Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: beersk on June 21, 2012, 03:19:51 PM

Title: That German lager flavor
Post by: beersk on June 21, 2012, 03:19:51 PM
So I've realized that my palate really lies in German beer after all these years.  I've always liked it, but never really focused on it as my main beer of choice.  So I want to replicate some of those favorite styles of German beer that I love so much.
So, based on your experience (if any), what does one have to do to achieve that distinct German lager flavor found in beers like Spaten Dunkel, Weihenstephaner Festbier, Hacker Pschorr Oktoberfest, etc? Is it anything specific that gives the beer that flavor? Is it the yeast? Is in decoction mashing? Is it specific malts? Hops?  I'm thinking the answer is going to be a combination of all those.  But I've tasted a lot of Oktoberfest beers fermented with Wyeast munich lager yeast I'm sure, that don't taste anything like what I'm after. I want that flavor found in those beers listed above, not just a "clean" flavor. Get what I'm saying?

Anyway, thanks!
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: davidgzach on June 21, 2012, 03:33:41 PM
Most of it definitely lies in the yeast and ingredients.  But I will not discount the process either.  Most all German breweries perform Hockhurz mashes.  Sac rest at 146-148, Dex rest at 158-160 mash out at 168-172. 

Funny enough, I just made two Spaten clones, one with 2308 Munich Lager and the other with 2206 Bavarian Lager.  The 2206 is much closer to the Spaten, but the 2308 came out with a wonderful malt character.  It's not Spaten, but it's really good!

As for the Octoberfest, you definitely need to perform a decoction mash to get it right.  I perform a triple decoction for this style and use the Wyeast Oktoberfest Blend.  It has pleased the crowd at our mountain Oktoberfest Party every year. 

Finally, you have to use Noble German hops.  Nothing but Hallertau varieties or Tettnanger.

For what it's worth, this is what has worked for me so I'm sticking to it!   :D

Dave
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on June 21, 2012, 03:35:56 PM
I've been interested in this subject for awhile, as my tastes have definitely gravitated toward German lagers over the years.  Probably 75% of what I brew now are German lagers.  I know a few other forum members have done a lot of experimentation/research regarding how to achieve that elusive German lager "quality."  Anecdotally (that is to say non-scientifically), I think it is a careful interplay of having the right water profile, using sound yeast management/fermentation techniques, and using quality German base malts.  I've also sort of resigned myself to the notion that like wine, there might be something of a terroir aspect to German lagers, i.e., something that is really unquantifiable that contributes to the uniqueness of the flavor.  Anyway, I'll be interested to follow this thread!  Sorry I don't have much more insight than some non-scientific musings. :-\
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: davidgzach on June 21, 2012, 04:18:35 PM
+1.  I forgot to mention adjusting the water, pitching a huge starter and the mash PH. 

I started to boil my strike water to get the bicarb out of it.  If I make a Dortmunder, I will leave the bicarb in.  Do you have your water chemistry?

I now use 4oz of Acidulated Malt to get my mash PH to 5.2-5.3.  It has definitely made a difference. 

The major difference was making a 1G starter and pitching the correct amount of yeast.  I have been saving the diffferent strains, washing it and pitching the entire amount back in.  My hydrometer samples now taste like I could drink the beer now while before, when I was underpitching, you knew it needed some serious lagering time.

Great thread.  I look forward to seeing additional posts as well.  There is always much to learn!

Dave
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: redbeerman on June 21, 2012, 04:30:04 PM
Through experimentation we have also found that the hop character found in German lagers relys a lot on late hop additons (5 min. and flameout).  Don't be stingy here, it really makes a difference.  Right Ron?
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: davidgzach on June 21, 2012, 04:37:52 PM
I would definitely agree for a Bohemian Pilsner, a little less for a German Pils, but not so much for a Dortmunder and a Munich Helles should really not have any hop aroma.

Disclaimer:  As far as I have read.....

Dave
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: redbeerman on June 21, 2012, 05:08:36 PM
I would definitely agree for a Bohemian Pilsner, a little less for a German Pils, but not so much for a Dortmunder and a Munich Helles should really not have any hop aroma.

Disclaimer:  As far as I have read.....

Dave
The Dortmunders and helles I have had do have some hop aroma, but I'll agree it is nowhere near a pils.  It really does differentiate them from other continental lagers though.  Try a Spaten or Paulaner premium for Helles or a DAB for dortmunder.  If you can get them on tap, the difference is even greater.  The flavor is more pronounced.  This is what I have tasted anyway.  YMMV
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: davidgzach on June 21, 2012, 05:24:21 PM
I love Spaten.  Wish I could find it on tap....
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: redzim on June 21, 2012, 05:33:50 PM
I've been interested in this subject for awhile, as my tastes have definitely gravitated toward German lagers over the years.

I can say the same for myself.... interestingly enough this topic was discussed a couple years back in this thread... http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=1812.0 (http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=1812.0) and I was just perusing that thread to see if anything could be gleaned from it.

I too have spent a couple years chasing that elusive flavor and while I've made some German Pilsners I'm really proud of, that flavor/aroma is lacking.  If any of you (Pawtucket? Dave?) have recipes that are getting close and would like to share them, please PM me, and if you want, I wouldn't mind sharing my recipes and processes FWIW.

-red
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: beersk on June 21, 2012, 05:46:31 PM
So it's not just me...I didn't think it would be.  I just want to know what the variables are.  Seems to me that yeast would play a significant role, as well as hops and malts.  I would think that process would be bottom of the list, but I'm still finding that for myself.  Lagers are tough because there is so much waiting time involved, but I think I am getting to the point where that's really what I want to be brewing and drinking, so the wait would be worth it.
Keep the experiences and suggestions coming guys!
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: gsandel on June 21, 2012, 06:04:21 PM
I am only down the path on only one style (Oktoberfest).  I think the yeast and fermentation management are the keys for that style (let me blaspheme here to say that IMO, water, as long as good quality (neutral) for brewing doesn't matter as much for this particlar style).  The intangibles include being as meticulous and patient as a German brewmeister and noble hops (I use american varients of noble varieties with not much issue, though).  I have never (and likely will never) use decoction method, so while I don't think important, I do not actually know what it could do for my beer.

Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: davidgzach on June 21, 2012, 06:58:39 PM
I'm in line with everyone.  That's why I dedicated myself last year to light German Lagers.  I have a chest freezer consistently filled with 4 different lagers at all times.  Oops, except now as I was on vacation last week.  I'll make that up this weekend.   ;)

Red, I'll PM you a few of my favorites but they are simple recipes with slight variations.

gsandel, agreed water will not effect an Oktoberfest nearly as much as a Pilsner.  But you should try a decoction and taste the malt quality and carmelization you get.

beersk, you get such a different beer with a Hockhurz mash versus single infusion at say 152.  This is what gives the German beers their unmistakable malt profile.  Give it a shot!

FWIW all.... :D 

Dave
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: redbeerman on June 21, 2012, 07:00:11 PM
Ron Price brewed a German pils that was one of the best lagers I've had, including commerical examples (freshness helps).  Maybe we can coerce him into posting that recipe when he gets back from the NHC.  The German restaurant down the road from my house has Bitburger pils on tap and it is a world of difference from what I've had in bottles.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: davidgzach on June 21, 2012, 07:01:56 PM
Ron Price brewed a German pils that was one of the best lagers I've had, including commerical examples (freshness helps).  Maybe we can coerce him into posting that recipe when he gets back from the NHC.  The German restaurant down the road from my house has Bitburger pils on tap and it is a world of difference from what I've had in bottles.

Definitely!  Would love to try and brew it!
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on June 21, 2012, 07:40:01 PM
I would think that process would be bottom of the list, but I'm still finding that for myself.

After spending most of last summer doing various decoction mashes (I think I probably did 7-8), I think you're right.  At least in my experience, I did not perceive a substantial difference (if any) in my single infusion vs. step vs. step decocted beers.  Admittedly, I did not do blind or triangle taste testing.  And I wasn't always brewing the same exact recipes.  I don't have anything against decoction mashing; I actually thought it was fun to do.  I just didn't perceive enough of a benefit to justify doing them regularly.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: davidgzach on June 21, 2012, 07:51:47 PM
I would think that process would be bottom of the list, but I'm still finding that for myself.
I just didn't perceive enough of a benefit to justify doing them regularly.

+1 to that. And I agree that process is at the bottom of the list after water (for Light Lagers), yeast and ingredients. 

I seriously wish we could have this discussion over the two Spaten clones in my basement.  The difference just the yeast made is amazing!

Dave

Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: tankdeer on June 21, 2012, 08:23:13 PM
While admittedly I'm still fairly new into the lager game, I will say that besides obviously good fermentation & sanitation practices, that high quality ingredients seems to be key. Good lager yeast, German pils malt (I've had great results with both Weyermann & Best Malz), and fresh Noble hops. I've made some very good Helles & Pilsners using just that and single infusion mashes.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: beersk on June 22, 2012, 01:30:53 AM
So the general consensus seems to be that yeast plays the biggest role, followed by ingredients, followed by water, then process.  The constant being good fermentation temps and control.

So the yeast gives the beer a very clean flavor which allows the wonderful malt flavors to shine through while giving it a wonderful flavor itself...I guess I'll just have to get some patience and brew some lagers.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: chumley on June 22, 2012, 03:44:26 AM
Ummmm.....the yeast thingy is BS.  A good lager yeast pretty much will do any German beers.  My best bocks have been made with WY2278 Czech Pils.

Malt, malt, malt...MALT!!!!!!  THE DOMINATING VARIABLE!!!!

Hops, no. 2

Everything else can be readily controlled.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: redbeerman on June 22, 2012, 11:44:01 AM
Ummmm.....the yeast thingy is BS.  A good lager yeast pretty much will do any German beers.  My best bocks have been made with WY2278 Czech Pils.

Malt, malt, malt...MALT!!!!!!  THE DOMINATING VARIABLE!!!!

Hops, no. 2

Everything else can be readily controlled.

Except you wouldn't want to use "C" hops in a German beer. ;)  I agree that hops should be in the background for helles, bocks, etc, but pilsners, even German examples have a pretty firm bitterness, spicy hop flavor and a crisp finish.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on June 22, 2012, 12:26:08 PM
I would wait until a few more experienced forum members chime in before drawing too many conclusions.  I think that Jeff Rankert, Ron Price, Denny, and several others who haven't yet posted might have a few more insights.

edit: This is not to say that people who have responded aren't experienced brewers!  But as more people respond, you might find different opinions.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: mmitchem on June 22, 2012, 12:37:58 PM
Good continental malts a crucial players in that German lager flavor. Bohemian Pil and Light Munich are my favorites. Yeast is another big player. I am a huge fan of WLP830, 833 and 838. Using noble hops is never a bad thing.

IMO, to really get that German lager flavor, use german ingredients.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: davidgzach on June 22, 2012, 12:46:35 PM
Water, yeast, ingredients, process.

Edit:  IF you want an authentic German lager.  You can make great beer with different water types, yeast, grains, hops, etc.  It will just not be authentic.

Dave
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: jeffy on June 22, 2012, 02:30:18 PM
I had a German Pils that used "c" hops last night at the conference.   I loved it, but......
I think ingredients are first, including yeast.  Pils malt from Europe has a distinct flavor, the hops have to be noble, and lager yeast of any variety, but especially one that throws off a little sulphur.
I get best results with decoctions when trying for that German flavor.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: mmitchem on June 22, 2012, 02:33:37 PM
I had a German Pils that used "c" hops last night at the conference.   I loved it, but......
I think ingredients are first, including yeast.  Pils malt from Europe has a distinct flavor, the hops have to be noble, and lager yeast of any variety, but especially one that throws off a little sulphur.
I get best results with decoctions when trying for that German flavor.

