Recipe Type: Partial Mash
Yeast: Wyeast 2124
Yeast Starter: See below
Batch Size (Gallons): 5
Original Gravity: 1.050
Final Gravity: 1.012
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 5 days at 50F
Additional Fermentation: 40 days at 35F
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 3 days at 66F
Tasting Notes: The only issue I still have is a slight haze.
It took me 3 tries to get this recipe just how I want it. Lagers are always a tricky challenge, so I figured I'd post this and let those in on how I get mine done.
First let's start with the ingredients:
3# Pilsner DME
5# Pilsner Grain
1.75 oz Am Saaz @ 60 min
.50 oz Am Saaz @ 45 min
.75 oz Am Saaz @ 30 min
1.00 oz Am Saaz @ 15 min
For the yeast it's very important you pitch enough. I do the following for lagers.
Day 1: I make a stir starter with 140g DME and 1250ml water. I let this ferment for 2-3 days at room temps. Lager yeasts take a little longer to get going, even on a stir starter.
Day 3: I chill the flask overnight in the fridge and then I decant the fermented wort.
Day 4: I then make another starter with 280g DME and 2500ml water. This one I chill to my primary temp and start directly in my primary fermenter.
Day 6 or 7: I brew and pitch directly onto the stepped up starter.
Another trick is cooling to pitching temps. This is why I do a partial mash, I need a partial boil. I can't cool to 50 very quickly using 50F tap water and a coil. What I do is boil to get half of the batch from the boil. Then I use water chilled to about 40F. Then when I am done with the boil I will cool to 70-75, then combine with the chilled water and ferment.
I mash as low as possible. DME is not as fermentable, so you'll get solid body from that, so mash around 148-150F.
Since this is not high gravity and you've already made lots of healthy yeast primary fermentation should only take 5-6 days. What's more important though is once it get down around 1.024 to begin a d-rest. At this time raise ferment temps to room remp until you have a stable FG.
Once you have a stable FG get your beer off your yeast. Lagers are meant to be clean, don't let it sit around on your yeast too long. At this point transfer to your lagering tank and lower the temp to as close to freezing as possible and hold for 5-6 weeks.
I keep my lager cold and add about 12 psi and wait two weeks and it's perfection.
The idea of this recipe isn't really to make a point of ingredients, just methods someone can use to make a good crisp clean lager. Once you make a successful lager you can really begin to tweak it.
It's almost like a full bodied American/Canadian Pilsner. I can't get the light body or the grassy hopness of a Pilsner Urquel, but it's a big hit.