I tend to go for darker beers, typically stouts and porters.

Guinness is my usual go to when I'm at a bar or restaurant, but as appealing as "a meal in a glass" is, on occasion I find these to be a little too filling/heavy.

More recently I had the opportunity to try Köstritzer, which I guess would be classified as a black lager. It had the very familiar taste of a stout but without the filling quality.

Black lager seems to be a rather generic category though, the title seems to cover a rather large variety of dark lagers and seems to be more about color than taste.

Is there a more specific category I should be looking for?

Or perhaps better, does any one know any other beers that taste like a stout but with the light weight of a lager?

4 Answers 4


Let's start off with beers that you're interested in, something akin to a black lager. I'm going to keep things focused on beer styles rather than particulars, since I do not know where you are nor what might be available for you.


This is a dark wheat beer with characteristics of a traditional wheat with caramel type flavors joining the mix. Not exactly stout-like, but more like your black lager in lightness.


Schwarzbier means "black beer" in German. This is what you had with your Köstritzer. It is a medium-bodied, malt-accented dark brew, very opaque and deep-sepia in color, with a chewy texture and a firm, creamy, long-lasting head. In spite of its dark color, it comes across as a soft and elegant brew that is rich, mild, and surprisingly balanced. It never tastes harsh, toasty or acrid.

Black IPA / Cascadian Dark Ale

The American fascination with hops has shown that the addition of toasted malts can give a hoppy, bitter, and coffee-like experience to these beers.

Black Saisons

Similar to the Black IPA, I've seen a few breweries start brewing their saisons with roasted malts. The usual light flavors of the saison are accented by this extra roasted character. It's never acrid, however.


A lot of English porters are not heavy at all, and are generally akin to milds that have roasted malts added in. Look for lower ABV porters in the 4-5% range, and you'll probably find something you like.

Surprisingly to many, Guinness is actually on par with any other beer of similar alcohol strength, as beer gets a majority of its calories from alcohol, about 7 per gram. Perhaps much of the 'full' feeling is a product of the use of nitrogen in the mix which gives it that creamy texture.

  • A very complete and inspiring answer! I had already upvoted and felt free to suggest the update of a broken link :)) Commented Dec 17, 2020 at 8:34

Two types of beers might suit you, both are similar but with slightly different flavour profiles.

English mild ale has a lower alcoholic content than bitter or Guinness, generally dark coloured. Theakstons make a particularly nice mild on an irregular basis.

Scottish 60 shilling (60/-) or light beer is similar to mild but is generally slightly sweeter to suit the Scottish palate. McEwan's 60/- is the one most commonly seen.

It should be noted that this class of beer is generally out of favour in the UK despite efforts by the Campaign for Real Ale to revive interest.

  • Contrary to user23614's not, 60/- and 80/- are very popular in pubs across Scotland. For quite a few pubs, 80/- is the most popular beer served. It may be different south of the border, but here in Scotland its popularity is still high.
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Dec 17, 2020 at 19:56

My favourite is "Waterloo Dark"; it's dark enough to pass in a cola bottle, but doesn't have any of the heaviness or burnt taste that would turn off the blonde beer drinkers. It's also well carbonated, so doesn't have the flatness of Guinness.

It's widely available in Canada, but only a few locations outside, such as Esber Beverage Company | Waterloo Dark in Ohio.


Definitely, dark beer does not necessarily mean strong beer.

Guinness itself produces a range of different beers (draught, original, smooth, etc.) featuring dark color, almost no transparency, but alchool percentage in the range 4.2% to 5%.

The adjective English already occurs in the two previous answers and, in my taste and experience, English beers are the ones to explore to meet your taste.

The following beers have a dark color, are low in alchool, are not "whole meals" (this one cited in your question is a very important matter to me too!) but nonetheless have the right body and great characteristic tastes:

  • Boddingtons Draught Bitter (3.5%)
  • Boddingtons Pub Ale (4.6%)
  • Fuller's London Pride (4.1%)
  • St. Austell Tribute Pale Ale (4.2%)
  • St. Peter's Best Bitter (3.7%)
  • St. Peter's Ruby Red (4.3%)

Disclaimer: most of these are not properly black but make the smoked look meet with a great drinkability.

Also, I don't know if this one more would be easily available outside Italy but

seems to really be the one you're looking for.


  • The OP didn't mention alcohol strength, but "heaviness" - described as "filling"
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Dec 17, 2020 at 19:57
  • @RoryAlsop true! All the beers I mentioned feature anyway an enjoyable drinkability Commented Dec 17, 2020 at 20:01

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