Session Black Lager | Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub

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Session Black LagerSession Black Lager
922 Ratings
Session Black LagerSession Black Lager

Brewed by:
Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
Oregon, United States

Style: Schwarzbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.40%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
ABV 5.4% IBU 18

Added by msubulldog25 on 06-27-2009

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Ratings: 922 |  Reviews: 372
Photo of Docer
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Snagged up a 12'er of this at Whole Foods... recently just tried the regular session....

- Kind of a cola colored dark and brown.. bubbly head, mocha colored... like an A & W in a way....

- Smells like a bitter light porter... roasted malt, small bit of coffee bean, bitter chocolate... some bitter spicy hop...

- Flavorful lager with bitter chocolate and hop flare as well and a roasty porter-like quality.... very tasty.

- Somewhat parched aftertaste due to its bitterness.. but overall..

- Sessionable as the name states, and a nice difference in comparison to the standard Session.. quite drinkable and unique!

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Photo of Rayek
3.99/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Pilsner glass.

A: Deep chestnut brown, with garnet highlights and nice clarity. A fizzy tan head struggles to form and has only middling retention. Leaves no lace. Easily the beer's weakest aspect.

S: Very chocolaty, with a heavy dose of baking chocolate and even a bit of espresso. There's a hint of lemon in the background.

T: The chocolate parade continues. The bittersweet chocolate is joined by a slight, almost stout like, burnt bitterness. Some lemony bitterness brings up the rear. Finishes with a mild lingering bitter-sweetness.

M: The light body is slightly oily. The carbonation level feels about right.

D: Like Session Lager, Black is eminently drinkable. It has just enough complexity to keep me interested, and a low enough ABV to feel, well, sessionable.

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Photo of FMetzger
4.12/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Great clarity. Dark brown with a slightly tan head. Brown highlights in the head.

S: Rich malt with slight hoppiness. I love this beer. As it warms the aroma is that of wort after the first hop addition. It is truly fantastic. This beer accurately captures the delicious cereal malty graininess I crave without going overboard and killing me with alcohol.

T: Caramel maltiness, rich flavors of grain. This is a great example of a Schwarzbier/Dark Lager/Euro Dark Lager, or whatever the hell you want to label it.

M: Not much to mention, except that it is smooth and the carbonation is perfect (at least in the bottle I had). Not thick, which is not surprising given the fact that it is a lager, but IS surprising given the rich grain taste.

D: As the name implies, this is a Session-able beer. Only 5.4% abv, so more than one is not going to be a problem, and I am truly astounded by the flavor.

This beer is cheap ($8.99 for a 12pack), and I am very fond of it. The temperature hit 110F today, so I am sure I will be enjoying this beer for a while during the hot summer months. Hats off to Full Sail for this one. Really a pleasant surprise.

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Photo of Beernoisseur
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Session lager is one of my favorite beers simply for what it is. I've never had the chance to try session black....until today.

A - dark burnt orange amber. little head, not much retention or lacing.

S - almost none. Light toastiness, little more.

T - It tastes like a session, with about 4 ounces of Guinness poured in. Ok seriously, it's pretty good, for a dollar beer. The malt is toastier, obviously, but it retains a lot of similarities to it's lighter brother. Only very small hop presence, tart finish. Good, but not great.

M - Light bodied, but feels nice going down.

D - This is a very drinkable beer. Refreshing for a darker beer, and not too complicated. That's probably what they were going for.

** I find it odd that they decided to call this beer "session black." I guess they decided that "session medium brown" probably didn't have the marketing power that they were looking for.

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Photo of Haybeerman
3.7/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown color; red around the edges. Poured a thin dark tan head with poor retention. Light, inconsistent lacing.

S: Toasted malts; nuts, bitter chocolate and caramel.

T: Very consistent with aroma, but overall, pretty muted. Sharply bitter finish cleaned-up a lingering sweetness

M: Light-to-medium body. Medium carbonation.
Bitter finish was pretty cleansing.

D: Fairly drinkable and pretty reasonably priced. Pretty average for a dark lager.

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Photo of sevopie
3.96/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Pours a Medium-dark brown, almost cola-like. Off-white/tan head that disappears relatively quickly.

Very, very light on the nose, a bit of roasty malt and a bit of grain with a slight medicinal smell that almost has a hint of hop.

