sweet malt dominant, not really roasty at all. It is on the sweet side of the style--almost too sweet. I was expecting a drier beer. Mouthfeel is medium. Finishes slightly roasty and malty. Could use a bit more bitterness, but overall a pleasant experience.

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Photo of Treyliff
3.79/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- pours black but with a bit onf ruby hue when held up to the light. Light-tan thi I and creamy head with great retention long after the pour. Just a bit of lacing.

S- sweet malts, bready grain and an earthy hop spice.

T- Sweet malts with a slight burnt edge, a bit of smokiness with a light molasses sweetness. Finishes a bit astringent with a a spicy hops kick, then dries out.

M- light bodied with a smooth creaminess. Med-low carbonation, very refreshing.

O- a refreshing beer that is suitable for winter or summer. It has the characteristics of porters or stouts but is much lighter and versatile. A great offering from Boston Beer Co.

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Photo of Misfit138
3.79/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was wanting to try this for some time.
Poured from bottle into my Dos Perros pint glass,

A- Nice dark dark brown with a huge foamy head.

S- Mostly chocolate malt not much else

T- Dominated by chocolate malt, maybe some caramel hints

M- Fairly thick

D- I would rate this fairly high. Its good.

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Photo of matcris
3.79/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Black, with a finger of tan foam, mild lacing left down the glass, very ruby up to the light. The aroma is roasted malts, bread crust, and a mild, but, pleasant cocoa. Same for the flavor, the beer is pretty balanced; I'd say it leans toward the sweeter side, overall. Full carbonation, medium thin body, and dry. Nice pleasant brew, here. The first one I had in the Fall pack tasted very sour/infected. This beer was nothing like that.

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Photo of scottum
3.79/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a deep dark brown with a nice full tan headskie. Full roasty flavor with thin mouthfeel. Hop balance is there, but not perfect. This is a very decent lager worth checking out. It is so good to see Boston Beer Company checking out new styles.

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Photo of bodybyadam
3.79/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I wasn't sure of this beer at first, this was a new style for me, and I was ambitious to try.
A: Poured a dark black translucent color with 1” frothy head that dissipates to a thin bead around the glass.
S: A rich/ strong malt character is bold in the nose almost of molasses.
T: There is almost a burnt, roasted wood taste that was very smooth. The bare essence of ETOH held up for a nice finish into that S.A. touch of caramel.
M: Not thin in any regards but a smooth balance to make this your “winter warmer” substitute.
D: If you find a six-pack of this, I wouldn’t hesitate. West coasters typically need to look harder for this one, but it’s worth it.

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Photo of acevenom
3.79/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Samuel Adams perfect pint glass. Pours dark brown with a thick, light tan head and plentiful rising bubbles in the beer. The head recedes somewhat slowly, leaving some lacing behind on the glass. Lacing is left behind on the glass during consumption. The aroma is of dark roasted malt, toffee, chocolate, and some hints of spiciness from the hop varieties that were selected (spalt and hallertau mittelfruh). The flavor is malty with some mild toffee, mild chocolate, water, and some hop spiciness. The body is light with moderate carbonation. The finish is slightly dry and the drinkability is very high. This is a very good beer.

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Photo of sgoodship
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this one in Cleveland. My mother in-law held onto it for me - thought I'd like to try it.

A: Dark brown, almost black. Rich burgundy highlights showing against the light. Pretty dense stuff - looks porter-like. Creamy head finger head that dissipated to a dusting and a ring.

S: Lager yeast, sweet maltiness, a touch of hop. A hint of coffee an licorice.

T: Very much like the smell. Caramel malt and coffee is more apparent in the taste. Finish is a nice sour ale type experience. Not hitting the spot like I thought it would.

M: Nice and clean like a lager but creamy in the mouth. Light/medium mouth with medium carbonation.

D: They recommended this with BBQ. I had one with Mexican and that was just fine by me. This is my first Schwarzbier. I liked the refreshing lager mixed with malty satisfaction - a real hybrid. I'd really like to try this again. Not blowing my mind but a sound brew.

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Photo of Todd
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a seemingly black beer, but upon closer inspection deep ruby hues and edges. Head of slightly off-white and seems, with a thin lace. Good head retention.

Light molasses, sweet bready grain, and husk in the nose. Soft smokiness.

Smooth and fairly light on the palate. Light malty base with a watery astringent-like character, faint caramel, burnt edges, suggestions of smoke, a quick semi-sharp citric flash of hop bite - a bit limey - and soft dark berry fruitiness. Soft touch of spice in the hops. Sweetish linger that rides into a drying finish.

A damn tasty Schwarzbier! Nice to see a large craft brewer release such an unknown and uncommon beer style.

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Photo of tigg924
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: medium head, medium carbonation, black

Smell: malt and chocolate

Taste: follows the smell with some smoky roastiness coming out towards the end

Mouthfeel: smooth, crisp, slightly sweet

Drinkability: I could easily session this. This is one of my favorite Sam Adams offerings. just unique and smoky enough.

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Photo of prdstmnky
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Looks black, but some nice brown and reddish hues when held to the light. I got 3 fingers of fluffy light tan head with an aggressive pour (probably a bit too aggressive).

A nice combination of sweet and roasted malts in the nose, also some chocolaty mocha hints. A bit more of a roast character on the tongue, but nice. Still pick up on the sweetness especially in the finish, and as it warms. A smooth, medium body with pleasant carbonation.

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a shiny oil-black like a stout or porter, with a creamy inch-thick light tan head that doesn't last very long. Some lace was left along the sides of the glass.

