Tasting Notes: Scwarzbier (Beer #40)

December 9, 2012 by Jack

The keg of Schwarzbier that I brewed the same day as the Vienna Lager was a big hit at Thanksgiving and is getting kind of low. I figured I should get some tasting notes before I fill some bottles to store for the spring competitions and the keg kicks.

Vital Stats:
Target OG: 1.047 Actual OG: 1.053
Target FG: 1.009 Actual FG: 1.012
ABV: 5.4%
Color: 23 SRMĀ (Calculated)
Bitterness: 31.3 IBU (Calculated)
Yeast: White Labs WLP830 German Lager Yeast
Fermentation Temperature:50°F until 90% finshed, then 67°F for 3 days

Light clean, crackery malt aroma. Crisp floral/spicy hop aroma. Low but notable nutty roastiness. No diacetyl, DMS, or sulfer.

Deep brown to black with ruby highlights. Huge light-tan head with very good persistance and lacing. Had to allow the head to settle before completing the pour. Slightly hazy.

Clean pilsner-like malt flavor backed up by bright noble hop character. Touch of roastiness. Roast is more prominent in the aroma than in the flavor. Clean bitterness carries into and beyond the dry finish. No diacetyl, DMS, or sulfur.

Medium-light body. Medium carbonation. Smooth mouthfeel and bitterness. No astringency.

Overall Impression
A clean, crisp pilsner-like black beer. Roast character is present but does not dominate. Roast, smooth base malt, hop flavor, and crisp bitterness are all well balanced, leaning towards the hoppy side. Very drinkable.

I am very happy with how this beer has progressed. When it was a few weeks old I felt it was far too roasty. As recently as a couple weeks ago – when I last tasted it – it was still too roasty. But today it’s very clean and crisp with the roast character playing a subtle supporting role. Hopefully the bottles I fill hold up for the competitions in March and April that I plan to enter it in.

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