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

1,434 Reviews
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:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,434 | Ratings: 2,554
Photo of nkruback
2.96/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

This reminds me of quite a few other Sam brews. I always pick up on that lingering, lager-like flat taste that Sam has picked up oh so well. It pours a thin, Redbull-like head that dissipates as quickly as my hope for this beer. Color and opacity are great. The color is the best feature, I find. Not much going on here, I wish and hope for more.

A good example of a similar style is New Belgium's 1554. Dark in color, yet highly drinkable and full of flavor.

 460 characters

Photo of WhiskerWrangler
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into glass.

A- Poured black... held up to the light it is very difficult to see through and has a very dark amber color to it. Half a finger of head that dissipated very quickly. Fair lacing.

S- Hint of chocolate and coffee.

T- Definite coffee flavor. Wonderful aftertaste. Not bitter at all. Deep taste is the best I can describe it.

M- Smooth. Not carbonated. Goes down extremely smooth. Still somewhat heavy on the stomach though.

D- Wonderful taste. Very smooth, easy on the mouth and throat, somewhat heavy on the stomach. Would most definitely drink this again, just not sure how many I could drink in a sitting.

 646 characters

Photo of beermeright
3.32/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Not to say much about this guy... had it a few times in sampler packs. dark beer.. the flavor is okay. not my favorite sam adams but its worth a try. made black and blues with it before def not as thick or rich as other beers that would have worked better with that. wasnt a fan of the after taste.

 298 characters

Photo of MistaC
4.38/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass beeradvocate style

The color is a black, with dark amber tones when held to light. Pour results in a healthily textured, tan head.

The smell pervades with roasted malt. Caramel aromas prevail over chocholate ones.

The roasted malt and chocolate tastes are tied together by caramel. There are hints of coffee flavors in the back of the tongue.

Mouthfeel is a smooth medium thickness feel very consistent with what I expected from the appearance, taste and smell

It lives up to the smoothness of a traditional lager.

This beer is one of the more consistent ones I have tried. Appearance, smell, taste and mouthfeel all flow smoothly across the board. There are no strange aftertastes.

 725 characters

Photo of badenglishihave
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I have never been truly "surprised" by a beer until I had this one. I can't really describe it in words but I will try...

As has been said before, immediately post-pour looks similar fully settled Guinness. Mostly black with a hint of reds/oranges under against full light. Appetizing but not incredible.

At first smell you can tell what it is going to taste like, and that's a good thing. Overall I was pleased by the aroma.

Here is where this beer excels. The combination of burnt coffee and slight maltiness with a hint of chocolatey goodness is near perfect; and the aftertaste is incredible! The entire taste is very pleasing, best part about this brew.

It is a bit watery for such a great tasting, smooth feel beer.

It feels light going down and is pretty smooth. You'll have no problem downing 2 or 3, even if you're a lightweight like me.


Highly recommended! More proof that Sam Adams is emerging (if not already is) as the king of American beers.

 1,022 characters

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

Sam Black is a great beer on a cold evening. It's a bit lower on the ABV, but it definitely has a warming effect on your cheeks and ears. A good balance of coffee/chocolate malts and very smooth finish makes it a real drinkable brew with a lot to offer.

Don't switch from this one to something lighter, though... you won't like either. (We tried a black & white night with Sam's spring seasonal... not recommended.)

 416 characters

Photo of TacoSaladin
4.23/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark brown (almost black) with lighter brown hues (given a well lit room). A thick tan creamy head with great retention. Beautiful lacing which remained for the duration of the beer.

The smell is smooth of roasted malts with a hint of chocolate. Overall it is clean and crisp but it is not all that 'loud'.

Medium body which is very consistent to the style with a good level of carbonation. The initial taste is of chocolate roasted malts with a crisp finish (on the dry side).

Very solid beer! This is a great choice if you want the feel and taste of a traditional stout without the heavier body (as a black lager should be).

