Schwarzbier #4

Having a pack of White Labs German Ale/Kolsch yeast in the fridge that needed to be used, I decided to fulfill the outstanding request to brew (another) Schwarzbier for Yama. Version #4 brought just a few minor tweaks, dropping all crystal malt and lightening the color using just Breiss Blackprinz malt. Hops were pretty classic, Nugget for bittering and Liberty for flavor and aroma. I dropped the mash temperature a little bit from the last batch which I’m hoping gives a drier, crisper beer for summer/fall drinking. For the yeast, I usually go with Wyeast yeast (sometimes Imperial for lagers) but earlier in the year my normal homebrew shop was out of Wyeast Kolsch so I picked up this strain. However, after doing some research, this strain is a little cleaner than the Wyeast version, so I decided to save this for a beer closer to a lager.

OG: 1.052
FG: 1.012
ABV: 5.3%
Mash: 150 (45 min.)
Boil: 75 min.

Water Profile:

Ca: 77
Mg: 1
Na: 15
So4: 71
Cl: 56
BiCarbonate: 92
Mash pH: 5.5

83.5% Pilsner Malt*
10.0% Munich Malt**
5.5% Blackprinz

0.50 Nugget (15.1%) 60 min.
2.00 oz Liberty (2.9%) 10 min.
2.00 oz Liberty (2.9%) 0 min.

White Labs 029 – German Ale/Kolsch

*Pilsner malts were 5lbs of Floor malted Bohemian Pilsner and the rest a mix of Dingmans and Weyermann pils malt.

**Munich malt was 14 oz of Bonlander Munich 10l and the rest was Weyermann Light Munich.

Made a 2.25l yeast starter several days before brew day and decanted most the starter beer off before pitching into 60 degree wort. Allowed temperature to rise up to 62 and held there over night. The next morning there wasn’t too much activity, so I bumped the temperature to 65 and fermentation took off. This yeast definitely likes a little warmer temperature range as White Labs states on their website.

This beer is going to replace the Saison and should be on tap in 2 or 3 weeks.

Kegged on 7.21, finished just a little higher than I was guessing at 1.012. Gravity sample was roasty and delicious.

Tasting notes – 9.5.16

Aroma: Roasted, slight fruity ester (plum like) in the nose.

Appearance: Dark black with a beige tan head. Great head retention.

Taste: Very malty, with the slight roasted flavors coming in next and finishes with a slight fruity ester (same plums as in the aroma).

Mouthfeel: Medium plus with medium carbonation.

Overall: This one has been growing on me the longer it’s been on tap. At first it just seemed a little underwhelming but a little cold conditioning has help things out. Really like the subtle roast character and the level of hops. The body is a little thick and drinks heavier than I was looking for. I don’t think this yeast is perfect for the beer, as it’s a little bit fruity and seems to have yielded a bigger mouthfeel than I would of expected for the grist/mash profile. I was trying to take a shortcut using this ale yeast for this beer, but there is no substitution for a good lager yeast. All and all, not a bad beer but it did slightly miss the mark. Cheers.

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