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

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Samuel Adams Black LagerSamuel Adams Black Lager
2,658 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: 2,658 |  Reviews: 1,465
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...

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

A- It pours a darker shade of brown with a lush bright tan head. Also there was a fair amount of lacing left on the glass.
S- It had a decent mix of roasted malts , interesting dark grains, and biscuityness . There was also just a hint of possible licorice.
T- First there was some chocolate and a little caramel flavor. Followed by some bitter roasted coffee, and bready yeast. At the end was some notable hop bitterness .
M- I thought this was just a little light bodied. but it still was sort of creamy with some carbonation.
D- Not bad for an Amero black themed lager...errr I mean Schwarzbier lol

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Photo of PSUguru
4.01/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A fine beer which is great for all occasions. The smell is sweet and thick with no off tones. The appearance is beautiful although the head thick but dissappointingly short lived. This is a great tasting beer that is not overpowering. I highly suggest trying this beer. Its certainly not a favorite of mine but I would never turn it down. For the money and the style, another great Sam Adams.

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Photo of vickersspitfire
3.6/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I poured it into a glass and got a nice thick tan head that covered a dark brown, almost black, body. The head lasted for some time and has some excellent lacing. I must admit that on this beer I could barely smell anything, just a few malt odors and a mild coffee aroma, even after I agitated this lager in the cup for a bit I could only make out these two faint aromas. The taste on the other hand was absolutely great, it is very sharp and crisp when it first hits your tongue, slightly bitter afterwards and goes down with a semi-dry bitter aftertaste, and it has a sweet undertone overall.

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Photo of vancurly
3.62/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a: Haze-free, dark garnet to brown. Foamy beige head.

s: Molasses, some spicy hops, slight blood/metallic note, some roasted grain, and caramel.

f: Roasted malts, chocolate biscuit. Spicy hop, and charry aftertaste. Hint of licorice. Lingering malt taste.

m: Medium, slight creamy texture

d: Very drinkable, balanced.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.74/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a black body with a thin, light beige head.

Smell: Gentle aroma of roasted chocolate malts with a sprinkling of spent coffee grounds.

Taste: Soft, roasty character with flavors of bittersweet chocolate, coffee, roasted grains. Only the very slightest touch of hops on the crisp, clean finish.

Mouthfeel: Thin-bodied. Well carbonated. Fairly watery.

Drinkability: About as rousing and stirring as a light lager can get!!

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Photo of jaymirage
3.8/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought this in a mix pack with the Honey Porter and the Brown Ale.

Pours a rich, dark, mahogany, but I wouldn't go so far as to call it black. It's definitely a dark, dark brown. Nice head retention, lingering a few moments before disappearing into a fine lacing.

Taste is big caramel, with a very, very thin mouthfeel. Not much else is present here, but the caramel is pleasant enough. The thinness adds to the experience, lending some drinkability.

Not a bad choice. But if you're looking for more complexity in this mix pack, I'd select the Honey Porter.

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Photo of association330
3.86/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a very dark black color that is almost opaque, but yields a very dark brownish-red when held up to light. Has a creamy, one-finger head that holds for awhile and leaves decent lacing around the glass.

S - Very roasty, some caramel, a little nutty. The smell isn't overwhelming though.

T - Also very roasty (reminds me of a good, strong coffee) and rather sweet up front. The finish is crisp and malty, with just a kiss of hop bitterness. The carbonation is just right and not forced or overdone.

M - Rather creamy and satisfying, but lighter than it looks. This does not feel like the dark, filling beer it appears to be.

D - This is a very tasty beer, and I would have no problem drinking a second one right away.

Overall, this is a delicious, refreshing and reasonably-priced brew that will definitely remain in regular rotation in my fridge.

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

This was a very good beer. I wasn't expecting anything special with this beer but the apprearance was great. It had a nice tannish head that held for a while.

The smell was caramel which is not what I expected. The taste was very caramelish with a good but subtle hop kick at the end. A good creamy mouthfeel was a good topper.

Overall a good beer that I think will be a staple in my fridge.

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

Pours a not quite opaque black that shows some dark ruby highlights and presents a decent frothy head. The aroma is dominated by dark malts with just a hint of hops. The taste is a good blend of chocolate and dark malts against a decent hop backbone. The beer is light and crisp with decent carbonation. Even on a warm early summer night, this beer provides all the refreshment you'd expect from a much lighter lager.

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Photo of phisig137
3.48/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep deep brown, almost black color with ruby highlights, and a two finger light tan head. Decent retention leaves behind a bit of lace.

Aroma is definitely malty, slightly sweet, with mostly toffee like aromas.

Flavor is great. A tiny amount of roasted malt acridness up front, followed by sweet caramel malt flavors, and a good deal of nutty nuances. Well balanced, and the clean lager fermentation allows the malt to shine. Finish is dry, and only very slightly hoppy. Mouthfeel is smooth and moderate, relatively heavy carbonation scrubs the tongue clean. Drinkability is good.

