American light lager

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Mutant

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The reason I brew Light American Lagers is that they are about the most difficult to get perfect, as you can't hide behind complex flavors any of your flaws. It is the difficulty that makes brewing this style difficult to master.
 

Bilsch

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None of the macros, except I think yuengling, do a cereal mash anymore but instead use brewers grade corn or rice syrup which has little if any flavor from the grain remaining. This will also aid in reaching the proper attenuation similar to the beers you wish to clone. Something like this as 30-40% of your fermentables should get you in the ballpark.
Edit: or if its a problem sourcing the Breiss material I should think any high maltose corn syrup (HMCS) should work similarly.

Be careful of over hopping because in well attenuated low gravity beers it can get overpowering fast.
 
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Brooothru

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None of the macros, except I think yuengling, do a cereal mash anymore but instead use brewers grade corn or rice syrup which has little if any flavor from the grain remaining. This will also aid in reaching the proper attenuation similar to the beers you wish to clone. Something like this as 30-40% of your fermentables should get you in the ballpark.
Wow. That's alot of adjunct. I like brewing some of these 'throwback' style American lagers occasionally to remind my of years gone by, but they end up reminding me why I gave up on them in favor of those from Bavaria.
 

Mutant

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Wow. That's alot of adjunct. I like brewing some of these 'throwback' style American lagers occasionally to remind my of years gone by, but they end up reminding me why I gave up on them in favor of those from Bavaria.
One of the reasons that they use LME etc is that what do you do with all the spent grains if your brewery is in the middle of LA? Cost a fortune to truck them away.
 
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Mr.Wyatt

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mmm, hmmmm...i know these things. this has become a huge high jack to trying to make a highlife clone.....

@Mr.Wyatt sorry for making you read through all this irrelevent text. post back with results!

if it works for you with flaked corn, then i'll probably try malting my own corn for a try at my own high life clone! :mug:
Lol I will let you know how it turns out
 

Vale71

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Article by Greg Noonan:
Understanding Malt Analysis Sheets

"DMS precursor (DMS-P): This value represents the levels of S-methyl methionine (SMM) and dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) in the malt. These compounds will convert to dimethyl sulfide (DMS) when the wort is heated. The DMS-P should be 5-15 ppm for lager malts, less for ales. The more fully modified the malt, the lower the DMS-P levels should be."
Well it looks like Mr.Noonan needs to go back to school...

SMM is formed in the kernel during growth. Its levels are determined both by genetics (grain variety) as well as growth conditions and are not affected either by cytolisis nor by proteolisis during germination. The only process that reduces their level is kilning where, just like during boiling, it's converted by heat to DMS which then evaporates. The higher the kilning temperature the lower the DMS-P level in the finished malt, which means that very light colored malts are most critical.
 

Bramling Cross

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The reason I brew Light American Lagers is that they are about the most difficult to get perfect, as you can't hide behind complex flavors any of your flaws. It is the difficulty that makes brewing this style difficult to master.
I'm a fellow traveler.

I wasted the 90s trying to turn big into bigger into huger into massive-ist. It eventually dawned on me that even the village idiot could turn 16lbs of grist and a half pound of hops into something tasty. I've spent the last 20 years doing the majority of my brewing below 1.045. It lets you have a beer with dinner during the workweek and a couple on the weekend. Best of all, it's so rewarding when you make a candy-inna-can swiller's eyes go wide when they find out that your vividly flavored beer is about 4%.

Here are two of my favorite American lager recipes. First, a light American lager, then an American lager. I'll concede that both cheat by using German pils. Also, "Panther Piss" is my father's preferred appellation for beer of inferior quality.

Grist percentages will not add up to 100%. I've rounded off to the nearest whole number, as these recipes were written for my rig, not yours.

Panther Piss: An Aquatic Odyssey

This is a light American lager.

OG: 1.040
IBU: 11.4
SRM: 2.7

65% German Pils
20% Rice
15% Corn

Hochkurz mash 60/60/20--rests extended for dryness

6.9 IBU Magnum @90
5.5 IBU Tettnanger @10
1oz Saaz @ 0min, immediately turn on your IC, do not hop stand

34/70 @ 50F following the modern lager schedule, ferment at 55F if you want a bit of yeast character

Notes: This recipe is all about the balance between the corn and the rice. There should be just enough corn to provide an American flavor, the rest of the adjunct is rice which serves to dry the beer out as much as possible while preserving the corn flavor. Replace the corn with rice for an even dryer finish, but the beer will skew away from "American" and more toward "International." Or just plain boring.


Panther Piss: A Fizzy Yellow Odyssey

This is a standard American lager that makes everyone happy. It tastes big, is refreshing, but lingers in the mouth.

