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Schwarzbier, or "black beer", is a German dark lager beer. It has an opaque, black colour and a full, chocolatey or coffee flavour similar to stout or porter.
Schwarzbiers are bottom-fermented beers, though originally top-fermenting yeast was used in brewing them. The alcohol content usually ranges from 4.8%–5%. They get their dark colour from the use of particularly dark malts in brewing. The malt in turn gets its colour during the roasting procedure.
The roots of the Schwarzbier lie in Thuringia and Saxony; the oldest known Schwarzbier is Braunschweiger Mumme ("Brunswick Mum") brewed since the Middle Ages (the first documented mention is from 1390) in Braunschweig. The earliest documented mention in Thuringia is of Köstritzer from 1543, a popular Schwarzbier still produced today. The East of present-day Germany has many unique varieties of this style from regional breweries. It is often served with dark, chunky breads with cream cheese. It also pairs well with marinated meats like brisket and is an excellent companion to German Sauerbraten.