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Lagers

Homebrewers,

I was looking at the NB brewing calendar. Suggests brewing irish ales & light lagers in the next few weeks.

Never done a lager before, but I don’t think I want to do a light lager. Any other suggestions for a lager to brew (either from NB or other recipes?) I just got a temperature control unit and extra fridge, so I can tackle the temperature control issues.

Many thanks,
Fox

NB’s Schwarzbier is an excellent lager. As is their Bock.

Also, Ken Lenard has several excellent recipe’s (yellow, brown, black, red) at his website.

Ken’s home page:

Regardless of the recipe you select and from what ever source, I always recommend following it (no tweaks) to the letter the first time…hop substitutions and other changes should be made only after you had an chance to sample the original.

just my 2 cents.

cheers

Most darker lagers are generally more forgiving to brew because light lagers have very little flavor, so small mistakes can stand out easier. I personally think October fests (marzens) and dortmunders are great first lager styles to attempt.

Both offer great advice. Ken’s page is a great place to get tried and true recipes. In addition to the above I offer this: tKe your time with a lager and you’ll be rewarded. If you aren’t patient with ales forget doing lagers…

All,

As always, thanks for the input. Appreciated.

Question - it seems when pitching yeast into a lager, a starter is recommended. What if using dry yeast? Would pitching one packet be advised?

If you are going to use a dry yeast I would suggest pitching 2 packets.

And check this out. It will help with pitch rate:

http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html

Good advice above. Two packets of Saflager 34/70 would do the trick for most lagers on a 5 gallon scale. I recommend using RO water if you plan to brew a light lager and add a little calcium chloride to the mash water. It’ll make a big difference, trust me. Unless you have nice soft tap water. Sulfate can make noble hops taste harsh.

But, I’d recommend brewing a red or amber lager first. And it’s true as stated above, if you aren’t patient with your ales, you’re really going to be hurting brewing lagers. If anything, brewing lagers (at least 50% of what I brew now) has made me more patient as a brewer in general. Most beers taste better with a little conditioning time. I fell into a habit of wanting to drink all my beers at 3 weeks from brew day and was often disappointed with what I was brewing. No more. I try to give my beers 4 to 6 weeks now, a bit longer for lagers.

Oh, and if you’re going to brew German lager, use authentic ingredients! Just like in cooking, if you use US pilsner malt and expect a nice Munich helles. You’ll be sorely disappointed.

Also the more you brew you’ll get more in reserve making it easier to be patient.

If you are going to use a dry yeast I would suggest pitching 2 packets.

And check this out. It will help with pitch rate:

http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html[/quote]

Unless you’re using S-23 in which case 0 packets is the right amount!

Great info and advice.

I enjoy Shiner Bock or dos equis amber lager - looks like Ken Lenard’s long ball american bock would get me in the right ball park.

excited to try this.

[quote=“apf87c”]Great info and advice.

I enjoy Shiner Bock or dos equis amber lager - looks like Ken Lenard’s long ball american bock would get me in the right ball park.

excited to try this.[/quote]

I brewed it last week and am looking forward to Ken’s Bock as spring training begins .

cheers

If you are going to use a dry yeast I would suggest pitching 2 packets.

And check this out. It will help with pitch rate:

http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html[/quote]

Unless you’re using S-23 in which case 0 packets is the right amount![/quote]

I wouldn’t use anywhere near that much. :slight_smile:

apf: I will put my .02 into the mix by recommending you look at our hosts Oktoberfest AG kit. I have one lagering now for the past 7 weeks that I’m thinking about bottling soon because my last sample was pretty awesome. :cheers:

I used the WY Bavarian lager yeast, and yes did make a large starter. Actually pitched on a partial yeast slurry from my ‘Opening Day’ Vienna lager, which if you like Dos Equis would be another good choice for a lager.

Thanks for the suggestions. I’m all about baseball and beer. Where can I find recipe for the opening day lager?

EDIT: In addition:

It appears that I will have to learn how to properly make a starter yeast culture when brewing lagers. Based on the numbers from mrmalty, I would need an approximate 3 L starter for an O.G. of 1.050 using a stir plate.

I don’t own a stir plate - I am assuming its time to buy one?

Can anyone offer a good resource regarding how to build a large starter?

It’s not too hard to build your own stir plate, especially if you can cannibalize some parts from an old computer. You’ll mainly need the fan and the rare earth magnets from the hard drive. You’ll also need an old phone charger to act as a power converter. There are tons of plans online, including wiring diagrams. I built my stir plate for free, and it’s worked like a charm for the past 5 years or so.

As for recipes, I can recommend both the Vienna Lager and the Munich Dunkel from BCS. I used WY2308 Munich Lager for both beers and they were awesome. I have wanted to brew a Vienna Lager for years, so that was really satisfying. And the Munich Dunkel was so rich and smooth - a really nice beer.

Those were my first two lagers. I have a Munich Helles going right now, which will take me into the world of light lagers. Heading for the dark side again with a Schwarzbier after that.

:cheers:

I would like to mention a small caveat. YMMV but my excursion into building a stir plate ended in ~$25 in parts that ended in the garbage. I followed the directions from an HBT post to the tee. I tried different speeds, I messed with fan at different heights in the box, I messed with 5 different stir sticks, I tried multiple magnets but no matter what I did, I couldn’t get the stir stick to spin, It immediately kicked out. I could get it to work in very very shallow water but that was it. So I just bit the bullet and bought the Vortex stir plate from our host here and love it.

I don’t want to discourage you from trying cause many people have had success building their own but mine was an utter failure.

Ha. Thanks for the suggestions, but what I was actually asking was how to build a starter, not a stir plate :smiley: However, I think I have found a couple of solid resources on this topic.

I think I will probably procure a professionally made stir plate, as I could see my attempt at building one ending up in the trash as well. I’m at a stage in my life where my time and sanity are more precious than money. Besides, I want to make beer, not gadgets! :cheers:

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