OG: 1.048
IBU: 15
SRM: 3.2

73% German Pils
18% Corn
10% Rice

Hochkurz mash 60/60/20min

10 IBU Magnum @90
4 IBU Tettnang @20
1.1 IBU Tettnang @10
.6 IBU Tettnang @5

34/70 @ 50F, don't try an elevated fermentation on this beer. The grist is aiming at as much flavor as possible, anything the yeast contributes will be too much.

Notes: This beer trades the dryness of rice for the flavor of corn and boosts the gravity a mere .008 points. The difference is amazing. Aquatic is a flavorful crusher, but Fizzy Yellow will withstand a bit of thoughtful glaring at your pint. It even holds up well to pointed eyebrows. This is a real beer that bears thinking about.
 
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friarsmith

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Style-wise, this one hits all the high points w/ specs, flavor and mouthfeel, but there's something about this ratio of Pils and 6-row that gives it a little more oomph. It's won a handful of awards in large comps over the past several years... that is, if the keg lasts long enough to fill bottles. Over several batches, I held the Flaked Rice contribution at ~20% and toyed with the Pils:6-Row ratio, eg. 1:1, 2:1, 1:2. I landed at 1.5:1.

Stone Blue Lager
1.042 / 1.006
46.4% Pils Malt
30.9% 6-Row
20.6% Flaked Rice
2% Acid Malt
13 IBU Cluster @ 75 min (Liberty, Mt. Hood, Willamette, Tettnang also worked great in previous batches)
1 oz Cluster or Liberty or Noble-ish hop at flameout or when wort has chilled to 180*-ish if using immersion chiller
Ca:43 / Cl:38 / SO4:18 w/ target mash pH around 5.2 to 5.3.

Mash-in at 142* for 60 mins then raise to 150* for 30+ mins. Sparge using your preferred method
If mash temp raises are not an option, mash for 90 mins at 144-146*
WY2105-Rocky Mtn or WLP802 are my fav yeast for this, but WLP840, WLP838, or any Pilsen strain will work well.

Name inspired by the Foghat song which serendipitously streamed when I brewed this for the first time several years ago.

Happy Brewing!
 
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Mr.Wyatt

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Thanks for all the suggestions keepem coming. Like I said I am pretty much experimenting with this one and see what comes from it.
 

Brooothru

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Well it looks like Mr.Noonan needs to go back to school...

SMM is formed in the kernel during growth. Its levels are determined both by genetics (grain variety) as well as growth conditions and are not affected either by cytolisis nor by proteolisis during germination. The only process that reduces their level is kilning where, just like during boiling, it's converted by heat to DMS which then evaporates. The higher the kilning temperature the lower the DMS-P level in the finished malt, which means that very light colored malts are most critical.
Very good explanation, and points out why (good) lagers are considered difficult to brew.
 

Spivey24

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Here is my go to for an American light lager. Key is that corn and rice are very necessary. I like the Cablecar yeast a lot too.

HOME BREW RECIPE:
Title: Pilsner Motueka

Brew Method: All Grain
Boil Time: 60 min
Batch Size: 5.5 gallons (fermentor volume)
Boil Size: 7.5 gallons
Boil Gravity: 1.045

STATS:
Original Gravity: 1.056
Final Gravity: 1.015
ABV (standard): 5.38%
IBU (tinseth): 37.16
SRM (morey): 2.97

FERMENTABLES:
6 lb - Pilsen Malt 2-Row (50%)
1 lb - Carapils (Dextrine Malt) (8.3%)
1 lb - Vienna (8.3%)
3 lb - Flaked Corn (25%)
1 lb - Flaked Rice (8.3%)

HOPS:
1 oz - Motueka, Type: Pellet, AA: 8, Use: Boil for 45 min, IBU: 26.61
1 oz - Motueka, Type: Pellet, AA: 8, Use: Boil for 5 min, IBU: 5.78
1 oz - Motueka, Type: Pellet, AA: 7, Use: Whirlpool for 0 min at °F, IBU: 4.77

MASH GUIDELINES:
1) Infusion, Temp: 148 F, Time: 30 min, Amount: 5 gal
2) Temperature, Temp: 156 F, Time: 30 min, Amount: 2 gal
Starting Mash Thickness: 1.5 qt/lb

YEAST:
Imperial Yeast - L05 Cablecar
Starter: yes


TARGET WATER PROFILE:
Profile Name: Pilsen (Light Lager)
Ca2: 19
Mg2: 0
Na: 21
Cl: 35.9
SO4: 3
HCO3: 31.3


NOTES:
Ferment at 60 for one week then 68 for one week then lager cold for 2 weeks
 

Brooothru

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Here is my go to for an American light lager. Key is that corn and rice are very necessary. I like the Cablecar yeast a lot too.