+1 for decocting. I love the way it brings those German malt flavors out.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: beersk on June 22, 2012, 02:46:36 PM
Great discussion guys, I'm digging this.

Perhaps it is that sulfur flavor that I'm thinking of from the yeast...
Title: That German lager flavor
Post by: ajk on June 22, 2012, 02:48:04 PM
The right lager yeast (with appropriate pitching rate and temperature control) and just the right amount of Weyermann Münich II (9L) are what make me happy. Both Wyeast and White Labs offer some great strains. I've recently done side-by-sides with Wyeast 2124 and 2487—both great yeasts but so different!  2124 is just the picture of clean, whereas 2487 throws that bock-like chewiness that really accentuates Münich and Vienna malt favors.

I've recently started using US-grown noble hop varieties such as US Tettnang and Liberty. Seems like sacrilege, but the character is indistinguishably noble, and I think fresher.
Title: That German lager flavor
Post by: ajk on June 22, 2012, 02:52:20 PM
Perhaps it is that sulfur flavor that I'm thinking of from the yeast...

Yes, lager yeast throws definite sulfur notes, mostly reminiscent of sulfur dioxide (struck matches) in my perception.  These notes are at very low levels—so low that many tasters don't seem to notice them—but they do change the character of the beer.

I'm not talking about the hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg) aroma thrown by some lager yeasts during fermentation—that tends to dissipate during conditioning.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: davidgzach on June 22, 2012, 03:01:30 PM
+1.  Good thread.  Keep em coming!

I should also clarify why I think water is first.  I think the assumtion is made that one is using treated RO or decent brewing water.  That being the case, then water would fall on my list of contributing factors.  But since water is the main ingredient in beer, I put it as #1.  You cannot make an authentic Bohemian Pilsner with super hard water just as you cannot make a authentic Dortmunder with super soft water.  And crappy water cannot make any good beer!   :D

Dave
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: redbeerman on June 22, 2012, 03:33:34 PM
I agree with Dave.  The correct water chemistry definitely influences your results positively. :)  With all beers.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: rabeb25 on June 22, 2012, 04:19:34 PM
Chit Malt is essential, it lends that honey like graininess with an amazing head (and NO flaked barley is not the same).

Don't forget proper attenuation, all German beer is dry, with a malty backbone.. Hockurtz can only achieve this for me.

pH is a HUGE factor, not only mash pH but kettle, fermenter, and final. The Germans like low mash pH's 5.2-3, so that way when it hits the kettle you start low and want to see about 4-9-5.0 into the fermenter(drop to 4.9 with phos if not). They also like low final pH of the beer.

I won't touch too much on water because it has already been mentioned, but I prefer to use RO with enough cacl to get me to ~50 calcium. Minimal approach for me.

Here is a recipe for a Helles that has won me many awards:

Recipe: Edel Hell   TYPE: All Grain
Style: Munich Helles
---RECIPE SPECIFICATIONS-----------------------------------------------
SRM: 3.7 SRM      SRM RANGE: 3.0-5.0 SRM
IBU: 20.2 IBUs Rager   IBU RANGE: 16.0-22.0 IBUs
OG: 1.048 SG      OG RANGE: 1.045-1.051 SG
FG: 1.011 SG      FG RANGE: 1.008-1.012 SG
BU:GU: 0.423      Calories: 151.6 kcal/12oz   Est ABV: 4.7 %      
EE%: 62.00 %   Batch: 5.50 gal      Boil: 8.34 gal   BT: 60 Mins

---WATER CHEMISTRY ADDITIONS----------------


Total Grain Weight: 11 lbs 6.2 oz   Total Hops: 1.25 oz oz.
---MASH/STEEP PROCESS------MASH PH:5.30 ------
>>>>>>>>>>-ADD WATER CHEMICALS BEFORE GRAINS!!<<<<<<<
Amt                   Name                                     Type          #        %/IBU         
8 lbs 4.1 oz          Pilsner (Best Malz) (1.7 SRM)            Grain         1        72.5 %       
1 lbs 7.8 oz          Vienna Malt (Best Malz) (3.0 SRM)        Grain         2        13.1 %       
1 lbs 3.3 oz          Chit Malt (Best Malz) (2.0 SRM Grain         3        10.6 %       
5.1 oz                 Acid Malt (Best Malz) (3.0 SRM)                      Grain         4        3.1 %         


Name              Description                             Step Temperat Step Time     
Dough In          Add 9.67 gal of water at 125.9 F        122.0 F       0 min         
Maltose Rest      Heat to 145.0 F over 15 min             145.0 F       30 min       
Dextrinization Re Add -0.00 gal of water and heat to 162. 162.0 F       40 min       
Mash Out          Heat to 170.0 F over 4 min              170.0 F       15 min       



---BOIL PROCESS-----------------------------
Est Pre_Boil Gravity: 1.034 SG   Est OG: 1.048 SG
Amt                   Name                                     Type          #        %/IBU         
0.25 oz               Magnum [13.50 %] - Boil 60.0 min         Hop           5        13.9 IBUs     
0.50 oz               Hallertauer Mittelfrueh [3.20 %] - Boil  Hop           6        5.0 IBUs     
1.10 Items            Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins)        Fining        7        -             
1.10 tsp              Yeast Nutrient (Boil 15.0 mins)          Other         8        -             
0.50 oz               Hallertauer Mittelfrueh [3.20 %] - Boil  Hop           9        1.3 IBUs     


Sprinkle in your yeast of choice.. I prefer 830. Oh yea I only use Best Malz, so YMMV. I brewed my last one with their new Heidelberg Malt, its lagering as we speak and won't come out until September but first tastes are GREAT.



Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: davidgzach on June 22, 2012, 04:28:47 PM
Bryan,

Thanks for the recipe!  Already copied and converting in to BeerTools.  May have to make it this weekend...... ;)

Much of what I've been pontificating in this thread I learned from you on the Midwest Forum......

