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

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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 woodychandler
3.86/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

While recently visiting Highland Pizza, my uncle was very interested in many of the Sam. Adams bottles that they had in their cooler. That, in turn, piqued my curiosity and so I filled out a mixed sixer with ones I knew that I had not reviewed, This is one of them.

From the bottle: "Careful, there's a bit of mystery in this one. - a dark, rich, and roasty beer that's somehow smoother and less bitter than a stout. It was first brewed in the medieval forests of Germany. Depp and full-bodied yet fresh and crisp. You won't taste another dark beer like this one. Cheers! [undersigned] Jim Koch".

I had a great pour with a resultant two fingers of deep-tan head with good retention. Color was a deep brown with garnet highlights and seemingly good clarity, allowing for its extremely dark color. Nose smelled of cocoa powder and I was reminded of my Lunch Duty partner who seems to to really dig on chocolate. Mouthfeel was medium with a definite cocoa/smoky taste on the tongue. She claims not to like beer, but I would bet that she would totally dig this. For me, it was a bit too sweet, but not cloying, which I really dislike. Finish was semi-sweet and a decent drink for the style, even if not my bag.

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Photo of acevenom
3.79/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Samuel Adams perfect pint glass. Pours dark brown with a thick, light tan head and plentiful rising bubbles in the beer. The head recedes somewhat slowly, leaving some lacing behind on the glass. Lacing is left behind on the glass during consumption. The aroma is of dark roasted malt, toffee, chocolate, and some hints of spiciness from the hop varieties that were selected (spalt and hallertau mittelfruh). The flavor is malty with some mild toffee, mild chocolate, water, and some hop spiciness. The body is light with moderate carbonation. The finish is slightly dry and the drinkability is very high. This is a very good beer.

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Photo of FlatRabbitRed
4.5/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Good beer, straight forward simple black malted beer, nothing like a Guiness, or even like theyre "Holiday Porter".

Coffee notes, dark but not heavy! Easy to drink and very smooth for a dark beer, does not come around often, so grab some if you see them.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.47/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

LOOK: Dark brown with an amber hint. Off white foam.

SMELL: Roasted malt and bread. Cocoa.

TASTE: Roasted malts and a simple herbal/lemony citrus hop. Chocolatey and a note of raisin/plum. Coffee like at times. A faint smoke. Well balanced.

FEEL: Medium bodied and well carbonated. Solid overall feel.

OVERALL: A solid dark beer option, and in the same vein of some of my favorite import schwarzbiers. This still tastes like an American take on the style. Tasty beer.

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Photo of TempeBeerMan
3.18/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a nonic pint.

A - A dark ruby-brown with an eggshell colored two-finger creamy head. Decent retention. Nice looking rings of lacing.

S - Burnt graininess and some floral hop. Some caramel/chocolate malt.

T - Burnt chocolate malt taste forward. Graininess in the nose also present in the taste. A hint of light fruity hop in the finish, but it's very mild. Fruity yeast esters also kick in near the end of the flavor profile with a kind of aritificial lemon flavor. Kind of an oddly sweet and fruity finish for a Schwarzbier. Not unpleasant, just strange.

M - Ok this is where this beer fails. Light bodied bordering on watery, and...creamy? The creaminess really clashes with the graininess of the taste. Could have used a more traditional clean "lager" finish in my opinion. Medium carbonation.

O - A really bizarre Schwarz from SA. Too many off characteristics that didnt work to be considered a truly good beer. Not a repeat buy.

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Photo of LeRose
2.56/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Hard to follow the rules on this one. My original notes were:

Dark black pour, smells like badly burnt toast. Too carbonated. Expected a lot, got nothing. Would not buy.

But I did try again.

Pours nice - very black, opaque, nice foamy head with decent retention. What hit me first again was burnt - overwhelming burnt notes. Taste was the same - I couldn't even call it smoky, really. Some malty flavor in there. Maybe a touch of chocolate and toffee. Seems a bit sour as well, especially as it warmed up. I am not seeing how this example matches with the definition of the style - I didn't find any hops character to it. Other than being light on the mouth feel and well-carbonated I don't see it fitting the overall style.

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Photo of beermeright
3.32/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Not to say much about this guy... had it a few times in sampler packs. dark beer.. the flavor is okay. not my favorite sam adams but its worth a try. made black and blues with it before def not as thick or rich as other beers that would have worked better with that. wasnt a fan of the after taste.