Clean but light coffee and chocolate flavors, a bit of nut flavor, and some generic grain. There's also a touch of medicinal flavor as it warms, but nothing bad at all.

Light and slightly creamy with a good carbonation.

I almost wish this was a heavier beer to slow me down, because it truly is a fantastic session lager. It disappears quickly, and tastily.

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

Pours a black color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy tan head, with some sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with some slight hop notes, and caramel and slight toffee. The taste is sweet, malty, slight hoppyness, lots of caramel, and some toffee. Medium body. Drinkable, this is a tasty brew for a $1.

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Photo of augustgarage
4.21/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11oz (stubby) bottle into a pilsner glass.

Liquid is a gradient of burnt umber to auburn, topped by a finger of flax foam. Nice clarity. Head retention is remarkable for a lager, and lacing is elegant and substantial.

Delicate malt aromas with hints of piloncillo, candy cane, and burdock root. Just the slightest suggestion of DMS but it actually works in this beer.

Flavor is lightly toasted malt, minerals, nuts, with suggestions of coffee and perhaps a trace of brown butter (though not diacetyl). Very balanced finish with a suggestion of caramel, but not too sweet. Hops are almost undetectable. Rating for style, it doesn't get much better than this.

Crisp and refreshing, with a smooth mouthfeel. Decent carbonation, though it could stand a little more.

Living up to the name, this is a great session beer - light and refreshing, with just enough going on to hold your attention.

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Photo of koopa
3.56/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

bottle received as an extra in a trade with inflatablechair who is an awesome trader!

Appearance: not quite black but a cola brown with red folds when held up to the light.

Smell: One dimensional roast malt smell

Taste: One dimensional roast malt flavor on a lager base.

Mouthfeel: Thin and leaving lots to be desired.

Drinkability: Extremely drinkable. Would have got a 5.0 if the flavor was better.

Lackluster at best. Comes off as a watered down porter to me.

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Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.15/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep amber ruby color, bordering on brown ale territory. Small off white head forms and quickly reduces to a thin film over the top of the brew.

Nose is mostly lagery grain, but there is a noticeable roasted malt profile. Maybe black pat. It's there, but nowhere near like what it would be in schwarzbier territory. Sublte.

The roasted malt in the flavor is actually quite a bit more prominent than the nose indicated. Starts off easy with some lager like highlights, but quickly demonsrates the minor roasted malt profile of a scharzbier. Really very similar to a good schwarz, just a little lighter on the palate.

Mouthfeel is pretty much ideal for a beer like this. Minimal viscosity. A clear roasted flavor is present, but there is no solid bitterness or anything to detract from what this is...a session ale...*waits for pun to sink in*

Drinkability is quite solid here. Could easily put a sixer of these away on a hot day.

Overall, really i am quite suprised. This is a fine example of a dark lager and one i will probably revisit when craving a session ale with that little kiss of roasted malt. Really much more than i usually expect out of full sail. Not a bad price either. Overall a solid summer or fall BBQ choice.

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Photo of a061183
4.88/5  rDev +33%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Dark, but not too dark and not too caramely (if thats a word). So really it is dark, but not too light for the style. It is perfect for the style, being a Schwarzbier. If you hold it up to light in a glass it is not see through by any means. Color of it held into the light is caramel and milk chocolate. It is dark period. 1 Finger mocha head.

S: the smell is mostly of coffee notes and a lil bit of bitter sweet chocolate. Gosh a lot of coffee comes from this lager and is quite unexpected, but it is not too heavy at all.

T: Pretty much like a "lite" porter/stout. It has a great coffee/milk chocolate taste but not too strong and has a nice mellow feeling when drinking, so it is easy to drink more than a couple. Which I feel a Schwarzbier/Black Lager should be. It still has hops, but still has complex flavor.

M: Mouthfeel is not lite, but not like a stout/porter. And that is what a Schwarzbier/Black Lager should feel like.

D: Drinkability is amazing very sessionable. It is a great nitecap where you can have a few.

Remember this is a review for the style a Schwarzbier/Black Lager.

