Recipe: Summer Lager

A no-nonsense lager with a pleasant refreshing bitterness and a dry, crisp finish.

Hey homebrewers,

Lagers often have somewhat of a stigma in the home brewing world. It probably has something to do with the many connotations that they have with the light lagers of the big breweries. The lagers that many of these companies produce are often derided by home brewers for being bland, tasteless beverages devoid of any real flavour. Despite these oft-touted characteristics, I personally think that many of these beers are in fact fantastic. Lets get things straight, most of the advertising for these beers revolves around being “smooth”, “crisp”, “thirst-quenching” and “refreshing”; and that’s exactly what they are. What they aren’t and what they are not even trying to be is a full-bodied, bitter, double-dry-hopped, enamel-stripping IIIPA. Light lagers have a restrained bitterness, light body and low FG which makes them easy to drink and very refreshing; and whats so bad about that?

Lagers are one of those things that lots of home brewers are afraid of tackling. I certainly was for a long time. But then I got to reading what the guys and gals over at Brülosophy were doing with lager yeasts and fermentation temperatures. To summarise their numerous findings, they concluded that some lager yeasts performed equally well at ale fermentation temperatures (read about it for yourself here). So I tested out what they were talking about and the results are amazing. It tastes just as good as some of the other lagers I’ve fermented cool – without all of the fuss and super long fermentation time; from grain to glass in under two weeks.

This recipe is dead simple; a SMASH for all intents and purposes. This beer is a no-nonsense lager, with a pleasant refreshing bitterness and a dry, crisp finish. This beer is perfect for anytime, but is drinking marvellously in the hot Australian summer.

Beer Profile

Batch volume: 22 L
Pre-boil volume: 28 L
Pre-boil gravity: 1.041
OG: 1.052
FG: 1.010
ABV: 5.5%
Bitterness: 20 IBUs
Colour: 3 SRM
Efficiency: 80%

Ingredients

Grains % of Fermentables
4.55 kg German Pilsner Malt (1.6°L) 100%
Kettle Hops IBUs
29 g Hallertau [4.7 AA] – First Wort 20
Yeast
2 Packets Fermentis Saflager W34/70
Other Ingredients
1/2 tablet Irish Moss – 10 mins
Target Water Profile
Ion Target (ppm or mg/L)
Calcium 60
Magnesium 5
Sodium 10
Chloride 95
Sulphate 55
Bicarbonates 0

Method

Mash the grains at 67ºC for one hour. Fly or batch sparge at 77ºC for 20 minutes or until you have reached the pre-boil gravity. Add the first wort hops as the wort heats up. Wait for the hot break to form and boil for 60 minutes. After the boil cool quickly using a chilling device or no chill package using a cube. Aerate and pitch rehydrated yeast. Ferment at 21ºC raising the temperature to 25ºC after the gravity reaches around 1.016. After the FG stabilises, clarify your beer if you so choose (see here on how to do it) and rack into a keg or into bottles.

Carbonation and Storage

Carbonate to around 2.5 volumes and if bottling store for at least 30 days prior to drinking.

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