h1

My first Lager

June 10, 2009

Now that winter has turned my abode into an ice cave, it’s the perfect time to try my hand at home brewing a true Lager. The first step was to purchase a glass carboy for secondary fermentation which will allow the beer to cold condition over several weeks without introducing oxygen. These aren’t cheap with the current exchange rate but I figured it would be a good investment to improve all my beers through secondary conditioning and dry-hopping.

After lots of reading on Lagering, I settled on a plan that would utilise the temperature around the house rather than a temp-controlled fridge which I don’t currently possess. The plan was to initiate and undertake primary fermentation around 10 degrees (spare room), increase to around 20 degrees for a 48 hour diacetyl rest once primary is complete (hot-water cupboard), then transfer to the carboy and lager at around 4 degrees for several weeks (icy water bucket).

I also decided to do a 11.5L half-batch in case things don’t work out. Experimenting is great but hasn’t been entirely successful lately – the sleepout cupboard is full of dodgy wheat-beer and pale ale. The latest is a batch of mouth-puckering, bitter pale ale thanks to my over-zealous addition of too many Super-alpha hops.

The malt-kit I selected is Mac’s 1.7Kg ‘Late-hopped Lager’. I tried this a few times several years ago in my first home brew phase. The taste was pretty good but I had some over-carbonation problems, including a couple of exploded bottles when I arrived home after a few pints on the town one evening. It wasn’t until a few years later that I tried brewing again. I figured with increased knowledge and different yeast, I could avoid the bottle grenades.

For my yeast I used the dry S-23 strain as it’s readily available and seemed like a good place to begin. There’s some debate over dry yeast being capable of true bottom-fermenting lager brewing but this variety has reasonable reviews. I made a yeast starter the day before brewing to ensure an adequate pitching rate at low temperature.

The kit goes on about how greatly hopped it is but by my definition, it’s probably pretty tame so I added some Super-alpha and Nelson Sauvin for bittering; Motueka, Pacifica and Nelson Sauvin for flavour / aroma and will be adding these 3 varieties again into the secondary for dry-hopping. I don’t have a wort chiller so the hops were boiled in water, cooled and then added with the malt and cold water into the primary fermenter to quickly reach a low temperate before pitching the yeast starter.

I was a bit nervous but things started bubbling after about 16 hours. Now it’s time to sit back and wait. Hopefully I’ll be enjoying my first crisp lager around spring-time.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: