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

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Samuel Adams Black LagerSamuel Adams Black Lager
2,661 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

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,661 |  Reviews: 1,466
Photo of FightingEntropy
3.8/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

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Photo of theozag
3.93/5  rDev +6.2%
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.

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Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.83/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

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Photo of davidshamoon
4.38/5  rDev +18.4%
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.

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Photo of TheLiterati
4/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

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Photo of dbalsock
4.52/5  rDev +22.2%
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...)

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Photo of etenbus
4.3/5  rDev +16.2%
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.

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

Pours a nice dark colour, almost balck. Good one finger head.

Smells of dark roasted malt, some fruit, licorice, and also a faint smokey character.

The taste is rich in flavour but also light in character and finishes rather clean. Some hop bitterness blends well with carmel malt. I had a pretty overwhleming feeling in my palate of smokiness.

The clean finish makes this very drinkable. I believe this is my first schwarzbier, and I look forward to a few more.

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

Poured from the bottle this beer develops a dense, thick head. This drops down but doesn’t completely disappear. Color trends toward dark tea: brown with trace of red. Unlike the name suggests, it’s not black like a stout.

I can’t speak to this beer’s connection to the German model, but I will say that it’s refreshing to see and taste lagers that show off what the form can do, that they can exhibit the richness and complexity of ales.

The smell is sweet, earthy, and dark (like a Brown ale). Hint of hops, but not much. Taste seems to confirm a low or mild hop profile. There’s a tiny bit of hoppy sharpness on the tongue that quickly, quickly, quickly, gets replaced by the malts. Lots of caramel and chocolate here but the SA Black Lager doesn’t kick you with sweet. Instead, the sweetness comes of as mild, refreshing. Think dark chocolate rather than milk chocolate. This has an awesome mouth feel with some slight carbonation and an aftertaste that’s pleasant, leaving you wanting more, but not in a way that soda and some beers leave you (that treadmill of drink more because it never refreshes and you hope the next taste will do the trick).

I’d drink this as a summer beer, but I can see it making a really good autumn-winter drink. Solid work.

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

Sam Adams hit the nail on the head with this one, poured 12oz bottle into pint glass, medium off white head, that vanished fast, but left a nice trace in my glass.

Appearance: looks like a stout with an off white head, very nice.

Smell: Slight smell of hops that are over whelmed by a smell of malt with hints of chocolate and coffee.

Taste: very smooth with hints of chocolate and very little bitterness from any hops, also goes down smooth and leaves a slight coffee taste in the mouth.

Mouthfeel: Stars smooth and stays smooth, a light amount of carbonation that doesn't inter fear with the flavor of the beer.

Drinkability: I wish this beer was a 6 pack of black lager, not the 6 pack of variety beer, because this one you could drink all night.

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Photo of flanmedic51
3.78/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured it into a frosty glass with a quickly disappearing head and left a fine lacing throughout my drink time. The appearance is jet black and stout-like. The smell is pleasant with hops, malt and the smell of coffee stuck out the most I think. The taste is very, very smooth without bitterness along with the notes of coffee and dark chocolate and malt. It is very easy drinking and a great social beer that you will come back for more after the first one is gone.

This lager reminds me of a local brewery, Oak Pond Brewery in Skowhegan, ME., that makes Laughing Loon Lager which has many of the same characteristics as the Sam Adams Black Lager. MMM deeee-licious!

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Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a deep brown color with ruby highlights; the head retained nicely and left quite a few splashes of lace

Smell: Chocolate shavings and café au lait; rather creamy at that

Taste: Starts out with a brown bread flavor that, after the swallow, is joined by a mild bittering aspect that brings along some of that creamy café au lait that was so present in the aroma; relatively clean finish

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with crisp carbonation; a bit creamy

Drinkability: Pleasant and drinkable

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Photo of Zephenbrewid
3.25/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Rather quickly disappating head. When held to light it reveals a deep red coloration not apparent in a dimmer environment. I smelled notes of salt water taffy but this was very subtle and the smell is rather weak overall. Malts give a roasted character to this while allowing hops to balace very well. It has a light bodied refreshing feel to it and has a slightly lingering malt aftertaste as well.

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

Appearance: Looks like a stout in the glass, very dark with a nice off-white head that displays good retention and lacing. It lives up to its name.

Smell: Sweet-smelling, initially reminded me of a macro for some reason, but as it warmed chocolate was definitely detectable. Not very complex, but surprisingly appealing for a lager.

Taste: Interesting. Only schwarzbier I've had, and it seems like a stout for climates too cold to use top-fermenting yeast. Very similar flavor profile, anyway. Roast, chocolate, but not burnt. A touch of caramel in the finish. Good bit of sweetness, reminiscent of a cream or milk stout. Enough hops to finish fairly dry. No dark fruits present, though, must be the lager yeasts and temps.

Mouthfeel: moderate body, carbonation seems right.

Drinkability: Not bad, but I think if I want a seriously dark beer, I'll go for an ale and get a broader array of flavors. Thickness detracts a bit from drinkability.

