John’s “World Famous” Dark Lager

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Dark American lager can be deceiving style to the eye. Ranging up to the mid-20 SRM, these beers may look as if they should be exploding with roast and coffee notes akin to stouts and porters, but can taste and smell more like a lighter-colored American lager.

Using de-husked dark specialty malts, like Carafa Special II, allows for a darker color without instilling the bitter and acrid notes typical of in-husk dark roasted barleys. This clean style should have very little malt in the aroma, a mild sweetness in the taste and subdued hoppiness in the flavor and nose.

This recipe is an evolved form of a nearly 30-year-old homebrew recipe from John Maier, before the days of Rogue Ales. For more information on the recipe, and to see the original from 1986, read “A Darkness More than Lager” by Drew Beechum in the November/December 2009 issue of Zymurgy. AHA members can access this issue instantly with eZymurgy and the Zymurgy mobile app!

John’s “World Famous” Dark Lager | Dark American Lager


  • For 5 gallons (19 L)
    • 5.75 lb (2.6 kg) | Pilsner malt
    • 1.0 lb (454 g) | Munich 10L
    • 1.0 lb (454 g) | Crystal 60L
    • 0.6 lb (272 g) | Crystal 15L or Cara-pils
    • 0.5 lb (226 g) | Weyermann Carafa Special II
    • 1.25 oz (35 g) | Perle pellets, 7.5% a.a. (60 min)
    • 0.5 oz (14 g) | Sterling pellets, 7.5% a.a. (0 min)
    • Wyeast 2633 Oktoberfest Blend


    • Original Gravity: 1.048 (12° P)
    • IBU: 47
    • SRM: 23
    • Boil Time: 60 minutes


    Mash at 152°F (67°C) for 45 minutes.

    Boil for 60 minutes.

    Ferment at 55°F (12.8°C).

    Extract Option

    Substitute 4.5 lb Pilsner LME and 0.5 lb Munich LME for the malts.