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Schwarzbier

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Schwarzbier, also called Black Beer, is a German lager traditionally brewed in Thuringia and Franconia in Germany.

Schwarzbier is a rich, malty, moderately hoppy lager similar to a Munich Dunkel. However, in Schwarzbier, dark roasted malts are used to give the beer a very dark color and a mild roasted or chocolate flavor, very different from (and lower in intensity than) the roasted character of a Dry Stout.

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History of Schwarzbier

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Brewing Schwarzbier

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Competition Styles

Both the BJCP and the GABF recognize Schwarzbier as a distinct style.

BJCP Style Guidelines

Schwarzbier

4C. Schwarzbier Vital Statistics
BJCP Style Guideline Definition (2004)
IBUs: 22-32 SRM: 17-30+ OG: 1.046-1.052 FG: 1.010-1.016 ABV: 4.4-5.4
Aroma: Low to moderate malt, with low aromatic sweetness and/or hints of roast malt often apparent. The malt can be clean and neutral or rich and Munich-like, and may have a hint of caramel. The roast can be coffee-like but should never be burnt. A low noble hop aroma is optional. Clean lager yeast character (light sulfur possible) with no fruity esters or diacetyl.
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.
Flavor: Low to moderate malt, with low aromatic sweetness and/or hints of roast malt often apparent. The malt can be clean and neutral or rich and Munich-like, and may have a hint of caramel. The roast can be coffee-like but should never be burnt. A low noble hop aroma is optional. Clean lager yeast character (light sulfur possible) with no fruity esters or diacetyl.
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: Low to moderate malt, with low aromatic sweetness and/or hints of roast malt often apparent. The malt can be clean and neutral or rich and Munich-like, and may have a hint of caramel. The roast can be coffee-like but should never be burnt. A low noble hop aroma is optional. Clean lager yeast character (light sulfur possible) with no fruity esters or diacetyl.
History: A regional specialty from southern Thuringen and northern Franconia in Germany, and probably a variant of the Munich Dunkel style.
Comments: In comparison with a Munich Dunkel, usually darker in color, drier on the palate and with a noticeable (but not high) roasted malt edge to balance the malt base. While sometimes called a "black pils," the beer is rarely that dark; don't expect strongly roasted, porter-like flavors.
Ingredients: German Munich malt and Pilsner malts for the base, supplemented by a small amount of roasted malts (such as Carafa) for the dark color and subtle roast flavors. Noble-type German hop varieties and clean German lager yeasts are preferred.
Commercial Examples: Köstritzer Schwarzbier, Kulmbacher Mönchshof Premium Schwarzbier, Einbecker Schwarzbier, Weeping Radish Black Radish Dark Lager, Sprecher Black Bavarian, Sapporo Black Beer

GABF Style Listings

German Style Schwarzbier

33. German Style Schwarzbier
GABF Style Listing (2007)
These very dark brown to black beers have a mild roasted malt character without the associated bitterness. This is not a full-bodied beer, but rather a moderate body gently enhances malt flavor and aroma with low to moderate levels of sweetness. Hop bitterness is low to medium in character. Noble-type hop flavor and aroma should be low but perceptible. There should be no fruity esters. Diacetyl should not be perceived.
Original Gravity (ºPlato): 1.044-1.052 (11-13 ºPlato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (ºPlato): 1.012 -1.016 (3 4 ºPlato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume): 3-3.9% (3.8-5%)
Bitterness (IBU): 22-30
Color SRM (EBC): 25-30 (50-60 EBC)