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

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Samuel Adams Black LagerSamuel Adams Black Lager
2,650 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,650 |  Reviews: 1,464
Photo of BrewNoob1
4.02/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of badbeer
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance wise, I don't think you can get better for the style. Black color with a tan head that stays throughout with spotty lacing. Smell is of coffee, toffee, and roasted grain with a hint of hops hidden. Taste hits me with some burnt caramel flavor, with coffee kicking in right behind it, no real detectable hops in the taste, but it doesn't need them. Pretty light bodied with average carbonation, but seems just about right. Very drinkable, this would be great with a meal or just having a couple whenever. Definately a good decision.

 542 characters

Photo of bsp77
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into a tall glass.

Appearance: Exceedingly dark brown with thick, foamy cream-colored head.

Smell: Chocolate, roasted malts, caramel, and metallic and spicy hops.

Taste: Roasted malts with chocolate, light coffee and caramel, balanced by cherry and noble hops that contribute a nice layer of spiciness.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, relatively light but creamy body, semi-dry finish.

Drinkability: Great example of a Schwarzbier, once again proving that Sam Adams can make really good German session lagers.

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Photo of far333
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served at cellar temperature. Deep chestnut color with ruby highlights and a fat, thick head of beige foam about a quarter inch high that hangs in there. Aroma is deep and rich - roasted malts, cocoa, leather and smoke. Flavor is roasty, with dark malts, chocolatey, not bitter, not sweet. No noticeable hop presence. Body is light, but mouthfeel is even, round, and full. Sheets of lacey legs slide down the sides of the glass. A pleasant surprise from ol' Sam.

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Photo of dexcool707
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A respectable head with nice color and lace.

Great smell with the expected hints of chocolate.

Smooth and creamy taste and mouthfeel. Chocolate tones and strong maltiness with a slight taste
of molasses.

Sweet enough to compliment the array of flavors
but not too sweet to be annoying,...very drinkable

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Photo of Shovelbum
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a robust chunky cocoa colored head over a deep-black body with orange edges. Great head retention and thick bands of lace. Wine-like aromas dominate, but some coffee and toasted malt come through as well. Sweet roasted malt flavor with chocolate, caramel and a slight nuttiness. Hops are present but in the background. Medium body. Smooth mouthfeel with a lingering bitterness. Drying.

Like a good schwarzbier, this is deceptively light bodied for its appearance. This beer samples from the best of two more common styles: great roasted malt characters, hop bitterness and aroma in a lighter bodied beer that isn’t out of whack. A nice take on a rare style.

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Photo of sloejams
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From the Sam Adams Winter assortment 12 pack.

This poured thin dark and somewhat clear into my pint glass. A nice roasted malty nose. The taste had some sweetness to it - some chocolate and caramel, but not overwhelming and decidedly dry. The body was nice - full but light and refreshing.

An excellent session German style lager.

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Photo of mbenthall
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: deep red, brown looking black in concentration. good head that lingers.

Smell: sweet molasses and malt, with hints of smoke.

Taste: wonderful smoked flavor balanced nicely with with sweet malt and caramel.

Mouthfeel: Full and smooth.

Drinkability: One of my favorite beers, that I don't see done a whole lot. Goes great with grill food.

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Photo of mscudder
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz from variety pack. Best by July 2012

A - Pours an oily black with a thin tan head. A bold looking brew.... impressive.

S - Cocoa and roasted malts. One of the most dominant aromas I have come across with Sam Adams; well done.

T - This has a strong roasted malt flavor up front followed by some coffee and nutty notes.

M - Smooth and crisp for a dark brew. Low carbonation is a plus, hoisting a creamy slick body.

O - Pleasantly surprised with this one! Highly drinkable and not too high on the ABV makes this is great widely available brew. Great job Sam Adams!

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Photo of RankRefugee88
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into weissbier glass.

A - Almost pitched black body, whitish-tan head. Very dark for a lager, probably an appearance very similar to the Sam Winter Lager.

S - Nothing special, it's a lager. Hints of roasted coffee and malts but not quite the aroma of a stout or porter.

T - Good. Hops are there, but backed up with a sweet coffee taste and a tad of chocolate bringing it all together.

M - Surprisingly light mouthfeel, especially for such a dark beer. Having said that, a quintessential mouthfeel any lager should have, light and slightly bubbly.

D - Very good drinkability. Smooth, light and slightly creamy going down the throat. For such a dark beer, it's pretty easy to down a few without feeling full or bloated.

I liked this one a lot, I was looking all over for it, and was finally able to find it through a friend. Very satisfying for a lager, and like I said before, it's a beer that I would have no problem drinking all night.

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Photo of trentley87
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle to pint glass

A: Pours dark brown like used motor oil...small head doesn't stick around long but leaves behind generous lacing. I love the look of dark beers but this isn't the prettiest I've ever seen.

S: Tons of malts and caramel...but the overall aroma is fairly faint.
As it warms just a hint of bitterness.

