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

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Samuel Adams Black LagerSamuel Adams Black Lager
2,657 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,657 |  Reviews: 1,465
Photo of WestValleyIPA
3.87/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This was one of my favorites, back in the days before I drank mostly craft. Poured from a 12oz bottle into my n'Ice Chouffe goblet. Dark cola colored. Almost zero head. No lacing. On the nose, bitter coffee, lots of prominent malt, some light milk chocolate. Not much hop to speak of. A little bit of smoke. On the palate, more of the same. Sour and bitter coffee. The smoke is more prevalent. Lots of malt, but it's dry, not sweet at all. The flavor is almost that of a stout mixed with club soda, which is pretty true to style. Very bubbly. Good beer. Nothing stellar, but one of the better Sam Adams offerings.

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Photo of jman892
2.94/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pours dark brown with some ruby highlights. Aggressive pour into a pint glass leads to a foamy, sticky head. Lots of lacing

S - A little bit of malt I guess, but really not much of a nose here. I'm struggling to pick up anything

T - Very subtle taste as well. Some sweet malts and a little bit of dark fruit.

M - Mouthfeel is middle of the road with moderate carbonation, pretty light bodied.

O - Another from the fall pack from Sam Adams. Very middle of the road beer. Just not a lot to say about this. It is what it is.

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Photo of oline73
3.18/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown with some red showing up with the light comes through. There is a finger and a half of off white head and decent retention.

Smell: Mild sweet malt, a bit roasty with some dark chocolate in there as well.

Taste: Sweet chocolate malt. The roast and dark chocolate from the smell are still there. The finish is chocolaty with a roasty bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with smooth carbonation and a finish that is a bit dry.

Overall: Easy to drink, but not as good as I used to think it was. A good beer if you don't want to pay too much attention to what you're drinking. Pleasant.

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Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a real smooth black with a half inch of tan head. Only a few splotches of lace follow the beer down.

There is a nice roasted malt scent right out front. There is a hint of spice and vanilla. Touch of grass.

The taste follows the smell. Great roasted malt front. Slight mineral middle, smooth, slightly citric finish.

Pretty nice schwartzbier. Glad they packed it into their Autumn Sampler.

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Photo of tbern007
3.73/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First of all, I am not sure what this style is supposed to be. So I'm rating this based more on personal preferences most likely.
A - dark nut brown. Ruby when lit from behind. Tan head, does not last a long time. Medium lacing.
S - malty, some hops, grainy. Roasty is the overall impression.
T - coffee, bitter chocolate, slight smoke, slightly sweet aftertaste. I think I'd call this a light porter if I had to characterize it based on what I've had thus far. Tasty.
M- dry, roast, finishes s little sweet. Different than what I've had. Not sure if it's spot on for style but interesting.
Overall I think it's drinkable but I think I'd rather just get a good porter.

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Photo of rlee1390
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Dark brown/black, one finger head, dissipates but comes back with some swirling.

S-Roasted malts, coffee and chocolate.

T-Lots of roasted malt along with some coffee and chocolate.

M-Medium bodied, with some carbonation.

O-Of the the Schwarzbiers this one is the best so far. Gotta love SA for making some of the lesser known styles and making them well to get into the style.

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Photo of Durge
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A solid black brown color with a reasonable sized light creamy tan head and good lacing. The nose finds deep nutty malt with a hint of molasses. Decent and relatively simple. The tongue detects lots more malt and molasses with raisin apricot hints. This is a medium bodied brew with a smooth, well carbonated and easy drinking feel. I get some brown bread and a vague charcoal ingredient. It’s a very serviceable brew.

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Photo of airforbes1
3.52/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with some dark red/brown that shows when held to the light. The head doesn't last very long. On the nose, I smell toasted malt and chocolate.

The taste is pretty sweet; I'm tasting milk chocolate, offset by slight bitterness at the end. Not a lot of carbonation, which makes it a smooth brew.

This beer doesn't amaze me, but it is solid and tasty. The problem is this beer is a tweener; it has just enough flavor to be on the sweet side and therefore loses drinkability, but doesn't have enough flavor to leave a lasting impression.

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Photo of zaphodchak
3.66/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Big creamy tan head, clearish ruby-brown body.

Tangy metallic nose, there's malt hidden under aluminum.

Taste is nice and roasty malt. Most of the metallic presence is gone, but there's still some tang from something. It's a shame, too because minus that, this would be quite a nice dark lager. It's still decent in spite of this. Maybe I have a skunky bottle.

Mouthfeel is kinda too cola-fizzy for the style.

Taking the good with the bad, this is pretty all right. I expect no less from Sam Adams.

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Photo of alexkeil
3.63/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this one from the Harvest mix pack

Appearance is deep brown with ruby edges when held to the light. A tan head which lasted around the edges.

The smell is mild and hard to pick up: clean lager yeast with slight sulfur notes, only a hint of roasty malt.

The taste starts with the dominance of roasty malts, bready to toast, chocolate. The finish you're left with the roast and a residual sweetness.

The mouthfeel is full bodied, silky smooth with no astringency.

Overall a nice drinking beer, easily sessionable, appropriate any time.

