English Lager?

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McMullan

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What's an English Lager? That's a genuine question. As an ale drinker, I really don't know. All I can think of is Carling Black Label, which is crap. The adverts were much better than the beer.



I found Adams' Kobold English Lager whilst searching online. I've no idea what it's like, but the marketing recons...

This refreshing lager is a perfect blend of English ingredients and uses East Anglian extra pale malted barley and wheat, with Goldings hops from Hertfordshire and Kent.

No problem, I've got half a sack of Warminster Floor Malted Low Colour Maris Otter, about 3kg Goldings (Cobb) hops and some Diamond Lager yeast to use up.

English Lager #1 KISS

Est Original Gravity: 1.051 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.012 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.1 %
Bitterness: 32.0 IBUs
Est Color: 4.4

Half batch

LC MO 93%
Flaked Maize 7%

Mash: 75min @ 68°C, 15min @ 72°C, 15min @ 77°C.

Boil 90min

Goldings: 15g @ 90min, 15g @ 60min, 6g @ 15min and 15g steeped at 80°C for 20min.

12L (OG 1.051) into 19L corny keg. Sprinkled 1pk Diamond Lager yeast onto wort @ 12°C.

Day 2 (36h) spunding up to 10psi.

DSC_0061.JPG


Edit: That's interesting, according to Adnams' head brewer, they use their ale strain at lower temperature to ferment their Kobold Lager.

 
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Hanglow

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Most lagers from traditional UK breweries are a bit crap unfortunately. I'm pretty sure Fullers frontier is another one that uses their own yeast at lower temperatures. It's rather poor. Not tried the Adams one

Korev is pretty solid though from St austel. It has maize in it too. Keep us updated on how it turns out:yes:
 

cire

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Above is a typical sixties attempt at lager. The mash and boil are the same as for a pale ale, but fermented with yeast from the Red Tower Brewery, then a long-established brewer of lager. Hop 28 was listed as "Styrians", supplied by a British Hop Merchant.

So, just 14 Qtrs Muntons Pale Malt and 3 Qtrs of Flaked Rice with 50 lbs of Styrian Goldings. That's about 9 gm of hops per kg of grist, all at the start of the boil. OG 1037 fermented at 57F/14C.

Many brewers at that time used their normal ale yeast, but this one didn't.
 

bwible

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Well Carling is made in Canada.

This is interesting because we just had somebody from our club sending out emails about this. Fullers in particular using their ale yeast at low temps to make lager. And they said it was “hoppy lager” and they were throwing out the word “craft”. If it’s “craft” that means its hoppy, I guess.

I had never heard of English lager either, but I’m in America. And I never heard of “craft” “hoppy” lager anywhere in the world. Somebody needs to tell Gordon Strong or whoever is in charge of updating BJCP guidelines now I guess.

[edit] Everybody knows Harp lager. But that’s Irish and its not “craft” or “hoppy”
 
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McMullan

McMullan

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Well Carling is made in Canada.

This is interesting because we just had somebody from our club sending out emails about this. Fullers in particular using their ale yeast at low temps to make lager. And they said it was “hoppy lager” and they were throwing out the word “craft”. If it’s “craft” that means its hoppy, I guess.

I had never heard of English lager either, but I’m in America. And I never heard of “craft” “hoppy” lager anywhere in the world. Somebody needs to tell Gordon Strong or whoever is in charge of updating BJCP guidelines now I guess.

[edit] Everybody knows Harp lager. But that’s Irish and its not “craft” or “hoppy”
Just goes to show what I know about English Lager. I suspect some of the crafty ones are just variations on Summer Lightning, the English Golden Ale.
 
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McMullan

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Marris Otter doesn't belong in a lager if you want my opinion. :)
I have no idea, never tried it before. At least I'll get the t-shirt. I'm interested how it turns out, using English malt and hops with a genuine lager yeast. We'll see. I'm guessing it's going to be drinkable, but not as good as pilsner malt and noble hops.
 

