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

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Samuel Adams Black LagerSamuel Adams Black Lager
2,659 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: 2,659 |  Reviews: 1,465
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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Photo of BeerBob
4.23/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Samuel Adams “Black Lager” pours a coal sack black red from a 12oz dark brown glass bottle with a pry off cap. Head went to well over three fingers in my 16oz beer glass. Head was made up of fine tan foam that turned just a bit rocky before going down to a full carpet of foam with tons of thick fine lace along the inside walls of my beer glass.

Nose is a very slight burnt chocolate, charcoal, and fig. Palate is a sweet malty fig with bittersweet chocolate, followed by the bight of carbonation with a pleasant bitter hops aftertaste.

Oh My Gosh, this is really good. Smooth mouth feel with a malty sweet sundry fruit backbone that is well balanced with the bittering of hops, I do hope that this one stays around.

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

Yet another brew pulled from the depths of the 2005 Sam Adams Winter Sampler.

Pours the deepest, darkest crimson red to bitter chocolate hue, nearly opaque. Creates a fine offwhite head. Aroma is burnt malt and smoke. Flavor is mildly bitter with an array of subtle tastes of smoke, chocolate, roasted coffee, caramel. Medium to light on the palate, crisp lager like carbonation and a spicy dry finish. Hmm, its like a lagered porter, pretty nice and the first Schwarzbier that I have reviewed.

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

I'm not a fan of the way this style pours. Should I hold its hand and clap when it's decent pour, great by shortbus schwarz standards, but still miles behind a great stout pour? I don't know, and I only ask because this here is a fine example of a schwarzbier pour. Solid back, not opaque but close, with a nice tight little brown head.

Smells: Scwarz liquid smoke and funky yeast malt. Nice all around. Not too complex, not too strong; just nice.

Smokey malt, moving into earthy, cigarette tastiness in the middle, ending on sour malt and dry hop. Nice. I wish I knew what malt this was.

A great example of the style, suprising that Boston Beer Co would take such a risk.

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Photo of Rootdog316
4.2/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Samuel Adams Black Lager pours to a dark brownish black color, though the beer is not entirely opaque. If you hold it directly up to the light, light will pass through and give the brew more of a chestnut color.

A generous creamy tan head forms atop the pour, and lightly roasty notes of chocolate malt are apparent in the nose. A thick film of Brussels lace clings to the side of the glass as the liquid descends.

Upon sipping, a slightly more than medium-bodied palate, generous for a lager is revealed, and the beer has a wonderfully creamy character. There are delightful roasted notes of chocolate, coffee, a touch of caramel and just a hint of licorice.

The roasted character here is soft, and you really won’t find the astringent, harsh roasted bitterness roasted barley imparts to stouts and some porters. In the finish, the roasted character becomes more noticeable, but the beer still finishes creamy and smooth. There aren’t a lot of hops here, either, just a touch. Amazing.

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

Pours a deep brown with ruby highlights when held up to the light. The head on this beer is big and foamy and it lasts quite a long time. There was some minimal lacing on the glass.

Smell is on the sweet and roasty side. Like carmelized leeks (without an onion-y smell) or heavily sugared cafe au lait.

Taste is creamy sweet with some nice roastiness to balance the sweetness. This is a very nice beer.

Mouthfeel is on the rich side with a slight carbonation bite.

Nicely drinkable. If it were from GLBC or Bell's people would be buying this up like crazy. It is a real craft brew made by a brewery that many BAs think of as a second choice brewery.

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

I first encountered this beer when I was up in NJ a few weeks ago. Not having tried it before and with little else of interest in the particular beer store I found myself in, I bought a 6 pack.

I was reasonably impressed by this darkish ruby colored, caramel prominent brew. More so than I imagined I might be.

Since my initial encounter, I have acquired another 4 bottles in the Sam Adams Winter Pack that my wife bought for me recently.

