Lager not lagery enough

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Alex4mula

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I made three lagers this winter. All were good but I’m glad I’m not the only one that feels they were not lagerly enough. Lots to learn here!
 

Bilsch

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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.
↑↑ This ↑↑
 

Bassman2003

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If you are looking for something to try, boil all of your strike water right before brewing and chill it down to dough in temps, then add your grain. This is the most basic way to combat hot side aeration - starting with water that has been de-aerated.

Better yet, add that water to the grain in an underletting fashion instead of adding the grain to the water.

Bilsch mentioned process and it is complex. German brewing practices are all about clean procedures like leaving "stuff" behind and having pristine wort in every phase of the brew day. What is your brew setup?
 

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I have been working on improving my lagers for the past few years and have added a number of the steps mentioned above (German malts, noble hops, large starters, pitch cold and ferment cold, step mashes--usually 144 to 158 to 168 and often with single or double decoctions, natural carbonation through spunding). Mostly I am am aiming for Franconian-style lagers, which are a little stronger and drier and hoppier than similar southern Bavarian styles. I do think the step mashes have improved the attenuation. I have tried many yeasts but mostly use WLP830, which I am happy with. I have soft water and I prefer adding gypsum to calcium chloride. I like the way it accentuates hops and the dryness. And hopefully you are watching your mash pH. Steve Holle (great lager brewer at KC Bier) recently commented that "pale lagers are notorious for finishing at a pH above 4.4, which can render them dull and lifeless."

The one thing that I don't think anyone has mentioned that I think has taken my lagers up to the next level is kräusening. When I brew I set aside a small jar of yeast from my starter and also a 2 liter soda bottle (sanitized) of chilled wort which goes into the freezer (the wort--not the yeast). When the beer is done fermenting I thaw the leftover wort and pitch the saved yeast and basically make a fresh mini starter. When it is at full kräusen (hence the name) I add it to a keg and transfer the beer on top of that (and dry hop then if you want--go ahead, it has been done in Germany a lot more than people think. See Hop Queries: Hopfenstopfen (dry hopping) goes back more than a century in Germany ). I let it naturally carbonate at that stage at cellar temps with a spunding valve and then chill and lager for at least a month. The kräusening aids attenuation, cleans up off flavors, can add a little sulfur, and turns "green" homebrew lager into proper lager.
 

couchsending

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OG should really never get above 1.048. You will get much less malt character with a 4.7-5% beer that starts at 1.046.

Minimize your hot side aeration. Ideally preboil your water at least and try underletting and minimize stirring.

What is your boil off rate? You don’t want an intense boil. Just above a simmer is ideal. Minimal amount of time to remove all DMS but that’s it. If you’re at sea level 70 minutes is fine. You can even keep the lid partially on for the first 40 to help reduce the heat applied to the kettle. What’s your setup?

There’s no real need to pressure ferment unless you’re fermenting lager yeast really warm. Pitch cold and ferment cold. Pitch at 44-46 and don’t let it get above 50, unless you’re using the Augustiner strain. If you’re really concerned about diacetyl and think you need a D rest you don’t really need to get above 54. If you pitch enough yeast and aerate, well lagers can finish in 6-7 days at below 50 no problem. How are you aerating?

Homebrew calculators tend to underestimate the amount of yeast. Aim for a pitch rate of at least 2m/ml/*plato if fermenting cold.

Most traditional German or Czech breweries aren’t adding hops much past 20 minutes left in the boil. Yes there are exceptions but try FW or 90/70, 40 then 20. With the largest addition being at 40. There are aspects to Noble hops that need to be boiled off actually. Don’t think of your hop additions like you would for an IPA. The quality of a lot of noble hops, especially the Homebrew level stuff, is really really bad. The hop processing equipment and mentality in the traditional hop growing regions of Europe weirdly is not quite up to the level as it is in other countries when it comes to preserving the aromatic properties of the hops. They’re just not treated as well and tend to degrade rather quickly. Lately I’ve actually been impressed by the quality of the hops coming out of France and Slovenia. If you can find some Aramis I’d highly recommend it.

Personally I don’t think dry yeast works that well for lagers. The liquid variants of 34/70 are hard to beat. 2124/830/global. My favorite is the Andech’s strain but it’s a seasonal from the few yeast companies that offer it.

