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

1,434 Reviews
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 Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,434 | Ratings: 2,553
Photo of bearrunner44
4.3/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an almost-black, reddish brown with a thick head. Retention was pretty good, and there was excellent lacing. The smell is full of chocolate and coffee notes. The mouthfeel is a little thin, but it's smooth as silk despite the carbonation. The taste consists of chocolate and coffee elements that blend seamlessly into the slight bitterness in the finish. The bitterness is at a perfect level, countering the smooth sweetness of the beer without decreasing drinkability. This is a delicious, extremely drinkable beer that I could spend all night with.

 556 characters

Photo of Sycodrummer
3.93/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a 12oz. bottle into a standard pint glass forming a decent 1 finger head that left moderate lacing throughout the duration of the sample. A dark dark brown in color with just a slight red tinge when held up to the light.

Smell is what you would expect from stouts. Some caramel and coffee upfront, with roasted malt and slight chocolate also coming thru.

Had all of the stout taste to it without stout dryness or bitterness. This beer was not sweet, but it certainly did not resemble what one might think it would taste like based on color alone. Each smell was represented in the taste and it was smooth and well balanced to the finish.

Light on the palate. Much more so that a stout but not quite a watery as a lager. A nice balance between the two.

Very easy to drink, nice smooth finish and great flavors. I still stick to my stouts and bitters but not a bad alternative now and then.

 907 characters

Photo of far333
4.03/5  rDev +7.8%
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.

 462 characters

Photo of ybnorml
3.62/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A dark brown/ black beer with deep mahogony highlights. Has a Small dark beige. There is a deep roasted malt aroma with a coffee background. A prickely carbonation opens the way for the warm roasted malt flavor to cover your tongue. There is a coffee like bitterness on the finish.

 281 characters

Photo of counselor
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

what a very good offering from sam adams. pours a deep opaque black with a fluffy dark tan head. the beer has a rich nose filled with chocolate, coffee, molasses, sweeet malty goodness. the beer has a pretty silky mouthfeel, a cross between a thin lager and a malty bock and it is smoooth making for a good session beer.

the flavors are very complimentary - nice full bodied malt, slightly dry finish and in between a german chocolate cake flavor, rum notes, almost like a latte with a hint of coffee. Only problem is these flavors are too short lived, but thats OK since these go down quite easily and no problem opening another.

Good offernig, pick some up

 664 characters

Photo of WanderingFool
4.03/5  rDev +7.8%
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.

 921 characters

Photo of malty
3.4/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served from a long neck brown bottle w/ freshness date (July).

Brown/ruby hue, russet highlights with a quickly diminishing off-white head.

Scent is wonderfully fresh with chocolate malt notes - roasted nuts and faint winey undertones.

Taste is a bit confusing, but the grainy lager notes pull through. A combination of bitter chocolate and a metallic tinge is detected on the sides of my tongue. A nice powdered sugar sweetness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is average with a nice carbonation that keeps things moving along.

Drinkability is good being it's not an intrusive beer and not filling either.

Overall I wasn't impressed with this 'Brewmaster's Collection' offering. I give them credit for a solid attempt at a swarzbier, but I'll stick to Kostritzer for about $1.00 or so more a 6 pk. But not much tops Einbecker!

 837 characters

Photo of SixpointJMH
4.27/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It's nice to see a brewery that is as huge as the Boston Beer Company now is still crank out a plethora of different styles and rotate these styles often enough to keep things fresh and allow for new brews, such as their Black Lager, to be introduced. This one did not disappoint.

It pours a deep brown to black colour with an off-white head that remains thin but fluffy for a while, but loses its fluffiness after a brief time.

The smell is both malty and sweet at the same time. There's a rugged vibe here, with earth and nut on one side and a touch of caramel and chocolate on the other. Overall, the two balance each other out quite nicely.

The flavour is more of the same from the smell: It starts out nutty, moves into a bit of roasted malt then a sweet chocolate caramel takes over for a bit finally giving way to a dry malt finish that is not completely lacking in some of the aforementioned sweetness.

Mouthfeel is just about right for a schwarzbier as this one is full bodied yet doesn't move into stout or even porter territory, really.

Overall, this one is a nice session brew that's packed with flavour and is hearty without moving outside of the style. Well done.

 1,182 characters

Photo of Admiraldinty
3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown/mahoganey, with a lacey head. Aroma is caramel, chocolate, malt, and a hint of coffee. Fairly full bodied, somewhat crisp. Very sweet with malt, caramel, and some burnt notes. Maybe a little too sweet.