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Photo of RedDiamond
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Once again Full Sail served me their Session lager straight from the bottle. Not even a glass to pour it in. Just straight from the bottle. This time the beer is Black - a schwarzbier and an odd choice from Full Sail. You can't argue with the fact that their regular Session has become one of, if not the best selling FS beer. But schwarzbiers are still relatively uncommon and it's hard to imagine the general public rushing out to devour them, even if the quaint stubby bottle inspires some nostalgic familiarity.

I can't comment much on the color or smell of this black lager. Neither quality extends beyond the brown glass of the stubby and this of course limits the beer's appeal. But unlike the pale Session lager, the Black has a discernable flavor along the lines of black-and-sweet coffee with an agreeable finish that scoffs at the hops gods. Enjoyable. Remind me to try this one from an actual drinking glass next time.

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Photo of rowew
3.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 11 oz stubbie, grey label that matches the style of the original Session. ABV is marked, date inkjetted on the neck (err, shoulder?).

Appearance: Dark reddish brown, average head that fades relatively quick but leaves a bit of lacing.

Smell: A bit of roast, with some nice caramel in there too. Just a bit of dark chocolate.

Taste: Body is just to the light side of medium, average carbonation level. Flavors are not overwhelming, but there is that same light roast flavor combined with just enough hop flavor to keep it from being overly sweet. Kind of a lighter schwarzbier, very drinkable.

Overall impression: Another nice offering from Full Sail .. I imagine I'll be consuming quite a few of these in the future.. Session is always a favorite at parties and this looks to fit the bill just as well.

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Photo of waltonc
3.6/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle today at Colorado Liquor Mart. Dark amber/copper color, little to no haze, and a white head. Smells of malty goodness, a tad of caramel, and chocolate. Taste too. Somewhat sweet. Mouthfeel on the lighter side. Very nice drinkable session brew. I appreciate Full Sail's effort to provide a sessionable option in a smaller bottle A refreshing break from all of the beers unnecessarily bottled in 750 ml and 22 oz format.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.48/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Best By October 2009; Sampled July 2009
A vigorous pour into my 25cl tulip glass produces a four-finger thick, lightly browned, tan colored head. The beer is a dark brown color with a touch of amber to it; when held up to the light it shows a brilliantly clear, ruby hue. The aroma smells of toasted, slight roasted malt, a nice caramel note that almost suggests berry and a grassy grain note that comes to dominate the finish. Overall the aroma is fairly subtle and easy going, this is certainly not a robust Porter or a Stout.

This was served at refrigerator temperature; a little north of 40ºF / 5ºC. The beer is crisp and light tasting up front, the beer finishes though with a grassy, toasted grain note that tends to linger on the palate. My first sip seemed to be quite low on the bitterness and hop character, but subsequent ones have an herbal backbone to them along with a light, but crisp hop bitterness. There is just a touch of malt sweetness here, but this is fairly dry, especially once you factor in the hop notes. A touch of astringent roast malt character kicks in towards the finish; this tends to keep this from being as crisp and refreshingly quaffable as a lighter lager, but it does, on the up-side, and a touch more complexity and interest.

The flavors aren't perhaps as clean and smooth as I might expect from this style. While all the flavors are mostly soft, there is a nice balance between malt and hop character here. This is a perfectly serviceable beer, and if I was grilling outside I certainly wouldn't be adverse to drinking a couple of these along the way.

Purchased: Plaza Liquors, Tucson AZ

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Photo of Bookseeb
3.2/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is a dark amber with light head and lace. Smell of roasted malts with a very light sweet toffee. Taste of bitter roasted malts with some earthiness to it. Mouthfeel is light with a light spike of carbonation. A good beer, but a bit roasty for me if I were to drink it as a session.

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Photo of Magpie14
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: poured a light ruby and brown and settled in the glass it looks like burnt browns and with deep red hues. Hold it up to a light source and it is a transparent glowing red. Head is dirty white and nothing more than a few patches of fizz with countable blobs of lace

S: chocolate and crystal malt type of smells with a shot of toffee nut. This relies mostly on a cocoa and toasted malt in the nose

T: the maltiness pushes through and lends flavors much like in the nose. This beer drinks with a quick semi-sweet punch of cocoa and plenty of roasted malt. A nice addition of earthy hops flows on the palate, softly spicy at times. The sweetness is toffee nut sprinkled with some brown sugar, very balanced. The flavors are well placed and distinct

M: smooth and very easy to drink with a mild body. Carbonation is in good order and makes the feel nice, a zip or two on the tongue. Seems right for a session brew

D: this is a good beer. I find this to be a very good session beer and with its flavors makes for a nice treat. Anyway, this is a tasty little ringer

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Photo of msubulldog25
3.93/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The latest brew from Full Sail, released July 2009 as a year-round complement to the already popular Session Lager. 11 oz. brown 'stubby' bottle, poured to a pint glass. Laser dated: 102309; beneath the cap: 'Rock'.