DBhomebrew

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I could see Golden Promise or something like Optic being very nice in a lager. Not nearly as bready/nutty as MO, still more English-y flavorful than generic 2-row.
 

bwible

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The numbers for your posted recipe line up pretty close with Pre-Prohibition lager. Different ingredients but real similar numbers.

One thing I would suggest is a lower mash temp if you’re going for a lager with Maris Otter. 68C = 154F. I’d be looking more toward 63-64C= 145-148F. You want more fermentable wort for a lager.

Anyhow, please do let us know how this goes.

Thanks.
 

bwible

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From a brewery standpoint, it doesn’t make sense. They ferment lagers with a different yeast that likes to work cold. It requires more equipment, more cost in refrigeration, longer time to ferment and tanks tied up longer. The reason they do it is to produce the cleanest beer possible. With no esters, no diacetyl, no dms, no off flavors, etc.

So if we’re going to do all that extra work and go to all the extra cost and time, then why would we just go and cover all that up with a bunch of hops? If we’re going to do that, then why not just use ale yeast - less cost, less time, get the beer out faster? Since we don’t need the cleanest beer possible. I guess thats why all the hoppy beers have been ales to this point.
 

Hanglow

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Carling is indeed Canadian but it is the biggest selling commodity lager in England and brewed there at a couple of places or at least was a few years ago. Also gained notoriety as it was marketed at 4% but they only made it to 3.7% to save tax. It's a typical high gravity, warm ferment, low hopped "lager" lagered for a day and made with green malt and maltose syrup among other things.

As for making a proper English Lager, I don't see why not. English malts and hops and proper lagering and yeast and Bob's your mothers brother.
 

kevin58

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Check out Ron Pattinson's blog, Shut Up About Barclay Perkins. He has done quite a bit of research on British lager. A search of his site turned up these articles... Shut up about Barclay Perkins
And the book... Lulu

Along with many articles Ron has also lifted some recipes from the old brewing logs...
 

Joe P

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Pennsylvania here, Yeuingling brewery, America's oldest brewery still brews a Lager & it's a top seller. The taste (to me) is what a Lager should taste like. I found a recipe after reading several articles about the brewery and pieced it together. Haven't tasted it yet as its still carbonating. Ill definetly give a heads up when i finally taste it. Meanwhile, if you never had a Yeuingling brew check them out, it's really decent tasting. Just saying
 

Yesfan

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I love reading about these old beers and beer history in general. The link to the 1930s dark lager shows a fermentation temp of 48F! That seems like it may be too low for a lot of yeast strains. Is this one reason why you would want to mash in at a lower temp and/or use a particular base malt? How long would it take a lager to ferment at 48F?

@Misplaced_Canuck Why no MO in a lager?

@Joe P Agreed. I'm in TN, and I love Yuengling's amber lager. Great testing beer. One of the local restaurants keeps it on draft.

I really need to get that vintage beers book.........
 

patto1ro

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View attachment 765320

Above is a typical sixties attempt at lager. The mash and boil are the same as for a pale ale, but fermented with yeast from the Red Tower Brewery, then a long-established brewer of lager. Hop 28 was listed as "Styrians", supplied by a British Hop Merchant.

So, just 14 Qtrs Muntons Pale Malt and 3 Qtrs of Flaked Rice with 50 lbs of Styrian Goldings. That's about 9 gm of hops per kg of grist, all at the start of the boil. OG 1037 fermented at 57F/14C.

Many brewers at that time used their normal ale yeast, but this one didn't.
Which brewery is that from?
 

cire

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J Nimmo and Son at Castle Eden, Ron. Whitbread passed to Durham County Archives those from '42 to probably when the beers were rebranded as Whitbread Trophy and the rest. That lager was brewed when they were independent.

I thought you were in Brazil.
 
