This week we sample John’s Black Lager. Its wonderful Schwarzbier with subtle notes of coffee and chocolate in the nose and on the palate.
The beer has a soft and malty aroma profile. The beer has noticeable notes of milk chocolate and coffee. I am not a big coffee drinker but I found the combination of the two to work really well. The same profile carries into the flavor of the beer. However, the backbone of this beer is still a solid Pilsner like lager underneath. The roast notes yield to a clean and crisp lager. A very drinkable beer.
I felt that the hop presence could be a bit higher. Its interesting that despite the usage of Mt. Hood and Cascade hops from the home gardens that the hop character isn’t to ‘American’ in profile. The Mt. Hood certainly helps in that regard as maintaining some earthly noble like character I’d expect in a lager like this. But who cares? Its home brewing and this beer wasn’t supposed to be an exact replica of the German style.
Its a super clean lager with interesting subtle complexities driving you through the glass. Considering Schwarzbier to be a difficult style to balance appropriately; John has done a good job with maintaining those clean lager characteristics and not letting the roast malt get carried away. Somehow the Schwarzbier coffee and chocolate notes come through despite the beer only having Munich and Carafa Special II for color enhancement.
Lastly, for a Schwarzbier lager like this John nailed the fermentation with WLP838 Southern German Lager. I think a big part of that success was using a repitch from his Vienna Lager. Very healthy yeast in a Lager really let the ingredients stand out.
Interesting indeed. So if you are looking to add something different to your spring early summer brewing log give a Schwarzbier a try.
9 pounds Pilsner Malt
1 pound Munich 10° L
11 oz Carafa Special II 430° L
1.5 oz of Mt. Hood hops – 60 mins.
1 oz of Cascade hops – 20 mins.
Used distilled water:
4 gms gypsum in Mash
5 gms gypsum in Sparge
3 gms gypsum added at start of the boil.
Mashed at 150° F.
Fermented for 3 weeks at 50 ° F
Lagered in secondary for 6 weeks at 34° F