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Photo of GarrettMD
4.02/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Very dark, black, not quite completely opaque. There's a nice ruby hue near the edges of the glass. 1 finger of very light brown head. Fades to a layer of bubbles pretty quickly. Not really any lacing.

S - Dark malts, coffee, chocolate, some dark fruits like cherry, mostly cherry. Slight breadiness in the back. It almost smells 'crisp' if you can imagine it.

T - Rich sweet roasted malts, coffee, chocolate, caramel, it's all blending, essentially the flavor profile you would see in any stout. Slight hop bitterness with some mild piney flavors coming through.

M - Light bodied, which is an absolute shocker once you get that flavor on your tongue. It has all the full bodied flavor of a delicious stout but the body of a light lager. Amazing. Finish is fleeting, with bitter chocolate and dark malt aftertaste. Slightly drying.

O - Not at all what I was expecting. This beer is fantastic. It's a stout in lager form essentially. I have never had anything in this style before, so my ratings are purely on a self-biased scale, but once I get more from this style, I'll be sure to re-review it within it's own style.

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Photo of MrOH
4.2/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black with some red around the edges, quickly dissapating tan head. Some lace.

Munich malt and a little bit of noble hops.

Deep, sweet, roasty malt. Nice hop balance. A really great malt character, just enough roast to keep it from being a one trick pony. Good stuff.

Medium bodied, good carbonation.

Damn, that is tasty. A good lager for cooler weather.

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

poured into a pint glass. best by date feb 2012.

a - pours a translucent dark brown with some red highlights coming through. gave me a thin cap of light brown head that calmed to a film pretty quickly. no real lacing to speak of.

s - molasses, date or fig, slight spiciness.

t - sweet carmel malt followed by a faint spice of hop character. not getting the roast they speak of on the label, but there is a note of chocolate in there. a balancing light bitterness fades out slowly. not very complex but still well put together.

m - lighter side of medium with adequate co2 helps to lighten up the sweetness.

o - a solid beer overall. goes down easy and would make a good candidate for a drinking session. one of sam adams better beers imho.

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Photo of elNopalero
3.53/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a seasonal sampler pack and now I’m working my way through it. First time trying the SA Black Lager. Just FYI, my favorite black lager is Moonlight’s Death & Taxes, although I know that it is a bit of a radical when it comes to the style. I’ve had other schwarzbiers that failed miserably—usually too malty and not enough roast—and some that were exceptional. Drank this one while rewatching the Cohen bro’s Miller’s Crossing. Not sure that the style fits the genre, or that any of this matters, but I thought I’d throw that in here.
Poured from a bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass. I received a healthy amount of billowy foam that died down into a creamy ring around the glass. Cold, the malt dominates on the nose. I expect more roast to come through on the aroma as it warms although the malt maintains the upper hand. Mildly roasted, no harsh edges. It’s definitely a black lager, pours a dark chocolate with some light showing at the edges. Just barely. Glad to see a black lager that lives up to its name, judging from simple appearances.
First sip gives me a lot of that maltiness. It’s rich, but not heavy. Not thin bodied, either, but somewhere in between say a porter and a brown or amber ale. I definitely get a front-loaded sweetness that turns dry on the end. It’s well carbonated, and the carbonation keeps it from feeling heavy in spite of the malt body. I don’t expect any hop profile but I’m trying to pick up on the Bavarian Noble hops the label identifies, just for my own edification. I’d finish the night with this one but I wouldn’t have two in a row.

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Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.27/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Presentation: 12oz brown pop top, best by January 2012. From the Autumn/Harvest mix pack.

Appearance: Dark brown in the glass, dark walnut beer with bright clarity when held up to the light. Beige head which falls a bit too quickly.

Smell: Lots of chocolate in the initial nose. Almost s'mores-like, with hints of toasty graham as well. Not typically what I associate with a schwartzbier, but it's not unpleasant. A bit of nice toasty malt character skulking around there in the background, I'm assuming from the Munich malt. A swirl and a bit of warming bring just a ghost of burnt malt.

Taste: Quite honestly, this is fruitier than I expected from a lager. The fruitiness is really what gets you first, and is fairly dominant; the roast (lightly bitter, relatively low in intensity, and pleasant) comes later. The flavor's actually pretty mild. Just a hint of mild, clean hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Too high on the carbonation; makes it seem a bit thin

Overall: I'm not one to hate on Sam Adams, far from it. The Irish Red in this pack was ok, and the Oktoberfest, Rauchbier, and Pumpkin Ale were enjoyable. This one just doesn't do it for me though. There isn't the nice Munich toasty background, nor the roast intensity that make the good German schwartzbiers, and this tastes more like an ale, with the estery profile. It's not a BAD beer, per se, but I don't see myself ever buying a sixer of it (unlike Sam's Cream Stout, which is pretty tasty).

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

From tasting notes on 9-11-11

Appearance: Pours very dark brown with ample foamy light tan head that settles fairly quickly to a thin creamy head and leaves a few rings of retaining lace.

Smell: Lots of bready malts; a bit of grassy hop presence in the nose.

