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

2,559 Ratings
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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

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Ratings: 2,559 |  Reviews: 1,438
Photo of jasonjlewis
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first Schwarzbier. I was eager to try this. A black lager that was medium bodied and sweet, interesting.

Appearance: Nice dark color and medium head retention. Looks like a coke.

Smell: faint chocolate and caramel smell. Chocolate is the dominant smell to me.

Taste: Medium bodied, tastes like dark chocolate and caramel. Stimulates the sweet tastes buds and leaves a sort of bitter taste, but with chocolately feel (probably from the mixture of malts ( I know chocolate malts are not chocolate.. Not a lot of hops in this beer. But a note from Jim Koch said that was what he was going for.

Mouthfeel- Nice carbonation,. Goes down easy.

I would buy this again, I usually like a little more hops in my beer, but it's nice for the style and a good malt fix.

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

This is a 12 oz bottle of Black Lager served in a Three Philosophers goblet. The ale is near room temp.

Appearance: A deep brown to black color, the lager betrays ruby hints when held to light. There is a smallish head that rings the glass only.

Smell: There is a slight roasted aroma that fades a bit over the beer. It provides a hint of things to come.

Taste: The roasted malts give the beer a slight milk chocolate flavor. There are also some caramel notes to provide the beer with a flavor that is surprisingly soft on the palate. I am pleased with this.

Mouthfeel: This beer's malts provide a tinge of sweetness that finishes long and makes you want another sip.

Drinkability: A moderate to low abv and great taste? What's there not to like. I am thoroughly impressed by this.

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Photo of Liquids
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Black with a crown-amber hue that peeks through in the light. Yields a thin but very creamy almond colored head. Smells sweet and thick, with a distinctly german lager aroma. Tastes sweet and roasty but no harshness to speak of, mostly just dark sweetness. Very non-threatening, sweet and rich with an extremely slight alcohol aroma in the finish. Caramel malts are dominant but the darker malts add great complexity here. Very appealing. I'm new to this style. It's darker than a brown ale, and definately not as intense in the dark malts as a porter, and distinctly a lager for another twist. Mouthfeel is thich and full, but slightly more carbonated that desirable. Excellent drinkability and all around, this is Sam Adams? Impressive. I actually think I'd reccomend this beer more often than I'd drink it most likely. I doubt I'd buy a sixer of it too often, but I can see friends enjoying it and picking up a single for myself from time to time. with my only concern being that most people might at first be unaacustomed to the german hops and lager yeast characteristics when expecting a dark stout like beer by appearance. Overall, a great offering.

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Photo of yemenmocha
4.01/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Beautiful black beer. Light brown laced head.

Very faint nose on this bottled version. maybe it's just the glass shape. Some roasty malt notes, a sugary sweet smell too.

Medium bodied, carbonation is very noticeable, very tame malty sweetness that leads into a somewhat "thin" finish. Very drinkable, as in you could really down several of these fast, but not extremely appetizing (you don't crave the next sip).

A very good evening session beer when you want that malty lager that will go down fast.

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Photo of kimcgolf
3.46/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Chocolate and heavy malt was evident in the aroma immediately. Appearance was similar to a stout, dark in color with a foamy tan head. I didn’t note much of a spiciness in this, but the malt and chocolate/carmel were very evident and consistent throughout the glass. Tasty beer with a good finish.

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Photo of scottoale
3.26/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This was one from the "Brewmaster Collection" six-pack and poured into the SA Black Lager slender goblet a dark mahogany-brown with a massive two-inch foamy tan head. I got a little aggro on the pour, thus the huge started settling into a rocky, frothy 3/4 inch and left some good lace initially. Shortly after it died down to a ring and a little bubble lace after each taste.

At first my nose could sense much of anything coming from it, then as it warmed a bit, I could finally smell some dark roasty malt and a faint bit of sweetness of some chocolate malt as well. Not very impressive as compared to it's looks...

The flavor had a nice dark roasted thing going on and a sweet malt with some chocolate down to the finish. Medium body if that, the finish was rather watery, but clean. Mouthfeel kind of watery too.

