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

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Samuel Adams Black LagerSamuel Adams Black Lager
2,659 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: 2,659 |  Reviews: 1,465
Photo of neenerzig
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sam Adams is by far the best American macro brewing company out there. They truly make some tasty brews indeed. While not as good as Stone, Great Lakes, or Bell’s, Sam Adams is certainly 100 times better than anything I have ever had brewed by Bud, Miller, Coors, Labatt, etc. This beer pours a dark, perhaps very slightly reddish, brown color with a tan head about a finger and a half thick, nice and foamy before shrinking a bit, but not by too much. It has very creamy looking head indeed as well as some nice lacing. Has some nice aromas of chocolate, caramel, malts, and hops as well a scent of darker fruits such as plums, grapes, and apples. A nice sweet taste dominated by roasty malts with characteristics of all the smells mentioned above. It has a nice smooth and creamy mouthfeel with mild to moderate carbonation. To my knowledge this is the first black lager, or schwarzbier, that I have ever had and it was pretty good. Many things about this beer reminded me of a darker Belgian style ale or even a porter, only the characteristics of this beer were a bit more subtle and subdued as opposed to being robust, bold, and in your face as is the case with Belgian beers and some porters I have had the pleasure of drinking. This beer may also be just slightly, just slightly watery compared to the aforementioned Belgians and porters, as well as not as full bodied as most Belgian beers I have had. This beer is highly drinkable and goes down easy. Definitely worth a try to say the least.


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Photo of lou50rp
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It looks great in a glass - almost black. Slight head, but good color-light brown.
Malty smell with a bit of sweetness. Smell and color are inviting.
Taste of dark chocolate and dark roast coffee with hints of sweetness.
Mouthfeel was good. Not to heavy, not watery.
Definitely a drinkable beer. Great taste without high ABV.
One of Sam's best.

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Photo of bigbubba
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This lager has a nice dark cola color with a pretty decent tan head. The head collapses fairly quickly but laces the glass well. The smell is very inviting. The main scent is chocolate. The taste is also full of chocolate. Its not too sweet and not hoppy at all. The mouthfeel is very good. When I first poured it mouthfeel is where I was afraid it would disappoint but it did not. Drinkability is very good. This is a great beer to share with those people who are afraid of anything darker than MGD. It might open their eyes.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Back in the day, I used to enjoy this one more when it was warm than cold, but I'm gonna start off on the latter end of the spectrum this time. Shits and giggles, y'see. It pours a dark ruby-brown topped by a finger of slightly dirty sandstone foam. The nose comprises toasted toffee, plenty o' cocoa, and a touch of light coffee. The taste doesn't deviate too far from this, though the cocoa is definitely dominant here (especially as it warms, making a sort of light version of a milk stout after a while). The body is a rather light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a smooth feel. Overall, a very nice schwarz, one of the best regulars Sam Adams puts out.

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Photo of metallistout
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought this one in a winter pack.

Pours a dark brown with ruby highlights. A medium size foamy head that actually hung in there for a little while.

Smells of dark roasted malt and sweet chocolate malts, not much hop presence to the aroma.

Tastes pretty damn good. Tasted the roasted malt flavor and small hop presence, very caramel. I would absolutely drink this more often, if there were more hops in it.

Good beer all in all.

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Photo of TMinton22
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark black with tan, creamy head.
Pretty good lacing.
Smells of sweet malts and a slight bit of hops. Taste was much the same. Had a bit of a spicy character, sweet malts, .
The beer was pretty smooth, and overall pretty drinkable.
Would buy again in the future.

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Photo of Chico1985
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours very dark brown with dark red highlights, small creamy off-white head turns to swirly cap and thick ring, leaves some lacing.

Dark chocolate, roasted malt and some hops in the scent, earthy notes. Faint but pleasant.

In order of strength I'd say - chocolate, roasted malt, caramel. Citrus and some grassy notes from the hops in the finish also appear more as the beer goes on. Good balance between the hops and malt flavors, they compliment each other well.

Carbonation is a bit on the high side but the mouthfeel is good. Drinks much like a porter to me.

A great choice if you want stout or porter flavors without a heavy-feeling beer. At only 4.9% this is light, but not too light, with nice flavors. It would be nice to be able to session a beer like this too. Probably my favorite Sam Adams.

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Photo of ProudGreen89
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

one of my new favorite SA beers.

poured from a 12oz bottle into a bulbis goblet (larger version of a snifter)

A-pours a deep black chocolate, lots of small bubbles and a frothy tan head with good retention and sticky, whispy lacing. once the beer warms up the head disappates into a skiff but still leaves decent lacing.

S-a pretty basic nose for this beer, roasted malts, caramel is there and some subtle dark chocolate notes come thru the bready undertones.

