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Old 06-03-2013, 11:28 PM   #1
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Default BoPils came out "meh"

So I brewed Jamils Bopils (with slightly more hops and domestic malt) and the final product isn't really what I was picturing. This was my first lager.

I used 90% RO water to 10% Calgary (very hard) water, and did a double decoction with a full 90min boil. The beer fermented with Budvar yeast in a 10C temp controlled fridge. After 1 week the gravity was down 80% so a 2 day D-rest was done which brought the beer to its final gravity. The beer lagered at 5C (brought 10C to 5C over 3 days) for about 3 weeks, than the temp was raised to about 8C to accommodate another beers fermentation. The beer sat at 8C for 2 weeks, I than kegged it and let it carbonate for 2 weeks at 5C.

First off I am getting a bit of medicinal off flavours, which i assume must be from a bad mash pH. I guess it could be from the chlorine in the tap water, but i only used 10% tap water and have never had this problem with light cream ales I have made. I can live with the off flavours because they are faint and I know that making your own lager is very challenging.

BUT.... I dont find my beer anything like a crisp lager. I feel like i could have made the same (or better) beer with US-05. Is this just the realities of making your own lagers? do I need to wait longer? up the carbonation? I am getting tons of maltiness and I guess it is clean.... but something is missing.

help?

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Old 06-04-2013, 04:30 AM   #2
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Lager it in the keg for 1 week per 10 gravity points (1060 OG, 6 weeks). It will make a huge difference. Longer is even better. Lagers really reward patience. Off flavors could be protiens, etc. that haven't had adequate lagering time to precipitate out.

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Old 06-04-2013, 12:26 PM   #3
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Longer the better with Bopils...I also follow the 1 week per 10 points

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Old 06-04-2013, 02:22 PM   #4
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Crispness...the pH of the finished beer may be too high. I've gone down the mash pH/water chemistry rabbit hole over the past few brews and have noticed a big difference in the final product. I've been adjusting with lactic acid and a graduated syringe. 2ml to a 5 kg grist has brightened things up a bit. YMMV

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Old 06-05-2013, 12:13 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bloom_198d View Post
So I brewed Jamils Bopils (with slightly more hops and domestic malt) and the final product isn't really what I was picturing. This was my first lager.

I used 90% RO water to 10% Calgary (very hard) water, and did a double decoction with a full 90min boil. The beer fermented with Budvar yeast in a 10C temp controlled fridge. After 1 week the gravity was down 80% so a 2 day D-rest was done which brought the beer to its final gravity. The beer lagered at 5C (brought 10C to 5C over 3 days) for about 3 weeks, than the temp was raised to about 8C to accommodate another beers fermentation. The beer sat at 8C for 2 weeks, I than kegged it and let it carbonate for 2 weeks at 5C.

First off I am getting a bit of medicinal off flavours, which i assume must be from a bad mash pH. I guess it could be from the chlorine in the tap water, but i only used 10% tap water and have never had this problem with light cream ales I have made. I can live with the off flavours because they are faint and I know that making your own lager is very challenging.

BUT.... I dont find my beer anything like a crisp lager. I feel like i could have made the same (or better) beer with US-05. Is this just the realities of making your own lagers? do I need to wait longer? up the carbonation? I am getting tons of maltiness and I guess it is clean.... but something is missing.

help?
If the off flavors are definitely medicinal (phenolic) and the temps given are correct then my guess is that an infection is the likely cause. Other thoughts: If your water is exceptionally hard even 10% might be too much for this style. Do you know the actual ion breakdown in your water? Were there any brewing salt additions to the mash/beer? Did the recipe call for domestic 2-row? This beer really needs a high quality European pilsner malt to make it shine. What were the details of the mash? This beer also benefits from a different mash temp routine than the typical ale. A single temp mash at too high a temp will not give you the crispness and clean finish you may have been looking for. While US-05 is a clean ale yeast you will never get a true lager profile with it so I would encourage you to stick with lager yeast for your next attempt. Did you make a large yeast starter? Besides temperature considerations lager yeasts always work slowly compared to ale yeasts. Providing appropriately large starter cultures not only help them over that hump they also will give you a better beer given the yeast is much less stressed.
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Old 06-06-2013, 04:19 AM   #6
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Starter? Og/fg? O2?

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Old 06-06-2013, 10:46 PM   #7
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I would tend to look at water chemistry as well. The alkalinity of my water is out of this world high and I have a really tough time brewing pale beers with it. I have gone almost entirely to using RO water with pH and mineral adjustments appropriate to the style I am brewing.

All that being said, a good long lagering period will help as well. I am impatient and don't brew a large # of lagers. When I do, the 1 week per 10 points rule has always served me well.

I may have missed it, but what yeast did you use and what was your starter size? Lagers are an art form all their own. An art form that I have in no way perfected. I get better with each one. But I still have a long way to go.

I would say review your process, top to bottom, and download some of Jamil's lager style podcasts from the brewingnetwork.com site. In particular, the German Pils show from a few years ago gave me a lot of priceless advice for my most recent lager attempt. I also listened to the Kolsch and Alt style show from 2006 a couple weeks ago. While they are techinically hybrid beers, that show has a lot of tips about how to work with cold fermented beers.

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Old 06-07-2013, 04:55 PM   #8
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A super long lagering time is actually not ultimately necessary. If brewed correctly, a lager can be ready as soon as it clears. The yeast aren't doing anything to "clean up" during lagering, they're dropping out. Sure flavors might round out a bit as it ages, but that depends on the gravity and color of the beer.

My first thought was, did you chill it down to fermentation temp or slightly below before you aerated and pitched the yeast? That might be something to consider. Also, a lighter beer and not treating tap water, even at 10%, I would think would cause off flavors.

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Old 06-07-2013, 06:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
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A super long lagering time is actually not ultimately necessary. If brewed correctly, a lager can be ready as soon as it clears. The yeast aren't doing anything to "clean up" during lagering, they're dropping out. Sure flavors might round out a bit as it ages, but that depends on the gravity and color of the beer.
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Old 06-08-2013, 03:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beersk
A super long lagering time is actually not ultimately necessary. If brewed correctly, a lager can be ready as soon as it clears. The yeast aren't doing anything to "clean up" during lagering, they're dropping out. Sure flavors might round out a bit as it ages, but that depends on the gravity and color of the beer.

My first thought was, did you chill it down to fermentation temp or slightly below before you aerated and pitched the yeast? That might be something to consider. Also, a lighter beer and not treating tap water, even at 10%, I would think would cause off flavors.
Is lagering "necessary"? No, neither is fermenting a lager around 48-50F, or pitching a high amount of yeast. But all these things are necessary to make it the best it can be.
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