You've heard all the hype of 'fake news' in social media. I try to give my readers true, original content. I will give you my sources, which I assume are facts, hopefully based on reliable information from authors of books or blogs. Most of my experiments will let you know my observations as well.
I brewed my yearly Schwarzbier using a pseudo-Satz method. (See my previous blog entry about the Satz method of brewing.) This Schwarzbier was actually Frankenmuth Brewery's Dark beer. Fred Scheer, former brewmaster for the brewery, had created his grandfather's recipe. It was my second favorite beer until I tasted the Paulaner Wiesn. It is now my 3rd favorite.
A. Cold brewed beer without using heat?
I'm trying a little experiment in cold brewing. Cold brewed or infused beer (without heat) procedure: To mellow out the bitterness of the black malts, I soaked the grains to get a rich, smooth taste. (See previous blog entry) Cold soak of grains took place in 2 separate ceramic cooking dishes in the refrigerator for 16 hours. Soaking brew water was my version of Munich water - poured out a pint of water from a gallon of RO water and replaced it with Lansing, Michigan city water to the remaining gallon of RO water. I Repeated
this for 2 containers of RO water. The website,
shows that Schwarzbier is good with Munich water. (It also shows a lot of brewing water for a number of cities.) In each container of brew water, I added 1/8 tsp of Calcium Carbonate day before the soak. Shook containers several times before use. At the end soaking for 16 hours, sanitized mug used to warm up dry yeast. Took a guess here with 1 pinch of each hops: Cluster and Perle. Mortar and pestle were used to grind up the hops further and were added directly to the bottle. When Saflager W-34/70 yeast was prepared (see boiled brew below), one dinner spoonful was added to the bottle. Aluminum foil crimped over the top of the bottle during fermentation and placed into basement at 67 F for a day to let the yeast work. After that, bottle placed in mini-fridge for 9 more days cold fermentation at 46 F. Bottle will be taste tested immediately afterwards before spoilage occurs. (Water infusions don't last long).
B. Remainder of batch was cooked by a partial Satz method
From the same ceramic pots with the remaining soaking grains (see above), attempted to boil 2/3 of the water in a separate pot and then added back to grains missing the first rest temperature. Moved the temperature to 126 F for a rest using the stove setting, checked back in 10 minutes to raise it to 126 F again. Waited 10 minutes. My pot dissipates heat quickly so rechecked temperature in 10 minutes. Drained off all brew water, boiled it in separate pot and added back to the grains - this was easy to hit the rest temperature of about 150 F. Attempted to keep the wort at 158 to 167 F for about an hour, by checking temperature and raising the temperature of the stove periodically. Removed the brew water to again repeat: boil water, add back to get to the temperature of 158 to 167 F. Heated using stove controls, as necessary, for another half hour. So, I only performed half the Satz method. Only did a 15 minute lautering using the first runnings. Took it too a normal boil with 2 pinches of Cluster hops for bittering, and 3 pinches of Perle hops with 15 minutes left in the boil. Cooled outside and noticed it took longer than normal cooling in a water bath in the sink with continual stirring. Warmed up Saflager W-34/70 yeast in 90 F water and it was added to quart sized bottles with varying yeast levels: 1/2 regular dinner spoon, 1 spoonful, 2 spoonfuls and 3 spoonfuls. Cooled wort added to each. Kept the caps loose during fermentation. Fermentation similar to the cold brew: first the basement at 67 F for a day and 46 F in the minifridge the following day. Ferment will be 10 days. Bottled and then chilling eventually moved to 33 degrees. Lagering for 4-5 weeks before drinking.
C. How did I find out how to clone Fred Scheer's beer? I had discovered: The Home Brewer's Recipe Database by Les Howarth. Search on "Frankenmuth Brewery The Home Brewer's Recipe Database" in the most popular search engine and it still comes up in the book search. They listed a snapshot of many brewery's beers and the ingredients for each at that time. The specific amounts of each are unknown, but I'm pretty close to the taste now. In this recipe for the Schwarzbier, I'm using lager malt, 2% black malt, 5% caramel 60L, 10% munich, with cluster hops for bittering and perle. My last batch was too strong with black malts last year, so I decreased it a little this time.
D. Build a Schwarzbier using various sources
Brew Your Own magazine's website came close to the same recipe as Scheer's. BYO gives Munich, Caramel 60 and black malt. They also recommend Weyermann's Carafa which is a version of röstmalz. Köstritzer Schwarzbier was featured in Michael Jackson's Beer book as a popular beer in Germany. Carafa Special III may be giving those fig notes to the popular Köstritzer Schwarzbier of Germany. CaraAroma may also do the trick with this beer. I'm still trying to figure out what gives their beer that red pepper note to it.
German noble non-aromatic hops, besides Saaz, can fill in. If I strayed from Scheer's recipe I might try the Tettnanger, with fruity notes, for just bittering and with no aroma hops additions.
Dry lager yeast Saflager W 34/70 is sufficient and should be available at your local homebrew shop. Keep in mind that this is a lager and not an ale. If you are true to a lager style try yeast WLP833. BYO recommends Wyeast Bavarian Lager or White Labs German lager yeast.
Mosher, in his book Mastering Homebrew, has some great recipe strategies to build these black beers. Chocolate malts can be added for an espresso taste.
When you get to the websites that sell grains, hops or yeast pay attention to their recommendations of how much to use. Your brewshop may be able to steer you in the right direction too. Then, tweak the recipe to your liking.
E. Food Pairing
Randy Mosher had commented that bread pudding goes well with the Schwarzbier and he wasn't kidding. I got the old Betty Crocker recipe out for bread pudding. They go excellent together.
F. New Ideas and Improvements
Instead of a cold water infusion of the malts and hops, I've been considering an infusion without the cooking using vodka. This would preserve it longer, but I'm just not sure about yeast added to a vodka extract.