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

It pours black with ruby highlights. The look and smell of this stuff does a pretty spot on impersonation of a porter or stout, although the roasted malts are far less intense in the taste than those in dark ales. Brown sugar, yeast, chocolate, and Central American coffee, roughly in that order, round out the taste. I appreciate how much BBC is pushing a fairly adventurous style, all things considered, like this one.

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

This poured to a near black color with minor head and left a small amount of lace.

A fair amount of chocolate comes through in the smell and leads into the taste. Coffee flavor is present but minimal, giving way to more malt and caramel. The mouthfeel is medium, while drinkability is very good.

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Photo of skineg
4.06/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Awesome, awesome beer. I really enjoyed drinking this beer. I did my research before I started, but the smothness still suprised me. This beer is making me a big fan of Sam Adams. The lack of alcohol is a little worrisome, especially when you can only find this beer in sampler and holiday packs (that I know of), but some of the great things are limited.

I really enjoyed the look and eroma, very subtle nutlike smell. Bottom line: Smooth, good tasting beer. Could be a little stronger with taste and alcolhol, but still really good. Seriously, I'm just getting nit picky, this is a good beer. Well worth a try.

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Photo of cbl2
4.08/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Best by April 2006 clearly notched.


Pours an almost black-brown with hints of amber peeking through topped by a luscious looking inch of tight tan foam.


A pleasantly sweet & creamy roasted nut aroma.


A coarse mouthfeel spils an otherwise excellent beer, with a rich bodied roasted coffee flavor that is slightly sweetened, reminiscent of a classic porter. This goes down easy (maybe too easy), though at 4.9%, and with only 2 in the holiday pack, I'm in no danger of OD'ing on this Black Lager.

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Photo of rebel1771
3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours very dark brownish black with a decent off-white head.

Decent roasted malt aroma is present in the nose along with a bit of a coffee aroma

The flavor starts out with burnt malt and coffee flavors and fades into slight sweetness.

This is an enjoyable brew and another quality beer from Sam Adams.

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Photo of thelagerheads
4.8/5  rDev +29.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

O my good daddy who built me with my knockers on the low! I love this sap! It is the perfect accoutrement for the low-class denizen desserter of Keebler cookies and Chips Ahoy! I'm not a fan of coffee but this reminds me of coffee with a dark chocolate brain. It thinks burnt but says savor. I could easily become a drunk rotting my teeth out further on this brimmed black wizened wine of puddings! All stars here along with his step uncle SCHWARZ!

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Photo of Dizzy
3.43/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured this one into a pint glass from 12 oz. bottle. Dark brown/black color, off white head. Aroma of roasted malts. Taste is roasted malt with some malty sweetness. Seems light to medium bodied with moderate carbonation. I could easily drink another. This is a good beer, but if I'm looking for a Schwarzbier I think I would opt for Rahr's Ugly Pug if I have the choice.

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Photo of mooseisloose
3.45/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours to a dark chocolate color. Nice clingy beige head. Roasted chocolate malt starting like a stout with a robust lager finish. Good carbonation and a slight lager characterictic bitter flavor, with a smooth non-bitter finish. A good hearty beer to enjoy with a hamburger or a nice thick steak. Yet another tasty selection from Samuel Adams who never dissappoints!

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

Appearance – This was a dark brown in color as it should be with a deceivingly growing off-white foamy head.

Smell – The subtle roasted malt aroma is mixed with some lightly burnt yeast and a smidgen of raw sugar. The grain smell here is dark but nothing is pungent. There’s a smoothness to this bouquet that is quite nice.

Taste – The yeast comes out a bit more at the taste and the sweets step back a tad, but otherwise the driving force is the subtle roasted grain that I caught in the nose. The flavor forms a crescendo on the palate, flowing nicely from burnt toast to roasted malts smoothed by dark yeast then petering out with a mild sugariness.

Mouthfeel – This is between light and medium-bodied with a harmonious feel in the mouth and not at all bitter.

Drinkability – This was a tad off-style but is an excellent drinker and incredibly smooth. It’s an obscure style but Sam Adams gave us a nice rendition here.

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

I poured this from the bottle into a pilsner flute. It has a dark color, very dark amber when held up to the light. The head is very nice and has very good retention. The aroma has a roasted malt character with almost no hops perceptible. Upon tasting, the toasted malt character is most notable, but it is well balanced. There is a slight hop finish. It has a medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall, this is not a bad beer. I personally prefer a bit more hop presence in the flavor, but a decent offering. If I were more familiar with the schwarzbier style, I might rate this higher or lower.

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

12 oz brown bottle from holiday sampler.

Appears a near black color with a nice tan head. Aroma is malty and roasty. The taste is a smooth balance of sweetness and roasted malts and a touch of coffee with just a nice hint of hops in the finish. Mouthfeel is good and this beer is very drinkable, especially at only 4.90% ABV.

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Samuel Adams Black Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Beer rating: 3.7 out of 5 with 2,661 ratings