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

Samuel Adams Black LagerSamuel Adams Black Lager
Liked This Beer
3.7 w/ 2,604 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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,604 |  Reviews: 1,449
Photo of kkipple
2.73/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

I love the Boston Beer Company. These guys make solid, sometimes great beer that's ubiquitous and cheap. The BBC is anything but traditional; their product line ranges from the insane 25% abv Utopias to little-produced styles, like this Schwarzbier. (Also the Cranberry Lambic, but we won't go there.)

I have to admit this is the first Schwarzbier of any kind I've tried, so I'm curious. A black lager? What's that? Let's see...

Pours a dark coffee color with a small 1/4th inch head. Looks a lot like a Guinness Extra Stout to me. Smell is scant, coffee and malt. Mostly coffee.

Taste is... well, weak. Roasted malt, some sweetness, maybe a hint of caramel. Not much else... pretty watery. Not really sure what I was expecting, but this really is a dark-colored, roasty-flavored lager. Odd.

Mouthfeel is thin, a bit dry, with a malty aftertaste. This isn't filling me up, yet.

I don't much care for lagers, so I won't lie and pretend I liked this one. It's just strange... I mean, if I want stout, I'll drink stout. If I was partial to lager I'd drink cat piss -- I mean, lager. I guess this could be a good cross-over beer for the lager fan who hasn't gotten into darker beer. Kind of mixed on this one. It's not an awful beer but you can get a lot better. Props to the BBC for trying something different, in any case.

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Photo of Phatz
4.01/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This beer pours almost black with slight red highlights. Nice tan head and decent lacing.

Smell: Sweet malts and a bit of coffee of toffee. Seems thick even in the nose.

Taste: Molasses comes to mind, the real stuff (black). A bit of dark chocolate. Super sweet aftertaste of Carmel, followed by a slight dry bitterness on the tip of your tongue.

Mouthfeel: Feels like a lager (medium weight) but tastes like a stout (very syrupy). Smooth. Wow, this is a stout lovers jackpot.

Drinkability: This is a very easy drinking beer. It is to sweet to be sessionable for me but one goes down very easily.

Every time this beer is such a sweet treat. Tonight we had some double chocolate cake with a dark chocolate icing and the Black Lager was just perfect after the coffee with the cake… wow!

Hope this is helpful.

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

12 oz bottle pours a dark brownish almost black color, nice wispy brown head that leaves a good lacing in my glass, faint roasted coffee and chocolate aroma, decent roasted malty flavors, light bodied with a somewhat watery mouthfeel, it has a nice roasty bitter finish, average for the style, decent

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Photo of jslot38
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz from 05-06 Winter, Freshness date marked

Appearance: Pours with a lovely cascading effect. Large beige to tan head settles over a near black, deep mahogany coloured body, slight amber hues. Lacing sticks to the glass throughout. Head never leaves half an inch.

Smell: Notes of caramel interlaced with deep roasted nutty chocolate. As if a candy bar, without the sweetness.

Taste: Roasted malts overwhelm a floral hop notes. Slight spices forumalte in a deep and rich caramel and dark chocolate malt background. Very Light hints of smoke, certainly roasted nuts.

Mouthfeel: The great simplicity of a lager with the taste complexities of an ale. Carbonation upfront lingers for a second and then is overtaken by a great malt smoothness. Hops never interfere with the mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Its a lager, and yet one that tastes great, with a light body like this one, I could enjoy a few of these.

Notes: A great style, one that I am new to, but will certainly seek out more examples of. As I said before, the idea of a lager with the taste complexities and appearance of an ale (almost a porter) intrigues me, and Sam Adams does this to near perfection.

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Photo of MetroOhio
4.5/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

What a fantastic pick up! Got a sixer of this today, and boy was I surprised.

Poured strong with a fantastic head--it did, however, disappear fairly quick for me, but maybe my pour was off or the glass may have been off.

The body was deep reddish brown with a nice tan head. Smells of grain, roasted malt/barley, with cocoa-ish scents up front (but not lingering). Taste was very nicely rounded with some roasted and burnt (in a good way) malt sweetness up front, and it's rounded out with a sort of limey taste afterwards--maybe black cherry as well?

Mouthfeel, for me, was a little thin, could've used a little more heft in it.

