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

2,555 Ratings
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 Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,555 |  Reviews: 1,435
Photo of SilentSabre
3.64/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I must admit, I was expecting less than what I received. This was quite nice. Poured pretty average for the style, although I have only had two or three Schwartzbiers with which to compare it. Pour was very dark brown, like furniture varnish / stain; it did indeed appear black in the pint glass. Smell was very nice. It had a pleasant maltiness to it, but what I really like about this style, is that it smells to me like damp hickory. If you have ever had to split firewood, and you've split a hickory log with a maul, it has an unmistakable smell. That smell is present here and I think it is simply fantastic. Einbecker Schwartzbier has this, too. Very nice, indeed. Taste is malty sweet up front, with a very mild bitterness on the finish. Nothing even slightly offensive about this one. Mouthfeel is smooth and easy drinking, but nothing spectacular.
Highly drinkable and very sessionable. A great repesentation of the style.

 933 characters

Photo of TheBierBand
3.9/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Had one on tap at one of my favorite downtown Cincinnati venues: Nicholson's. The knowledgable bartender poured me a pint with a perfect 3/4" head.

The initial appearance was black as night... but when held up to the light a slight red appeared around the edges where a tiny amount of light could sneak through.

The aroma contained elements of sweetness, and maltiness.

So, I went in for the taste. I was impressed (as I am with most of Sam's offerings). The sweetness was not overpowering and offset by the right amount of hoppiness to balance.

The mouthfeel was pleasent with a fair amount of carbonation but again not overpowering. It went down easily enough.... next thing ya know.... it was gone!

The head lasted right through till the end.... and laft a light lacing down the pint glass.

As for drinkability, I would definately have this again. Perhaps I'll pick up a sixer or three and share at my next household gathering!

 949 characters

Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.78/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: When the corner is held to the light, you can tell that the beer is a deep dark garnet color that has a 1/4" head of tan bubbles that stuck around for about a minute. There is some lacing left on the glass after the beer recedes.

Aroma: The aroma of sweet chocolate malts are the dominant force in the aroma, but there is also a pretty well defined hop presence that adds a floral sweetness of its own. After the head falls, there is a more noticeable dark caramel aroma coming out, but the chocolate still rules.

Taste: The flavor follows the aroma pretty closely. You get plenty of chocolate in the beginning and then there is a medley of flavors that mix after that. You can pick out the caramel and some hops. The bittering hops are reserved in this beer, and leave most of the balance to come from the dark malts. With the reserved bittering hops, the balance in the finish is definitely sweet. There is a mild syrupy feeling that coats your throat to give the finish a candy-like quality.

Opinion: This is a pretty good beer, and one of the best I have tried from Sam Adams. I have noticed that he likes to have one particular flavor stand out in the beer, and in this one it is the sweet chocolate. I really wonder if this is the base beer for his Chocolate Bock as the impression is very similar. I would drink this beer again, but I wouldn't go out of my way for it.

 1,396 characters

Photo of casualbeerman
4.55/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a real find. Since I'm not real familiar with which Boston Beer Co offerings are permenant and which are one-offs I can only say I hope they keep this one. This was one tasty brew. The color is, as you might expect, a pretty solid black. The head wasn't especially substantial compared to the Boston Lager, but it was still fair sized and on the creamy side. I've always liked the looks of black beers anyway, so I rate the appearance of this one pretty high. Smell is pleasant. Dark roasted carmel malt, a slight hint of coffee, and alcohol. Not very hoppy. Taste was great. Its smooth and rich with a little sweet, and a little bitter, with some coffee in the background again. Hop presence is not strong here either. Mouthfeel was also pleasant. Unlike a stout, this is a medium bodied beer. The drinkability is pretty good for the same reason. Its not very heavy and the bitterness doesn't weigh you down. This is a real winner here. Sort of like the Yuengling "Porter" (to which this is actually quite comparable since Yuengling uses a lager yeast for that beer) taken up a notch. This will be a regular so for me so long as the Boston Beer Co is kind enough to keep brewing it.

 1,191 characters

Photo of Tawnos
3.39/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a reddish brown, light lacing but not a lot of head.

Smells sweet, somewhat smokey. Like roasted barbeque meat, somewhat similar to the celebrator doppelbock, though with less molasses. A bit overly sweet smelling.

Tastes somewhat woody, good earthy taste with a roasted nut palette. Less sweet than the smell would tell you, which is good, as it ends up more balanced than the smell would indicate. Not much hop presence, this feels like a lager.

Somewhat tingly mouthfeel, not a huge amount of carbonation, but not creamy like a nitrogen beer. Somewhat thick for the lightness, not syrupy, but smooth.

It's drinkable, but not out of this world.

 664 characters

Photo of GeneralZod
3.81/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A dark beer. Looks a bit thick when it was being poured out. Also, it had very low head retention.

It smells of malt and roast. You could smell the sweetness of this beer.

Better than expected. Taste as well as it is advertise. Malty and roasty with a hint of chocolate.

Smooth and somewhat thick.

