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

2,554 Ratings
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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 Duhast500
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a perfect pint glass.

The color is a dark black with some maroon and dark brown highlights. A single finger of foamy brownish head ans some slight lacing.

The smell has a dark malt aroma, coffee grounds comes out a bit with a little toasted aroma as well.

The taste has a touch of coffee in the flavor more dark malts coming out toward the back. There is a nice biscuit flavor that is there for a moment before giving a slight bitter flavor.

This beer has a nice drinkable feel like most largers with this same amount of alcohol. It has a medium to lighter body and is smooth going down.

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

Poured into a shaker pint glass.

Look: Cola black with ruby coming through the edges. A tan colored foam head that calms to a thick film, then recedes completely. Little or no lacing.

Aroma: Sweet roasted malts, very toasty and hearty with streaks of chocolate. An almost toffee-like finish.

Taste: Roasted barley and rich, sweet malts give this some substance. There's some faint chocolate, and light smokiness. A caramel or toffee note to finish it off.

Mouthfeel: Medium in weight, crisp, dry.

Overall: I will remember this beer for it's roasted, toasty profile. Pretty flavorful.

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Photo of BeerWithMike
4.6/5  rDev +23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled back on 2/2/14 and split it with a friend. Bottle chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured into a small pilsner flute glass.

Pours a dark brown like cola. A 1/2 finger beige head is seen with a decent amount of lacing. Lots going on with the aroma with burnt brown sugar, chocolate, roasted malts and dark fruit. Even more going on with the taste and sweeter than excepted. Very nice balance of flavors as well as perfect carbonation. One of the better 'black lagers' for sure.

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Photo of shacawgo24
4.08/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A-Darkest brown, like raisins. Coffee dark. Sandy head. Average size. Lacing cascades down glass. Average head retention, maybe a little below average. Lacing doesn't last or stick. The opaque black-brown color wins me over, very solid looking.

S-Burnt sugar. Milk chocolate. Licorice. Coffee grounds. Basic dark beer smells. This smoked beer holds true to name, with an awesome smoked meat aroma. Glazed ham and/or bacon.

T-Coffee. Dark chocolate. Resin. Pine bitters. Roasted barley. Smoke. Prunes. Raisins. An unknown dark aftertaste, like, Dr. Pepper I swear.

M-Slightly watery medium body, but retains enough body to be medium. At first that is. The body just dies and thins out too much, becoming extra watery. The carbonation starts out medium-low, (below medium but still medium range). But the carbonation dies and the beer becomes flat. The beer becomes an inky feeling let down that is sour and alkaline in aftertaste. The bitter hops dies as well. The smoke in the beer blows away and doesn't cling and hover around.

O-A great Schwarz bier. Sam Adams DOES knock out of the park rare, hardly done styles, (in America) I must say. Black Lager is not a regrettable purchase. But it could be better. You do get a smoked sense with the brew that is pleasant. But drink QUICKLY. And one bottle at a time. Because the qualities will evaporate. Flavors will die and carbonation disappears. Drink this decent beer I say still. And search out for authentic imported Schwarz biers.

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Photo of stephenjmoore
3.92/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A- Pours a dark brown that settles into the glass with a cola-colored body and a foamy tan head.

S- Bready lager yeast, roasted, smoky malts, hint of earthy aromas.

T- Everything in the nose comes through very nicely. Almost like a light stout with lager influences. Roasted malts, bready flavors, hint of smokiness, hint of bitterness at the end.

M- Creamy, with a crisp finish. Again like a light stout. Crisp enough for a lager, smoothness and creamy sets as well.

O- Pretty good beer. Better than I expected. Drinkable, but nice roastiness and flavors.

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Photo of RolandoHH
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours an inch-thick cream head, with low retention and slight lacing.
S - Very decent roasted malt smell with coffee undertones and some cacao notes.
T - Creamy malts, much sweeter than expected. Still nice.
M - Very low carbonation. Enjoyable.
O - A decent beer, very drinkable, but altogether not something particularly special.

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.24/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

This is mostly a rate from memory as I have not seen this one in a while. Pours a deep dark brown with slightly brownish off white head. Aroma is dark malty chocolate, some definite roast, with bite that makes it not super sweet. Flavor follows closely, with big roast and a bit of bittersweet chocolate. Interestingly, I didn't get much smoke from this, more roast to me. Rather rich mouthfeel for the ABV, and a pretty solid brew.

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Photo of FLima
3.6/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep black color with lots of thick beige head with medium retention.
Aroma of roasted malts with cofee notes and some cocoa.
Likewise, flavor of roasted malts and earthy and herbal hops. Notes of cofee, cocoa powder, molasses and caramels. Hints of soap, pepper, cola, oxidized apples and salt. Sweet, but not too much. Smooth aftertaste with a low to medium dryness and bitterness.
Light body with medium carbonation with a velveted sensation.
Decent schwarzbier, with a twist hard to identify, maybe a late smokiness and hop of choice or ratio. A beer that grows over time.

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Photo of ahommell
3.99/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Finger of head. Deep brown in color. Clear. Small amounts of lacing.

S: Chocolate, small amounts of coffee. I smell smooth hops at the end. Smells slightly sour at a point... typical of Sam Adams beers.

T: Creamy. Much sweeter than expected. Plenty of roasted malt. Bitter right at the end is very slight. Chocolate.

M: little carbonation. Creamy. One of the less sour Sam Adam's. I enjoy this one very much.

I liked this beer a lot. It is heavy enough to know

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Photo of bark
3.35/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The colour is deep dark brown (70 EBC), the liquid clear. The finger-thick head is brown.

The smell is fresh with a sour touch, some chocolate bar, light clean sweet flavours and a balancing touch of bitterness.

The taste is at first a bit earthy. Roasted sweet notes. It got lots of flavours, but it doesn’t get heavy. Bitterness in the background. Medium body. Chocolate and some roasted malts in the aftertaste as well as passing notes of soap and salty hints. Some cookies in the finish.

The carbonation is medium to light, the small bubbles short-lived. The liquid is somewhat dry.

Not a bad beer at all, although I didn’t like the soapy flavours.

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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 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

 2,088 characters

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