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

2,554 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: 2,554 |  Reviews: 1,434
Photo of Morris729
3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours deep black ruby in color with a creamy light tan head. Aroma is a bit subdued but there are scents of roasted malts and chocolaty caramel detectable. The same roasty chocolaty caramel in the aroma comes across in the taste along with a bit of coffee and dark fruit. Hop bitterness seems at a minimal level.

 312 characters

Photo of hideous
4.7/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5 is most definately the best beer I have had. Drinking one now and it is most certainly an enjoyable experience. Went looking for a six of just the black lager, can only find the mix pack where I live. Oh, well...I will savor the two that came in the pack and move on to the rest...which ain't too shabby either
...I have had the brown ale and the Hefe Weizen that is in the pack at another time...looking forward to the scotch ale...think I already know what the regular lager is like...that is everywhere...
Very happy that I found these Sammy mix has allowed me to try many different beer styes, as I am somewhat new to beer exploration (have drank beer all my life, but never really worried about styles and such, just gimme a beer, plz)

 774 characters

Photo of FuzzyGuy84
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz into a pint glass.

A - The color of cola. Black with a hint of red, with clear carbonation notes. Very nice.

S - Very strong and malty.

T - Nice big flavor with bitter accents at the end. Again, quite malty as the nose implied. One of the better beers I've had from such a large brewery. I am quite a fan.

MF - Somewhat heavy in the mouth, which is consistant with the style and taste.

D - Very easy to drink, even for a darker beer. Straight 4s across the board. A very solidly good beer. Don't hesitate to pick up a 6-pack.

 546 characters

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

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Dark brown and ruby, not quite black, small off-white head which reduces quickly to a ring, average lacing around the glass.

Aroma: Fruit, smoke and malt.

Taste: Smooth and light, slight astringency, slight hop bitterness, smoke and malt.

Very drinkable beer and a very nice offering from a large brewery. Easy to have a few of this easy drinkin' good tastin' beer.

 435 characters

Photo of goochpunch
4.35/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a dark dark brown almost to the point of being black. Some dark ruby hues. You can just barely make out your fingers on the other side of the glass. Thick almond head that settles down to .5" and leaves thick lacing patterns. Smokey, roasted malts stick out in the nose along with some chocolate, dried fruit and clean lager aromas. Smoky, roasty, lightly chocolatey, slightly acidic, and clean in the finish with some hop bitterness and mild astringency. Has an interesting malted milk ball flavor thing going on. Mouthfeel is fairly light with some prickling carbonation. Tasty and drinkable.

 604 characters

Photo of BlackJeremiah
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into an English pint glass.

A: Dark ruby-brown color, but still transparent. Cream-colored head doesn't stick around, but looks darn appetizing. Very slight lacing.

S: Not much here. Slight hint of hops, and something I can't put my finger on...currant/blackberry?

T: The malt, lightly toasted, starts it off. Followed closely by currant, plum, and blackberry flavors, almost Belgian. Maybe some clove in there, too, but it's hard to tell--the beer is very slick, and the flavors meld well. Hops smooth out the finish. Really very nice.

M: Lighter than I expected, even though it does classify itself as a lager. Refreshing, and more effervescent than I expected.

D: All in all, a pleasant surprise. Dark color, smelled fairly serious and heavy. However, the fruit flavors and light mouthfeel really provided a pleasant surprise. I could session this one, for sure.

 908 characters

Photo of InsolublePancake
3.6/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Not really black but a deep ruby. Small tan head that disappears in seconds leaving very minimal lacing.

S- Roasted malts give this a coffee/ cocoa aroma with perhaps a touch of molasses. Kind of stout-like, but not real strong.

T- Roasted malts carry into the taste with more coffee. Beer is pretty sweet and finishes with a berry-like fruitiness. Hardly any bitterness to speak of.

M- Nice and medium-bodied, not too thick or thin. Not much carbonation.

D- Pretty darn drinkable. The low abv, mild flavor and smoothness combine to make it quite quaffable.

Another good one from Sam Adam's. This is another style that I am not very familiar with, so I don't really know how this stands up to other schwartzbiers. It was kind of stout-like, but cleaner and with a milder flavor, kind of like I would expect from a lager. It wasn't the best beer in the world, but it was tasty and I would drink it again. Recommended.

 934 characters

Photo of cjgator3
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an almost pitch black/dark brown color with a creamy light tan head. Aroma is sweet chocolate, caramel and a little bit of malt. Taste is roasted malt, chocolate, caramel and a bit of hops. Wow, this is definately better than expected. Overall, this is a great Schwarzbier that is recommended. I am quite impressed with this offering from Boston Beer Company.

 365 characters

Photo of becktone
3.71/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

As the name implies this beer is black in color. When held to the light it is a transparent dark garnet. The head is creamy looking and initially pours at a one finger size.Lacing looks appetizing. Head retention is pretty good.

Not the typical aroma for the dark beer. This beer is clean to the nose and smells faintly of hops. Hints of chocolate aroma. Not much else.