Step mashing would go a long ways if you could do it. 145/154/162/168 is my ideal regime. Sometimes skipping the 154. A single Decoction to take you from 145-162 would be the best/easiest route if you were going to do it.

How are you purging your kegs and transfer lines? The first thing to go with even the tiniest o2 pickup is hop aroma.

You mention you’re measuring pH which is good but mash pH isn’t the only time you should measure. I’d recommend mashing a bit higher, 5.4ish. Aim for a kettle full pH of around 5.4. Higher kettle pH results in faster DMS conversion but much over 5.4 and bitterness starts to get a bit harsh. Always adjust pH within the last 10 minutes of the boil to near 5.1, with lactic acid or for true lager character Sour wort. If you’re using kettle finings the optimal pH is 5.1 and always add them in the last 5 minutes as they can denature. Lowering the pH helps the yeast start fermenting faster and can lower your final beer pH which can help with the perception of crispness. Ideally somewhere in the 4.3 range for final beer pH.

Last but not least krausening and/or spunding. If you are krausening ideally with the next batch of beer but you need to brew pretty regularly to do that. There’s a krausening calculator on brewersfriend and if you have a scale you can do it by weight to avoid opening the keg.
 
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ABV Motleybrew

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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
I've been experimenting with pressure fermentation using my fermzilla, done different temps from 12-18c (53-63f) and at different pressure from 15-30 PSI. I've not really noticed a difference with different temps or pressures, they all seen to produce decent beer, which I suppose supports the theory that you can ferment lager warm under pressure. I've gone back to non pressure vessels though to try and get a more crisp lager taste, but the beer seems to come out exactly the same regardless.
 

TenaCJed

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Just to push the point on hot side aeration, it is the ENTIRE process from start of the day to the boil, not just the boil. LODO is removing oxygen for the entire process up until pitching yeast, then add oxygen .

I have not done that, as I am not setup for that, but I do at least underlet in my MLT and I have done the boil and then chill to mash temp the water.
 
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ABV Motleybrew

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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.
Thanks for the suggestion, but yeah I decant all the 'supernatant' and just pitch the slurry. I did once pitch the whole thing but then stupidly oxygenated the wort with 5ltrs of 'beer's in it, then I realised what I'd done and panicked for 2 months that it would be oxidized, in the end it surprisingly wasnt, the beer came out fine.
 

VikeMan

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I have not done that, as I am not setup for that, but I do at least underlet in my MLT and I have done the boil and then chill to mash temp the water.
^ and for those who can't/won't underlet, a judicious addition Na Meta to scavenge O2 is an option.
 

Brooothru

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OG should really never get above 1.048. You will get much less malt character with a 4.7-5% beer that starts at 1.046.

Minimize your hot side aeration. Ideally preboil your water at least and try underletting and minimize stirring.

What is your boil off rate? You don’t want an intense boil. Just above a simmer is ideal. Minimal amount of time to remove all DMS but that’s it. If you’re at sea level 70 minutes is fine. You can even keep the lid partially on for the first 40 to help reduce the heat applied to the kettle. What’s your setup?

There’s no real need to pressure ferment unless you’re fermenting lager yeast really warm. Pitch cold and ferment cold. Pitch at 44-46 and don’t let it get above 50, unless you’re using the Augustiner strain. If you’re really concerned about diacetyl and think you need a D rest you don’t really need to get above 54. If you pitch enough yeast and aerate, well lagers can finish in 6-7 days at below 50 no problem. How are you aerating?

Homebrew calculators tend to underestimate the amount of yeast. Aim for a pitch rate of at least 2m/ml/*plato if fermenting cold.

Most traditional German or Czech breweries aren’t adding hops much past 20 minutes left in the boil. Yes there are exceptions but try FW or 90/70, 40 then 20. With the largest addition being at 40. There are aspects to Noble hops that need to be boiled off actually. Don’t think of your hop additions like you would for an IPA. The quality of a lot of noble hops, especially the Homebrew level stuff, is really really bad. The hop processing equipment and mentality in the traditional hop growing regions of Europe weirdly is not quite up to the level as it is in other countries when it comes to preserving the aromatic properties of the hops. They’re just not treated as well and tend to degrade rather quickly. Lately I’ve actually been impressed by the quality of the hops coming out of France and Slovenia. If you can find some Aramis I’d highly recommend it.

