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Old 09-16-2013, 03:03 AM   #1
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Default Historical Lager: A three beer swap

Fellow brewer K_McArthur started this discussion last month: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f12/historical-lager-why-did-style-disappear-427723/

In doing so, we realized we had both just brewed John Palmer's famous, "Your Father's Mustache," which is a simple but somewhat profound pre-prohibition style Classic American Pilsner.. Essentially the recipe is 8 lbs 6-row, 2 row corn, hopping to 25 ibu and a very light hand with late addition hops.

The recipe that jived with my system and efficiency was:

Quote:
8 lbs 6-row
3 lbs flaked maized
1 oz cluster @ 60 min (24.5 ibu)
0.25 oz saaz @ 10 min
0.25 saaz @ 0 min
2.5 gals used WLP 862 (cry havoc)
2.5 gals used Wyeast 2035 (American Lager)

OG: 1.044
FG: 1.013 / 1.015 (2035 / WLP 862)

Efficiency 57% (yeah, yeah)
I don't know K_McArthur's recipe / process, but I expect his gravity came in higher. He used White labs 800, Pilsen (correct me if I'm wrong, kevin)

The gist is that we brewed the same recipe using three different yeasts. K_McArthur and I of course have very different systems, so that is the other major variable between my two (2035/WLP 862) and his (WLP 800)

I tasted the three beers with a friend. My friend knew which was which, I did not.

Here are the three pours:

862, then 800, then 2035. Taken immediately after pouring.

Here they are after a few drinks:

Taken after about 20 minutes.

Tasting notes
First, these beers were all very similar. They were all easy to drink, balanced and refreshing lagers, and sort of like BMC with amped-up flavors.
WLP 862
Huge corn aroma. Good clarity, medium white head with medium-low retention. The darkest of the three beers. This is the only of the three that screamed CORN! to me. Remember that flaked maize is 30% of the recipe. Medium finish and medium-light body with sweetness but not cloying. Again, corn. Very easy to drink.
WLP 800
COMPLETELY different aroma from the other two. Strongly sweet and rich aroma of almost caramel and malty sweetness. Lightest color of the three beers. Excellent clarity. Little to no head. Good carbonation. This beer had the quickest finish of any of the three beers, very little lingering flavors or aftertaste of any kind. Low bitterness but balanced. Light body with sweet but quick (not lingering) finish Beautiful clarity.
wyeast 2035
Little to no aroma. Flavor strongly grainy/bready without malty sweetness. Overcarbed. Huge lingering white head. Dry grainy finish. Balanced and drinkable. Some weird sulfurish aroma compounds. Very light body.

In general, the three beers were, as you might expect, very similar. Mouthfeel was nearly identical between the three. Flavors were similar. The most obvious difference was in the aroma. The 862 and 800 both strongly leaned towards sweet (not cloying sweet, these beers were all light bodied) and the 2035 had very little aroma and what it did have was a light sulfur / husky sort of aroma. With flavor, 2035 has a very unique and borderline dry/harsh thing going on. Among the three, I would only guess that the recipe had corn if I was drinking the beer that used Cry Havoc / 862.

In offering a yeast choice for this beer, I would lean towards the 862 or 800.

I don't have much in the way of conclusions other than brew on, try different yeasts, keep experimenting, and trade beers with other members! Thanks so much to K_McArthur for the beer swap. K_McArthur also included a lovely wit that I won't get into in this thread, but it was excellent. Both beers show that he is a brewer with a lot of skill and taste...and his friends who get to enjoy his beer are lucky indeed!

This was a lot of fun!


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Old 09-16-2013, 02:28 PM   #2
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Thanks for the kind words, I also have tasted all three and will post with pictures later tonight. Trading brews and experiences is what I like best about homebrewing. Thanks for sharing some great beers!



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Old 09-17-2013, 02:50 AM   #3
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Ok, finally got back in front of my computer and a chance to post.

First off, I love this style of beer. And I have no idea why more commercial breweries don't make a comparable brew. As Progmac described, we both followed the same recipe from Palmer's "How To Brew", but that was the end of the similarities. He described his process as a single infusion (correct me if I'm wrong), where I use a multi step approach with an e-herms system. Here is my recipe:

7# 6-row Pale Malt
1.75# Flaked Maize
Multi-Step Mash:
Acid Rest: 10min@104
Protein Rest: 30min@122
Beta Conversion: 15min@140
Alpha Conversion: 40min@158
MashOut: 10min@168
Fly Sparge: 60min@168

Boil Additions:
.5oz Cluster @ 60min
.25oz Styrian & Whirlfiloc Tab @ 15min
.25oz Styrian @ 0min

I ended up with an OG of 1.043 @ 6.5gal making an efficiency of 89%

I used White Labs Pilsen/Lager yeast under the advisement from my trusted local home brew store, instead of the Bavarian Lager suggested in the recipe.

I was excited when Progmac suggested we trade brews, I've never traded long distance. And truth be told the majority of people who drink my brew are close friends/family who love it, but I don't get much meaningful feedback. And I love drinking new good beer, who reading this thread doesn't??

