Dark lager is a category of deceptively dark, cold-fermented beer styles. The styles are brewed with dark specialty malts that lend dark colors without instilling prominent roast or burnt qualities. Even though beers in this category can look like a stout or porter, they generally drink fairly clean with minimal acridity and roastiness.
As we head into the fall season, this ginger beer recipe from AHA founder Charlie Papazian is the perfect balance between a refreshing ginger bite and a malty dark lager. Use freshly harvested fall ginger or some you've picked up from the store and adjust the spice level to your taste! You can also find the all-grain version of this recipe in Charlie's article Sweden '95: Friends of the Wort in Zymurgy magazine.
Mark McQuade of Endicott, NY, won a bronze medal in Category #5: Dark European Lager with a Schwarzbier during the 2019 National Homebrew Competition Final Round in Providence, RI. McQuade’s Schwarzbier was chosen as a top three entry among 241 entries in the category.Read More
Frank Taddeo of Royersford, PA, member of the Bruclear Homebrew Club, won a gold medal in Category #5: Dark European Lager with a Schwarzbier during the 2019 National Homebrew Competition Final Round in Providence, RI. Taddeo’s Dark European Lager was chosen as the best among 241 entries in the category.Read More
This beer recipe was originally featured in the May/June 2017 issue of Zymurgy magazine. Join the American Homebrewers Association to get your Zymurgy magazine subscription and access to the digital archive!
Amahl Turczyn adds a caramel-twist to a summertime favorite. Expect a bit of sweetness and color from the specialty malts, while the character of the beer stays true to the refreshing quality of Mexican lager.
This German-style dark lager from Red Rock Brewery is a classic schwarzbier that won a gold medal at the 2010 Great American Beer Festival. It's unusually dark color is gained from four different malts and very light hopping that make it a sessionable black lager.
This dark-style lager from the Church Brew Works won a Great American Beer Festival 2012 silver medal and is based on a 150-year-old recipe from Munich, Germany. This version is slightly darker and surprisingly easy drinking with a low ABV and crisp finish.
Charlie Papazian presents Puna Coast Black Lager, named after the black coast of Hawaii, in the article "Drinkably Dark: Exploring Black Lager" featured on page 51 of the Janurary/February 2002 edition of Zymurgy magazine.
The concept of this recipe, and Charlie's article as a whole, is that all dark beers cannot be simplified as heavy and strong. This German-style schwarzbier is an example of a dark beer that is very similar to its sessionable, lighter-colored cousins. In fact, if blindfolded, the color of many well crafted schwarzbiers is often a surprise based on the preconceived notions of what a dark ale "should taste and smell like." Just like it is taught on the first day of kindergarten, you can't always judge a book by its cover.Read More
Paul Brown of Pinole, CA won a silver medal in Category 5: Dark European Lager during the 2018 National Homebrew Competition Final Round in Portland, OR. Brown’s international dark lager earned 2nd place among 189 entries in the category.
Jonathan Lizenby of Harvest, AL won a bronze medal in Category 5: Dark European Lager during the 2018 National Homebrew Competition Final Round in Portland, OR. Lizenby’s schwarzbier earned 3rd place among 189 entries in the category.
Shawn Miller of Cheyenne, WY, member of the High Plains Drafters, won a gold medal in Category 5: Dark European Lager during the 2018 National Homebrew Competition Final Round in Portland, OR. Miller's schwarzbier was chosen as best among 189 entries in the category.Read More
In the early days of lager brewing outside its traditional central European home, several regional Bavarian styles were imitated abroad. One of these was Kulmbacher.
Even Heineken used to brew this style of strong, hoppy, very dark lager. But for some reason it quickly fell out of fashion and is today virtually unknown as a style. Which is a shame as I’m sure its bold flavors would go down well with modern drinkers. You could think of it as a Münchener on steroids.
This recipe is featured in the September/October 2018 issue of Zymurgy magazine. Six issues of Zymurgy magazine are published annually and are included in American Homebrewers Association (AHA) membership. Join the AHA to enjoy Zymurgy and many more member benefits.