Lager not lagery enough

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ABV Motleybrew

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Sorry for the long post. I've been brewing for 15 years, I can make IPA, APA, wiessbier, belgian ales, kettle sours, stouts, bitters, saisons etc etc pretty much always as good as and often better than shop bought beer. BUT, I cannot for the life of me make a good lager! I've been trying for about 2 years and have pretty much brewed nothing else since I got the lager brewing bug, but they just dont compare to shop bought lagers. When you pour a lager is should smell lagery, crisp and of noble hops, mine just smells malty, always malty! Doesnt matter many hops I use, I've tried dry hopping but the Noble hops make it floral. Taste wise they're ok and drinkable but never crisp and clean. With regard to my processes I have a fermentation fridge, I lager and ferment low and slow, I make huge starters, I dont get any off flavours it's just not like shop commercial lager. I've followed hoppy pilsner recipes from different books and they just dont taste right. I've even tried doubling the flavour hops and I still cant taste or smell them!
Has anyone else had this issue? I feel I've tried everything and nothing is making it any better.
 

monkeymath

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I feel you. I don't think I've ever had a homebrew made by anyone that tasted like a commercial lager. To me, hops have nothing to do with it, though - which is probably due to the fact that the lager I grew up on is Bavarian Helles, which is not all that hoppy. I rather find homebrew versions lacking in fermentation character. Lodo folks will say it's oxygen.
My uneducated guess is that it has to do with a difference in the fermentation process and the fact that commercial breweries ferment their lagers much colder than us homebrewers.
 

Sammy86

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My .02 is a combination of things. First, is your water...I found my lagers became significantly better when I started adjusting my water. They came out crisper and cleaner.

Second, is the type of yeast you're using. I LOVE 34/70...it works with my palate and I just don't go with anything else because of how versatile it is. Maybe you just haven't found the right yeast yet.

Third, there could be something in your process. Whether its your mash schedule, hopping schedule, cooling, whatever it might be.

If you could share your process with us all the way through hopefully we can find something to modify to help you get the results you've been looking for!
 
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ABV Motleybrew

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I feel you. I don't think I've ever had a homebrew made by anyone that tasted like a commercial lager. To me, hops have nothing to do with it, though - which is probably due to the fact that the lager I grew up on is Bavarian Helles, which is not all that hoppy. I rather find homebrew versions lacking in fermentation character. Lodo folks will say it's oxygen.
My uneducated guess is that it has to do with a difference in the fermentation process and the fact that commercial breweries ferment their lagers much colder than us homebrewers.
Definitely not oxygen as I've been doing pressure fermenting and closed transfers to kegs for the past 12 months. I've read loads on how the German brewers make their lagers, maybe that's just it and it's not possible to replicate on a home brew level. Lucky enough I have a local shop that imports german lager! Bocks, doppelbocks, marzen, kolsch, alts.... so not all is lost 😀
 
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ABV Motleybrew

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My .02 is a combination of things. First, is your water...I found my lagers became significantly better when I started adjusting my water. They came out crisper and cleaner.

Second, is the type of yeast you're using. I LOVE 34/70...it works with my palate and I just don't go with anything else because of how versatile it is. Maybe you just haven't found the right yeast yet.

Third, there could be something in your process. Whether its your mash schedule, hopping schedule, cooling, whatever it might be.

If you could share your process with us all the way through hopefully we can find something to modify to help you get the results you've been looking for!
I use RO water and adjust with gypsum, cal chloride and epsom, I use about 50 ppm chloride to 90 sulphate.
Yeast I've tried 34/70, s-23 and wyeast 2026.
I mash 60 minutes and can hold the temp without issue, I've tried 64c/147f to 68c/154f and everything in between, I generally dont lose any temp at all. I only do single infusion BIAB.
I cool with an immersion chiller and generally get the temp from 100c to 60c (below hop isomerisation) in about 4 minutes. The last pilsner I did was all Saaz, 52g 60min, 28g 20 min, 28g 10 min, 28g 5 min, 28g at flame out.
 