Personally I don’t think dry yeast works that well for lagers. The liquid variants of 34/70 are hard to beat. 2124/830/global. My favorite is the Andech’s strain but it’s a seasonal from the few yeast companies that offer it.

Step mashing would go a long ways if you could do it. 145/154/162/168 is my ideal regime. Sometimes skipping the 154. A single Decoction to take you from 145-162 would be the best/easiest route if you were going to do it.

How are you purging your kegs and transfer lines? The first thing to go with even the tiniest o2 pickup is hop aroma.

You mention you’re measuring pH which is good but mash pH isn’t the only time you should measure. I’d recommend mashing a bit higher, 5.4ish. Aim for a kettle full pH of around 5.4. Higher kettle pH results in faster DMS conversion but much over 5.4 and bitterness starts to get a bit harsh. Always adjust pH within the last 10 minutes of the boil to near 5.1, with lactic acid or for true lager character Sour wort. If you’re using kettle finings the optimal pH is 5.1 and always add them in the last 5 minutes as they can denature. Lowering the pH helps the yeast start fermenting faster and can lower your final beer pH which can help with the perception of crispness. Ideally somewhere in the 4.3 range for final beer pH.

Last but not least krausening and/or spunding. If you are krausening ideally with the next batch of beer but you need to brew pretty regularly to do that. There’s a krausening calculator on brewersfriend and if you have a scale you can do it by weight to avoid opening the keg.
^^^What HE said^^^

Exactly the advice I've been using lately, and double-down agree on Andechs strain of lager yeast. WLP-835X is very good, but a Vault release. I've got some Andechs from a propagation lab in Colorado that I grew into a 500ml cake 2 weeks ago that I'll bring to a 5L krausen before pitching after we get back from the beach.
 

exit8

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You mention you’re measuring pH which is good but mash pH isn’t the only time you should measure. I’d recommend mashing a bit higher, 5.4ish. Aim for a kettle full pH of around 5.4. Higher kettle pH results in faster DMS conversion but much over 5.4 and bitterness starts to get a bit harsh. Always adjust pH within the last 10 minutes of the boil to near 5.1, with lactic acid or for true lager character Sour wort.
What is the best way to determine the amount of lactic needed at the end to get down to a specific pH? Is it just a matter of trial and error or can I estimate close enough by seeing how much lactic I need to add in Bru'n water to drop the pH from 5.4 to 5.1? As an example, the pilsner I am planning on brewing has a mash pH of 5.40 and to get it to 5.1 Bru'n water comes up with an addition of 4ml of 88% lactic acid.
 

couchsending

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What is the best way to determine the amount of lactic needed at the end to get down to a specific pH? Is it just a matter of trial and error or can I estimate close enough by seeing how much lactic I need to add in Bru'n water to drop the pH from 5.4 to 5.1? As an example, the pilsner I am planning on brewing has a mash pH of 5.40 and to get it to 5.1 Bru'n water comes up with an addition of 4ml of 88% lactic acid.
Pretty sure there’s a spreadsheet out there that calculates it for you. I’ve never used it however.

It takes a bit of trial and error as your boil pH will drop naturally during the boil but the amount it drops depends on a bunch of different variables. I’ll usually pull a sample at 20 and cool it and go from there. The amount to move pH in the mash X amount does end up being pretty similar to the amount to move pH in the boil.
 

scrap iron

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I just finished a nice Bo Pilsner that I used the Pseudo BO-Pils water from the Bru n wtr spread sheet.
I used Wyeast 2001 PC and Saaz hops at 60 ,30, 10 and 0 mins to 40 IBUs. Lagered for 4 weeks and it came out great. The only thing was the yeast had a hard time dropping out but was better after Lager.
I used 30 ppm calcium, 35ppm chloride and 16ppm sulfate with enough Latic Acid to get mash to 5.4 ph. I then reduced ph to under 5.2 towards the end of the boil with more Latic Acid.
This is the first time I have used a water profile this minimal but it turned out great.
You might up the IBUs a little, Bo Pils are a little more bitter then regular Pils.
 