This beer was fantastic, and it's one of those beers you can have a ton of and still feel good about having another. I have found my new Sam Adams favorite...move over Winter Lager. You have been replaced, and I'll never return...Black Lager is my new favorite brew from the Boston Beer Company.

Song Listened to Whilst Enjoying this Beer: "Such a Little Thing Makes Such A Big Difference", Morrissey, off the Bona Drag LP(1990).

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Photo of UberWasser
4.11/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, served in a 16oz globe glass.

Pours a deep black color that glows with burgundy when held to light. The head is thick and a dirty white. It builds quite thick in this glass with a medium pour speed. Its retention is admirable as a thick sheet lies atop the beer through a number of sips. The foam clings in big laces as the beer recedes from the rim. My favorite part is when you tip the glass towards yourself for a drink the bubbles hang back for a second and then make a rush for the surface. A very neat effect. Extremely attractive beer.

The smell is sweet with burnt malts and a chocolate/molasses scent. Very nice.

The taste follows suit, with burnt sugar flavors leading into mild bitterness and a present yet subtle tickle of alcohol on the back of the tounge. Very warming as it flows down the gullet. The mouthfeel is quite nice too, with a subtle thinness that plays well with the carbonation and also feels deceptively thick in the throat after a swallow.

Overall, the best offering I've tried so far from Sam Adams. A definite buy-again.

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

Bought this one in a winter pack.

Pours a dark brown with ruby highlights. A medium size foamy head that actually hung in there for a little while.

Smells of dark roasted malt and sweet chocolate malts, not much hop presence to the aroma.

Tastes pretty damn good. Tasted the roasted malt flavor and small hop presence, very caramel. I would absolutely drink this more often, if there were more hops in it.

Good beer all in all.

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Photo of evanackerman
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

wow, this is a tasty beer and a very interesting style. pours a deep brown with an exceptional head.

aroma is almost non existent at least to me.

taste is all about toasty barley with just the right little kick of hops at the end to balance things out

mouthfeel is exceedingly smooth and medium viscosity, very nice.

drinkability is downright dangerous, i could drink these one after another without a second thought. the one i am drinking right now tastes great with vanilla ice cream.

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Photo of andjusticeforale
3.6/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This poured into a pint glass like it sounds, black as night but seemingly light of body due to the fluffy white head. The head dissipated and stuck to the sides of the glass, forming a web of foam before the first sip.

The smell wasn’t too much to speak of, but certainly not unpleasant.

The initial taste revealed a nicely carbonated lager, with a deep chickory and chocolate malt background. There was some delicate hop bitterness; perhaps more would welcome, but there was a nice residual sweetness that kept this from becoming a porter. There was a grainy dark finish that ended in carbonated crispness.

All in all the mouthfeel was a bit thin and watery, but this also kept the beer crisp...and gave it infinite drinkability in an on-tap type setting; so what this lacks in depth and sophistication, it certainly makes up for in seesion-factor, if you will, in my opinion.

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

Pours a good looking chestnut brown beer with a good tan head.

Smell is good clean grain and malt with a bit of chocolate and coffee in the scent. Strikingly clean and fresh dark malted barley scents, it smells very tasty.

Taste is clean and malty with an aggressive chocolate flavor in the beginning. Flavorful nutty malt comes next but the chocolate flavor here keeps dominating in a good way. Mildly herbal hops in the finish with a bit of raisin and prune flavor showing up in the finish. Pleasant and mild bitterness on the tongue probably equally from the dark malt and the hops.

Very good mouthfeel.

This is a damn tasty and drinkable beer, one of the best Samuel Adams beers. I had this a year ago in Ohio at a party and it struck me as sort of a light porter that was just OK as a beer. Now that I have seriously tasted this it is an exceptional Schwarzbier. No doubt some of the goodness here is having an outstandingly fresh bottle that hasn't made the sea journey from Germany. Having qualified this it is a very good example of the style.

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

Pours a robust chunky cocoa colored head over a deep-black body with orange edges. Great head retention and thick bands of lace. Wine-like aromas dominate, but some coffee and toasted malt come through as well. Sweet roasted malt flavor with chocolate, caramel and a slight nuttiness. Hops are present but in the background. Medium body. Smooth mouthfeel with a lingering bitterness. Drying.

Like a good schwarzbier, this is deceptively light bodied for its appearance. This beer samples from the best of two more common styles: great roasted malt characters, hop bitterness and aroma in a lighter bodied beer that isn’t out of whack. A nice take on a rare style.