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Photo of elgiacomo
3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, best by December 2012. Served at around 45F.

Pours dark brown to black with a two finger light brown head that recedes to a light cap and leaves some spots and sheets of lacing behind.

Aroma starts metallic and acidic when cold, as it warms it opens up a lot, offering up some chocolate, caramel and roasted malt notes. Good strength.

Flavor is chocolate, roasted malts, caramel, much nicer than aroma. Some cola-like qualities. Moderate sweetness, minimal alcohol.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, a little sticky, good carbonation.

Pretty good Schwarzbier.

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Photo of smalenberg
3.94/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - opaque, slightly tan head.

S - Slight coffee roast character, but without any burnt notes. The malt character comes through secondarily with pronounced munich/melanoidin character and no hops in evidence.

T - Very sweet with roast hitting the back of the tongue late in the sip. The sweetness lingers long in the aftertaste.

M - Medium body with moderate carbonation and very smooth texture with "rounder" notes giving it an ale-like quality for a lager.

O - Excellent balance of sweet with low roast and mild hop. This is a stout without the stoutiness. A great beer to introduce a neophyte to something with character. This seems like a truly Americanized version of the schwarzbier style.

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

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Clear dark brown with two-finger, off-white, creamy head that lasted several minutes. Pretty good lacing.

S: Hops and subtle malt aromas. Mild.

T: Light to moderate sweetness and light bitterness. Light roasted character. Hoppy.

M: Medium bodied with fizzy carbonation. Smooth and slightly dry.

O: Refreshing and light alternative to heavier porters and stouts. I like this.

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Photo of eriktoyra
3/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a dark, almost black colored beer into the glass. The head is about two fingers high and fudge colored. The head is uneven and foamy.

S: Smells of dark malts, earthy tones, fudge and burnt sugar.

T: It tastes of dark malts, dry roasted almonds, some coffee and a sour aftertaste that ends with dry earthy tones.

M: Light body with a hind of oiliness. The carbonation is low to medium.

O: Nothing special. Ok with salty and smoked food.

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Photo of kagent777
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle from the Utah system. Poured into my perfect pint. Best before Aug of 2012, so a touch late.

Appearance: A very dark almost black beer. Very little head and lacing.

Smell/Taste: The smell has a bit of roast, but is otherwise pretty subdued. Taste is little bitter at first with the roasted malts. Then a passing sweetness, like a little molasses.

Mouthfeel: Not too heavy, both body and carbonation are middling.

Overall: A solid schwarzbier, would recommend to tohers.

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Photo of Cavanaghty
3.39/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into a Sam Adams Glass.

Appearance: Very dark brown color, not black, but close. About two fingers of brown head that lasted a couple minutes and some spotty lacing on the glass.

Smell: Smokey, toasted mlats with coffee and carmel.

Mouthfeel/Taste: Medium bodied, a lot lighter than expected. Taste of carmel and coffee with some bitterness in the backround, kinda watery.

Overall: Not bad, but could use some better flavoring, maybe a bit stronger on the carmels and toasted malts.

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

Black Lager (though not so black as to be opaque when held up against a light) opens with a caramel-sweet aroma heavy on sugar, cream, caramel, and toffee, with coffee, tobacco, and ash resting only slightly beneath. At first blush, the beer in fact smells quite a lot like a weak milk stout, presenting a good balance between dark and sugary notes. A decent swath of brown bread, toast crust, floury baguette, and spent grains provides an earthy counter, with faint hints of pine resin from the hops to add bitterness. As a whole, the nose is very nice, featuring a wide variety of aromas in decent number and complexity, and faulted mainly for being slightly weak.

On the tongue, the first flavors are black coffee and ash, joined quickly by a surprisingly strong citrusy lemon and grapefruit hop rush. Cream, sugar, caramel, and toffee creep in slowly, as well as spent grain breads and toast crust. The beer seems less balanced here than it did on the nose, with the citrusy hops providing a strange experience when held against the ash and coffee. In subsequent sips much of the nuance and flavor diminishes, and the flavors become watery; the ash and coffee notes are reduced by at least a half, leaving a large and lemony bread flavor that doesn't seem very "black." The aftertaste is a continuation of the strange lemon and ash combo, lingering lightly on the tongue for a few seconds. Mouthfeel is medium-light, and carbonation is medium to medium-heavy, adding to the burning on the tongue and soft palate.

