German Schwarzbier

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Beertsipper, Jun 4, 2019.

  1. Beertsipper

    Beertsipper Disciple (331) Nov 18, 2008 New York

    This is a style I will always pick up when I see it. It never disappoints. Rarely. I love the roast malts, coffee notes, and how the hops blend in to balance everything out. Even a Sapporo Black tastes good. But not as good as the beers from Germany. They know how to do it justice. You guys like this style?? Any faves??
  2. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,592) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado

    I'm a bigger dunkel fan, but I love a good Schwarzbier, too. My fave is Schwarzla from Klosterbrau in Bamberg. For readily available German examples, there's nothing wrong with Kostritzer and Monchschof. I haven't had one in a while, but Sprecher's Black Bavarian used to be a regular purchase. While a little different, there's nothing wrong with 1554 and Xingu.
  3. Beer_Stan

    Beer_Stan Initiate (99) Mar 15, 2014 California

    Beside's the classics, I think Uinta's Baba Back Lager is a great version of the style. It has the right amount of flavor, lightness and drinkability without seeming like a black and tan or watered down in anyway. I've tried to use Negra Modelo as a replacement when I cant get a good Shwarz ( a mistake, i know) and i find it and others tend to be too watery.
  4. tzieser

    tzieser Meyvn (1,034) Nov 21, 2006 New Jersey

    Kostritzer is my favorite of the German "big breweries". They do a good enough job.

    On the US craft side of things, Tired Hands Trendler Schwarzbier was really great. My favorite more easily attainable ones are:
    • Full Sail Session Black (haven't seen in a while)
    • Magic Hat Howl (haven't seen in a while)
    • Sam Adams Black Lager
  5. Roadkizzle

    Roadkizzle Aspirant (202) Nov 6, 2007 Texas

    Schwarzbier is a favorite style of mine. Locally I like Rahr and Sons Ugly Pug and Pegasus City's Texicaner Black Lager.

    I prefer the drier versions that are more like a pilsner with roastiness. I'm not as big of a fan of the versions that use Munich malt to get a sweeter finish.

    I drank a lot of Kostritzer in Germany. I don't think we have many imported versions here in North Texas.

    For locally brewed versions I think it's a shame that they seem to be hard to keep in production. Over the last year or so I've lost 2 good ones.

    The closest brewery to me discontinued theirs and it was a beer I drank most times I went there. I've started mixing their light lager and stout for a 5.4% ABV approximation of a Schwarzbier.
    puck1225, stevepat and Bitterbill like this.
  6. Ranbot

    Ranbot Champion (858) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    I also always grab a schwarzbier [or black lager] when I see them. The good ones have a nice roastiness but still retain a refreshingly light and clean character. I really like them.

    +1 Monchschof is great.

    I also really like Shiner Black Lager and Brooklyn Winter Lager.

    Although not classified as a schwarzbier DAB Dark hits the same targets for me (roasty, dark, light-feeling lager) and is really good in my opinion. DAB is easy on the wallet too.

    For some reason I don't like Kostritzer much. Different strokes...
    FBarber and Bitterbill like this.
  7. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,012) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Just like @tzieser I am a fan of Tired Hands Trendler Schwarzbier - that is a high quality beer IMO.

    In the past I was a BIG fan of my local Rock Bottom's Schwarzbier of Nevermore; they won GABF medals for this beer. Unfortunately my Rock Bottom closed a couple/few years ago.

    Jack's Abby makes a tasty beer of Smoke & Dagger which is classified as a Rauchbier on BA but this beer is more Scharzbier for my palate: "Cloaked in mystery, this dark black beer skirts the line between a schwarzbier and smoked porter. The use of a small percentage of traditional Beechwood smoked malt adds complexity and balances the liberal use of chocolate malt. Notes of roasted grains, beechwood smoke,and coffee accompany a full bodied-and sweet chocolately malt character. Smoke & Dagger uses locally grown unmalted barley from MA.

    25 IBU"

    AlcahueteJ, Witherby, mkh012 and 5 others like this.
  8. mambossa

    mambossa Disciple (370) Jun 30, 2015 Ohio

    Gonna add on to those mentioning Kostritzer and Monchschof. Any time is a great time for either of those two.
  9. thesherrybomber

    thesherrybomber Aspirant (261) Jun 13, 2017 California
    Society Trader

    I've found a lot of American brewers go heavy on the roast/smoke. Will have to try this Monschof; apparently its available here
    Bitterbill likes this.
  10. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,568) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    No German Schwartzbiers in town currently but I really loved the Deschutes Bell's collaboration. That felt and tasted authentic.
    FBarber, dagimp and I_Have_The_Runs like this.
  11. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,206) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Sprecher Black Bavarian for U.S. brewed.