A: 'Black' is a bit of a misnomer; don't expect an opaque porter/stout-like appearance. This one is deep brown, 'mahogany' I suppose, translucent with a fair amount of rising carbonation. Head is 1/2-finger topping of creamy khaki, dwindling in a minute or two to a thinner film. Lace in speckles and splotchy bands.

S: All about the malt, caramel and dusty cocoa. Earthy huskiness with just enough spicy hops to deflect the aroma away from over-sweetness. Slightly smoky char tickles the nose.

T: Veiled sweetness, darker chocolate and a toasty malt/grain. Spicy caramel, vague berry fruitiness. More dry roast in the finish. Seems to grow in its roasted-rich malt intensity with each sip.

M: Fairly light body, but crisply carbonated. Lasting dry spiciness, a burnt grain. Some sweeter malts hanging, too. Not quite the 'refreshing' summer beer that the sister brew Session is, but that's fine with me.

D: Eminently easy to drink, I consumed at least 4 of these at last night's Independence Day get-together with friends, feeling no effects other than a reduced inhibition around strangers and a rampant patriotism. Not the style of beer to 'wow', but definitely an everyday drinker that's sure to be a hit around these parts. I'm very happy with the trend towards drinkable lagers with flavor; will be picking up a case from time to time. Good job, Full Sail!

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Photo of Domingo
3.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Been waiting for more American brewers to try the dark lager styles for a long time. Plus, I know Full Sail does a good job with lagers.
Pours a deep brown (no, it's not black) that isn't too thick. Head's there as sheen or a layer depending on your pour.
The main flavor components are roasted dark grains & mild dark chocolate. It's sweet up front, but finishes very dry. If "black" didn't clue to you into their general direction, it's pretty clear they were shooting for the schwarzbier style. It's milder and easier drinking than most of the others I've had.
Goes down very easy, and having 3-4 on a warm or cool day is no problem at all.
Personally, I feel that the dunkel style would've been more approachable to most people, but that's only a tiny gripe. It's great that Full Sail has taken the idea of a session lager and merged it with a tasty schwarzbier. My one concern is that I'm not so sure it'll really accomplish its goal. I can see casual drinkers thinking it's "too roasty" and bitter (roasted bitter, not hops). Hence, why I would've favored the dunkel route instead.

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Photo of HairOfTh3Dog
3.55/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Ahh session, the original is a summer favorite of mine.

The color is a dark brown with a single finger head. It smells like roasted malts, a bit of chocolate and crisp hops. It's quite the bubbly beer. Tastes like a lightly hopped lager with some chocolate, and dark malts. Taste a bit like a black and tan, with a much lighter body. Very drinkable as the name may imply. This so easy to drink, some ex-girlfriends may be getting texts at 2 in the morning.

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Photo of DiabolikDUB
3.35/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from Bottle into Pint glass.

Pours a clear deep brown with a slightly tan fizzy head that quickly dissolves into a thin ring around the glass. Aroma is a nice balance of caramel and roasted malt. The flavor is sweet upfront with chocolate-like flavors. Its light bodied with a good amount of carbonation. This is a very drinkable dark lager with really no bitterness to speak of. Something to mix it up for those Mexican dark lager drinkers.

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Photo of beertunes
3.2/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into 10oz glass, this beer poured a dark, clear reddish-brown, not black like I expected, with about an inch of khaki colored head that had surprisingly good retention and lacing.

Nice, soft roasty aromas greet the nose with a hint of hop spicieness on the finish. The flavor profile is about as expected for a light lager, with a touch more roasted flavor and that nice hop zing at the end.

The body was as expected, thin but appropriate for the style. Drinkability was of course, very good. These would go down smoothly and easily with or after most activities.

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Session Black Lager from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
Beer rating: 3.67 out of 5 with 922 ratings