Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

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

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
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 lwillitz
3.83/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12-oz bottle into weizen glass

A - dark ruby/brown body high in visible carbonation under 2-3 fingers of light/medium tan head

S - floral hops, molasses, malty grain

T - grain, malt, molasses, floral hops in the background, dark chocolate, hint of smoke, dry finish

M - medium body, astringent, high carbonation, refreshing

O - Black Lager is a solid Schwarz.

 364 characters

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

Had this a lot when it first came out, but never reviewed it -- remedy now.

A -- Very dark brown with ruby highlights and a dense, long-lasting, light tan head.

S -- Roasted malts with a light coffee character and light breadiness back.

T -- Mellow roasted malts up front that blend lightly into bready malts, but finishes with that dry, nearly bitter roasted flavor. There is the lightest of hop bitterness throughout, but it blends with the roasted malts. Also a mellow sweetness in an underlying backbone.

M -- Smooth body with a dry finish with a medium body.

O -- Overall, Sam Adams nails the style pretty handily. Smooth and roasty like you'd expect from the style and just what you'd be looking for if you asked for a Schwarzbier. Yet another 4.9% beer with a ton of character.

 789 characters

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

A- Poured like a stout. Deep black with a small tan head. Head didn't stick around as long as a stout would. Still good lacing.

S- Sweet, yet somewhat bitey scent. Dark malts with a hint of dark chocolate scent. Maybe a hint of coffee...not sure.

T- Odd is all I can say. Starts off with the traditional burnt malts. Tries to break into the sweeter side with some dark chocolate, similarly to a stout, but stops abruptly and continues with a healthy dose of malt. Slight hint of hops at the end. Finishes very clean, and the overall flavor effect is not bad.

M- Somewhat light with a decent amount of carbonation. Pretty smooth going down. In line for the style.

Overall, this was one I was surprised by. None of its aspects stands out, but a very solid brew when all put together.

 785 characters

Photo of wvsabbath
3.59/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Dark tan/brown, not much of a head, or lacing at all.

Smell - Malts, dark fruits, caramel, brown sugars. Some added spices and a little chocolate aroma.

Taste - Dark malts are the main flavor. Chocolate and some molasses comes in at first drink. Cocoa also adds some flavors. It kind of has a porter feel in flavor to it. Hops slighty come out at the end.

Mouthfeel - Medium thickness, nothing strong or any alcohol with this beer. Tounge and palette both get malts, some sweet sugars and a little bit of hops. Aftertaste is malty bold and a little bitter.

Overall - Decent malty flavored brew with a little sweetness. Nothing about this beer is groundbreaking or special. Worth a drink if you want a mild malty beer but other then that, i could care less to drink this beer.

 816 characters

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

12 oz. into pint.

A: Dark, clear brown. 2-finger khaki head with decent retention.

S: Smells like a toned-down Chocolate Bock. Roasted malts, light chocolate, caramel.

T: Roasted malts up front, followed by a bit of the caramel and chocolate that was hinted at from the nose. Finishes with a bit of burnt malt.

M: Nice, creamy body, yet not too thick. Pretty nice.

O: Fairly good all around. Nothing stands out too much, though.

 434 characters

Photo of jlindros
3.63/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a huge frothy head in my SA perfect pint glass, fades semi slowly with lather lacing, over super dark coke syrup brown color with slightest hints of light coming through.

Nose has some nice darker malts, light heavy crystal malts, a sweet nutty like malts with hints of cocoa, molasses, vanilla, a light hazelnut like aroma that almost smells like an extract added aroma, slight hints of earthy malts and light crisp lagers.

Taste is lighter but thicker than I expected, a bit frothy, darker malts, heavy crystal malts, light cocoa, molasses, cola flavors, again light hazelnut like flavoring added, vanilla, juicy flavored. Earthy dark malts that hint at a roast flavor but not quite. Then light crisp lager flavors, slightest hint of unhappy lager flavors, not quite skunk but like it got a bit too warm or fermented too fast. it finishes slightly bitter but more from the earthy dark malts than hops I think although a light earthy bitter hop comes through on the finish, creamy but dry, hints of lingering roasty dark malts.

Mouth is fairly full bodied and a bit creamy, good carb.

Overall not bad but kinda lackluster. That weird flavoring like hazelnut addition takes away a bit, and the lack of clean crisp fruity lager flavors doesn't help either, more like a lighter porter.

 1,293 characters

Photo of nimrod979
3.2/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle poured a deep deep brown with small ruby highlights on the edges. Small white head.
Aroma is roasted chocolate and coffee malts. Smoky.
Same goes for the taste along with some toffee sweetness and a very mellow hop flavor. It's hard to detect through ll the roasted malts. A little on the sweet side.
Medium bodied and a little watery. Oily texture and smooth carbonation.