Being new to the style, I was pleasantly surprised. For some reason I thought schwarzbiers were lighter bodied. This is definitely one I can come back to.

 378 characters

Photo of coasterfreak75
4.2/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The pour was a very dark mahogany, bordering on black but showed red when held up to light. Had a one finger head that quickly dissapated and left a white ring around the top of the beer.

The smell was heavy in coffee, nuts, and smokey caramel notes mixed with whisps of cream.

The drink started with a frothy malt like kick to the tongue. The middle was a mix of coffee and nuts. The finish was a lingering grainy coffee taste along with a sweet caramel.

This beer is the best of both worlds, it's a damn fine porter and a fine stout. The flavor is more like a good stout, but where the stout harshness would normaly begin the porter sweetness kicks in. This could become my normal stock of beer in the fridge.

 720 characters

Photo of steinlifter
3.46/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

poured a dark brown, decent head that slowly diminished leaving a nice rich collar all the way through, hints of chocolate in the aroma, but not a very strong aroma, taste is of chocolate and coffee, fairly rich and pleasant, bit of sweetness, smooth and creamy, moderately carbonated, drinkability is good , I wanted to make my 100th review something special like St. Bernadus, but I wasn't able to get to that store tonight, and my eagerness to get my 100th review in, won out, so there it is, I hope I've learned a bit by now, well, this is a decent beer and worth a try. cheers!

 582 characters

Photo of TastyTaste
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black in color, but reveales some dark brown, slightly red translucent. Big tan head, retention is not the best, but fades to leave a small creamy head with lots of foam sticking to the sides of the glass. Smell is very rich with toasted malt and strong chocolate and medium hops presence. Taste is very roasted and slightly carmel. No flavors are overwhelming and the sweetness stops just short of cloying. Maybe a little too much for a schwarzbier, but still not bad.

 469 characters

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

Sam Adams is very good at introducing good new product. This is no exception. Pours a dark chocolate with a decent head and lacing. Smell is smoky malt with coffee undertones. Taste is lightly sweet with a slightly tart finish. Hint of chocolate is also present. Mouthfeel is very stout like, with a nice dry feel and great dry finish. Very easy on the drinkability scale..refreshing with that great dry finish.

 411 characters

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

Pours a rich chocolate brown with a reasonable light khaki head. Aroma is of toffee and chocolate. Smells rich and creamy. Taste follows aroma. Nice rich toffee notes. Kinda like a subtle Heath Bar with chocolate and toffee notes. A little sweet and perhaps a little lacking in hops to balance, but seems to be on for the style. Mouthfeel is good with a decent amount of carbonation to balance out the sweetness. Drinkability is good, but I dont think I could do more than a couple due to the suiteness. A good solid brew from Sam Adams. I really wish they would but this in a 6 pack instead of the mixed six with the weak Hefe. My friend seems to think that SA got the idea for this when they were contract brewed at FX MATT and ripped off from Black Forest. This is much richer than that. Overall one of the better offerings from SA.

 835 characters

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

Found this one as two of six bottles in the Samuel Adams "Brewmaster's Collection" pack. Served in a pint glass at just warmer than fridge temperature.

Appearance: Pours smoothly from the bottle with a straight up chocolate color and a medium bubbled head of about 1/2" in thickness. Decent small-bubbled lacing all the way down the glass.

Smell: The smell was fist noticeable from about a foot and a half away as I was typing in my appearance notes! Nice thick, heavy dark bread and toasted malt nose. Notes of candylike (heath bar) sweetness and a very faint clove(?) spicy undertone - most likely from the hops.

Taste: Generous toasty malt on the tip of the tongue, but not heavy in the least. Well rounded although slightly underhopped for my tastes. Very pleasant toasted caramel aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Light, crisp mouthfeel. Even, medium carbonation with an even creaminess on the tongue. Very nice.

Drinkability: This beer both tastes and feels good. I could definitely drink multiples of this beer without it weighing me down.

This beer is a pleasant surprise and one that will always have a place in my "usuals" roster. Now if I can only find it in 6-packs...

 1,187 characters

Photo of Luigi
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pitch black color with a tan head. Great head retention. Sweet roasted malts, chocolate, and some coffee come out in the aroma. The taste was sweeter than I would prefere, but either way is was fine with me. Chocolate, carmel, and some hop flavor. Mabey the hops could have been stronger, but the bottle did say "lightly hopped". Had a medium kind of silky mouthfeel. I enjoyed this beer, and I would buy it agian.

