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

1,434 Reviews
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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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Reviews: 1,434 | Ratings: 2,554
Photo of Kadonny
3.83/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass. Bottle part of the spring sampler pack.

A: A dark brownish color with light brown head. Nice full glass lacing that does recede.

S: Roasted notes mix with bready malt, slight chocolate and some floral signature SA hops. Nice.

T: Follow the nose. Roasted flavors mix with the bready malt sweetness. Some toffee and caramel with some mild chocolate tones. Roastiness stays and you get a nice finish of flora hops. The beer has the signature Sam Adams yeast/hop taste to it. Very nice beer.

M: A little light actually, but I didn't get a lot of lingering flavors and it was a tad bit thin.

O: A real nice surprise of a beer, that is very drinkable and enjoyable. I would easily pick one of these up at any time and really enjoy it.

A nice beer that is part of the sampler pack. I really enjoyed it and will have no problem finishing off the rest from the sampler pack. This should be their winter beer, better than the Winter Lager.

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Photo of donmonkey1
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black with a thin tan head. The head could be thicker, and it leaves a little too fast. Light but consistent lacing.

Smell: Molasses, Caramel

Taste: Molasses, coffee, toast.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, frothy, good carbonation.

This is a filling beer. Tastes good, a little sweet but not too sweet. I would like more roasted flavor. This is a quality beer I would enjoy drinking and would be proud to give to a friend.

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

12 oz bottle. Pint glass.

A: Very dark with red highlights and a finger of light khaki head.

S: Chocolate, light roastiness, and some wet oats.

T: Sweet grains, chocolate, cinammon, and caramel.

M: Medium-light body. Very creamy.

O: Solid drinker. It tastes alright and goes down easily.

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

Poured into Sam Adams "tulip" glass, fresh date til July 2012

A - one finger frothy foam head, thin but continous lacing, chocolate brown color

S - not too distinct or complex, dark roasted malts, coffee-like

T - it's remarkably good: porter-like; has a smooth finish, not really bitter but roasted malt, coffee indicated by the color and name of the beer is it's primary characteristic.

M - creamy smooth but bold, carbonation is just right

O - Balance: not heavy, not light; not bitter, not sweet; not complex, not simple. I think Koch and the crew got it right. I've always liked this beer. Since I think smell is a lesser category overall boosts to a 4. At 4.9 it makes a great session beer. Cheers.

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Photo of jeffjeff1
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I got this in a Sam Adams variety pack.
Poured into a Pilsener glass

Appearance- black color, thin head that dissipated quickly

Smell- roasted malt with a hint of coffee and chocolate

Taste- chocolate, coffee, roasted malt

Mouthfeel- medium bodied, smooth

Drinkability- I thought this was very good. Very refreshing and very smooth. Very good

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Photo of iBeer16
3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed in a pint glass
A: pours a very dark opaque brown with about a finger of a tan small bubbled head. Doesn't linger too long, leaves little lacing.

S: very strong roasted chocolate and coffee malty aroma with a slight fruity under aroma.

T: smost noticeable a chocolate and coffee taste with a roasted, smoked flavor. Also a watery taste? But when it warms up the flavor becomes more prevalent throughout.

M: very light in body, a bit of a strong carbonation but nothing crazy. Wish it was a little heavier but flavor is pretty good. Finishes a bit watery.

Overall, not bad, the flavor is present but finishes a bit watery. Very easy drinking schwarzbier.

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Photo of fx20736
3.78/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass, served at fridge temp.

Black at first glance, the color of Coca-Cola when backlit, with a thick cinnamon colored head that recedes quickly and leaves no lacing to speak of.

Aroma of richly roasted malt and only only a ghost-like suggestion of hops.

Taste: roasted caramel malt with a light smokiness.

Notes: a nice, drinkable Schwarzbier.

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

Bottle given to me by my neighbor Brian, poured into a standard nonic.