On the tongue this beer is well rounded and has a slight chocolate malt taste. Small amount of roasted grain bitterness in the finish. Hops aren't very apparent in the flavor. This is a well balanced brew.

On the palate this beer is light bodied, well light for a dark beer...I guess that meets the style guidelines. Carbonation is in check. Would be nice if the beer were a little bit creamier as the appearance of the head suggests. This beer is easy to drink and is very refreshing; especially after a long day of brewing, not to mention my first all grain batch. This beer comes as a well earned relief. I'd definitely buy this beer again, but probably not before I've had other Schwarzbiers.

 1,076 characters

Photo of assmasterson
4.27/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Being one that hates coffee, I was a little worried when I read other reviews that said there was a coffee flavor in this brew. I'm glad that I decided to try it before I dismissed it.

The taste of this beer is very nice, with a roasted taste of hops all the way through. An ever-so-slight hint of bittersweet chocolate hides in the background. There's also a little bit of citrus zest in the aftertaste. The smell is also above par with a mixture of hops, malt and chocolate. It fills the nose nicely but doesn't knock you off of your chair.

Sam Adams once again outdoes its' self. Another soon-to-be classic.

 616 characters

Photo of TechMyst
3.03/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

PURCHASED @: Sullivans
COST: medium
HEAD: minimal
LACE: none
AROMA: roasted malt-lager
TASTE: Toasted malts and coffee.
COMMENTS: Good for the style.

 337 characters

Photo of Ochsenblut
4.27/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought this in a Sam Adams variety pack and was plesantly surprised.

A- Poured jet black, and only held up to the light did it give off a reddened brown appearance. Excellent 2 finger head to begin with but soon dissapated to a millimeter lacing.

S- Very sweet malty smell to this one. Almost caramel-like

T- I'm not a gaint hop head, so this brew totally appeals to me. Very sweet and malty with little hop feel. Hops

M- Smooth mouthfeel, beginning with a slight crispiness due to carbonation.

D- I could session this beer all night. It's easiness would make it a great pub beer with something substantial to eat.

Food craving- Fat slab of pork and kartoffel salat.

 687 characters

Photo of pmcadamis
3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black that is only slightly brown when held to the light. I poured this one aggressively and saw what I thought was a two finger head. I turned around to throw the bottle away and when I looked at the beer again, the damn thing was up to four fingers (in an imperial piint glass) and rising! This light brown monster head reduced to a thin cap over the course of several minutes and left nice lacing on the glass.

This smells like freshly baked nutty black bread and brown sugar. Nothing too complicated, but it smells really tasty.

Oh yeah. That's pretty good! Very light and sugary on the tongue with rich molasses and smokey malt at the forefront. Then, a lightly bitter hop note wraps things up without disturbing the syrupy sweet character.

This is an excellent sessioner and a good food beer for the fall, but it isn't very deep. Mouthfeel is thin and watery, but that is probably par for the style and doesn't hurt with food paring IMO. I would pick this up again ...I'm thinking cookouts, bonfires, and tailgating!

 1,043 characters

Photo of DrinkinBoy
3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

After pouring it into a glass, the beer was extremely dark brown and need to be held up to a light to see any coloring at all. It had a nice big head, that settled into a quarter inch tall foam throughout most of the time I consumed it.

There is a light roasted nutty smell.

The taste was not very strong, but gave a perfect roasted touch.

Had a smooth thick mouth feel.

Samuel Adams Black Lager is a very heavy, filling beer. I would not have another right after, but I will definately enjoy another in the future.

 527 characters

Photo of Deconstructionis
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Schwarzbier seems to be a style few American breweries try. I'm not sure why as it is a very drinkable and accessible style. Other than the infrequent brewpub offering, I've only had this and the Saranac Black Forest from this country. This is quite good but I slightly prefer the Saranac which has a just a touch more roasted malt bitterness.

This is, of course, nearly black, with a hint of deep red. Nice tan head which persists and coats a mug. Smells very good-- roasted malt and coffee. very little hops but just a hint of spice. The taste is well balanced but less roasted malt and sweeter than the smell suggests; it's noticeably less bitter than Black Forest. It's medium/light in body, smooth texture medium/low carbonation. Very pleasant and drinkable.

 767 characters

Photo of MrHurmateeowish
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Healthy two-to-three finger light tan head with black but very slightly opaque body. Smells VERY malty, with some caramel notes. Sweet and malty, roasty. Lighter flavored and bodied than i anticipated, though it is by no means light in either. Tasty. I've never had a Schwartzbier, but if this is what they're like I'm trying more! Reminds me in some ways of Ayinger Cellebrator Dopplebock...

 392 characters

Photo of JBStith
3.9/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sam Adams black Lager, I was surprised by how good this was...

A: Pours almost black, but through-light shows a deep, deep red hue. Off-white head with descent retention and lacing.
S: Great malty smell, chocolate, coffee and vanilla. No real hop aroma.
T: Similar to smell. Lots of sweet malt with the flavors described above. Low to no bitterness.
M&D: Medium body and mouthfeel with an unusal (but good) creamy texture. Average drinkability. It gets a bit sweet for me at the end.

