Friday, November 9, 2007

Samuel Adams Black Lager

I've always thought that Samuel Adams makes some very interesting beers. Ever since I first heard about the Utopias (which weigh in at about 25% ABV), I started to keep my eyes on Sam Adams. One beer I noticed when I was buying my latest 6-pack at Booze Bros. (great selection of beer, BTW) was the Sam Adams Black Lager. Since most lagers I've had are light in color, I was intrigued, so I picked one up.

Samuel Adams Black Lager is a relatively new beer that is part of their Brewmaster's Collection. It is brewed in a less known beer style in the United States, called schwarzbier, or "black beer" in German. Unlike strong stouts and porters, schwarzbiers do not have a strong hoppiness to them despite their dark color. The schwarzbier that has been brewed for the longest period of time is Braunschweiger Mumme, which has been brewed since around 1390. However, in an archaeological dig in the German town of Kulmbach (considered the origin of schwarzbier), an ancient Celtic beer vase from the 8th century BCE containing blackened bread, which was used as an early brewing technique by Celtic and East Germanic tribes to subject beer to the forces of airborne yeast. While schwarzbier was thus proved to have been brewed in Bavaria for at least 2,800 years, Sam Adams' black lager version has only been brewed since 2004, a significantly shorter amount of time. (Samuel Adams World of Beer, then Brewmaster's Collection → Black Lager, Bella Online German Schwarzbier)

Here are the stats:

Samuel Adams Black Lager
BREWERY: Boston Beer Company, Boston, MA, USA
CALORIES/SERVING: 191 per 12 oz. bottle
ABV: 4.9%
ORIGINAL GRAVITY: 14° Plato (1057.14)
MALTS: Two Row Pale, Munich, Weyermann dehusked Carafa®
HOPS: Spalt Spalter

All information except the bitterness, serving temperature, food pairings, and awards came from the Sam Adams website (Flash-based, so no direct linking). I hope to get more information from the brewery itself.

The beer poured a thick almost-black color into my glass, accompanied by a tannish head. The beer's aroma wasn't too strong, but it smelled of a hint of coffee. Unfortunately, the taste was where the beer just vanished. I tasted the carbonation of the beer, with maybe a faint trace of coffee, but nothing else. The good news is that even though the beer tastes like almost nothing, there's no aftertaste that grows stale on your palette.

This beer seems to have been brewed more for novelty than for anything else, but it tastes better than most of those Central American lagers out there (and looks cooler too). Pick one up at your local supermarket; it's available year-round at stores across the country.



Morgan said...

I have recently been introduced to black lager, but not by Sam Adams. Shiner Bock has a black lager that the closest liquor store to my house sells, and being that I grew up in Texas, I always give the Shiner guys a chance anytime I see that they've brewed a new beer. I'm not necessarily a huge fan of Shiner's beers, but I generally like them just fine. However, I'm a huge fan of their black lager. I just thought I'd mention it in case anyone comes across it and wants to give it a try. I usually dislike Sam Adams beers, and I haven't tried their black lager, but perhaps you'll find the Shiner version to have more flavor. I love it!

The Beerocrat said...

Thanks for the tip on Shiner! I've heard that of the more mass-distributed beers out of Texas, Shiner is the best. I'll definitely have to try a Shiner Black Lager in the near future (if I can pick one up in Reno, that is).

Daniel A. said...

Shiner's Black Lager has become my favorite beer. There is nothing like it and every six pack tastes a little different. I haven't tried Sam Adams' black lager but I'll surely give it a try. Great blog by the way.

Anonymous said...

Yeah I like Shiner Black the best of all the Shiner beers, and I'm having one right now actually. Plus, they have 147 calories, as opposed to 191 for the Sam Adams Black.