|Wyeast Czech Pilsner|
Ready to rock and roll
This is how I make Lagers with the LBK. I primary ferment at about 65 F. When primary is over the LBK goes into the garage fridge at 39 F for weeks. 3-5 weeks. 3 days before bottling I bring the beer out and let it rise to room temp for a 24-48 hour diacetyl rest. Then back into the fridge for a cold crash (or a crash with gelatin fining), bottle drink repeat
Its Friday night brew session. One of the hobbits had her 10 year old birthday party on Friday night. The tradition is to take the birthday girl and a few of her friends to a hotel with an indoor water park. One of the other traditions is that Mr. Dave stays home. On this Friday night, that meant it was time to brew a lager.
This lager is about as easy as it gets. It is just a standard american lager. 2# of Lager Malt (english 2 row) and 2# of MCI stout malt (I love MCI stout malt). Protein Rest at 125 F, then Mash at 154 F, 10 Minute Mash out... easy. The hops are hallertauer .25 at 60, .25 at 20, and a dry hop. The yeast is Wyeast Czech Pils. I ferment at 65 F for 7-10 days. Then put the LBK into the garage Fridge at 39 F for 3 to 5 weeks until it reaches final gravity.
If you are a BIABer, this is the easiest trick in the world, use another pot or a bucket to add your grains to your bag. Your SWMBO will thank you and your brew day will go so much easier. As you can see, this isn't a lot of grains. Only 4 lbs. That is another advantage of brewing small batch. No matter your financial circumstance... you can always afford to brew a batch.
- Rest #1 is at 125 for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes begin a rise to saccrification rest.
- Rest #2 is at 154 for 60 minutes.
- Rest #3 is at 168 for 10 minutes (mash out)
That's it, it is that easy to do a step mash.
I used a hop bag for my hop additions.
I did not chill this batch. I rarely chill down batches that aren't super hoppy. I just don't want to waste the water. One planet, one chance...
The hydrometer to the left is post extract, pre boil As you can see I got great extraction. 1.042, expecting 1.038. My after boil gravity was 1.052. Expected gravity was 1.049. So we had great extraction.
Now here is the big secret about lagers at ale temperatures. You have to aerate the heck out of them. The following is a true statement, lager yeasts are not meant to ferment at 65 F. The only way you can do it and avoid off flavors is to make sure they have loads of oxygen and nutrients to multiply with, and pitch an adequate amount of yeast. 1 package of Wyeast Czech Pils into 2.25 gallons is adequate. So I aerated with my trusty aquarium pump for 25 Minutes. It is a foamy foamy wort when the yeast is added.
It is Sunday after church. The yeast was pitched yesterday afternoon. There is a considerable krausen on the beer. Active fermentation has begun. In 7-10 days this one will head to the garage fridge. By thanksgiving we will be drinking it. Fresh american lager for thanksgiving. That will be wonderful. update: 9/8/15 the krausen is active and 1.5" thick. Seems very healthy. 9/10/15 The krausen continues to be active and appears very healthy. Update on Update... yeah... this beer didn't make it to thanksgiving. It all got consumed... ooops. But it was so good. You would have drank it too.
By the way... let me sneak in three bonus items for those of you that made it to the end.
- You don't have to have a little brown keg... you can just use a 2.25 gallon bucket. It will work fine. They are even cheaper than a Mr. Beer $6.00 no delivery at your LHBS
- You don't even have to use lager yeasts that require cold fermentation. Wyeast 2112 and White Labs San Francisco lager yeast work just fine to make a lager at ale temperatures. Update: Wyeast also says 2124 Bohemian Lager will work at ale temperatures
- You can also do a partial mash batch... and use up the extract that came with your Mr. Beer. I'll be making some cream ale next week and using up the extracts that came with these kits. Update Just couldnt do it. made a tea with some of the malt, and decided to pass. The pre hopped malt extract was gross to me.
The fermenter transferred to the fridge after 10 days at 65 F. I couldn't help but open it up and smell it. Absolutely NO off aromas. I know it's a risk... but not much of one when it is going into the fridge at 35 F. Really looking forward to drinking this beer later in the fall. It will be in the fridge for 3-5 weeks? How do you know when to take it out. Simple, if you have a hydrometer, draw off a sample and check it. That is easy with the LBK. It has a spigot. If you don't have a hydrometer, leave it for 5 weeks.
I got quite a few comments (3) from Tommy Knowitall. I'm sure you all know him... he comments on your facebook posts telling you you're wrong. Tommy is convinced (after reading a couple of basic brewing books) that this approach will not work. I let him know, that not only have I been doing it on a larger scale for almost 20 years, both Fermentis, and Wyeast have now consulted on this approach and said it should work fine. Is it the very best way to make a lager? No, probably not. Does it come out clean and crisp every time? Yes, it does. And it is an easy way to make a lager if you don't have dedicated fermentation control. Prost!