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McSorley's Irish Black Lager | Pabst Brewing Company

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McSorley's Irish Black LagerMcSorley's Irish Black Lager

Brewed by:
Pabst Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: Schwarzbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by oriolesfan4 on 01-29-2009

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Reviews: 163 | Ratings: 350
Photo of cpolking
3.7/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours pitch black. It has a slightly spicy aroma. I don't believe it is brewed with rye but it has an aroma of a bit of rye and a hint of smoke. It tastes of dark roasted malt, a hint of coffee, a hint of smoke and a hint of sweetness on the back end. It is flavorful yet not heavy.

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Photo of Zebus0
3.36/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Wow this stuff is good. Never heard of it till a local pub picked it up on draft.

A- Very pleasing. Nice black shade, nice frothy head on it that dissipates in a fair amount of time.

S- Burnt aroma, nuts and smoke, plenty of hops. Pretty good. Not a very strong aroma.

T- Seems like it's just a freak. (no negative) it's not quite thick enough for a stout, but a wee heavy to be a black ale. I would compare this to a marriage of 1554 Black Ale and Guinness. Very good taste. More of the burnt/hops taste. A little sweeter than a stout, very close to most black ales really, with some more carbonation added.

M- Fair. I never grade on mouthfeel too heavy. Medium body. Pleasing, quite smooth really.

D- Very good. I love this stuff for happy hour in the afternoon. That "in-betweeness" makes it very attractive for a stout drinker like me. Not TOO heavy if the weather isn't right or you're just not in the mood, but not water thin either. Rightly nice in the middle. Very, very pleasing find.

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Photo of jporf911
3.88/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle; no freshness date provided.

Appearance- 4 out of 5. This beer pours with a decent one and a half finger tan head that quickly dissipates; luckily, abundant bubbles soar up to the surface afterward. The liquid itself is chestnut brown around the edges and opaque black in the middle. It loses points for the lack of head retention, but it otherwise looks great.

Smell- 3.5 out of 5. The first whiff brings burnt molasses malt, a little smokiness, and a lot of nuttiness. The undertones of bread and light floral hops make this beer seem like a stout having an identity crisis. If the scents were stronger, it would smell more enticing.

Taste- 4 out of 5. It's like a piece of sourdough bread dipped in caramel and slathered with almond butter. I maintain my opinion that this tastes like a light stout- a tad sweeter but still carries smokiness, roasted malt, and nut as in the smell; however, sipping it brings the taste of bread to the forefront. It seems like the hops are trying to bite the back of my tongue but give up halfway through, though they do leave a nice little floral hint that mingles with the leftover nuttiness in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel- 3 out of 5. It's dry, which is good, but the lager-thinness doesn't work well with the actual tastes, which leaves something to be desired.

Drinkability- 4.5 out of 5. The upside of the thinness is that McSorley's is very easy to drink. It's the versatile kind of beer you could enjoy on your own or take to a (non-college) party.

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Photo of TheSeeker61
3.53/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Poured a dark brown with a one inch head which dissipated into a ring which hung around.

S- Smelled some dark fruit. Not too impressive.

T- A decent taste. Tasted some dark fruit,malts.

M- Had a pretty good mouthfeel. Medium body.

D- Because of the low ABV and the smootheness of the exprience overall, I could drink a few of these in a session.

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Photo of therica
3.75/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Let it warm some (ie don't overchill like it's a ridiculous ColdCoorsLite) and you'll appreciate it more.

A= dark chestnut-brown, some big-bubble carbonated head, modest lacing.

S= roasty, nice malts, light caramel, nutty dryness and some traditional floral hops and dark fruits. Slight burnt molasses and smoke notes.

T= smooth, some nice toasted malts and hints of nut, hints of dark fruits, balanced English-style hops, balanced bitterness, finishes slightly dry and yet slightly sweet as well.

M= nutty, some toasted malts, light hops florals.

