Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast Starter: 800ml
Batch Size (Gallons): 5
Original Gravity: 1.064
Final Gravity: 1.018
Boiling Time (Minutes): 90*
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 1 week @ 55-58
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 3 weeks @ ~40
Tasting Notes: Only ok. For a first lager, I'm not going to complain.
*Since I decocted, the color calculation is likely wrong. Calculation says 23 SRM, I think it was closer to 30-35. Also, boiling time is arbitrary in this case due to decoction.
Since basement was cold, I figured I'd make my first lager. I cheated and used the California Lager yeast.
5# German Munich
5# German Vienna
0.5# Dark Munich
0.5# 60L Caramel
0.5# Carafa III
1oz Tradition @ 60 mins
1. Strike water to reach a 98F acid rest. Hold just a few minutes.
2. Pull a 50-60% decoction and heat to 125F protein rest for 10-15 minutes.
3. Heat decoction to 155-160 saccarification rest (it dropped to about 152 for a while cuz flame went out).
4. Raise decoction to boil and boil for 10 minutes.
5. Add scoops of decoction to mashtun to increase mash to 133F protein rest for 15-20 minutes while decoction continues to boil.
6. Add remaining decoction to reach saccarification rest of 154, hold for 40 minutes.
7. Pull decoction and mashout water and bring to boil for 10-15 minutes, then add to mashout.
***I was low on some of the mash temps, think it may have been due to 20F daytime temp and a little short on the 1st decoction volume.
Primary fermentation at 55-58F. 800ml starter stepped with another 600ml.
Transferred to secondary on 12/14, moved to cellar. Gravity was 1.019. Added about 1/4 gal of water to top it off at 5 gals
Looks like attenuation was in line with the yeast averages. Huge yeast cake. Still pretty fruity (too portery), so I'll age it hopefully pretty cold to get that to chill out.
Got cellared/lagered at temps down to below 40F. Didn't do a diacetyl rest, not sure if that will matter.
Bottled with 3/4 cup of corn sugar after allowing to warm up. Very slow beer to carbonate. Took more than 3 weeks.
ADDITIONAL TASTING NOTES
Initial tasting: 1/23/09, pint glass
Appearance: Color is much darker than predicted, likely due to the decoction mash. I would say it's closer to SRM 40. Head is light and retention isn't great.
Aroma: Lots of malt aroma, very little hops at all. But in the aroma is a sweet, fruity aroma that isn't all that good. There is a decided "lager" smell to it. Too much roast.
Taste: too fruity, not sure where that came from. And the flavor lacks some maltiness that I expected. It's a little unbalanced, or not quite rounded enough.
The fruitiness is really the killer. Perhaps with time the flavors will flow together nice, but it is 2 months old.
Overall: only ok. For a first lager, I'm not going to complain. Seems like the yeast wasn't the best choice, but it was a cheater yeast.
I really wonder if the yeast choice was a poor one. The fruitiness is unexpected and may have been yeast-choice related. Comments?
Second (well, actually 30th) tasting: 3/23/09
Taste: now that this beer has had time to age and mellow out, I'm much more pleased that I was initially. In hindsight, I don't blame the yeast, I just underhopped it. The flavors I was explaining were really just a lack of bitterness so the sweetness was unbalanced. The maltiness comes through nicely, the body and mouthfeel are quite good, and the beer is extremely drinkable. I got a couple of reviews from brewing friends who's opinions I trust and they pretty well shared these sentiments, and both thought it was solid. With a little more bitterness, I would consider this to be a good jumping off point for another pseudo-lager next winter.
Reason: 2nd tasting review