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

2,558 Ratings
Read the review
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

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,558 |  Reviews: 1,437
Photo of DesMoinesMike
2.81/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I tried this one a while back and found it undesirable. Now that my taste is more refined I find it, well, somewhat tolerable. It's look is peculiar with the side edges of my perfect pour glass red and the bottom edge brown. There's a thick finger of foam that lasts a few minutes. The aroma is very feint, just a hint of sweet malt. The taste is mild malty but turns slightly sour at the end that throws of my taste buds. I didn't bother to finish the glass because it just wasn't that enjoyable. I'll probably give away my other bottle.

 538 characters

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

12oz bottle into redwine glass at a friend's house. Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours a solid black with a two fingers of light brown head that receded into a thick film that left a pretty decent amount of lace.
S: Notes of roasted grains, barbequed corn and roasted vegetables, with a hint of charcoal. This isn't as bad as it sounds though, I like barbequed corn.
T: Flavors of warm roasted grains, dark malt, hints of milk chocolate, burnt caramel, chocolate malt, and barbequed vegetables and roasted marshmallows in the aftertaste.
M: Medium body, thinish mouthfeel with good comfortable carb.
D: Overall very "meh." I liked it but some much of the roasted flavors reminded me too much of barbequed vegetables and corn. The only other beer of this style, Xingu, was much better.

 781 characters

Photo of Sammy
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Spot on the style, and one I really enjoy. Hops waft from this opaque black coloured elixir, with generous light brown head that leads a mastery of spider lacing. More roast in aroma and taste, as the beer settles. Very drinkable. Enjoyed in The Samuel Adams Glass.Middling mouthfeel. SUitable carbonation.

 306 characters

Photo of goalie33
3.69/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into 23oz weizen glass.
A: Clear black beer with reddish hues. Off White head disappears quickly leaving a thin layer on top.
S: Lager smell with chocolate notes.
T: Chocolate malts hit me first but the flavor goes away almost as quickly as the head did.
M: Just like the taste, the initial feel in the mouth just vanishes. Nice carbonation.
D: Very drinkable.

This is a good tasting beer with a nice mouthfeel, but they both disappear way to quickly. It's as if my mouth absorbs it all and there is nothing left to swallow. This beer has potential but I would like the taste and mouthfeel to last longer.

 630 characters

Photo of arboristfish
4.5/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a dark black, but has an amber hue to it. The head is a frothy white, and seemed to last for awhile. The smell of this beer is of roasted malts. The taste is of burnt roasted malts, hint of coffee. There is a well balanced hop flavor with it. The mouthfeel is medium light. I would say this is a drinkable beer.

 327 characters

Photo of DmanGTR
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured fresh out of the fridge into my Gulden Draak tulip. Damn I love this thing.

Poured a nice, deep black/deep garnet with hues of such in the light. A modest off white head that didn't lace much and diminished quickly into a bubbly ring. Light fruitiness, touch of metallic, and subtle hints of chocolate, toast, and toffee. I guess the best way to describe all of this is "delicate." The taste is a touch more assertive, which I enjoy. It has more of a chocolate/carob character to it and caramel nicely supports it as well. Raisins come out in the finish, adorned by a slightest touch of coffee beans. Mouthfeel is somewhat slick and light with a nicely executed carbonation. Very smooth indeed. I was gonna give it a 3 but that carbonation is just spot on perfect IMO. A good, drinkable beer. Nothing outstanding or "holy crap this is &%^%*#! awesome" but not a yuck beer either. Something to grab at the end of a warm day in the middle of cooking up a steak or a burger.

 979 characters

Photo of ryan1788a5
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint.

A: Dark brown beer with a large foamy and creamy tan head. The retention is great, and lots of sticky lacing clings to the glass as the beer is consumed.

S: Rich dark malt smells. Caramel, toffee, molasses. Faint bready and roasted malt smells. Hint of sulfur/metallic phenols. Some light citrusy Noble hop action too.

T: Chocolate and roasted malt flavors open first, then notes of molasses and brown bread take over. Caramel and toffee wash over the tongue, and maybe some coffee as well. Hops add just a touch of bitterness to balance. Finishes semi-dry with molasses and roasted malt tastes.

M: Creamy and thick. Mouthfeel has the smoothness of the style down, but it seems a bit too thick.

D: Thickness hinders drinkability a little, especially when taking style into consideration.

Notes: A fairly solid attempt at a swarzbier. Hop bitterness and flavor could be taken up just a notch. Mouthfeel ws a bit too thick for the style as well. Still a good beer. I wish more American brewers would brew Schwarzbiers.

