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

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1,435 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: 1,435 | Ratings: 2,553
Photo of russpowell
3.76/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice mahogony edging towards black color. Head is tan but drops to a1/4" ring fast. Lacing sticks around okay.

Smell: Toasted malts, fruit, & wiffs of licorice & choclate& red wine???

Taste: Toasted grain, fruit, licorice, dark choclate & molasess(sp??)

MF: A little thinner than I preffer my Schwartzes. Good carbonation , balance is getting there.

This is one of SAs better efforts, can't wit tofind some on draft where they know how to talk care of the product!

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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.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
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 mdaschaf
3.41/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours black with some ruby color if held up to the light. Has a tan head with good retention. Decent lacing down the sides.

S: A roasted smell with some caramel and chocolate notes, but overall on the weaker side.

T: Has a slight burnt flavor with a good dose of caramel malts. A little bit of hops to round it out as well.

M/D: Light to medium bodied with decent carbonation. Would have liked a little creamier. Its fine, nothing to write home about, but decent enough.

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

Very impressive beige head--a solid three fingers thick--leaves Pollock inspired lacing on the glass side. Light barely penetrates through the deep brown (no reddish hue) liquor. Appears to be clear.

Strong dark chocolate notes, a touch of burnt toast, and toasted marshmallow. Similar smells to a well-made porter.

Crisp like a lager should be. The beginning of the taste is surprisingly neutral--malt flavors but not as obvious as the smell might indicate. The real treat comes from the swallow--strong caramel and dark chocolate notes with a wonderful blend of hop spiciness. The carbonation also shows up here. The aftertaste is surprisingly dry. In fact, the entire tasting devoid of any significant sweetness.

A short description would be a "lagered porter", meaning it doesn't have the roundness of typical fare. Working from memory, this is a more flavorful schwarzbier than others I've had. Worthy of a six-pack.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.98/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark ruby brown tone only when held up to the light, forms a fluffy tan two fingered head leaves behind evenly dispersed fine chunky lace. Aroma: Dark roasted malts mild chocolate with an herbal German noble hop tone going on, standard for a schwarzbier. Taste: Easy drinking caramel flowing malt backbone blended nicely with the cocoa slightly burnt flavor, herbal German hop character is subtle but dances nicely in the whole mix. Mouthfeel: A nice medium bodied black lager goes down very smooth carbonation does tickle the gullet just a bit, overall easy drinking. Drinkability: Great representation of a schwarzbier Sam Adams does a nice job brewing this German specialty, the only other version I have had that blows this away was Heavyweight's Black Ocean which was a small beer version of Perkuno's Hammer not mindblowing but solid.

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

A: Dark brown with ruby highlights. The glass is filled with bubbles, initially creating an appearance similar to a highly carbonated cola. The bubbles and head recede after a few moments, leaving a fair amount of lacing on the glass.

S: The aroma is considerably weaker than the taste. Sweet malts at first, with a subtle hint of roast.

T: This beer is a pleasant surprise, and certainly more enjoyable than I had hoped for or expected. There are nice flavors of cocoa, black coffee, chocolate, and roasted malt. The beer finishes with a nice hop bitterness, which helps to round out the overall flavor presentation. Well done.

M: Medium bodied and thicker feeling than I expected from a >5% beer.

D: A good representation of the style. I would drink it again.

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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 stakem
3.55/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Review copied from notes taken last week.

Pours a very dark brown color with a finger of slightly tanned head. Has a sweet nose with a hint of yeasty chocolate. Quite a bit of lacing to be found and the head does not retain long. More smell of malt sweetness. Taste has a medium to light body with slight bitter crisp finish. Can taste notes of both chocolate and coffee. Low carbonation and medium mouthfeel welcomes a second beer. As it warms it takes on some toffee taste as well.

