> > > > > >

Black Lager

Guinness Black Lager

Guinness Black Lager
© Iain Sinclair

Black Lager beer is dark in colour, like stout. The dark colour comes from darkly-roasted grains.

There are different kinds of Black Lagers from different brewers. All brands seem to use bottom-fermenting lager yeast, but beyond that ingredients and brewing methods differ.

In Germany, there are two types of dark beers generally mentioned when discussing Black Lagers: "Dunkels" and "Schwarzbiers."

Dunkel in German means "dark." These dark beers will be amber to dark reddish brown, with a smooth, malty taste, and be 4.5% to 6% alcohol by volume.

Schwarzbiers (meaning "black beers") are the truly dark ones, being almost black. They have a flavour similar to stout, though they are bottom-fermented lagers (stouts and porters use top-fermenting ale yeasts), with an alcohol content of 4.8% – 5%. Schwarzbiers are milder and less bitter than stouts or porters. They are made with dark malts, some of which can be made from dehusked barley (cf. Weyermann® Carafa®.) For Schwarzbier, the trick in making the malted grain is that you want the darkness, without the roasted flavour.

Schwarzbiers are traditionally made in the Saxony and Thuringia regions of Germany. Braunschweiger Mumme and Köstritzer are two of the oldest still made. Samuel Adams Black Lager made in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, is a Schwarzbier recipe.

Doppelbock is a dark Bavarian beer; Budweiser Budvar Dark is from the Czech Republic.

Guinness Black Lager

Guinness Black Lager.
© Iain Sinclair

Guinness Black Lager

Guinness Black Lager is a lager, made with lager yeast, and dark roasted barley, which is also used in stouts.

It is 4.5 % alcohol, and is less fizzy than regular lager. It is sold in 11 1/2 Imperial oz (330ml) bottles. (Guinness designed this beer partly for people who want to drink beer straight from a bottle rather than pint glasses.)

When poured into a pint glass, it may look at first like a regular Guinness, but the head is less creamy and coarser, and the taste, of course, is decidedly different.

It is meant to be served cold, even over ice cubes, if desired.

The lager was test marketed starting in spring 2010 in Northern Ireland, rather than in the Republic, because alcohol sales in the Republic were falling at the time (21 % since 2001; 9.6 percent since the year before, 2009, alone.) They trialled it at a premium price of 2/3 more than regular bottled lager.

In 2010, the market for Black Lagers was still new and small in the UK: Black Lagers had sales of £2.5m total, compared to £1bn for Guinness stout alone. The American launch of the Guinness Black Lager happened in late August 2011.

Cooking Tips

Schwarzbier is good with dark breads and cheese or meat dishes such as Sauerbraten.

History Notes

Lighter coloured beers weren't really common until the mid 1850s, when advances in production methods made them easier to make.


Please share this information with your friends. They may love it.


Black Lager; Bock Beer; Lager


You may also like:


Bon mots

"My wife is a light eater. As soon as it's light, she starts to eat."

-- Henny Youngman (American comedian. 16 March 1906 - 24 February 1998)

Food Calendar

A calendar tracking what happens when in the world of food.
  • food day iconBratwurst Festival Day (Today)
    Bratwurst Festival Day takes place over the space of 2 days in Sheboygan, Wisconsin (USA), on Lake Michigan. It starts on the first Saturday in August (anywhere between August 1st and August 7th.) The festival is held at the Kiwanis Park and Fountain Park in Sheboygan (the Kiwanis Park location serves alcohol.) Many German immigrants settled here and throughout Wisconsin.
  • food day iconLughnasadh (Today)
    This was the pagan celebration in Ireland and other Celtic countries marking the start of autumn, and the start of the harvest season for grain. The festival actually started on the evening before.

Myth of the Day

Wild Mushrooms Read more >