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

1,434 Reviews
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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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Reviews: 1,434 | Ratings: 2,554
Photo of Florida9
3.62/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Appears black in the glass, but allows a good deal of light around the edges revealing a dark reddish-brown beer. Forms a minimal tannish colored head that reduces down to just the faintest bit of a ring around the edges. No lacing.

S: The smell is inviting, full of dark fruit, roasted malts, raisin, molasses, and dark caramel.

T: Unfortunately, the flavor isn't as well developed. Light flavor of roasted malts and some caramel. Minimal noble hops. Very mild bitterness.

M: On the lighter side of medium with appropriate carbonation. Fairly dry mouthfeel with a slight chalkiness.

O: A decent, very drinkable beer. Somewhat simplistic on the palate, but not flawed either. Certainly not the best I've had in the style, but very approachable.

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Photo of Arborescence
3.11/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Black, pours a decent creamy head.

Aroma: Very mild. Slight hint of chocolate and malt.

Taste: Still mild, but there is some roasted malt present. Bitterness in the aftertaste. Not much depth.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied, rolls nicely on the tongue; oily.

Overall: Decent attempt, but nothing special. The Czech and the Germans do this type of beer much better.

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Photo of TheCondor
3.67/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a mug, bought in a brewers variety pack. Pretty interesting variety in there.

Appearance – Pours nicely into the mug as a black beer, just like advertised. Some light can get through, it just doesn’t look as thick as a porter or stout (because it isn’t). Has a decent little one finger head which dissipates at a moderate pace, no lacing to speak of.

Smell – Roasted malts, dark chocolate, very similar to a porter or stout, but not as pronounced. A little more subdued on the nose

Taste – Like the nose, tastes similar to a porter or stout, follows the nose closely. It is rather rich, hearty, and a little on the sweet side. Very nice

Mouthfeel – A defining characteristic and what truly separates it from a porter or stout, which is what it looks like. Not as creamy or heavy, but finishes much more clean and refreshing.

Overall – This is truly a solid beer offering from the Boston Beer company. I have been a little disappointed in some of their beers in that brewers collection, but this one is good. Nothing to really freak out about, but a solid beer, very drinkable, something a little different for an avid dark beer fan.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.38/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark pour, but not thick dark, like a black schwarz should be (said the hefty white girl), equal parts black and brown but with enough clarity for a dark beer. Aroma is dry cocao powder, caramel.

Taste allows the sweet and hoppy side of the beer to come through, like a good schwarz should. Don't forget about the toffee like taste with a lil more sweetness. High carbonation, but appropriate. Good bitterness, but the dryness of the beer keeps it from becoming abrasive (the adjective, not the beer) at any point.

A solid beer at a solid price from a solid brewery. What more you want?

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Photo of CMUbrew
3.1/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a mug

A: Poured with less than a finger of darker off-white head. Faded quickly. Color is actually very dark brown with deep ruby highlights.

S: I get some spicy hop smell.

T: Spicy hops up front with a small bit of roasted malt on the back end. Aftertaste is somewhat metallic.

M: Feels kind of watery and flat with some foam.

O: My least favorite from Sam Adams so far. It seems to follow style, but this really isn't that drinkable or good in my opinion.

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Photo of srandycarter
3.63/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - It's pretty dark brown to black. Tan light head, leaves to ring quick. Spotty lace.

S - Roasted malt, coffee, but very subdued.

T - The smell attributes fall flat here. Some coffee and roasted malt, but mostly middle of the road light lager flavors with a hint of toastiness.

M - Light bodied, good carb, fair balance.

D - Easy drinker for sure.

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Photo of jimmah120
3.36/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle best by june

Dark mahogany, almost black. Decent head retention and lacing. Smell is sweet malt and floral hops, very light. Taste is crisp, bready malts with a roasted toffee undertone. Good amount of carbonation and a creamy feel.

Overall it's very drinkable but decidedly average.

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Photo of jifigz
3.64/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a pint glass.

The appearance is a seemingly black brew, although the room is a little dark so mahogany hues might be present. The head was virtually non-existent and there is no lacing. The smell is slightly smoky and a bit sweet. There is a strange acidic coffee aroma thrown in there too. The taste is exceptionally smooth with a great presence of many different flavors. The beginning is rather flavorless which gives way to a full sweetness with a nice little hop character, the end is nicely smoky. The flavor is very light yet satisfying. The MF is nice and light, low carbonation and a thin body. It fits this beer very well as that is what I feel a Schwarzbier should be like.

