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Lager!

25/03/2016

I’ve had the ability to brew lager beer for many moons now (or rather, ferment the beer in a low temperature), thanks to my fermentation chamber. However, I haven’t gotten round to it, because if you brew them the traditional way you have to keep the beer cold for at least a month after it has stopped fermenting. This has the downside, obviously, of keeping the chamber occupied for that period. Of course, you could brew something during that time that isn’t too picky about the temperature, say a saison but still, this has felt like too large a limitation. But is that long lagering period in the cold really necessary? Brulosophy doesn’t seem to think so and as usual, they have evidence to back that up.

So, when the chamber became free I wanted to test this method of brewing a lager beer out. At first I decided to go for a Urquel-ish pilsner since I quite like that style of beer. Fairly low in alcohol but very tasty and sessionable. After I designed the recipe (quite simple, Pilsner malt and Saaz hops, with a simple infusion mash though, instead of the traditional concoction mash which takes more time and would be quite interesting to do with the BIAB method) and started to measure out the ingredients it turned out that my inventory was incorrect and I didn’t have enough Pilsner malt. Well, not to worry, I changed the recipe to include some Munich malt and after thinking about it a bit, left in the later Saaz additions but used Magnum for bittering. The resulting recipe isn’t really spot on for any official style but that really hasn’t bothered me. I suppose it could be called a Munich Helles with more bitterness than usual and Saaz for aroma hops. Oh, and fermented with Mangrove Jack’s Bohemian Lager yeast M84 which is probably  a relative of the Pilsner Urquel strain. So much for styles.

After mashing it turned out that the pre-boil gravity was way past what I had planned for… I had changed the figures in Beersmith since I had ended up with higher PreboilG in a few of the previous patches but obviously I had corrected the figures in a wrong direction. After brewing I used the numbers from couple of recent boils to change the equipment profile so that the recipes would reflect reality – the only way I could get them to match was to set the efficiency to around 90% which can’t be right… I’m at a loss to why but at least the amount of water and malt now seem to be inline with the resulting gravity. (Any advice would be appreciated). I used some boiled water to top up the wort after boiling but it still ended up a few point higher than planned. In hindsight, just looking at the amount of malt should have been enough but I think I’ve fallen in to habit of just trusting the software…

Here is the recipe as it turned out. Anyway, the interesting part isn’t the recipe itself but how the brulosophy fermentation schedule turns out. This beer is in the “lager” phase now and clearing out nicely.

Recipe :

—————-
Target Batch Size (Litres/Gallons): 17.00 / 4,49
Total Grain (Kg/Pounds): 2,98 / 6,56
Anticipated OG: 1.050
Anticipated SRM:  4,1
Anticipated IBU: 29,0
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Fermentables
—————–
73,8% 2,2kg / 4,85 lbs  – Pilsner malt, Weyermann
23,5% 0,7kg / 1,54 lbs – Munich II malt, Weyermann
2,7 %   80g / 2,8 oz – Acidulated malt

Hops
——–
10g / 0, 35 0z. Magnum (Pellet, 11% AA) @ 90 min for 17,6 IBU
20g / 0,7 oz. Saaz (Pellet, 3,75% AA) @ 30 min for 8,6 IBU
20g / 0,7 oz. Saaz (Pellet, 3,75% AA) 15 min hop-stand

Extras

———-
½ Tablet of Whirlfloc @ 10 Min.
½ Teaspoon of yeast nutrient @ 10 Min.
2g / 0,07 oz Gypsum in mash
2g / 0,07 oz Calcium Chloride in mash

Yeast
———

Mangrove Jack’s Bohemian Lager yeast M84, 2 packets rehydrated

Mash
———————–
26 Litre BIAB @ 66 Celsius for 60 mins (6,8Gal/150F)

7/3/16 Single infusion mash, Preboil gravity too high (had to check the refractometer reading to be sure). OG at 1,054, topped of with about a liter of boiled water. Added two packets of rehydrated M84 to be sure to end up with enough cells. Set to ferment at 11C/51,8F

9/3/16 Loong lag, some bubbles evident at 36 hours.

12/3/16 High krausen, strong fermentation

13/3/16 took a gravity reading, past half-way point at 1,030. Started to ramp up the temperature 1C per 12 hours up to 18C/64F

21/3/16 Some slight fermentation visible, will leave at 18C for a few days

23/3/16 From the two options, decided to crash the the beer to 1C/33F straight away

25/3/16 Clearing up nicely

28/2/16 Moved to a keg and lifted to the kegerator to carbonate, used the yeast cake for the Indian Pale Lager. Sample tasted very malty with a hint of Saaz spice. Already very clear.

 

 

 

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