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McMullan

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I love reading about these old beers and beer history in general. The link to the 1930s dark lager shows a fermentation temp of 48F! That seems like it may be too low for a lot of yeast strains. Is this one reason why you would want to mash in at a lower temp and/or use a particular base malt? How long would it take a lager to ferment at 48F?

@Misplaced_Canuck Why no MO in a lager?

@Joe P Agreed. I'm in TN, and I love Yuengling's amber lager. Great testing beer. One of the local restaurants keeps it on draft.

I really need to get that vintage beers book.........
Interesting idea, low mash temps for lower fermentation temps. 48°F does seem to be at the low end of the range, but not too low, for some lager yeasts. The lager yeast's enzymes have evolved to function efficiently at lower temps. I need to try a really cool fermentation at some point. Probably with WLP833, which I quite like.
its supposed to work well, but what you will get is something maybe a bit closer to a Vienna lager.
I can see what you mean here.

869995A1-D34B-48CF-8516-D2FF9B550A2C.jpeg


This beer’s definitely on the malt side. I use Vienna malt as a sub for mild malt and I’m getting lots of that here. Almost reminds me of milling grains. Quite pleasant. A little sweetness to prop the maltiness. Relatively low carbonation for a lager, in my limited experience of lagers, but that seems to be a good thing here. Higher carbonation levels seem to compliment spicy pilsners. Interesting, I‘ll have to try a few more imported Vienna lagers. I’m not sure how authentic this one is, but Aass are by far the best quality ‘big’ brewery in Norway.
 

Joe P

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I got sort of malted out and Vienna Lager would taste very good now. Never heard of AAss Brewery but ill look for it. Between my Porters, Czech Darks & Honey Ales I need a crisper pallet tangy brew. I was thinking about having a Fosters. Why I don't know. If, I can actually find it here in Pa. They might know Foster Grant sunglasses or Foster Brooks comedian but I'm not sure abour Fosters Beer. The adventure begins, later...I'm going in!
 

patto1ro

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J Nimmo and Son at Castle Eden, Ron. Whitbread passed to Durham County Archives those from '42 to probably when the beers were rebranded as Whitbread Trophy and the rest. That lager was brewed when they were independent.

I thought you were in Brazil.
Interesting. You don't have any more photos from Nimmo do you?

I've been back from Brazil for a while., And been to Columbia since.
 

cire

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Interesting. You don't have any more photos from Nimmo do you?

I've been back from Brazil for a while., And been to Columbia since.

Know someone who holidayed in Columbia and had nothing but praise for the people and the country.

Yes, I do. There were 5 or 6 Brewing books and took about 90 shots. Like many other local breweries at that time, they malted their own, identified by county and graded in bins marked N and F, hops were listed by grower/supplier.

Some of their beers were much darker than the recipes suggest, but have seen no evidence of the colourings they must have used.
 

patto1ro

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Know someone who holidayed in Columbia and had nothing but praise for the people and the country.

Yes, I do. There were 5 or 6 Brewing books and took about 90 shots. Like many other local breweries at that time, they malted their own, identified by county and graded in bins marked N and F, hops were listed by grower/supplier.

Some of their beers were much darker than the recipes suggest, but have seen no evidence of the colourings they must have used.
Priming sugars and caramel additions would account for the colour. It's sadly usual that these colour adjustments don't appear in brewing records.

Any chance of getting hold of those other photos?
 

cire

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Priming sugars and caramel additions would account for the colour. It's sadly usual that these colour adjustments don't appear in brewing records.

Any chance of getting hold of those other photos?

Yes, I'm sure we can sort out some arrangement.
 
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McMullan

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Just taken a gravity reading. Down to 1.010 (attn = 79%). Actually tastes nice after passing through a coffee filter. Definitely lager-like with a nice Pilsner level spiciness from the hops and good bitterness. Little surprised considering only used Goldings. It's currently at 20°C under 15psi. I'll cool it over a couple days then pressure transfer to the purged 9L keg. Then I think I might add some gelatine to clear things and get it in a glass sooner, ready for the next sunny day. This Sunday, potentially 🌞
 

Northern_Brewer

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The flavor of MO is not something that I would find appealing in a lager. Too malty for my tastebuds.