D= very drinkable and a contender in this class.

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Photo of gatornation
3.8/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

on tap it was dark brown/black color with a tan head,,smell is sweet malts and toffee with some hops..taste is good with hops and toasted malts a touch of nutmeg some light coffee..mouth feel is on the light side with all the flavors not bursting out at you..easy to drink and pretty tasty though try this one

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Photo of huxcrunner
3.9/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

this is a very dark brown to black beer with good tan head and lacing

good smell of hops and malt

good malt and heavy taste with nice bitterness to it

nice mouthfeel good heavyness to it

great drinkable and a good overall beer even better from the

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Photo of PhillyStyle
2.95/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Found this on-tap, at Kevin Barry's in Savannah, GA of all places (8/15):

A: The beer appeared to be cola black, without much of a head that dissipated very quickly. What there was of a head, it was light, and light tan in color. I guess that I expected a thicker, longer lasting head, but this could have been partly to the pour by the wait staff.

S: The aroma is average, nutty with sweet roasted malted barley.

T: Again, the taste was average, lighter than expected, but a sweet malt flavor with maybe a hint of coffee or chocolate.

M/D: The beer was lighter than expected and seemed a bit over carbonated. As for drinkability, I did not finish the pint, but I am not sure that was an indication. The beer was smooth enough and left a decent sweet finish that did not last.

Overall, an average beer, nothing more, nothing less.

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Photo of Kooz
2.93/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Love McSorley's. Love it, love it, love it. McSorley's in a bottle? I'm skeptical, but we'll see.

Looks good. Dark brown, almost black. Not much head; it disappears quickly and leaves nothing behind.

Smells ok; sorta nutty.

Tastes ok. It might be better if I wasn't anticipating a McSorley's dark. On it's own (the bottled kind), it isn't anything special. Not a great aftertaste either.

Maybe a little too acidic--mouthfeel is average at best.

I wouldn't dink much of this. I drink it until I can't drink anymore when I'm at McSorley's, but with the bottled variety, I am good after one or two.

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Photo of Jips
3.78/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

-Mouthfeel: smooth, light-medium, light carbonation
-Color: black-brown w/ a light tan creamy head about 1 finger deep
-Smell: sweet malt, hint o' coffee
-Taste: hop forward (not sharp or too bitter) with dark sweet malty tastefollowing
-After: hardly anything, residual sticky sweetness on back of tounge

Great dark beer, quite a find in a middle of nowhere IL bar in the middle of summer (otherwise

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Photo of AlexLMS
3.01/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: black with ruby highlights when looked against the light and almost opaque due to its colour. The head is beige, well formed and moderately low. Fades rather quickly leaving a little bit of lace.
Aroma: lightly dark toasted sweet malts and hints of dark chocolate.
Taste: quite simple taste that confirms the aroma.
Mouthfeel: smooth, good to high carbonation, low alcoholic strength and very light, almost watery body.
Finish: not very long sweet finish.

Overall: nice but not a really interesting beer. Easy to drink and easy to forget.

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Photo of sulldaddy
3.68/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

I picked this bottle up on a whim. Pouring at cellar temp into a pint glass. The beer pours a deep mahogany color with creamy and fizzy beige head of 1 cm foaming up and fading to a sturdy surface layer.
Aroma is generally caramel malt and a bit of grain, overall pretty mild nose.
First sip reveals an average body with crisp texture. Spacious and gentle carbonation make this beer even easier to drink.
Flavor is sweet malt with a bit of molasses note and caramel mixed in. I do get a bit of earthy hops on the finish but they dont linger and the molasses, sweet malt returns at the end of the swallow.
This beer is enjoyable and I could consume quite a few and not get bored, but also wouldnt feel overly stimulated but insane flavor and aroma mixtures.
A nice every day drinking beer.

