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

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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
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Quite dark, even for a schwarzbier. Inviting, creamy 1/2" head. Very little light penetration.
Smells heavily of caramel, with a mild citrus hint, and a milder yet nition of rye toast.
Starts off somewhat stout-like with the roasted malt quality. But it becomes increasingly caramelized as it drinks. Hints of carob, butter, and ladies suntanning. All flavors are somewhat subtle, yet this is never boring. Quite tasty overall.
The mouthfeel is super creamy. It does not impede the flavor, but briefly distracts me.
TO likes TO some TO. Well, I like me some schwarzbier. This is a pretty good one.

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

Pours a seemingly black beer, but upon closer inspection deep ruby hues and edges. Head of slightly off-white and seems, with a thin lace. Good head retention.

Light molasses, sweet bready grain, and husk in the nose. Soft smokiness.

Smooth and fairly light on the palate. Light malty base with a watery astringent-like character, faint caramel, burnt edges, suggestions of smoke, a quick semi-sharp citric flash of hop bite - a bit limey - and soft dark berry fruitiness. Soft touch of spice in the hops. Sweetish linger that rides into a drying finish.

A damn tasty Schwarzbier! Nice to see a large craft brewer release such an unknown and uncommon beer style.

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Photo of MDekker
4.03/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Came out of the bottle clean-looking, forming a relatively nice tan head that hung on in some amount for the duration. Laced nicely down the side of my glass, too. Color was nearly black (surprise!), with a hint of dark red around the edges. The aroma was nothing really special - I could detect the roasted caramel scent that I expected, but nothing else jumped out at me.

After mostly stouts and porters that were dark as night, the first gulp was quite refreshing - nice and smooth in the mouth, like a lager should be, and imparting those general roasted dark flavors subtlely but effectively. It wasn't comlex and interesting, like a stout or a porter is, but instead it was, like I already said, refreshing and pleasant to drink. It went down easy, and for something other than ales at the end of the day, this was a goody.

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Photo of Mitchster
3.03/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Brewed with 2-row Harrington, Munich, and Weyermann dehusked Carafa malts. Hopped with Spalt Spalter. Fermented with a lager yeast strain.
OG=1.062, 4.9% ABV, 191 calories per 12oz.

Pours out to a clear, very dark mahogany, forming a modest light tan head with average retention and sparse lacing. Carbonation is moderate. Aroma of sweet milk chocolate, light caramel, a light grainy sourness. Mouthfeel is lightly sharp with a weak acidity contributing to a semi-dry finish. Medium bodied. Taste starts out with some not so pleasant herbal and semi-sour hops, followed by roasted overtones and a budweiser sensibility. Finish has distant earth and tobacco overtones.

Doesn't really do anything for me, but this has never been one of my favorite styles. I'd drink it in a pinch, but it tastes like a macro-micro, like a Pete's or Saranac. Yeah, pass on this one.

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Photo of flaminghomer
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

this one reminds me of the heineken and beck's "dark" that i would drink back in the day when i was just getting into beers that weren't bud. smell and flavor taste along the lines of a dark euro. from memory i would say that this beer is better than those that exploit this style the most. color is a very dark ruby if you hold it up to the light, head is nice. smell is of course roasted malts, hints of coffee and chocolate. taste is roasty and malty. so there you go, cheers.

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Photo of AltBock
4.45/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice dense black color with a head of foam that disappears quickly. It has a chocolate malty smell that is very nice. It has a nice roasted chocolate taste that stays for a little bit. Overall this an excellent brew from Sam Adams that I would buy again.

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

Pours with a three-finger white head that fades slowly leaving a good lace. Color is opaque and black. Medium bodied. Nose is roasted chocolate. Medium carbonation. Starts with a sweet roasted chocolate flavor, finish has just a hint of hops. One of the better offerings from Sam Adams. $1.85 for a 12 oz bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

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Photo of Domingo
3.9/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

While not a beer that I could drink more than 2-3 of in an evening, this has become one of my favorite beers recently.
Having had Schwarzbier at a brew-pub or two (the Wynkoop in Denver brews a very good one) I was looking forward to having seeing this variety getting its time to shine.
The best way to describe it would be to imagine the roasted malt of a nice stout, but without the heavyness.
It's not going to go down quite as easy as a domestic lager, but reminds me of an amber ale.
I've always enjoyed Sam Adams' brewers collection brews but this one (and the fabled Scotch Ale) is a cut above even those.
I'm glad to see a larger American brewery brewing something of this quality.

Highly recommended to anyone who love roasted or even burnt malt flavors, but also enjoy something lighter and more drinkable than your typical darker beers.

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

Shadowy dark tarnished brown with a big billowing light cocoa hued head of foam; lightly fluffing and spongyness ensues as it grows up fast from a heavy pour. Fades off moderately to a good solid skimming and lacing of all kinds lightly grab the glass.

Nice aroma of dry black malts with a mild touch of chocolate sweetness and vanilla cookies. Very aromatic and appetizing to wiff in.

