This was my first real attempt at a lager. It was certainly an experience. I learned a lot about making lagers. As a challenge, I attempted to do so with an all grain recipe. Fun stuff. The process of multi-rest infusion mash, sparging, and lagering are pretty new concepts to me. With loads of research and scouring beer forums, I pieced things together. I worked out the water amounts, boiling times, rest lengths, rest temperatures, lagering times, co2 levels, serving temperatures, and sparging methods to the best of my ability. It was a long process. At the end of the day, I had a fermenter full of beer. At the end of two weeks, I had alcoholic uncarbonated beer. After another week, I had cleaner uncarbonated beer. After another few weeks, I had really cold clean uncarbonated beer. And after another week after that, I had clean, clear, carbonated, refreshing lager beer. A lot of work goes into a lager. They may not taste like amazing craft beer, but it certainly makes me respect Budweiser (the brewers at, that is) a little more.
So how does it all add up? Right off the bat, I’d say, I was close, but not on the mark. Maybe it was the orange peels, but the color is slightly more orange than intended. I put down SRM at a 4˚L, but it really depends on lighting. In the right light, its at 4. In another light, it looks more like a 6 or 7˚L. I was looking for a solid 2˚L. Its aroma is lovely. You can smell the hint of citrus and mild spicy hop aroma. They blend well together. After a few weeks, the beer really cleaned up nicely. There is not much head retention on this beer. It fluffs up nicely when poured, but fizzles out fairly quickly. It is a very light bodied beer with a medium-high carbonation level. I would not say this is a strong flavored beer, but has hints of maltiness hiding behind the spicy hop presence. Overall, I’m happy with my results. I’ve passed out a few bottles of this to friends and have received nothing but good comments. So I either have a good beer, or friends who don’t want to hurt my feelings.
9.5 lb. Pilsner Malt
1 lb. Carapils
.4 oz. Challenger Hops (8.1% aa) @ 60 minutes
2 oz. Hallertauer hops (4% aa) @ 45 minutes
.75 oz Orange peel (sweet) @ 15 minutes
Cry Havoc Lager Yeast (WLP862)
1 tsp. Irish moss @ 15 minutes
Heat 3.3 gallons of water to ~141˚F. Add grains and rest at 131˚F for 30 minutes. Add 6 qts of boiling water to bring temp to 155˚F. Rest for 60 minutes. Recirculate and sparge into boiling pot. Add 1 gallon 168˚F sparge water to mash tun and rest for 15 minutes. Sparge again. Bring wort to a boil. Add orange peel, hops, and irish moss at respective times. Cool with chiller and whirlpool for 30 minutes in ice bath. Transfer to fermenter. Ferment 16 days. Diacetyl rest for 7 days. Transfer to keg and chill to 35˚F (w/o co2). Raise temp to serving temp (42˚F) and set to 14 psi for 6 days. Enjoy.