India Black Lager

Black IPAs have morphed into quite a unique and somewhat controversial style. First off, the use of Back India Pale Ale is kind of ridiculous with “black” and “pale” being contradictory, and then there are the folks in the Northwest. According to them they invented the style and refuse to call it anything but Cascadian Dark Ale. Don’t even joke about it!

The BJCP politely addresses this controversy as such: “A variation of the American IPA style first commercially produced by Greg Noonan as Blackwatch IPA around 1990. Popularized in the Pacific Northwest and Southern California of the US starting in the early-mid 2000s. This style is sometimes known as Cascadian Dark Ale (CDA), mainly in the Pacific Northwest.” The debate can be argued both ways, but regardless, a style was born. I had done one a year or so ago, which I enjoyed, but I hadn’t done an India Pale Lager, nor a Black India Lager. It was hoppy, the grain bill fit, so it must be brewed and slathered on my nipples.

This was a split batch, the other half being a “proper” Schwarzbier.


Batch Size: 2 Gallons
Target OG: 1.052
SRM: 29
Est ABV: 5%
IBU: 121
Boil Time: 60

47.6% – 2-Row
23.8% – Caramel 80L
17.5% – Melanoiden Malt 20L
8.5% – Munich Malt 20L
2.6% – Carafa III

First Wort
.20 oz Northern Brewer (6.5% AA) @ FWH

.20 oz Chinook (14% AA) @ 60 Min
.20 oz Northern Brewer (6.5% AA) @ 30 Min
.20 oz Chinook (14% AA) @ 30 Min
.20 oz Simcoe (13% AA) @ 30 Min
.20 oz Northern Brewer (6.5% AA) @ 10 Min
.20 oz Chinook (14% AA) @ 10 Min
.20 oz Simcoe (13% AA) @ 10 Min
.20 oz Northern Brewer (6.5% AA) @ 0 Min
.20 oz Chinook (14% AA) @ 0 Min
.20 oz Simcoe (13% AA) @ 0 Min

Dry Hop
.20 oz Northern Brewer (6.5% AA) @ 6 Days
.20 oz Chinook (14% AA) @ 6 Days
.20 oz Simcoe (13% AA) @ 6 Days

Wyeast 2206

Here’s what went down:

Brewed 2/7/15

Made 2 pack starter the night before.

The Water was 50% carbon filtered tap, 50% distilled. Mashed in at 152F. The first runnings were 3.5 gallons at 1.057. 7 Gallons at 1.038. 1.055 post boil.

2/8/15: Pitched half the yeast starter after wort cooled over night.

2/23/15: Gravity at 1.016.

3/3/15: Gravity at 1.016.

3/3/15: Diacetyl rest. I gradually rose the temp from 55F over the course of 3 days to 64F. Held at 64F for two days.

3/8/15: Transferred off the cake for the lagering period. Down 5 degrees a day until at 35F. Purged carboy with CO2 before transferring.

3/30/15: Added dry hops.

4/6/15: Bottled. I didn’t have a scale at the time, so went with volume with sugar over weight. 2 oz being 1/4 a cup. Aimed for 2.3 volume of co2.

4/19/15 Tasting notes:

Aroma: Nice aroma. Well balanced. Slight pine and a bit earthy. You kind of have to dig your nose in to get it, but it’s there. For the style I don’t think it needs more. There is actually some slight ester to it due to the yeast. I honestly don’t think the 0 minute addition is needed either as it lagers for so long. Just a dry hop near the end or at kegging would be fine.

Appearance: Dark, almost slight ruby red if held up to the light. Nice head on it for the style. If it were an actual IBL, I’d probably up the head retention a bit, but for the Schwarzbier turned hoppy, I think it’s there.

Mouthfeel: Spot on from the commercial Schwarzbiers I’ve had. Not too heavy or creamy. Clean and finishes pretty dry.

Taste: Starts off with an almost chocolate flavor, but finishes dry pretty quick. Hardly getting any roast, if any at all. The hops really come through at the end an give it a nice finishing punch to it. Good IBU to malt balance even though it is 120 IBUs. The reason I maxed out the IBU target was to plan for some of the hop flavor and aroma fading some for the longer aging process than with normal ale yeast. Granted some say anything above 80-100 IBUs can’t really be picked up by the human palate anyway…but now that I think about it, that would be a good test. One beer with 120 IBUs and one with 80 IBUs using the same exact hops and time additions.

Overall: I really really like this. I think it has a wonderful take on a Schwarzbier…like a hoppy west coast Cascadian Dark Schwarzbier if you will.

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