Gnomebrewer

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It really depends what the flavour is that you associate with 'lagery'. For me, it's the light whiff of sulfur (with only a light maltiness and a hint of hops). To get that, use the right yeast strain (my favourite is Wyeast Danish lager 2042, which is hard to get now); I don't get it from 34/70 in dry form (which is a great, clean yeast, but just gives a clean, malty finish to my palate). Ferment cool (as you're already doing), then do a closed transfer to serving keg and slowly lower to around freezing with a couple of points of gravity left - no diacetyl rest (it seems to remove sulfur).

If your association with 'lager' is the famed 'it' that fresh German lagers have, you might need to look at LOB.

And for all of them, as already mentioned, start with very soft water.
 

Barbarossa

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Vienna Lager

I read that book and I really like what I made afterwards.

Here's the recipe I do based on it. Maybe it can inspire you.

I use a three step water filter and campden. Full step mash ending at 152f for 60 minutes 10# Vienna malt with half a pound of both melanoidin and Carapils malt.

5g magnum @ 60,
15g hallertau @15 min.
15g hallertau @5 min.
30g hallertau @ flameout for 20 minutes. wlp 820 (or wyeast 2124), ferment at 50f for three or four days then 55f for the remaining time up till three weeks. Then lager for as long as I can at 35.
 

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First thing first- water. It's imperative to have the proper water to make a clean crisp lager.

I use RO water and adjust with gypsum, cal chloride and epsom, I use about 50 ppm chloride to 90 sulphate.
Yeast I've tried 34/70, s-23 and wyeast 2026.
I mash 60 minutes and can hold the temp without issue, I've tried 64c/147f to 68c/154f and everything in between, I generally dont lose any temp at all. I only do single infusion BIAB.
I cool with an immersion chiller and generally get the temp from 100c to 60c (below hop isomerisation) in about 4 minutes. The last pilsner I did was all Saaz, 52g 60min, 28g 20 min, 28g 10 min, 28g 5 min, 28g at flame out.
Next time, NO gypsum or epsom, and very very little calcium chloride. Sulfate and noble hops don't play well together. Calcium to 40 ppm or so, using CaCl2 to get there is fine. But keep everything else out. Shoot for a mash pH of 5.2, using lactic acid to get there.

Use German pilsner malt, or Belgian if you can't get German. For a single infusion, 150F will do fine. Forget S-23, but you should be ok with other high quality lager strains.

Once it's fermented out, make sure you lager it as cold as you can for as long as you can. I'd do 1 week for every 8 OG points at a minimum, near freezing if possible. So, 33 degrees for 6 weeks for a 1.048 OG lager.

The biggest risk to making the lagers not "lagery" in my opinion is oxidation. Do everything possible to avoid hot side aeration and cold side oxidation, to get a brighter cleaner tasting lager.
 
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ABV Motleybrew

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It really depends what the flavour is that you associate with 'lagery'. For me, it's the light whiff of sulfur (with only a light maltiness and a hint of hops). To get that, use the right yeast strain (my favourite is Wyeast Danish lager 2042, which is hard to get now); I don't get it from 34/70 in dry form (which is a great, clean yeast, but just gives a clean, malty finish to my palate). Ferment cool (as you're already doing), then do a closed transfer to serving keg and slowly lower to around freezing with a couple of points of gravity left - no diacetyl rest (it seems to remove sulfur).

If your association with 'lager' is the famed 'it' that fresh German lagers have, you might need to look at LOB.

And for all of them, as already mentioned, start with very soft water.
Thanks, I had recently read about fermenting super cold and not raising for Diacetyl rest, I've always done a D.R. so I'm willing to give this a go. I've not tried 2042 but my homebrew supplier has it in stock so I'll give that a go also cheers!
 
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ABV Motleybrew

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First thing first- water. It's imperative to have the proper water to make a clean crisp lager.



Next time, NO gypsum or epsom, and very very little calcium chloride. Sulfate and noble hops don't play well together. Calcium to 40 ppm or so, using CaCl2 to get there is fine. But keep everything else out. Shoot for a mash pH of 5.2, using lactic acid to get there.

Use German pilsner malt, or Belgian if you can't get German. For a single infusion, 150F will do fine. Forget S-23, but you should be ok with other high quality lager strains.

Once it's fermented out, make sure you lager it as cold as you can for as long as you can. I'd do 1 week for every 8 OG points at a minimum, near freezing if possible. So, 33 degrees for 6 weeks for a 1.048 OG lager.