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Photo of Naes
2.85/5  rDev -23%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This lager is a super dark brown (almost black) with a small tan head.
Its aroma is of roasted malt.
The flavor is roaty with chocolate tones. A little sweet for my likings, but still drinkable. The hops do make an appearance at the end of your swallow, but are very faint.
Mouth feel is on the light side of medium bodied and actively carbonated.

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Photo of skynxnex
4.15/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Easy to read freshness date (March 2006). Pours fairly black with ruby highlights. Held up to light, it lets a dim reddish color through. I poured it very gently, since I've had some Sam Adams get a huge head. Ended up with half a fingre, that settles to lacing on the sufrace and some down the glass.

Smell is grainy with some roasty notes. A lot more sweet/grainy smell gets through compared to a porter or stout.

Taste is smooth with a hint of roast and toast flavors matching nicely with the sweet. The hops just peek through at the end to provide a pleasent finish. It's quite drinkable. A very nice, mild, somewhat subtle, beer.

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Photo of bpiwarzyk
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

I grabbed a six-pack of this interesting brew on the way to a dinner party. I hadn't seen it before, so I figured I'd give it a shot. The beer didn't accompany the the main course very well (Salmon), but I loved it anyway!

The Black Lager is a very smooth drinking beer. It has the richness and nose of a porter, but it's not quite as heavy, thus very drinkable.
When poured into a glass, a tan, toffee-colored head settled nicely on top, and released a nice dark, malty, chocolate-laced aroma.

My first BL was right from the fridge, and served in a fresh, frosted glass. The second was served a bit closer to room temperature, not warm, but not icebox cold. This second one seemed a bit more aromatic, but both were very clean drinking.

The Sam Adams Black Lager might not be quite as robust as some of my favorite styles, but I definitely enjoyed drinking it, and am looking forward to my next one...

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Photo of LordChesterfield
3.73/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

It looks like your typical schwarzbier and tastes like your typical schwarzbier. No schwarzbier isn't really typical in itself, but this is as close as I've seen to a run of the mill example of the style. Very clean yet full of rich burnt flavors and relatively light in the stomach. Not very complex, maybe some of you find it to be, but I think it could have been alot more interesting. It is what could be considered a session brew, but I keep such wide variety, that I rarely drink two of the same type in a row. Recommended.

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Photo of ColoradoBobs
3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchased in a mixed winter 12-pack. Great buy.

Poured with a huge rocky, bumpy light tan head over an almost opaque red-brown body. Very good looking beer -- the head looks like baked meringue, and lasts almost as long. Lots of sticky lace.

Sweet molasses-like smell, unexpected but pleasant.

Taste is all toasty malt with a nice dry metallic finish. Really good.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin.

Easy to drink.

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Photo of MSchae1017
4.32/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was tasted in a Pint Glass from a bottle.

This poured nearly black with hints of red. The head was not the best. The most overpowering smell in this beer is the malts. As the beer is tasted you can really sense roasted malts. The beer is not overly hoppy but there is a good level of bitterness to it. There is a good level of carbonation and there is a welcome thickness it your mouth. This a fantastic beer and is especially welcome during these winter months.

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

Samuel Adams Black Lager pours a dark, dark red; almost black. It has a thick off-white head which holds pretty well and leaves behind a small amount of lacing.

Smells of caramel and malt, mmm. A little smoky with a hint of chocolate.

At first has a hint of almost lemon and then quickly fades to a well-adjusted burnt, smoky malt. Nice and spicy with that kick that only Sam Adams produces time and again. It finishes clean and very nearly has a hint of berries (sweet, can’t put my finger on it).

Overall, one of my favorite SA products. Exceptionally pleasant and very well composed, medium bodied beer. I would recommend this all year round even though it is somewhat hard to come by in my neighborhood. It is excellent to have a dark beer that is not a stout or a porter every now and then.