 670 characters

Photo of BakerMoore
4.08/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Upon pouring it leaves a cream colored one finger head. After a minute or two the head dissipates leaving a nice bit of lacing that lingers. The body is a thick dark brown color with reddish tints. When put up to the light it shows a constant stream of bubbles rising towards the top. Nice overall appetizing appearance.

The smell is very aromatic. The aroma is heavily of roasted malts, coffee, toffee, and hops. Upon smelling you are able to dissect the smells accordingly. However, the aroma could be stronger.

The taste releases a lot of the aroma and flavors. Roasted malts
, coffee and hops are present in this taste. Its a pleasant taste going down. The aftertaste is also pleasant leaving coffee and roasted malts behind.

The mouthfeel compliments the flavor and aroma. The carbonation is present and just right for the taste. Its something that makes a beer almost perfect.

Overall, its an incredibly tasty beer with the right aromas and feels that makes it almost perfect.

 989 characters

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

Got this as part of the Sam Adams Brewmasters Variety Pack (which also contained bottles of Irish Red and Honey Porter). As an aside: I'm really starting to like some of Sam Adams' offerings. I've been impressed by a few recently (the Cream Stout, Honey Porter, and Irish Red, for example), and they've earned my respect.

Appearance: black (unsurprisingly), with a very dark reddish look to it when I hold it up to the light. Good head, especially when poured aggressively. A slow pour still yields a decent head, too. I can't comment on lacing, as I've only just now poured it :)

Smell: chocolatey, with a strong whiff of roasted malt. Not bad.

Taste: very malty. Roasted malts make an appearance, and a very cholate note is there, too. Tastes a lot like it smells. Just getting hit by the aftertaste, which is also very malty. I really like this, as I'm not much of a fan of hardcore hops.

Mouthfeel: pretty good here. Medium-body, not at all heavy, a little bit of carbonation there to keep the tongue a little fizzy. I like the way it feels, although I wish it was a bit thicker.

Drinkability: very good. I really like this beer, and it's got a low ABV, so it'd be easy to drink a few. Someone said it'd be a good one to offer to a friend who's not into darker beers, and I agree. This one's not heavy like some darks (like stouts and porters), so it's easy to drink.

Overall, a pretty good beer. I'll definitely drink it again. Oh, and it left a pretty good lacing, too.

 1,481 characters

Photo of themilkman01
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Disclaimer: I'm a beer-newbie ... reviewing beers primarily for beer-newbies in their quest to find the perfect beer. If you aren't a beer-newb, then you'll probably not like this review)

Sam Adams Black Lager is a very dark beer that has a unique flavoring that not everybody will enjoy.

Sam Adams Black Lager has a very dark appearance, when pouring it into a glass ... it has the look of Coca-Cola with a very thick head, I'd say at least three inches. The head sticks around for awhile, so I hope you like the tingle of the bubbles on your nose.

The smell of this beer is good ... it has a very slight beer smell with a strong roast smell. It's one that you will smell when you pop the cap, but it will be very slight, and you may not notice it right away.

I wasn't very impressed with the taste of this beer. At first it tasted good, but the more I moved it around my mouth the less I enjoyed it. There is a very strong roasty taste, so if you like that taste, then you'll enjoy this beer. I wasn't big on the roast flavor, but I did enjoy it in smaller amounts. The roast flavor boarders on coffee, so again, if you enjoy those kind of tastes, I think that you'll really enjoy this beer. However, there is a strong bitter aftertaste that I do not enjoy. I was able to drink this beer in long gulps, but after I was done I needed something else to get the bitter taste out of my mouth!

The mouthfeel of this beer almost offsets the taste of the beer. It's a very smooth beer that I could take some gulps of and still not feel uncomfortable. It's smooth enough to move around your mouth and be one of those beers that you can gulp or sip on. Because of the smoothness of this beer, I kept on taking long swigs of it, continiously drinking it, despite the taste.

