Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99! (Limited time offer, US delivery only)

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

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Samuel Adams Black LagerSamuel Adams Black Lager
2,651 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,651 |  Reviews: 1,465
Photo of eballard
3.33/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a dark brown with a slight hint of amber red. It had a heavy head that settled into a nice lacing. It had a roasted dark chocolate smell with a little bit of a malt quality. The taste is roasted and smoky with sweet malt back. It has a very creamy feel but a light finish. And not too much bite. It’s a subtle beer with a rich flavor and a light body. If you like dark beers this is an easy one to drink but it lacks the heaviness that you may be looking for. Sam Adams never disappoints and this beer is certainly worth a try.

 545 characters

Photo of JamesS
4.38/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of my favorite Sam Adams brews. It has a wonderful black appearance that allows just enough light to shine through when you hold it up to give it a little shine. A very nice earthy, rich, coffee scent to it. It goes down very smooth, with a wonderful rich, dark, coffee-like flavor. Definitely worth a try or a six-pack if you like dark lagers.

 348 characters

Photo of DavidSeanNJ
4.3/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of the first beers I have had from Sam Adams that I really truly enjoyed.

Poured into my yankee pint glass.

A- A dark chocolate color- some thin creamy tan head. No lacing to speak of.

S- Smell was of coffee beans, chocolate, cream, and espresso.

T- Taste was of dark chocolate- malts- espresso- some cinnamon.

M- Mouthfeel was slick but very rich.

D- Great drinkability. For such rich content, it was not as filling as expected-

loved everything about this beer-

 476 characters

Photo of lawman834
3.28/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A-Dark Red, with thin off-white head.

S-Smoke and Coffee.

T-Smoke, Coffee and Nut.

M-Kinda heavy and thick. Maybe chewy.

D-Not very drinkable. I don't like heavy, thick beers. I like a lot of flavor (e.g. a Vienna or an IPA), but I don't like a heavy beer that drags you down. To date, Sam BL is my favorite daily drinker, so this one was a let down. Got it in a seasonal sampler.

 384 characters

Photo of emericanchaos
4.08/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Charcoal dark with maybe a hint of ruby. Darker capuccino head with white lacing that trails half the glass.

Lots of dark roast. Coffee and nut first with maybe a touch of caramel in the back where the hops show up. Slight bitterness of hops/coffee combination in the finish.

Beer is quite thick even for a lager. Very bouncey in the mouth almost like a chewy bouncey ball.

Notes: this beer is upfront. it's not like the west coast craft beers that come off so sweet and complex. this is for people that like their coffee black. it's all coffee basically. i like this beer with sweet barbecue. the sweetness from the sauce adds sugars to it and brings out more candied fruit notes.

 686 characters

Photo of Strix
3.77/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Drinking straight from the bottle.

Smell: very roasted, coffee-like.

Taste: Roasted flavors dominate

Mouthfeel: Creamy, not as dense as the dark taste indicates it might be

Drinkability: Kind of dark for me to want to drink too many at once.

A nice beer if you're in the mood for something dark, reminds me of a porter.

 324 characters

Photo of atigerlife
3.7/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown with ruby highlights. Small off-white head that dissipates rather quickly.

Aroma of caramel, molasses and malts.

Taste of molasses, smokey, sweet, bready, roasted malts and some hints of licorice in the background.

Mouthfeel was medium/light bodied and mildly cleansing. A dry finish.

Overall, good brew. Very drinkable.

 343 characters

Photo of bunnyhustle
3.69/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Sampled from 12 oz. bottle as part of a mixed 6 pack. Pours very dark almost black, but when held to light its more of a deep cranberry red. Nice 2 finger tan head intially but quickly dissolves leaving a thin layer behind. Very little last. Smell is off coffee and chocolate. very dark smell to it. Taste is pretty good, coffee and dark chocolate dominate the flavor but there seems to be a hint of hops. Lower carbonation and somewhat creamy taste, medium mouthfeel. Overall a pretty good beer, almost got better as temperature increased. Not a bad offering from Sam.

 569 characters

Photo of livingregret
4.08/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving Type: A Standard 12 oz bottle

Appearance: Pours a black liquid w/ a white head that has decent lacing. A light red colour shows when held up to light

Smell: Light molasses/caramel, sweet bread smell(grains?)

Taste: A very crisp beer. A very light burnt taste(coffee/toffee?) w/ caramel/molasses spread throughout the beer. A touch of spicyness really makes this beer great

Mouthfeel: Almost feels like a porter. Thick yet very smooth

Drinkability: A very good beer, goes down smooth and has good solid flavour.

 523 characters

Photo of Bierman9
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed a 12oz bottle of this nice Schwarz in the 'Zebo yesterday while listening to the Bosox pound the Chisox...

Poured a deep, dark, clear chestnut. Very dense darkness, almost opaque. Head was creamy and short, a 1/4" of beige suds topping the brew. Foam faded rather quickly, leaving a sliver of bubbles atop things, and with decent lacing in the glass. Lovely nose! Lots of roasty malt, dark choco and mocha. Mmmm... Bier was fairly smooth on the tongue, with only a small carbonated bite. Body was almost in the medium category. Still good, though.

