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Old 04-27-2008, 08:37 PM   #1
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Default How good are your lagers?

Just sitting here drinking a Pilsner Urquell and I'm wondering, from those of you who brew lagers, how good are they compared with the "legendary" commercial varieties? I was reading the other day in Brew Your Own about the origin of the stuff and they're pretty reverent about how it is made.

To me, lagers often are more about what they're not than what they are. Good ones have no off tastes, are light, clear, crisp, etc. They don't usually have a lot of hop aroma, bitterness or flavor. The don't usually have a lot of body or color. I.e., they're pretty hard to hide any mistakes in.

How good are your homebrewed ones, and how long did it take you to get there?


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Old 04-27-2008, 09:17 PM   #2
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I've made several lagers that I really enjoy, but nothing like PU. They are maltier like an Oktoberfest beer.

I've tried to get them light, but haven't been successful.

I've been to Plzen a couple of times, I also did a couple overnights in Ceske Budejovice (Budweis) too......$0.52 for a 1/2 liter of original Budvar...lots more in Cheb (Czech Rep) also...I have a couple Czech Budweiser table cloths from there...


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Old 04-27-2008, 09:44 PM   #3
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I'm not a huge pilsner fan, although I'm trying to learn to appreciate them for what they are. So, when I make lagers, I make the kind I love. I generally make Oktoberfests and Maibocks- since those are my favorite lagers. I sound like I"m bragging, but my Maibock is better than Capital Brewery's. My husband and I tried them side by side and preferred mine. I've never tried it side by side with a true German Maibock, though. Still, it's exactly what I intended and so I consider that a sucess!

These are malty, higher OG lagers, and really aren't very difficult. My first ones were extract batches, and that's how I learned how to pitch lager yeasts, how to ferment them, etc. Now I find that making them is just another tool in my brewing. I'm hoping next year to do a bigger bock, like a blonde dopplebock, using the same techniques.
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Old 04-27-2008, 09:56 PM   #4
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If I may brag alittle, mine are spot on.
I've spent years brewing pilsners and trying to get them right.
What I discovered was, keep it simple and use proven brewing methods.

Here's my house beer that I try to keep in stock. I call it Memory's, because it takes me back to my days in W. Germany with the U.S. Army.

9.5 lbs American 2-row
28.35 g N. Brewer (7.2%) 60 min
14 g Hallertau (3.2%) 60 min
5 g Saaz (3.4) 5 min
1 tsp Irish moss 15 min
Fermentis s-23 Saflager
O.G. 1.045
F.G. 1.012
Mash at 155
Primary 1 week @ 55
1 day rest at room temp
Secondary 2 weeks @ 55

Thats it and it an awesome brew.
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Old 04-27-2008, 10:32 PM   #5
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Where and when were you stationed there?
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Old 04-28-2008, 01:19 AM   #6
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Old 04-28-2008, 02:27 AM   #7
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Like Yooper I brew alot of amber lagers - a Vienna Lager on deck for tomorrow. Czech pils like PU are some of the hardest beers to brew. They are very simple - like pilsner malt and Saaz hops (yes thats it) - so no place for flaws to hide.

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Old 04-28-2008, 05:44 AM   #8
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I make a bock every year around Christmastime (there's some in the kegerator right now-yum!), and I'd put it up against any commercial out there. Some may be better, some not, but I think mine is right up there.


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Old 04-28-2008, 05:54 AM   #9
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I brew them a lot, and though I enjoy most of them, I still feel that they don't live up to what I used to drink in Germany. There is just something about their process that makes them so great. Figuring this out is an ongoing quest that keeps me paying attention to the details.

I may be just paranoid, but when I'm back this summer, I'll have to pay close attention to details like aroma and bitterness (in particular how it lingers or doesn't).

But so far I have not tasted a home or mirco brewed lager that tastes just like the (good) beers over there.

And I don't think it is decoction that makes the difference. Most of the ligher beers aren't decocted anyway.

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Old 04-28-2008, 03:11 PM   #10
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I don't have it nailed down yet, but I'm getting there. My current Freiheit lager is not bad, but it finished a bit too dry (1.007) so it is a little out of balance, but that has improved this past week. This one is just 3 months from brew date so it is still mellowing. The Orange Kitty Zoom has turned out very well. This was brewed for my wife and I have been instructed to take this beer off-line when we have company - it's her beer! She also wants me to brew it again very soon. I've got to get more of the pig roast beers going so this will have to be an extra brew session OKZ stats: OG was 1.046, FG 1.010 w/ 20 IBUs Sorachi Ace and EKG. I carbonate with sugar and it took maybe a dozen pints worth to finally get rid of the last of the yeast clumps (a litle longer than normal). Now it's crystal clear and very poundable.


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