A: Pours an impressively dark shade of almost-black, with just the slightest amount of light escaping through the other side of the glass. A soft light fluffy off-white head sat on top, but dissipated quickly.

S: More caramel than I would have expected from such a dark beer. Bready sugars can be found in the background. I'm not picking up on any discernible roastiness in the nose.

T: Vanilla cream and roast arrive on the first sip. The caramel backbone, so prominant in the nose, only makes is presence felt on the tongue near the back end of the flavor profile. Finishes bready and dry, with yet more caramel lingering on the back end.

M: Rather unremarkable. Not "hefty". Not "light". Carbonation seems low. The finish is dry, but very little other than caramel is left behind after it's gone.

D/O: A fine beer. But by craft beer standards? It's pretty mediocre. I'd have another, but I won't specifically seek this out.

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Photo of Chaney
4.07/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presently #15 in the top Schwarzbiers here on BA.

Best by June 2012.

Poured into a FFF shaped glass.

A: Well, it wasn't quite black like the title suggests, but it was pretty damn close. It was more of a dark, dark red actually.... the darkest of red! This fairly translucent brew boasted a 2 finger or so head that retained itself throughout the session.

S: The roast on this was almost into mild coffee ground territory. Additionally, I got a bit of charred malt and fresh filtered water.

T: This was halfway between a smoked lager and porter if I've ever tasted it. The smokiness was there and a bit of raison played second fiddle to that.

M: Pretty creamy actually.... much more so than I was expecting. The carbonation was moderate and the lacing ridiculous.

O: Before I really got into craft beer full-time, I used to always say that this was my favorite from the SA mix packs. I'm happy to report that after about 1,000,000 beers later, this one still has it!

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Photo of nach0king
2.79/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I've recently developed a taste for black lagers - this one's decent but little more than that. Poured from bottle into pint glass.

A: The colour's right. A bit of light can get through but hardly any. No head to speak of.

S: A little bit of sugar, toffee, malt. A very nice smell but there's not enough of it.

T: As the smell suggested this is mild for a black. That said it's well-balanced - seems more heavily hopped than the ones I'm used to and that's welcome. The bitterness makes it more coffee than toffee. But it just feels like there isn't enough there.

M: Perhaps slightly overcarbonated but still pretty full for a lager - which is a good thing.

Would probably not go looking for this one again. It's perfectly fine but there are better schwarzbiers out there.

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Photo of DabblinWiscCraft
3.92/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'm enjoying this beer in a pint glass at my folks' place. My dad has been branching out a bit in his beer choices, so I was happy to get the chance to show him this site. Pours a nice coffee black with a half inch of loosely foamy, khaki head that dissipates pretty quickly without leaving much for lacing. The nose is very pleasant, with notes of black licorice and chocolate coming through the malt. The taste is very inviting, with the chocolate and licorice flavors asserting themselves mid-taste, but not overpowering the overall profile. While I know that this style is often much lighter-bodied than other dark beers, I still find the feel to be more watery than I'd like--even so, it's not much of a detraction.

It's great to see my dad branching out a little bit in his beer purchases, and I'm excited to be able to show him a little bit of the BA world. This beer reminds me that I really do need to take the time to review more Sam Adams offerings: I am very rarely disappointed with the quality of their beers, and my experience with their Black Lager is no exception.

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Photo of SawDog505
2.98/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a 13 oz tulip glass. Pours almost completely black, with just a thin white head, a little lace. Smell bakers chocolate, biscuit, and carmel. Taste is mainly the chocolate, very one dimensional. Body is very thin for a chocolate tasting beer, lots of carbonation, lush, and very drinkable. This is a very simple strait forward beer, probably a good beer to start off your craft beer adventure.

