Homebrew: Jet Scharzweiss Ale

To brew a dark wheat beer

Every year for Jodie’s birthday, she gets a 5-gallon batch of beer. After last year’s saison, her request this year was simple… but not: a beer dark in color, but light in flavor.

Our discussions led us to a simple beer, no official style, but a fun variant: make a wheat beer, black in color, with slight roasted character and light body.

The result is what we’re calling a “schwarzweiss,” after the “schwarz,” or “black,” in “schwarzbier,” and “weiss,” or “white,” in “weissbier,” often brewed with wheat. No matter what you call it, the end result has been a fun, easy-sipping session beer.

Beer profile

Deep black color conceals a surprisingly light, refreshing wheat beer flavor and body, with enough hop bitterness to slake thirst without being overly bitter. Aroma reveals clove, honey and spice. A black and gold combo of rich color and body.

Stats

Brew Date: Sun., Mar. 4, 2012

Initial Gravity Reading (O.G.): 1.060

Bottling Date: Sun., Mar. 25, 2012

Bottling Counts:

  • 12 oz.: 27 (26 + 1 lowfill)
  • Flip-top: 2
  • 22 oz.: 10

Final Gravity Reading (F.G.): 1.016

Alcohol: 5.7%

Open Date: Sat., Apr. 7, 2012

Approximate Target Values

  • Target Original Gravity: 1.048
  • Approx. Final Gravity: 1.012
  • IBU: Approx. 35
  • Approx. Color: 25
  • Alcohol: % by Volume: 4.6%

Ingredients

All ingredients from Home Fermenter Center, Eugene, OR

  • 1 oz. (.0625 lbs.) Black Patent Malt 500-600ºL
  • 2 oz. (.125 lbs.) Carapils 3ºL/Dextrin Malt
  • 8 oz. (.375 lbs.) Honey Malt/Brumalt/Crystal Malt 25ºL (value based on 20ºL)
  • 8 oz. (.5 lbs.) Rostmalz 400-500ºL OR Debittered Black Malt 500ºL (American Black Barley)
  • 5 lbs. Wheat Dry Malt Extract
  • @60 minute boil, 1 oz. Sterling hops, est. 6.3% AA (from our garden)
  • @15 minute 1/2 tsp. Irish moss
  • @2 minute aroma/boil, 1 oz. pellets East Kent Goldings (also considered, but couldn’t get: 3/4 oz. Pacific Gem hops, est. 12% AA)
  • Yeast: Bavarian Wheat Blend 3056
 (Other yeasts could be: Bavarian Wheat 3638, Weihenstephan Weizen 3068)
  • @ bottling: 1-1/4c. dried malt extract

Options (didn’t use for this brew, but may try in later batches)

  • 2 oz. Chocolate Malt 300-400ºL instead of 1 oz. Black Patent Malt 500-600ºL
  • Dry hop with either 1/2-1 oz. Pacific Gem or 1 oz. East Kent Goldings

Brewing & Fermentation

Place crushed grains in 2.5 gallons of 155ºF water and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain out and sparge with ~2 quarts hot water. Bring to a boil, while adding malt extract and 60-minute hops.

Clean/sanitize carboy and other equipment during this time. Add 1 gallon cold water to sanitized carboy. At 45 minute mark, add Irish moss. At 2 minute mark, add aroma hops. Steep 10 minutes after flame-out.

Remove from heat and cool wort to 90-100ºF.

Strain wort into carboy, sparging through hops. Add cold water until total amount of liquid in carboy is 5 gallons. Shake to aerate. Take a sample for initial gravity reading.

When wort temperature is between 68-76ºF, pitch yeast. Cap carboy and set in a warm, quiet place.

Ferment at approx. 72 degrees F for 3-30 days. Bottle with DME solution. Age one month.

Sources

Notes

2/8/12 – Potential Jodie Birthday Beers… This birthday is 30! Altbier, Dubbel, Weizen/Weiss, Witbier, Berliner Weiss, Schwarz Weizen (Black & Gold). Dubbel or Schwarz Weizen are top choices. Dark beer wanted since last year’s was light.

