2018-05-07

01B - American Lager - MURICA

Style: 1B - American Lager

This was made using all American ingredients:
Macro lagers get a bad rap with representatives such as Bud 'heavy', Coors Banquet, and PBR. But they can be a refreshing beverage especially on hot summer days. This one is targeted for July 4th, about 2 months from brew day.

I messed up with this batch as I copied the recipe from my previous Light Lager which was a smaller batch (only had a small fermenter available at the time). Malts to make a 21L batch went in for 24 resulting in a lower OG. Not a huge difference, but the beer will probably end up closer to 4% instead of 5% ABV. And according to BJCP, 4% is the lower end of the range for an American Lager. 

The full recipe is on brewersfriend, but here's the TL;DR:
  • Brew day: 2018-5-6
  • Malts: 3400g 2-row, 850g flaked maize 
  • Hop: Sterling - 8g FWH (30 min), 48g (2g/L) @ 5 min
  • Yeast: WLP840 American Lager
  • OG 1.040; FG 1.008; ABV 4.2%
  • kegged: 2018-6-1


2018-6-21 tasting notes: This is delicious. A little too delicious. As in, probably not to style (too much flavor for a modern American Lager). 

The 48g of Sterling are prominent in the final product and have a well defined hoppy character. I'll update the standard recipe to use 1g/L late hops (or less) instead of 2. As it is, this tastes like a fresh and lightly hopped German pils with distinctive spicy and herbal hop flavors poking through. The finish is toasty grains and clean, slightly fruity and delicious hop notes.
I could see doing a future version of this that is more German: W34/70 yeast, all 2-row malt, bump up the bittering hops, and keep the 2g/L Sterling at 5 min. This is the first time I've made a beer where Sterling really popped and it's super tasty. I thought it was possible esters from too warm of a fermentation, but on closer inspection: Nope! That's glorious hops!



American "adjunct" lagers get a healthy dose of corn. In this case, about 20% flaked maize. Does this adjunct make a difference? Not much, according to a recent brulosophy exBEERiment. I might use this recipe in the future as a test bed for hop varieties, but I'll do it sans-maize because it brings nothing to the party, saves nothing on cost, and the final product is virtually indistinguishable from a beer made with 100% barley. 

Brew day beer, as this was the day after Cinco de Mayo: 4 Noses' Playa Nevada, Mexican style Vienna Lager

mash temp

Pre-boil gravity check and refractometer calibration. Check out the new "hydrometer holder"(tm)(R) gadget:

8g Sterling at FWH, 48g at 5 min. 
It's a little higher than a standard American Lager which is sometimes 0 flavor hops, but c'mon. 

boil

Into the fermenter

OG came out a bit low at 1.040/brix 10.2, but still within range for the style

Wort sample

Yeast: WLP840 - American Lager. This is a break from my standard house lager yeast which is SafLager W34/70. 

And away we go!

2018-6-2: 1 day after kegging and carbonating

2018-6-23: with all the humidity in the house from our swamp cooler it's difficult to get a clarity shot. This is about as good as it gets. I'm liking this way more than I thought I would. It's super clean and refreshing with a nice amount of hop flavor and aroma from the 2g/L late boil Sterling addition. As mentioned above, that extra character might push this otherwise tasteless style into German territory but it makes for a more pleasant pint.