Style Details

Name
Schwarz­bier
Cate­go­ry
Dark Euro­pean Lager
BJCP Style Code
8 B
Appearan­ce
Medi­um to very dark brown in color, often with deep ruby to gar­net high­lights, yet almost never tru­ly black. Very clear. Lar­ge, per­sis­tent, tan-colo­red head.
Aro­ma
Low to mode­ra­te malt, with low aro­ma­tic mal­ty sweet­ness and/or hints of roast malt often appa­rent. The malt can be clean and neu­tral or moder­ate­ly rich and brea­dy, and may have a hint of dark cara­mel. The roast cha­rac­ter can be some­what dark cho­co­la­te- or cof­fee-like but should never be burnt. A low spi­cy, flo­ral, or her­bal hop aro­ma is optio­nal. Clean lager yeast cha­rac­ter, alt­hough a light sul­fur is pos­si­ble.
Fla­vour
Light to mode­ra­te malt fla­vor, which can have a clean, neu­tral cha­rac­ter to a moder­ate­ly rich, bread-mal­ty qua­li­ty. Light to mode­ra­te roas­ted malt fla­vors can give a bit­ter-cho­co­la­te pala­te that lasts into the finish, but which are never burnt. Medi­um-low to medi­um bit­ter­ness, which can last into the finish. Light to mode­ra­te spi­cy, flo­ral, or her­bal hop fla­vor. Clean lager cha­rac­ter. After­tas­te tends to dry out slow­ly and lin­ger, fea­turing hop bit­ter­ness with a com­ple­men­ta­ry but sub­t­le roas­ti­ness in the back­ground. Some resi­du­al sweet­ness is accep­ta­ble but not requi­red.
Mouth­feel
Medi­um-light to medi­um body. Mode­ra­te to moder­ate­ly-high car­bo­na­ti­on. Smooth. No har­sh­ness or astrin­gen­cy, des­pi­te the use of dark, roas­ted mal­ts.
Over­all Impres­si­on
A dark Ger­man lager that balan­ces roas­ted yet smooth malt fla­vors with mode­ra­te hop bit­ter­ness. The ligh­ter body, dry­ness, and lack of a har­sh, burnt, or hea­vy after­tas­te hel­ps make this beer qui­te drin­ka­ble.
Typi­cal Ingre­dients
Ger­man Munich malt and/or Pils­ner mal­ts for the base, sup­ple­men­ted by a judi­cious use of roas­ted mal­ts (such as Cara­fa types) for the dark color and sub­t­le roast fla­vors. Hus­kless dark roas­ted mal­ts can add roast fla­vors without burnt fla­vors. Ger­man hop varie­ties and clean Ger­man lager yeasts are tra­di­tio­nal.
Histo­ry
A regio­nal spe­cial­ty from Thu­rin­gia, Sax­o­ny and Fran­co­nia in Ger­ma­ny. Histo­ry is a bit sket­chy, but is suspec­ted of being ori­gi­nal­ly a top-fer­men­ted beer. Popu­la­ri­ty grew after Ger­man reuni­fi­ca­ti­on. Ser­ved as the inspi­ra­ti­on for black lagers bre­wed in Japan.
Comments
Liter­al­ly means “black beer” in Ger­man. While some­ti­mes cal­led a “black Pils,” the beer is rare­ly as dark as black or as bit­ter as a Pils; don’t expect stron­gly roas­ted, por­ter-like fla­vors.
Com­mer­cial Examp­les
Devils Back­bone Schwartz Bier, Ein­be­cker Schwarz­bier, Eisen­bahn Dun­kel, Kös­trit­zer Schwarz­bier, Mönchs­hof Schwarz­bier, Nue­zel­ler Ori­gi­nal Bade­bier
Ori­gi­nal Gra­vi­ty
1.046 - 1.052 SG
Final Gra­vi­ty
1.010 - 1.016 SG
Color
17 - 30 SRM
Alco­hol
4.0 - 5.0 %vol
Bit­ter­ness
20 - 30 IBU