Like Progmac I uncapped and poured. Instantly I realized what he described about the head on each. After seeing the difference I was thinking why does my brew have no head? Last week I participated in a thread about pumps sheering proteins and destroying head retention, maybe something to it after all!

Anyway, all three were great beers. Anyone who likes beer would gladly drink it, even BMC drinkers. I was really taken aback by how much difference the strand of yeast makes. My thoughts and notes about each are as follows:

Progmac's Cry Havoc brew: The aroma of all the beers were very light and pleasant, this one included. The appearance is very appetizing, beautiful golden color with nice white head. First taste I was pleased with the light bitterness and clean finish. Could taste the corn, but well balanced. My only criticism would be use gelatin to clear more, but that's purely aesthetic. Wonderfully great beer, Bravo!!

Progmac's American Pilsen: The aroma on this one is heavier, maybe even spicy. appearance is the general same as other, but large white head. Good head retention and lacing on the glass as I tasted more and more. Less upfront bitterness, but a lingering bitterness finish. I've tasted lagers with this flavor before that must be coming from the yeast. Nothing wrong with the flavor, just personally not at appeasing after the cry havoc.

My own using Pilsen/Lager: Aroma is basically the same, maybe a little sweeter than the others. Head disappears immediatly, clear as glass. I wonder if I cleared out the proteins that retain head? Taste is smooth, fast fading finish, and after tasting the other two I found a slick mouthfeel. I noticed it when I first tapped the keg, but just thought it was the corn, must have caught some diacetyl. Comparing side by side makes it much easier to tell. Doesn't make it undrinkable by any means, still a good smooth brew.

In conclusion I must say my favorite by far was Progmac's Cry Havoc version, I could drink that all day long. Thanks for sharing some great beer, and allowing me to compare my own with a talented fellow homebrewer. I will definately be making this recipe again, and will try the cry havoc yeast.

Progmac also included a smoked hefe that I haven't got to try yet, but am definately looking forward to it. I'm glad you liked the wit, I have another batch fermenting using another yeast strain, so might make another good comparing thread! It's been nice to trade long distance, don't be surprised if you find more presents in the mail for you to try. Cheers, and happy brewing!



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Old 09-17-2013, 12:00 PM   #4
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Good point about our systems. Totally different. I just do the single temp thing and everything I do is stovetop/cooler. In this case, my single infusion was at 152. I'd like to get some new gear, but god knows when that will happen.

I agree with you on the american lager version (this is wyeast 2035 BTW). that yeast just isn't my thing. it has a strange bite to it and is not smooth. after doing this, i realize that all the more so as it was probably my least favorite version of the beer.

I agree with your comments on clarity. I'm going to start experimenting with gelatin to get clearer beers.

K_McArthur's wit was delicious. Spot on to hoegarden in my estimation. Really nailed both the aroma and the mouthfeel.

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Old 10-01-2013, 12:39 PM   #5
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Wanted to add an update here, I have successfully cultured the cry havoc yeast from Progmac's bottle which was my favorite. I am planning on brewing a 10 gallon batch soon at the request of all my friends who tasted this beer last time. I am going to do some changes though, I am going to add 6 oz of acid malt so I can skip the acid rest and I'm going to do a shorter protein rest to try and get better head retention. I am also going to use the White Labs pilsner yeast on half and the other half will have the cry havoc yeast. Should be ready to drink somewhere around Christmas, so here's to a present to myself!

Also Progmac included a smoked hefe in our swap that the wife and I finally got to open and taste, and wow! I had no idea how much of the smoked flavor would come through after brewing and fermenting but that flavor held up. While drinking it we both became hungry for BBQ, it would be easy to pair this beer with certain foods. Thank you for sharing!

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Old 10-01-2013, 01:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k_mcarthur View Post
Wanted to add an update here, I have successfully cultured the cry havoc yeast from Progmac's bottle which was my favorite. I am planning on brewing a 10 gallon batch soon at the request of all my friends who tasted this beer last time. I am going to do some changes though, I am going to add 6 oz of acid malt so I can skip the acid rest and I'm going to do a shorter protein rest to try and get better head retention. I am also going to use the White Labs pilsner yeast on half and the other half will have the cry havoc yeast. Should be ready to drink somewhere around Christmas, so here's to a present to myself!

Also Progmac included a smoked hefe in our swap that the wife and I finally got to open and taste, and wow! I had no idea how much of the smoked flavor would come through after brewing and fermenting but that flavor held up. While drinking it we both became hungry for BBQ, it would be easy to pair this beer with certain foods. Thank you for sharing!
thanks for the compliments on the smoked hefe. i was sort of scared to brew it and thought it would come out just strange and gross. but i think it's actually pretty approachable to anyone who likes smoke beers. definitely a style i will try again. it's funny -- if you drink it with smoked food, it starts to just taste like regular beer.

good luck with the cry havoc! if i remember correctly, it threw a bit of diacetyl but cleared up by day two of the diacetyl rest.


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