Strangely, every time I go to drink this beer I expect to experience the same slight disappointment I get with Saranac beers (they sound and look great, but just don't really hit the spot) however, Sam Adams is not Saranac and I should know by now that they consistently deliver the goods on a regular basis.

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Photo of russpowell
3.76/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice mahogony edging towards black color. Head is tan but drops to a1/4" ring fast. Lacing sticks around okay.

Smell: Toasted malts, fruit, & wiffs of licorice & choclate& red wine???

Taste: Toasted grain, fruit, licorice, dark choclate & molasess(sp??)

MF: A little thinner than I preffer my Schwartzes. Good carbonation , balance is getting there.

This is one of SAs better efforts, can't wit tofind some on draft where they know how to talk care of the product!

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

This beer pours a dark brown / ruby color with a light brown head. the head fades slowly leaving a good amount of laces. This beer is a somewhat thin malty aroma. It has a biscutlike aroma. Not much hop aroma. It also has a slightly nutty aroma. This beer has a clean malty taste. It has a biscutlike flavor. It has a slightly nutty flavor also. It has very litle hop flavor. It is kind of boring. Not too much to say. This beer might be a little overcarbonated. It goes down smooth leaving a slightly malty aftertaste. This beer might make a good session beer, because it is low in alcohol, but as far as the flavoe goes, I usually look for a little more. Worth a try though.

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Photo of shbobdb
3.87/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer ain't no Köstritzer.

That's a compliment. It isn't the best in its field, but damn, if it ain't good. Crisp and clean as a dark beer can be, but all that without sacrificing the full taste and body of a dark, dark beer. Mmmm. I learned to drink beer on Köstritzer, and I learned to love beer with Kölsch and this beer falls right in the middle of the two.

Well, not quite middle. 90% the former with 10% the latter to balance things out.

Mmmm Lecker!

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Photo of chOAKbarrell
4.18/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is the only schwarzbier I've ever had, and if this is similar to what they all are like, I am certainly a fan.

The beer is dark like a porter or stout, but doesnt have the same chocolate malt & roasted characteristics. Very interesting.

Mostly just malt comes through in the nose. Not really any noticeable hop characteristics.

The taste is great! If all lagers tasted this great, and were this dark, it would possibly be my favorite style. Not bitter but still plenty of depth and character.

This is one of my favorite offerings from Samuel Adams. I could drink many of these in a row.

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Photo of beertaster13
3.96/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a liquid oil black with a beautiful mocha head that rises and maintains nicely. The smell is of roasted marshmellows and toast, a nice malt honey with bits of cherry. The taste deep roasted character with a marshmellow chewiness. This is a fabulous beer. Medium bodied and very drinkable, great session beer for these winter months.

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Photo of GreenWBush
3.58/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cola-esque deep brown with glints of ruby when held to light. Not particularly 'black'. Nice poofy 1" head that lasts and lasts and leaves lace rings for the first half of the glass.

More hints of cola on the nose with an intense bready malt character. Toasty malts. Slightly vinous.

The taste is sweet and like an English dark mild. Brownies, brown ale, mild cocoa. I like the hop interaction here, though there is little of it to go around: just a touch more might make this one a little more refreshing/addictive.

Excellent mouthfeel and slightly above average drinkability.

This is a pretty tasty beer, but I wouldn't drop $8 for it again in that its just not that particularly memorable. Good conversion beer for those 'afraid of dark beer' nancies.

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Photo of fromage
3.6/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I'll be writing a bunch of review from this holiday sampler, I suppose. A decent haul on average, but nothing to go out of your way to get. If you live in the south, though... :)

Poured into a pilsner glass. Very dark brown, mahogany when held up to the light. Big foamy tan head that lasted half the glass, and then left a good deal of lacing.

Smells good coming out of the bottle. Caramel, toffee, some nuts, grapes and raisins... not really any burnt malt.