The drinkability of this beer is just above average ... mostly because it's very smooth, but not a lot of people will like the taste. Again, there is a very strong roast taste, and if you are into that, then I think you'll really enjoy this beer.

Overall, this is a beer that I could drink again, but I probably wouldn't order it if other options are available. For platforming I don't recommend this beer, just because of the unique tastes that drown out the classic beer tastes.

 2,268 characters

Photo of AlphaFireX5
3.96/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12oz brown bottle with a July 2008 freshness date clearly notched on the label. Poured into a 20oz goblet.

Appearance: Poured a nice deep opaque brown with orangey and caramel hues to the edges with 1cm of head which disappeared quickly.

Smell: Very subtle, clean smell composed of mainly roasted, almost burnt malts with a barely detectable note of hoppy spice.

Taste: Initially comes forth with crisp and clean malts, and a subtle sweetness on the front end. Medium to medium-light carbonation. As the beer warms in your mouth and the carbonation dissipates it become smoother, with the roast/burnt malt character coming through. A dry nutty character lingers ever so slightly with a bready yeast flavor on the back end of things.. A subtle bitter coating is left afterwards.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied mouthfeel with lasting carbonation and a slightly oily texture.

Drinkability: Easy to drink, but I don't think I could enjoy more than one or two in a row. Definitely a good one to sit and enjoy though.

 1,025 characters

Photo of Irishdagger
4.42/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I really enjoyed this brew. As one whose heart is black as Guinness, I tend to lean in that direction. As I was walking through my local provider of fine beer, the name Black Lager gave me goose bumps. I just had to try it...and I'm glad I did.

The head starts nice, but doesn't cling to the sides, it carries some complex smells and the taste is kind of coffee/chocolate. The color is a dark chocolate, and the appearance it bold.

I would recommend giving this a shot if your looking for a nice dark beer. Goes down well, and the tastes will have you nodding your head in agreement.

 585 characters

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

A - Opaque dark brown with no head to speak of.

S - Dominated by sweet dark fruit notes with a tiny hint of roast coffee and chocolate. Not too much going on here.

T - A hint of the dark fruit notes up front, followed by some roasted coffee and malts and just a tiny hint of chocolate in the back. Finishes with a bit of coffee/hop bitterness, but not a terribly large amount. Overall the flavors are good, but a little light.

M - A smidgen too thin, but a good amount of carbonation saves the mouthfeel.

D - Overall a decent beer. Pretty drinkable for the style. Comes across as a lighter, less complex version of a good stout. After a few of these the toasted aftertaste might be a bit tough on my palate, though.

Another solid offering from BBC that I'm glad to have as part of a sampler.

 800 characters

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

first review!
here goes nothing...

bottle poured into a pint glass, got it in the fall variety pack

A: Deep dark brown almost black beer that has the look of a stout minimal head that kinda dissapered once i was finished pouring it

S: coffee, dark chocolate

T: coffee, toasted malts, the beer is a little bitter and leaves a lingering taste of dark chocolate although it doesnt really linger around for all that long

M: this was what surprised me most, it was surprisingly clean for a dark beer something im not very used to, slightly chewy towards the end as well

D: awesome i could see myself drinking two or three of these in one setting

good brew!

 658 characters

Photo of Church89
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Same kind of Sam Adams beer (brown bottle, Sam label) nothing special.

Pours a dark brown/black, blocks all light. Tan head.

Smells of a light hops aroma.

Taste is of hops, subtle coffee flavors, chocolate tones.

Smooth going down, very light, pleasant aftertaste.

Drinkability is superb. It's a great session beer.

 320 characters

Photo of snglmltrblnd84
3.56/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Samuel Adams Black Lager is overall a pretty good beer. It has a solid one inch thick head with a deep black/amber color. It doesn't feel as heavy as the color would suggest. The Black Lager has a smooth finish with a raisin like after taste. The first thing that I notice about the flavor is mocha. This beer reminds me a lot of prune juice. At first it may not be very enjoyable to some but it quickly grows on you. I may not buy it again but I am glad that I did at least once.

