Saturday, February 09, 2013

4C. Schwarzbier (Black Beer)

I mentioned not-to-long-ago that my 2013 brewing goal is to expand my resume of beer styles. I want to have at least one beer brewed of each of the 23 BJCP beer style categories. After my 1D. Munich Helles, I now have 9 more categories to brew.

Next up is  Category 4 — Dark Lager. The sub-category I have chosen for this category is 4C. Schwarzbier (Black Beer).

A Schwarzbier is another clean German lager. As the name suggests, it is dark in color and has a decent amount of roast in the flavor and aroma. It is generally very balanced between the hop bitterness and malt sweetness. It can have a fair amount of noble hop character, although the guidelines say it should be restrained. The base has a nice bready Munich malt flavor.

Its ABV is relatively low ... between 4.4 and 5.5%. It is medium bodied and should be smooth, easy drinking. 

When I think of a Schwarzbier, I think a German pilsner ... only black (note ... I got that from one of the voice drops from an intro of one of the shows on The Brewing Network. I have a feeling that my Schwarzbier will have more hop character than would be expected in competition. I also have a feeling that I'll love it just the same.

As far as I know, the only Schwarzbier I've ever actually had is Wynkoop Brewing Company's B3K. I remember really liking the beer.

I am calling my schwarzbier "Khazad-dûm Black Lager", and you can review the recipe by following this link. "Khazad-dûm" refers to the abandoned Dwarfish Kingdom of Moria, which Frodo and his companions had to travel through in Fellowship of the Ring. I love those books and think that the dwarves of Middle Earth would enjoy a nice smooth dark lager.

I bought my ingredients yesterday and am planning on brewing the beer tomorrow.

One thing I did, was keep the Carafa III in a separate bag. I am going to add the roasted malt at the very end of the mash. Theoretically, this will help keep the astringent roast (burnt) flavors of the dark malt restrained.

I'll be sure to let you know how the brew day goes, and how the beer tastes when it is ready.

Go Blackhawks!


  1. Probably not this year, but very soon I plan to brew all the styles just like you are doing. I have seen a few people do it in the past but now that I have my system down, I think it would be good to test myself out. And it would be interesting to try some of the styles that I can't get my hands on easily.


  2. Hey thanks for leaving a comment.

    I am not actually attempting to brew every single style (yet). I am brewing at least one style in every category. For example, Category 4 — Dark Lager has three sub-categories. For this particular goal, I don't have to do 4A Dark American Lager or 4B Munich Dunkel.

    Once I get through this goal, I may think about filling in the rest of the styles, but frankly there are some I have no interest in brewing (American Light Lager for instance).

    Anyway, brew day is underway and so far, so good. I spilled some of my wort, but I still seem to have plenty of gravity points.

    1. I understand that. Yeah, each category makes way more sense lol some I am sure I will do multiples in but that is a ton of beer!

      I think when it comes to categories like American Light Lager and such, I will try to brew the beers I used to like. I do not know where St Pauli Girl fits in without looking it up. But I used to love that beer. I have not had one in ages but I am sure it isn't that bad now that I have different taste. Worth a shot anyway.

      Keep us updated on this one. I had a few that I liked at different breweries, i.e. Duck Rabbit, but I have not had many. I am always interested in other peoples brewing as well.