 379 characters

Photo of soulfly1492
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma: Sweet molasses, roasty malts. Mild phenols. Mildly smoky. Some bitterness from the hops and roasted malts.

Appearance: Deep ruby red. Good clarity. Medium height dark brown head. Good lacing. Dissipates leaving a thin layer, extra thick around the edges. The head consists of tiny bubbles.

Taste: Molasses, dark roasty malts. Some mild bitterness, mild phenols.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body. Very oily. Very little carbonation.

Overall: Good classic black lager. Nice bold dark malt sweetness.

 506 characters

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

Appearance: Black with some copper notes when held to light. Thin fine head that dissipates quickly, some legs on the side.

Smell: Chocolate malt, some tea and earthy notes. Not as big of a nose as some other black lagers.

Taste: Nice pleasant malt taste at first with little hop profile. A little sweetness to it that compliments the malt nicely. Great chocolate taste with a little dash of hazelnuts and earth tones.

Mouthfeel: Very pleasant. Spreads across the palate nicely. Not as viscous as some other black lagers but nicely in the range of the style.

Overall: A well balanced black lager. It doesn't stand out as something special but it certainly doesn't offend. A great all around beer to share with someone not into more potent or viscous black lagers. I would certainly consider buying this again.

Serving type: Bottle poured into Sam Adams Boston Lager Glass

 876 characters

Photo of harrymel
2.83/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Best by Jan, 2012

A: Black, but able to get light through - resulting in dark drown tones. Central cap of off-white foam is also concentric on the edge.
S: Dry malts, slightest hint of smoke and wood. Maybe even a little bit of artificial grape.
T: Dry flavor, wet feeling. Weird dicotomy of experience here. There are some umami tones in this beer. A little bit of burnt pretzel.
M: Light and low carb - very interesting. Semi dry finish.
O: Not sure how I feel about this beer. A little empty for me.

 504 characters

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

Poured into a mug.

This beer is black but not opaque. It's got a tan head that quickly turns into a layer of lace.

It smells roasted. Not very malty or hoppy.

This beer has a very good roasted character that it pretty subtle. It's not dominant or punishing.

It's got a medium to light body with decent carbonation.

This beer is one of my favorite regular beer from Sam Adams. It's not earth shattering, but it's pretty good.

 429 characters

Photo of UnderPressure
3.46/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown with off white head.

Nice malty aroma. Lightly crisp, yet roasty.

chocolate malt and slight roasted coffee flavors. 

Medium bodied. Lighter mouthfeel than most beers this dark.

Overall, this beer is decent. Nothing incredibly special. But, definitely not bad.

 288 characters

Photo of IIKaRuII
4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a Hot fudge color, with a sort of viscus like thickness to it. Has a nice finger length head that leaves great lacing and retention.
Smells very malty with a nice roasted caramel and chocolate backbone to it. Smells slighlty bitter and tangy.
Taste is a very smooth chocolaty goodness. The bavarian hops kick you right on the back of the palate. Which compliments the caramel roastedness. slightly bitter, but nothing to complain about.
This beer lacks some carbonation. i think if it had a little more it wouldn't have that chalky like feel to it.

Overall i feel this beer is very deserving of praise. Black lagers are unique in flavor, and this one is a fine example of the style.

 693 characters

Photo of Lemke10
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I bought a 12-pack Sampler Pack of Sam Adams Harvest Collections in Fall 2011 from Woodman's in Janesville, WI for $12.99 as this is the only way to get the Rauchbier.

Pours a very dark brown color with a fluffy head that disapates gradually. In the scent, I'm picking up some roasted robust malts, sweet carmal malts, and some toffee. The boldness relaly hits the taste buds. I'm getting some chalky roasted malts and a slighty nutty flavors with a little bit of bitter finish. Drinks quite well on a cold night. The texture could be a little thicker though and if it had a few more bolder elements, this beer would be getting some 4.5's and 5's.

 648 characters

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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a SA pint glass. This pours a dark brown with a decent tan head. The smells are somewhat light, some roasted and bread malts. Feel is medium. The taste is good, much lighter than a stout, but a nice lighter flavored roasted malt flavor.

 268 characters

Photo of JohnnyChicago
3.38/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a SA Perfect Pint.

A: Pours a pretty cocoa brown with a tan head; looks like it could be a porter.

S: Mild, thin malt sweetness and a very ight hop presence.

T: Very light dose of German malts and just the slightest hint of hop bitterness. No roast at all.

D: Its pretty quaffable, but not terribly exciting.

Overall: This is just "OK". It tastes like Boston Lager - hops + food dye. Its not bad, but if your going to make a black lager, give it some character!

