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Good choice for a lawnmower beer?


I’ve brewed a few belgian wits recently and enjoyed the style more than I expected to since I didn’t think I was a fan. That’s a great summer lawnmower/pool beer.

I also brewed a light pilsner last summer for a buddy who’s been asking for a lower abv beer so he could slam a few when he comes over. It turned out really good but next time I brew it I may sub some vienna for some of the pils while still keeping it under 4%. I’m really enjoying the lager I brewed that way a few months ago. The extra maltiness is nice and makes it a little smoother than the super bitter pils mine has evolved into.

Two things jump right out at me.

  1. That’s a lot of carapils. I use 3 oz when I brew 11 gals of pilsner. That’s plenty for my taste and I get great head retention and lacing. If you’re going for body there are better ways, like the wheat which you could double. Or maybe as much as a lb split between wheat and flaked wheat? I might also add half lb of vienna for more bread flavor. Of course you’ll want to reduce your pils to keep the abv in style or to your liking.

  2. That’s a lot of magnum. US or German? AA? What IBU are you shooting for? Just be sure you check the AA% on the hops you use and calculate based upon that. German magnum can be as high as 14%.

Do you use brewing software or are you winging this?

So I come up with a Starting Gravity for a 5 gallon batch 1.052… I’d push that one up and out of a lawnmower brew…

I’m winging it by looking at several recipes.
I would like to stay with these ingredients, but need help with quantities and ratios.
Learning the software programs (I have downloaded some) is on my ‘to do’ list.

Using BeerSmith clumsily , I changed quantities. Still feels off. The color comes out super pale.

New values:
8# 14.3 oz Pilsner Prairie Malt German Cargill Salegitter
5.3 oz Briess Carapils
5.6 oz Weyerman German Pale Wheat
0.41oz Magnum 60 min
1.04 oz Tellnang 15 min
Safale K-97

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I use BS3. I plugged it in and that’s definitely not a lawnmower beer range. It will be very pale because you have no darker malts in it. If you want to color it you can use a bit of carafa SPECIAL II which is very dark but dehusked so it won’t leave roast flavors in your beer. Use very little.

My efficiency is very high so I calculate all my recipes at 80% efficiency. Adjust yours as necessary. Your amount of wheat is so negligible I wouldn’t even bother. For a kolsch I’m kinda old school and would likely use 2-3 lbs but maybe you want less. With wheat there’s zero need for carapils in that beer but if you really want to use it I wouldn’t use more than 2 ounces.

Your bittering charge is a bit much for a kolsh IMHO but again…your beer. Depending upon your efficiency this should get you something close to 4-4.5%ABV. If you want it lower, reduce the amount of pilsner and/or wheat.

Use or adjust as you see fit but here’s what I’d do:

Estimated OG: 1.044 SG
Estimated Color: 2.4 SRM
Estimated IBU: 20.0
7 lbs Pilsner Malt (Avangard) (1.7 SRM) Grain 1 86.2 % 0.55 gal
1 lbs Wheat Malt, Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain 2 12.3 % 0.08 gal
2.0 oz Carapils (Briess) (1.5 SRM) Grain 3 1.5 % 0.01 gal
0.35 oz Hallertau Magnum [14.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 4 15.0 IBUs -
1.00 oz Tettnang [4.50 %] - Boil 10.0 min Hop 5 5.0 IBUs -
1.0 pkg SafAle German Ale (DCL/Fermentis #K-97) [23.66 m Yeast 6 - -

Here’s a light lager I brewed and mentioned above. My buddy loved it as did a few of his friends. This was for 10 gals so you’d want to essentially cut everything in half or scale it down to 5 gals in BS.

Bottling Volume: 10.75 gal
Estimated OG: 1.035 SG
Estimated Color: 2.9 SRM
Estimated IBU: 12.7 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 80.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 81.5 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes11 lbs Avangard Best Malz Pilsner Malt (1.9 SRM) Grain 1 77.5 % 0.86 gal
1 lbs Acid Malt (2.0 SRM) Grain 2 7.0 % 0.08 gal
1 lbs BEST Vienna (BESTMALZ) (4.6 SRM) Grain 3 7.0 % 0.08 gal
1 lbs Corn, Flaked (1.3 SRM) Grain 4 7.0 % 0.08 gal
3.0 oz Carapils (Briess) (1.5 SRM) Grain 5 1.3 % 0.01 gal
0.75 oz Premiant [7.50 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 6 11.2 IBUs -
1.00 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins) Fining 7 - -
0.50 oz Premiant [7.50 %] - Boil 5.0 min Hop 8 1.5 IBUs -
2.0 pkg German Lager (White Labs #WLP830) [35.49 ml] Yeast 9 - -

Thanks, Dannyboy, for taking the time to run my recipe through your software.
That is a big help to me.
I’m having trouble using Beersmith, but will get there.

What is the fermenting schedule on your light lager?

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I reran numbers in beersmith and can out with the following;

7.5 # Pilsner
1.5 # German wheat
4 oz Carafa ll
2 oz Car-pils
3.5 oz Magnum
1.0 oz Tettnang
1 Safale

All the parameters are now in the green zone. Color came up nicely at your suggestion.
Is this still a Kolsch? And a lawnmower beer?