Easy enough to drink with a mellow ABV, worth a try but wasn't impressed.

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Photo of palffyfan
4.02/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a thick dark color with some mild head. Does look red on the outside somewhat--very uniform throughout.

Smell - Amazingly chocolaty, some sweet notes, hints of malt, coffee.

Taste - Reminds me of the SA cream stout, yet distinct. The thick roasted coffee finish is the best part about this beer (not bitter at all finish). I would also have to agree with a lot of the other readers that there is no distinct taste to it--theres a concoction of many notes, yet none overwhelm you with the exception of the coffee aftertaste.

Drinkability - This is a pretty drinkable brew. Not something you can get drunk of because of the flavors, but this is definetely enjoyable amongst friends.

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Photo of mithrascruor
4.25/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a mug.

Appearance: Pours a very dark color. Seemingly black, but with a slight ruby glow around the edges. The thin tan head (mostly of carbonation) dissipates quick quickly. I don't quite know why, but I really like how this looks.

Smell: Malts, toffee, roasted nuts, toasted grains, a bit of molasses... they all seem waft out of the glass. Though the smell isn't too powerful (or else it's my allergies).

Taste: The beer has a very rich and warm taste, but not as complex as you'd expect from the smell. Sure, there's malts, grains, and a bit of nuts, but they aren't very distinct and the other elements aren't really present. That said, it's still a really good flavor -- just lacking a bit in the complexity department. Just a pinch of bitterness in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and quite smooth. A light tingle of carbonation is noticable as well. A rather warm feel as well.

Drinkability: A rather rich beer, but very drinkable! Somewhat heavy, but not overbearing by any means. Alcohol is a bit noticable, but under control if you drink it responsibly, enjoying it. Oh, and there's a solution to the lack of complexity in the flavor: just remember to smell it as you sip! Makes quite a difference.

I've never liked S.A.'s Boston Lager, but figured I'd give them another chance by giving this a try. Good thing I did, because I really enjoy this beer! Definitely not an everyday beer, since it's quite rich and a tad heavy, but it hardly has to be one of those "special occasion-only" beers. Give this a try if you haven't already.

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Photo of dmowen
4.17/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Seen this on the shelf beside a black lager from Germany and just had to try it. Damn, this stuff is good!! Pours a VERY dark almost
black color with a nice creamy head that stays around a while. the smell is of roasted caramel? (hell, I'm no expert on smells, I just know it smells good!) Mouth-feel is good; not too fizzy, and goes down real good with just a little lingering after-taste that some may find objectional. I my-self really enjoyed this brew and look forward to getting some more.

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Photo of whynot44
3.83/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Not actually black, but a very dark chestnut color with a very nice creamy tan head that sticks around for a while before retreating to just a skin of lace.

The aroma is interesting - dark roasted malt, caramel, apples and raisins.

The taste is slightly sweet with caramel and raisin notes and hints of chocolate and coffee.

Smooth, creamy and easy to drink. Slightly spicy finish with a bit of coffee aftertaste. Possibly a bit lighter in body and taste than some versions but this just seems to make it easier to drink. A good introduction to the style, I suppose.

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Photo of neenerzig
4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sam Adams is by far the best American macro brewing company out there. They truly make some tasty brews indeed. While not as good as Stone, Great Lakes, or Bell’s, Sam Adams is certainly 100 times better than anything I have ever had brewed by Bud, Miller, Coors, Labatt, etc. This beer pours a dark, perhaps very slightly reddish, brown color with a tan head about a finger and a half thick, nice and foamy before shrinking a bit, but not by too much. It has very creamy looking head indeed as well as some nice lacing. Has some nice aromas of chocolate, caramel, malts, and hops as well a scent of darker fruits such as plums, grapes, and apples. A nice sweet taste dominated by roasty malts with characteristics of all the smells mentioned above. It has a nice smooth and creamy mouthfeel with mild to moderate carbonation. To my knowledge this is the first black lager, or schwarzbier, that I have ever had and it was pretty good. Many things about this beer reminded me of a darker Belgian style ale or even a porter, only the characteristics of this beer were a bit more subtle and subdued as opposed to being robust, bold, and in your face as is the case with Belgian beers and some porters I have had the pleasure of drinking. This beer may also be just slightly, just slightly watery compared to the aforementioned Belgians and porters, as well as not as full bodied as most Belgian beers I have had. This beer is highly drinkable and goes down easy. Definitely worth a try to say the least.