 1,075 characters

Photo of pharmer
3.16/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours mostly black with a bit of a red hue when viewed into a light. Forms a 1-finger tan head that displays little retention.

Almost no smell to this one, which is surprising. There is a hint of roasted dark malt and touch of coffee.

Tastes of dark roasted malt and coffee flavors. Slightly bitter hop finish. The mouthfeel is again surprisingly light and smooth with a moderately high carbonation. This doesn't have the mouthfeel you'd expect when looking at it.

Overall, I enjoy this beer and could drink a few in a sitting.

 530 characters

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

Pours a semi-translucent dark brown color with 2-finger off white head that left little to no lacing on the glass. The smell is that of dark roasted malts. There isn't really any hop presence in the smell. The taste is dominated by dark malts. There is a little hop presence at the finish, but not much. There are also some slight notes of chocolate and caramel. The mouthfeel is lighter than I thought it was going to be, and has medium carbonation. I think this is a pretty drinkable beer. It is my first beer of this style, and I look forward to trying more.

 561 characters

Photo of Axic10
3.18/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark black with a half finger of khaki foam that settle pretty quickly.

Smell: Lightly roasted malt, some hop and a faint hint of chocolate.

Taste: Roasted malt, slight smokiness.

Mouthfeel: Mediumish mouthfeel. Decent carbonation.

Drinkability: Decent beer that I've enjoyed since Sam Adams started releasing it a few years ago. Not their best, but not their worst and I look forward to it in the variety packs.

 495 characters

Photo of philbertk
3.55/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Winter Sampler--Samuel Adams Black Lager--Brewmaster's Collection--2005 12 oz. Bottle. 4.90% ABV--20 IBU's? (4.25 / 5.0) Black Lager--Frothy lacy tan head. Clear dark bronze red black color. Mild roasted chocolate hop front. Creamy semi-sweet smooth roasted mild crusty caramel chocolate body. Smooth clean mild hop end. Tasty mild Black. Sampled 1/31/2006.

Samuel Adams Black Lager--Bewmaster's Collection--Mixed Pack Sampler--2007 12 oz. Bottle. 4.90% ABV--20 IBU's? (4.1 / 5.0) Black Lager. 6-Pack $6.99. Rich rocky lacy soft tan coffee head. Clear thin dark bronze red black color. Toasted mild chocolate floral Bavarian hop front. Silky smooth mild creamy cloying chocolate caramel toasted malty body. Light hop cloying malt smooth clean mild spice end. Sampled 9/9/2008.

Black Lager--Brewmaster's Collection--2010 12 oz. Bottle. 4.90% ABV--25 IBU's. (4.0 / 5.0) Black Lager--Pours a rich dense lacy tan good retention head. Clear dark black red ruby edge color. Roasted mild floral hop cocoa front. Malty rich dry sweet cloying lager smooth chocolate caramel roasted medium body. Smooth soft hop spice clean dry end. Big flavor.Mild fruit & Porter notes. Sampled 3/2/2010. 6-Pack $6.99.

 1,194 characters

Photo of herman77
3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Black with dark ruby highlights. Creamy and thick light tan head with great retention. Nice sheets of lacing.

S: Sweet carmel malt, a bit of chocolate. A touch of roastedness and a bit of earthy hops. The nose is pretty faint overall.

T: Mild chocolate malts are the main flavor mixed with some toasted carmel malt. Mild spicy hops near the finish to provide some bitterness and balance from the early sweetness. Not to shabby.

M: Medium to lighter body. Moderate carbonation. Thought it would be a little creamier by the appearance of the head.

D: Decent drinkability. Has a slight crispness to it. Never had a Schwazbeir, so its hard to compare it to anything really. It is different than a porter or stout, thats for sure.

 733 characters

Photo of CBlack85
3.97/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased as part of a fall seasonal mixed 12 pack. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Beer pours dark brown (nearly black) with lots of ruby and orange highlights when held up to the light. About three fingers worth of tan head with good retention, leaves moderate to light lacing. Not bad but it looks a little light for the style

The aroma is of roasted malts and coffee. There are also an earthy quality. Hints of dark semi sweet chocolate, and dark fruits give this beer a nice moderately sweet nose. Just the faintest hint of floral hops peeks through the big malty aroma. Really nice

Lots of roasted and chocolate malts. Coffee and caramel flavors compliment the big malty flavors very well. Very smooth and creamy, which gives a nice contrast to the roasted malts and coffee flavors. A little sweeter than some Schwarzbiers that I have had before, but not overpoweringly sweet, this beer has a nice balance of flavors, with no one of them being huge or overdone. The hop presence is noticable but not one of the key flavors in the beer; just a slight floral presence resting in the background. Medium bodied and mildly carbonated with an almost silky feeling on the tongue. Easy to drink.

