Schwarzbier Tasting Notes

Last post of 2016! Happy New Year! It’s been a great year of brewing. Doubt I’ll have time to do a review of everything that went down this past year, but I placed in a few competitions and learned a heck of a lot. There were sours. Lots of sours. So much that I got a little sour’d out. There were ciders and nitro coffee, and lots of other delicious beer.

This one was brewed from a recipe on Brulosophy’s website. It was enjoyable to have on tap, though I think my choice of malts may change next time to reflect a more traditional Schwarzbier.

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Appearance:  Dark chocolate brown, almost black. Not much light gets through this one. Tan head, 1/2″ head that dissipates somewhat quickly leaving just some puddles of head here and there.

Aroma: Very stout-y: roasted cocoa, hints of molasses, toffee, and some soft Irish-y yeast esters.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body, crisp, overall very balanced. Slightly tannic and dry finish.

Flavor: Chocolate malts dominate the flavor up front, but expands to an array of subtle caramel tones. As the beer warms, it opens up to a more nutty and robust flavor. Hop character is negligible, but the drier finish is appropriate and thirst quenching.

Overall: This beer took few weeks to open up, but in the end it was a really tasty and sessionable beer. Initially it felt very a little one-dimensional with the chocolate malt leading the show, but over time more malt complexity started to shine through. I’m not a Schwarzbier connoisseur, but I have had several German commercial examples and would say this one leaned a little hard into the Dry Irish Stout category rather than Schwarzbier. Most traditional Schwarzbiers have a more subtle chocolate/roast flavor with the breaded Munich and Pils malt flavors still remaining intact. The dry finish was perfect and it definitely retained somewhat of a lager-like feel, but next time would maybe swap some chocolate malt for roasted barley (and go less), ditch the Crystal malt, and maybe add 1% melanoidin malt to beef up the base malt flavor. Cheers!

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