Overall, while the beer isn’t quite as black in appearance as the name suggests, the initial aromas were promising and savory. However, the flavors proved watery, especially over the course of several mouthfuls, and the watery mouthfeel further took away from the overall package. Decent fare, and likely excellent entry-level beer for anyone making the transition into craft beers due to its approachability and the fact that it won’t blast your palate silly, but doesn’t quite keep up with its heavier-hitting peers.

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.83/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Black Lager is brewed in the Schwarzbier style. It has found its way into many Samuel Adams variety packs in the last year, this being the third inclusion in recent memory. "This traditional lager is medium in body with a deep roasted character. Its dark color and rich malty flavor come from specially roasted caramel and chocolate malts. This brew is lightly hopped with Bavarian Noble hops for a soft spiciness and a smooth clean finish. Cheers!"

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a Samuel Adams perfect pint sensory glass. Served at 50º Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a crisp foamy creamy brown head. Retention is slightly above average- could be better, could be much worse. Beer leaves behind a nice medium-thick clingy lacing. Color is a dark brown with deep ruby tones glaring through the thinner parts of the glass. Beer has a nice appearance. 4

(Smell) Heavy tones of dark roasted caramel, a tart nut aroma, and a small hint of bitter chocolate aromas. Hop character is light but adds a bitter floral aroma to the beer. Overall the aroma is mildly bitter with roasted tones in the background. Nothing groundbreaking, but there could be a lot more missing from the aroma; it's quite well balanced and deep in aroma. 3.5

(Taste) Up front bitter chocolate and spicy floral hop character followed through with medium roasted caramel tones and a mildly charred, slightly tart finish. While there's no prominent flavors, nothing is awkward or offensive in the flavor. It's an easily accessible overall flavor for those who are looking for an easy drinking dark lager. 4

(Mouthfeel) Very mild carbonation lends its hand to a slick smooth brew. There's a solid medium body to the beer and a well-concealed alcohol presence. Overall, it lends well to the "lager" style for the beer. 4.5

(Overall) A pretty tasty Schwarzbier, goes for a bit more of a tart bitter flavor than the other options in the category, but very enjoyable nonetheless. Not the best schwarzbier I've ever had but certainly a decent take on the style. 3.5

Boston Beer Company's
Samuel Adams Black Lager

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Photo of JoLight
4.28/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Blackish with brown hues, with a tan and frothy head. It leaves a lot of lacing.

Aroma - sweet, like a stout. Chocolate, dark-roasted malts, and caramel are the most prominent aroma notes

Taste - Dark-roasted malts, sweetness, chocolate, and some bitterness reminiscent of chicory coffee. Maybe some fruity hops are in there as well.

Finish - semi-dry.

Overall - a good beer.

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Photo of kjyost
3.48/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Part of a Sam Adams sampler pack. Bottle notched BB July / 12. Poured into a wine glass.

Pours a deep black with brownish edges that appear clear with a tan head. Aroma and body virtually match each other with light notes of molasses, roasted barley and an earthiness behind it all. No sweetness in the body. Finishes almost watery though for so much roasted nature, almost like a nitro Guinness. Good enough.

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Photo of BakerMoore
4.08/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Upon pouring it leaves a cream colored one finger head. After a minute or two the head dissipates leaving a nice bit of lacing that lingers. The body is a thick dark brown color with reddish tints. When put up to the light it shows a constant stream of bubbles rising towards the top. Nice overall appetizing appearance.

The smell is very aromatic. The aroma is heavily of roasted malts, coffee, toffee, and hops. Upon smelling you are able to dissect the smells accordingly. However, the aroma could be stronger.

The taste releases a lot of the aroma and flavors. Roasted malts
, coffee and hops are present in this taste. Its a pleasant taste going down. The aftertaste is also pleasant leaving coffee and roasted malts behind.

The mouthfeel compliments the flavor and aroma. The carbonation is present and just right for the taste. Its something that makes a beer almost perfect.

Overall, its an incredibly tasty beer with the right aromas and feels that makes it almost perfect.