2/18/12 – Jodie says “Schwarz Weizen, bitch.” [more or less. not verbatim]

2/19/12 – Jodie Birthday Beer. Schwarzbier + wheat. Schwarzweiss. Schwarzweizen. Name: Jet.
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f14/schwarzweiss-66748/: It sounds very interesting. I was thinking of doing schwarzbier this year, maybe I’ll create a ‘schwarzweiss’ to do along with it and compare them side by side. I had planned on a bit over 50% Munich and about 35% pils as a base, I could just swap out the pils for wheat. Did it have any of the weiss/weizen clove/banana yeast traits or would you guess that they used a more neutral strain? I’d be interested to know if they used a lager strain. Ron used either 60-40 or 50-50 Black Malt
http://www.byo.com/stories/article/indices/50-recipe-calculations/1609-what-are-some-good-rules-to-follow-when-trying-to-brew-a-qhybridq-style-lets-say-a-hefeporter. I frequently spend a long time trying to imagine the beer I am thinking of brewing before I create a recipe. I think of the aroma, color, clarity, the layers of complexity and the intermingling of flavors before my creative process begins. Banana, chocolate, rich, dark, semi-sweet, balance, delicious. These are the thoughts that come to mind after sampling my imaginary schwarz-weiss. You tell me what hops to use and I don’t think Cascade is the right answer — I didn’t have any hoppy thoughts to describe the beer I just tasted. A subtle, clean hop used for bittering and just enough aroma to tickle the nose might be the ticket. As far as malt goes, I would select a couple dark grains to give a full, rich chocolate palate and a deep dark color. Chocolate malt and Weyermann Carafa III work well together to provide nice flavor and deep color. Since this is a rich, delicious dessert beer, the gravity is probably higher than normal and the fact that the beer is semi-sweet supports this idea. So, I’m thinking the OG should be somewhere in the 14–16 degrees Plato (1.056–1.064 SG) range. The yeast is going to be a traditional weizen strain and the approach to wort production and fermentation will be standard weizen rules. When I think of hybrid styles the notion of balance and subtlety comes to mind. If you are thinking about a rauchkösch my suggestion would be heavy on the kölsch and light on the rauch, otherwise the dominant flavor will overpower the lighter of the two styles and you really won’t have a hybrid in your mug. aim low on the alcohol scale

2/26/12 – Envisioned beer profile, rough draft: Deep black color gives way to a spicy aroma with hints of blackberry, clove, honey and spice. A refreshing and surprising lightness of flavor comes from the wheat content with enough hop bitterness to make for deeper refreshment without being overly bitter. A black and gold combo of rich color and body, with a surprising lightness of wheat flavor, spice and blackberry. Note that the blackberry aspects are contingent upon getting Pacific Gem New Zealand hops. If unavailable, will use East Kent Goldings instead.

2/26/12 – Envisioned beer profile, revised draft: Deep black color conceals a surprisingly light, refreshing wheat beer flavor and body, with enough hop bitterness to slake thirst without being overly bitter. Aroma reveals blackberry, clove, honey and spice. A black and gold combo of rich color and body.

3/4/12 – 1.060 OG higher than expected spec of 1.048, but thinking this could be due to the use of pellet hops.

3/25/12 – Great spice on aromas. Color has more toffee and brown, so in color range for ~27-30 SRM. Very refreshing flavor, with a hint of roasted malt on the back of the palate. Honey smoothness, no harsh alcohols; mellow with a touch of spice. Wow. OG was higher than target, but the 5.7% ABV is still mellow and pleasant.

4/8/12 – Debuted this beer at Jodie’s birthday party, and it was very well-received. Lots of compliments on the body, flavor and style. Want to continue refining recipe!



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Anthony St. Clair - Travel Fantasy Author / Craft Beer Writer / Business Copywriter

Author and copywriter Anthony St. Clair has specialized in online content since 2000, blogged since 2004 and is the author of the Rucksack Universe travel fantasy series.

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