The biggest risk to making the lagers not "lagery" in my opinion is oxidation. Do everything possible to avoid hot side aeration and cold side oxidation, to get a brighter cleaner tasting lager.
Thanks, I dont have issues with cold side oxidation as I pressure ferment and close transfer, I have though been persisting with s-23 quite a bit so I'll knock that on the head. In fact I've been using allot of dry yeast and and a few wyeast strains that I think might be more malt forward, that could be it I suppose...... I'll try some new strains
 

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I use 50/50 distilled/local tap water when I brew lagers. I also brew lagers in the late winter when my basement is about 45-50F and ferment down there in regular carboys and then lager in the fridge after bottling/kegging for about 3-4 months before drinking it in July/August. No, my lager isn't the same as Hamm's light, but its good enough that there's none left by Labor day.
 

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With water sorted and oxygen under control, the other big factor is yeast.
34/70 is fine but not as clean and crisp as WLP940 @ 50*F for me.
I haven’t tried them all yet, but 940 is the cleanest I’ve used.
Maybe ease up on the pressure for the first few days to get more sulphur.
Lower you mash pH a bit. I like 5.2-5.3 for crisp.
Serve a bit colder.
 

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Lagers are all about process and not so much ingredients. And yes oxygen is a big part of that both on the hot and cold side. If you want to learn how Germans do it then read the book they use at all the brewing schools.
 

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"...malty, always malty. " for me means lack of hops and water treatment. If your lagers are already turning out malty, I would raise the gypsum and the amount of hops you are using. Of course, minimising O2 should always be your goal with any beer. I would however not brew the Pilsner you are looking for, with extremely soft water, as you already tried that and it did not help. I too started brewing more lagers in the past 24-30 months. All turned out well, some more than well.

My latest one was a non-dry hopped Modern French Single Hop Pils:

OG: 1.055 / FG: 1.010 / 5.9% ABV / 38 IBU / 81% AA
100% Barke Pilsner + W-34/70 + 250 gr ( 9 oz ) Mistral ( 5.9% AA )
65C/149F mash temp. for 90 minutes ( mash pH was 5.4 ) + sparge + 90 minutes boil
Hops: 25 gr at 60, 40, 20 and 1'

Turned clear and good after 2-3 weeks in the keg. No hint of sulphur, no diacetyl, no DMS or any other off-flavours. This was a less bitter Pils, made specially for a friend that doesn't like bitter lagers. I usually aim for more IBUs, especially when the beer gets lagered for at least 4 weeks.
 

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What do your beers finish at? I am much happier with mine now they finish at 1004 instead of 1010. Started mashing at 62c. I avoid sulphate and use RO water, about 3g of calcium chloride.
 
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ABV Motleybrew

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What do your beers finish at? I am much happier with mine now they finish at 1004 instead of 1010. Started mashing at 62c. I avoid sulphate and use RO water, about 3g of calcium chloride.
I've never mashed that low, normally get an FG of 1.008 - 1.012 depending on mash temp. I use RO water and mash at 5.2PH
My water profile
Calcium 52ppm
Magnesium 10ppm
Sodium 9ppm
Chloride 52ppm
Sulphate 92ppm
Bicarbonate 31ppm
 

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I've noticed that my lagers aren't very lagery until at least 6 weeks but usually 8. If there's the slightest haze, and I mean the faintest bit, they usually have a dullness that is hard to describe. I believe it's a yeasty flavor that prevents that crispness that lagers are known for. Once the beer completely drops clear, it's almost a different beer from before. And I mean clear as in commercial filtered clear.

I find that gelatin doesn't help that much with my lagers. It'll get it mostly clear but that last bit of tiny haze takes its sweet time to drop.
 
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ABV Motleybrew

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Thanks for the advice everyone, heres what I think I'll do for my next batch.
Bohemian pilsner
19ltr
Target SG 1.050
iBU 28
RO water, keep the chloride to sulphate balanced at around 60ppm and reduce the calcium to 40ppm.
I'm gonna to use 100% weyermann barke and for yeast I'm going to try wyeast 2124 (the most widely used lager strain in the world apparently).
I'll mash at 65c/150f, single infusion for 60 minutes. Hops all saaz, 28g 15min, 28g 10min, 28g 5 min, 28g 0 minutes and whatever it takes in bittering to get to 28IBU.
Ferment at 8c / 47c and Diacetyl rest for the last 5 points, leave for 5 days to clean up.
Drop the temp to freezing over a week and rack to a keg and lager for 2 months.
If I've missed anything or if anyone thinks I should change anything please let me know.