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Photo of jwc215
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a brownish black with ruby highlights, a little lighter than expected, and a thin tan head.
The smell was on the thin side, but had hints of roasted coffee, chocolate and caramel.
The taste was of malty chocolate, caramel, and a touch of dark coffee with a hop presence in the background.
The mouthfeel was a bit thin, but refreshing while holding most of the flavors. It did have a sweet kick to it, especially in the aftertaste.
Not a bad example of this style, though I've had several better. It's certainly not one to turn down, and worth buying if better ones are not available (which is often the case with this style, unfortunately.)

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Photo of tdm168
3.94/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, dark brownish black with 1/4" of head that quickly fades to nothing. Smells of deep roasted malts with just a hint of coffee notes. Taste is similar to the smell; roasted malts, just a hint of coffee flavor, and in the finish there is just a hint of chocolate. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and crisp.

Not a bad schwarzbier. Drinkable and flavorful. Sam Adams actually puts together something nice and true to style here.

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

caramel-y brown color, crimson shades, thick, rocky brown head, like a chocolate cloud...
Sweet nose, with coffee tones, bittersweet tinges, a a dab syrupy, but ultimately dry.
Choocolate leads the taste, roasted and dry. Starts with a solid flavor, mellows with ease, very easy-drinking. "Quaffable, but not transcendent."
Medium bodied, with a light, but durable finish.
Not bad at all.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass. More Samuel Adams festing continues I guess...

A good solid large three finger head off the pour and an off tan color, but with some light foamy consistency and not much retention. Body is at first appearance extremely black walnut but to the light is a very dark red, even clear.

Bouquet, is a mild ripped grain and light roast. Small coffee sense typical of a schwarzbier. Small but quite decent.

Taste overall is a little lacking but still manages to deliver flavor. Palate hits in the finish with a little milky malt almost milk stout. Dry roof top dry mouth on the finish for feel. Leaves also some dry mildly burnt coffee almost on the swallow which I actually kind of like.

Overall fairly decent and surprising, tastes like a schwarzbeir to me and not too bad for one either.

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

The Samuel Adams Black Lager is a solid dark lager. The appearance as poured into my pint glass was quite good. The color was a dark, nearly opaque, with rich red/amber hue. The head was thin and off-white...some lacing. The smell includes roast and sweet malt...like molassis. The taste had an interesting mixture of roast, malt, caramel, and hops. The combination lent to a spiciness. The mouthfeel is good. A nice beer for the cooler nights. Overall another decent creation by Sammy A!

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Photo of Gagnonsux
4.18/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled as part of the Brewmaster's Collection mixed sixpack. The color is almost black with a ruby glow when viewed against a light source. Head is average-sized and light brown. Retention is pretty good for a dark lager. Aroma is a little too low key, but nice bready malts are noticed with just a touch of spice. The taste is primarily of an excellent chocolatey malt. Subtle flavors of roastedness, nuttiness, and spice add layers of complexity. For me, Samuel Adams Black Lager is addictively tasty. Now if they would only start selling this by the sixer around here, I would have no problems with the Boston Beer Company.

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

Poured from a bottle into a weisse vase, the bee pours a ruby-highlighted, very dark brown with a chuny, dense, foamy biege head that starts at a robust two and a half inches but eventually settles into a quarter inch. Aromas are rich and robust, with a heavy sour malt and toasted oats balance. The beer has some interesting flavors, with rich and darkly sweet malt profiles of chocolate and molasses, and a bitter coffee character that balances, along with some roasted highlights. The beer leaves a decent, light lacing along the glass while you drink. The aftertaste is mostly coffee, with a slight linger to the dry-roast taste, and the beer has a tangy, mid-lingering finish. Decent beer.

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

a- very dark, with strong cranberry color when held to light. Low head with medium lacing. Interestingly it has a very fine bubble structure.

s- strong sweetness almost reminiscent of corn syrup. Notes of rasin and nut in the middle notes.

t- very smooth flavor, a little light. Roasted malt flavor with chocolate notes on the finish. Slight prune flavor in the middle. Flavor has a low complexity, but still nice overall flavor.

m- mouthfeel is a little light, but being a black lager and not a stout I feel it is appropriate to style. very drinkable, not terribly coating to palate. Carbonation is low but pleasant.

o- very drinkable, light but perfect for a traditional schwartzbeer. Great black lager.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.3/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer is dark brown and opaque with a thin off white / tan head that break and still manages to leaves some lacing on the glass. Carbonation low.