Taste: Pretty roasty maltiness, some chocolate, backed up with some hops and a burnt coffee taste on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body, medium carbonation, clean finish.

Overall: Good beer with nice taste and good drinkability. Not exceptional, but still a good beer.

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Photo of stjaernstoft
3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Samuel Adams Black Lager, ABV: 4.9%.
355 ml bottle, 16.40 SEK at Systembolaget.

A: The liquid is dark brown, almost black in colour, and has got a fluffy beige to brown head that lace well on top.

S: Musty aromas of soy sauce, with roasted, malty notes of coffee, dark chocolate, dark dried fruits, nuts and citric hops.

T: A lot of chocolate! Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, butterscotch, soy sauce, coffee, nuts, vanilla, cress and hoppy citrus fruits. The bitterness is medium.

M: Smooth, with an aftertaste of milky chocolate. The body is medium, with a slightly watery feel that lowers the grade.

O: Yummy! An interesting dark lager, that's very drinkable and rich in flavours, with a lot of chocolate and coffee notes. A solid beer from a solid brewery.

(Notes from 14/9.)

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Photo of Fulky
3.92/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Finally picked up a Harvest Collection after searching all over. I decided to try this one first, and I was fairly impressed overall. Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint "flavor enhancing" shaker.

Appearance is pretty much as I expected from a name like "Black Lager." Black. Like coffee black with very little, if any, transparency that glows a rusty brownish red. Pours with a limited, approximately half inch, head that doesn't hang around but at least leaves a nice lacing.

Smells sweet like hazelnut and coffee, with hints of burning wood or smoke.

Taste reminds me of black coffee with a sweet chocolate reminiscence. The roasted malt is present but is not the most overwhelming of the flavors.

The mouthfeel is smooth but a little fizzy to start, full but not syrupy. It, like the rest of its aspects, reminds me a lot of coffee... just not as watery.

A good way to start off the variety pack. Color me imoressed.

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Photo of BdubleEdubleRUN
3.77/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured in SA pint.
A-Pours a dark brown almost black with a light tan head that fades fairly quickly, leaving just a bit of residue on the glass.
S- Smells sweet of molasses, coffee and roastiness.
T- Pretty much follows suite to the nose, as well as a very faint bitter chocolate.
M- Mediumish feel with the standard carbonation from BBC. Flavors linger on the palate.
O- This is a solid offereing that I'm proud to drink and can handle quite a bit of.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.65/5  rDev -1.4%
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 Apellonious
3.65/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - pours a dark black with a creamy one finger head that quickly dissipates to a thin lace that hangs on the side if the glass.

S - caramel, maple syrup, smoke.

T - burnt Smokey malts. Coffee and liquorice flavors.

M - good carbonation, slightly watery and thin.

O - A good dark lager, if you are in for smokey flavored beers. Something is missing from it being truly outstanding, but worth a try.

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Photo of scratch69
4.7/5  rDev +27%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured a bottle into a Samuel Adams glass.

Appearance - Black with about a fingers worth of head that lingers. Nice lacing.

Smell - Roasted malt with a hint of molasses.

Taste - Same as smell but with a hint of chocolate at the finish.

Mouthfeel - Smooth and well carbonated.

Overall - A very good beer. This could easily become one of my favorites.

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Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.63/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black with a nice head that had some staying power and left pretty good lacing.

Roasty malts and sweet molasses start off the smell, followed by a bit of a coffee component.

Taste is pretty good. Lots of roasted malt flavors, some coffee, chocolate, and a bit of hops finishes it off with some decent balance.

Body is pretty light, very light in fact considering how black the beer looks when you pour it. However it's still very drinkable and satisfying.

A pretty good brew. The fall variety pack is pretty good this year, and this one adds nicely to the selections.

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Photo of dmcbeerington
3/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It is a B+ rating here, so I went and got 6 bottles. I am disappointed. It isn't that great at all. First, it does smell a little different from the other ale beer I have tried, but the color is almost exactly like a pale ale. It also tastes kinda watery like pale ale. I am definitely not impressed. It is drinkable, but definitely not the style of beer that I like. So, I think I will give it a middle C.

The strange smell is weird to me. I never smell something like that, so I really can't describe the smell, but I am sure it tastes better than smell. Somehow I think the smell of this better is horrible. For taste, there is indeed some after taste of little bitterness, and that is it.

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Photo of EricMichael
3.58/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle to a weizen glass.

appearance - Pours a pure black, but held up to sunlight a mahogany color is seen in the narrowest part of the weizen glass. One finger head that settles a little, but sticks around for the duration with fairly good lacing.

smell - Smells of sweetness. Molasses are strong with a side of chocolate. Roasted malts bring up the rear.

taste & mouthfeel - Rosted malt molasses. Faint chocolate. Very simple flavor. Sweetness to start, some hop, then the sweetness comes right back again. Hangs out on the lighter side of a medium bodied brew.

overall - When I see a black beer, I expect something heavier like a stout. I don't think I've had a Schwarzbier before so I don't have a baseline to compare it too, but it was a decent beer. A little more balance to the sweetness would have been nice.

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Samuel Adams Black Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Beer rating: 3.7 out of 5 with 2,657 ratings
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