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Photo of mjw06
3.42/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This was an interesting experience being my first time with this style of beer. I didn't know what to expect and even afterwards I still wasn't sure what I got. It wasn't as simple as was described to me, as just being a brew with the taste and smell of lager that just happened to be black. Naw, doesn't work like that, but McSorley's did manage to throw all of my senses together in an array of confusion. The color was indeed black, with little to no head or lace. The smell came up and grabbed my nostrils with a clean and crisp, simple oat-like malt, with a very plain and simple hop note. The taste echoed the smell with very little residual. I was on the fence with how I liked the feel of it, telling myself that maybe the black color of the brew was biasing my opinion of what the feel should be like, but it was that of a medium body, with a few harsh bubbles here and there draining down the sides of the palate, the refreshment hits in the middle-back of the tongue. I'd like to try McSorley's again, I think it has potential. Probably need more time and concentration to really get a feel for it.

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Photo of dacrza1
3.13/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Situation: A Good Friday three-meal ender... Glassware: 22 oz. pilsner... Appearance: thin white head sits atop a black body that befits the label and approximates a black and tan appearance... Aroma: sweet burnt aroma that suggests a porter; malts are roasted and hops are subdued... Palate: smooth, slick body--a moderate to full-bodied lager; slight effervescence; a bit creamy too... Taste: a bit toasted in its maltiness; bread notes remind the drinker that this IS a lager... Overall: rather flat and nondescript overall appeal; a bit of a warmer for February and March, but with a bit of sweetness, this can be a nice after-dinner glass

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Photo of theboozecruise
3.3/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Served from a 12 oz. bottle poured into an imperial pint glass. The beer is dark brown in color, not hazy at all, with a quickly dissipating off-white head.

The smell is dominated by dark malts... a little bitterness to it. Not bad at all but could use some secondary flavors.

The taste is mostly the same dark bitter malt flavor, but appears watered down. There is a bitter aftertaste left over from the malts.

Mouthfeel is kinda weak due the watery nature of the beer, but I'd definitely have another. Which is good, because I bought a 6-pack.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
3.53/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aroma is smoky with a yeasty overtone, not strong but OK. It pours a semi-transparent Coke brown with a fluffy and thick, if not persistent, pale tan head. Flavor is a bit weak, but malty and smoky with hints of spice and molasses. Texture is smooth and fizzy, just a bit watery. If they can "thicken" this beer it will be a winner.

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Photo of madjr80
3.78/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I picked this up at Hannafords for 7.99 a six pack. Poured into a pint glass and noticed a thick puffy head a foam. Very dark in color, but light in texture. Similar color to a draft stout, but with the consistency of a lager. Nice roasted malt flavor, and very drinkable. It is listed as 5.5% alcohol, but it doesn't seem like it is that strong. A good beer to mix in every now and then.

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Photo of Gmann
3.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark chestnut brown color with a small tight tan head that settled into a sparse cap. The aroma is of very light roasted malt, mineral/metal scent, burnt grains and some chocolate/peat. All are quite subtle. The taste is of light roasted malt, grainy and the beginnings of a chocolate or coffee flavor. Not too bad, a bit grainy. I would like to see a touch more of the roasted flavor. The feel is light to moderate with fizzy carbonation, very burpy. Fairly sweet all around like a macro. A very easy drinking beer, one that could change some "dark" beer haters. Could use some more flavor but it is servicable.

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Photo of mralphabet
3.68/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into pint glass

A: Pours a very dark brown with a hint of red. About 2 fingers worth tan head that settled to a nice layer and ring... Lacing all the way down the glass. Sweet looking brew.

S: Sweet malt, coffee, little chocolate, and light milk. A little like a light Milk Stout. Not bad.

T: First thing I'm getting is a sweet roasted malt, followed by a light milk chocolate and hint of coffee in the aftertaste.

M: Med to heavy bodied, with a creaminess as it warms up. Carbonation is there and active but not overwhelming.

D: Good ABV and a nice mixed of flavors. Very drinkable little brew.

