Style Details

Dark Euro­pean Lager
BJCP Style Code
8 B
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
17 - 30 SRM
4.0 - 5.0 %vol
20 - 30 IBU