A nice beer. It is very light and refreshing yet enjoyable with enough flavor to keep it interesting. It's nice that such a common brewery has brewed a style that is rather uncommon.

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Photo of AllenJasper
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle to Snifter
Enjoy before June (2.5 months from now)

A: Nearly opaque Black with sandy tan head, quickly dissipated to a small ring... hardly any lacing.

S: Rich, roasted malts; with hints of dark chocolate and caramel.

T: starts out rather rich and malty, then finishes much sweeter and more on the chocolatey side and continues this trend towards sweetness for quite some time

M: Very smooth

O: Excellent dark beer for the price.

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
3.76/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Sam Adams signature glass.

Appearance: A super dark brown, not as dark as you think. Light tan head comes off 1/4" off the body.

Smell: light hops, nothing new here.

Taste: Hints of coffee, full hops...surprised didn't transfer as well into the smell.

Mouth: medium to heavy, screams "yum" and that smooth.

Overall: Not bad at all. Pick it up, watch a movie or smoke a cigar this beer is only missing one thing, You! Salud!

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Photo of tubacharlie
3.58/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A quick pour into a pint glass produces a light, hoppy aroma rising out of the well-formed, frothy head. Good retention and medium lacing as it gradually recedes.

At first glance, the brew looks quite black and impenetrable, but held to the light a dark ruby hue colors the translucent lens of beer.

Smooth and medium bodied in the mouth, a strong malt presence dominates the flavor, with some light coffee and burnt toast notes but not a lot of depth. Ample hops for a bittersweet finish.

It was a good match with some egg rolls and duck sauce.

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Photo of cyclonece09
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a 14 oz "pint" glass. Pours a very dark amber, almost black. Smells of a coffee with toffee, pretty sweet, but not that strong. Tastes of coffee, but not overly strong, and a little toffee notes. Very pleasant. Carbonation is light which leads to a smooth finish. Overall, a very good beer.

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Photo of PhantasIPA
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The appearance of this beer is exactly like its name implies; black! No light comes through at all. The head is small but present at all times during the drinking time.

The smell is a dark chocolate scent and a light malt smell. Not as dark or burnt as a stout, but close.

The taste falls right in line with the smell; it is a dark chocolate flavor (a bitter, almost cocoa flavor) and medium bodied malt flavor, followed quickly with a dry, bitter finish. The ending does finish dry but still appealing.

The mouthfeel isn't nearly as heavy as a porter or stout, which is what you would expect with the darkness of the beer. It is still refreshing.

Overall I enjoyed this beer. It is a great toned-down version of a classic stout. There isn't a better term than "Black Lager". Bitter yet still a little sweet, refreshing, and finishes moderately. Good beer!

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Photo of mscudder
4.03/5  rDev +7.8%
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 rangerred
3.93/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

An aggressive pour yields a dark tan two finger head over a very dark brown, almost black, beer.

Smells of cocoa along with roasted malt. A tiny bit of spicy floral hops are present.

Dark chocolate initially dominates the flavor along with some roast. Some coffee notes appear about midway through along with a light bitterness. Finally there is some cocoa during the finish. Mouthfeel is pretty slick and has some body.

Overall a really good beer and great for the style. A pretty easy drinking beer with plenty of flavor.

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Photo of wafers
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Deep brown to black upon the pour, slightly translucent when held to the light, nice amount of frothy head that seems to linger for awhile
S: Aroma of toasty malts, otherwise not much smell
T: Nice, roasted flavor up front, very similar to a dry stout...some chocolate character throughout with a noticeable hoppy hit towards the end
M: Smooth, very light and crisp for a darker brew
O: Enjoyed this one...taste is reminiscent of many stouts but has a somewhat lighter character which sets it apart from those beers...very drinkable and would definitely have again

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Photo of blakelive784
2.71/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 fl oz brown glass bottle served in pint glass, reviewed live:

A - Pours a deep, dark shade of brown with a light tan 1 finger head, which is pretty thin. Retention is poor, though there's some lacing left on the glass.

S - Incredibly light notes of cream, toasted malts, and caramel. Maybe a bit of smoke in there. Obviously mild strength.

T - Better than I though it'd be, but there's still not much going on. It opens with a fair dose of cream, giving way to light roast. The flavor abruptly ends there. I do like the bit of flavor it's got, but it's far too little. This one could be pretty good with some added complexity and body.

M - Medium bodied, thick and smooth. More reminiscent of a porter that a schwarz.

D - It needs some work. A good foundation, but that's all it is at this point.

