If anyone ever tells you lagers don’t make great winter beers, smack the pint out of their hand!  Introduce yourself to a German Schwarzbier.  Black Lager.

John took our Yule Lager challenge and thought a good roasty Black Lager would work well for the season.

This week, we tasted John’s efforts. He made a version of Jamil’s Schwarzbier. Jamil admits the recipe in Brewing Classic Styles for schwarzbier is a little too roasty for the style. However, he notes that it had still won him several awards and we can see why.

The roast is mild and not astringent.   While there are certainly pleasant chocolate notes in their as well, the roasted malt characters recede quiet quickly on the palate as the beer gives way to its true lager character with a clean and crisp finish.

The beer is so drinkable, it leaves you wanting more and you have to go back for a second sip.

The key difference between Jamil’s recipe and John’s beer is his use of homegrown hops.  He added all the Mt. Hood hops that he harvested this year into the beer, which was two and a half ounces.  They were added at the end of the boil and although their aroma did not shine through the roasty notes, they seemed balanced with the other flavors in the beer.

John comments that this beer may even be his best stout yet.  He’s joking, of course, but we  do find comparisons to Brown Porter, Stout, and even Baltic Porter.  Give this one a try yourself before winter slips away or put it in your queue for to brew after the next Thanksgiving holiday.  If you would like to learn how to brew this beer, you can find the black lager recipe here.

To get even more details about how this beer was brewed, check out the black lager brew day and relive the events.

Have you brewed up Jamil’s Schwarzbier? Tell us about it in the comments.