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Photo of Hunter
2.73/5  rDev -27%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

appearance: Beer pours dark but not quite black, more akin to cola than a stout. Head of tan foam evaporates on the instant.
smell: Smoke, coffee, and dark chocolate. There's an acrid undertone that's not pleasant but it doesn't detract too harshly.
taste: Complex combination that confirms the aroma. Chocolate smoke and coffee predominate. Aftertaste brings back that acrid aftertaste, much more noticeable.
mouthfeel: Thinner than you would expect.
drinkability: I'm unimpressed. This is something interesting to try occasionally, probably best when paired with strong meats or cheese. By itself it is not particularly refreshing or alluring.

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Photo of barleyman
4.08/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the 12 oz brown glass bottle, into my straight sided tumbler. Dark white head quickly recedes into a nice lace. Dark red, black color. Smell is of malt and raisins. Taste is of expertly balanced malt and hops. Mouthfeel is thin but very nice, spot on for this style. Drinkability is good, dark but not heavy, one could utilize a few of these to slake one's thirst.

Just a thought,


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

Ok let me start by saying, first off, that I'm a huge fan of this beer, even after having just tried it for the first time.

A: Poured out of the bottle into a flute glass a very dark shade of what is best described as mahogany. A centimeter or so of tan-colored head that did not dissipate very quickly and left minimal lacing.

S: Smells very sweet and malty. You instantly pick up the roasted caramel and chocolate malts; they're pretty rich.

T: Pretty nice. Sweet and full of the malty caramel and chocolate flavor. Kind of got a coffee feel to it, which is to be expected. The hops don't really make themselves felt here aside from a tad bit of spiciness. Not much of an aftertaste. My only complaint here would be that it oculd benefit from a slightly richer taste. The sweet caramel malty flavor is very nice, but it's kind of underplayed.

M: Very light body, very smooth. Being used to stouts or porters, you expect a heavier body, but it's a lager so it's something of a surprise. It's almost watery. Like the taste, I'd say it could benefit from a little bit more.

D: Well, it's very tasty and very light, so I can see myself having an entire six of these no problem. Everything about the beer is pleasant; it could just be more so. But, even without more taste or more body, it's extremely drinkable.

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Photo of bjohnson
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark brown with a one finger cream colored frothy head. Good retention and some lace.
S: Aromas of caramel and chocolate malts with a slight hop presence. Fresh smelling.
T & M: Tastes of burnt and roasted malts with some sweet chocolate notes. A little spicy. Big carbonation kick up front on the tongue, which stings a bit. Medium bodied and soft on the palate. Leaves a film in the mouth, ok mouthfeel. Slight bitterness also.
D: Drinkable, but eh. A good change of pace, but not sure i'd go after this one again. Nothing special here.

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

Pours a shiny oil-black like a stout or porter, with a creamy inch-thick light tan head that doesn't last very long. Some lace was left along the sides of the glass.

Smells like a mild stout or porter, with roasted characteristics present but timid. Same with the hops and chocolately elements, which lay even further back. But it all feels more subtle to me than weak, as I enjoyed poking my sniffer in there throughout the drink.

Flavors are well done, with a comfy roasted/toasted maltiness at the fore, followed by a fluffy chocolate lightness, a rich molasses element, and well-balanced bittering from the hops. Mouthfeel is at once thin, sticky and tingly.

Overall a successful treat from Sam Adams, not one of their best but certainly worth picking up for its better attributes. Just a few steps over from a porter or stout, but less heavy in terms of body and ABV.