Dave
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: yugamrap on June 22, 2012, 04:33:00 PM
I brew lagers year-round - mainly Helles, Märzen and Maibock.  For me, aside from using an appropriate recipe, getting closer to the characteristic "German" profile has come about through mash pH, decoction, and fermentation control.  I feel that mash pH and decoction together yield a well-converted wort that will ferment to appropriate dryness.  Controlling fermentation by pitching an appropriate amount of healthy, active yeast and managing fermentation temperature is critical to have even a chance at making a decent lager.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: rabeb25 on June 22, 2012, 05:50:35 PM
Bryan,

Thanks for the recipe!  Already copied and converting in to BeerTools.  May have to make it this weekend...... ;)

Much of what I've been pontificating in this thread I learned from you on the Midwest Forum......

Dave

Thanks!
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: rabeb25 on June 22, 2012, 05:52:37 PM
Oh, I also forgot the lagering phase... I follow the German Rule of 1 week lagering per 1 degree plato. Proper lagering time and temp seem to add that little extra something.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: redbeerman on June 22, 2012, 05:55:33 PM
Lagering on the primary yeast gives good results too.  This is something that I just started doing.  I made a  Vienna lager with WLP830 some time ago, lagered it for about six weeks on the primary yeast and it was crystal clear going into the keg.  The flavor is super clean as well.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: davidgzach on June 22, 2012, 05:59:00 PM
Lagering on the primary yeast gives good results too.  This is something that I just started doing.  I made a  Vienna lager with WLP830 some time ago, lagered it for about six weeks on the primary yeast and it was crystal clear going into the keg.  The flavor is super clean as well.

I've been meaning to try that and have not gotten around to it.  I transfer to keg and lager.  I don't worry too much about getting some yeast in there, but it's not the same as leaving it on the cake.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: beersk on June 22, 2012, 07:48:32 PM
What kind of final gravities are we talking about here? 1.010-1.012 for dryness?
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on June 22, 2012, 08:56:16 PM
For German Pilsner, I usually shoot for 1.008-1.010 -- pretty much bone dry.  For Helles, it's more like 1.010-1.012.  For Oktoberfest, 1.012-1.014.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: redzim on June 23, 2012, 11:47:47 AM
Chit Malt is essential, it lends that honey like graininess with an amazing head (and NO flaked barley is not the same).

Don't forget proper attenuation, all German beer is dry, with a malty backbone.. Hockurtz can only achieve this for me.

2 Q's:

1) where can I buy chit malt? I've been doing a Jever-style German Pils using about 88% Best Malz pils and 12% Flaked Barley, it's close but not dead on.  I've heard of Chit Malt from some other brewers but never seen it. Where do you get yours?

2) for this beer, and also for my Maibocks and O-fests, I've been doing a rest around 130-133F, then infuse up to my sach rest (anywhere from 149 to 155 depending on the beer), then hitting it with a thinnish mash-out decoction.   You think a Hochkurz double decoction will vastly improve on this?  I've done Hochkurz on my last 2 Bo Pils and loved them, but it does take an extra hour or so....

-red
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: weithman5 on June 23, 2012, 01:54:40 PM
Lagering on the primary yeast gives good results too.  This is something that I just started doing.  I made a  Vienna lager with WLP830 some time ago, lagered it for about six weeks on the primary yeast and it was crystal clear going into the keg.  The flavor is super clean as well.
my very first bear was a vienna with 830, i left it on the yeast for 3 months.  (i did let the temp drop for the last two months in to the 30s.) it turned out great except for i didn't know about that chloramine thing and campden tablets....
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: davidgzach on June 23, 2012, 02:08:33 PM
Chit Malt is essential, it lends that honey like graininess with an amazing head (and NO flaked barley is not the same).

Don't forget proper attenuation, all German beer is dry, with a malty backbone.. Hockurtz can only achieve this for me.

2) for this beer, and also for my Maibocks and O-fests, I've been doing a rest around 130-133F, then infuse up to my sach rest (anywhere from 149 to 155 depending on the beer), then hitting it with a thinnish mash-out decoction.   You think a Hochkurz double decoction will vastly improve on this?  I've done Hochkurz on my last 2 Bo Pils and loved them, but it does take an extra hour or so....

-red

Red,

I would skip the rest at 130 and do a double infusion Hochkurz at 146 and 158-162.  Try that first before going all out on the decoction..... 

Dave
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: davidgzach on June 23, 2012, 02:11:35 PM
For German Pilsner, I usually shoot for 1.008-1.010 -- pretty much bone dry.  For Helles, it's more like 1.010-1.012.  For Oktoberfest, 1.012-1.014.

+1 and the BoPils at 1.013-1.015.....
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on June 23, 2012, 03:44:17 PM
For German Pilsner, I usually shoot for 1.008-1.010 -- pretty much bone dry.  For Helles, it's more like 1.010-1.012.  For Oktoberfest, 1.012-1.014.

+1 and the BoPils at 1.013-1.015.....

Exactly.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: beersk on June 24, 2012, 04:25:24 AM
So, is any of this pretty much unachievable with Wyeast 1007? Or can one still get a pretty convincing German "lager" with 1007?  Probably not, right?
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: davidgzach on June 25, 2012, 12:00:30 PM
So, is any of this pretty much unachievable with Wyeast 1007? Or can one still get a pretty convincing German "lager" with 1007?  Probably not, right?

