Homebrew Recipe: Schwarzbier

visit web on Flickr” href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/gunnarhafdal/3692006220/” target=”_blank”>Köhler Schweiß in a glass - close upThis homebrew recipe makes a Schwarzbier, sale which is a black lager. Schwarz literally means black in German and bier means, well, beer. That part may have been easy to figure out, but I figure explanation never hurts. This recipe makes a crisp, full-bodied beer with a strong roasted grain taste and a noticeable but not overpowering bite from the hops. I just finished this beer and have it chilling in my kegerator now and can’t wait to really dive into it.

I ran into a problem making this beer. As you know, I prefer to make a yeast starter from a liquid yeast culture. The Wyeast 2206 packet I bought never inflated, so I could not make a starter in time for brew day. I ended up going out last minute to my local homebrew store to get some Saflager S-23 dry yeast. As I have said before, the main difference between dry and liquid yeast is the variety that you can get in the liquid format. Neither is empirically better, and each has its drawbacks and advantages.

The black color comes from a relatively small amount of dark grain. As you can see from the grain bill, most of the grain in this brew is regular base grain. The color comes entirely from that half pound of Weyerman Carafa III grain, which is about 500° L, while the darkest of the other grains is only upward of 60° L. I did not try shining a light through the finished beer, but it looks as though it will not allow light to pass through. That is some dark stuff!

Grain Bill:

  • 4.5 lbs. German Vienna
  • 4.5 lbs. German Munich Malt
  • 0.5 lbs. Weyermann Caramunich III
  • 0.5 lbs. Weyermann Carafa III


  • 1 oz. German Perle – 60 minutes


  • Saflager S-23
  • Preferred option: Wyeast 2206 Bavarian Lager

Köhler Schweiß in a glass – close up by Gunnar Þór Hafdal.

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