Thanks
 

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Thanks for the advice everyone, heres what I think I'll do for my next batch.
Bohemian pilsner
19ltr
Target SG 1.050
iBU 28
RO water, keep the chloride to sulphate balanced at around 60ppm and reduce the calcium to 40ppm.
I'm gonna to use 100% weyermann barke and for yeast I'm going to try wyeast 2124 (the most widely used lager strain in the world apparently).
I'll mash at 65c/150f, single infusion for 60 minutes. Hops all saaz, 28g 15min, 28g 10min, 28g 5 min, 28g 0 minutes and whatever it takes in bittering to get to 28IBU.
Ferment at 8c / 47c and Diacetyl rest for the last 5 points, leave for 5 days to clean up.
Drop the temp to freezing over a week and rack to a keg and lager for 2 months.
If I've missed anything or if anyone thinks I should change anything please let me know.

Thanks
Sulfate and saaz hops don't play nicely together- they get sort of harsh. For a BoPils, I'd definitely not add the sulfate, and get the chloride to only enough where the calcium is 40 ppm, give or take. The rest sounds good. I'd really consider reducing oxygen update on the hot side as well to get the famous "German lager" (or in this case, Czech) crispness and freshness.
 

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I brew a lot of lagers, they are usually pretty good and win medals...but even still, they never are as good as a good lager brewery beers. For example, here in Mass, Notch is a fantastic brewery that makes word class German/Czech lagers. My Czech Dark is very good, has scored in mid 40's and I love it. But then every 6 months or so Notch puts theirs out and it just leaves my version in the dust. Sure they are using horizontal lagering tanks, spunding the beers, naturally carbonating and sometimes even open fermenting. I have spunded and naturally carbonated, but still not the same.

To the OP are you using tap water? Try using RO or Distilled and build up, you may have too many minerals, depending on style, for example, Czech lagers should have very little minerals. I brew Czech and pale German lagers with just around 25 ppm of Calcium, and 35-40 for SO4 and CL. You do not need 50 ppm of Calcium that is the minimum recommendation for ales for yeast health, due to the large yeast pitch and cool temps. Try to make sure your starters are at least 1.5 million cells/ml/degree Plato, Brewer's Friend Yeast Calculator is good for that. If you are going for crisp lagers, mash low, 148-149F. Use step mash for other lagers, something like 148F for 30, 159 for 30, mash out at 172 if you don't want to do decoction. Get the best malts you can, don't use like Briess Pilsner, use Weyermann Pils or even better Weyermann Barke Pilsner. Limit hop additions, don't go crazy with 5-6 hop additions like in ales...try something like FWH, 50 min and 20 min...or start of boil, 30 min, 20. If doing say an IPL, then add hops at knockout. There is a good formula for which hops to use when in lagers from the low oxygen brewing spreadsheet...will post it when I have a time as have a meeting in a few minutes.
 
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I feel you. I don't think I've ever had a homebrew made by anyone that tasted like a commercial lager. To me, hops have nothing to do with it, though - which is probably due to the fact that the lager I grew up on is Bavarian Helles, which is not all that hoppy. I rather find homebrew versions lacking in fermentation character. Lodo folks will say it's oxygen.
My uneducated guess is that it has to do with a difference in the fermentation process and the fact that commercial breweries ferment their lagers much colder than us homebrewers.
You're definitely onto something there.

My lagers actually didn't start being lager-like until I started controlling temperatures more closely. Tried brewing lagers only in colder months, used a Brew Jacket for a couple of years, but nothing really satisfied me until I got a stainless conical with a glycol chiller. Overnight things improved drastically as proven by competition wins, including a Best of Show win for a Pre-Prohibition lager.

But ingredients DO play a major role. That, as well as plenty of healthy yeast. And time. Lots and lots of time.
 

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If you want to try a step mash, some people swear by the hochkurz mash:


Many true German lagers are done using a decoction mash.

If anything, I would only expect doing that to make your beer maltier though.
 