Nope, can't make a lager with ale yeast. 
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on June 25, 2012, 12:30:19 PM
1007 is a fairly clean ale yeast.  I've fermented it as low as 55F to make clean, lager-like beers.  I'm not sure if I would say these beers were "convincing" as "lagers", but I definitely think they were close.  O'fest with 1007 is particularly close.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: beersk on June 25, 2012, 01:00:01 PM
1007 is a fairly clean ale yeast.  I've fermented it as low as 55F to make clean, lager-like beers.  I'm not sure if I would say these beers were "convincing" as "lagers", but I definitely think they were close.  O'fest with 1007 is particularly close.
That's good to know, I just brewed a decocted festbier yesterday.  Mashed 20 minutes at 146F, decocted a fairly thin mash (because I saw a video where Kai Troester was recommending this to avoid scorching...), boiled for 15 minutes, and brought it back up to about 157F, had to add a little boiling water. Then drew off about 5 qts and boiled for 10 minutes, added back to get to 169F or so.  Ended up getting like 83% efficiency, which is amazing for me. The grain bill was half vienna half munich, and a little caramunich. I did end up with sort of a stuck runoff...wondering what the eff was up with that...
I took some of the 2nd runnings, about half a liter, boiled for 10 minutes, cooled and add my harvest 1007 to it.  It foamed up pretty good in almost no time.  Then pitched it a few hours later to 55F wort.  Didn't take off as quick as I'd thought though.  I think I may try some beers with a Bavarian lager yeast soon.  But I'm just getting into doing lagers seriously so I'm just getting familiar with this stuff. 

Thanks a lot guys! Great thread here. 
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 25, 2012, 04:19:34 PM
I was out at the NHC, and had limited internet access, and was having too much fun. Time to put my views on here.

What is the most important part? All of it. Think like a German brewer would. Pay attention to the details in the entire process, be as exacting as you can. Don't cut corners. Read through what Kai has to say on braukaiser.com as that is a wonderful resource for making German beers. Big thanks to Kai for doing that.

It also helps to have German brewed beers as fresh as possible for comparisons. This is hard sometimes. Often the beers here in the US have honey in the aroma, and that is a sign of staling (2,3 pentanedione). The bitterness starts to have a roughness to it when the beers get old. The same beer in Germany has no honey aroma and a smooth bitterness. If you have a chance to go to Germany, do it!

Yeast. I have been using the 34/70 strain (WLP-830, WY-2124) for my dry German beers and the WLP-833 for malty German beers. I have heard good things about the WY-2352 yeast, and had a Helles made with that at the NHC. It is said to be the Augusteiner yeast, so I need to try that one.

Water. I follow Kai's water profiles.

Malt. German malt. Durst Pils can help make a bone dry pils. Weyermann is good for all of their malts. I have only used a little Best Malz. Where can I find more types other than Pils?

Hops. One thing you need to know is that "Hallertau" from the LHBS can be several varities grown in the Hallertau. I seek out Hallertau Mittelfrueh on the label to get the one I want. Hallertau Tradition is OK. Magnum works for bittering. Tettnager is a favorite, but was hard to find in cones last year. I have used Saaz in German Pils with good results. An interesting fact from the Hop talk by Stan Heironimous was Tattnanger, Spalt, and Saaz are genetically the same, but the growing region gives different results. Herkules is on I have been looking at for future brews, and Stan said it is going to become very popular.

Process: Hochkurz, chill to 45F, pitch a bunch of yeast, O2, ferment cool, I do a D-rest to clean up and blow of SO2, lager for a long time as cold as you can.











Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: morticaixavier on June 25, 2012, 04:32:29 PM
hopfen,

you mention lots of yeast. This seems to be important across the board with lager. I have also heard that if you get enough healthy yeast a D-rest is not really needed. Is this your experience? I ask because when I do a lager I will be getting lots of yeast from the local brewery. If I pitch a quart of 1 day - 1 week old yeast slurry do I need to do a D-rest?
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 25, 2012, 04:40:41 PM
hopfen,

you mention lots of yeast. This seems to be important across the board with lager. I have also heard that if you get enough healthy yeast a D-rest is not really needed. Is this your experience? I ask because when I do a lager I will be getting lots of yeast from the local brewery. If I pitch a quart of 1 day - 1 week old yeast slurry do I need to do a D-rest?

One reason to do the D-rest is if you can taste diacetyl. A good test is to warm a sample up to room temp and taste. The other reason is to speed the fermentation up for a shorter time length, and the increased activity will blow off more SO2.

Yes pitching a lot of healthy yeast at a temp cooler than your fermentation will reduce Diacetyl production.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: davidgzach on June 25, 2012, 04:41:35 PM
hopfen,

you mention lots of yeast. This seems to be important across the board with lager. I have also heard that if you get enough healthy yeast a D-rest is not really needed. Is this your experience? I ask because when I do a lager I will be getting lots of yeast from the local brewery. If I pitch a quart of 1 day - 1 week old yeast slurry do I need to do a D-rest?

Proper pitching rates are essential.  I have performed D-Rests in the past but have gotten away from them with pitching correctly.  How many gallons of wort are you pitching a quart of slurry in to? 

Dave
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: jmcamerlengo on June 25, 2012, 04:46:53 PM
Just wanted to that handling of yeast is just as important as the strain itself. Im a big fan of WLP833 and it is said to be the ayinger strain. However that doesn't mean my beers taste like Ayinger's or anyone else who uses that strain. The way the brewery has handled it and repitched it has A HUGE effect that probably can't be duplicated on a homebrew scale.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: redzim on June 25, 2012, 05:47:20 PM
I was out at the NHC, and had limited internet access, and was having too much fun. Time to put my views on here.

One day I will get to one of those conferences..... sounds like everyone has a lot of fun...

Quote

Process: Hochkurz, chill to 45F, pitch a bunch of yeast, O2, ferment cool, I do a D-rest to clean up and blow of SO2, lager for a long time as cold as you can.

Hochkurz decoction, or infusion? Kai's site gives details for both. I've done a Hochkurz decoction for a Boh Pils. Never tried the infusion version but according to Kai it is common and popular in Germany these days.