Taste is a bit of a letdown. Most of the bite is from carbonation. Roast/burnt malt and molasses, and am left with a nutty, caramel aftertaste.

Medium full body, tacky aftertaste.

Easy enough to drink. Probably better than the Koestritzer I've had.

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Photo of mmmbeer
4.05/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz., with purchase before Dec. notched on the side. Pours into the pilsner glass almost black with cherry red tinges and a 2 finger khaki head that leaves some wisps of lace. Smells of coffee, chocolate, and mild hops with caramel showing up 1/3 of the way through. First sip has lots of roasted and hop bitterness with raisins, coffee, chocolate, earthy malts, and floral/spicy hops that show up toward the end. Caramel also shows up in the taste 1/3 of the way through and the roasted/hop bitterness evens out as I drink. It has a medium body, but seems thick for a lager, coating the mouth well. Pretty good, but not great.

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Photo of tastybeer
3.86/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Near black but red tones come through in the light. Lacing is nice. Smells roasty and sweet, an interesting but good combination. Taste is soft bitter and roasted with slight coffee. Has a nice smoothness and very easy to drink.

Suprisingly satisfing. A good 'whenever' beer.

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

I picked this up on a whim, being a fan of the Saranac offering of the same type. Since then, I've bought a few 6'ers and found each bottle consistently high quality, smooth, drinkable with a very rich taste. This is definitely a beer to be savored. Smell is rich and malty. Taste is rich, with hints of carmel, but much more carefully balanced than some. Full mouth feel with just the right carbonation to be refreshing. What can I say? It's great! I hadn't always been a huge Sam Adams fan until this came along. Those Boston Beer guys (and gals) know what they're doing!

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Photo of cheers2beers
4.13/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beeer pours a thick almond colored head that decipates within a few minutes.Dark liquid with redish outerband and laceing all over my glass.The nose is of old style malts and sour fruits.The palate detects a hint of cafe latte,moca,malts,and maybe even a hint of raisin in the finish.This lager goes down smooth,fizzy on my tongue,and coats my mouth with film of caramel malts.
This is definitly a great session brew.I would purchase this one again over boston lager.


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Photo of Manosbeeroffate
4.68/5  rDev +26.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I love this stuff!! Sam Adams may be a huge company now but they still put out some good product and this black lager is one of my new favorites. So far I've only gotten it in the mix packs, so mix packs I'll have to buy. Dark ruby/black color, nice smell, taste is a mix of dried fruit, caramel, roasted malt done very well. This is the first black lager I've tried, now I'm looking foward to finding more of this style.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.98/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark ruby brown tone only when held up to the light, forms a fluffy tan two fingered head leaves behind evenly dispersed fine chunky lace. Aroma: Dark roasted malts mild chocolate with an herbal German noble hop tone going on, standard for a schwarzbier. Taste: Easy drinking caramel flowing malt backbone blended nicely with the cocoa slightly burnt flavor, herbal German hop character is subtle but dances nicely in the whole mix. Mouthfeel: A nice medium bodied black lager goes down very smooth carbonation does tickle the gullet just a bit, overall easy drinking. Drinkability: Great representation of a schwarzbier Sam Adams does a nice job brewing this German specialty, the only other version I have had that blows this away was Heavyweight's Black Ocean which was a small beer version of Perkuno's Hammer not mindblowing but solid.

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Photo of TongoRad
4.13/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

SA Black Lager pours a dark translucent brown/black with a killer long lasting tan head.

There is a moderate yet nearly spot-on aroma. It is a great blend of toasty malt, floral/spicy hops and just the right amount of roast malt character. It is more straightforward than complex, but damn fine nonetheless.

The palate is liquid velvet- very well balanced with a dry roasty finish that leaves you wanting for more.

This is a quality Schwartzbier, and at the affordable Sam Adams prices- quite a find.

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Samuel Adams Black Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Beer rating: 3.7 out of 5 with 2,659 ratings