Flavor has a subtle sweetness to it, with caramel, toffee and roasty malt choco notes aplenty. Had a surprisingly mild bitter bite, all in all. Subtle floral hops are present, though they're mostly sent to the background by the roasty character. A solid, solid rendition of a Schwarz by Sammy, and quite drinkable.

Zum Wohl!!

overall: 4
appearance: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 4


 977 characters

3.42/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a bottle at the cornerstore about and hour ago while getting some chinese food(I'm drinking it with the food).

A-Dark brown, almost black, but translucent in the light with brown and ruby hints in the light....1/4inch off white/light coffee colored like head.
S-Chocolate, toffee, coffee, slightly burnt, a bit of charcoal, and a malty back bone.
T-Light chocolate, and again not that I have really tasted charcoal, but I really feel that this has a charcoal like taste...bot bad, but definitely different. Almost no detectable hops, but a slight chocolatey bitterness....a bit a coffee in the finish.
M/D- Much lighter than expected, and for such a dark beer a bit watery. Interesting flavors, and I can see why some might love it, but not quite my thing...I do imagine that I will drink another one or two this winter though.

 843 characters

Photo of saintwarrick
4.14/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

As you would expect from a beer called black lager, this nice looking beer pours a dark brown or garnet with a medium head with great retention. Aroma is malty, milk chocolate and light molasses. Despite being as dark as a stout, the taste is light and chocolaty with a smoked characteristic. Not much of an appearance by the hops, but that is to be expected. Not much bitterness, but this beer is quite refreshing, like a lager. One of the few dark beers I wouldn't mind having on a hot day. One of Boston Beer's best offerings in my opinion.

 543 characters

Photo of ghostmech007
3.46/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Deep brown halo in pitch black center of body. Lacing hugs the glass all the way down.

Nose is a nice caramel aroma. Not much else one-dimensional.

Nice full-bodied brew. Burnt and caramel malts are present. Nice floral hop cuts and balances the sweetness of the malts but just slightly.

I decent brew but I hope that Sam Adams can give it a little more balance in the future.

 427 characters

Photo of Jmamay22
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a black ruby red with a thin tannish head that leaves no lacing. The beer smells of roasted malts that provide a chocolate scent with a slight hint of bitter hops in the background. Tastes heavily of malty chocolate and roasted caramel flavors. More roasted flavor than in the scent and found in a typical Schwarzbier and a bit sweeter. Finishes dry with a slight bittering from the hops. Light mouthfeel makes this one an easy drinker as it clocks in at 4.90%. This might be my favorite from Sam Adams.

I imagine this would pair well with some hearty grilled fare.

 575 characters

Photo of meechum
3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown to light black in color with nice fluffy tan head that recedes into nice lacing

S - Roasted malts with a hint of wood and then moving to some hoppiness

T/M - Low to medium mouthfeel with a decent amount of carbonation some great taste, this being a lager had a full taste that was pleasant

D - I plan on stocking some in the fridge for the next couple of weeks as they are so easy to get a hold of and so easy to drink

 443 characters

Photo of soupyman10
3.98/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black beer with a finger of white head and nice lacing. Looks great, although its my first schwarzbier, so it might just be average for the style. I'm giving it top marks anyway. Nose is licorice, coffee, some spices. Light sweet malt shows up too. Taste is roasted malt up front - almost stout-like. Some spiciness. It's good, although not particularly complex. Solid hoppy aftertaste. Feel is medium bodied with good carbonation. I like this one a lot. Seems like it'd be a really good session beer.

 501 characters

Photo of giblet
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

only the second of this style that i have had. this is quite good. poured from a bottle very dark into my glass. very nice head and carbonation and leaves a nice lace. not as black as you think. very pleasant smell. rich chocolate malt aroma. nice smooth taste with nice light finish for a darker beer.

good choice. get it.

suckem up and movem out!!!


 366 characters

Photo of BBM
4.27/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Part of the Brewmasters collection. This black lager lived up to its name, pouring a dark, deep black color into the pint glass. A foamy beige head disappeared quickly. The aroma was chocolaty, caramel sweet and slightly bitter.

Wow, what a tasty beer! The semi-sweet chocolate and bitter coffee bean flavor really come through, and the sweet caramel malt compliments the rich flavors nicely. The mouthfeel is medium and somewhat creamy. Overall I'm a big fan of the seldom-used Schwarzbier style, and I'm glad to see Sam Adams made such an excellent version of one. Recommended highly.

 590 characters

Photo of BucBasil
4.04/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured into a pint glass from the bottle. Literally looks black at first glance, with some brown to cola notes coming through upon further glance. Lives up to its name. Head is about one inch thick and appears off-white to tan.

Smell: Smells like chocolate milk at the first waft, with further smells revealing some roasted cocoa notes, as well as some coffee. Very good, and exactly what I wanted from this brew.