 422 characters

Photo of farHillsBrewer
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice to see SA continue to produce quality seasonals to go with their popular standards. Poured a dark brown, tinged with a bit of garnet, that looks nearly black when the glass is full. The head and lace were adequate. The taste was excellent, with an underlying sweetness balancing the dark malt flavors of chocolate, caramel, roasted malt, and a touch of coffee. A slight bitterness in the finish, which is covered well by this beer's distinctive feature, which is the pleasing length of the dark blend of roasted flavors.

 525 characters

Photo of bigbubba
4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

 526 characters

Photo of cokes
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A copper shade immediate adjacent to black. It's clear and sports a sturdy sandy cap.
Burnt odors of grain and baker's chocolate, sweetened with whiffs of caramel.
Begins with a drenching caramel nougat sweetness, then washes with milk chocolate. All sweet and candybar-esque. It also hints strongly at a much more modest version of their Chocolate Bock. Turns grainier towards the middle, as ember of ash and char fly around, and the chocolate grows darker. Still, though, images of Caramello linger. It ends with a pinprick of woody hops, and almost no associated bitterness.
Semi-thick in the mouth, with very slight carbonation, this seems too fat for it's pants.
As a style that I love for it's character as well as it's drinkability, this come up partially short. It has some flair and up-side, but it's limited by a heavyhanded, undying sweetness, and thus is a chore to drink in succession.

 903 characters

Photo of Jason
3.57/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Presentation: 12 oz brown bottle with a freshness date on the side of the label.

Appearance: Brownish red tone around the black liquid, decent lace around the side of the glass.

Smell: Fresh chocolaty and caramel malt aroma, a little grainy and semi-burnt in the back.

Taste & Mouth Feel: Crisp and full bodied, mild burnt notes with a rounded caramel malty backing. Nice balance between the burnt flavor and malt sweetness though the spicy floral hops barely can balance the rest of the sweetness..

Drinkability & Notes: I wish there was a bit more hop bitterness to this I tad too sweet for my liking, either way it’s a delicious beer.

 650 characters

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

Brand new six-pack, just arrived at store days ago.

Appearance: Deep dark brown, almost black color. Slight but steady head of tan foam.

Aroma: Sweet cappuccino aroma. Quite nice.

Flavor: Malt is less sweet than the aroma suggests, more of a roasted chocolate flavor. Rich and slightly bready also. Hop bitterness is quite low, lending to a long, sweet finish.

Body: Somewhat thin body, medium carbonation.

Very decent schwarz! Sam Adams recent offerings (this, their Vienna Lager, and Holiday Porter, etc) have almost all very good, and excellent examples of their styles. The Boston Beer Company can certainly make a good beer when they try.

 658 characters

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.

 251 characters

Photo of yankeeheel
3.65/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Part of the "Brewmaster's Collection" series in the winter 12 pk sampler. Pours an opaque brown/black with a thick and firm espresso colored head. Smell is mildly chocolate with a big wiff of coffee mixed in. Tastes quite malty a rich. Lots of roasted malt meets you in the front. Coffee switches to a slightly sweet caramel, that is shortly lived. Almost a little milk creaminess for a second, and then a long moderately bitter/dry finish. Carbonation is well felt and mouthfeel is medium like a porter. Decent brew. I could have two, but to be honest, if you told me it was a porter, I'd never know otherwise.

 611 characters

Photo of TheJudge
3.78/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The distributor was in my favorite bar, and the bartender sent him to me to sample this latest offering from Sam Adams. A Black Lager. Not normally my personal favorite, I was of course willing to give him my opinion.

it pours a nice dark color, like a thin porter. Darker than other black lagers I have had. Pretty nice. The chocolate malts hit you in the nose hard. a coffee bitterness comes through as well. Again, stronger than other BL's.

Tastes good. The smell still gets to you. Tries to be a porter, but doesn't have the smoothness needed to pull it off. It is better and tastier than a normal lager. A decent hop finish. I don't think the style quite suits this. It is trying too hard.

I would certainly drink this again. Perhaps before their flagship brand, but after the Boston Ale. Its worth a shot, but if it is a porter you are looking for, get a porter. This will disappoint on that count. But definatly worth a try. Once again Sam Adams gives a good, solid if not spectacular effort.

 1,008 characters

Samuel Adams Black Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.74 out of 5 based on 2,553 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.