I haven’t posted a beer recipe/review in a while! Here’s one for a European style lager that I’ve been working on. The beer fits best in BJCP Category 5C German helles exportbier (not that I’m overly concerned with that). This is a prototype for a beer that I intend to brew 100L of for the wedding of two dear friends. The goal was a crowd pleasing light, dry, neutral, 5% ABV-ish beer that was balanced with just the right amount of bitterness, but not so much that American light lager fans are neglected.
This beer uses a first wort hop addition of German Magnum – which I find to be pleasantly spicy. I essentially use this hop as a bittering charge in all of my German beers now – it’s great! For subtle hop aroma and flavour, I use Hallertau Hersbrucker for a bit of earthiness and fruitiness. I mashed at 152F for this. I fermented with the versatile W34/70 strain, and turned the beer around very quickly (though I’m seeing now that it really benefits from some lagering in the keg). Specifically, the fermentation schedule I used is 4-6 days at 50F, 5-10 days at 65F, and then cold crash to 32F, fine with gelatin, then keg. For this batch I had the beer kegged and carbonated just 2 weeks after the yeast was first pitched. I shared some with my local homebrew club True Grist, just 16 days after pitching. Admittedly at this point it was still tasting a bit young, now after lagering in a keg for a week it has definitely improved, and I expect it will continue to improve with age (up until a point of course).
I have a few thoughts and tweaks for this beer for when I brew it for the wedding. I will definitely want to brew it with sufficient time to lager such that it is at it’s best when it is served. I think I’d also like to swap out the finishing hops – perhaps for Saaz. The Hallertau Hersbrucker has a bit of a citrus character that feels out of place to me – this citrus character seems to highlight the malty-sweetness the beer, and that’s not at all what I’m going for here. Speaking of sweetness, I figure I might drop the mash temp to 150F or 148F to dry it out a touch more. Lastly, there’s a bit of unintentional minerality to the beer which I’d like to take care of. This is in no doubt due to my use of (carbon filtered) Guelph water – which is super high in bicarbonate and chloride. To really take this beer to the next level, I think I have to build my water from a reverse osmosis source. This is something that I haven’t done before, but have been meaning to experiment with for awhile. Building my water from RO does add a bit of cost to the beer, but the ingredients in the beer are by far the lesser expense when compared to the labour involved, so it is worth it in my opinion if it improves the beer! Recipe and picture included below!