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.
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.
Brew Date: Sun., Mar. 4, 2012
Initial Gravity Reading (O.G.): 1.060
Bottling Date: Sun., Mar. 25, 2012
- 12 oz.: 27 (26 + 1 lowfill)
- Flip-top: 2
- 22 oz.: 10
Final Gravity Reading (F.G.): 1.016
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%
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.
- Hans Weissbier (p. 333-4) and Frog & Rosbif’s Brown Wheat Coriander Ale (p. 337-340). Papazian, Charlie, Microbrewed Adventures: A Lupulin Filled Journey to the Heart and Flavor of the World’s Great Craft Beers. p. 267-269. Collins, HarperCollins Publishers, 2005.
- German Weizenbier (or Weissbier), p. 137, Papazian, Charlie, The Complete Joy of Homebrewing, 3rd Ed.. Collins, HarperCollins Publishers, 2003.
- How to Brew: Everything You Need To Know To Brew Beer Right The First Time, p. 125, p. 45-64, p. 66-67. Palmer, John J. Brewers Publications, 2006.
- 4C. Schwarzbier (Black Beer), Category 04, BJCP 2008 Style Guidelines
- 15A. Weizen/Weissbier, Category 15, BJCP 2008 Style Guidelines
- TastyBrew Recipe Calculator
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‚Äôt think Cascade is the right answer ‚Äî I didn‚Äôt 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‚Äôm thinking the OG should be somewhere in the 14‚Äì16 degrees Plato (1.056‚Äì1.064 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 rauchk√∂sch my suggestion would be heavy on the k√∂lsch and light on the rauch, otherwise the dominant flavor will overpower the lighter of the two styles and you really won‚Äôt 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!