Monthly Archives: November 2014

Schwarzbier a la Modelo

My adventure in brewing my first lager after all these years got off to a great start.  The homebrew store I ordered from, Austin Homebrew Supply sent along Chocolate Malt instead of Carafa II for my Vienna Lager.  I didn’t notice right away and after a few weeks when I got ready to brew I realized what I had and had to punt.  With my Mexican Lager Yeast finishing up it’s 36th hour on the stir-plate I was all it.

Schwarzbier 2014

Mexican Lager Yeast Taking Off

I went ahead and quickly reformulated my recipe on the fly subbing in a little chocolate malt and a touch of roasted barley for the carafa II knowing it wouldn’t be the same.  I didn’t realize at the time that my recipe became nearly identical to a Schwarzbier recipe in ‘Brewing Classic Styles‘ by Jamil Zainasheff & John Palmer.  So, I am not nearly as disappointed as I originally was when I first noticed and scrambled to pull up ‘BrewMate‘ recipe calculator and put this together.

I also had some challenges with my grain bag (doing this brew in the bag method of course) being a little too fine.  My splendid wife sewed up a grain bag for me with my custom dimensions but when she went to buy the voile she was convinced by a lady at the unnamed fabric store that ‘all the brewers like to use muslin’ for grain bags.  Not true at all.  The muslin material when pulled out of the pot at 150F retained the water and it took at least 5 minutes for a lot of it to drain… not all of it, a lot of it.

Well, other than that it was a good brew day.  I brewed with a co-worker who made a 5 gallon batch of an IPA and because I also forgot my propane and burner, we had to split up our time on his burner… I was on quite a streak.

aluminum kettle

Newly added valve and Thermometer

On to the recipe- 3 gallons like I like to roll!  (works well with the 2.5 gallon kegs)


Schwarzbier 2014

Recipe Specs
Batch Size (G): 3.0
Total Grain (lb): 5.913
Total Hops (oz): 0.75
Original Gravity (OG): 1.052 (°P): 12.9
Final Gravity (FG): 1.013 (°P): 3.3
Alcohol by Volume (ABV): 5.11 %
Colour (SRM): 14.7 (EBC): 29.0
Bitterness (IBU): 22.4 (Average)
Brewhouse Efficiency (%): 70
Boil Time (Minutes): 90

Grain Bill
2.500 lb Vienna (42.28%)
1.750 lb Pilsner (29.6%)
1.500 lb Munich I (25.37%)
0.100 lb Chocolate (1.69%)
0.063 lb Roasted Barley (1.07%)

Hop Bill
0.50 oz Hallertau Tradition Pellet (5.7% Alpha) @ 60 Minutes (Boil) (0.2 oz/Gal)
0.25 oz Hallertau Tradition Pellet (5.7% Alpha) @ 10 Minutes (Boil) (0.1 oz/Gal)

Misc Bill
0.50 oz Whirlfloc Tablet @ 15 Minutes (Boil)

Single step Infusion at 152°F for 60 Minutes.
Fermented at 50°F with WLP940 – Mexican Lager

Austin Homebrew sent chocolatee instead of Carafa II, so sub 1oz roasted barley for color and 1.6oz chocolate for the 2 oz carafa. This was going to be a Vienna Lager but the chocolate & roast barley make it a Schwarzbier.

Recipe Generated with BrewMate


Schwarzbier Day 4

Schwarzbier Day 4

Mexican Lager Yeast

For my first foray into lagers after all of these years I’ve decided to go with a Vienna Lager ala Negra Modelo so what better yeast than WLP 940 Mexican Lager Yeast.   I have about 1.5l starter going now for my 3 gallon batch which should give me just enough extra yeast to pour off into a tube to refrigerate for later use.  I’ll post my proposed recipe after my brew day this Sunday as well as some pics of finally installing a stainless valve and 2″ thermometer in my cheapo aluminum pot.