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-   -   Lets talk technique to brew the perfect Light American Lager. (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/lets-talk-technique-brew-perfect-light-american-lager-118079/)

GilaMinumBeer 05-07-2009 08:41 PM

Lets talk technique to brew the perfect Light American Lager.
I've myself a bug to brew what's touted to be the "most difficult beer to brew well". Lately, I have been getting some wonderful compliments from some respectable people in my beer circle (pro brewers, judges, EAC's) and am thinking it's time to test my metal.

I have no intention to clone any commercialized brands here and the guidelines aren't set to stone but, the more challenging to get right the better.


Water is an big issue for sure but I'd rather start in with raw materials and tweak from there. This I expect means;

- 6 Row Malt in minimal prortions approaching the limits of diastatic power.
- Corn or Rice in large proportions.
- Noble Hops (and very little of them).

IIRC, with the 6 Row you can go as low as 20% (I can research) does this sound right?

I know the rice would have to be cooked first to gelatinize and I know that Flaked Maize could be used as the corn source but, what about raw or canned (not creamed) corn? What about sweet corn?

Anyone want to play with me on this topic?

Cpt_Kirks 05-07-2009 09:15 PM

Flaked rice, maybe? I have heard of using minute rice, too.

Shouldn't the hops be Cluster?

Corn starch will work too, but it does make the brew a little cloudy.

CBBaron 05-07-2009 09:23 PM

Canned or frozen corn IS sweet corn, and it is quite different from grain corn. It is harvested wet instead of allowed to ripen and dry in the field and is has a much higher sugar content. I don't think it will get you the same results.

I think you should do a cereal mash for this beer. Then you can handle raw corn or rice. Plus it adds to the complexity of the task.

Also I would still use 2-row (its not that different in enzymes) and keep it to around 50%. 2-row has a little more neutral flavor and I don't think the big brewers ever went quite that high on the adjuncts, but I could be wrong.

Not an experiment I would ever try myself.


GilaMinumBeer 05-07-2009 09:33 PM

Okay. Flaked Rice works too. I forgot to add in the previous post a large portion of Rice Hulls to aide lautering. I'd prefer to keep the ingredients as raw as possible tho'. Given the subtlety of the style I'd be interested to try varieties of rice and see what the final result may be. Basmati, Jasmine, Long Grain, Short grain, etc.... See how much rice actually comes through.

Why should the hops be Cluster specifically? I'll look into Cluster as I am not familiar with them. I suspect that varietal has the mild character benificial to the style is what you are suggesting.

Corn starch, hmmm, I suppose if used then Gelatin would be in order to aide clarification along with kettle finnings (unless it were filtered).

GilaMinumBeer 05-07-2009 09:38 PM


Originally Posted by CBBaron (Post 1309397)
Canned or frozen corn IS sweet corn, and it is quite different from grain corn. It is harvested wet instead of allowed to ripen and dry in the field and is has a much higher sugar content. I don't think it will get you the same results.

So, we are talking feed corn then, right? Boiled to gelatinize then added to the main mash with a crapload of rice hulls and a multitude of rest steps.


Originally Posted by CBBaron (Post 1309397)
Not an experiment I would ever try myself.


And that is perfectly fine. Thanks for playing anyways.

Saccharomyces 05-07-2009 09:39 PM

I bought a bulk bag of flaked rice. I'm heading down the same path. :) No doubt my neighbor will drink all of my experiments up.

I have read that whiskey mashes commonly go all the way down to 15%-20% malted 6-row. I can't imagine that such a low % of malt would produce a drinkable beer though. Even mashed at 158*F the result would be like alcopop in the bottle.

I'm planning to start at 65-75% 2-row, 5% Vienna, and 20%-30% adjuncts with a 148*F mash and dial it in from there. I'm going with 2-row since I don't want the grainy flavor of 6-row. My 20% corn cream ale was too much corn, so I'm leaning toward going 10-20% flaked rice and no more than 10% corn. You could also use brewer's grade corn syrup, or corn sugar.

Since lagers take longer I may do a bunch of 2 gallon batches with US-05 and then go for the lager yeast once I get the grain bill dialed in where I want it.

Cpt_Kirks 05-08-2009 01:02 AM

I recently brewed a bud-type clone. It was extra light DME, rice syrup solids, and corn sugar. Cluster hops (I read that is what AB uses) and two packs of S-23. It is a small batch, for the 3 gallon keg.

It is...interesting. The Cluster gave it a slight grapefruit taste, kinda nice, actually.

I'm taking it to a Cinco De Mayo party (late, I know) this weekend.

I am thinking of an all grain version later, with Pils malt and flaked rice.

Need to brew an American Wheat and another amber first, though.

nealf 05-08-2009 11:55 AM

There has been a bit of talk of using corn grits instead of flaked maize... here is some reading if you are curious:

The Brew Guide Flaked maize vs. Corn grits - the not-so-great debate.

roylee 05-08-2009 01:33 PM

Gila... you're a more advanced brewer than I, but I have made a few batches using 6 lb two-row, 2 lbs cracked field corn (livestock feed with a cereal mash) and 1 lb cooked rice and it turns out nice--it takes a while in the keg to get crystal clear, but I don't use a clarifier. I tried it with canned sweet corn and didn't care for it. I have used dried sweet corn (just leave it on the stalk as is done with field corn) to make a whiskey mash that works very well, and I'm growing enough sweet corn this year to dry a few pounds and try mashing it for the beer recipe. Based on the whiskey mash, I suspect the dried sweet corn, flaked or pressurized or just crushed and cereal mashed, might be better than field corn but I won't be able to try it till fall.

Cpt_Kirks 05-08-2009 01:40 PM

IIRC, Bud uses rice as an adjunct, and Busch uses corn. So, I guess the adjunct depends on what flavor you are shooting for.

Most, if not all online vendors carry flaked wheat and flaked corn, but few seem to carry flaked rice. My LHBS did not even know flaked rice existed. He does carry rice syrup solids, but that stuff runs over $5 a pound.

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