Re-creating Authentic German beers at home

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Ollie8000

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...Von Trapp...

Slightly, but not entirely, off-topic, what is your (or anyone else's) opinion of Von Trapp beers?

I tend to view beer as a local drink and so have only very occasionally had a german/austrian-style one, and haven't really paid attention when I did. Are the ones Von Trapp makes good quality? Are they good examples of the styles?

I picked up a mixed box of them at the store over the weekend. I was very impressed with the Vienna, and the Dunkel was perfectly good but did not make me want another over some other choice. Pilsner and Helles still to try.

I currently have a Kolsch yeast that I'm experimenting with and have since discovered the warm-fermented lagers thread and so am planning to try some more in this direction. I figured it'd be good to know at least a little about what I /should/ be aiming for!
 

Brettomomyces

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Yeah that depends on what strain you’re using and how much yeast your pitching. If using enough yeast and something like the liquid forms of 34/70 or 2206 or any of the good cold fermenting yeasts you can pitch at 43 and ferment at 46, max at 48. If you’re using dry yeast or maybe other warm fermenting strains like Augustiner might mean pitch at 50 and ferment at 52.

I’ve been using the Andechs strain a lot lately and have had great luck pitching at 46, setting to 48, setting to 50 on day 2 and raising to 52 for the final 1* plato. Zero diacetyl, drops incredibly clear, very clean at the end of fermentation.

Love the Andechs yeast...I just wish it was easier to get ahold of...if you're listening white labs...

I typically get 85%+ attenuation and full fermentation in 5-7 days, no d-rest generally. Drops clear in like a week on its own. The flavor is wonderful, it adds just a slight malty note and a touch of honey/breadiness when compared to 34/70 and is not as malty as some of the bock strains.

It works really, really well with hoppy styles as well. I've brewed American "IPAs" with it several times, ridiculously clean and you would never know it was a lager. Imperial Organic carries it it on the commercial side but not homebrew, under L26 Pilgrimage, and one of my local places also carries it (Inland Island) and sells it as Monk Lager. Great Divide is using it in their American Lager, so Inland always has some on hand. Lot of small places in Denver use it as well.
 

couchsending

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Love the Andechs yeast...I just wish it was easier to get ahold of...if you're listening white labs...

I typically get 85%+ attenuation and full fermentation in 5-7 days, no d-rest generally. Drops clear in like a week on its own. The flavor is wonderful, it adds just a slight malty note and a touch of honey/breadiness when compared to 34/70 and is not as malty as some of the bock strains.

It works really, really well with hoppy styles as well. I've brewed American "IPAs" with it several times, ridiculously clean and you would never know it was a lager. Imperial Organic carries it it on the commercial side but not homebrew, under L26 Pilgrimage, and one of my local places also carries it (Inland Island) and sells it as Monk Lager. Great Divide is using it in their American Lager, so Inland always has some on hand. Lot of small places in Denver use it as well.

I definitely can’t get 85% attenuation with it no matter how low and long I mash for. Stated attenuation for the white labs and Wyeast version is 70-74 which is on the lower end. I can get over 80 with 34/70 but never this yeast. Always large pitches of healthy yeast, tons of O2, zinc, etc.

I saw the Imperial version but the stats are way different. Recommended temp and attenuation seem different.

According to BSI it’s one of if there there most requested lager strain. The white Labs and Wyeast temp profile, attenuation, flocculation seems much more inline with what BSI sells and not what Imperial advertises.

Shocked it’s not more readily available for how amazing it seems to be.

I’ll have my half barrel system up and running soon hopefully. Tempted to buy a 1 bbl pitch from BSI. I turned someone else onto it recently who’s pretty floored by it as well.
 

Brettomomyces

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I definitely can’t get 85% attenuation with it no matter how low and long I mash for. Stated attenuation for the white labs and Wyeast version is 70-74 which is on the lower end. I can get over 80 with 34/70 but never this yeast. Always large pitches of healthy yeast, tons of O2, zinc, etc.

I saw the Imperial version but the stats are way different. Recommended temp and attenuation seem different.

According to BSI it’s one of if there there most requested lager strain. The white Labs and Wyeast temp profile, attenuation, flocculation seems much more inline with what BSI sells and not what Imperial advertises.

Shocked it’s not more readily available for how amazing it seems to be.

I’ll have my half barrel system up and running soon hopefully. Tempted to buy a 1 bbl pitch from BSI. I turned someone else onto it recently who’s pretty floored by it as well.