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Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.91/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Single bottle from a Sam Adams sampler pack, picked up in Upstate New York.

Poured into a dimpled beer mug. The Schwarz is strong with this one: nice and dark, good sturdy head, lots of lacing, great retention.

Nose is mild molasses, a bit of roasted grain, coffee, citrus hops.

Nice balanced schwartzbier. Easy to drink, but with enough meat to it as to be an enjoyable sipper as well. Molasses and chocolate, a bit of coffee and nice toasty bread. Hops provide a nice twang to the finish. Nice chewy feel, coats the tongue nicely.

One of the better schwarzes I've come across in bottled form.

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Photo of StaveHooks
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours dark brown with ruby high;ights. 2 fingers of tan head slowly sinks leaving behind full sheets of lacing.

S - Sweet dark caramel malts, molasses, hints of chocolate, doughy yeast, very rich aroma.

T - Mirrors the nose with dark caramel, creamy chocolate, nutty yeast, hints of raisins, and prunes, grassy hops lace the sides of the tongue for a light bitterness on the finish.

M - Tight medium carbonation, light to medium body, creamy feel.

Very organized flavors. Rich and robust for just 4.90 ABV! A great session beer anytime of the year. I can't believe I waited so long to try this.

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Photo of Jamesthebrit
3.83/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Black indeed. Well it's actually just really really dark brown. But unique for sure, and the head carried a little of the color being a bold tan.
S: Subtle maltyness
T: Malty, roasty, some chocolate in there but less that the other two. Also some hops near the end. It's quite nice because those three flavors come first then it fades into a hop flavor so no one blocks out the other.
M: Really nice: the bubbles fit in really well. The bitterness became overwhelming after a little bit as I made my way through the beer.

Overall a solid showing. Goes down easy but still has considerable character. The roastyness and maltyness really stand out in this beer.

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Photo of bszern
3.97/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark, with a small head. Disappears with little or no lacing.

S: Little boozy, balanced with a good malt body.

T: Smooth with a roasted malt flavor. Little bit of chocolate. Tastes a lot lighter then it looks. Aftertaste is clean.

M: Light, some carbonation.

O: A very drinkable beer, one of my favorites from Boston Beer Co.

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Photo of lovindahops
3.9/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- black lager pours an opaque color around the glass with fair mocha foam that retreats to a thin layer along the edges of the glass.

S- cocoa nibs, bready scent, with a thin hop profile in the scent. The chocolate and caramel is pretty apparent as well. This is a good scent profile

T- chocolate malt crosses over with some toffee and the aforementioned caramel. Good coating flavors all over the tasting. Very dark and flavorful throughout the tasting

M- good carbonation with but fades a little I'm the mouth

O- good brew that did not let down in the mixer. I could definitely come back to these

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Photo of J23hc
3.56/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pretty solid black tone, purpleish in light, good beige head, great lacing on the sip. Smell is mostly a burnt malt with a fatty sweetness to it. Faint herbal hop characters but barely. Taste is balanced but a bit plain, just some burnt malt and a bit high on carb. Overall missing something

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Photo of loftisCT
4.08/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Best by March 2012, Enjoyed Feb 15, 2012
A: Very dark with ruby red edges, nice off-white head.
S: Chocolate, Slight Roast, and Bready, a very well-integrated malt aroma. A touch of grass. Clean with just a touch of lager yeast.
T: Pretty sweet malt flavor. Chocolate apparent over a nice, bready malt backbone. Then becomes slightly roasty and dries out a little in the finish. Drying seems to be more from light roastiness than hop bitterness. I get just a touch of acidity. Breadiness lingers in the finish.
M: Solid medium body throughout, a little more than I expected for 4.9 abv. I would say it’s is even a little pillowy. Very impressive and still remains very crisp.
O: Very nice beer. I have only had a few schwarzbiers before and this one was cleaner and maltier than the others i've had. My favorite part of this one is that the chocolate and roast really only added to a really solid malt backbone. A lot of malt flavor packed into a low abv, crisp lager.

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Photo of beergoot
3.82/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark, ruby-red, mahogany color with a thin, rapidly dissipating light tan head. Some lacing remains on the glass.

Dominant dark, roasted grain scent. Rich bread notes.

The mouthfeel is smooth and hovering between light-to-medium in body, nicely emphasizing a gentle sweetness.

The taste is delicious: soft chocolate and molasses notes. A soft bitterness compliments the clean, dry finish.

A very respectable dark lager. Nicely balanced and easy drinking.

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