Thanks, Ron

I get you at about 1.050… That would be a bit over… In the name of brewing, I’d brew yer recipe… See what you taste… you are brewing for… you, right? You can adjust on the next batch… keep notes…
We are here for you, should you need.
EDIT:, when I use wheat, most of my brews… I stick to one pound per 5 gallon batch… I’ve not played with a “true wheat” brew as of yet…

OK first be sure you use carafa SPECIAL. Regular carafa will impart roasty flavor and 4oz is a lot. I’d probably keep it under 2 oz for this style and make sure it’s special because that’s the de husked one. If you can’t find special, use something like midnight wheat.

I’m assuming 3.5 oz of Magnum is a typo? That much german magnum would put this beer around 150 IBU. Might be a little difficult to finish a pint…haha.

“In the green zone” for what? Those style guide sliders will change based on style. I’d probably use something like light or amber lager for style…oddly I don’t believe BS3 has kolsch as a style. I’m pretty picky about brewing to style on most of my beers with all the parameters except color.

Like @sneezles61 said, your recipe comes out about 1.050 for me but if your efficiency is lower it won’t be that high and if you’re fine with that it should be a nice session beer just not quite a lawnmower beer. Depending on your yeast it should finish around 4.2-4.5. My usual house pilsner is about 4.6.

Yes, 3.5 oz of Magnum was a typo. Glad we are not making bombs.
The BS had me making a pale ale. I found the Kolsch style and have that selected.
I then goosed around with the ingredients to stay in the green zone parameters.

7.5 # Pilsner
1.5 # German wheat
0.2 oz Carafa ll
1.6 oz Car-pils
0.35 oz Magnum
0.8 oz Tettnang
1 Safale

Does this look better?

With my thrashing around here, you can get a feel for my inexperience. Is there a book that would fit my needs with recipe formulation that you could recommend? I have Palmer’s.
“Designing Great Beers” by Ray Daniels sounded good, but reviews said it was dated (pub 1998).

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Palmers book is very good… Tough reading with the science-y equations… But if yer willing to re-read it … it’ll make some sense…
OR, skip to the recipe chapters and gather the ideas of recipe building…
I’m not a fan of getting hung up on the IBU’s equation…
Figuring ABV is a spot light… Big… Small…brews.
Styles… I get very dizzy thinking each one I brew “has” to fit in a spot… Pigeon holed…
Find the brew you like at a store… see if you can find out more about it… the set off replicating it… thats were I have so much fun trying different malts, hops and tinkering with the process… Take notes… Once you are close… then its a little tweaking…

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As @sneezles61 mentioned don’t let ‘style’ confine you. You really only need to stick to style for competitions/judging.
As far as books, designing great books is pretty good. It might be a little dated but will give you some ideas. For newer books @denny has written some newer material. I’m not sure if any go into recipe formulation though.

Brewing Classic Styles is a great resource for recipes and I really like Craft Beer for Homebrewers by Agnew. It helped me a lot when I first started building my own and it has recipes from some of the better known and early commercial craft beers.

Also really delve into the BS resources. There are a LOT of recipes in his cloud. Many are way to busy for me but the ones with the higher reviews are sometimes a good jumping off point for a particular style.

Beyond that as you’ve seen guys on here love to jump in and help tweak a recipe so don’t hesitate to bring something here and ask for advice. As a matter of fact I’d recommend doing that with any recipe you find online until you start to feel more confident that you have a handle on it.

I personally like to keep most of my beers within style guidelines but thats an individual choice. I do feel it can help newer brewers learn as well as help you define what styles you want to focus on and enjoy the most. When I first started brewing I didn’t care for IPAs or what I THOUGHT an IPA was. I focused mostly on the english and irish ales I new I liked. For the last 5 years or so my focus has been almost entirely on IPAs of the “west coast” variety and lagers.

I fall in love with individual ingredients and tend to use them over and over until I can clearly identify them and get bored.
You can make any style from tweaks to the same base ingredients. IMO yeast selection is the one thing that really makes a good beer great. I have friends that never stray from their one house yeast and subsequently all of their styles cease to have a style after after a while.

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Some time slipped by here from last post. Since, I have received 2 books (brewing Classic Styles and Designing Great Beers) hoping to create a Kolsch. Those two books took me down a couple notches. I’ll get there, but need to understand more before going off on a recipe of my own.
In the meantime I have a all grain Kolsch kit on order from NB.
On another note, yesterday I cracked my very first beer. A NB Cream Ale. Turned out great. Nice head, full flavor. It is an extract beer. My second batch (bottled yesterday) is also Cream Ale, but BIAB type. Sipping the hydrometer sample, I think this second batch my have an even better flavor.
Thanks to all for your help.


It is truly gratifying when your first beer turns out ok…or even better! Lotsa moving parts and pitfalls for the new brewer (noob) but it often turns out well. Congrats.

Trail Haze from Sixpoint is my new favorite beer in the lawnmower category.

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