Flavors are just as nice, a bit more sweetness intersedes the front end with some black and chocolate malt, middle is seemingly like Oreo cookies, finishes with a nice leveling of moderate dry bite of slight roast, chocolate powder, and light Noble-like hopping. Very nice finish, did I just eat an Oreo?

Feel is fluffy, carrying a sweet front, drying most ways across from there, slight crispness to its body as well. Body is about medium to medium/light with a favorably low carbonation making for some kicked-back, sliding-down-the-Ol'-gullet, easy goin' drinkability. A big time session beer that actually has a different taste then most other session types. A nice version of a hard to pin down style. This may be close to rivaling Black Bavarian.
Way to go BBC! Nice brew.

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Photo of ColForbin
4.17/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black, with a dark tan head. If held up to a bright light, it shows itself to be a deep transparent reddish-brown. Nose is chocolatey, roasted coffee and a bit of caramel. Taste is more of the same, with a dry noble hoppy finish - not overwhelming hops by any means, but very well balanced. Mouthfeel is extremely smooth, almost to the point of needing a bit more carbonation. Very drinkable, however, and nice to see Sam bringing out such a underavailable style to their regular lineup.

On a side note, my dad is not much of a beer snob at all - he'll buy whatever micro/import is on sale, but he doesn't really care too much what he is drinking. He has really taken to the Black Lager, to the point where he is seeking it out in six packs. So this beer could be a good opportunity for advocacy.

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

The beer is dark reddish brown and almost black with nice lacing. The smell is of chocalate,caramel and light coffee with a roasted character, a sweet smell more like a stout. The caramel malts really come through in the taste section and a good bit of the roasted flavor towards the end, but finishes crisp and smooth. I don't really taste the hops, but the label says it's lightly hopped, so maybe the sweet malts are just to powerful for my taste buds. I found this beer to be refreshing and quite easy to drink, but maybe not completely true to the style.

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

Very cool that Sam Adams took a run at such an obscure style... and they did a very nice job of it, too! Pours dark brown with a healthy tan head. Head has decent staying power and leaves some lacing on the glass. Smell is lightly roasty, with carmel and chocolate notes. Taste is initially sweet followed by the chocolate and carmel. Mild floral hop flavors... could maybe use a bit more hops. Has the smooth mouthfeel typical of a lager. A very drinkable beer!

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Photo of brewQ
3.58/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a good looking deep brown brew. Pours with a 3/4" light caramel colored chunky head of foam.

Aroma is malty with the slight smell of licorice.

The taste delivers on the aroma and is silky smooth and balanced.
The finish makes me think this is the lager equivalent of a porter.

Emminently drinkable beer- in the syle. Would work great with spicy food.

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Photo of merlin48
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown body that exhibits a clear ruby mahogany appearance when held to light. Small beige head quickly diminishes to a persistent collar and leaves some patchy lace.
Aroma has lots of dark roasted malts, with sweet chocolate, a hint of coffee, burnt wood, and a note of floral/herbal hops.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low medium carbonation.
The taste is all about the dark roasted malts. Chocolate and a touch of roasted coffee are enhanced by a nice note of wood smoke. Dark roasty malt bitterness and some nice floral hop bitterness work well to lend a nice balance to the chocolate and caramel malt sweetness.
Very well done, and a good effort by Sam Adams. I really enjoy the Schwarzbier style and this one is very enjoyable, if not spot on for style.

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Photo of PSUDREW
3.32/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Hmmm. another solid effort by Sam Adams. Honestly, I would prefer a Yuengling Black and tan, but, this is a solid interpretation, and worth getting some

Solid, dark deep burnt amber in color, nice tan head, and solid lacing all the way down. Smells of caramel and malt . Tastes nice and smooth. Slightly hoppy, solid caramel, mixed with coffee and milky sweetness. They pleseantly intermix and present a good show.

Nice brew, a good show by SA

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Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.15/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep opaque brown in the glass with hints of ruby around the edges. A frothy cappuccino colored head, Man is this beer lacy. Lots of fine lace. Sweet roasted malt in the nose. Lightly bitter. Like cappuccino, milky and lightly bitter.

Taste is alternately sweet and bitter. Milky with a light coffee bitterness. Very well balanced. Lightly nutty. Very creamy in the mouth with a long sticky aftertaste. Really drinkable.

Not all their beers are mindblowing but Sam Adams beer are always extremely well crafted. It is appreciated.

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a brownish-black color with a medium thin light tan head and thin lacing. Aroma of chocolate and coffee as well as a hint of nuts. Medium-bodied with a sweet malt and chocolate flavor. Trace amounts of coffee and hops are present too. The finish is smooth and dry but not too flavorful. As with many of Sam Adams’ one-offs, this is above average.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
3.76/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice dark black pour with a two finger khaki head sitting nicely atop the brew. Dark red coming through from the light along with some lacing as well. Roasted, toasted cocoa, caramel along with a hint of sweet cereal grain and an herbal hop. Nice...but nothing special.