-red
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: morticaixavier on June 25, 2012, 06:27:23 PM
hopfen,

you mention lots of yeast. This seems to be important across the board with lager. I have also heard that if you get enough healthy yeast a D-rest is not really needed. Is this your experience? I ask because when I do a lager I will be getting lots of yeast from the local brewery. If I pitch a quart of 1 day - 1 week old yeast slurry do I need to do a D-rest?

Proper pitching rates are essential.  I have performed D-Rests in the past but have gotten away from them with pitching correctly.  How many gallons of wort are you pitching a quart of slurry in to? 

Dave

it would probably be a 5 gallon batch to start, sometimes I do 8 gallon and once in a great while a 10 gallon. is 1 quart into 5 gallons overkill?
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: davidgzach on June 25, 2012, 06:34:29 PM
morticaixavier,

I'm assuming a standard lager of around 1.050.  With week old slurry, that would be about 82% viability according to Mr. Malty.  Using the standard yeast concentration and % of non-yeast of 15%, you would need 236 ml of slurry or just about 8oz. 

Did a quick calc as I have to run and get my daughter from camp, so if anyone can check my work, that would be great.

Dave
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: beersk on June 25, 2012, 06:58:09 PM
morticaixavier,

I'm assuming a standard lager of around 1.050.  With week old slurry, that would be about 82% viability according to Mr. Malty.  Using the standard yeast concentration and % of non-yeast of 15%, you would need 236 ml of slurry or just about 8oz. 

Did a quick calc as I have to run and get my daughter from camp, so if anyone can check my work, that would be great.

Dave
That's probably not far off if it isn't correct.  I'm always surprised at how little proper pitching amounts are. I always pitch like 300ml of thick slurry no matter what the OG of the wort is.

But, I've got a question about pitching in relation to aeration.  I don't have an aeration stone, only use a mix stir.  Would not having as much dissolved oxygen be canceled out if I pitch more than the recommended amount of yeast? I'm guessing not, but just wondering. And I wonder if the taste differences would be negligible, but I guess I don't know that either.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on June 25, 2012, 07:40:50 PM
hopfen,

you mention lots of yeast. This seems to be important across the board with lager. I have also heard that if you get enough healthy yeast a D-rest is not really needed. Is this your experience? I ask because when I do a lager I will be getting lots of yeast from the local brewery. If I pitch a quart of 1 day - 1 week old yeast slurry do I need to do a D-rest?

One reason to do the D-rest is if you can taste diacetyl. A good test is to warm a sample up to room temp and taste. The other reason is to speed the fermentation up for a shorter time length, and the increased activity will blow off more SO2.

Yes pitching a lot of healthy yeast at a temp cooler than your fermentation will reduce Diacetyl production.

I try to give a "diacetyl rest" (a ramp in temp of 2-3F after I've reached about 80% of the expected FG) to every beer, ale or lager, that's I'm not fermenting at the top end of the temp range.

It can also help clear up acetylaldehyde.

In dry-hopped beers, I'll start this rest and add the dry hops at the same time.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 26, 2012, 03:20:04 AM
I was out at the NHC, and had limited internet access, and was having too much fun. Time to put my views on here.

One day I will get to one of those conferences..... sounds like everyone has a lot of fun...

Quote

Process: Hochkurz, chill to 45F, pitch a bunch of yeast, O2, ferment cool, I do a D-rest to clean up and blow of SO2, lager for a long time as cold as you can.

Hochkurz decoction, or infusion? Kai's site gives details for both. I've done a Hochkurz decoction for a Boh Pils. Never tried the infusion version but according to Kai it is common and popular in Germany these days.

-red
Red - I do the decoction.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: mabrungard on June 26, 2012, 04:50:43 AM
Water can't make the malty flavor, it can only deminish it. I anxiously await guidance on what brings the wonderful pils malt flavors I've tasted in various Continental lagers.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: dbarber on June 26, 2012, 01:27:31 PM
Process: Hochkurz, chill to 45F, pitch a bunch of yeast, O2, ferment cool, I do a D-rest to clean up and blow of SO2, lager for a long time as cold as you can.

Jeff,
Do you the Hochkurz decoction for all of your german lagers?
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 26, 2012, 03:39:47 PM
Process: Hochkurz, chill to 45F, pitch a bunch of yeast, O2, ferment cool, I do a D-rest to clean up and blow of SO2, lager for a long time as cold as you can.

Jeff,
Do you the Hochkurz decoction for all of your german lagers?
Yes. I like the beers since I have been doing that. Made several changes at once to get the process more like the German brewer's. Now I am afraid that if I don't do a Hochkurz, I won't like the beer.

Do it for my Bo-Pils too. I had to draw the line at a triple decoction.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: davidgzach on June 26, 2012, 03:43:47 PM
I do a Hockhurz for all of mine as well, however I don't always do the decoctions.  I find the infusions get very good results without all the extra work....

Dave
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: jmcamerlengo on June 26, 2012, 03:50:28 PM
I do a Hockhurz for all of mine as well, however I don't always do the decoctions.  I find the infusions get very good results without all the extra work....

Dave

I find that Im gravitating towards this as well. If I do a decoction its usually a single decoction in the Gordon Strong method.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on June 26, 2012, 05:46:16 PM
FWIW, I do a Hockhurz for my N. German Pils, but I do single infusions for every other light continental lager.  Last summer, when I was really getting into continental lager brewing, I did Hockhurz for everything.  I haven't noticed an appreciable difference in flavor or mouthfeel since switching back to mostly single infusions.

BTW, the only reason I still do a Hockhurz for my N. German Pils is because I like doing a decoction every once in a while.  Keeps me honest.   ;)
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: davidgzach on June 26, 2012, 06:02:10 PM
BTW, the only reason I still do a Hockhurz for my N. German Pils is because I like doing a decoction every once in a while.  Keeps me honest.   ;)

LOL.  I'm the same way with my BoPils!

Dave
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: redzim on June 26, 2012, 06:32:35 PM
FWIW, I do a Hockhurz for my N. German Pils, but I do single infusions for every other light continental lager. 