T-there is definitely chocolate/caramel in the mix of roasted malts, grains and a savory breadyness followed up with some lightly spiced hops to finish the beer off with a bitter note to help balance out the sweet flavors you experience at first. i would have liked a smokier flavor to the grains and some more hops (i like a more bitter finish) but really a very nicely brewed dark lager.

M-i couldnt have been happier with the creaminess and slick viscosity of this beer, really matches with the style nicely, it goes down smooth and clean.

D-now i wouldnt go pounding these at the bar but definitely something to kick back with and enjoy with a hearty meal. one of my favorites for the fall/winter holidays. i highly reccomend.

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Photo of Jmamay22
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a black ruby red with a thin tannish head that leaves no lacing. The beer smells of roasted malts that provide a chocolate scent with a slight hint of bitter hops in the background. Tastes heavily of malty chocolate and roasted caramel flavors. More roasted flavor than in the scent and found in a typical Schwarzbier and a bit sweeter. Finishes dry with a slight bittering from the hops. Light mouthfeel makes this one an easy drinker as it clocks in at 4.90%. This might be my favorite from Sam Adams.

I imagine this would pair well with some hearty grilled fare.

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Photo of beerogre
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I first encountered this beer when I was up in NJ a few weeks ago. Not having tried it before and with little else of interest in the particular beer store I found myself in, I bought a 6 pack.

I was reasonably impressed by this darkish ruby colored, caramel prominent brew. More so than I imagined I might be.

Since my initial encounter, I have acquired another 4 bottles in the Sam Adams Winter Pack that my wife bought for me recently.

Strangely, every time I go to drink this beer I expect to experience the same slight disappointment I get with Saranac beers (they sound and look great, but just don't really hit the spot) however, Sam Adams is not Saranac and I should know by now that they consistently deliver the goods on a regular basis.

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Photo of chilidog
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A good offering to be added in the line-up of year round beers from sammy. That year-round tells me they beleave in the quality this beer offers. A great style, not as brash as the stout/porter, but a easy drink'n dark brew.
It pours a nice ruby when exposed to light. The slight tan full head held its retention to lace well. The aroma was bready with hints of burnt grain.
The taste was of roasted malts, chocolate, nut, coffee and a mild creamy caramel.
The mouthfeel was smooth, creamy with a slight burnt after-taste. Drinkability is great, mild and easy. Not much in the way of this beer to hinder drinkability. A true easy drinker, thats just delicious.

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Photo of cvfish
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - This beer poured a black color with ruby highlights that produced a light tan head that had good retention and created a great lacing around the side of the glass

S - This beer produced a great aroma of roasted grains, caramel, and some yeast

T - The taste of this beer was actually very complex, a roasted barley, some caramelized grain, some smoke, with some slight hops on the finish

M - The mouth on this beer had a medium body that had a moderate amount of carbonation

D - This beer was very interesting, a very sessionable lager that has little hop flavor (but that's what they were going for), but full of something unique, this Schwarzbier is a rare style in America, but Samuel Adams did a great job here

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a great beer. I bought a sample pack with Black Lager, Hefeweizen, and Boston Lager and this is by far the best of the bunch. Pours dark like a porter with a nice head. Malty in aroma and taste with a touch of caramel. Great mouthfeel and very drinkable. I think this would be a great "transition beer" (one going from a light pilsner or lager to a darker, fuller, more flavorful beer.) I definitely recommend this anyone.

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Photo of thatguy3579
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Thick coffee color with foamy tan head.

S: Smell of sweet roasted goodness and some spice.

T: Mostly sweet in flavor. Full of roastiness and chocolate. Some hops do come through providing some balance.. Finish is mild.

M: Fairly creamy, with decent carbonation.

D: Quite drinkable for such a sweet and tasty beer. This might be one of my favorites in the SA lineup.

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Photo of Beerislife652854
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12-oz. bottle poured into a Guinness 1759 pint glass.

A - Black and opaque with some rusty red hues when held up to the light. The head fades to broken patches, yet there is a good amount of lacing on the inside of the glass.

S - Mild malt.

T - Tastes like a Guinness Stout with more carbonation. Earthy, bready and malty.

M - Carbonated Guinness.

D - VERY drinkable. Not too bitter or too sweet.

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Photo of alexgash
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black, peat-like, with a dense creamy, light andy head. Roasted malts, coffee bitterness on the nose with some sugary malt sweetness. Tobacco leaves too. Nice, sweetish malt melds with singed, roasted character on the palate. Leathery-tobacco notes. Roasted coffee bitter finish. Medium-bodied to light with moderate carbonation. A great offering from SA and I can only hope to find this on tap as frequently as I find the Boston lager...

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Photo of IIKaRuII
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a Hot fudge color, with a sort of viscus like thickness to it. Has a nice finger length head that leaves great lacing and retention.
Smells very malty with a nice roasted caramel and chocolate backbone to it. Smells slighlty bitter and tangy.
Taste is a very smooth chocolaty goodness. The bavarian hops kick you right on the back of the palate. Which compliments the caramel roastedness. slightly bitter, but nothing to complain about.
This beer lacks some carbonation. i think if it had a little more it wouldn't have that chalky like feel to it.