Smells like a mild stout or porter, with roasted characteristics present but timid. Same with the hops and chocolately elements, which lay even further back. But it all feels more subtle to me than weak, as I enjoyed poking my sniffer in there throughout the drink.

Flavors are well done, with a comfy roasted/toasted maltiness at the fore, followed by a fluffy chocolate lightness, a rich molasses element, and well-balanced bittering from the hops. Mouthfeel is at once thin, sticky and tingly.

Overall a successful treat from Sam Adams, not one of their best but certainly worth picking up for its better attributes. Just a few steps over from a porter or stout, but less heavy in terms of body and ABV.

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Photo of nortmand
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours deep ruddy red, with a nice tan foam.
Lightly roasted coffee smel, kinda like when the roaster is just getting stated. Maybe a little chaff, maybe not.
Chocolate sweet upfront, followed by acidity midtongue and sweet roast bitterness at the end.
Smooth, and fairly drinkable, although not as complex as I prefer a schwarzbier.

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Photo of SickGnar
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Deep Mahogany, just about black, with deep ruby highlights that verge toward purple. Very clear despite the color. A light tan head pops right up, then falls to a ring that stays to bottom, and leaves okay lacing.

S: Roasty malts riding on light, sweet, grainy pils type base. Very Porter like actually - if a tad thin for the style. Rather roasty for a Schwartzbier. Nice enough though, whatever style it is.

T: On the roasty side for style. Aftertaste of an exceptionally clean porter. Nothing really steps out and says, "lager." Dark roast malts mostly contribute chocolate but also lightly tart dark dried fruits. The barest faint hints at coffee. Sweetness also darker on palate than the nose - more toward molasses & toffee. Only getting a vague hint of hops, seems to be just for balance in taste but grows in aftertaste.

M: Just medium body with firmly matched CO2. Makes for a lively mouthfeel that is rather different (but nice) in such a dark beer.

D: I think this is the typical US take on the Black Lager style. Sort of a light, low gravity, understated Baltic Porter. Mostly just in flavor/aroma profile - it does not have the heft & bulk of a real porter. Flavorful & refreshing.

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Photo of imbibehour
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass. More Samuel Adams festing continues I guess...

A good solid large three finger head off the pour and an off tan color, but with some light foamy consistency and not much retention. Body is at first appearance extremely black walnut but to the light is a very dark red, even clear.

Bouquet, is a mild ripped grain and light roast. Small coffee sense typical of a schwarzbier. Small but quite decent.

Taste overall is a little lacking but still manages to deliver flavor. Palate hits in the finish with a little milky malt almost milk stout. Dry roof top dry mouth on the finish for feel. Leaves also some dry mildly burnt coffee almost on the swallow which I actually kind of like.

Overall fairly decent and surprising, tastes like a schwarzbeir to me and not too bad for one either.

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Photo of flaminghomer
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

this one reminds me of the heineken and beck's "dark" that i would drink back in the day when i was just getting into beers that weren't bud. smell and flavor taste along the lines of a dark euro. from memory i would say that this beer is better than those that exploit this style the most. color is a very dark ruby if you hold it up to the light, head is nice. smell is of course roasted malts, hints of coffee and chocolate. taste is roasty and malty. so there you go, cheers.

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Photo of jwc215
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a brownish black with ruby highlights, a little lighter than expected, and a thin tan head.
The smell was on the thin side, but had hints of roasted coffee, chocolate and caramel.
The taste was of malty chocolate, caramel, and a touch of dark coffee with a hop presence in the background.
The mouthfeel was a bit thin, but refreshing while holding most of the flavors. It did have a sweet kick to it, especially in the aftertaste.
Not a bad example of this style, though I've had several better. It's certainly not one to turn down, and worth buying if better ones are not available (which is often the case with this style, unfortunately.)

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Photo of beerprovedwright
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Almost black beer with a one finger head from the pour. Head is light brown in color, thick foam that evaporated in less than a minute. Tight lace that has little cling. Color is a 40 on the SRM beer color chart, can't get any darker than that, although with a strong light shining through the brew, it is actually a very dark reddish brown. Smells of a hint of caramel, coffee, chocolate, sweet burnt malt, and roasted wheat. Flavor is bold but not overpowering. Sort of a sweet coffee taste with caramel and chocolate. The malt flavor seems to have some cinnamon hints. A little wimpy in my mouth, some sense of fullness, but just not quite the zip I was hoping to feel. The flavor grows on me as I work the level in my glass south. Might have to have another to fully appreciate the flavors.

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Photo of srrn
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Another brew from the Brewmasters Selection. Poured a deep brown, almost black, tan head that quickly reduces, there is some lacing.

Smell is burnt toast, slightly smokey.

Taste is the same with a lingering aftertaste, slightly smokey, and dry, not too sweet.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin

All around a nice drinkable dark beer.

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Photo of jaymirage
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought this in a mix pack with the Honey Porter and the Brown Ale.

Pours a rich, dark, mahogany, but I wouldn't go so far as to call it black. It's definitely a dark, dark brown. Nice head retention, lingering a few moments before disappearing into a fine lacing.

Taste is big caramel, with a very, very thin mouthfeel. Not much else is present here, but the caramel is pleasant enough. The thinness adds to the experience, lending some drinkability.

Not a bad choice. But if you're looking for more complexity in this mix pack, I'd select the Honey Porter.

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Samuel Adams Black Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.74 out of 5 based on 2,558 ratings.
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