Aroma is mild with only minor roast and some pils sweetness.

Beer is thin with a mild roastiness at the back end of the palate, otherwise it's a plain Jane beer. I just don't get much from it, it is unoffensive just not very interesting.

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

02/16/08- Purchased at Burlingame Foods in Burlingame, CA.

Presentation- 12oz bottle. Did not look for freshness info. Poured into a random pint glass.

Appearance- Mid range black colored pour with a 1/2 inch off white bubbly head and leaves decent streaks of lace.

Smell- Mostly deep and malty with notes of dark chocolate and earth.

Taste- Suprisingly a mild hop note hit me right off the bat. After that though, it's all mostly mildly sweet and fairly heavy roasted malts. Chocolate flavor is light and more of mild coffee flavors.

Mouthfeel- Medium carbonation level with a light hop aftertaste.

Drinkability- Perfectly fine schwartzbier. In fact it's rather good and quenching for sure. Not the best, but certainly worth trying. I'll be having another sometime down the line.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.13/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Very dark brown, almost black. Visible carbonation. Fluffy white head that disappeared very quickly.

S - Not much going on here. I can smell the alcohol right off that bat, which is odd for a 4.9% ABV. Faint smell of a slightly fruity malt.

T - Sweet malty taste that is not very predominant. Not too much gong on here.

M - very light body (for what I expected).

D - This beer is drinkable but moreso because it is so average. I feel like this is just one small ingredient away from being a very good beer but comes up short.

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Photo of tempest
3.33/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this in a Sam Adams Mix Pack.

Pours a dark dark brown body with about a one finger head and leaves a little lacing. Nice, full malty aroma. A little sweet too.

Nice tasting, but not a standout in flavor for a schwarzbier. There are no off flavors, but its lightest tasting black lager I've had. Very similar to Saranac Black Forest.

Goes down easy and isn't terribly filling for a dark beer, but I think this is only because the flavor and body are too light for the style.

Very drinkable and I'd never refuse one of these. However, if I wanted a cheaper black lager, I'd still go with Saranac Black Forest. Possibly a good beer for someone just starting to try darker beer.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
4.13/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into pint glass.
Smell hit first. Some coffee and nut, but mostly chocolate and malt. Some roasted malt, toast
Black (go figure) and brownish head, small, diminishing. Good solid body.
The roast comes out most in the taste. Chocolate and coffee come mid-way, and the hops end it. A good balance

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

Clear, dark brown color. 3/4 inch head of a pale tan color. Great retention and good lacing. Smells of sweet malt, oatmeal, slight hop, hint of roasted malt, and a hint of yeast. Fits the style of a Schwarzbier. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of hops, sweet malt, oatmeal, slight coffee, and hint of roasted malt. Overall, good appearance, body, blend, and aroma.

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Photo of WesWes
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a translucent dark brown color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a dry, yet sweet malt scent that boasts of chocolate and caramel malts and a lager yeast aroma. The taste is decent. It has an extremely dry, dark malt flavor which is rich in pale, caramel, and chocolate malts. It goes down easy and finishes with an earthy dry lager yeast feel. The mouthfeel is good. It is a medium bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a good drinking Schwarzbier. I wish it wasn't so dry, but overall it's a fine offering.

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Photo of Gavage
4.51/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: clear black in color with a thick 2" tan head that nicely lasts. Decent lacing develops throught the drink.

Smell: the aroma is of roasted malts, licorice, and slighty earthy.

Taste: the flavor is superb, as roasted malts are nicely balanced with other components such as bitter chocolate, coffee, and soft licorice. Nice bitterness levels. One of the more flavorful schwarzbiers I have encountered.

Mouthfeel: crisp at the start. The finish is relatively clean, as the roasted tones fall off the tongue quickly. Light to medium in body.

Drinkability: great as this can be quaffed all night long. One of Sam's better brews.

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