Woudl definitely have one again. This is on my favorites list. Very easy to drink and very memorable.

 462 characters

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

12 fl oz brown bottle, served in a becker.
Best enjoyed before 04.2007.

Muddy oil-brown with a hue of scarlet. Half-inch high, creamy off-white head with good retention. Condensed and spotted lacing with decent strength.

Rich, unsweetened roasted chocolate malts; sweet caramel. A bit of spicy, earthen hops. A mild whaff of smoke.

Rich, chewy roasted malts with a robust mocha flavor with hints of moderately sweetened caramel and dark chocolate. Heavy cream with a saffron and ginger-touched hop character. The finish is milky and smooth followed by notes of dark chocolate and coffee in the aftertaste.

Medium to full in body; robust and chewy, yet rather creamy at times on the palate.

A slightly unbalanced Schwarzbier in terms of flavor: sweetness, spiciness, and robust malt richess; but a nice effort at a more unusual style.

 849 characters

Photo of barefootbrewer
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a black color with a reddish hue. The head was thick and retention was good – as was the lacing. The smell is a bit sour. The taste is malty with a hint of roasted coffee type flavor. The mouthfeel is full and creamy, but not heavy. This beer is smooth and quite drinkable.

 291 characters

Photo of auxiliary
4.55/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a dark beer and I am always saying I do not like the dark stuff. For some reason I love this stuf. Has a caramel and chocolate taste to it, with a bit of a smoked or roasted flavor, but it is nice. This is one of m top beers now.

It comes in a 6 pack, but I bought it in a mixed pack.

 295 characters

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

Interesting beer. Pitch black, dark tan head that leaves a good lacing.
Smells like some porters, roasted malts, caramel, chocolate. Taste and body are medium to light, but still interesting, with the same roasted malts, bitter chocolate and caramel; very little hops, if any.
Very high drinkability for such a tasty beer, not a great beer but a good option if you want to drink a lot of beer and still want some taste.

 421 characters

Photo of Adamthome1
3.86/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with a reddish hint with a good head with great retention. Smell is a bit sweet. Taste is again pretty sweet and above average bitterness, I'd say the taste is a cross between 2/3 Sam Adams Boston Lager and 1/3 Cream Stout. Very drinkable. Aftertaste is bittersweet, could have been a bit more hoppy but otherwise a great beer.

 344 characters

Photo of DaveFL1976
3.93/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown that shows hints of ruby red when held up to the light. A nice looking body, but a head that just didn't materialize quite as much as I'd like.
The smell is a bit subtle, but nice and roasty. A bit of chocolate and coffee flavors hidden in there. No discernable hops to speak of.
This is right about what I'd shoot for, mouthfeel-wise in this style. A full mouth, enough (but not too much body, and an excellent carbonation rate. This is one easy drinking brew, and probably one of my favorite Sam Adams creations.

 535 characters

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

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle

Appearence--Nice and black, but not so much so that no light gets through. Decent head.

Smell--malty, and rather sweet.

Taste--Robust and flavorful. Malts a little on the sweet side. A touch of spicy at first, the caramel malts come through at the end.

Drinkability--Quite nice. All around a very drinable beer.

 351 characters

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

a - poured a two fingers thick coffee-colored head into a tumbler. body is an opaque light black with light red hints. leaves a thin lace until about one-third of the beer is left.
s - hints of roasted coffee beans and chocolate malt.
t - light chocolate front with a little spicy hop to it. as it finishes it becomes more yeasty like dry biscuits.
m - a little thin and slick.
d - easily drinkable but i wasn't dying for another after i finished this one.

 461 characters

Photo of cabsandking
4.02/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark maple syrup color and an airy tan head that just layers the top. Big malt nose with notes of coffee, mild fruits, and roasted malt. Really nice taste with big roasted malt characters, burnt toffee sweetness, smokey notes and a good amount of hops offer up some floral notes and a little bitter bite for texture. The finish starts out hoppy but quickly evolves to smokey and some soft fruit notes. Full body and a terrific mouthfeel with carbonated froth surrounding the mouth.

 481 characters

Photo of beeroclock
3.48/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured dark as night with small tan head that laced the glass. Smelled of coffee with some creamy scents. Tasted of coffee with a malty flavor, espresso like aftertaste. Not much carbonation, some creamy mouthfeel. Goes down fairly smooth, enjoyable beer. Sam Adams makes some good products.

 291 characters

Photo of bodybyadam
3.79/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I wasn't sure of this beer at first, this was a new style for me, and I was ambitious to try.
A: Poured a dark black translucent color with 1” frothy head that dissipates to a thin bead around the glass.
S: A rich/ strong malt character is bold in the nose almost of molasses.
T: There is almost a burnt, roasted wood taste that was very smooth. The bare essence of ETOH held up for a nice finish into that S.A. touch of caramel.
M: Not thin in any regards but a smooth balance to make this your “winter warmer” substitute.
D: If you find a six-pack of this, I wouldn’t hesitate. West coasters typically need to look harder for this one, but it’s worth it.