Interesting that I have had similar experiences.   For my Munich Helles (actually Kai's Edel Hell but I've adopted it), an infusion at 153F makes a really great beer, it compares well with Hacker Pschorr, Hofbrau, Paulaner, etc.  But for a hoppy, crisp beer like German Pils, it seems like the decoction does add something.

-red
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: bluesman on June 26, 2012, 06:46:43 PM
German Lager flavor is clean and wonderful.  I think fresh ingredients, including malt, hops and yeast are key.  The clean malty flavor profile is definitely needed and can be achieved by a number of methods.   A healthy and cool fermentation (45-50F) with an adequate yeast pitch is mandatory.  Fresh German Noble hops are best.  I like to use Hallertau Mittlefruh for my Pilsner. I use about 10AAU's at 5min in addition to a bittering charge of the same hop.  Low alpha acid German Noble hops all the way through are also key for a smooth bitterness.

The one thing that I've found to be the biggest contributor to this elusive flavor is fermenting then lagering in the primary on the yeast at lagering temp for 4 weeks.  Try it and let me know your results. :)
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: redbeerman on June 26, 2012, 06:53:31 PM
Ron, Would you be so kind as to post your recipe for that wonderful German pilsner you made earlier this year?  I bragged on it a bit earlier in the thread.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: bluesman on June 26, 2012, 07:24:13 PM
Ron, Would you be so kind as to post your recipe for that wonderful German pilsner you made earlier this year?  I bragged on it a bit earlier in the thread.

Sure.  I'll post it tonight.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: beersk on June 26, 2012, 07:31:45 PM
Thanks a lot for your input, Ron, and of course, everyone else! Lovin' this thread!
Title: That German lager flavor
Post by: denny on June 26, 2012, 08:10:46 PM
Ron, Would you be so kind as to post your recipe for that wonderful German pilsner you made earlier this year?  I bragged on it a bit earlier in the thread.

Sure.  I'll post it tonight.

Remember to put it in the wiki and link to it here!


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: bluesman on June 26, 2012, 08:15:33 PM
Ron, Would you be so kind as to post your recipe for that wonderful German pilsner you made earlier this year?  I bragged on it a bit earlier in the thread.

Sure.  I'll post it tonight.

Remember to put it in the wiki and link to it here!


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

Great idea!
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: bluesman on June 27, 2012, 01:56:34 AM
Ron, Would you be so kind as to post your recipe for that wonderful German pilsner you made earlier this year?  I bragged on it a bit earlier in the thread.

Sure.  I'll post it tonight.

Remember to put it in the wiki and link to it here!


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

Here's the link for my German Pils recipe...enjoy!  :)

http://wiki.homebrewersassociation.org/RinglerPilsner
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: morticaixavier on June 27, 2012, 02:42:27 AM
looks good ron. gotta love a recipe with 3 ingredients! well 5 counting the water and the yeast.

why the rice hulls?
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: boulderbrewer on June 27, 2012, 07:01:33 AM
I love the recipe Ron. You know guys if you follow the golden rules of brewing you can take a malt and some hops you can make a wonderful beer. I think Ron's recipe pees on a horchkurz sort of mashing. Not saying his beer is the one all of be all. I want to say if your process is tight you can brew any style. but your process has to be tight.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: bluesman on June 27, 2012, 11:28:23 AM
looks good ron. gotta love a recipe with 3 ingredients! well 5 counting the water and the yeast.

why the rice hulls?

Simpler is often better...but really it comes down to having a sound yet repeatable process all in an effort to produce the best possible beer. 

I use rice hulls because they help facilitate the process.  They helps with the circulation/lautering on my system. (better flow)
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: bluesman on June 27, 2012, 11:28:50 AM
I love the recipe Ron. You know guys if you follow the golden rules of brewing you can take a malt and some hops you can make a wonderful beer. I think Ron's recipe pees on a horchkurz sort of mashing. Not saying his beer is the one all of be all. I want to say if your process is tight you can brew any style. but your process has to be tight.

Thanks!
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: davidgzach on June 27, 2012, 11:43:53 AM
I think it's a great example of a SMaSH beer.  I've been concentrating on these myself lately.  I'm sure the 833 lends a unique malty "German" character as well.  However, there are reasons why German breweries as a whole perform Hochkurz mashes.  I wouldn't pee on it entirely.  However I do agree you can make great beer with a single infusion and sound process.

Ron, it would be really interesting to hear how this tastes if you made it with a Hochkurz and compared them side by side.  Sounds like a great experiment.  I may have to try it myself!

Dave
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: mmitchem on June 27, 2012, 12:08:02 PM
That does look good Ron. I love simple repeatable recipes myself. I just did a SMaSH with a Munich Dunkel using 100% Munich and a triple decoction. Malty malty malty.

I am also interested to see what a Hochkurz mashing schedule would do to this beer. Hello, my weekend brew! Haha. Thanks for posting Ron!
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: redbeerman on June 27, 2012, 12:24:37 PM
Thanks Ron.  This beer is the best domestic example (including commercial examples) of a German pilsner I have ever had.  The recipe and process really do stand up.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: beersk on June 27, 2012, 02:41:35 PM
How often is a diacetyl rest necessary? Also, if I were to take the fermenter out of the chest freezer for the diacetyl rest, does it matter much if room temperature is 65 or 75?

I suppose that kind of sounds like a stupid question...
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: denny on June 27, 2012, 03:24:18 PM
How often is a diacetyl rest necessary?

I'd guess that maybe only about 10% of my lagers need a d rest.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: redbeerman on June 27, 2012, 04:30:20 PM
How often is a diacetyl rest necessary? Also, if I were to take the fermenter out of the chest freezer for the diacetyl rest, does it matter much if room temperature is 65 or 75?

I suppose that kind of sounds like a stupid question...