Big roasted burnt maltiness showing off quite a bit of chocolate flavor, with ribbons of caramel and nuts. A nice somewhat spicy herbal hop lurks in the background and brings a mellow bitterness on the way down. Nice sweet/bitter mix. A tasty lager.

Medium bodied with a slight creaminess and healthy carbonation. Quite an easily drinkable brew here...a six pack is a good party option. One of my new faves from Sam Adams.

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Photo of swamiswamu
3.4/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This seemed a little off style. It was much more body than I'd expect from a schwartzbier, coming across more as a lager stout than a schwarz. That said, it was a fairly interesting beer. The whole thing was roasted malt and it was quite assertive. It had a great head and perfect hue. My main complaint was it was just too heavy and not that drinkable. It'd be a perfect 4 oz sample.

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Photo of connecticutpoet
3.72/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was a nice deep ruby red brew that and very little head the way I poured it... and I was trying to get a head *L*

The aroma was of dark malts, raisins, light aromatic hops, and a little bit of molasses. Rather pleasant.

The taste was of lightly roasted malt, very slightly sweet, and a light hop aftertaste.

It was much lighter in flavor than I had desired. Mouthfeel was also somewhat thin. But easily drinkable.

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Photo of ZAP
4.12/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I found this to be very enjoyable...nose borders on a 4.5 as it is very nice with milk chocolate and caramel...body is medium...clean...good flavors...sweet milk chocolate...a little bit of camael...just a very fine noble hop finish...the more I drink this the more I like it....not my favorite style but I'd buy a sixer of this on occasion as a changeup...

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Photo of Pegasus
2.91/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Deep reddish-brown in color, rather than the expected black color with a massive tan head, which slowly fades to a small layer. The lacing is excellent.

Aroma: Burnt caramel, rather than the expected black patent malt, with harsh chemical notes, which gradually fade away.

Taste: Opens with a bittersweet chocolate note, with rather sweet notes in the middle and a finish notable for an odd, although not offensive nutty characteristic. Pleasant, but seems to be a bit off style.

Mouth feel: Smooth and reasonably full, pleasant.

Drinkability/notes: A decently crafted beer, a bit off-style, but still quite drinkable.

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

My first Schwartzbier, and in the Brewmaster's 12-pack, so I only have two bottles.

Appearance: An almost stout-like darkness, but surely more brown than black. Thick mocha-white head dissipates slowly. Moderate lacing around the glass.

Smell: Burnt malt up front, caramel and chocolate, as the bottle says. Nothing surprising, but pretty nice. Also some mocha / coffee aromas that are more slight but present.

Taste: Aromas coming through. More rich in taste than burnt initially, with the coffee and chocolate as the initial flavors. Aftertaste is burnt, then settles into some mellow maltiness with the tiniest hop bite that's very complimentary to the malts, and is present for a second before it fades back into the malts. Pretty nice.

Mouthfeel: I like the medium-bodied thickness, as it almost seems thicker than some stouts, though I imagine I'm just dreaming this. Definitely balanced well with the moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: Having this as an after dinner drink, and for that purpose it's serving me well. Since it's slightly on the sweet side with the maltiness, I personally wouldn't want to make this a session beer. But seems perfect as a dessert treat itself, and something a little lesser than a stout in thickness if you're feeling a little lighter.

I can't see this becoming a favorite style of mine, but I'd like to try more, as this was pretty good. It seems like for me, lately Sam Adams is hit or miss, and thankfully this one does the job.

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Photo of HardTarget
2.49/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Sept. faintly notched, out of the sample pack, thanks to Pegasus for the sample
Aroma: 1st whiff was actually repulsive. Over burnt grains, too much black patent, dark chocolate and some “off” characteristic, perhaps DMS.
Appearance: Nice two finger tan multi-sized bubble head on a dark brown clear glass with good clarity.
Flavor: Over toasted, burnt quality in the grains that comes across as charcoal. A real hop bitter that’s over the top and an artificial sweetness that tastes almost like lactose.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, firm carbonation, fairly smooth
Overall Impression: Flawed. My review doesn’t capture the off flavors. All I can say: artificial, burnt, wrong. Avoid.

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

The most recent Sam Adams release...the Black Lager. Schwarzbiers are hard to compare and one style that I have not tried very often. Its always nice to see a brewery step outside the box and brew such an atypical beer.

I had this out of a 12 oz brown bottle with a purchase before date clearly notched for September 2005. Served in an imperial pint glass.

This beer pours a nice light black color with some ruby highlights on the bottom. Nice sticky lacings around the glass.

Whiffs of chocolate candy and roasted malts.

Nice and straightforward beer. Smooth milk chocolate malts and sweet caramel backdrop. A tad of biting hops on the finish, but the main flavors in this beer are the smooth malts. Solid drinkability level and another nice alternative to the Sam Adams Boston Lager. I paired this up with a spinach pizza and it worked very well together.

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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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