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Photo of dfried
3.61/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I liked the appearance of this beer, deep brown almost black in color, with some burgundy around the sides, and a deep caramel colored head. I found the smell and taste quite similar, coffee and dark roasted malts with a bit of a nutty flavor. This is a smooth and semi-sweet beer, the finish has a nice slightly hoppy flavor as well. There is nothing inherently bad about the drinkability of this beer, but I think I would get bored with it after a few.

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Photo of dgallina
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle notched best-before October 2006.

Pours black with mahogany edges. Three-quarter's inch of thick tan foam and nice lace. Smells rich and syrupy, thick with sweet grainy chocolate and coffee malts. Extremely sweet and very clean (if simple) toasted malt flavors. Finishes slightly dry with little after-taste. Well integrated medium creamy and carbonated body.

Refreshing, though overly sweet and thin in flavor compared to aroma.

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Photo of Sosh
4.08/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Dark brown when pouring, but appears black as the glass fills. When held to light brown and red are seen.

Smell - Like a lager! Also has kind of a burnt smell.

Taste - The best part. Chocolate/Coffee/Lager Beer.

Drinkability - Fantastic, a great session beer!

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Photo of Bierguy5
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very deep chestnut color, almost black. A few ruby edges around the sides of the glass. A rich off-white frothy head forms, and remains intact throughout the life of the beer. Aroma of caramel, and chocolate. Nice flavor of sweet charred caramel, followed up by hints of chocolate. Hints of toasty flavors. Finishes with enough noble hops to balance things out. I have had some of this style that finish so sweet and cloying, however this one does not. A very nice effort, highly drinkable and enjoyable.

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

Pours a dark rust color. Smells slightly of chocolate. Tastes of shaved chocolate and a little bit of banana (maybe I'm imagining this?). Mouthfeel is average. Despite the fact that this beer's fairly average, I could still down a few in one sitting.

This is a beer I've only had a few times before. Overall, it isn't a bad beer. It's not something I'd drink often, but it's still heads and shoulders above the usual macro stuff.

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Photo of Blakaeris
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours very dark brown with plenty of ruby highlights. Creamy tan head leaves slight lacing as it dissipates.

Smell is sweetly malty with strong dark grain. Earthy mustiness. Hints of chocolate and a nice smokiness.

Taste is similiar to the nose, with the addition of dark coffee notes and earthy hop that add bitterness that dominates the residual sweetness and allows a very dry finish. Charred smokiness lingers on the tongue.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with decent carbonation.

This beer is decently complex and easy to drink. A well crafted session beer.

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Photo of kbnooshay
3/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This poured a very dark brown with a light head that didn't last very long. Virtually no lacing. The smell is kinda nice, mostly caramel and malt. The taste is not nearly as good as saranac Black Forest but it is good. Caramelly and malty as fuck. There are soem coffee hints also. Flavor is nice but doesn't really grab you. Kinda leaves a yucky porter like aftertaste. The mouthfeel isn't bad but kinda watery. It is pretty slick to the tounge. Kinda drinkable but it leaves such a blah taste in your mouth. Try a black forest instead.

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

A nice black in color with some dark brown highlights and a good thick head.

Smell has a nice bit of chocolate and caramel notes.

Taste has a bit of chocolate malt flavor on a solid caramel malt backbone, slightly sweet.

Mouthfeel is light yet creamy.

Overall a nice easy drinking beer.

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Photo of nriech
3.06/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

First impression was a very malty dark beer making my mouth water. Heavy on the carbonation but hardly any head. Lacing lingered though. Good aroma of malt.

The flavors I picked up were molasses, chocolate, maybe a weak coffee. In fact I would use weak for the body also. There was alot missing from this beer but I think it would be over the top for a traditional american beer drinker. I let it warm a bit more and it was more drinkable but still wasnt quite the beer that I would expect from the "Brewmasters Collection."

Good option for those establishments where the best they serve is Sam Adams and you want something a little different.

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Samuel Adams Black Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.74 out of 5 based on 2,559 ratings.
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