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Photo of jtierney89
2.5/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Smells of dark fruit and burnt coffee. pours a pretty clear brown color with amber tints and a massive fluffy off white head. thin mouthfeel but the flavors are good and well blended. nice thin caramel and chocolate flavors on the side of the mouth with a very modest clean finish of coffee and balancing hops. very good in flavors that are blended together well but the watery body doesn't do justice to how much better it could've. balance is there and all it just needs a richer body. The thinness of the beer really hurt this one unfortunately.

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Photo of BigPlay1824
3.57/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed in a pilsner glass

A: pours a very clear brown with a distinct amber hue and a finger of velvety tan colored head with large bubbles, lingers nicely, leaves a small amount of scattered lacing
S: nice roasted malts and an underlying sweetness slightly like vanilla
T: roasted malts in the beginning then moves into a bit of sweetness and vanilla which lingers on the palate for a while
M: silky and a bit thick, really intense carbonation, leaves the mouth watering
O: a pretty good brew, taste was not as deep as i had expected from the nose but it was still nice, carbonation was far too intense in my opinion

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Photo of yamar68
3.48/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

a - minimal clarity, dark burnt amber, thin head that fizzes off to an outer ring

s - subtle malt notes, hard to pull much out of here

t - much closer to the middle of the road on the hops/malt spectrum than I was anticipating, roasted malts up front that hits some coppery mineral notes before getting overrun by the hops, nothing huge here but what I can gather is nice

m - pretty thin and a bit too fizzy for me

o - a fine beer, not one that I would seek out on its own but I'm okay with a couple thrown into the variety packs from time to time

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.76/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a deep, dark cola brown. Moderate amount of lacing.

Smell - Like many SA beers, not a whole lot to smell. Faint caramel and chocolate notes. That's about it.

Taste - Smooth caramel, toasted bread, and a hint of bitter chocolate in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Everything about this beer screams ale, except the mouthfeel. It's Light and evenly carbonated. Tingling bubbles tickle the tongue into and a bit past the finish. Certainly a beer that could be drank for an entire evening with no problem.

Overall - Among the better Sam Adams beers, for sure. Definitely the best in the Brewer's Choice 12-pack.

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Photo of ely2000k
4.73/5  rDev +26.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A couple things first. I have never had this style before. If all beers of this style are like this, count this as one of my favorite styles. Second, I consider to be hands down the best Sam Adam's beer I have had. It's unique, it's complex, and it's not too hard to find. I'm sure they sell 6ers of it, I got it in the one of the "brewer's choice" variety packs, which is actually well worth sampling some of the other beers in there as well.

Onto the beer. Black in color as the name suggestions. Great head. Looks very similar to a stout. The nose is malty which I was expecting, with some light molasses or perhaps honey scent. Light, but pleasant. I love the taste of this. For 4.9% alcohol, this feels like a very full beer, like there is a lot going on with it. Initially a very sweet malt taste, and as it goes down, the taste leads to some subtle hoppy bitterness, and ends with a smokey whiskey style taste. Love the taste. Mouthfeel has some good carbonation that perfectly fits what this is going for. Definitely will get this beer again.

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Photo of wages
4.39/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - 3.5/5 - Pours with a small off-white head. Black but not "pitch black".

Smell - 4.5/5 - Huge roasted sweet aroma.

Taste - 4.5/5 - Wonderful slightly bitter roasted flavor. I can barely tell that it is a lager behind the big roasted character!

Mouthfeel - 4/5 - Just the right level of carbonation. Leaves a light coating in the mouth.

Overall - 4.5/5 - A very tasty schwarzbier that hits you with roasted-ness from all sides. It could possibly have more depth, for a 4.9% ABV brew, this one hits the mark.

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

A: The beer pours a dark brown, almost black, with a nice thin white head that quickly fades. The head leaves some lace on the glass, but not too much.

S: This has a nice bit of roasted smell to it and also has a bit of coffee.

T: At first I get a strong amount of roasted malt and then as the beer lingers on my palate, it has a very nice coffee taste and an awesome chocolate taste.