T: The tiniest hint of hops of front followed by loads of malt sweetness and caramel. I love it.

M: Complements the taste perfectly...full bodied and creamy...initial bit of carbonation on the tongue complements the mild hops but everything mellows out towards the end.

D: I really enjoy this one and the fairly low ABV means this is sure to be a new session beer for me. The very thick mouthfeel might be a turnoff for some.

Yet another impressive selection from Sam Adams. I had to wait a while for my local beer store to get this in because it seems to sell out as soon as it hits the shelves around here. It was worth the wait.

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Photo of TylerAddisonJ13
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark ruby red when held up to a light. 3-finger head from hard pour, off-white in color. Diminished relatively quickly, not much lacing.

S - Dark chocolate, roasted coffee, sweet. Mild, but good.

T - Chocolate malt, nuts, very light hops that don't stand out, and an amazing smoky finish. Brilliant!

M - Full-bodied, but clean and crisp.

D - For a beer full of so much flavor and character, it drinks very easily. Very impressed.

Overall impression - this beer has all of the character you would want in a "heavier" beer, but with the drinkability of something lighter. A sessionable beer, but it's not lacking. Full of flavor! I especially love the smoky lingering finish.

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Photo of hopsaplenty
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep, dark amber, ruby highlights around the edges where there is more light. Tightly carbonated, sand-colored head dissipates at a moderate pace. Decent lacing as the glass is emptied.

Smell: Roasty nose, hints of coffee and slightly sweet malt. A touch of alcohol.

Taste: A moderate amount of hop bite and roasted malt. The hops and malt are well balanced with plenty of roasted flavors in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. My tongue does a slow waltz with the carbonation.

Drinkability: This is a solid beer, quite enjoyable. Another fine offering from Sam Adams.

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Photo of mobyfann
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Paid $6.99 for the Brewmaster's mixed 6-pack...

The beer pours an extremely dark brown base, with a large white head, moderate and thick head retention and nice specs on the glass from start to finish. I smell this, I think of Goose's hex nut brown ale with a deeper roast in the malt, and a few tones of dark chocolate; overall little intensity.

The taste definitely cranks it up a notch, a very well-balanced blend of roasted malts, sweet caramel, a touch of grape, a touch of chocolate... moderate carbonation and a creamy delivery compliments to the thick head, very good in the mouth, and very drinkable. At 4.9%, it's a very strong candidate for session beer due to its excellent balance.

Final Thought: Haven't drank a schwarzbier since my working days in Germany (2005)... this one the Bavarians would drink as if it were their own, very unique brew.

Closing: This brew, the Honey Porter, and the Irish Red are in the current Brewmaster's 6-pack and all three are tops for Samuel Adams beers, which to me still sets the standard for all the other micro-brewers out there!

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Photo of karst
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to members of St. Louis Brews who both encouraged Sam Adams owner to release this Schwarzbier as a stand alone style and then for including a sample as part of the 2006 BJCP class as a classic example. Sometimes a beer makes the BJCP list by being widely available across the US.
With an emphasis on caramel and sweeter than the German examples I have tried BBC's Black Lager still deserves a try due to its apperance qualities. IMHO a lighter caramel emphasis would improve this beer but then a lack of decocted melanoidins may then become an issue. A satisfing dextrinous mouth feel is correct for the style and dark roasted and chocolate malts are well balanced by hops that dry the sweet flavors. I will have a hard time passing by a sixer the next trip to a liquor store.

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Photo of Dubblebock
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked up this beer as part of a Sam Adams sampler pack at the local grocery store. It was reasonably priced and also contained the Hefeweizen and the dependable Boston Ale. This is the beer that had me the most curious out of the six-pack, though, as it is representative of a style not often seen these days. This was an impressive beer, and I'm really glad to see that Sam Adams continues to experiment with different offerings. Beers like this open up the palate to a lot of new sensations.

The Black Ale poured...well...BLACK, like it says. It wasn't completely opaque, but it left me with the impression of a deep, rich, dark coffee. The head was massive and creamy, and left nice lacing around the head of the mug. The smell was dominated by chocolate and a bready crispness.

The taste was also dominated by chocolate, but there were hints of almonds and toffees as well. Halfway through the mug, a coffee-like taste started to come through. The neck label claims that this beer is lightly hopped, and I would agree, but I'm not sure how consistent that is with the style. The hops are there, but muted in the background as this beer is clearly focusing on the richly roasted malts. This beer really resembled a porter, both in it's appearance and it's flavor profile, although not as heavy in body.

Good mouthfeel, clean finish. Good carbonation level. Very drinkable. If I see it again in a sixer by itself, I'll buy it for sure.

Good job, guys. The Black Lager is a winner.

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Photo of WanderingFool
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a mighty tasty easy drinking beer by Sam Adams. Black lager pours black in the glass, but is actually a deep ruby color when held to the light. A creamy tan head forms on top and dissolves slowly to a thick ring around the surface. There's a fair amount of thick lace left of the side of the glass.