    Probably the first micro-brewed beer I ever tried -- somewhere back in the mid-80s (when it was cool to show off with a very dark beer in your mitt).
  12. jeebeel

    jeebeel Initiate (171) Jun 17, 2003 Texas

    Here in Houston we get the Kostrizer and Colbitzer imports, the latter being surprisingly good given how mediocre their Pils is. There's also an area brewery, Back Pew, that makes a solid version called Black Habit. We can also get a couple other 2 Texas-brewed schwarzbiers, but IMO they are not worth recommending.

    The best American schwarzbier I have had, by far, is also the highest-rated one on BA. A fantastic beer.
  13. dcotom

    dcotom Poo-Bah (2,129) Aug 4, 2014 Iowa
    Society Trader

    Xingu. (It's well documented that I don't get out much.)
  14. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,206) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    I can remember when Xingu was the big thing back in the late 80s (early 90s?) -- every bar and store had to have it. Thing is -- it was actually pretty good. Haven't had it in forever, probably worth a taste for old-time sake.
  15. BruChef

    BruChef Initiate (195) Nov 8, 2009 New York

    Not brewed much any more but always loved Saranac Black Forest.
  16. BeerForMuscle

    BeerForMuscle Poo-Bah (2,363) Nov 26, 2006 New Jersey

    Kulmbacher - Monschoff is my all time favorite. Plenty of others, but honorable mention in non-classic category goes to Xingu.
    FBarber likes this.
  17. Lingenbrau

    Lingenbrau Poo-Bah (3,232) Apr 9, 2011 Oregon

    I love me a good Schwarz. Luckily, I've got the likes of Heater Allen and Zoigl that pump out stellar local, yet classic examples annually. If you're ever in Portland (at the right time), drinks on me! Prost
  18. TheGent

    TheGent Poo-Bah (1,796) Jun 29, 2010 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Köstritzer is available here and such an amazing price. I want to say $4.99 or $5.99 for a 4-pack of 16oz cans. Hard to pass up when in the mood for this style.

    I also had one from Catskill (not sure where in NY you are or their distro) and I thought it was very good. It was called Nightshine.

    I don’t have access to this beer and I’ve only had it once, but Alchemist Dark is an amazing beer. I would try to seek out that beer again if I could.

    Does anyone know if Von Trapp makes one? I checked the database and their website but nothing listed.
    hopsputin, JackHorzempa and TongoRad like this.
  19. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,012) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I am looking forward to trying this beer!

    TheGent likes this.
  20. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,612) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Catskill Nightshine is amazing! The brewery is expanding, so I'm hoping to be able to get their cans a little closer to home soon enough. I think right now their stuff can only be had within Sullivan and Orange counties.

    But beers like that, or Moonlight Death and Taxes, remind me more of Czech black lagers than Schwartzbiers (if that kind of thing matters in this thread :wink:).
    herrburgess, cavedave and TheGent like this.
  21. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,612) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    I was introduced to the Wooly Pig Brewery, in Ohio, by @WesMantooth . Everything I've had has been top notch, and their Schwartzbier is addictive. Iirc, he told me that the owner/brewer used to work at Uinta, and may have even come up with the recipe for Baba.
  22. TheGent

    TheGent Poo-Bah (1,796) Jun 29, 2010 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    I hope you like it! It’s hard not to (IMO).
    JackHorzempa likes this.
  23. TheGent

    TheGent Poo-Bah (1,796) Jun 29, 2010 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    I’ve only had two of their beers. One was Nightshine and one was a mixed fermentation, oak aged saison that was delightful.

    Both were on tap in NYC. But I rarely see their beers. Would love to try more. Not exactly two of the most popular styles and both were great.

    I’ll need to keep my eyes peeled for some Czech black lager.
    FBarber and TongoRad like this.
  24. jkrich

    jkrich Meyvn (1,176) Nov 1, 2001 Florida

    An excellent example is brewed by Duck-Rabbit Brewery from North Carolina. As this is seasonal, it should be available this summer - the brewery refers to this lager as "black pils."
  25. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,012) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Even better! I am a fan of Tmavý Ležák (Czech Dark Lager) beers!!

    Na Zdravie!
    hopsputin, FBarber and TongoRad like this.
  26. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,612) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Oh yeah, if it's on draught, then kegs do make it down to the city. For me, they've been on my radar for a few years now because they're located up near my parents in western Sullivan county- and what a great pleasure it was to discover them. So much of their stuff is right in my wheelhouse, and incredibly well made; I'm particularly fond of the lagers and wild/sour beers. They also do a killer Pils, and the Flanders Red is reminiscent of Rodenbach Vintage. All coming out of this sort of forgotten part of the state- it's kind of crazy and wonderful.

