Good News, Bad Brews

Obviously I haven’t been up to nothing this whole time.  It really looks like Beer for Breakfast has taken a turn from consumer to brewer.  Is this because we have sampled every single beer ever created (or that the LCBO permits us to try) and yearn for more?  Or perhaps we desire beers that have more complexity and unique tastes to suit our personal preferences..  So while everyone is dreaming and brewing up these delicious brews, I’ve decided to make a bad brew… a boring lager.  Crisp, clean, plain, not very strong.. lager.

Why?

…umm…

Well, its a challenge.  Its technically more difficult to achieve a flavorless lager than a bold and beautiful ale.  If I can pull this off then I will have learned just a little bit more about brewing  After all, Lagers are the most popular beer in the world.  Sounds crazy, but its true.  So to ‘feed the masses’ I have crafted my own lager.  I will do a follow-up rating on it in a few months when its ready.  But to give the per-cursor of brewing the lager I’ve give a few details.

Beer Name:  Cracked Malibu Lager

* An ode to the cracked windshield on my Chevy Malibu.  Gives the beer a real good ‘Mass Produced” vibe to it doesn’t it?

Grain Bill:

6 lbs – Pilsner Malt

2.5 lbs – American 6-row (6-Row is a base malt with a higher diastic power than 2-Row Malt to help convert other adjuncts.)

1 lb – Flaked Corn

Hops:

1oz – German Hallertau (Hallertauer Mittelfrüh. The original German lager hop; named after Hallertau or Holledau region in central Bavaria. Due to susceptibility to crop disease, it was largely replaced by Hersbrucker in the 1970s and 1980s. Substitutes: Mount Hood, Liberty.)

1 oz – Mount Hood (Soft American variety developed from Hallertau. Frequently used in styles that require only a subtle hop aroma (German/American lagers). Named for Mount Hood in Oregon.)

Notes:

All grains mashed at 150F for 90 minutes.  Mash out and sparge at 168F for 15 minutes.

Final Volume:  5 Gallons

Original Gravity:  1.050

Final Gravity Expected:  1.010

ABV:  ~5%

Primary:  3 Weeks @ 10C

Diacetyl Rest:  3 Days @ 19C  (Raises the temperature briefly so the yeast can clean up any remaining diacetyl funkiness in the beer)

Lager:  4 Weeks @ 2C

Part of the challenge of producing a Lager is the strict temperature control of the fermentation.  To achieve this I am using my commercial refrigerator that I picked up used, and an aquarium temperature controller that I got off Ebay for $17.  The temperature controller will allow my to set the fridge to a temperature range that is optimal for this lager.

The other challenge was having enough yeast to do the job.  Lagers need a lot more yeast than their ale counterparts.  I started a week early with a liquid Wyeast activator packet and went through a few yeast starters to grow a healthy amount of yeast.

There quite a few other issues with brewing lagers, such as water profile, mash ph level, lower mash temperatures to achieve a more fermentable wort, longer boil times to remove DMS, and a few other issues that I will go into more detail with in the followup post.

Sorry about the crap photo – cell phone camera.

So..  What’s the Good News?

Bread!

Gentlemen!  Save your spent grains, head to the kitchen and put your chef hat on.  I found a few easy recipes to use the spent grains from brewing to make delicious bread.  I will post up a full recipe later when I take a second crack at it.  I made two loafs of bread during the middle of the lager brew day (insane?) which turned out decent.   I should have left more time for the bread yeast to rise the dough because I ended up with a pretty dense bread, but its bread none the less.  Sorry for the crap photo quality again..

Beyond the Lager & Bread, I also have an IPA that is almost ready to sample (which I will do a post about) and I have a monster Belgian style brew planned for later this month (21 lbs of grain, crap load of hops, ~11%, will leave it to age for a year before I even look at it).  Exciting times are ahead for Beer for Breakfast.

PS.  If this Lager turns out to be a fail, I will definitely use the Ioni Zero Rating picture…

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7 Responses

  1. Nice work. Making a crisp, clean lager does sound like a challenge. The bread is a nice touch.

  2. That’s awesome. Making a lager just to take on the challenge? That is some brewing dedication. The name is perfect too.

    Jay is unsure about your bread…

  3. She says its because it’s made from “that barf-looking stuff”…

  4. Barely is an awesome grain to be used in baking! The crushed and mashed barley has what I consider to be one of the greatest smells in the world. So moist and fluffy.

    I’m excited, the Cracked Malibu Lager sounds spectacular. Interesting about the crop diseases effecting the hops… I wonder if there are specific diseases to hops vines or if they are an alternate host in the life cycle of some wierd fungus? Apple trees are host to a rust that affects Juniper bushes… wierd how fungus works.

  5. Crop diseases effecting hops? Oh no! I had ordered a hop rhizome that should be coming in at the end of april. I will hope for the best for my little buddy!

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