Monday, November 30, 2015

Award winning Schwarzbier recipe!

I still can't believe the success of this beer. This one batch has gotten 8 awards including 3 gold medals, 1 silver, and 2 bronze as well as 3rd Best of Show and most recently 1st Best of Show at the 2015 Music City Brew Off! I've been brewing (and drinking) a lot of tasty lagers lately, mainly Munich Helles and Dortmunder Export, but the Schwarzbier isn't exactly my favorite style of lager. That's probably why I've managed to hang on to this one for so long, hence all the competition entries.

This recipe is straight from Jamil Zainasheff and John Palmer's book "Brewing Classic Styles".  The changes I made were the hops and yeast. I use Ultra hops for all my "noble hop" needs. This one is Ultra hops all the way through. Also I used my favorite lager yeast: White labs WLP833 German Bock lager yeast. This brew was a split (12 gallon) batch with the other half getting WLP830 German Lager yeast but the 833 made the better beer and was used for competitions.

There are several factors that I would point to that I believe contributed to the success of this beer. Temperature control is a must, which goes for any lager. The yeast was pitched below 50* and was raised over a period of 12 days to 68* where it rested for a couple of days (see details below).
Also pitching lots of good, healthy yeast is crucial. For this recipe I re-pitched yeast from a previous batch of lager. I've found that re-pitching yeast makes for better beer. For some reason they just get better acclimated to their surroundings after a few generations. I pitched 500ml of yeast slurry into each 6 gallon batch. Keep in mind one White Labs vial contains 35ml of yeast, so that's a ton of yeast for this beer!
I used a 90 minute mash and a 90 minute boil. When using pilsner malt you always want to do at least a 90 minute boil but I do 90 minutes boils for all my beers now. For the mash, I mashed the base grains for the first 60 minutes then added the roasted grains for the next 30 minutes. Mashing the dark grains for a smaller amount of time help reduce the astringency and acrid flavor of the roasted malt. I also mash thick (usually around 1.1 qts/lb) so a 90 minute mash always helps with conversion of starches.

So without further ado, here is the recipe for "Brunette Lager"!

Batch size: 12 gallons
OG: 1.055
FG: (est.) 1.015
SRM: 25
IBU: 29

12 lbs. -  Light Munich Malt
9.4 lbs.  - Pilsner Malt
12 oz. -  Crystal 40
12 oz. - Chocolate malt (350L)
7 oz. - Carafa II
7 oz. - Roasted Barley

Ultra (7.6% AA) - 1.74oz @ 60 mins.
Ultra - .53 oz. @ 20 mins.
Ultra - .53 oz. @ flameout

WLP-833 German Bock - 500ml washed yeast from previous batch.

Treated to obtain (using EZ water calculator):
107 ppm calcium
17 ppm magnesium
8 ppm sodium
51 ppm chloride
92 ppm sulfate

Mash temp: 154*
Mash pH - 5.54

Oxygenated with pure O2 for 1 min (approx. rate: 1L/min)

Fermentation schedule:
Pitched yeast @ 47*, let rise to 50* and hold for 3 days.
Raise temp 1* per day until reaching 68* and hold for 2 days and keg.