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

2,555 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: 2,555 |  Reviews: 1,435
Photo of calebmills
4.03/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

love dark beer! this is one of my favorite sam adams brews. It has a deep sort of coffee roasted flavor. i think if you like strong stouts or porters and like a good lager you will like this. my favorite out of the 6 pack with brown ale, honey porter and black lager definately worth a try and a good beer thats easy to find

 324 characters

Photo of mynie
4.03/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm not a fan of the way this style pours. Should I hold its hand and clap when it's decent pour, great by shortbus schwarz standards, but still miles behind a great stout pour? I don't know, and I only ask because this here is a fine example of a schwarzbier pour. Solid back, not opaque but close, with a nice tight little brown head.

Smells: Scwarz liquid smoke and funky yeast malt. Nice all around. Not too complex, not too strong; just nice.

Smokey malt, moving into earthy, cigarette tastiness in the middle, ending on sour malt and dry hop. Nice. I wish I knew what malt this was.

A great example of the style, suprising that Boston Beer Co would take such a risk.

 683 characters

Photo of BucBasil
4.04/5  rDev +8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured into a pint glass from the bottle. Literally looks black at first glance, with some brown to cola notes coming through upon further glance. Lives up to its name. Head is about one inch thick and appears off-white to tan.

Smell: Smells like chocolate milk at the first waft, with further smells revealing some roasted cocoa notes, as well as some coffee. Very good, and exactly what I wanted from this brew.

Taste: Strong chocolate notes dominate throughout, finishing clean with some coffee taste. There is a nice roasted malt note in the middle there somewhere, but it gets lost in the chocolatey mixture of tastes here.

Notes: Deceptively light-tasting for the color of this brew. With the opaque blackness I was expecting something very filling, but that just goes to show how things do not always meet the eye, especially with beers... At 4.9% this is a great and surprisingly sessionable beer. If you love the roasted and deep chocolate flavors in beer, then this one is for you. Compare to a stout or porter...

 1,046 characters

Photo of Jyubei
4.04/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A. Solid black. I held it up to a lamp and didn't see anything. Moderate tan head with decent lacing.

S. Smelt of malt and hops with a hint of fruityness, almost like the sugary smell of dried fruits.

T. It tasted of malt, grains, and some spices I couldn't place.Reminicent of a heaty bread like pumpernickle.

M. A little too sticky, it feels syrupy, but without a sweeter taste it fells a little off.

Af. A very pleasant and mild aftertaste of wheat bread and nuts.

 471 characters

Photo of Mora2000
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a black color with an off-white head. The aroma is very nice. I get some chocolate, roasted malt and a nuttyness. The flavor is heavy on the chocolate and roasted malt, but I also get a little burnt character as well as some cream notes. The beer is a lot sweeter than I expected it to be, but there is a nice bit of bitterness from the hops and burnt malt at the end. Medium, creamy mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Very enjoyable.

 448 characters

Photo of GrumpyGas
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Overall, a very drinkable dark lager.

While I hold no particular desire for the flavor or texture of foam. The head's rapid dissipation in this lager left me wanting.

Happily, the dark color and heavy look didn't translate to a full feeling.

It is reminiscent of Turbodog, and compares favorably, but I prefer the Abita for the fruit over coffee flavor.

Not a bad dessert beer(for dessert, rather than with dessert).

 422 characters

Photo of hoffman
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Head rises but to only about 1/2 finger befor settling to a nice bubbly tan cap on the beer. Lacing stays about 1 inch above the beer down the glass. The nose on this one is sweet, some sour dark fruits and slight sugary grains come through....if the aroma was more robust it would command a much higher score, but it is a bit faint. I really enjoyed the flavor of this one. Smooth slightly grainy with that sour dark fruit mirroring the nose. A neat mellow burnt flavor fin the finish but an overall smooth sweet and inviting taste. Very nice. The mouthfeel is smooth, creamy and adequately carbonated. This is very drinkable beer, smooth, sweet, mild and not too heavy easily sessionable. A nice choice for the cool months of winter.

 781 characters

Photo of DrDemento456
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Very dark brown, almost blackened with an inch of fluffy head.

S - You get slight grain roasted semi burnt coffee and dark chocolates in the nose.

T - The grain bitterness clashes very well with the coffee and chocolate flavors. Finishes sweet and light.

M - Light to medium bodied. Pretty nice.

D - Well I have a couple more but it was nice to succession a couple of these back to back. Would not be off putting to have again in a variety pack again.

 459 characters

Photo of fsvan
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into imperial pint glass.

A- Black, but not jet black. Dark copper around the edges. 3 fingers of off white head fades quickly.

S- Roasted malts. Dark chocolate. A chalky quality to it. Smells of a nice schwarzbier.

