Schwarzbier, black beer, or malta (in Chile), is a dark lager that originated in Germany. It tends to have an opaque, black colour with hints of chocolate or coffee flavours, and are generally around 5% ABV. It is similar to stout in that it is made from roasted malt, which gives it its dark colour.
Schwarzbiers are made using a cool fermentation method, which classes them as lager, though historically warm fermentation was used. The alcohol content usually ranges from 4.4% to 5.4%. They get their dark colour from the use of particularly dark malts or roast malt extract in brewing. The malt, in turn, gets its colour during the roasting procedure. Its flavor may vary between bitter and slightly sweet.
The roots of schwarzbier lie in Thuringia and Saxony. The oldest known black beer 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 brewery from 1543, a brewery which later started producing schwarzbier and still produces it today. Present-day East Germany has many unique varieties of this style from regional breweries.
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