I'd have to say a was surprised at how good this little beer was.... I might come back again for this one.

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Photo of Brent
4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer can give the generally well-regarded Sam Adam's black lager a run for its money. Black with caramel highlights and a moderate tan head. Nice roasted malt flavors, with a clean, slightly dry body. For a brewery that produces a variety of labeled products, Lion nailed the style on this one.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.55/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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

a - Pours a dark brown with an inch on tan head that is gone instantly and light carbonation.

s - Smells of wheat, bready malts, and a little bit of hops. Not much going on.

t - Tastes of bready malts, wheat, and a hint of chocolate.

m - Medium body and low carbonation. Very smooth and creamy.

d - I've had this on tap an McSorley's in NY and really enjoyed it, but it wasn't as good from the bottle. A little bland in the smell and taste. Would probably only have again at McSorely's.

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Photo of BMoney575
3.51/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled on 5-11-10

Pours very dark, almost black, with a filmy off white head and decent lacing. Just a bit of red around the edges.

Smell is sweet malt, slightly beery, with a Guinness-like smoky quality. Not bad, if nothing special.

Taste is very mild, a little malty and smoky, and really not bad. The flavors are light and unoffensive, and the aftertaste is clean a nicely bitter.

Mouthfeel is a little thin, but right, white tart carbonation.

Drinkability is very good, definitely a session beer.

Overall, I was impressed.

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Photo of metter98
3.38/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: It poured very dark brown with a large creamy brown head. A moderate level of carbonation is visible and there is a good amount of head retention.
S: The smell isn't that strong, but there are distinct aromas of dark roasted malts and chocolate in the nose.
T: The taste is very similar to the aroma and consists of flavors of dark chocolate malts, however it's a bit bland and doesn't prominently stand out.
M: It feels light-bodied and very creamy and smooth on the palate.
D: This beer goes down very easily; I could drink this stuff all day long so is quite sessionable. It's not a bad choice if you are looking to drink a lot of something that has some flavor.

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Photo of jlindros
2.86/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I was watching the Boondock Saints on a hot spring day so I figured this was appropriate.

A: Tall fluffy 2 finger head fades so slowly it is as if it was an implanted memory that it even existed. The beer is very dark brown, almost black but slightly clear where light can get through where it thins.

N: Hmmm, a lot like lager extract and mass produced lager. Some cheap lager aromas, lots of syrupy aromas like corn syrup, touch of darker malt.

T: A little better than aroma. SOme sweet syrups, some molasses, corn syrup, chewy malts. A slight cheap lager taste, but not so bad at first. Then a slight bitterness comes on but not from hops, more like some unpleasant additive or something from the yeast that was no happy with the beer as it fermented. Then some metallic tastes and off flavors no so pleasant.

M: Lighter body with tons of carbonation.

F: The unpleasantries come out more late on the taste and carry into the finish. More metallic bad lager flavors, some sticky sweetness, slight unpleasant bitterness. There is also a touch of dark malts, perhaps a heavy crystal or even a touch of roast. The weird bitterness lingers for a bit too.

Granted I did drink this a little warmer than I should have, but being ice cold just covers up all the flaws, so now they are all brought out.

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Photo of dpodratsky3
3.73/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: Almost jet black with some bright orange and garnet hues, small creamy head, tan

S: Very typical lager smell, just grains, no real malt, surprising for a dark beer

T: More malt flavor than aroma, dark and malty, but not heavy, a decent roast builds to a full roast, hints of coffee, never really sweet

M: Semi-dry, medium body, not heavy

D: Easy to drink, mild flavor

Notes: This isn't anything special, but it isn't really supposed to be a roasty beer. It is just a euro lager that is colored with some malt flavor. However, that doesn't mean it is a bad beer. I like it for a session beer because it is more flavorful while still light.

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McSorley's Irish Black Lager from Pabst Brewing Company
3.5 out of 5 based on 350 ratings.
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