For more on brewing this style, see Make Your Best Czech Dark Lager. For another take, magazine subscribers also can check out the recipe for Black Josef 15° Tmavý Speciál, from Bent Brewstillery’s Kristen England.
Batch size: 5 gallons (19 liters)
Brewhouse efficiency: 72%
6 lb (2.7 kg) floor-malted Bohemian pilsner
1 lb (454 g) Victory
1 lb (454 g) Caramunich
12 oz (340 g) pale chocolate malt
8 oz (227 g) Carafa III
HOPS & ADDITIONS SCHEDULE
2 oz (57 g) Saaz [3% AA] at 60 minutes
1 oz (28 g) Saaz [3% AA] at 20 minutes
Wyeast 2124 Bohemian Lager
Mill the grains and mash at 152°F (67°C) for 60 minutes. Vorlauf until your runnings are clear, then run off into the kettle. Sparge and top up as necessary to obtain about 6 gallons (23 liters) of wort—or more, depending on your evaporation rate. Boil for 60 minutes, adding hops according to the schedule. After the boil, chill to about 50°F (10°C), aerate with pure oxygen or filtered air, and pitch the yeast. Ferment at 50°F (10°C) for 14 days, then increase the temperature to 60°F (16°C) and hold for 2 days after fermentation is complete. Crash to 35°F (2°C), then bottle or keg and carbonate to about 2.25 volumes.
TIPS FOR SUCCESS
Water profile matters here. Consider using a 50/50 blend of your standard water and distilled/RO water for mashing and sparging, unless you already have extremely soft water. One metric to watch is calcium. If diluting drops the calcium below 50 ppm, either skip it or add it back via a brewing salt. Finally, the Carafa III addition is essentially cosmetic. If you don’t have any or don’t want to add the expense, you can leave it out.