M: This is pretty darn smooth. I was expecting something more crisp and has more of a burn, like the other black lagers I have.

O: This is one of the best Black Lagers I have ever had. Black Lagers for sure aren't my favorite, but this one is solid and I could drink think a lot.

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Photo of beagle75
3.76/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

A: Clear, dark brown color with less than one finger of diminishing mocha-tinted foam head. Heavy lacing remains on the glass.

S: Husky grain is lightly roasted, with a fine thread of dilute chocolate. Carbon dioxide is fairly assertive, undermining to the integrity of other qualities but drawing some attention to a sulfurous component.

T: Begins off-dry, with soft brown malt and dark herbaceous hop aromatics which are mild in intensity. Acidity is understated in the flavor, allowing a smooth transition into an unctuous and refined malty middle. This beer finishes earthy and slightly spicy from ongoing nuanced hop contributions, though bitterness stays restrained.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, creamy on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: This beer sets a metered pace early and maintains it to a successful, but not very adventurous, resolution. In a style as traditional as schwarzbeer, such a practiced but reverential hand is appreciated when it comes to matters of concept as well as execution. Neither apologetic nor challenging, this beer maintains a sweet spot of appeal that could change a lot of casual minds about darker styles.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into pint glass

Appearance - A nice dark brew with a slightly tan head. This gives way very quickly to give little lacing.

Smell - Roasted malt mixed with a bit of roasted nut meet a chocolate aroma. hidden at first, but developing as time goes on is a bit of sweet caramel aroma

Taste - Sweeter malts and roasted coffee flavor first meet the tongue. the cocoa flavor then takes control, but slowly fades to some of the bitter hop and a bitter roast taste. The initial flavors are quite pleasant, but the bitterness at the end sorta lingers, not in a very good way.
(note - I let the beer warm a bit and some of the bitterness seemed to diminish which gave the brew a very nice flavor profile actually)

Mouthfeel - A nice body with a good level of carbonation. Creamy and smooth.

Overall - If it wasn't for the very bitter aftertaste it would be one quite tasty beer. If you are a fan of roasted bitter though, this may be for you.

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Photo of Justin23060
4.2/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Like coke
S - Caramel malt, pleasant sweetness.
T - One of the sweeter Schwartzes I've had. Smokiness compliments the sweetness and makes for a sort of thin porter in a way. Linger is spot on for my taste.
M - Right on for style, not too heavy. Sharp at first and fading into a creamier swallow.
O - One of new favorites. Nothing bad to say about this beer.

Personal Note: Awesome with crackers, Swiss cheese, crispy fried garlic and Dijon.

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Photo of tjacobs610
2.88/5  rDev -23%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Very dark in color, almost pure black. Has a thin caramel colored head with not very little lacing.

Smell: Has a chocolaty aroma, with hints of caramel. Also has a hint of yeasty aromas to it.

Taste: Very light and smooth, with hints of spices and a touch of malt. Has a pretty good taste for this style of beer.

Mouthfeel: Very thin and not much carbonation to the beer. Has a good feel that goes along with this style.

Overall: This beer fits its style well. It’s not one of my favorite styles but taking this beer for what it’s worth makes it very good.

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

Pours a dark brown color with a small white head.

Aromas are grainy, with hints of chocolate, coffee, and mineral hops.

Taste is bready, with some chocolate, roasted malts and a dry mineral like bitterness. Beer comes of as fairly tasty, but also kind of one dimensional in the flavor department.

Mouthfeel is full, with decent carbonation.

Overall this is fairly tasty, but needs some more flavors to break up the toasty mineral flavors.

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Photo of barleyroad
3.09/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance is dark, no really dark. Smell is very toasty. Mouthfeel is heavy on the tongue, this does linger a while. Taste is more like a light porter. The toasted malts are nicely balanced with the carmel and chocolate malts. Overall this is a nice brew, but we feel is miss labled.

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