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How To Make Beer – Dark Lagers – Schwarzbier German Black Beer


Schwarzbier is a German word for dark lager, which means “black beer”. The roots of this beer style can be traced to the Middle Ages in Thuringia and Saxony where it was first brewed. It is actually the oldest European beer as evidenced by its first documented mention in 1390.  Brewing of Schwarzbier originated from the ancient Germanic tribes who gained their brewing knowledge from the Egyptians. These early Germanic tribes were brewing dark barley-based beer centuries before Ceasar, the Roman conqueror arrived. The Braunschweiger Mumme brewery in Braunschweig first brewed Schwarzbier in production as early as 1390 and the brewing style later spread in Thuringia around 1543. The Schwarzbier style of lager was then popularly brewed throughout Germany and later adapted by brewers anywhere in the world today.  Make Beer – Dark Lagers – Schwarzbier German Black Beer


This German black beer is bottom-fermenting with a prominent opaque, black color due to the dark malt base. It has a bittersweet, chocolatey with hints of coffee flavor. Schwarzbier has a soft, dry and milder taste despite its dark color. It is less bitter than the British beers because of the absence of roasted barley. The alcohol strength or ABV usually ranges from 3.8-5.0%. The perfect taste of Schwarzbier can be achieved by a careful and equal balance between the malt base, specialty grains and hops. The dark color should be achieved without the noticeable roasted flavor.  Learn how to make beer and create your own version this classic German lager using this all-grain recipe. It makes 5 gallons of Schwarzbier black beer. It uses a 2 -step infusion mash for the protein rest and sugar rest.


Amount Specific Ingredient Type
9 lbs Weyermanns Dark Munich malt (9.0 SRM) malt/grains
1 lb Weyermanns Pilsner malt (1.8 SRM) malt/grains
8 oz Fawcett & Sons Chocolate Malt (380 SRM) malt/grains
1.50 oz (17.1 IBU) Hallertauer Hersbrucker (3.20%) hops (60 min)
1.00 oz (6.9 IBU) Hallertauer (3.20%) hops (20 min)
1 White Labs Servomyces yeast (10 min)
1 tsp. White Labs Yeast Nutrient yeast (10 min)
1 tsp. Irish Moss misc (10 min)
White Labs WLP885 Zurich Lager yeast

Brewing Instructions

Step 1

Clean and sanitize each piece of equipment that will come in contact with your beer.

Step 2

Pour the crushed grains into the mash tun and soak with water at water-to-grain ratio of 1.25-1.5 quarts per pound to achieve a mash temperature.
Use a step-mash schedule of 30 minutes at 122°F, 30 minutes at 154°F and 10 minutes at 168°F.

Step 3

Sparge with 3 1/2 gallons of water at 170oF and boil for about 90 minutes.

Step 4

Add the Hersbrucker hops after 60 minutes of boiling. Boil for another 20 minutes and add in the 1.0 oz hops. Add in the yeast nutrients together with the Irish moss 10 minutes prior to the end of the boil. Remove from heat.

Step 5

Cool the wort and pitch the yeast, then ferment at 50–60°F range. Primary fermentation should be completed in two weeks. When the fermentation activity slows down and has reached the final gravity, rack it to the secondary fermenter for lagering.

Step 6

Lager your beer by gradually reducing your brew’s temperature by about 2°F per day or until it gets down to 28°F. Lagering your Schwarzbier will take at least four weeks.

Step 7

Prime and bottle. Finally store it at around 40°F(4°C) for about a month to get the real taste of Schwarzbier.

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