i think i'm ready to brew my first lager....

Discussion in 'Beginners Brewing Forum' started by Ron Reyes (Papa Piggy), Jan 22, 2019.

  1. Ron Reyes (Papa Piggy)

    Ron Reyes (Papa Piggy) Active Member

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    Im about a dozen all grain ale brews into my brewing "career". Most have been fine to surprisingly good. Ive even started "blending" some of my lesser brews on tap. like a red ale that did not attenuate completely so its too sweet for style with a dry irish stout. The result is like one of the best beers ive ever had. anyway Id like to try my first lager. I have fermentation control in-between my fermentation chamber and room in my keg-orator so I think I can pull this off. Any recommendations for a first lager style/recipe. I like something less hoppy maybe a Vienna or a Munich???? Are there lagers that are more forgiving like the equivalent to a brown ale? maybe a California common? yum...
     
  2. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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  3. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Have you brewed many blonde ales they are similar in grist to lagers? If they turned out nice and clean and balanced I see no reason a lager brew from you won't as well.
     
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  4. ACBEV

    ACBEV Active Member

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    ^^^ Blonde Ale is a good substitute for lager. Especially if hopped with a dollop of Saaz and/or Hersbrucker late in the boil. My lager drinking guests lap it up.
     
  5. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Darker lagers are more forgiving for the first time or so out. I'd go with something like a Vienna or a Festbier, simple grists, and work on the processes as you go. The lightest ones, Helles or Pilsner, will break your heart even with hundreds of brew days behind you. And yes, there are brown lagers, look to Munich Dunkel for that one, Schwarzbier is a heartbreaker, too, as it's primarily a Helles colored dark. Lagers aren't really any harder than ales apart from the temperature control but the light ones will not allow you any errors.
     
  6. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Keep it simple. Your goal is to create a clean, malty beer. A basic Helles with nothing but Pilsner, maybe a touch of Vienna for color and using Hallertau hops at 60 for bittering and a little at 15 for just a kiss of hop aroma.
    I'd mash at 148, maybe with an infusion to give a short rest at higher temps after 45 minutes or so. If you're set on a single infusion, 150-152 will get you good results.
    Dry lager yeasts work very well but whatever you use, make sure you use the yeast calculator and pitch appropriately. Proper starter or 2 packets dry or 2 packs liquid. Starter is by far more economical...even with dry packets being cheaper, it adds up using 2 per 5 gallons. Shoot for the top of the fermentation temperature range and try to keep a very consistent temperature. Temp changes can be harder on yeast than slightly high temps.
    Good luck! :)
     
  7. Hogarthe

    Hogarthe Well-Known Member

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    Cali common is the most forgiving lager style. They also taste great. Proper pitch rate is crucial, but that yeast strain (wlp810 San Francisco lager, or equivalent) is pretty tolerant of temp being less than perfect.
     
  8. lonelymtn

    lonelymtn Member

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    I recently brewed a Biere de Garde using the equivalent from Imperial Yeast, Cable Car. Pitched a healthy amount and let it sit at 60-62F for a few weeks. I was impressed with how well it cleaned up.
     
  9. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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  10. Ron Reyes (Papa Piggy)

    Ron Reyes (Papa Piggy) Active Member

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    yep ive done 3 blonde ales each to their own degree of success.
     
  11. Ron Reyes (Papa Piggy)

    Ron Reyes (Papa Piggy) Active Member

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    Thats interesting. with my ales I always shoot for the lower end of the spectrum.
     
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  12. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    That's a good practice and I think most of us do that. I wouldn't necessarily advise that across the board for lagers.
    For first-time lager brewers, the yeast may be a little more forgiving in the upper range and it makes the learning curve a little less steep. There are a lot of strategies concerning yeast pitch temp and fermentation temp. Some brewers like to pitch around and drop to the lower 50s. Some will pitch very low temp and raise slightly to hit the temp they'll keep it at.
    Pitching at maybe56-58, depending on yeast, and keeping it there for the duration will yield a strong fermentation with minimal ester production and relatively quick fermentation. It should be noted that wort temp is what matters and even lagers will warm up under fermentation. If air temp is all that can be controlled, it's better to set the chamber a little lower in the temp range.
     

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