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Besides water and ingredients, as mentioned above, the most important thing is keep OG below 1.050 and attenuate WELL. Do the things that you know will result in a good fermentation, which includes as much yeast as you can create. Cold fermentation is obviously going to slow things down, but get a lot of yeast in there and it'll finish fast. I find the fast fermentations (~ 10 days) result in better lagers than the ones that slowly drop over 3 weeks. The latter happens if I don't use enough yeast.

German malts, Tettnang or Saaz. I like S-189 for yeast. I save jars of slurry from previous batches.

They do seem to improve after weeks in the keg. Not sure if this is just more clearing of the beer or some effect from the CO2.
 

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Found it...so the Low Oxygen Spreadsheet, which can be found at https://www.**********************/ breaks out lager hopping like this:
Group A hops are Perle and Magnum
Group B are Traditional, Mittelfruh, Hersbrucker, Styrian Golding
Group C are Saaz, Saphir, Select and Tettnang

Two hopping methods are used, the first is 60/30/10 where you use:
50% (of targeted IBUs) of Group A at 60, or 25% of A and 25% of B
25% at 30 min from Group B
25 at 10 min from Group C

Second is 50 or 60 min and 10 or 20 min where you use:
70-80% (of targeted IBUs) from Group A at 50 or 60 min
20-30% at 10 or 20 min from Group B or Group C

Now granted, this is not for all lagers, like a Czech Pils which would be all Saaz or Kazbek hops, and does not include newer German hops or American "lager hops" like Sterling, Mt. Hood, Loral...but it works well a lot of German lagers.
 

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how do the mega breweries crank out clean lagers with short turn-around time? There's no way Anheuser Busch is tying up a conditioning tank for 6-8 weeks per batch

Forced filtering to catch the suspended yeast?
 

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how do the mega breweries crank out clean lagers with short turn-around time? There's no way Anheuser Busch is tying up a conditioning tank for 6-8 weeks per batch

Forced filtering to catch the suspended yeast?
I'm driving myself bonkers trying to find the article again, but I remember reading somewhere online that most of big name breweries in the US switched to pressure fermentation back in the 60s in order to crank out their product on a much shorter time table.
 
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ABV Motleybrew

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The only thing I didn’t see anybody say here is that you should build a big starter with your lager yeast. Pitch 4-5 times the amount of yeast you would pitch for an ale.
Thanks, I've not bothered withpitch calculators but i always make 5ltr starters on a stir plate so I should hopefully be pitching enough yeast.
 
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ABV Motleybrew

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Sulfate and saaz hops don't play nicely together- they get sort of harsh. For a BoPils, I'd definitely not add the sulfate, and get the chloride to only enough where the calcium is 40 ppm, give or take. The rest sounds good. I'd really consider reducing oxygen update on the hot side as well to get the famous "German lager" (or in this case, Czech) crispness and freshness.
I thought you needed a touch more sulphate to accentuate the hops?? would not adding sulphate just make it more malty?
Also with regard to hot side aeration, i've not really looked into this being theissue too much as i dont think i introduce much if any oxygen, I dont boil too vigorously, i just chuck the hop in and leave it, then put my chiller in and cool it, not sure what else i could do???
 

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Thanks, I've not bothered withpitch calculators but i always make 5ltr starters on a stir plate so I should hopefully be pitching enough yeast.
Are you crashing and decanting the overburden liquid to pitch only the yeast cake? Five liters of supernatant over 400~500 ml of yeast would seem like a lot of "spent" wort that might detract from the finished beer if it were pitched with the yeast.
 

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I thought you needed a touch more sulphate to accentuate the hops?? would not adding sulphate just make it more malty?
Also with regard to hot side aeration, i've not really looked into this being theissue too much as i dont think i introduce much if any oxygen, I dont boil too vigorously, i just chuck the hop in and leave it, then put my chiller in and cool it, not sure what else i could do???
No. You don't accent hops or malt with sulfate and chloride- that's a mistaken impression.
What you do with sulfate is enhance the feeling and perception of dryness. With a small amount, it doesn't even really do that as you need more than 60 ppm or so to make that happen. But what does happen is that sulfate and noble hops don't go well together, and it can give a harsh bitterness to Saaz/hallertauer hops instead of a firm bitterness. You do want firm bitterness with pilsners, but not harshness. The way to accent hops is actually simple- use more hops.
Chloride doesn't accent malt, either. What it does is provide a feeling of fullness to the mouthfeel, or a "roundness" of flavor. 50 ppm or so isn't really all that prominent, but no reason to go higher. Just bring your calcium to 40 ppm (plus or minus) to help prevent beerstone in the kettle, and you can use calcium chloride to do that.

