Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Brewing Lagers

I had the perfect plan to brew beer today when my van broke down again. Apparently there is something called an engine coolant temperature sensor and it decided to stop functioning as I was driving home from my storage unit with a fermentor containing a nice Whitelabs WLP840 lager yeast cake in the bottom.


Rice Rice Baby!

Now that the weather has turned cool here in Northern California, (high 40's to low 50's over night) I decided it would be a good time to get a series of lagers brewed and stashed away to condition for a few months, beers that would be ready for the spring. The idea was to brew three back to back batches, racking the fresh wort onto the yeast cake of the previously fermented batch.

I decided to begin with a standard American lager to be followed by a Munich Dunkel and finally a Doppel Bock. Yesterday I kegged the completed American lager which attenuated to 75%. It was fermented with a yeast starter that I had stepped up a couple of times. I also milled the grain for the Munich Dunkel and measured out the hops for the brew session today. I was in transit with the fermenter full of yeast when the van died on me. Now, at the end of the day I got the van back and the fermenter is sitting in my beer closest downstairs, the new plan is to brew tomorrow.

For those interested in the recipe for the American Lager I'll include it here. Note that I used instant rice, in this case Minute Rice, as an adjunct for the beer. Most homebrewers use rice syrup or flaked rice in light lagers to raise the gravity without adding color or flavor to the beer. Minute rice will provide the same qualities and amount of sugar but is cheaper and convenient. Just mix in the whole grain in your mash with the rest of the grist. I figured a 1.032 gravity per pound per gallon with this instant rice. Note that using regular rice requires pre-cooking prior to adding to the mash.
Anyway, here's my recipe:

Standard American Lager
For 11 gallons of wort going into the fermenter
efficiency of 90%
attenuation 74%
abv 4.75%
srm 5
ibu's 12
o.g. 1.044
f.g. 1.011

12 lbs 2-row
.5 lbs Munich
2.75 lbs Minute Rice (18%)

Mash for 60 minutes in 4 gallons h2o at 155f.
Sparge with 11 gallons h2o at 180f. (I used 6 gals. of this as R.O. water, my water here is pretty hard)

Boil 75 minutes

Add 1.75 oz. Saphir hops (aa 3.5%) for last 60 mins. of boil
Add   .75 oz. Saphir hops (aa 3.5%) for last 15 mins. of boil along with some Irish moss

Chill to 54f. and pitch yeast starter WLP840
Ferment until complete (in this case at 52f. it took 11 days)
Rack to kegs, carbonate to 2.8v and set aside to lager at 50f. for three months.

2 comments:

Keith said...

Did you cook the minute rice or add it directly to your mash tun?

Beer Diary... said...

Keith,
Just pour the minute rice straight from the box into the mash and mix it in thoroughly. The enzymes in the malt will convert the rice starch in the mash tun. Hope this helps.

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