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International Pale Lager Australian Lager - Scorpion Lager

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Gnomebrewer

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Location
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Recipe Type
All Grain
Yeast
WY2042 or Saflager S23
Batch Size (Gallons)
5
Original Gravity
1.045
Final Gravity
1.009
Boiling Time (Minutes)
60
IBU
22.6
Color
7.8EBC
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp)
7 Days @ 12C/54F
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp)
7 Days @ 15C/59F
I've been brewing now for several years, brewed hundreds of batches, drunk most of those batches and, no doubt, destroyed countless brain-cells in the process. It is probably a consequence of my lowered intelligence from this process combined with blissful teenage/young adult memories of drinking Australian lagers that has led me, on multiple occasions on my brewing journey, to try to replicate these cheap beers.

For those who aren't familiar with Australian lagers, they are, compared to American 'BMCs' much drier (through the use of up to 30% table sugar), more bitter (perceptively, not necessarily in actual IBUs) and, typically, more estery from warmer ferment temperatures. They are also (probably because I grew up drinking them) more tasty and drinkable.

I mentioned earlier that I've tried multiple times to replicate Aussie lagers. I've made some good Euro style lagers, great Pilsners and Helles (thanks to Gavin's recipes) and Dunkels, Schwartzbeers etc. but never quite hit the Aussie lager taste. A big part of that is probably that my pallette is more tuned to the nuances of the style, but none of my earlier attempts seemed quite right. This following recipe is spot on - it has aspects of carlton draught, XXXX and VB combined into one, which really tastes Australian. It's a bit of a letdown for me that, after many calculated attempts, this one came from using what I had in the cupboard to make a beer that was supposed to be a 'yeast builder' batch for a Euro lager that I wanted to make. So, enough of my ranting, this is the recipe. It's pretty simple - I hope you like it.

Oh, it's called 'Scorpion lager' because Two of the little bastards managed to make their way in to the boil of the first batch I made.

INGREDIENTS
Ale malt. Enough to get to 1.040. I've tried lots of different lager/pils malts and they just don't work the same. I use Joe White Traditional Ale.
Sugar. About 7.5%. Enough to raise the SG to 1.045. Add at the end of the boil. Double this (and reduce the malt accordingly) to get a drier finish).
Cluster Hops - 10g for a 5gal/20L batch at 10min, and enough as first wort hops to get to 22 to 23 IBUs. The more traditional Pride of Ringwood hop is great if it's fresh but, to me, gives a really weird taste if it's slightly oxidised. Cluster is more reliable and gives that XXXX taste.
Yeast - WY2042 (Danish Lager) or Saflager S23 both give a bit of a 'twang' that is very Australian. WY2042 is probably my favourite lager yeast - It's also great for pilsners and dark-lagers, but S23 gives a bit of fruitiness that is more like Aussie lagers.
Mash at 55C/131F for 20 minutes then 65C/149F for 90 minutes. The long mash helps dry out the beer.
Ferment for 7 days at 12C/54F, or until within about 15% of final gravity, then raise to 15C/59F for another week. I keg at that point then chill in the fridge for a few weeks before drinking (or drink straight away even though it's cloudy as I am with the current batch!). I haven't bottle this particular beer.

I nearly forgot the water. Keep it very low on salts. I've found 30ppm Calcium works well. Going to 50ppm starts to taste odd. Add phosphoric acid to your mash to get a good mash pH.
 

JohnSand

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Just use Scorpion Extract, though obviously not as good as fresh free range organic scorpions.

Gnome, thanks for sharing the recipe. I've had some success with cluster.
 

Dbrig31

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Hey there,

Been trying to make a good Aussie Lager for a while. Living in Canada, unfortunately Joe White Traditional Ale is a no go here.
Any North American available alternatives you could suggest to get the same results ?
 
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Gnomebrewer

Gnomebrewer

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It depends on what you're trying to replicate (and I haven't used any Canadian or US malts). Some of the more recent and popular Australian lagers are most likely just pale lager malt (cheap 2-row) and sugar (very dry beers - finishing at or a bit below 1.000 - are becoming popular). Carlton draught has a more notable ale-malt like maltiness. Some others have a bit of hay like pils character (including my local Boags). It's all quite subtle though! The most important thing to replicate the Aussie style is lots of sugar (I prefer dextrose) to dry the beer out and add booze without extra flavour, and increase the bitterness a bit compared with American lagers. My most recent one was 40% pale malt/2-row (mine was Joe White export pils, which is a bland lager malt), 40% Bestmalz Pils, 5% Best munich and 15% dextrose with an OG of 1.041. This still has more malt flavour than a typical Aussie lager! You could probably get away with 85% 2-row and 15% dextrose, and about 16IBU from cluster or Goldings. Is there a particular Aussie lager you're wanting to aim for?
 

Dbrig31

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Hey Gnomebrewer,

Thanks for getting back to me with so much detailed info.

It probably sounds super silly.. however I'm ultimately looking for a VB Gold recipe.
I have only found VB clones online.

Since I'm fairly new to brewing, I still haven't tried a VB Gold version of my own.. as I'm not sure whats in it.