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Photo of necrat
3.56/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured dark like a malt, but it wasn't as thick, more like a lager. (Go figure.)

Very light smell, smell of hops, malts, coffee, chocolate, and dark bread.

The taste was rather good. I expected less to be honest. Nice malty mix with caramel and coffee notes on the tounge. A very slight toasted finish with a clean finish. As it warms you can taste the hop notes a little too

It was a little too carbonated, which is why I reduced the mouthfeel one notch on this.

Overall this is a definite hit from the Sam Adams collection and you won't regret buying one. I'll buy one again. (I would like to try it on tap)

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Photo of Jesse13713
2.68/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I reviewed this beer in the past, but I am updating my review because I found quite a few differences in my notes.

Appearance - A dark cola brown that isn't quite black. Very little head and average lacing to the Hoppin' Frog snifter. A very flimsy looking beer.

Smell - This beer smelled great after popping the cap off. Huge notes of roasted espresso malt and dark chocolate. A bit of spicy chocolate milk, which I found quite odd. The smell fades very rapidly.

Taste - A quite tasty chocolaty lager. More cocoa and chocolaty notes than I expected. A very faint spice that is difficult to pinpoint. The malt is half-rich and roasty, but coldly received. Light hops and bitterness can be felt on the tongue.

Mouthfeel and Overall - Very light-bodied and lightly carbonated. Watery at first, but a nice smokey chocolate malt backs it up a bit in the end. With respect, this beer is not terribly great, but it is certainly better and contains more of a body than the Dixi Black Voodoo I just had not too long ago.

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Photo of Treyliff
3.79/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- pours black but with a bit onf ruby hue when held up to the light. Light-tan thi I and creamy head with great retention long after the pour. Just a bit of lacing.

S- sweet malts, bready grain and an earthy hop spice.

T- Sweet malts with a slight burnt edge, a bit of smokiness with a light molasses sweetness. Finishes a bit astringent with a a spicy hops kick, then dries out.

M- light bodied with a smooth creaminess. Med-low carbonation, very refreshing.

O- a refreshing beer that is suitable for winter or summer. It has the characteristics of porters or stouts but is much lighter and versatile. A great offering from Boston Beer Co.

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Photo of intensify
3.67/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark brown, almost black body. Nice head on the pour but quickly went away and did leave a fair amount of lacing. Hints of roasted malts, dark chocolate, coffee, toffee, and some hops present. Taste followed closely behind leaving a roasted taste in the finish. Full bodied with an oily mouthfeel and medium carbonation.
Makes for a decent desert or goes well with a chocolate donut. Made to be drunk on a cold night, which it complements well.

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

P:  Full finger of foamy cappuccino head.  Black body with glistening deep amber translucence.  Recedes to a thin spotty layer across the top. 

S:  Roasted toffee, coffee beans, rich caramel and bittersweet dark chocolate. 

T/M:  Light body with a touch of bubbly carbonation on the tongue. Rich roasted malts, dark bread, caramel with a touch of salt, chocolate and timid earthy and floral hops. I detect a slight taste of vegetation but not sure what kind, molasses and red delicious apples.  Finish is smooth with a dryness toward the end.  Bittersweet chocolate lingers on the palate. 

O:  Mild but flavorful and smooth drinking. One of my personal favorites from the Boston Beer Company. I enjoy this anytime of the year and highly recommend it.  Not sure how it represents the style because this is my first of this style but a delicious beer none the less. 

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Photo of FakeDeniro
4.38/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A deep dark black/brown color! Small off white head. An amazing smell of dark breads and roasted grains The taste is much the same with a brilliant light body to balance out the heavy smell and taste. A great beer the lets your drink a dark or bigger bold tasting beer when you want a light body beer.

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

12oz bottle served in a standard pint glass.

pours a dark, cola-like brown while yielding a finger of off-white head; modest retention and lacing.

nose is strongly lead by roasted malts, followed by lesser notes of chocolate and hops. roasted malts is also at the forefront of the flavor. a bit of bitter chocolate and hops are evident behind the malt; approaching a stout but not quite. not a bad tasting beer at all.

mouthfeel is OK but there is significant room for improvement; light bodied and a bit - a bit - watery. but definitely drinkable; all in all it's not a bad beer, definitely something you would consider sessioning.

originally reviewed: 09-06-2010

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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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