Thursday, April 18, 2013

Brewing a Lager

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It’s been a pretty crazy start to 2013 with very little time for brewing. In a previous post I mentioned that my brewing goals for the year were to brew more than 2012, brew a lager and brew flavorful session beer. I did manage to meet one of those goals (and hopefully a second). I snuck in a brew session on my birthday and brewed my first lager. I brewed a pseudo-Bohemian Pilsner a couple years ago with Kolsch (ale) yeast and it was great. This was a natural starting point for my first real lager. I took this recipe and tweaked down the grain due to improved efficiency, but basically brewed the exact same beer.

Brew Date: 3/1/2013
Beer Number: B29
Beer Name: “Redczech Pilsner”
Type: Bohemian Pilsner
Primary Fermenter: 5 gal. glass carboy (28 days)
Secondary Fermenter: N/A (lagering in keg)
Volume: @ 4.5 gal into fermenter
OG: 1.048
FG: 1.013
Expected IBU: 39
Expected SRM: 4
ABV: 4.6%
Calories: 160

6 lbs. 5 oz. Weyerman Pilsner Malt
6.5 oz. Carapils malt
21 g. Saaz pellet hops (3.0% AA) FWH
36 g. Saaz pellet hops (3.0% AA) 90 min.
21 g. Saaz pellet hops (3.0% AA) 15 min.
WLP830 German Lager Yeast

Step by Step Process:
  1. Crushed grain in Barley Crusher
  2. Heated 8.4 qt. strike water to @135F and poured into mash tun
  3. Added grains to tun and stirred – temp. settled at @127F
  4. mashed open @ 20 min. where temp. settled to 122F
  5. Pulled 3.5 qt. decoction and brought to a boil, missing the conversion rest
  6. Added back to the mash which brought the temperature to 155F
  7. Mashed open for @35 min. dropping to 151F
  8. Added 3.5 qt. boiling water to mash tun for mash out – temp settled at 164F
  9. Added 1 gal. @150F water to mash tun
  10. Recirculated @ 2 qt.
  11. Opened valve slowly and then wide open and drained into kettle
  12. While draining, fired burner and set heat on med and added first wort hops.
  13. When empty, filled with 3 gal. of 160F water, stirred mash, recirculated and drained
  14. Collected a total of @ 6.5 gal. wort
  15. Brought to a boil
  16. Pitched bittering hops and boiled for 90 minutes, added hops at 15 min
  17. inserted wort chiller at 15 min.
  18. Using wort chiller, cooled to 70F in @ 20 minutes
  19. Covered kettle and left outside in ambient air of @30F for @ 1 hour while cleaning
  20. Transferred to sanitized carboy in fermentation chamber temp. 58F
  21. OG was 1.054 on @4.0 gal. so added ½ gal. distilled water to bring down to 1.048
  22. Allowed to cool overnight with frozen water bottles
  23. @7AM 3/2/13 pitched yeast directly from vial – temp. 50F
  24. Temperature dropped to 45F throughout the day – no visible activity
  25. @ 12 hours removed all frozen water bottles and top
  26. @48 hours temp. 50F with no activity; removed airlock and shook carboy then replaced airlock
  27. @108 hours – first signs of fermentation activity with a few fine bubbles on surface; temp. 54F; added 1 12 oz. and 1 20 oz. frozen bottle
  28. @120 hours (5 days) krausen had formed and periodic bubbles in airlock; temp. 53F; replaced water bottles

Kegging (3/29/2013)
  1. Transferred into cleaned/sanitized/CO2 flushed keg and placed in 33F kegerator
  2. Yield @ 4 gallons

I was a little concerned about it taking 5 days to show signs of fermentation but I know I underpitched the yeast. I sampled a few times and did not detect diacetyl so I elected not to do a diacetyl rest (I have heard that a diacetyl rest can have negative effects so I didn’t want to do one unless it was necessary). I plan to carb it to 2.5 volumes of CO2 and hopefully I’ll have a tasty session lager. I harvested 4 mason jars of yeast to be used in my next lager project.

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