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Bassman2003

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What is the best way to determine the amount of lactic needed at the end to get down to a specific pH? Is it just a matter of trial and error or can I estimate close enough by seeing how much lactic I need to add in Bru'n water to drop the pH from 5.4 to 5.1? As an example, the pilsner I am planning on brewing has a mash pH of 5.40 and to get it to 5.1 Bru'n water comes up with an addition of 4ml of 88% lactic acid.
I have found a rough correlation of 1ml of lactic equals about .1 pH unit for my 5.5 gallon batches. So 4ml of lactic sounds like a great place to start!
 

hottpeper13

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Look up Annie Johnson's presentation at the 2017 NHC on Chezk Pils and she says 4.9 mash pH is what Urkel does. I would also like to let everyone know that DO water can't be made by just boiling it. You need 15 psi at 250* for 15 min to get it. My rate in the USN had me not only running the evaps for making fresh water but also the deairating feed water tank.
 

Bassman2003

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Look up Annie Johnson's presentation at the 2017 NHC on Chezk Pils and she says 4.9 mash pH is what Urkel does. I would also like to let everyone know that DO water can't be made by just boiling it. You need 15 psi at 250* for 15 min to get it. My rate in the USN had me not only running the evaps for making fresh water but also the deairating feed water tank.
I would like to know more about this. I think it is a matter of relative effectiveness. At boiling point, the solubility of Oxygen is zero, so naturally it will be driven off leading up to the boiling point and at the boiling point. What you are describing sounds like absolute sterile conditions, which would eliminate everything. For all intensive purposes, boiling strike water is effective and easy to accomplish with homebrew setups.
 

VikeMan

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I have found a rough correlation of 1ml of lactic equals about .1 pH unit for my 5.5 gallon batches. So 4ml of lactic sounds like a great place to start!
But keep in mind that if the mash was at 5.4, it will naturally be at something lower than 5.4 at the end of the boil, so if I were "rule of thumb" adjusting, I wouldn't use mash pH as the starting point without accounting for an at least estimated boil drop.
 

VikeMan

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Look up Annie Johnson's presentation at the 2017 NHC on Chezk Pils and she says 4.9 mash pH is what Urkel does.
I would double check that. IIRC, she said (repeatedly) that Urquell brings their mash water down to 4.7-4.9. That would land the mash pH somewhere higher. And to make the 4.7-4.9 water pH information really useful, you'd also need to know the starting water profile (and grain bill).
 

Bassman2003

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True, I would start with 3ml of lactic acid then. But the rough 1ml correlation is a useful way to ballpark.
 

couchsending

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I would double check that. IIRC, she said (repeatedly) that Urquell brings their mash water down to 4.7-4.9. That would land the mash pH somewhere higher. And to make the 4.7-4.9 water pH information really useful, you'd also need to know the starting water profile (and grain bill).
Yeah this. There's no way they actually mash at 4.9. There would be literally no benefit to that at all. In fact it would be detrimental to a lot of necessary reactions.
 

Spivey24

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Great timing for the thread, as I just produced another malty, sweet lager mess. :) I loves my dry ales, but can’t seem to get the lagers where I want them. I am definitely goin to try out many of these suggestions.
 

Bilsch

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Look up Annie Johnson's presentation at the 2017 NHC on Chezk Pils and she says 4.9 mash pH is what Urkel does. I would also like to let everyone know that DO water can't be made by just boiling it. You need 15 psi at 250* for 15 min to get it. My rate in the USN had me not only running the evaps for making fresh water but also the deairating feed water tank.
I'm sorry but your statement that removing oxygen from water needs elevated temperature and pressure is simply incorrect. Oxygen solubility at 100C is zero. Not only that but the bubbles of water vapor that rise from the bottom of the kettle, or the heating elements, are essentially oxygen free and the concentration gradient will force any O2, or other dissolved gasses, to diffuse into that steam bubble and then be released to the surface.

Furthermore if you wanted to speed up this process you would apply a vacuum and not pressure. Standard lab practice for quickly de-aerating water is to simply boil it under reduced pressure.
 

Dland

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Lots of good and interesting replies. Going to OP's original question; really good lagers take time. Time to ferment more slowly at lower temps, and time aged at somewhere around freezing. The beer clears (whirlflock helps a lot w that), the hops mellow...etc.

I've been running S-189 at 54F for the last many batches. New wort every week or every other week on yeast cake, in temp controlled conical w trub dump capabilities. It started out as dried yeast though, which has never let me down.