 666 characters

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

Color is comparable to a very dark molassas. You can smell a strong malt along with a roasty caramel. Carbonation is moderate and very bubbly, head is a tan white and starts out strong and slowely disspates to small, leaving a excellent lacing down the sides of the glass. Taste goes along with the semll, strong malt with a very roasty caramel flavor. Goes down real smooth, leaving no bitter aftertaste in my mouth. This beer is very drinkable and one that i will enjoy for a long time. I will make this one of the beers i have in my refer to enjoy after a long day.

 568 characters

Photo of treedoctor5002
4.24/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

From the Sam Adams winter pack 2006:
This beer is dark brown with a nice tan head to it. Fairly thin in appearance when held up to the light. Smell is sweet with hints of caramel and mollasses. Taste is very smooth, almost creamy. Well balanced and refreshing. A great change of pace beer for a hop head like me. Overall extremely drinkable. A great session beer. If your looking to turn someone over to the dark side, then this is your beer.

 443 characters

Photo of AChamberlain
3.72/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served from a 12 oz bottle from a brewmaster's pack.

A: Pours black. Thin head.

S: Roasted malts and toffee, caramels.

T: Strong malts. Tasted a lot like Köstritzer (obviously).

MF: It's smooth and medium bodied.

D: Easy to drink. I love Köstritzer, but this isnt quite as good.

 296 characters

Photo of medic25
4.23/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark, black color with very minimal tan head. Malty aroma. Taste is a burnt caramel, very malty with a fair amount of sweetness and almost no hop flavor. Very easy drinking beer, with just the right amount of carbonation. My first venture into this style, this is a beer I could drink all night.

 295 characters

Photo of GeoffRizzo
4.17/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Black in color with some ruby red highlights that emerge only if held to a bright light. A bubbly tan head that clings very nicely. Burnt malts, cinammon-sugar and roasted dark coffee beans, n-ice. The body reveals some coffee beans, dark chocolate and becomes acidic and sweet within the same breath. Enjoyable. The body turns a bit dry, but not over the top; barley notes and roasted malts are further revealed. Traces of sweet caramel round out the finish. Drinkability is high, as the flavorings meld well with the creamy like body. A sessionable-Schwarz? Do it!

 566 characters

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

Well, when you're trying to drink well with a supermarket selection, the Sam Adams Holiday 12 pack is just about the best there is. Not that I'm complaining, because I like pretty much all the beers included. I'm also fairly excited to revisit a couple brews i haven't had in several years, and the black lager, which i haven't tried yet
The black lager pours a dark, umber brown, topped with a creamy whitish head. Good head retention and lacing, good clarity. No complaints. Looks solid so far. The nose is rich with caramel malt, softly roasty, with that signature bit of Sam Adams "bite". It's hard to place. I'm not sure if it's a slightly agressive hopping, or some extra graininess to the malt. Whatever it is, it comes through as some harshness in the flavor, as compared to european style couterparts. The black lager is one of the smoothest of the Sam Adams offerings, probably a great beer to get started on dark beer. Anyways, the flavor comes off a bit different than the aroma. Much smoother, most notably. Very european, with a silky smooth texture and fine, tingly carbonation. Mellowed caramel sweetness is tempered by some roasty, toffee-ish notes. Very clean. I can't pick up any off flavors. Perhaps a bit of plum esters, which only works with the beer. Mild noble hops in the finish, riding out clean and dry. Solid roastiness in the end, kinda coffee-ish. Present, but not dominating. Maybe a little fuller flavored than the average german schwarzbiers, but nothing stands out enough to make this particularly unique. They nailed the style, for sure, and it's very drinkable. I'll have to pick up a sixer of this next time I'm heading to a party.

 1,669 characters

Photo of fank2788
3.62/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Continuing through my holiday mix pack it is time to review the Black Lager.
This beer pours very dark brown almost black that shows deep red when held up to a light, with a thin light tan head. The head doesn't last long but leaves some bubbles and lacing. The smell is of chocolate and roasted malts with a touch of spice from the hops and maybe a little bit of sweetness. The chocolate and roasted malt comes through in the taste a bit of spice is evident too. The body is light, smooth and a little bubbly. For some reason this doesn't seem to have great drinkability for me maybe the malt flavor is a bit sharp and unbalanced for my taste a good beer all the same.

 671 characters

Photo of ByTor2112
3.43/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I also got mine from the Mix Pack but tasted earlier this year. Poured a neat brown the shade of maple syrup with a tinge of garnet coming through with the light. Not much head with a few spots of lace. Aroma-roasted malt. The dark or roasted malt gives it just a little extra body without deviating from the lager style. Nice crisp clean lager taste. The mild hops mix well with the dark malt for a nice earthy and balanced taste. Tannins are present and it finishes clean.

 474 characters

Samuel Adams Black Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.74 out of 5 based on 2,555 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.

    Learn More
  • Our Events

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

    Learn More
  • Our Magazine

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

    Learn More