T- In line with the smell. Nice roasted malts up front, dark chocolate following. A very mild bitterness. Nice, big flavors for the style.

M- On the heavy side of medium. Nicely carbonated. Slight thickness causes flavors to linger.

O- This is one of my favorite beers in Sam Adam's lineup. I'm not sure why more craft brewers don't have a go at the style, but I would like to see that change.

 628 characters

Photo of donmonkey1
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black with a thin tan head. The head could be thicker, and it leaves a little too fast. Light but consistent lacing.

Smell: Molasses, Caramel

Taste: Molasses, coffee, toast.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, frothy, good carbonation.

This is a filling beer. Tastes good, a little sweet but not too sweet. I would like more roasted flavor. This is a quality beer I would enjoy drinking and would be proud to give to a friend.

 430 characters

Photo of Liquids
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Black with a crown-amber hue that peeks through in the light. Yields a thin but very creamy almond colored head. Smells sweet and thick, with a distinctly german lager aroma. Tastes sweet and roasty but no harshness to speak of, mostly just dark sweetness. Very non-threatening, sweet and rich with an extremely slight alcohol aroma in the finish. Caramel malts are dominant but the darker malts add great complexity here. Very appealing. I'm new to this style. It's darker than a brown ale, and definately not as intense in the dark malts as a porter, and distinctly a lager for another twist. Mouthfeel is thich and full, but slightly more carbonated that desirable. Excellent drinkability and all around, this is Sam Adams? Impressive. I actually think I'd reccomend this beer more often than I'd drink it most likely. I doubt I'd buy a sixer of it too often, but I can see friends enjoying it and picking up a single for myself from time to time. with my only concern being that most people might at first be unaacustomed to the german hops and lager yeast characteristics when expecting a dark stout like beer by appearance. Overall, a great offering.

 1,156 characters

Photo of HappyHourHero
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Fairly strong, moderately sweet dark roasted malt aroma mixed in with some thick chocolate syrup. Dense, foamy, hazelnut colored head leaves a sheet of lace. Deep brown colored beer with a cola colored hue around the edges. Dark roasted and chocolate malt carries over into the mild flavor and mixes in with a bit of marshmallow. Dry roasted malt finish. Body is on the light side; mouthfeel is kind of a mix between soft and watery. Reminds me a bit of a dry stout; quite tasty.

 479 characters

Photo of beergod1
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my Sam Adams Pint Glass a Deep Dark Brown to Black in color with Tan/Creamy head. Aroma was of chocolate and caramel malts. Great chocolate and toasted caramel malt flavor.Very creamy smooth mouth feel, Medium body, and pleasant to the palate. Hops were there at the finish for a nice crisp clean ending, but still a nice malty aftertaste that left me wanting more. Not a typical German Schwarzbier, But Americanized wonderfully. I haven't bought this in yrs. I can't believe I didn't rate this yet, but my neighbor don't like it, so he gave it to me....Thanx Neighbor.

 581 characters

Photo of Hokies
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice black color with red hues and a nice one-inch off white head that leaves a nice lace behind.

A nice aroma of chocolate, caramel, and some smoke.

Starts off a little watery but then the chocolate and caramel flavors make their presence. Their is a light bitterness from the chocolate taste and the hops.

Nice mouthfeel with a moderate carbonation and a nice session beer.

 387 characters

Photo of kegger22
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Samuel Adams Black Lager is a dark brown schwarzbier with a half-inch beige head that faded to a thick collar.

The aroma is roasted coffee and some cocoa.

The taste was roasted malts but not particularly sweet. More nutty in flavor than chocolate.

The mouth feel was medium bodied after it warmed, and carbonation was ample.

Drinkability was very good as the flavor was enjoyable, the ABV low and the price reasonable.

One of the better Sam Adams offerings IMO.

 471 characters

Photo of roadhouse
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

Appears a very dark brown, not quite black, with a one finger light tan head that sinks to a skim and leaves a small amount of lacing.

Aroma has sweet tones with notes of chocolate, coffee, and very slight smokiness.

Taste begins with some sweet caramel malts that quickly melds with some chocolate flavor and then it becomes slightly tart and finishes with some spicy hops.

Mouthfeel is medium, very smooth and creamy.

I was very impressed with this beer. I never really expect anything exceptional from Sam Adams but this stuff is damn good.

 595 characters

Photo of JDFish
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a pint glass:

A: Very dark with a large foamy head. Plenty of multilayered lacing.
S: Sweet malts with a hint of coffee and chocolate
M: Kind of thin, lots of carbontion, burnt nutty finish on the swallow
T: toasted, almost burnt malts, lesser presence of the other smells. Tasty and not bitter at all
D: Very drinkable. Reminds me a little of some non-complex Stouts. Good brew!