Most of my lagers have OG between 1.052-1.058. So some would not like them, ..will admit a hint of alcohol taste is fine w me, well chilled after a long day...

Keeping O2 out of finished or nearly finished beer, of any style, is crucial if one wants to enjoy the beer to it's fullest potential...of course..
 

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You might up the IBUs a little, Bo Pils are a little more bitter then regular Pils.
sorry but I had to mention that it's actually just the opposite. German pilsner have a firmer bitterness, while BoPils are softer.

5D German pilsner: Flavor: Medium to high hop bitterness dominates the palate and lingers into the aftertaste. Moderate to moderately-low grainy-sweet malt character supports the hop bitterness. Low to high floral, spicy, or herbal hop flavor. Clean fermentation profile. Dry to medium-dry, crisp, well-attenuated finish with a bitter aftertaste and light malt flavor. Examples made with water with higher sulfate levels often will have a low sulfury flavor that accentuates the dryness and lengthens the finish; this is acceptable but not mandatory. Some versions have a soft finish with more of a malt flavor, but still with noticeable hop bitterness and flavor, with the balance still towards bitterness


(BoPils has gone away, and been replace with Czech premium lager)
3B: Characteristic Ingredients: Soft water with low sulfate and carbonate content, Saazer-type hops, Czech malt, Czech lager yeast. Low ion water provides a distinctively soft, rounded hop profile despite high hopping rates. The bitterness level of some larger commercial examples has dropped in recent years, although not as much as in many contemporary German examples.

Style Comparison: German pilsner is lighter in body and color, drier, crisper, and more fully attenuated, with more of a lingering bitterness, and with higher carbonation than a Czech Premium Pale Lager.
 

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One more thing that hasn't been mentioned if it's hop flavour and aroma that's missing......
The oils in noble hops are quite delicate. Try to source fresh hops that are packaged in Nitrogen flushed bags. There's a big difference between hops from a bulk bag that has been sitting in your freezer for a few months versus a fresh pack of properly packaged hops. I notice a big difference between my LHBS noble hops (they open a 5Kg bag and package a few 100g packs at a time, no N2 flush or vacuum seal) versus a good online source (where they N2 flush then vac seal). Good quality hops > lots of hops.
 

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sorry but I had to mention that it's actually just the opposite. German pilsner have a firmer bitterness, while BoPils are softer.

5D German pilsner: Flavor: Medium to high hop bitterness dominates the palate and lingers into the aftertaste. Moderate to moderately-low grainy-sweet malt character supports the hop bitterness. Low to high floral, spicy, or herbal hop flavor. Clean fermentation profile. Dry to medium-dry, crisp, well-attenuated finish with a bitter aftertaste and light malt flavor. Examples made with water with higher sulfate levels often will have a low sulfury flavor that accentuates the dryness and lengthens the finish; this is acceptable but not mandatory. Some versions have a soft finish with more of a malt flavor, but still with noticeable hop bitterness and flavor, with the balance still towards bitterness


(BoPils has gone away, and been replace with Czech premium lager)
3B: Characteristic Ingredients: Soft water with low sulfate and carbonate content, Saazer-type hops, Czech malt, Czech lager yeast. Low ion water provides a distinctively soft, rounded hop profile despite high hopping rates. The bitterness level of some larger commercial examples has dropped in recent years, although not as much as in many contemporary German examples.

Style Comparison: German pilsner is lighter in body and color, drier, crisper, and more fully attenuated, with more of a lingering bitterness, and with higher carbonation than a Czech Premium Pale Lager.
You are entirely correct, but the word bitterness is a little misleading in this case, especially if you look at the numbers:
5D German Pils IBU: 22-40
3B Czech Premium Pale Lager IBU: 30-45

Bitterness may not be greater but the target IBUs are higher in the Czech pils and so upping the IBUs might be good advice. I like the way that Thomas Kraus-Weyermann and Horst Dornbusch put it in their book Dark Lagers:

"While the presence especially of calcium, magnesium, and sulfate ions in hard water accentuate the sensory perception of bitterness, their relative absence in soft water suppresses it. The fact is well expressed in an apropos German brewers' saying: "Weiches Wasser frisst Hopfen" (soft water devours hops). This is why a lager from Pilsen with, say, 45 IBU may taste much less hop-bitter than an equally hopped Pale Ale from Burton-upon-Trent, even though a laboratory analysis would return the same IBU value for both beers."
 