Overall i feel this beer is very deserving of praise. Black lagers are unique in flavor, and this one is a fine example of the style.

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Photo of TwinSox33
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark black like Guinness, but has some ruby red hues.

S: Roast chocolate malt, and a bit of caramel.

T: Roast coffee notes up front, followed by a soft chocolate malt. There is a dry sweetness throughout the brew, balanced well by the dry and hoppy finish. Maybe a hint of caramel in there too.

M: very smooth, I guess it's a Lager/Stout hybrid. Never seen many "Schwarzbiers" around before...

D: Very Drinkable, and tasty!

Good and interesting brew, you don't see this style done much.

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Photo of dgilks
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear, deep brown colour with a small tan head.

Caramelly, earthy, chocolate and a hint of coffee. Good.

A tasty, earthy malt flavour with a nice bitterness and spicy, citrussy hop character. Nice.

Medium body with moderate carbonation. Very easy to drink.

A great beer. Enough going on to keep people interested and good flavour.

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Photo of Calico
4.11/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a big, foamy head that retains its presence for about 2 minutes. Then leaves moderate lacing on the glass. Deep ruby color when held up to the light, deep mahogany when not lighted.

Not much aroma, some toasted malt to be had.

Taste is exquisite. One of the best of its kind I have had. The malts all come forward with their full body, yet it is most definitely a lager and a very drinkable one at that. A little tannic sharpness on the back of my tongue, but I do not perceive this as a flaw.

Tingly, smooth feel to it. Not quite as refreshing as Negra Modelo - I'd be less likely to have this one with steak fajitas - but a beautiful brew to have on its own or with German dishes.

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Photo of tjsdomer2
4.11/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black. Purely black. I've never seen a beer that looks like this. Not too much foam, and it's impossible to see carbonation with this sort of color. The only downside is that Black Lager looks a bit oily, but it does leave nice lacing. Otherwise, very unique.

Smell: Mellowed chocolate/caramel/coffee smells. Molasses as well. Surprisingly malty but no hops.

Taste/Mouthfeel: I like this taste a lot. Like the appearance, it can taste a bit oily, especially as it warms. But this tastes very malty with nice hints of molasses and chocolate and a bit of coffee and caramel. Basically like Guinness Draught minues the creaminess. Overall, also very unique.

Drinkability: Highly highly drinkable. As I said, the slight oily texture is kind of odd, but that's being nit-picky and I definitely would not rate this beer a 5/5 overall.

Overall: Of course I'm sure other black lagers exist out there, but I've never had another one, and I don't know many people who have. This is an awesome gateway beer.

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Photo of cdub70085
4.11/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of UberWasser
4.11/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, served in a 16oz globe glass.

Pours a deep black color that glows with burgundy when held to light. The head is thick and a dirty white. It builds quite thick in this glass with a medium pour speed. Its retention is admirable as a thick sheet lies atop the beer through a number of sips. The foam clings in big laces as the beer recedes from the rim. My favorite part is when you tip the glass towards yourself for a drink the bubbles hang back for a second and then make a rush for the surface. A very neat effect. Extremely attractive beer.

The smell is sweet with burnt malts and a chocolate/molasses scent. Very nice.

The taste follows suit, with burnt sugar flavors leading into mild bitterness and a present yet subtle tickle of alcohol on the back of the tounge. Very warming as it flows down the gullet. The mouthfeel is quite nice too, with a subtle thinness that plays well with the carbonation and also feels deceptively thick in the throat after a swallow.

Overall, the best offering I've tried so far from Sam Adams. A definite buy-again.

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Photo of orsulacp
4.11/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Loved the black color in the glass, with the tan 1" head, very inviting. The pour showed a deep ruby color that you couldn't see in the glass. Sweet caramel, with a bit of coffee and some roasted almond smokiness in the smell. The taste started like a bitter chocolate, then some molasses, and ending with the bitter chocolate with a very clean finish, nothing left behind. There was low carbonation and a medium body making the beer very easy to drink. I really liked this. I only tried two other black or dark lagers (Victory and Weeping Radish) and this beat both of them.

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Photo of dotsonjamesg
4.12/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Flimsy one finger head, kind of thin and off-white.

Smell: Sweet and spicy notes with roasted malts and alcohol. Smells great!

Taste: Strong and full bodied yet surprisingly smooth. Rich taste of roasted malts with some hoppy notes.

Mouth feel: A bit more carbonated than I would have liked but its not enough to ruin the experience.

Drinkability: Though it packs a mean punch, its still pretty drinkable.

Sam Adam's has done it again, making mass-produced brew yet still keeping a close eye on quality.


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Samuel Adams Black Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Beer rating: 3.7 out of 5 with 2,659 ratings