Sam Adams Black Lager

By on February 3, 2011 @ 6 PM (No Comments)

We have an old saying in the Beer Love household: “Sometimes you really need a schwarzbier and may not even know it.” That’s why we now keep one behind glass for emergencies.

Nephew/Cousin Beer Love, after a 5 year residency and a 1 year fellowship way out west in the land of the Cowboys, Rangers and Mavericks, has returned “home” with his wife and amazing brood to the medical center as an Assistant Professor where he spent so many years. On this past Labor Day he had a cook out to celebrate his youngest daughters birthday. Father Beer Love had to work late so Dr. Nephew/Cousin Beer Love prescribed a late supper and even filled the prescription and sent it directly to the house. A perfectly grilled burger (bovine, not fowl), a perfect bratwurst (porcine, not fowl), a big slice of birthday cookie (nice touch) and a Samuel Adams Black Lager. As you can see he was raised with proper values.

Needless to say the Black Lager hit the spot. Interesting, because several years back while our beer palates were still maturing Father Beer Love tried it and didn’t think too highly of it. Now, it’s just perfect. My how times have changed.

On to the review. The Sam Adams Black Lager (which as you may have guessed is a schwarzbier) comes in with an ABV of 4.9% and an IBU of 20. Of course it’s one of the many beers that comes from the Boston Beer Company and it’s a part of their Brewmaster’s Collection. For our test we used a British pint glass and got a starting beer temperature of 43.9 F.

For our pour we got a large 2″ frothy medium brown head that left virtually no head lacing as it dissipated slowly. There’s a soft amount of carbonation and the body clarity is clear, but very dark. The color is pure black with some hints of ruby around the edges.

For our sniffy sniff we got some good notes – caramel, light chocolate, nutty, toasted malts, light leather, yeast, brown sugar and cream.

For our initial flavors we got a moderate sweet and a light bitter that moved over to a light to moderate sweet, light to moderate bitter and very light salty in the finish. For our tastes we got chocolate, coffee, toasted malts, grass, pine, yeast, light charcoal, cream, very light smoke and a light soy sauce. A good flavor profile for a schwarzbier. The chocolate really jumps at you in the taste. The light bit of smoke/salt on the finish is a nice touch and the coffee jumps out a bit on the finish as well to give it a slight bitterness, while still staying sweet.

The finish length is very short, the mouthfeel is creamy, the tongue hit is in the middle and there’s no body lacing as you work your way through the glass. On our patented malt to hop scale it comes in ever so slightly to the left of balanced on the malty side – just a 1/2 click away from balanced.

For our bottom line notes we got a yes to drinkable, repeatable, balance, harmony and buy again. We got a no for memorable and wow factor – it’s a good schwarzbier, but our socks were still on afterwards.

It’s worth noting that Father Beer Love was working with one that was within it’s enjoy by date while Son Beer Love was working off one that was a year and 4 months over. The notes remained the same with the slight difference that the older one Son Beer Love was working on had a slight metallic smell to it.

As the Sam Adams Black Lager warmed up into the 50s and beyond the taste was still good, but we thought this one might be better to drink a bit cooler – maybe around 45 F – which might make it slightly more refreshing. Shouldn’t be hard to do as you’ll find it’s a gulper. Don’t let the way we dissect beer and let it warm up 20 degrees during the process mean you have to do the same. You will want to knock this out quickly because it’s so tasty. And don’t be fooled by our statement – it does pass the 60 degree test and is a superbly crafted beer. It’s a moderately complex taste and it’s very good.

Overall we definitely recommend it. It’s got the lightness of a lager with some stout notes to it and it’s a very good marriage. We find the whole category of “dark lagers” a good place to go when you need something you know you’ll probably like. And as we like to say “May the schwarzbier be with you.”

Sam Adams Black Lager Rating: 7 out of 10 (?)


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