Taste: Strong chocolate notes dominate throughout, finishing clean with some coffee taste. There is a nice roasted malt note in the middle there somewhere, but it gets lost in the chocolatey mixture of tastes here.

Notes: Deceptively light-tasting for the color of this brew. With the opaque blackness I was expecting something very filling, but that just goes to show how things do not always meet the eye, especially with beers... At 4.9% this is a great and surprisingly sessionable beer. If you love the roasted and deep chocolate flavors in beer, then this one is for you. Compare to a stout or porter...

 1,046 characters

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

A: Pours a pitch black color with about a finger of off-white head that dissipates fairly quickly.

S: A very grainy and malt-tinged aroma, with the clean profile of a lager.

T: Roasted malt flavor combines with a chocolatey sweetness, very much like a watered-down stout. However, the bit of hop twist toward the back makes for a strange, sugary bitterness that blends awkwardly. Smooth outro that coats the back with remnants of malt and hop.

M: Carbonation is at a good level though, making for a creamy texture that adds to the flavor.

D: This black lager has its better qualities, however there's something about this beer that feels like it's holding back. For the style, it's not a bad representation, but it doesn't deserve an excellent rating.

 765 characters

Photo of biggmike
3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Although I usually steer towards ales, I enjoyed this lager very much. Poured very dark brown to black from bottle with creamy white head that it didn’t retain very long. Rich malty flavor with a hint of hops. I think the Boston Beer Company is under-rated as they make a great variety of good beers. As they have become available nationwide I think they are taken for granted and are not the "in" beer like the regional micro-brews.

 434 characters

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.25/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Opaque and sable, it looks like a porter or stout. Aroma is stouty and inviting - strong roast smell with overtone of molasses and a hint of salt. Flavor has both malt and hop components with smoky and coffee tones and just a whisper of sweetness. Though it does not have quite the nice thick feel of a good stout or porter, it is very satisfying and enjoyable. Very different from any lager I have ever tried!

 410 characters

Photo of woemad
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased at Huckleberry's in Spokane about a month ago.Best by Sept '07, according to the label.

Poured this into my new Boston Lager glass sent courtesy of the Bros. As the only SA beer currently on the premises, I decided on it to christen the glass. This beer was it's test flight, and I'm happy to say it passed with flying colors. It poured a dark brown color that took on a more ruby-ish tinge when held to the light. A light tan head appeared at the narrow top of the glass and stayed there for several minutes. The glass appears to do it's job regarding head retention. Sheets of lace course down the sides of the glass, leaving sticky remnants here and there.

The glass seems to augment the nose rather well. I smelled a molasses - brown sugar scent, along with a faint dark fruit scent not unlike prunes.

The taste of the beer starts out with a brown-sugary sweetness that is almost immediately paired with a slightly subordinate roastiness that reminds one of coffee, though it's much more restrained than the coffee notes one would expect from a stout. There is a slight dryness at the swallow. Having had this before with a regular shaker pintglass, I think the new glass brings out more of the flavor.

The mouthfeel is fairly light, yet creamy. It's a medium bodied beer that tapers toward the light end of the spectrum.

All in all, the experience of drinking this from the new glass is a favorable one to when I reviewed this 1 1/2 years ago. I have unjustly ingnored this beer in the past, along with the style (granted, there's not a lot of schwarzbiers in my neck of the woods), but I think I'll be getting it more often.

 1,670 characters

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle into my new fancy Samual adam's 16 oz boston Lager glass.

AP: Very deep brown with ruby red hues in direct light, medium carbonation retaind a smooth and even, relativley sticky tan head, the retention in this glass is pretty amazing.

nose: WOW, this is where the glass really makes a difference. The aroma of robust smoked chocolate and caramel malt really flows out of this glass, there is a subtle vanilla sweetness, herbal and spicey, musty hop. The aroma did not tail-off as the session went on...the aroma was pungent throughout!!

flavor & feel: medium bodied, crisp but plenty substantial and slightly dry finish with an ultra roasty and dark chocolate malt that becomes smooth and creamy tasting slight vanilla and coffee flavors way down deep and a complex herbal, earthy and musty hop balance with a unique zesty yeast that complete's the balance of flavors. This glass really brings out the best in the flavors and enhanced the feel by keeping the beer from becoming overally warm from your hand.

DA: ooooh yeah. This beer in this glass is pretty satisfying.

 1,095 characters

Photo of shererjt
3.67/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Highly carbonated with a large, brown head. Color was very deep brown to ruby red/black and clear. Nose was quite nice: sweet and roasted malts. Very malty and almost Märzen-like. Could have used a bit more roasted/coffee flavor, but nice. Medium body with a definite roasty character. Definitely to the sweet side but had enough hops to keep it in balance. Fairly clean malt profile. Mouthfeel was lively and the drinkability was quite good.

A tasty beer. Probably would trade some of its sweetness for additional dark malt, but it's to style and quite good as-is, thanks.

 577 characters

Samuel Adams Black Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Beer rating: 3.7 out of 5 with 2,651 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.