I wanted to play with a recipe a bit. We have some Avangard Carmel malt (30 lov) to mess with, courtesy of Neill Acer. The Munich malt beers that we have been making have the proper flavor, but the color seems to be lacking. Therefore, I am doing this:
6 lbs Avangard Pils
5 lbs Avangard Munich
0.5 lbs Avangard Carmel 30
1 oz Tetnanger (Mash)
30 IBU Bittering hops 90 minute boil
1 wirlflock tablet 15 minute boil
X2 30 minute decoctions
re-pitch German Bock yeast (WPL 833)
14.3 Plato Pre-Boil OG
16.3 Plato OG
As we close in on the end of lager season and approach the warm days of Summer, it is time to get a last couple lagers in the hopper that are a bit more light and crispy for that first broiling day of the season. Figured this go around, that we would make a light lager, with a bit more emphasis on malt.
10 lbs Avangard Pils
2 oz Saured malt
1 oz Tettnager (mash)
30 IBU’s Tettnanger (90 minutes)
1 wirlflock tablet (15 minutes)
Two 15 minute decoctions
Re-pitch German Bock yeast from Doppelbock
OG at beginning of boil: 12 Plato Starting gravity 13.9 Plato
One last batch before the lager season ends. this time, some minor mods.
13 lbs, 4 oz Avangard Pils
2 oz Weyerman Saured malt
1.5 oz Tetnanger (Mash)
30 IBU Perle 90 minute boil
1 whirlflock tablet 15 minutes in boil
Repitch German bock yeast from Toasted Dunkles primary
2 decoction mash, 30 mins each
boil beginning @ 15.2 Plato
OG 18.4 Plato
Time to make a few modifications to my Doppelbock recipe. This one is being cut to one mash, and 16lbs of grain. The yeast I have been using struggled a bit at the 22 Plato OG of the last batch. I also want to cut back the IBU’s a bit. Therefore, this one is as follows:
15lbs Avangard Light Munich
1lb toasted Avangard Light Munich
1.5 oz Tetnanger hops (Mash)
35 IBU American Perle 90 minute boil
1 whirlflock tablet
Mash in @ 120F let stand 15 minutes then raise to 135-140 for 10 minutes then up to 152-155 for 30 minutes. Pull off 1/4 mash and decoct for 30 minutes and add back in. Let stand 10 minutes and repeat the 30 minute decoction. If Temp is below 168, pull off some of the mash and give a brief boil and add back in until 168-170 is hit.
We hit 21.5 Plato for the OG! Woohoo!
Sometimes the whys and what fors are forgotten after years of doing a certain technique that was added to the brewing process because the book or instructions said it is necessary. For years, my brewing process always included adding the copper wort chiller to the kettle with 10 minutes left in the boil for sanitization. Then after the boil is over, doing a whirlpool in the pot prior to running the cooling water through the coil.
The whole reason for this is to force all of the cold break (trub), hops, and hot break (trub) into the center of the pot, so the siphon has more room to operate when transferring the beer to the fermenter. The trub is made up of fatty acid and protein-tannin (polyphenols) compounds that can impact the beers head retention and flavor. Now, having removed trub from my brews basically forever, I don’t even know what the flavor impact is anymore. Something to be brushed up on for sure. But the whirlpool does do the job, coupled with a screen on the siphon, to keep out the trub and hop particulate from the fermenting beer.
In any case, the trub does settle to the bottom as the kettle sits, and cooling is done. Be careful not to disturb the kettle prior to transferring so as to kick up the trub and get too much into your beer. I taste tons of homebrews, and something I need to identify is the flavors associated with trub. I love to taste great beer, and this is one of the steps necessary in making beer great.
There is a pretty good write up on trub the the 2nd Papazian book. It does mention that trub will hurt head retention and also cause some stale flavors. It also explains how to remove trub, including the whirlpool above.
I love lagers, and especially the rarely found style, Maibock. Not everyone has the means with which to keg and temperature control lagers in fridges and the like. Due to temperature considerations, lagers are what I need to make during the colder months as ales struggle with the temps I have available for fermentation. The thing is, I do not have the fridge space to lager more than one five gallon batch at a time, and I like to brew and have many beers going at once. I also have a storage area that stays in the 45-55 range from when the weather turns cold (this year it was cold enough by late November) until when it gets warm (currently sitting at 48F), perfect to store fermenters. For me, its brewing according to season, and bottling most of our beers out of need.
We used to put an entire carboy in the fridge and do only one lager at a time, making maybe three or four a year. Letting whatever lager sit 4-6 weeks, then bottling (or serving from a keg depending on situation). Bottle conditioning after lagering was sometimes sluggish at best, but worked and the beers were ready in the bottle after 2 weeks or so.
One day, I had a tasting and discussion with Greg Zacardi of High Point Wheat Beer Company and he thought that the re-fermentation in the bottle added a little bit of off flavor due to yeast fermentation and should be conditioned to make it cleaner. This got me thinking: why not bottle and carbonate BEFORE conditioning the beer? This would allow for me to continuously brew lagers all winter and move bottles into the fridge for conditioning as room permitted, or even store them in my storage room to condition until I have space in the fridge. My beer fridge has the space for 2 full 5 gallon batches of bottles, and half of each batch goes to my buddy anyway, so that would mean 4 different beers can condition at once.
So my method for lagers consists of fermenting the beers cold, bringing up to room temp (60F) after fermentation slows for a diacetyl rest. Transfer to secondary and let things settle for about 5-7 days. Bottle as usual, but and have a couple of smaller sized test bottles (I bottle in 16 and/or16.9 oz bottles). The bottles sit in the 57-60F range while they carbonate. Crack one after a week to see where things are at, and the second one a few days later as necessary. When fully carbonated, throw all bottles in refrigerator for conditioning. You may try one whenever you like to see how it is. Lighter beers usually clear after 2-3 weeks. Heavier beers take a little longer.
I know tradionalists want clear, yeast free lagers. But have you ever heard of Kellerbier? And using larger bottles will allow for a decent pour before significant amounts of yeast are added, and the last ounce or so of yeastiness can be left in the bottle and consumed separately. I have made many outstanding lagers using this method, plus I am a believer in natural carbonation, as I find it to be smoother (when done properly) than forced carbonation. I use malt extract for carbonating all lagers, as it leaves a clean flavor and aroma profile.
I love the advantage of always having beer ready to be taken over a friends house or to a homebrew meeting or other tasting without the need to plan ahead. The beer can also be sampled at any time with full proper carbonation and monitored to see how it conditions over the lagering process.