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Midwest Supplies Schwarzwald Black Lager Review

03-18-01Four months ago I was contacted by a rep at Midwest Supplies about their recipe kits. They allowed me to pick one kit to receive for free in exchange for a review. They held up their end of the bargain, now that I have finally kegged the beer, it’s time for me do to the same.

Schwarzwald Black Lager pours a nice black color with a fluffy off-white head. I have the carbonation turned up a bit high on my kegorator for this style, but I like my beers a little higher on the carbonation side. The nose is a mix of sweet, caramel-like, malt and roasted flavors. There isn’t any hops to speak of but a crisp lager nose is there.

On the first taste you get hit with some nice malt flavors. There are some great caramels and toffees in there which are then followed by the roasted flavors that give the beer its color. The roasted flavors come in and really lift this beer up. It was edging on being too sweet and roasted flavors do a great job of cutting out sweetness. There are some light coffees and general roasted grain in there.

For a beer that to the untrained eye looks like it could be thick and malty, this beer stays away from it. It is very light in the mouthfeel and all of the flavors stay in restraint. This is a very drinkable beer that is perfect for late winter/early spring. I want to thank Midwest Supplies again for including me in this. I have ordered from them in the past and I will do so in the future. They carry a great line of beer kits along with whatever else you would need if you are getting into brewing or if you are an experienced brewer.

Schwarzwald Black Lager Brew Day

I was contacted by the nice folks at Midwest Supplies a few weeks ago asking if I would be interested in reviewing one of their kits and/or doing a article or two for them. I was happy to take them up on their offer and I grabbed their Schwarzwald Black Lager kit. The beer is modeled after a traditional German Schwarzbier (German for black lager). It’s a beer style that I have always liked, but never attempted to brew.

I really like the box that this beer kit ships in. I should quickly note that this is the first partial mash beer that I have done in three or four years. The kit comes with some grain, a half gallon of liquid malt extra, hops, yeast, Sinamar color extract, and everything else that you would need to brew this beer ingredient wise. Midwest puts sticker on the side of the box to let you know what you should find in the kit as well as the expected color of the beer.

I followed the included directions to the “T” so that I could accurately review this beer kit. The grains that came with my kit did not appear to be crush so I sent them through the grain mill and filled my muslin bag with them. I heated 2 gallons of water to 155 degree and steeped the grains for a half hour. After the half hour, I removed the pot from the burned and let grains sit in the water for another ten minutes. You can see the color change that took place during that time below.

I removed the grains an put them in the box that the kit came in (a nice and easy way to dispose of your spent grains). I only made one change from the directions and added a gallon of water before adding the liquid malt extract and boiling. I did this because I didn’t want to scorch the extract and come away with a “homebrewed flavor.” After boiling and adding the hops as described in the directions I cooled the wort and added two and a half gallons of additional water. I then shook the carboy to oxygenate the wort and added the yeast. The final product looks like this.

My basement is sitting right around 57 degrees at this time of the year, which is perfect for primary fermentation. I’ll leave it in the carboy for two weeks and then transfer to another carboy that will be held at a colder temperature for eight weeks or so. As of right now the carboy is sitting with all of her brothers and sisters.

I’ll give an update to this one after I get a first tasting.