Read the OP more carefully, he's not using regular Otter but an Extra Pale (or Low Colour as Warminster call it), which at 2.5EBC (1.5L) is paler than a lot of pilsner malts. It still has Otter character but is a lot less in your face, and entirely appropriate for a British take on lager.

Going back to the original question :
What's an English Lager? That's a genuine question. As an ale drinker, I really don't know. All I can think of is Carling Black Label, which is crap.

And Canadian.

On one level - there's no such thing. But lager has a surprisingly long history in the UK - I suggest you have a read of Boak & Bailey's 60-page Gambrinus Waltz. We were no exceptions to the European-wide fashion for the newfangled beer which really got going in the 1860s, enhanced by a general enthusiasm for all things Germanic thanks to Prince Albert. The first dedicated lager brewery in the UK is debatable but is usually reckoned to be the Austro-Bavarian Lager Beer and Crystal Ice Company, in Tottenham which opened in 1881 although ale breweries were brewing lager well before then. However all things Germanic rather went out of fashion in 1914 and lager pretty much died out during WWI. Imports started giving people a taste for it after WWII, and then the Canadian tycoon Eddie Taylor went on an acquisition spree in the 1960s to build an estate of tied pubs which became Bass Charrington, that he could sell Carling Black Label into. The other brewers responded in kind by licensing various European brands, although some of the regional brewers ended up trying to make their own with their ale yeasts and sell them under ersatz German names like Greenall's Grünhalle and Robinson's Einhorn (brewed at their Unicorn brewery). They weren't good, and despite the huge boost of the heatwaves of '75 & '76, by the 80s the market was dominated by foreign brands (by now including the Aussies, XXXX and Foster's) brewed under licence with big marketing budgets behind them.

And so it continued for a generation. There have been the odd "craft" lager breweries like Freedom (established in the mid-90s) but it's only in the last 5 years or so that there's been a real interest in lager from anything other than the big boys. I think it's mostly that as small breweries have built their own taprooms, they've had commercial pressure from across the bar from the 2/3 of Brits who drink lager. And that's led to various approaches - they tend to stay classic to start with, 34/70 and Saaz/German, but then branch out as they get more experience and you do see people doing lagers with English hops. It's not particularly common, but it is a bit of a thing. I guess it will become a bit more of a thing with Brexit. I'm surprised you managed to find two examples using ale yeasts though, they generally use pastorianus IME, partly because the scars of the 1970s versions run so deep.
 
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McMullan

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This is turning into a pretty reasonable beer. Not the best Pilsner I've made but far from the worst. Pilsner territory nonetheless. I repitched the yeast into a full batch. Only differences were 10% flaked Maize, more hops @ 15min, fresh/wet yeast and oxygenated wort. With plenty of fresh yeast it fermented well under 15psi @ 12°C. I think I prefer lagers fermentated at lower temperatures. Almost 3 weeks in and I think it's a slight improvement, but it needs to lager for a month or so. Next half batch is going to be mashed much lower temperature, as some recommend for a lager. Then maybe a version with Pilsner malt, to get an idea what each element brings. It's stating the obvious, but I think using lager yeast is the key, to get that refreshing lager crispness, rather than ale yeast at cooler temperature.
 
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McMullan

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Sticky and humid here. Thunder storm on the horizon, I hope. After doing some gardening I thought I'd have a cold one. This English lager has turned out really nice. I will be making this again. I compared it with one mashed at 62°C, instead of 68°C. The lower mash temperature has produced a relatively boring beer. Closer to commercial fizzy p*ss water, if I'm brutally honest. Back to 68°C me thinks. Nicer beer with more flavour that marries well with some spicy hops.
 
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