Estery Schwarzbier Experiment

A non-traditional take on an old school classic.

By Chris Bernardo

Aug 4, 2022

A long time ago, in a laboratory far, far away, we celebrated Star Wars™ day the best way we knew how: by turning to the dark side, to schwarzbier. 

Historically, a schwarzbier is a clear, dark beer — the name translates to black beer.” Its aroma and flavors typically boast of roast and chocolate. Traditionally schwarzbier should be low in fruity esters, however one of the experiments we ran was intended to highlight increased ester production.

In our first experiment, Michael Schillinger and I tested ester production while fermenting at different temperatures. While schwarzbier is traditionally brewed with a lager yeast, we decided to split our 20-gallon batch a few different ways, starting with fermenting 10 gallons with Lutra (OYL-071). Within those 10 gallons, we proceeded to ferment 5 gallons hot and 5 gallons at ambient temperature. The remaining 10 gallons fermented in a more traditional manner using German Lager (OYL-106).

May The Schwarz Bier With You

Vital Statistics

  • Batch size 20 gallons (~75L)
  • Boil time 60 minutes
  • IBUs 16.4
  • SRM 22.9
  • OG 12°P (1.048)
  • FG Varies with yeast strain
  • ABV 5.1%

Raw Materials

  • Munich malt
    18lb (48%)
  • Pilsner malt
    15lb (40%)
  • Chocolate malt 350°L
    2lb (5.3%)
  • Crystal malt 40°L
    2lb (5.3%)
  • Midnight wheat
    0.5lb (1.3%)
  • Triple Perle hops
    1.5oz at 60min (10.8% AA)
  • Hallertau Mittelfrüh hops
    1oz at 5min (4.4% AA)
  • Lutra kveik (OYL-071)
    75%-82% attenuation, ferment at 90°F (32°C)
  • Lutra kveik (OYL-071)
    75%-82% attenuation, ferment at 72°F (22°C)
  • German lager (OYL-106)
    73%-77% attenuation, ferment at 72°F (22°C)


Mash in at 154°F (68°C), sparge to volume, boil for 1 hour. Split the batch for various fermentation experiments as desired.

Lutra (OYL-071) definitely works wonders while fermenting hot. Increased fruity ester production was very apparent on the nose. The increased ester aroma resulted in more intense sweet aromatic and malty qualities, specifically chocolate and caramel. The ambient temperature schwarzbier’s malt flavor profile leaned towards roasty notes due to the lower presence of esters.

The traditional version fermented with German Lager (OYL-106) had some herby and roasty aroma with a hint of toasted bread. The flavor highlighted a light roastiness with a touch of chocolate up front. The beer finishes out dry with a very light herbal bitterness.

Ultimately it’s up to you whether you want to run the traditional route. But I think we all know where the dark side leads…

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