My first black lager. I look forward to having more examples from this style. I would buy this beer again.

 599 characters

Photo of crispy620
4.42/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was very surprised by it;s easy drinkability. Usually dark or black beer tend to have a very molassasy taste but this did not.

Sweet at first and with a very distintive finish. Not bitter at all.

Color was a rich hue of very dark brown with a nice amber edge.

Very nice compliment with spicy steak or even seared tuna.

A one.

 339 characters

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

Schwarzbier is my wife's favorite style--high malt, sweet, low hop. And, Sam Adams Black Lager is a very good representative of the style and I think a good choice for a transition beer for those moving into the micro world. Beer pours a dark brown to black, but has enough copper tones around the edge as to not be too scary. Head is thick and rocky, and the colored of the inside of a malted milk ball. Which is appropriate with the strong chocolate taste and a not so subtle hint of coffee underneath. No hop aroma, and the nose is very light but some fruity undertones. Very smooth and easy to drink, except for a bit of a carbonation bite. I like the beer a lot; however, the mouthfeel is a bit light and doesn't fill up my mouth with the taste and the end of the beer is watery with no final punch. Pick it up like I did, in a variety pack if you have the room on the beer run.

 883 characters

Photo of theozag
3.93/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This opaque and flat black beer has a minimal eggshell-colored head that fades fast. Smell is very strong, very tasty, and actually has a mouthwatering, rich coffee character to it. Start is somewhat sweet but very oaky and heady. The beginning of this drink reminded me of a porter. Settles full-bodied and bitter with some malt smoothness. Flavors are coffee and caramel. Finish is bitter and dry with a rough aftertaste that vanishes quickly.

 445 characters

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

12oz. bottle

Pours a deep, dark brown with a crimson hue. Has a thick tan head that fades. Mild lacing on the glass.

Light aroma of roasted malts, a hint of cocoa, and some nuttiness.

Taste is roasty and nutty upfront with a mild hint of cocoa. Finishes very clean.

Medium body, good carbonation.

A nice drinking lager with a roasted taste. No problem drinking a few.

 382 characters

Photo of davidshamoon
4.38/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Hold a glass of this dark lager up to a light to delight in the red-chestnut hues that lurk underneath. Mine poured with a fine, thick head, though it didn't last very long.

Smell this beer, and you know what you're getting: roasted, malty flavor that's occasionally chocolatey or even nutty. That said, this is no stout. The flavors are subtler, and the beer is lighter and altogether more drinkable. Tasted just as at home with a chicken sandwich as it did with a piece of fine dark chocolate.

 498 characters

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

Sam Adams’ flagship lager is one of just a few of this style that I truly enjoy. So when I saw the seasonal offering of the Black Lager from the Brewmaster’s Collection, I had to give it a try.

Once again, I find that I am not disappointed.

The deep, opaque chocolate brown brew is topped with a finger high creamy beige head that settles to a fluffy, delicate collar and yields to a nice lacing that clings to the glass.

The aroma is smoky, a little nutty, with a pleasant sweetness. The bottle says the caramel and chocolate malts gives the flavor depth and I agree wholeheartedly. Also, just the right amount of hops gives it a nice spicy, mildly bitter finish.

Quite a quaffable brew.

 702 characters

Photo of dbalsock
4.52/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours black with a 1 1/2 finger light vanilla head. It has a reddish hue that looks quite nice in candlelight. The only drawback is poor head retention, which counts for a lot in my book.

Smell: A sweet malty character consisting of molasses and caramel is present, and very enticing.

Taste: This is a smokey beer... my first schwarzbier, and it lives up to the name. The molasses also play a role here, along with a more noticeable caramel presence. Moreover, a bit of bakers chocolate is added to the mix. Wonderful.

Mouthfeel: Quite light, considering the flavors, there is again the sense of smokeyness along with a light bitter character.

Drinkability: I find this beer quite sessionable, and easily consumable. I'm almost through my first six pack, and will be buying more. I can't wait to go back and visit Boston this winter (hopefully finding this on tap at Doyles...)

 901 characters

Photo of etenbus
4.3/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The Schwartzbier type is relatively unknown in the states, unless you have a good beer retailer or pub that has carried the German Kostritzer. Thankfully, Samuel Adams has added this excellent beer to its rotation.

It pours dark with a decent off white head. It's black until you hold it up to the light when you can see the ruby inside.

The aroma is all about malt, biscuit, some mild chocolate--similar to the aromas coming from the stove when I'm homebrewing.

The taste is hearty. It doesn't have that overpowering maltiness of an Oktoberfest style; it's more chocolaty and sweeter, but not too sweet. The hops come in on the sides of the tongue and cover up the sweetness just in time. It has a dry finish, almost cleansing in nature, with a slight chocolate scone flavor lingering around. Mouthfeel is medium to thin, which is fine since this is a lager.

Overall, a worthy offering from Jim Koch and friends. It takes the lager to new worlds as should be the case when 85% of the world drinks tasteless fizzy yellow bile.

 1,038 characters

Samuel Adams Black Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.74 out of 5 based on 2,554 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.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

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