Homebrew: Lager

Submitted by DM on Thu, 21/01/2010 - 08:44

Whilst it's winter in Manchester I thought I'd make a proper lager, since I could keep it cool during fermentation & cold during maturation for several weeks.   The freezing weather stopped the post getting through with my lager yeast for my first attempt so I brewed a Kolsch using ale yeast instead. 

This beer should be extremely pale, with a delicate Noble hop flavour - just like a pilsner lager.

Mash - 50°C strike temperature, then back upto 50°C in just a few mins & held there for 50 mins. Raised to 68°C for a further 40mins.  Final beer volume 20 litres.

5.0 Kg pale malt

Boil 1 hour 10mins

Millenium hops (15.0% alpha acid): 15g at start of boil.

Mount Hood hops (4.7% alpha acid): 15g after 30mins, 15g after 50mins.

Saaz hops (2.1% alpha acid): 15g after 30mins, 15g after 50mins.

Using the very handy recipe formulator, the alcohol level should be around 5.9% & bitterness at 48 IBUii.   Yeast used: Saflager S-23.

Verdict on bottling: very opaque with yeast still, but tastes like a lager albeit yeasty.   This one might take a while to settle.

Verdict after 3 weeks: still not settled, tastes yeasty (unsuprisingly) with a little butterscotch diacetyl type flavour. This should dissapear with time as the beer ages & the yeast settles.

Verdict after 8 weeks: Still opaque but now a drinkable beer.   A mellow, vanilla-like flavour & a creamy head that lasts.

Verdict after 11 weeks: The 1 litre bottles I brought down to Southampton have cleared - probably the warmth of the house - & after refridgeration tastes really clean with a good bitterness, but not too much at all.   The 2 litre bottles in the coolness of the conservatory in Manchester are still a little hazy & yet to be opened.

Verdict after 12 weeks: Now this is the best beer I have ever brewed! A few friends came over & we shared a bottle - it was universally accepted as great!   It tastes very much like a Czech Pilsner, but with a little less carbonation.   Roll on next winter so I can brew this again!