Forget you ever ever heard the words "chloride/sulfate ratio" (or vice versa). The reason why is because 10 ppm of chloride and 20 ppm of sulfate is 1:2- but so low as to be meaningless. But 100 ppm of chloride and 200 ppm of sulfate is also 1:2- and will make a minerally beer.

Look at individual amounts, and keep them in the appropriate range for what you're brewing and forget about any ratio. Just like you can't add more pepper to erase too much salt, you can't just add more chloride to lower sulfate's impact.
 

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No. You don't accent hops or malt with sulfate and chloride- that's a mistaken impression.
What you do with sulfate is enhance the feeling and perception of dryness. With a small amount, it doesn't even really do that as you need more than 60 ppm or so to make that happen. But what does happen is that sulfate and noble hops don't go well together, and it can give a harsh bitterness to Saaz/hallertauer hops instead of a firm bitterness. You do want firm bitterness with pilsners, but not harshness. The way to accent hops is actually simple- use more hops.
Chloride doesn't accent malt, either. What it does is provide a feeling of fullness to the mouthfeel, or a "roundness" of flavor. 50 ppm or so isn't really all that prominent, but no reason to go higher. Just bring your calcium to 40 ppm (plus or minus) to help prevent beerstone in the kettle, and you can use calcium chloride to do that.

Forget you ever ever heard the words "chloride/sulfate ratio" (or vice versa). The reason why is because 10 ppm of chloride and 20 ppm of sulfate is 1:2- but so low as to be meaningless. But 100 ppm of chloride and 200 ppm of sulfate is also 1:2- and will make a minerally beer.

Look at individual amounts, and keep them in the appropriate range for what you're brewing and forget about any ratio. Just like you can't add more pepper to erase too much salt, you can't just add more chloride to lower sulfate's impact.
Excellent summation, Counselor!
 
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I brew a lot of lagers, they are usually pretty good and win medals...but even still, they never are as good as a good lager brewery beers. For example, here in Mass, Notch is a fantastic brewery that makes word class German/Czech lagers. My Czech Dark is very good, has scored in mid 40's and I love it. But then every 6 months or so Notch puts theirs out and it just leaves my version in the dust. Sure they are using horizontal lagering tanks, spunding the beers, naturally carbonating and sometimes even open fermenting. I have spunded and naturally carbonated, but still not the same.

To the OP are you using tap water? Try using RO or Distilled and build up, you may have too many minerals, depending on style, for example, Czech lagers should have very little minerals. I brew Czech and pale German lagers with just around 25 ppm of Calcium, and 35-40 for SO4 and CL. You do not need 50 ppm of Calcium that is the minimum recommendation for ales for yeast health, due to the large yeast pitch and cool temps. Try to make sure your starters are at least 1.5 million cells/ml/degree Plato, Brewer's Friend Yeast Calculator is good for that. If you are going for crisp lagers, mash low, 148-149F. Use step mash for other lagers, something like 148F for 30, 159 for 30, mash out at 172 if you don't want to do decoction. Get the best malts you can, don't use like Briess Pilsner, use Weyermann Pils or even better Weyermann Barke Pilsner. Limit hop additions, don't go crazy with 5-6 hop additions like in ales...try something like FWH, 50 min and 20 min...or start of boil, 30 min, 20. If doing say an IPL, then add hops at knockout. There is a good formula for which hops to use when in lagers from the low oxygen brewing spreadsheet...will post it when I have a time as have a meeting in a few minutes.
This is great info thanks, I think maybe i'm settimg bar too high with my home brew equiptment, my lagers are nice beers but maybe comparing them to beer from 200 year old german breweries is a bit unrealistic.
Just to answer your questions, I'm using RO water but I'll definatley reduce the calcium as I always go for just over 50ppm. I make 5 ltr yeast starters but ignore calculators assuming it's enough, so i'll definately try one out this time. I've probably been mashing a little too hot, more like 151f, so i'll lower it. I cant do step mashes on my system but I will try a decoction at some point (i just dont have the extra time with the kids).
I'd interested in the speadsheet, but the link got blocked and doesn't work, any chance you could spell it out??
Thanks
 

Spundit

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I am not sure what you mean by store bought lager? Many Commercial breweries filter their lagers. Coors uses old school Enzinger filters while most others use some sort of diatomaceous earth filter (i think). So perhaps that contributes to the flavor you are looking for.

