Monday, December 14, 2009

Brewing a malzbier

Malzibier is also known as an energy drink and is a a low alcoholic beer, very sweet and dark. It is achieved in commercial scale by pitching the yeast in the wort at very low temperatures, close to 32F. That process slow down the yeast activity so after few days, most of the sugars are still there, then it is pasteurized and forced carbonated for bottling.

Malzbier is very common in some countries, specially in Brazil and it is very different from what is called "Malta". I have tried Malta recently for the first time to check if it would be like malzbier but it was very disappointing. Malta is pretty much a sweet wort, sorry for those that like it, but it just doesn't taste like beer at all. I tried few different brands and all were almost the same, sweet wort with lots of molasses. Not good!

Back to what a malzbier should taste like, it definitely taste like beer, it is sweet but not as much as Malta.

I finally decided to give it a shot and brew something like it, a low alcohol beer with strong coffee taste and sweetness. The problem with homebrewing that is the required pasteurization process, so I decided to brew it using a low fermentable wort by adding lots of dextrin malt and lactose.

My plan was to have most of the sugars left after fermentation, so here's is my recipe:

  • 1# crystal 120L

  • 1# crystal 40L

  • 1# chocolate 350L

  • 1# briess aromatic

  • 3# Carapils

  • 2# Lactose

  • 1/2oz Horizon 13% for 60min

  • 1/2oz Hallertau 6% for 30min

  • 1/2oz Hallertau 6% for 10min

  • 1 tsp irish moss for 20min

  • OG=1.040/FG=1.030/Color=28/IBU=40/ABV=1%

  • Mashing temp=153F/Yeast=1084/Boil volume=6.5gals

  • Fermentation temp=70F

It has been couple of weeks in the bottles and it is still developing flavors but it taste a little different than what I recall from having a malzbier. It has a much stronger coffee flavor and despite the FG at 1.030, it doesn't taste that sweet at all. If I ever attempt this type of beer again, I may reduce the chocolate malt and add some chocolate nibs or other chocolate flavoring adjunct.

But the outcome was not that bad. It taste like beer, like a strong and sweeter brown ale.

UPDATE: Left a bottle of this brew sitting in my fridge for 18 month. Check the review of that bottle HERE.


  1. When I was a child regularly had Malzbier. It was also called Kinderbier (child's beer) in Germany. I never tried brewing one but still like the taste.

    The amount of hops you used surprised me. Did you really add 1/2 lb of each of the hops?

  2. Kai, thanks for the comment, I actually corrected the hop unit to ounce, my mistake. Hope nobody actually tried to brew this with 1-1/2 pounds of hops!