So I went with what I could find. I have started with a Carlton Mid Clone. (Extract recipe)

I found this Carlton Mid recipe:
Ingredients:
  • 1.7kg Morgans Australian Gold,
  • Gold Blend (Dry Gold Blend MIX is 750g Dried Light Malt Extract
    & 250g Dextrose)
  • 12gr Pride Of Ringwood Hop,
  • 2 x Saflager W-34/70 Lager Yeast (ferment wort At 13 degrees)
(If unable to ferment at lager temperatures [12-13 degrees] then use 1 x American Ale – Safale US-05 Yeast instead)

Method:
Pour 2 litres of boiling water into your fermenter, Add the 1.7kg Australian Gold Tin and the Gold Blend, mix well. Add 12gr Pride Of Ringwood Hop (tea bag) into the fermenter (with the boiling water mix) and allow to stand for 10-15 minutes. Top up fermenter to 23 litres with cold water and sprinkle Yeast into wort. Put lid on fermenter and airlock in place full of water and allow to ferment. Use a hydrometer to check when your wort is finished fermenting, then bottle/keg.

Unfortunately I can't get Morgans Australian Gold cans over here.. So I have subbed it for Coopers Lager 1.7kg.

This is currently in the FV.. so I can't tell you the results yet.

Any ideas, for future brews to get a VB Gold would be much appreciated.
 
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Gnomebrewer

Gnomebrewer

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I've never had VB Gold - I didn't even know it existed until you posted this! Your best bet would be to go over to aussiehomebrewer.com - there's bound to be someone on there that can help. Just be prepared for some not-so-helpful answers (like piss in a bucket, add an old sock and top up with muddy water) - it seems to be the norm on every macro lager thread.
 
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Gnomebrewer

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Quite a lot actually - I haven't brewed this one in quite a while. I always have a lager on tap (mostly for friends and family, but I sometimes enjoy them too) and most of them prefer a more recent recipe - 40% pale malt, 20% pils malt, 20% vienna malt and 20% corn or rice or a blend, to about 1.042, then bitter to about 13IBU with whatever hops are on hand. I haven't been able to get WY2042 for a while - I recently tried Saflager S189 and really like it (very clean). This is more in line with recent trends in Aussie, towards more American like light-lagers (less bitterness, no sugary twang, a bit sweeter finish). It's quite different to the recipe in the OP though. In Aussie terms, this newer one is more like Great Northern.
 

mengtx

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Interesting. I can't get Aussie lagers here so will have to brew my own, some like I've had overseas in years past (like the older type you mention), so I was looking more for that type of recipe. The recipe you mention sounds almost like a regional beer brand here, Shiner-their Blonde beer. Bigger breweries here don't tend to use Vienna.

All the older info I found on aussie lagers tends to refer to "liquid sugar" as the adjunct, so I'd assumed some invert brewers syrup. You can't find that here either.

I've used S-189 for years-even before they had small packets, and it's amazing. I don't really have a need for other lager yeasts.
 
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Gnomebrewer

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The bigger breweries here (and I'm assuming US as well) use grain malted to their specs, so it's unique to the brewery. If the sugar added to aussie lagers was in liquid form, I'd still expect it to basically be dissolved table sugar - not flavoursome syrup like British invert syrups. I use invert syrups (#2 and #3) quite a bit in English bitters, and have never noticed any of those flavours in Aussie lagers.
 

mengtx

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Searching for the big piece I found on the aussie invert syrups, but was basically that countries use whatever big crop they have on hand for an adjunct-and for Australia it was sugar but they made it into invert syrup first. You can't get clear/low degree invert brewing sugar syrups here at a homebrew level, and I've only used corn sugar raw in a beer. Never had the guts to go with table sugar, but guess I will try it-in a lager.
 
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Gnomebrewer

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Yep. The sugar will give a bit of a twang. But that's what Aussie lagers use (or used to - it's not as common anymore). Combine the twang of up to 30% sugar, a fruity lager yeast fermented warm and metallic Pride of Ringwood hops, and you have a classic Aussie lager!
 

mengtx

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Thank you! Looks like my LHBS is out of POR, but I may try with the cluster, sugar and S23 yeast (for the fruitiness) this week.

I wrote the above, then I found POR at a different local place, think I will try to get it there-as I think it might be key to the flavor.
 
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mengtx

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OK, made it today. Didn't look again at your specs before I did it so it's a bit higher in OG. I haven't run it through Beersmith, so will put my notes below.

All measurements U.S.:

8 lb pale malt (German [Ireks], I can't get aussie)
1 lb table sugar-dissolved in batches in wort removed and put back into boil, continuous bottom stir to keep from scorching
.5 oz Pride of Ringwood pellet hops - 10% @ 60 min
.25 oz Pride of Ringwood pellet hops - 10% @ 60 min (debated making this @ 15 for flavor)
Saflager S-23 yeast

  1. 5 US gallon batch
  2. 60 minute boil, my efficiency was higher than expected so got to 1.050 OG
  3. Used RO water with balanced minerals addition
  4. Temp range for mashing ran 149-156°-I use insulated BIAB and have to keep making temp corrections, but efficiency is normally great.

Thought I got it cooler than I did but pitched @ 75° F and put in my refrigerated fermentation chamber (should reach 53-55° F-but the start will be warm for first 24-30 hours). Sugar contribution at that level would be about 16-20%. Sample wort I checked for gravity tasted amazing.

Thank you so much for all the info!...That's really slick to have the info that I can't really get otherwise. I did have some old Mauribrew 497 yeast, but felt it was too old to use this round. I'll send a pic of final product. Can you tell me any authentic Australian food recipes I can look up and make to go with it?
 
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Gnomebrewer

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Can you tell me any authentic Australian food recipes I can look up and make to go with it?
There's not a lot of authentic Australian food. A meat pie with sauce and a beer is very Australian though!
 
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