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Photo of Hagbard
3.58/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a pretty interesting beer for Sam Adams to make. They take a lot of flak for pandering to the lowest common denominator, but they're just smart business-people. As long as they keep making beer like this, I'll continue to be a fan. The Black Lager pours black, as the name suggests, with a thin tan head. The aroma opens up a bit as the beer warms. Filled with a malty sweetness with some chocolate and perhaps caramel. The taste is mostly sweet chocolate and caramel, neither of which ever becomes overpowering or cloying. There's a bit of a biscuit element in the background. It finishes with a slight roasted bitterness and an even slighter bit of hoppiness. The mouthfeel is a bit light, but no more so than most Schwarzbiers. You can definitely tell this is a lager. The drinkability is superb. This is a great tasting beer that would be great to bring to a party. None of the tastes overwhelm or challenge your palate, but they all come together to form a tasty beverage.

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Photo of WetCoaster
3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Jet black, deep mahogany to the light. Moderate carbonation. White head, fairly good retention. Collar throughout.

Smell: A bit of hop spice up front, but soon morphs into a subtle caramel and toffee maltiness, with perhaps a faint hint of chocolate. Non-descript overall sweetness; yeast?

Taste/Mouthfeel: Smooth, mildly chewy butter toffee, toasty malt, a bit of coffee. Finishes roasty with a bit of hop bitterness.

Drinkability: Despite having the horrifying descriptor "clean finish" (re: flavorless shite) in the packaging, this actually is a nicely balanced beer with a tight finish. Not a world beater, but a nice session; it'd be a a good transition beer for the marco crowd.

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Photo of Tim460
4.08/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark black with a tan head that stays for a while. Smells of malt and chocolate with a hint of caramel. Taste is surprisingly great. Sweet malt, chocolate, and caramel. The blend of tastes is superb. Very smooth. Due to the beer being sweet I couldn't drink too many of these in a sitting. I really enjoyed this beer and look forward to trying more of this style. The inclusion of this along with the Holiday Porter makes their holiday 12-pack better than ever.

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Photo of Smittysguinness
4.3/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bummer this is so limited. I really enjoy this beer.

It poured black into the glass, with a rich brown head and decent lacing; it looked like foamy coffee.

It was hard to pick out a single smell, which was a good thing. Spicy came to mind; like mild mulling spices. Slight chocolate and a little coffee (though so little I could have been kidding myself).

Now the taste was something remarkable. Coffee and chocolate (quite heavy on the coffee for that matter, which is my second favorite drink next to beer...water comes in a distant 536th) are the heavy hitters here, a definite malty sweetness, little yeasty breadiness. GREAT winter beer, though a tad thin. I couldn't detect a hoppy bitterness at all, which is close to style, though others have at least a taste of it.

Another solid offering from Sammy A. The carbonation was not obtrusive at all, and all-in-all, this was a great, very drinkable beer; I could drink a sixer myself, given that this is so much lighter in body than most dark beers like stouts and porters (which I gather Schwarzbier is supposed to be). Too bad, again, that I can only find this in the holiday mix pack.

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.53/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep black beer with a thick cream colored head that stays the length of the drink. Rich chocolate, coffee scents. Mouthfeel is rich an creamy with nice carbonation and slight alcohol warmth in the back of the throat as it goes down. Very smooth coffee, chocolate taste with no hops bitterness.
Wonderful winter of my favorites. I wish I could find it year round in sixers rather than only two bottles in the holiday Sam Adams 12 pack.
In March I have found this beer to be available in 6 the local Ralph's grocery store, of all places. Woo - Hoo!
I hope they keep carrying it.

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

Beer is indeed black with a nice tan head. The aroma features a hint of caramel and slight malt and not much else. Flavorwise the beer doesn't have the bittersweet nature of a porter - rather, its clean, with a maltiness and some caramel notes blending with a faint chocolatey character. Hop presence seems just there to balance. Overall a decent beer but slightly tame - probably not a bad example of the style, though I suspect it could be a little more robust in its toasted / roasted malt character without overdoing it too much.

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Photo of Gavage
4.51/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: clear black in color with a thick 2" tan head that nicely lasts. Decent lacing develops throught the drink.

Smell: the aroma is of roasted malts, licorice, and slighty earthy.

Taste: the flavor is superb, as roasted malts are nicely balanced with other components such as bitter chocolate, coffee, and soft licorice. Nice bitterness levels. One of the more flavorful schwarzbiers I have encountered.

Mouthfeel: crisp at the start. The finish is relatively clean, as the roasted tones fall off the tongue quickly. Light to medium in body.

Drinkability: great as this can be quaffed all night long. One of Sam's better brews.

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Samuel Adams Black Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Beer rating: 55.3% out of 100 with 2,604 ratings
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