Brooklyn lager is a big seller and it is dry hopped.. this style is somewhat popular with craft brewers and is sorta unique.
 

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I'm driving myself bonkers trying to find the article again, but I remember reading somewhere online that most of big name breweries in the US switched to pressure fermentation back in the 60s in order to crank out their product on a much shorter time table.
I've seen more homebrewers switch to pressure fermentation and I've tried it a few times myself fermenting in a keg at 65F and 15 psi. It certainly finished faster, but still required many weeks of cold conditioning to really come together
 
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I am not sure what you mean by store bought lager? Many Commercial breweries filter their lagers. Coors uses old school Enzinger filters while most others use some sort of diatomaceous earth filter (i think). So perhaps that contributes to the flavor you are looking for.

Brooklyn lager is a big seller and it is dry hopped.. this style is somewhat popular with craft brewers and is sorta unique.
Beer that you buy in a store, ie made by a professional brewery.
 
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No. You don't accent hops or malt with sulfate and chloride- that's a mistaken impression.
What you do with sulfate is enhance the feeling and perception of dryness. With a small amount, it doesn't even really do that as you need more than 60 ppm or so to make that happen. But what does happen is that sulfate and noble hops don't go well together, and it can give a harsh bitterness to Saaz/hallertauer hops instead of a firm bitterness. You do want firm bitterness with pilsners, but not harshness. The way to accent hops is actually simple- use more hops.
Chloride doesn't accent malt, either. What it does is provide a feeling of fullness to the mouthfeel, or a "roundness" of flavor. 50 ppm or so isn't really all that prominent, but no reason to go higher. Just bring your calcium to 40 ppm (plus or minus) to help prevent beerstone in the kettle, and you can use calcium chloride to do that.

Forget you ever ever heard the words "chloride/sulfate ratio" (or vice versa). The reason why is because 10 ppm of chloride and 20 ppm of sulfate is 1:2- but so low as to be meaningless. But 100 ppm of chloride and 200 ppm of sulfate is also 1:2- and will make a minerally beer.

Look at individual amounts, and keep them in the appropriate range for what you're brewing and forget about any ratio. Just like you can't add more pepper to erase too much salt, you can't just add more chloride to lower sulfate's impact.
Interesting, i've only really learnt the term sulphate to chloride ratio in the past 12 months in my attemps to improve my lager. I have noticed some of my pilsners can be a bit harsh on the bitterness so I'm happy to take this on board. Infact i used to use spring water which was about 40 calcium with the sulphate and chlorides around 5-10ppm and i think they we're actually better than the RO lager im producing now, and this pribably explains why. Thanks for that, really really helpful!
 

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Interesting, i've only really learnt the term sulphate to chloride ratio in the past 12 months in my attemps to improve my lager. I have noticed some of my pilsners can be a bit harsh on the bitterness so I'm happy to take this on board. Infact i used to use spring water which was about 40 calcium with the sulphate and chlorides around 5-10ppm and i think they we're actually better than the RO lager im producing now, and this pribably explains why. Thanks for that, really really helpful!
You're welcome. If you want to learn a little more but not be overwhelmed with information, there is a three part article that starts here: Brewing Water for Beginners - Brewer's Friend that just explain what those salts do (and what they don't).

I found it very difficult to grasp water chemistry for a very long time, so for myself I really needed to sort of simplify it in my own mind. Just knowing that the salts are actually that- salts- helps me think of it as "seasoning", like in cooking.

I know this was mentioned earlier, but you don't need bicarbonate in these lagers so make sure you don't add baking soda, which raises pH. There is no actual target for bicarbonate, except that which is needed for pH assistance. I've seem some "targets" that call for baking soda, and then lactic acid to lower the bicarbonate that was just added, so make sure that your mash pH is in range (5.2-5.3) and MAYBE the calcium at 40 ppm or higher and really that's fine for BoPils.
 
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