 1,211 characters

Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.56/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Samuel Adams making an interesting variety (dark lager) not offered very often. It should be a fairly well-priced drinkable lager either way.

Black, as indicated in the name of the beer, with a lacking head formation, but slightly lacy hold onto the insides of the glass. The light doesn't reveal much change in opacity, but does offer a lighter amber brown hue, very rich.

I wanted to serve this beer cold, as I typically will do for the lager style in general. However, there isn't too much to smell when a beer is this cold. The aromatics are lacking, not necessarily something I would refuse to drink, but it's going to lose some points.
(given time...) Even with the beer warming up I'm not getting much out of it so I'm going to give it a score to reflect this lacking element.

Smooth dark beer and I would prefer to have it refreshingly cold. There isn't much more i'm trying to push from this style. A good swish allows me to experience some essential darkness which the beer is trying to bring, but it just doesn't have passion or funk like i'm used to. That being said, the beer is still slightly above average and is still preferred over many.

Rich and bold. Cold with waning carbonation. I would not want to let this beer sit out because it would likely be a dead syrup before it even got up to 50 degrees.

The beer went down pretty easily and quickly and I wouldn't mind having another. Typically I drink a stronger beer (2x-3x the ABV), but sometimes I can't make as much of a commitment to sucking down ethanol. The Harvest collection wasn't too bad, but I still see myself spending the money differently in the future.

 1,692 characters

Photo of alleykatking
4.02/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle.

A- Poured a cola brown color. When held to the light there are tons of red highlights. One finger tna head shows poor retention and dies rather quickly. No real lacing on the sides of the glass.

S- Nice light roasted malts combine with a caramel malt. There is a light hopping in the backing of this that shows some light earthy aroma. Plain and simple yet a little muted which I can't complain about but wish showed a little more.

T- Sweet caramel malts clash with light chocolate notes before roasted malts take over it all. A light bitter hop bite on the back of this and you have what is a wonderful tasting beer. I was quite surprised at this one. Simple to the point and very good.

M- Medium light mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. Light roasted malts are left on the palate with light alcohol in the aftertaste. Overall flavor is well balanced and a crisp and clean tasteas well. Light drying on the palate after each sip.

D- This is a very drinkable beer. The ABV is well hidden overall. The only downfall is that the aroma is a little muted. Overall a good drinking beer by Sam Adams.

 1,140 characters

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

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass. This is only my second schwarzbier so take it for what its worth.

Look: dark brown with red highlights. Its dark red when held to the light. The head is beige colored with two fingers. It retains relatively well but doesn't leave much in the way of lacing.

Smell: dark malts dominate the smell of this one. I smell some burnt malt or sugar in there too. It smells kind of like a porter. I can't really smell the hops.

Taste: dark and heavily roasted, even burnt, malt dominates the flavor. There's some hops in the finish but they are very mild.

Feel: very dry finish along with an astringent bite. Surprisingly bitter. Medium bodied.

Drink: I don't think this is something you would want to have more than one of.

Overall, I'm not the biggest fan of this. Maybe I don't like the style but this was just unpleasant at times to drink because of the dryness. Worth a drink if you get the variety pack.

 948 characters

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

I poured this beer into a pint glass, it has a off light brown head of 3" on top of a nice dark black body. I smell a a hint of chocolate. It has a great taste of chocolate and dark nuts and hops. Also taste as beer warms up is a little berry and hops. It is not as heavy as i thought and i think that makes it have a nice mouth feel and is drinkable.

 351 characters

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

This dark, reddish-brown beer pours with ~1.5 fingers of light brown head which retains quite well. The head is frothy, but the beer is so dark that I can't see much carbonation. Lacing is quite good.

I detect notes of honey and caramel over a smoky chocolate malt that features spicy hops and a hint of dark berries and nuts. I would describe the smell as both sweet and earthy.

The chocolate, nut, and dark berry notes hit me first. A lingering sweetness features the aforementioned caramel and the hops add a bit of zest as the sensation fades. The berry and caramel notes stick out a bit more as the beer warms.

This medium-bodied beer leaves a wonderful warming sensation in my mouth. The amount of sweetness is just about right, as it doesn't adversely affect the mouthfeel by adding excessive density (i.e. the syrup-like consistency associated with excess sugar).

With well-hidden alcohol, earthy sweetness, and great mouthfeel, I find this beer to be quite drinkable. I suppose it would qualify as a nice session beer for an autumn evening.