HOME BREW RECIPE:
Title: Pilsner Motueka

Brew Method: All Grain
Boil Time: 60 min
Batch Size: 5.5 gallons (fermentor volume)
Boil Size: 7.5 gallons
Boil Gravity: 1.045

STATS:
Original Gravity: 1.056
Final Gravity: 1.015
ABV (standard): 5.38%
IBU (tinseth): 37.16
SRM (morey): 2.97

FERMENTABLES:
6 lb - Pilsen Malt 2-Row (50%)
1 lb - Carapils (Dextrine Malt) (8.3%)
1 lb - Vienna (8.3%)
3 lb - Flaked Corn (25%)
1 lb - Flaked Rice (8.3%)

HOPS:
1 oz - Motueka, Type: Pellet, AA: 8, Use: Boil for 45 min, IBU: 26.61
1 oz - Motueka, Type: Pellet, AA: 8, Use: Boil for 5 min, IBU: 5.78
1 oz - Motueka, Type: Pellet, AA: 7, Use: Whirlpool for 0 min at °F, IBU: 4.77

MASH GUIDELINES:
1) Infusion, Temp: 148 F, Time: 30 min, Amount: 5 gal
2) Temperature, Temp: 156 F, Time: 30 min, Amount: 2 gal
Starting Mash Thickness: 1.5 qt/lb

YEAST:
Imperial Yeast - L05 Cablecar
Starter: yes


TARGET WATER PROFILE:
Profile Name: Pilsen (Light Lager)
Ca2: 19
Mg2: 0
Na: 21
Cl: 35.9
SO4: 3
HCO3: 31.3


NOTES:
Ferment at 60 for one week then 68 for one week then lager cold for 2 weeks
With the exception of hops, my American lagers (when I brew them) look very much like what you posted. I tend to go very traditional with 6 row and older North American hops and those U.S. hops derived from German varietals.

For those who like American Light beers, I made a Coors Light last spring that came out very nicely, and currently have a Coors Banquet clones lagering. Two years ago I did a shameless knock-off of the Pre-Prohibition lager recipe in Palmer's book, with a few minor twists. It won Best in Show at a fairly large sanctioned competition.

Mostly I like brewing Continental lagers, mainly German ones North to South, but still do more ales than lagers probably 70% : 30% just to keep the rotation moving.
 

Spivey24

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With the exception of hops, my American lagers (when I brew them) look very much like what you posted. I tend to go very traditional with 6 row and older North American hops and those U.S. hops derived from German varietals.

For those who like American Light beers, I made a Coors Light last spring that came out very nicely, and currently have a Coors Banquet clones lagering. Two years ago I did a shameless knock-off of the Pre-Prohibition lager recipe in Palmer's book, with a few minor twists. It won Best in Show at a fairly large sanctioned competition.

Mostly I like brewing Continental lagers, mainly German ones North to South, but still do more ales than lagers probably 70% : 30% just to keep the rotation moving.
Yea, Motueka may seem like a strange choice for hops but it is like saaz with some citrus notes. That is what I had on hand one time and tried it, and it came out great. I think it helps brighten it a bit.

One other note about this style is you want it carbonated as high as possible.
 

Vale71

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Yea, Motueka may seem like a strange choice for hops but it is like saaz with some citrus notes. That is what I had on hand one time and tried it, and it came out great. I think it helps brighten it a bit.

One other note about this style is you want it carbonated as high as possible.
And also served as close to freezing as possible, to remove any residual taste... :p:p
 

bracconiere

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And also served as close to freezing as possible, to remove any residual taste... :p:p
i still like miller, but it is overcarbonated. i think they just want people to belch more, to pull off the drunk look better. that way they can piss off tea totallers and have them charge more as punishment :mug:
 

Bilsch

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I love Continental malts as much as anyone but in the case of well attenuated light American lagers and especially those with adjuncts, I would propose that American malts would be better choice because of their higher diastatic power. Especially compared to German malts from the last couple seasons where because of hotter than normal growing conditions, substantially raised the starch gelatinization temperature which compounds the problem of attenuation.
 
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Mr.Wyatt

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I dont have a keg system so will I still be able to achieve the level of carbonation im looking for?
 

Dland

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You should be able to get correct carbonation bottling if you pay close attention to priming sugar (or I used to use unfermented wort). Have not bottled in a long while, but someone can probably lead you to the right chart/calculation.