 497 characters

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

Pour shows a semi opaque dark brown body that lets some light through and a off white head that recedes quickly in this goblet.
Aroma is notable for its sweet malts that have a chocolate leaning to them.
Flavors are very rich for a SA lager, caramel and chocolate malts , a light roasted malt background and some earthy notes coming from the hops.

 347 characters

Photo of BeerKangaroo
3.27/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Into a pilsener:

A: black body, slightly beige highlights the edges of the white foamy head that quickly fades

S: slight coffee, subdued chocolate and cola

T: mildly sweet,

M: medium, slightly sessionable, smooth aftertaste and finish

O: good for the style and good for me

 278 characters

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

Thee beer pours a wonderful black color with nice ruby highlights. A head about a finger thick lingers briefly after the pour but soon falls back into the glass.

The aroma is wonderful. The smells of coffee, chocolate, and maybe a little coca cola are present.

The taste is mild and somewhat sweet. Their is no bitter finish but instead a very smooth finish. The taste is of dark roasted malts and chocolate. It is all accompanied by a nice medium mouthfeel that is very smooth.

This is a very tasty beer. If you want to impress a newby to the beer world with a nice dark beer this is a good choice.

 602 characters

Photo of MadTown1000
4.18/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a truly close to opaque black; very, very dark ruby red when held up to direct light. Short brown-white head recedes relatively quickly.

Smell is chocolate malt (like, the grain, not the milkshake). Sweet but not very strong. Flavor is that and more, though. Dark, sweet chocolate maltiness all the way through, and it finishes to, yes, something close to chocolate ice cream. Hopes are just, just barely detectable; alcohol almost not at all.

This is a good one - could kick back with this all day long.

 512 characters

Photo of Brunite
3.55/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured into a pint glass. Beer is dark brown to black. The head was quick to disappear after a moderately aggressive pour. No lacing.

S: Very little other than a light, roasted aroma.

T: More taste than the nose was led to believe. Starts off with some sweetness from the malt and ends with some bitterness.

M: Thin but satisfying.

O: This is a nice drinkable brew that gives a little extra on the backside. The bitter/sour flavor is nice and lingers a bit.

 464 characters

Photo of schoolboy
4.15/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I am going to have to try drinking a whole mess of these, because although I know I've had this a number of times over the years, I don't think I ever had a bunch all at once. It seems well suited for that. It is extremely drinkable.

It has a light and crisp taste that european versions of this are sometimes missing. The aroma isn't particularly strong, but it is nice. I want more!

 385 characters

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

App- There are two fingers of dense and fizzy head that is a light brown. The body is a jet black with slight red highlights.

Smell- There is roasted malt and just a slight amount of earthy hop. They also manage to get some sweet malt in there too.

Taste- There is a good mix of caramel and roasted malt. It gets weird toward the finish. It is a mix of citrus hop and metallic tang. If this beer didn't have that finish, it would be much better. I was a little surprised by the alcohol warming, definitely different and a little off putting for a black lager.

Mouth feel- It is medium bodied and slick. The finish is a little dry thanks to that hoppy finish.

Overall- It isn't a bad beer, but the hops need to be more present and there is just something off about the finish. It is so close to being really good.

 817 characters

Photo of ngeunit1
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a slightly clear brownish-red color with a finger of frothy tan-brown head atop. The head fades at a fairly normal pace leaving behind some light lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of roasted caramel and chocolate malts with a bit of earthy and noble hops in the background.

T - Starts off with a mix of roasted sweet caramel and chocolate malts with just a touch of hops in the background. Through the middle, the hop flavor gets a bit stronger with some most burnt malt flavor coming through. The finish is a mix of roasted malts and hops and lingers for a bit.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a nice dry finish. It is a touch thin though.

D - Very drinkable. Pretty solid Dark Lager. Could have used a bit more flavor, but what is there is fairly nice and balanced.

 805 characters

Photo of corby112
3.61/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark chestnut brown color that appears black and opaque in the glass with a one finger ligh beige head that immediately settles into a thin ring. Sporadic spots of lace left behind.

Slightly toasted malt aroma with a nice earthy hop presence that counters the sweetness. Hints of pine needle and grass along with some caramel, toffee and toast.

Medium bodied but fuller than expected or the style with a good balance of crisp, earthy hops and sweet malt notes. Slightly smokey but not burnt or overly roasted. A nice dry, bitter hop presence up front with good puny flavor lingers troughout and provides nice balance. This is followsd by the sweet, slightly roasted malt presence that gives off hints of caramel, toffee, hazelnut and toast. Not overly complex but well balance, flavorful and easy to drink. One of the better Sam Adams offerings I've tried.

 866 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.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!