 480 characters

Photo of MetroOhio
4.5/5  rDev +20.3%
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).

 1,077 characters

Photo of dexcool707
4.03/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A respectable head with nice color and lace.

Great smell with the expected hints of chocolate.

Smooth and creamy taste and mouthfeel. Chocolate tones and strong maltiness with a slight taste
of molasses.

Sweet enough to compliment the array of flavors
but not too sweet to be annoying,...very drinkable

 305 characters

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

A: Dark rust red in color with coffee colored head that's small but lasts a while.

S: Let's off a medium smell of malt.

T: Smokey with hints of chocolate,

M: Smooth, medium body with medium to high carbonation.

D: Definitely good, would go well with grilled meats.

 269 characters

Photo of DIYBrewing
4.12/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is a great drinkable beer. It is submitted for style as a schwarzbier but that is not what I would categorize it as. Has a great dark head that did not dissipate.A little overcarbonated. Smooth taste with a nice malt profile that does not overwhelm. The hops are perfectly balanced in the background with little to no hop flavor or aroma.

 343 characters

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

S: A coffee and dark chocolate smell with a hint of sweet floral
T: Great taste, malty with a hint of coffee,chocolate and a nutty flavor on the back end. Its a good flavorful beer but not to rich or overbearing.
A: Look like a glass full of Coca-Cola with no ice. the head is thick and light brown in color with a hint of a purple ring next to the beer. Leaves little to no lace nor a notch on a glass.
This is a very nice beer and a pleasure to drink.

 457 characters

Photo of monkeybrew
4.4/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I love this beer- it reminds me of the dark lagers in Munich that were so much better than some of the light colored lagers. So easy to drink, but also very tasty. Looks nice in a glass with a decent amount of head. Moderate carbonation. A little caramel and roasty in smell and taste, but very clean finish and nice aftertaste. A lot in common with nut brown ales, which I also like. I would say that this is one of Sam Adams better efforts for an everyday beer.

 463 characters

Photo of thaxomatic
3.11/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served out of a 12 oz bottle into a standard pint glass.

A: Black upon first impression, but when held up to the sun the beer is actually a dark caramel brown. Non-existent head, which is disappointing.

S: Smells of alcohol. Not much else, somewhat earthy.

T: Tastes of alcohol and a bit of caramel. Very earthy.

MF: Light carbonation with a minor lingering coat of thickness that stays on your tongue after swallowed.

Drinkability: Very drinkable beer. Very clean and crisp.

Bottom Line: This is an average beer. Nothing great about it, but nothing bad about it either. I don't think I will ever buy it again, but that is not to say I wouldn't drink it again.

 666 characters

Photo of nwilson023
4.08/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The Boston Beer Company found a winner with the Black Lager. As soon as I poured it from the bottle I was impressed with the rich dark appearance and aromas of chocolate, grain, roasted malt, coffee, and a hint of smokiness. Has a sweet taste but not to overpowering. I felt it was a bit heavier than a typical lager but all in all I like it quite a bit and will buy it again in the future.

 390 characters

Photo of stoudt
3.86/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Being impressed with the other offerings I've tried by Sam Adams, I just had to try this.
A-As expected, black unless back-lit, then becomes a deep reddish-brown, almost as a cedar knot.
S-Surprisingly mild for the colour. Was expecting very forward roasts in there, instead mostly of caramel and mild mocha.
T-Again, mild for this dark of a beer. Very good though, very subtle but still complex. Doesn't jolt the taste buds, gives you time to ponder and appreciate.
M-For me, just wonderful, beautiful balance of carbonation and flavour.
D-Light enough to enjoy a few. Just boozy enough to relax and enjoy.

 612 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

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