Now that I'm here again, one of my typical "American lagers": 10 gallon+

10 # (50%) Pilsner malt, usually Briess
5 # (25%) two row pale, (which ever one I have open), but for deeper flavor(but less to style) use a fancy one like MO or Golden Promise
3 # Rye malt, usually Briess
2 # flaked corn.
(1# rice hulls if using rye) optional, but will help w mash circualtion

Swap the rye for corn and corn for rice, and you'll have a more typical blend, but rye is very nice, a little spicy & good for head retention.

Typical hop schedule, though this moves around as I like to try new types, and I usually add around 50% more, but this quantity truer to style;

1 oz northern brewer, first wort
1 oz Cascade 30 min boil
.5 oz Willamette, leaf post whirlpool at around 160F or use Cascade or Amarillo leaf for a nice citrus finish.

Mash in at 150, for 1 hr, let heat decline
Recirculate "vorlauf" for 10 min
Fly sparge
Boil 1 hr, approx
Cool to 160F I quick cool to avoid DMS and save time.
Whirlpool
Leaf hop step
Cool to fermentor.
S-189 or W-34/70 yeast.
Ferment in low to mid 50's F
Rack to kegs when almost done
Spund/ramp up, D rest, ramp down
Crash at 30F for at least 3 weeks.
 

Tobor_8thMan

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I dont have a keg system so will I still be able to achieve the level of carbonation im looking for?
Yes, can obtain the desired levels of CO2 in a bottle by determining how much CO2 is already in the beer and then adding the appropriate amount of corn sugar, DME, etc. Of course, we, as homebrewers, have, probably, no idea how much CO2 is already our beer, but there are guesses, rules of thumb, etc found online. For our purpose, these are probably OK.
 
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Brooothru

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Yes, can obtain the desired levels of CO2 in a bottle by determining how much CO2 is already in the beer and then adding the appropriate amount of corn sugar, DME, etc. Of course, we, as homebrewers, have, probably, no idea how much CO2 is already our beer, but there are guesses, rules of thumb, etc found online. For our purpose, these are probably OK.
The More Beer website has a "tools" tab that has a really convenient, accurate and easy to use calculator for carbonation. I use it for calculating how much DME or corn sugar to carb left over beer in a few swing top bottles from a batch after kegging. Very accurate and easy in my experience.
 

Immocles

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I've really enjoyed looking at some of the information and recipes in this thread. Good stuff. I've tried making a "simple" light lager a couple of times, and I'm slowly settling in on a recipe. My last rendition was close to where I want it to be, but I think my hopping was poorly decided.
90% 2 row
5% rice
5% corn
10-11 IBU Willamette at 60
3-4 IBU perle at 5
34/70 yeast

I mashed low and slow at ~150-148ish for 90 minutes. I liked the beer, but my next attempt will be higher corn, and I'll either cut out the late hop completely, or I'll use mittelfrueh (or palisade. I really really liked palisade in a cream ale) at 60 and 15 and still shoot for 15-18ibu overall.
 

Brooothru

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One of the reasons that they use LME etc is that what do you do with all the spent grains if your brewery is in the middle of LA? Cost a fortune to truck them away.
Also, I'd imagine, the adjuncts are both cheaper and more readily available than barley malts. The flavors are more neutral and the sugars more easily available for fermentation.

The German brewers who emigrated to the U.S. (as well as Mexico) in the 1800s, like George Miller, Auggie Busch and Joe Schlitz, had to utilize what was available in grains. Corn and rice were plentiful, and the necessary enzymes were sufficient in the lesser amounts of barley in the grist bill. The resulting "taste" was what became American beer.

Brooo Brother
 

Twinkeelfool

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I’ve brewed lagers with rice, corn and dextrose as the adjunct. I like rice but when I use dextrose instead, I can’t taste the difference, and it’s a lot easier to brew with, no cereal mash. Not a fan of flaked maize.

I prefer adjunct lagers over all malt lagers. Especially in summer, easy to drink.
 
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bracconiere

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Now that I'm here again, one of my typical "American lagers": 10 gallon+

i was just up early this morning trying to remember who said they brew american light lager with rye. thinking if you sold it in 30-packs and 40oz'rs, it'd be my brand!

:mug:
 

Bilsch

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this is the new build i have come up with for my clone of high life.
I mean sure.. ale yeast, warm ferment, crystal malt, twice the IBU, double the color etc. The great part about the hobby is you can make what ever you want but that isn't going to be anything remotely like Miller.
 

Dland

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i was just up early this morning trying to remember who said they brew american light lager with rye. thinking if you sold it in 30-packs and 40oz'rs, it'd be my brand!

:mug:
If you really like rye, try 4 rye to 1 corn, or just all rye malt (25% of total grist), you will not be disappointed.
 
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