I repitch and reuse my culture pretty consistently and use a hochkurz mash, typically a huge pitch and ferment at 42-45F ambient (walk-in fridge) and sometimes do a D-rest just for attenuation. It floccs like a monster. I'll double check my next batch to confirm I'm not crazy but generally my attenuation is over 80 ... never thin/watery however. I've had 1.040 beers finish at .006-007 with it.

I noticed that also about the stats being different between WLP and Imperial...I'm very confident it is the same strain though I haven't tried L26 yet. They offered to send us a few if I were to ask so I should probably follow up on that.

Buy that 1bbl pitch and split it into 2! Should last a long time alternating generations.
 

BigEd

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Slightly, but not entirely, off-topic, what is your (or anyone else's) opinion of Von Trapp beers?

I tend to view beer as a local drink and so have only very occasionally had a german/austrian-style one, and haven't really paid attention when I did. Are the ones Von Trapp makes good quality? Are they good examples of the styles?

I picked up a mixed box of them at the store over the weekend. I was very impressed with the Vienna, and the Dunkel was perfectly good but did not make me want another over some other choice. Pilsner and Helles still to try.

Yes, I think the Von Trapp beers are quite good and are also good examples of the styles. They don't have the sensory impact of the best of the Old World produced brews IMO, but are some of the better attempts of those brews on this side of the Atlantic. From what I know Von Trapp has spent a lot of effort trying to recreate the production of the beers. My local often has one of the Von Trapp beers on tap and if you can find them on draught give them a try.
 

BruceH

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The standard german lagers made by the big players like Bitburger are not considered "authentic" by people that know beer. These are very good lagers, but not what those beers, especially pilsners, used to be. The IBUs are down, hop aroma is down, they all taste the same.

I was enjoying a Jever and remembered this post. If I had a time machine and could go back to mid 1980's Germany and order a Bit it would taste more like this Jever than the Bit I now get in .5 liter cans. The current Bit is good but as you stated it's not the same.

Memories. Why do they keep trying to improve things that don't need it? Rhetorical question.
 

Ollie8000

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Thank you @BigEd. Having tried them all now, I like the Vienna and Helles and my partner likes the Vienna and Pilsner. It'll probably be a while, unfortunately, before I'm drinking anything on tap, but I'm definitely going to have a go at brewing a reasonably faithful Vienna. As it happens, I have a not-wonderfully-faithful Helles bottle-conditioning right now.
 

Johst12

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I was enjoying a Jever and remembered this post. If I had a time machine and could go back to mid 1980's Germany and order a Bit it would taste more like this Jever than the Bit I now get in .5 liter cans. The current Bit is good but as you stated it's not the same.

Memories. Why do they keep trying to improve things that don't need it? Rhetorical question.

That's exactly what I'm talking about. Sad story.
 

RePete

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Under 2°P or bust I'd say. But that's relative. What you're looking for is a good 85-86% AA. You'll want to pay close attention to mashing. Mash in at 131°-135°F, raise immediately for beta rests at 144°F (say 20 minutes) and then at gel temp, say 147°F for 30 or more minutes (this has to be determined by data for the lot of malt,) possibly a short rest at 153°F, a long (30 minute) one at 163°F for completion of alpha activity and glycoprotein synthesis while retaining high fermentability, and finally mash off at 170°F. The goal is to see ~90% of conversion in the beta range. In most of our systems, all this activity (circulation, stirring, etc.) opens us up to additional opportunities for oxidation, so any measures to mitigate this will be helpful.

So, I brewed this past weekend and used this mash schedule. It was a Dortmunder Export recipe. I have a Robobrew, and hadn’t really used the programmable feature much. It had tried it once before. Usually I just use it in manual mode, and a single step infusion. It seems like step mashing may be the real power of these units. You can just set the times and let it run. But I’m usually doing IPA’s. I plan to venture into lagers now.

I read somewhere that Cascade hops are the US version of Hellertau. That’s what I had, so that’s what I used.

I bought some 34/70 lager yeast that I was going to use. But I kegged an ale while the mash was going. I hated to toss that nice yeast cake, and so drained the wort onto that. It was fermenting vigorously by morning, and is still going. I will try another batch with the lager yeast soon, and see how much difference there is.

At any rate, thanks to everyone for posting here. I enjoy the process, and will keep experimenting.
 
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