    The Czech Black Lager that I used to adore was Herold, but I haven't seen it in years, maybe even a decade. I'm still holding out hope that they make their way back to these shores again- it may have been before their time previously :wink::sunglasses:.
    TheGent and JackHorzempa like this.
  27. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,012) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Michael, my memory is about 10 years as well. I used to be able to buy Herold beers at my 'local' Total Wine & More (Claymont, DE) but they chose to no longer carry those beers.:slight_frown:


    RobH and TongoRad like this.
  28. TheGent

    TheGent Poo-Bah (1,796) Jun 29, 2010 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    A quick google search and that label does not look familiar to me. Would be great to try that beer.
    TongoRad likes this.
  29. tzieser

    tzieser Meyvn (1,034) Nov 21, 2006 New Jersey

    I’ve never been to Rock Bottom but our local Iron Hill (another regional brewpub chain) recently put out A Storm of Swords schwarzbier as a part of their Game of Thrones inspired beers. It was actually much better than I was expecting and worthy of the name (A Storm of Swords is probably my favorite book in the ASOIAF series...thus far).

    I slightly disagree with your assessment of Smoke & Dagger. I recently had this beer for the first time in several years and I was quite surprised and how much smoke character it has now. Back around 2012 I remember it drinking like a schwarzbier with just a hint of smoked malt; now it drinks like a full on (dark) rauchbier with just a hint of its former schwarzbier characteristics. Still an enjoyable beer but I kinda liked it when the smoke was more subdued (and this is coming from a HUGE rauchbier fan). Granted this was a fresh can, perhaps the smoke flavor fills out with a bit of age.

    #29 tzieser, Jun 5, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2019
    AlcahueteJ, zid and TongoRad like this.
  30. WesMantooth

    WesMantooth Poo-Bah (2,608) Jan 8, 2014 Ohio

    This is correct. Baba was his recipe and a great beer. And his Schwarz now is his best beer, and it holds up with any German version I have had so far. Though those are hard to come by here. Conversely, a black lager in general is not as many of the central Ohio breweries make one, and most are fairly decent.
    rodndtube, Lingenbrau and TongoRad like this.
  31. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,012) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    It has been a few years since I had Smoke & Dagger. When I had it (bottles) the smoke content was subtle for my palate. Maybe over the past couple of years they 'upped' the smoke aspect?

    Thanks for your input here.

    tzieser likes this.
  32. WesMantooth

    WesMantooth Poo-Bah (2,608) Jan 8, 2014 Ohio

    @TongoRad Here is another one that is still draft only, but when I come across it at the brewery where they have crowlers, you can do an Ohio side by side.
    eppCOS, tzieser and TongoRad like this.
  33. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,612) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    I recently went through a sixer of cans and was pleasantly surprised with the smoke character. It did seem to have a touch more 'oomph', although the beer wasn't all that much different in the end. Maybe freshness does seem to have something to do with it; or if it's been tweaked it was just by a slight amount. I like it better now, though :wink::grin:.
    AlcahueteJ, JackHorzempa and tzieser like this.
  34. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,612) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Wow! That would totally make my day, man, truly!
    WesMantooth likes this.
  35. denver10

    denver10 Poo-Bah (2,473) Nov 17, 2010 New Mexico

    Locally, La Cumbre and Bosque have done some really nice ones.
    eppCOS likes this.
  36. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (2,755) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Society Trader

    WesMantooth likes this.
  37. stevepat

    stevepat Zealot (598) Mar 12, 2013 California

    Definitely a favorite style that seems to be rising a bit in popularity. I will have to check out xingu, I've definitely seen it around but never gave it another thought, sorta assumed it was like sapporo or something.
    AlcahueteJ and FBarber like this.
  38. WesMantooth

    WesMantooth Poo-Bah (2,608) Jan 8, 2014 Ohio

    I remember buying sixers of the Sam Adams Black Lager routinely back in 2012-13. Disappointing that it was discontinued.
    BruChef, AlcahueteJ, eppCOS and 4 others like this.
  39. elNopalero

    elNopalero Poo-Bah (3,272) Oct 14, 2009 Texas
    Society Trader

    I just popped in here to praise Moonlight's Death & Taxes. An old favorite, and until recently draft-only.
    TongoRad likes this.
  40. EmperorBatman

    EmperorBatman Initiate (45) Mar 16, 2018 District of Columbia

    I used to enjoy Köstritzer, but it disappeared from all the stores in my neighborhood and haven’t seen it since last fall. The other Bitburger Group beers like Bitburger and Benediktiner have stayed, so I don’t exactly what happened to it.