I brewed my very first lager last December. I just now sampled a 'spare' that I bottled two weeks ago tomorrow. They have all been carbonating at room temperature (~70o F) for the last two weeks.
All I can say is - WOW!
I know most of us, myself included, think that many of our latest brews are "the best I've ever brewed!". But in this case, it just might be! This sample bottle was the last to be bottled and, therefore, had about a 2-1/2" headspace. And it has had no time to cold condition, unless you consider the three hours in the fridge before opening to be 'cold conditioning'!
Still, it is nicely carbonated, smooth, warm going down from the malt, well balanced and has a clean finish. I cannot wait to cellar these (I.E.; but them in the garage) and try them in early May!
For those of you that have been afraid of lagering, fear not! If I can do it, so can you! I had no dedicated fridge, I just lagered them in my garage. I should state that I live in Northern Illinois and was lucky that my garage stayed at around 40-50o F most of the past three months. However, there were at least two times I can remember that it warmed up and climbed up into the 55-60o F range for a couple of days. Still, this turned out great!
I will gladly share the recipe with everyone here! I call it a Bock, but it is probably really more of a Dopplebock! You tell me...
Snow Day Bock
Recipe 2005 by Mark Pannell
ABV = 11.5%
6.6 lbs. BierKeller amber extract
1.5 lbs. plain wheat DME
1 lb. British Crystal malt (40-L )
1/2 lb. Belgian Black malt (550-L)
1/2 lb. British Pale Ale malt (1.6-L)
1/2 oz. Cascade [5.4% AAU] (60 mins.)
1/2 oz. Hallertauer [3.4% AAU] (60 mins.)
1 oz. Hallertauer [3.4% AAU] (30 mins.)
1/2 oz. Hallertauer [3.4% AAU] (10 mins.)
Dry Hop (that's right - dry hop):
1/2 oz. Cascade [5.4% AAU]
1 tsp. Irish moss (15 mins.)
White Labs WLP820 Oktoberfest/Marzen Lager Yeast (one half-gallon starter)
6 weeks at 40o- 45o F
6 weeks at 40o- 45o F
Roast British Pale grain in oven at 350o F for ten minutes. Crack the grains, place in muslin grain bag and hold at 155o F for 30 minutes. Increase heat and remove grains just before boil begins. Cool wort to 70o F and top off to 5 gallons with cold water. Pitch yeast when cooled to 60o F. Dry hop in secondary fermentor. Prime with 1-1/4 cups plain DME. Carbonate in bottles at room temperature (~70o F) for two weeks, then place in cool area and condition for 3-4 weeks.
All we are saaaayinnng...
Is "give lagering a chance!"