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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Why brew a lager?
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Old 01-28-2013, 06:27 PM   #1
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Default Why brew a lager?

You'll have to pardon my ignorance on this one, but I'm wondering why people brew lagers over ales.

If its a clean taste profile that is desired, won't a clean-fermenting ale yeast do?
Is the extra equipment (temp control) and time needed really worth it?

Enlighten me!

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Old 01-28-2013, 08:03 PM   #2
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A lager, IMO, is like white wine. It's easy drinking, very clean and just a nice change from ales. You really taste the ingredients, and the ingredients alone.

I personally love a good schwarzbier, Kostriker is great, the lack of esters from the yeast let the malt shine through in a way that I've never tasted with any ale fermented porters/stouts.

To each their own, but lager isn't a ubiquitous term for American Light Lager.

Hell, when I was in Prague a monastery served up what they called an IPA, but it was really a hoppy lager, it was amazing.

I only brew ale because I just don't have the ability to lager, if I could, I'd make all kinds of lager.


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Old 01-28-2013, 08:06 PM   #3
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There are lots of different reasons because there are lots of different lagers that are unlike ales. Also, there is the whole trying to do something different thing. For me that's it. I like to play around and experiment and since I've been doing ales for a while now lagers a new way to kind of spice up the brewing routine. Kind of another thing to learn. I'm doing some more flavorful lagers right now but from what I've heard it is actually really difficult to brew something like a light american lager and make it taste good so there is also that challenge aspect of it as well.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:15 PM   #4
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A well brewed lager is on a different plane of existence than a clean ale. There is a real crispness and lager character you can only get from fermenting cold and lagering for a long time.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:27 PM   #5
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Just like ales there are some amazing lagers out there. You don't think a lager is only a fizzy yellow beer do you? That's just one STYLE of lager, just like a kolsh or a cream ale is a fizzy yellow type of ale. In fact, these beers range from bright spicy bliss to sweat malty mania. Are you aware that the following styles are all lagers?

Oktoberfest/Marzen
Bock
Dunkel
Doppelbock
Dortmunder
Eisbock
Maibock
Helles
Pilsner
Bohemian Pilsner
Rauchbier
Schwarzbier
Vienna Lager
Amber Lager
Steam Beer
and so on....

I suggest that if you want to try a lager that is rich, hearty, with spice and punch that you try one of these beers;

Celebrator Doppelbock.



Paulaner Salvator Doppelbock



Schneider Aventinus Weizen Bock Doppelbock/Dunkel;


I dare you to put any of those three up against your favorite hearty ale, be it a stout, or whatever, and tell me if it has no flavor or character.

And also try Great Lakes Elliot Ness Vienna Lager to see that even quaffer/lawn mower lagers aren't all thin and flavorless as you might think.



(And if you like that, brew my vienna lager from my pulldown someday.)

Brewing lagers is just like wanting to brew different ale styles, except they're a little more tricky to do right.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:31 PM   #6
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Dont forget Baltic Porters Revvy


@ the OP. I am about to start into lagers soon and the main reason is they are a different animal that I want to drink and brew. Im going to start with a czech pilsner and then do a Baltic Porter.

As for the added expense of temperature control, you should have that for ales anyways, if you are doing it right.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:34 PM   #7
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Revvy, I absolutely love Eliot Ness from Great Lakes. Is your Vienna Lager recipe very similar to that?
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:36 PM   #8
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I personally think it's better.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xpertskir View Post
Dont forget Baltic Porters Revvy

Huh, I never realized it was til you mentioned it and I googled it. Interesting.

See OP, you learn something new everyday.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:39 PM   #10
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Its like asking why bulk age in barrels? Is it worth the time, equipment, $$??

IMO. Everyone has there own style that makes them go crazy over there love of beer. Some of the tastiest brews ive had have been lagers. From pilsners to dunkels to baltic porters there are just as many flavors you can introduce into lagers as you can ales. Look at SA new "spring thaw" double agent. Its an IPL "India Pale Lager". Where they use citrusy floral west coast hops and really give the IPA a new kick. Im not a huge fan of SA release but i think it will open up new doors for others to represent there flair in this possibly new style.

As soon as i get some space for a chest freezer it will be my next venture into homebrewing for sure. There also really great session beers, and i tend to "party" alot. So its a good change once in a while for the lower ABV also.


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