I enjoy some lager variety in my life, and dark lagers add a fun dimension to my brewing (and tasting). Although Munich dunkel has special place in my heart, schwarzbier is another great standby.
This time around, I followed the Bamberger Hofbräu® Schwarzbier recipe from the Dark Lagers book by Kraus-Weyermann and Dornbusch (you can also download a version on the Weyermann website). In terms of the grist, it’s probably closest to my Twisted Schwarzbier recipe, in that it uses primarily pilsner malt. However, rather than using just dark grains to produce the color, some Sinamar provides the final color adjustment. I have never used Sinamar before, so I was happy to have an excuse to explore this ingredient. My hop selection is very different from the original recipe (Magnum+Vanguard, vs. Perle+Spalter), but I am okay with that.
No Spaceballs jokes this time.
Bamberger Hofbrau Schwarzbier
- 9 lb. Barke pilsner malt (Weyermann)
- 1 lb. Munich II malt (Weyermann)
- 0.5 lb. Carafa Special III malt (Weyermann)
- 0.5 lb. Carapils malt malt (Briess)
- 3 oz. acidulate malt (Weyermann)
- 0.9 oz. (25.3 g) Sinamar extract (Weyermann), added at end of boil
- 0.3 oz. Magnum hop pellets (16.5% alpha), 60 minute boil
- 1 oz. Vanguard hop pellets (6.5% alpha), 10 minute boil
- 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 5 minute boil
- 2 pkg. Diamond lager yeast (Lallemand)
- 1.050 s.g., 1.011 f.g., 5.2% abv, 26 IBU, 21 SRM
- Claremont tap water, with Campden tablet to remove chloramines
- Full volume mash at 149° for 60 minutes and 10 minute mash-out at 168°
- I mashed in with 7 gallons of water at 155°, to hit 149°. I recirculated and held it at this temperature for 60 minutes, and then raised the mash to 168° for 10 minutes, before pulling the grains.
- In total, I collected 6.1 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.045, for 68% mash efficiency.
- I brought the runnings to a boil, adding hops and finings per the recipe. After a 60 minute boil, I turned off the heat and chilled down to 70° before transferring it to the fermenter. I chilled down to 49° in my fermentation chamber, before pitching the yeast.
- I brewed this beer on 31 December 2022, fermenting at 50°. Starting gravity was 1.051.
- I pulled the beer to garage ambient temperatures (55° to 60°) after 1 week.
- I kegged the beer on 20 February 2023. Final gravity was 1.014, for 72% attenuation and 4.9% abv.
- Deep, deep brown in appearance with a tan head; when you shine a light through it, it is very clear and dark brown with a reddish cast. The head is persistent, but not particularly fluffy.
- Malty, with a slight hint of dark chocolate.
- Rounded and bready yet highly drinkable maltiness, with a dark chocolate aspect. Yeast character is clean. Moderate bitterness that balances well against the malt.
- Medium-light body, moderate carbonation, smooth and very slightly dry finish.
- Would I Brew This Again?
- This is a really nice dark lager. It hits some nice malty notes, without being cloying or burnt-roasty. A little more head retention would be nice (hence my lower score), but even so I’m quite happy with this beer.