I'm not too familiar with this style, but I did enjoy this beer. It's enjoyable at all temperatures, as the transition seems to make certain characteristics stick out more than others all while retaining good balance. I expect quality beers from the folks at Sam Adams and this beer doesn't disappoint. I would have to compare it to other Black Lagers/Schwarzbeirs for a more accurate intra-style comparison, but I would definitely get this one again regardless of the outcome.

 1,592 characters

Photo of Dadoftwogirls
3.43/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I was not enamored with this beer. It pours great, looks great in the glass so I was expecting big things. However, for me, something is missing. It had a slight bitterness and a slight aftertaste that just didn't appeal to my taste buds. I could probably have a couple and maybe with a good heavy meal it might pair well. However, unless it was free, or the only thing available, I couldn't see myself having a session with this offering.

 439 characters

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

A: Dark brown with ruby highlights. The glass is filled with bubbles, initially creating an appearance similar to a highly carbonated cola. The bubbles and head recede after a few moments, leaving a fair amount of lacing on the glass.

S: The aroma is considerably weaker than the taste. Sweet malts at first, with a subtle hint of roast.

T: This beer is a pleasant surprise, and certainly more enjoyable than I had hoped for or expected. There are nice flavors of cocoa, black coffee, chocolate, and roasted malt. The beer finishes with a nice hop bitterness, which helps to round out the overall flavor presentation. Well done.

M: Medium bodied and thicker feeling than I expected from a >5% beer.

D: A good representation of the style. I would drink it again.

 768 characters

Photo of Fatehunter
3.22/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass. Fairly dark, it is a schwarzbier afterall, but light still shines through. A slightly copper hue when it is held up to the light.

S - Hmm. A medicinal smell. Not pleasant or attractive.

T - I like the taste for it being a schwarzbier, but only because I usually do not like the sweet maltness of the German schwarzbiers that I have had. This does not have any sweetness to it, which I like.

M - Very carbonated.

D - The smell seemed to die off as I drank the glass so it was not as off-putting as the first few drinks were. The carbonation was annoying too. Still, I liked the taste.

 634 characters

Photo of OWSLEY069
3.38/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep amber to a black color with a tan head. In the aroma, light roasty coffee, yet still lager like. In the taste, hints of coffee, dry chocolate, and a hint of caramel sweetness. A small bite, with a light to medium bodied mouthfeel, with a semi dry coffee and light caramel stickiness in the aftertaste. Still quite lager-ish, ok, but nothing too exciting.

 367 characters

Photo of Reaper16
3.77/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle served into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass

Pours a porter-like cola brown color. Not really much viscosity when you swirl the body around in the glass; it looks like a lighter beer. One and a half fingers of thin, beige head sit on top.

This beer smells like some Cocoa Puffs brand cereal drizzled with a bit of honey and eaten with some berries. All that's missing is some lactose sugar and this would be breakfast in a glass. A touch of pecan comes out as the beer warms.

Flavors of cocoa powder and crusty bread. A tiny bit of blackberry runs underneath the malts. This is quite dry, which helps those chocolate malts take on the powdery sort of flavor. There is some astringency that is reminiscent of a roast character, only there isn't much roasted malt flavor to speak of here.

The mouthfeel seems spot-on for the style. It is light and allows the carbonation to play a significant role. This is a pretty drinkable beer, then. Light but not wanting for flavor.

Pretty nice little schwarzbier you've got here, Boston Beer Co. A fine example of the style. This is likely the highlight of the Brewmaster's Collection six-pack that I bought on-sale (other beers are the Irish Red and the Coastal Wheat).

 1,226 characters

Photo of taigor
3.46/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into pint glass.

A - Pours dark, almost black non-transparent color with medium head that dissipates quickly leaving average lacing around the glass.

S - Almost non-existent but slight hint of roasted malts and honey.

T - Starts off sweet but very quickly turns to dark chocolate and coffee bitterness.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation.

D - Very enjoyable fall beer and very balanced overall. Would definitely like to get more in the future.

 474 characters

Photo of DrDemento456
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Very dark brown, almost blackened with an inch of fluffy head.

S - You get slight grain roasted semi burnt coffee and dark chocolates in the nose.

T - The grain bitterness clashes very well with the coffee and chocolate flavors. Finishes sweet and light.

M - Light to medium bodied. Pretty nice.

D - Well I have a couple more but it was nice to succession a couple of these back to back. Would not be off putting to have again in a variety pack again.

 459 characters

Samuel Adams Black Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.74 out of 5 based on 2,558 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.