Essential Info

  • Color: Very dark brown to black
  • ABV: 4%-6%
  • Commercial Examples: Spoetzl Bohemian Black Lager, Saranac Black Forest, Sam Adams Black Lager

You may look at a black lager in a pint glass and shout “stout!” or “porter!” And that’s a fair mistake, considering you can only tell so much from looking at a beer. But what differentiates a Black Lager from other dark beers, especially stouts and porters, is a relatively lighter body, with roasty dark notes from the malts stopping well short of any stout-level depth. Fewer fruity esters play in the roastiness since this is a lager style beer. Instead, hops step in and provide an assertive but pleasant bitterness. Referred to as “Schwarzbier” in Germany (literally “black beer”) and American Black Lager in the U.S., it’s a good option for depth without as much body, dark and mysterious but still refreshing and quenchingly dry.