A malty aroma with notes of roasted malt, chocolate and nuts floats above the beer. Each sip of this light to medium bodied beer is smooth with a soft fizz felt throughout the palate. The flavor begins nutty. Roasted malt with a hint of chocolate fills the middle and it finishes dry with a taste of hops (grass?). There's a nice sweet malt flavor with a hint of smoke holding it all together.

This is an easy drinking, well balanced, malty beer. Although, I was looking for some more smoky flavor. I had to go to three different stores before I found it! Looks like it may be a new favorite for many people.

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Photo of silenius
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown with ruby highlights when held up to the light. The head on this beer is big and foamy and it lasts quite a long time. There was some minimal lacing on the glass.

Smell is on the sweet and roasty side. Like carmelized leeks (without an onion-y smell) or heavily sugared cafe au lait.

Taste is creamy sweet with some nice roastiness to balance the sweetness. This is a very nice beer.

Mouthfeel is on the rich side with a slight carbonation bite.

Nicely drinkable. If it were from GLBC or Bell's people would be buying this up like crazy. It is a real craft brew made by a brewery that many BAs think of as a second choice brewery.

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Photo of Mindsquall
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured a nice black into my glass with tons of lacing. Smell seems to be mostly roasted caramel malts. However, the flavor is a bit different, has a bit of a smoky aroma, which actually is not that bad. It does however have a nice smooth finish and is very drinkable.

Rather tasty and enjoyable.

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Photo of bpiwarzyk
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

I grabbed a six-pack of this interesting brew on the way to a dinner party. I hadn't seen it before, so I figured I'd give it a shot. The beer didn't accompany the the main course very well (Salmon), but I loved it anyway!

The Black Lager is a very smooth drinking beer. It has the richness and nose of a porter, but it's not quite as heavy, thus very drinkable.
When poured into a glass, a tan, toffee-colored head settled nicely on top, and released a nice dark, malty, chocolate-laced aroma.

My first BL was right from the fridge, and served in a fresh, frosted glass. The second was served a bit closer to room temperature, not warm, but not icebox cold. This second one seemed a bit more aromatic, but both were very clean drinking.

The Sam Adams Black Lager might not be quite as robust as some of my favorite styles, but I definitely enjoyed drinking it, and am looking forward to my next one...

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Photo of danielocean03
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep , opaque ebony with garnet hued edges. Half finger beige head fell fairly quickly to light lacing. Smells rich and sweetly of chocolate maltiness undertoned with caramel/toffee aromas alongside. Taste is roasted malt and sweet chocolate, with hints of slight citrus present as the creamy milk-sweetened chocolate passes. Mouthfeel is exceptionally smooth and creamy, goes down with a superb smooth quality only hindered by a being a touch heavier on the carbonation, although not in excess to the point of ruining the brew. Very drinkable, excellent bier, very impressed all around. One of the best Sam Adams I've had the pleasure of sampling from the Boston Beer Co.

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Photo of MDekker
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Came out of the bottle clean-looking, forming a relatively nice tan head that hung on in some amount for the duration. Laced nicely down the side of my glass, too. Color was nearly black (surprise!), with a hint of dark red around the edges. The aroma was nothing really special - I could detect the roasted caramel scent that I expected, but nothing else jumped out at me.

After mostly stouts and porters that were dark as night, the first gulp was quite refreshing - nice and smooth in the mouth, like a lager should be, and imparting those general roasted dark flavors subtlely but effectively. It wasn't comlex and interesting, like a stout or a porter is, but instead it was, like I already said, refreshing and pleasant to drink. It went down easy, and for something other than ales at the end of the day, this was a goody.

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Photo of robruiz
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This beer was pretty good. I like that interesting twist of this dark beer. Very interesting flavor, not very easy to describe. Complex, yet smooth. It has the malty flavor you expect from a dark beer, but different from a porter or stout. I would definitely drink this brew again. It reminded me a lot of Xingu.

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Photo of evanackerman
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

wow, this is a tasty beer and a very interesting style. pours a deep brown with an exceptional head.

aroma is almost non existent at least to me.

taste is all about toasty barley with just the right little kick of hops at the end to balance things out

mouthfeel is exceedingly smooth and medium viscosity, very nice.

drinkability is downright dangerous, i could drink these one after another without a second thought. the one i am drinking right now tastes great with vanilla ice cream.

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Photo of afacini
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sam Black is a great beer on a cold evening. It's a bit lower on the ABV, but it definitely has a warming effect on your cheeks and ears. A good balance of coffee/chocolate malts and very smooth finish makes it a real drinkable brew with a lot to offer.

Don't switch from this one to something lighter, though... you won't like either. (We tried a black & white night with Sam's spring seasonal... not recommended.)

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Samuel Adams Black Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Beer rating: 3.7 out of 5 with 2,650 ratings
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