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German-Style Schwarzbier

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Location: European
Category: Lager
BJCP Comparable Category: 8B - Schwarzbier

Style Description

This is the description of how the German-Style Schwarzbier style of beer should taste, feel and look. However, there may be perfectly fine beers in this style that fall outside of these ranges and descriptions. This information is just to show the most commonly accepted ranges for the German-Style Schwarzbier beer style.

  • Color: Very dark brown to black, with a pale-colored head.
  • Body: Low to medium-low
  • Malt Flavors & Aromas: Medium malt aroma displays a mild roasted malt character. Malt sweetness is low to medium and displays a mild roasted malt character without bitterness.
  • Hop Flavors & Aromas: Hop aroma and flavor is very low to low, derived from noble-type hops.
  • IBUs/Bitterness: Low to medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters and diacetyl should not be present.
  • Common Ingredients: German Munich malt and/or Pilsner malts for the base, supplemented by a judicious use of roasted malts (such as Carafa types) for the dark color and subtle roast flavors. Huskless dark roasted malts can add roast flavors without burnt flavors. German hop varieties and clean German lager yeasts are traditional.
  • Commercial Examples: Devils Backbone Schwartz Bier, Einbecker Schwarzbier, Eisenbahn Dunkel, Köstritzer Schwarzbier, Mönchshof Schwarzbier, Nuezeller Original Badebier

Brewing Properties of German-Style Schwarzbier

These are the functional brewing properties of German-Style Schwarzbier beers, as descided by the Brewers Association. These guidelines reflect, as accurately as possible, the historical significance, authenticity or a common profile in the current commercial beer market.

The alcohol by volume is shows the amount of alcohol this style of beer should have.
3.8 - 4.9%
The International Bittering Units (IBU) scale is used to approximately quantify the actual (not perceived) bitterness of beer.
22 - 30 IBUs
SRM is a scale for measuring the color intensity of a beer. Low SRM grains impart a pale straw color while higher values mean it will add a darker color to the wort. Learn more »
25 - 40 SRM
(49 - 79 EBC)
Original Gravity
Original Gravity (OG) is a measure of the sugar content in the wort before alcoholic fermentation has started to produce the beer.
1.044 - 1.052
Final Gravity
The Final Gravity (FG) is how much sugar is left over in the beer when fermentation is complete.
1.010 - 1.016

If you see an error in our data, please let us know!

Based on Brewers Association 2020 Beer Style Guidelines with changes. Used with permission of Brewers Association.