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Khazad-dûm Black Lager

Brewed: 02/10/2013   Kegged: 03/09/2013

Khazad.jpgFor my 2013 goal, I needed a beer in the BJCP Category 4 (Dark Lager). 4C. Schwarzbier (Black Beer) seemed like the obvious choice. It is a flavorful, dark, clean tasting lager with a fair amount of hop flavor and enough hop bitterness to balance out the malty sweetness. Think German Pilsner ... only Black. Seems like a wonderful beer style for me.

The name "Khazad-dûm" refers to the abandoned Dwarfish Kingdom of Moria through which the Fellowship of the Ring had to travel on their quest. By the time Frodo and his companions went through, Khazad-dûm was overrun by orcs and other creatures of the dark. It was a dark, black place. The trip through Moria was one of the most exciting entertaining parts of the Lord of the Rings trillogy and the name of my beer is a tribute to adventure. I also think that if Gimli was into craft beer, he would have chosen a black lager as his go-to beer.

Khazad-dûm Black Lager was my second in the series of German lagers using Bohemian Lager (Wyeast Labs #2124). By the time I brewed it, I had brewed Snowball's Chance (in) Helles and harvested its yeast. When Khazad-dûm was done, I harvested its yeast and used it in a Mailbock.

I developed my recipe toward the dark side of the style, using 8% Carafa III (over 500 srm). The base malt is simply a German pilsner and I added in almost 10% Munich malt for more flavor. I am balancing the malt sweetness with 25 or 26 IBU, making my BU:GU ratio right at about 50%. I am adding quite a bit of Hallertaur, Crystal, and Tettnang hops towards the end of the boil, giving this beer a little more hop flavor than your typical Schwarzbier. With its relatively low alcohol (under 5.5ABV) and flavorful balance this made a great session beer.


I thought this beer turned out awesome.

I entered it into the 2013 National Homebrew Competition, and although it did not place, it did "win" a Silver Certificate

For more about this beer on my blog, see:

Khazad-dûm Black Lager --- Batch 1

Schwarzbier (Black Beer)
Batch Size
5.50 gal
All Grain
Boil Size
7.76 gal
Brewhouse Efficiency
Boil Time
90 minutes

Recipe Characteristics

Recipe Gravity
1.050 SG
Estimated FG
1.011 SG
Recipe Bitterness
28.1 IBUs (Rager)
Alcohol by Volume
5.2 %

Recipe Color
30.6 SRM

Measured OG:

Measured FG:

Measured ABV:


Amt Name Type # %/IBU
8 lbs Pilsner (2 Row) Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 73.6 %
2 lbs Munich Malt - 20L (20.0 SRM) Grain 2 18.4 %
14.0 oz Carafa III (525.0 SRM) Grain 3 8.0 %
0.375 oz Columbus (Tomahawk) [13.90 %] - Boil 50.0 min Hop 4 19.1 IBUs
1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient (Boil 15.0 mins) Other 5 -
0.50 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 mins) Fining 6 -
1.000 oz Hallertauer [3.90 %] - Boil 10.0 min Hop 7 3.0 IBUs
1.000 oz Crystal [4.30 %] - Boil 5.0 min Hop 8 2.8 IBUs
1.000 oz Tettnang [4.80 %] - Boil 5.0 min Hop 9 3.1 IBUs
1.0 pkg Bohemian Lager (Wyeast Labs #2124) [124.21 ml] Yeast 10 -

Mash Profile

Mash Steps
Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
Mash In Add 13.59 qt of water at 159.1 F 148.0 F 75 min

Batch sparge with 2 steps (1.79gal, 3.88gal) of 168.0 F water

Recipe Notes

Use harvested yeast from Snowball's Chance in Helles.
Add the Carafa III in for the last 15 minutes of the mash.
A week before brewing, make a 3 liter starter. Let ferment out, cool, decant, and make another 3 liter starter with the resulting yeast.
Cool wort to below 55 degrees before pitching.
Ferment for 2 weeks as close to 55 as possible. After 2 weeks, let temperature rise into mid to upper 60s for a week.
Keg. Save the yeast to use in another batch of beer.

Brewing Record

Brew Date:

Strike Temp:
Mash Temps:
150 ... maybe up to 152
Pre-boil OG
1.046 (1.041 SG)
Pre-boil Vol
7.5 (7.76 gal)
Actual Mash Efficiency

Pitch Temp


Day 1 - 5: Pretty active. 52 - 54 ish
Day 6 - 7: Slowing down let rise to 56 - 58 ish
Day ...

Brewing Notes:
02/08/2013 esheppy
Bought ingredients today. Bin of German pils was low so I swapped in an extra pound of Munich.
02/13/2013 esheppy
Here it is day 3 of fermentation and it is the first day that I have had to change out the water bottles. Temps in both fermentors are still less than 55.
02/16/2013 esheppy
Fermentation seems to be slowing down. Temps in the 52 / 54 range. It has been a week (almost) so I am going to let the temperature rise into the 60s.
02/23/2013 esheppy
Put into secondary. Gravity at 1.012. Sample tastes absolutely fantastic. Harvested yeast.
03/09/2013 kegged esheppy
Kegged this and filled 13 12oz bottles, 2 bombers, and 1 liter pet bottle. Carbed with 4.75oz sugar, which should be 2.7 volumes. Hopefully I don't have a repeat of the Snowball low carb disaster. Sample was black with beautiful ruby highlights. Very clear. Nice amount of roast without being overpowering. FG still at 1.012.
03/30/2013 esheppy
Tried one bottle last night. Real low carbonation. Not as bad as Snowball's Chance, but not what I am used to at all. What is my problem? Am I just too used to kegging now? FTH? I guess I'll add priming sugar to these bottles like I am doing with Snowball's.
04/18/2013 esheppy
I love this beer from the keg. There is a bit more roast flavor than I thought it would have and less hop flavor, but it is smooth and extremely refreshing. Very drinkable. A nice sessional drink.
04/19/2013 esheppy
Killed the keg last night. Sad. Hopefully most of those bottles are carbed ok.
04/22/2013 esheppy
Had a bottled tonight. Great.
07/11/2014 esheppy
Had a bottle. Still very good. Nice and smooth.
01/17/2015 esheppy
Had the last (I think) bottle. Still good.
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