Overall, quite a tasty brew. Looking at Sam's limited releases, they are quite nice. This is a beer that I'll happily drink again, and would be a good "transitional" beer, for those that are afraid of "those dark beers"... Recommended.

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Photo of IPAcraig
3.4/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Pours a nice ruby black color, but a tiny head that didnt last.

S - Not muche here either. Really had to give this a swirl to get an aroma out of it. Slightly sweet and a bit nutty. But not a bold smell in the slightest.

T - This beer has a pretty solid flavor, chococaltey and sweet with a bit of roastiness. It is like a Sam Adams Cream Stout Light.

M - Very light and crisp.

D - Overall a pretty refreshing and quaffable brew, just not that big on taste.

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Photo of botham
4.72/5  rDev +27.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

love this brew. pours a deep black with a small tan head. in light, turns into a deep ruby red. though the liquid is black, this one is rather light in the mouth

smell is roasty up front, with some caramel and malts thrown in. not much alcohol present.

taste is also roasty, with undertones of hops. alcohol can be present, but is ephemeral at best. slightly more present on the way down. aftertaste does away with the roastiness and brings caramel and malts to the front.

mouthfeel is rather light, but with enough presence to know your drinking a good brew.

drinkability is suprizingly good, without any bad afterthoughts to make one weary of poping another open. it would be no problem to polish off a six-pack of these in one night.

this brew is very well balanced. the roastiness is not overdone (easily accomplished with a schwarzbier), and the caramel and malts are left to the background, letting the roastiness take the focus. cheers to Sam Adams, you've created another phenomenal brew.

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Photo of briman
3.62/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from bottle into standard pint glass.

Pours dark borwn, almost black, but not entirely opaque as it has some ruby showing through when held up to the light. Thin, maybe a quarter inch light brown head dissipates quickly leaving minimal lace.

Aroma has caramel, and a mild roasted malt characteristic.

Flavor is roasted malts, and caramel leading to a clean finish with some roastiness lingering into the aftertaste. A very slight note of hop bitterness comes through in the finish to balance things out, but overall the hop presence is pretty mild.

Medium body, moderate carbonation. Balance is reasonable, overall very smooth with a nice touch of roastiness to give it some character. Very drinkable, would have it again, and would also consider it a session candidate.

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

Pours from the bottle a clear dark brown color with subtle burgundy hues. Faint, subdued aromas of toasted wheat bread and malt, dark caramels, molasses and chocolate. Maintains a beautiful thick and dense tan head with intricate lacing patterns throughout the glass. Palate is pleasantly thick, full and creamy. Flavor profile much more satisfying and assertive as comapered to the aromas. Nice notes of dark roasted malts, burnt caramel candies, cocoa, with a faint hint of molasses-like sweetness and Noble hop spiciness in the finish. Very drinkable as a session beer and a solid rendition of the style.

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Photo of BMoney575
3.62/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on 5-25-07
Best before 7-07

Pours almost black, with a deep red around the edges. The head quickly fades away, with very modest lacing.

Smell is all roasty malt, with little bits of vanilla and molasses.

Taste is sweet and caramelly, with the molasses really coming through. A slight bitterness at the end helps to balance out the sweetness, but not all the way.

Mouthfeel is good, a little lighter with good carbonation.

Drinkability is also good, if you like your beers on the sweet side. Still easy to drink with a good heft, and a good choice if you're looking for something lighter than a porter.

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

Part of a make your own 6-pack, on to the beer:

Creamy head with a nice black body, this beer is what you would expect from a schwarzbier. Deep assorted chocolate aroma in the smell, more of the same in the flavor, a touch of hop flavor, and a mild grainy finish. I knew I should have gotten myself a Hershey's bar to go along with this beer.

A few months after this review, I got some more of this. No changes in the score, but I popped the top of one that had in sitting in my trunk for a week. In other words, I consumed it at room temperature. It was pretty tasty, and the intensity of the flavor is greater. Try one out the next time you get a 6-pack of this.

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

Pours a dark brown, almost black with a decent head and very spotty lacing. The nose is lightly sweet and malty followed by lightly toasted grain. The taste is similar- nicely balanced maltiness and toasty grain, but relatively dry. The mouthfeel is soft, rounded and creamy. Even though there is a little sweetness in this one, no real stickiness. Nicely done, and a very nice session beer.

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Photo of Absumaster
3.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A deep black beer with a creamy head.

Smell is light molasses, burned with coffee notes.

Taste is light roasted, mild burned with coffee and when the beer warms pure dark chocolate notes. The German schwarzbiers I had where less subtle in roast notes and had some more of the molasses and maltbitter tastes. The yeast adds a clean character. No real hoppiness present.
Mouthfeel is smooth velvet, the fine carbonation feels really good on the tongue.

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Samuel Adams Black Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Beer rating: 3.7 out of 5 with 2,658 ratings