Schwarzbier – Wet T-Schwarz

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

I have been brewing for several years and feel pretty confident with most ale recipes. However, this will be the first lager attempt.

It’s not that I don’t like lagers – rather, I have avoided them in the past due to the fermentation temperatures. My home stays between 60-70°F, which is optimal for ales. Lagers on the other hand need to ferment at 45-55°F. Unfortunatly, I don’t have the funds right now to purchase a dedicated fermentation fridge … however, I have been introduced to an alternative: “swamp cooling”.

The simple idea is to place the carboy in water and wrap it in a t-shirt. The water will wick up the shirt and evaporate. Since evaporation is an endothermic process, heat will be removed from the carboy. A fan will help speed the process and ice can be added to the water if needed. This should help cool the ferment by 5-15°F bringing us to the perfect range. SCIENCE!

Style: 13-B European Dark Lager, Schwarzbier

  • OG: 1.044 – 1.054
  • IBU: 25 – 35
  • SRM: 20 – 40

Recipe Specifics

  • Batch Size (Gal): 12.00 (for 10 bottled)
  • Anticipated OG: 1.054 (Actual : 1.055 Nice!)
  • Anticipated SRM: 29
  • Anticipated IBU: 27
  • Brewhouse Efficiency:  70%
  • Wort Boil Time: 60Minutes


The midnight wheat malt is an extra addition to guarantee blacker-than-black beer.  It should be powdered (blender) and added halfway through the mash. This will give maximum color.

  • 14 lbs. Munich Malt
  • 8 lbs. Pilsen (2 Row)
  • 1 lbs. Crystal 40L
  • 1 lbs. Chocolate Malt
  • 0.5 lbs. Roasted Barley
  • 0.5 lbs. Carafa
  • 0.5 lbs. Midnight wheat malt (No husk)


  • 3 oz. Mt Hood 5% @ 60 min
  • 1 oz. Mt Hood 5% @ 20 min
  • 1 oz. Mt Hood 5% @ 1 min


  • Add 3.5g /5gallons of water to match Munic profile.
  • Strike 30 quarts at 173°F
  • Mash at 154°F
  • Boil for 60+ minutes.


  • Wyeast 2124 Bohemian Lager (Same strain as White Labs WLP830 German Lager)
  • Build up a big starter (2.5 gallons for this batch).
  • Needs to ferment at 45-55°F for 2 weeks.
  • Then lager for 2+ more.

Brew Day Notes

This was one of the smoothest brew days on record. Despite the frost outside, I was up at 6am to start heating the 20 gallons of water. Phil arrived precisely at 7am with the grain. During the mash we moved inside, cooked some breakfast and drank some coffee. By 11am the beer was boiled, hopped, chilled and in the carboys ready for fermentation.

All of our temps and times were spot on. In the end, the OG was barely 0.001 different from the expected value.


Nagmay^Schwarzbier^^15^13^12^60^9^4^70^100^8.8^0.3^0^0^0^0^63^63^14^76^76^8^33^33^1^40^40^1^9^9^0.5^25^25^0.5^96^95^0.5^0^0^0^79^74^0^0^0^0^1^0^0^0^0^1^0^0^0^0^1^23^3^60^1^2^23^1^20^1^2^23^1^1^1^2^0^60^154^1.2^1.055^^^Based on   Add 3.5g Chalk / 5 gal to match Munic water profile  Try to ferment between 50-55°F (will require cooling).

One Response to “Schwarzbier – Wet T-Schwarz”

  1. nagmay Says:

    Update: 2011-11-29

    The t-shirt swap cooler did help, but the temps never fell to the optimal range. Instead they hovered closer to 57-58 until the fermentation slowed.

    Time to rack and lager.

    Only then will we know if the temps had any negative affects.

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