Beer Types – Black Lager

Lagers would likely have been mainly dark until the 1840s; pale lagers were not common until the later part of the 19th century when technological advances made them easier to produce. Dark lagers typically range in colour from amber to dark reddish brown, and may be termed dunkel, schwarzbier, Vienna, tmavé or Baltic porter depending on region or brewing method. Tmavé is Czech for “dark”, so is the term for a dark beer in the Czech republic – beers which are so dark as to be black are termed ?erné pivo, “black beer”.

Dunkel is German for “dark”, so is the term for a dark beer in Germany. With alcohol concentrations of 4.5% to 6% by volume, dunkels are weaker than Doppelbocks, another traditional dark Bavarian beer. Dunkels were the original style of the Bavarian villages and countryside. Schwarzbier, a much darker, almost black beer with a chocolate or liquorice-like flavour, similar to stout, is mainly brewed in Saxony and Thuringia.

Vienna lager was developed by brewer Anton Dreher in Vienna in 1841. Austrian brewers who emigrated to Mexico in the late 19th century took the style with them. Vienna lager is a reddish-brown or copper-colored beer with medium body and slight malt sweetness. The malt aroma and flavor may have a toasted character.

Guiness, Vancouver Island, Samuel Adams, Heineken are just a few breweries that have their own black lagers. Pictures here is the Brewmasters Black Lager from the Okanagan Spring Brewery in British Columbia.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.