 399 characters

Photo of rcwhiteky
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A-black as the name would suggest with a fair amount of creamy white head.
S-Roasted malt with hops playing hide and seek.
T-Mocha Coffee with sugar and spice taste is more complex then the smell

M-Just the right amount of bubbles but kinda thin for the style

D could down three or four in quick order

 304 characters

Photo of vette2006c5r
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Black Lager poured a very dark amber color, with very little head. It smells rich, with hints of walnut, or hazelnut. The taste is strong, choclate flavors, pretty malty as well. Strong flavor and good carbination as well. A bit harder to drink because of the heavy flavors. Overall a really good beer, one of my favorite sam adams.

 332 characters

4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I bought the sampler pack that came with two bottles of Black Lager. The beer pours out a nice dark mahogony with about a 1/4" tan head that left a nice lace on the pint glass. This was a very good beer! I love black beers (1554, Kostritzer) and Sam did not dissapoint. Good aroma of roasted malt. The flavor was the same with very good earthy, roasted, coffee flavors. Highly drinkable(possible session beer?), well balanced beer, the two I bought left me wishing it came in it's own six pack. I will definitely look forward to trying this again. I guess I forgot that Sam makes a decent brew and right now for $5.49 a six, a poor man has to take advantage!

 658 characters

Photo of tonistruth
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- pours a color damn near black, some light does get through around the edges. Huge ridiculous head, head to let it settle before pouring the rest of the bottle, which took a while because the head retent is very good. Head is tan and fluffy.

S- very clean, refreshing kinda clean. Choclate smell is in their too, shares the spotlight with the clean smell.

T- very interesting. starts clean (bitterness is in start as in warms and increase with the temp), choclate/roasted flavor in middle that becomes overshadowed by this warming spice flavor, than thespice settles and you have a choclate aftertaste.

M- On the thin side, still nice body to it though. Very smooth and fun.

D- smooth, pending the temperature of your beer the first part can surprie you be the middle and end are great.
Though its easy to drink, this seems more of a have one and move on beer, not because its bad, it very good, just because i think that youd be wasting a wonderful sensation for your brain and taste buds if you try and session this beer. Much to complex for that.

 1,065 characters

Photo of mmmbeer
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz., with purchase before Dec. notched on the side. Pours into the pilsner glass almost black with cherry red tinges and a 2 finger khaki head that leaves some wisps of lace. Smells of coffee, chocolate, and mild hops with caramel showing up 1/3 of the way through. First sip has lots of roasted and hop bitterness with raisins, coffee, chocolate, earthy malts, and floral/spicy hops that show up toward the end. Caramel also shows up in the taste 1/3 of the way through and the roasted/hop bitterness evens out as I drink. It has a medium body, but seems thick for a lager, coating the mouth well. Pretty good, but not great.

 629 characters

Photo of rarevos
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into pint glass.

A: Not black, but a deep brown with wonderful amber hints at the edges. It's opaque, with a finger+ of light tan head that has good staying power, eventually becoming a solid foam blanket. No sticky trails.

S: Aroma is toasty grain, caramel, ripe cherry and fig. Bit of a smokiness in there, too. Inviting and interesting already.

T/M: Big roastiness up front with some hints of cherry and marshmallow. Finish is lightly bitter (but a fruity hoppiness), followed by a long, lightly burned tail. Mouthfeel is crisp, a bit tingly, and slides down the throat with a rush of bubbles. I'm not sure if that's to style.

D: This is good stuff, and I can think of quite a few porters that aren't this good. I'll be getting this again. Smooth, well-balanced, tasty.

 795 characters

Photo of OlRasputin989
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in pilsner glass...

A: Black with ruby red tones when held to the light. cream coloured head that is about 2 fingers tall and thick, that slowly disappears. leaves small arches of lacing

S: roasted coffee and chocolate malt with a crisp and toasty noble hop aroma.

T: sweet, dark roasted flavors of cocoa and roasted nuts. finishes with milk chocolate, coffee, and a peppery noble hop spiciness as the bottle implies.

M: light-medium bodied. very crisp and refreshing.

Overall, a very drinkable, flavorful beer packed full of roasted flavor!

 554 characters

Photo of skineg
4.06/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Awesome, awesome beer. I really enjoyed drinking this beer. I did my research before I started, but the smothness still suprised me. This beer is making me a big fan of Sam Adams. The lack of alcohol is a little worrisome, especially when you can only find this beer in sampler and holiday packs (that I know of), but some of the great things are limited.

I really enjoyed the look and eroma, very subtle nutlike smell. Bottom line: Smooth, good tasting beer. Could be a little stronger with taste and alcolhol, but still really good. Seriously, I'm just getting nit picky, this is a good beer. Well worth a try.

 616 characters

Samuel Adams Black Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.74 out of 5 based on 2,555 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.

    Learn More
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.

    Learn More
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Learn More