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Malt liquor challenge!

My old (circa '74) high school gang was recently reminiscing about the nasty malt liquors we quaffed back in the day. Colt 45, Mickeys, Schlitz, and my personal favorite the red can of Miller Malt. Knowing I was a homebrewer they put me up to making a batch for our annual get together for the Indy 500 time trials. Malt liquor challenge was accepted but I’ll call it an “Imperial Classic American Pilsener.” Sounds more appealing.

I searched but didn’t really find a whole lot of information other that it was basically a high adjunct beer typical of the lagers of the day.

My plan is roughly to modify my basic CAP recipe. Bump OG from 1.056-1.058 to 1.066-1.068 using flaked rice. I’d also increase the flaked maize relative to the original recipe to keep the ‘grainy’ and ‘corny’ character. I’d keep the hopping about the same around 30 .

original CAP 78% half 6-row + half domestic pils
22% flaked maize

proposed 70% 6-row+domestic pils (split 70:30)
22% flaked maize
8% flaked RICE

IBU around 30

SAF 34/70 because I have it one hand (prefer WY2035)

mash 142F for 30 min
158F for 45 min ( normally I go 152-154F )
168F mash out

normal lager fermentation, etc

Looking for pointers. I want to keep the bump the alcohol content but don’t want it too ‘boozy’ or to go over the top with the grainy/corny flavor.


Sounds good to me. I’m sure I’d be delighted to pound one or two 40s of those. :slight_smile:

What kind of hops were you going to use? I’d steer away from floral fancy Saaz (it’s just TOO good for a malt liquor!), but would agree with a single bittering charge of something simple and noble-ish like Tett or Hallertau, or maybe Mt. Hood, Liberty, etc. Good old American Cluster would be great too. In any case…

Personally I’d only hop to 20 IBUs max. As far as I know, a malt liquor doesn’t need to be big on bitterness, just malt and alcohol. Otherwise it’s more of a CAP, or maybe a “premium” or “imperial” CAP, as opposed to a really big American lager. The old farts who drank in the '70s are not used to very much bitterness in their beer.

Whatever you decide to do… Cheers and enjoy. :slight_smile:


DMT, Thanks

Liberty/Hallertauer would be my first choices for bittering/flavor but the LHBS here in the Ozarks has limited selection. I’ll probably go with Crystal/Mt. Hood.

I’ll ponder the IBU a bit. The good ol’ boys from the AHS class of '74 are reasonably ‘sophisticated’ beer drinkers so some extra IBU and hop flavor would be well received.

You’ll do well, I recently did a riced lager and by accident went way too high on gravity. I did somewhat of what I’ve read. Barley was mashed at 120, took 4 scoops and put to the rice and got it to boiling, tapered back to a simmer. Then got the mash up to 158*. I used basmati as it does have a very unique aroma. 34/70, but bittering was centennial, followed by US fuggles… I ended up at 1.075! Sneezles61

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1.075 is some serious swill ! That’s why we call it homebrew. Style guidelines, who needs those style guidelines …

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Brew what you can, but make it drinkable… not swill:smiley: Sneezles61

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