Monday, August 13, 2012

May The Schwarz-Bier With You

Schwarz in German means "black" and bier means "beer".  So schwarzbier literally means "black beer" in German (Pronounced "shvahrts-beer").  It was only recently that I was able to sample an actual imported schwarzbier.  Turns out that the only place that I've been able to get a kostrizer in Arkansas (at least central AR) is at the flying saucer in Little Rock.  Schwarzbier is a dark beer similar to a porter or stout except that being a lager gives it a cleaner crisper finish that tends to smooth out the roast character in the beer.  Schwarbier has a very mild, almost bittersweet, notes of chocolate and coffee.  Over all a very smooth beer to drink and at around 4-5% ABV very session-able as well. So after trying kostizer I decided that I needed to try brewing this style and because of the name and the schwartz line in "Spaceballs", I decided to name it "May The Schwarz-Bier With You".

Since I've been on a diet here recently, it has been hard to brew.  So I used my vacation time to fit in a brew day along with a break from my diet.  Of course writing this while on a diet is fairly hard as well.  The roasted malts in this brew consisted of carafa III and roasted barley.  I was going to add the roasted grains late in the mash as to impart less of the roast character but the home brew supply I order from crushed all the grains together.  So I may do that next time I brew this.
Yeast Starter
I seen other recipes call for german lager yeast.  So I used whitelabs german lager (WLP830).  The use by date on the yeast was October of 2012.  I made a 1.5 quart starter and put it on the stir plate but 24 hours later I checked the gravity and even though fermentation had taken place it didn't ferment very much.  Just in case I decided to pick up another vial of WLP830 to pitch along with the starter on brew day.  
Middle of Mash
My strike temp was 165*F to hit a target temp of 153*F.  Originally I planned for 151 but decided last min to change to 153.  Very thick mash this time (right around 1qt/lb).  Smelled great!
Draining the first and second runnings from the Mash-tun
The sparge water may have ran a little hot on this one because I left one pot on the eye longer, but still should have been under 180*F.  I forgot to get the pearl bittering hops, but I did have some left over cascade from another brew.  Cascade shouldn't make alot of difference as a bittering hop for such a malt heavy brew though.  
75 Min boil
I guess I have left my propane burner (classic turkey fryer setup) out in the rain too long and I now get thick layers of soot on the bottom and sides of my brew kettle every time I boil.  After scrubbing the kettle for about an hour with oxyclean and a scrub sponge, I decided next brew I'm going to be replacing my burner with a banjo burner and start storing the burner inside. 
Ended up with 5.5 gals at 1.046.  So after fermentation that should put me around 1.012 with 4.54% ABV.