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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.
Cable car gives that "Beer" Flavor or Harvest from imperial. 100% i think its yeast strain related. i just made a beer with 34/70 it taste like a old yeast like English ale yet a lager idk.
 

Jako

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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 have messed with a batch or two under pressure. makes a big difference moving beer. it ferments like a ale yet you don't need time for the yeast to eat up sulfer etc.
 

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I was referring to regular Pils as in an American type. As Witherby said the soft water makes a difference. I just finished up a German Pils and the IBU was 35 compared to the Bo Pils that was 40. I added more Sulfate to the German water and the bitterness seems more. Granted there is not much difference between 35 and 40.
The OP should brew the way he prefers, no worries.
 

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Really stoked on Ireks malt. Probably won’t go back to using anything from Weyermann any time soon. I think there’s only one Homebrew outlet for it online so far but hopefully more in the future. Seek it out if you can.
 

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Really stoked on Ireks malt. Probably won’t go back to using anything from Weyermann any time soon. I think there’s only one Homebrew outlet for it online so far but hopefully more in the future. Seek it out if you can.
May I ask why you wouldn't go using Wyermann any time soon? Any experience you would share?
 

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I have gotten a few lagers really close. Hops, to me, make a HUGE difference in what I make. I tend to use pils malt, no pale malt, and hops like Saaz or Mittelfrueh with herbal, almost spicy notes for my lagers. I aim for around 18 IBUs, sometimes up to around 22 IBUs, depending on what I feel like. I get best results with a pilsner yeast, and after primary fermentation (low and slow, finished a bit higher), I tend to remove the beer from the yeast and lager for around 3 months at freezing.

This has gotten me the most "commercial-like" lagers yet, although I have to say they're nicer than commercial examples in most cases. I feel the beer has more character and substance to it, which I like.
 

couchsending

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May I ask why you wouldn't go using Wyermann any time soon? Any experience you would share?
I just like the malt character of the Ireks better. Much more interesting to me. I’ve used Nothing but Weyermann pils for a while. Erecela, Barke, Floor Bohmeian mostly, and the Ireks stands out to me. And it’s less expensive.

I have only tried their Vienna and Pils malts but looking forward to trying more from.
 

thehaze

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I just like the malt character of the Ireks better. Much more interesting to me. I’ve used Nothing but Weyermann pils for a while. Erecela, Barke, Floor Bohmeian mostly, and the Ireks stands out to me. And it’s less expensive.

I have only tried their Vienna and Pils malts but looking forward to trying more from.
Thank you. I've come across Ireks malt before, but never dared to try more of it ( I did try their Pilsner malt 4 years ago in a brew, but didn't pay much attention to it ). Maybe I should. I mostly only use Pilsner malt these days. I liked the Weyermann Barke Pilsner malt, but I feel its price point is way too high and it will detract me from buying it again. I also like Bestmalz Pilsner malt ( better than the Weyermann counterpart ), and it's usually cheaper than Weyermann and it has been my go-to for some time.

Glad to hear the Ireks malts " stand out " - I am looking forward to finding and using them.
 

Brooothru

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Thank you. I've come across Ireks malt before, but never dared to try more of it ( I did try their Pilsner malt 4 years ago in a brew, but didn't pay much attention to it ). Maybe I should. I mostly only use Pilsner malt these days. I liked the Weyermann Barke Pilsner malt, but I feel its price point is way too high and it will detract me from buying it again. I also like Bestmalz Pilsner malt ( better than the Weyermann counterpart ), and it's usually cheaper than Weyermann and it has been my go-to for some time.

Glad to hear the Ireks malts " stand out " - I am looking forward to finding and using them.
Similar experiences here. Brewed a lot with Rahr and Briess (ales) with Weyermann as my "go to" for lagers. I've used BestMalz on occasion and found it to be reliability good, though I had some serious difficulties with Malt Gems from Best due mostly to the fact it is pre-crushed and didn't play nice with my mash setup. IIRC, BestMalz is the favored maltster for most of Germany's commercial breweries.

Never brewed with Ireks, though @couchsending's comments have me wanting to try it.
 
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