Not a stupid question.  Some yeasts produce very little diacetyl and I have found the lower the fermentation temperature, the less produced.  Be mindful that an appropriate amount of healthy yeast is very important as well.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: bluesman on June 27, 2012, 04:35:03 PM
Some yeasts are more prone to producing diacetyl than others. For example, Czech Pils yeast strains typically produce a lot of diacetyl, whereas German Lager yeasts are less likely to produce as much. The good news is that the residual yeast in suspension will consume diacetyl and other fermentation by-products after fermentation, so diacetyl will be mitigated during lagering.

Taste the beer after fermentation and decide if a D-rest is necessary. I like to do one as a standard course of action, as I find that there is always some level of diacetyl that I don't want in the beer.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: beersk on June 27, 2012, 04:53:50 PM
And how much does the temperature of the diacetyl rest matter? Would it be bad if the room was 75F instead of 65F? Or would that even matter since the initial stages fermentation is complete?
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: denny on June 27, 2012, 04:56:10 PM
And how much does the temperature of the diacetyl rest matter? Would it be bad if the room was 75F instead of 65F? Or would that even matter since the initial stages fermentation is complete?

The purpose of increasing the temp is to make the yeast more active to consume the diacetyl, so the exact temp doesn't matter much.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: beersk on June 27, 2012, 05:20:55 PM
And how much does the temperature of the diacetyl rest matter? Would it be bad if the room was 75F instead of 65F? Or would that even matter since the initial stages fermentation is complete?

The purpose of increasing the temp is to make the yeast more active to consume the diacetyl, so the exact temp doesn't matter much.
That's good to know, thanks.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: davidgzach on June 27, 2012, 05:25:32 PM
How often is a diacetyl rest necessary? Also, if I were to take the fermenter out of the chest freezer for the diacetyl rest, does it matter much if room temperature is 65 or 75?

I suppose that kind of sounds like a stupid question...

Definitely not a stupid question.  As stated, the best thing to do is taste the beer and see for yourself.  You don't need to be a Master BJCP Judge to identify it.  Think "I Can't Believe it's Not Butter".  While some strains seem to produce more than others, I have found it is almost completely mitigated by pitching the proper amount of yeast, at temps below the fermentation temp, and letting it rise to somewhere a few degrees below the middle ground for the strain.  I typically shoot for 48F-50F, starting at 45F.

As for the temp of the diacetyl rest, I have done mine at 68F, mainly because that is the temp of my basement which makes life easy.  Would 75F hurt your beer?  I think not so long as it is fermented out at around 80% or so.  Like Denny says, the purpose is to make the yeast more active to consume the diacetyl.  Now if you got into the 80's, I would suspect the yeast would start to produce some off-flavors but maybe someone else can provide a more educated response on that......

Dave
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 27, 2012, 05:37:44 PM
A good way to taste the sample is to warm it for a few seconds in the microwave to room temp. Some of us have a lo sensitivity to diacetyl. I know one guy who is pretty much blind to it.

The d-rest cleans up faster than lagering does, so you can save time if the next batch needs that fermenter. It blows off sulfur compounds too.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: davidgzach on June 27, 2012, 05:45:07 PM
Some of us have a lo sensitivity to diacetyl. I know one guy who is pretty much blind to it.

Wow, that's interesting/surprising.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: morticaixavier on June 27, 2012, 05:48:14 PM
So this talk about proper pitching rates and diacetyl raises another question in my mind. I have read that some folks recommend NOT aerating the wort and just pitching a full working population of yeast. It seems with lagers you must be pretty close to that full working population with no need for a growth phase. is diacetyl something that is produced during the growth phase and thus, if you pitch a really huge amount of yeast would not be a problem?
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: davidgzach on June 27, 2012, 05:50:33 PM
So this talk about proper pitching rates and diacetyl raises another question in my mind. I have read that some folks recommend NOT aerating the wort and just pitching a full working population of yeast. It seems with lagers you must be pretty close to that full working population with no need for a growth phase. is diacetyl something that is produced during the growth phase and thus, if you pitch a really huge amount of yeast would not be a problem?

I have pitched on top of a prior 2124 cake only, but a few times.  Each time it took off almost immediately and there were zero signs of diacetyl. 

Dave
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: beersk on June 27, 2012, 06:09:48 PM
So this talk about proper pitching rates and diacetyl raises another question in my mind. I have read that some folks recommend NOT aerating the wort and just pitching a full working population of yeast. It seems with lagers you must be pretty close to that full working population with no need for a growth phase. is diacetyl something that is produced during the growth phase and thus, if you pitch a really huge amount of yeast would not be a problem?

I have pitched on top of a prior 2124 cake only, but a few times.  Each time it took off almost immediately and there were zero signs of diacetyl. 

Dave
Without aerating the wort? I use a mix stir and I am wondering if I would be able to make up for the lack of aeration (as compared to pure O2) with pitching extra yeast.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: davidgzach on June 27, 2012, 06:13:36 PM
No, I missed that part.  I always aerate very well.

Dave
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: jmcamerlengo on June 27, 2012, 06:14:59 PM
Wouldn't excessive wort aeration cause more esters? Pitching more is going to just the opposite and create less and a more clean beer.

As far as D-rests go, I have found that if you start cold and rise to ferm temp 44-48 F area, that a D-rest is pretty much never necessary.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: davidgzach on June 27, 2012, 06:19:58 PM
Wouldn't excessive wort aeration cause more esters?

Jason,

Not sure what you mean here.  I just amply aerate the wort with a whisk before pitching the yeast, whether on top of the cake or directly.  When you say excessive, do you mean using pure O2 and putting in too much?

Dave
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: davidgzach on June 27, 2012, 06:29:43 PM
Without aerating the wort? I use a mix stir and I am wondering if I would be able to make up for the lack of aeration (as compared to pure O2) with pitching extra yeast.
[/quote]

Just looked back at this.  Got off track a bit.  If you aerate properly with a mix stir, you are fine.  Pitching more yeast will not fix poor aeration.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: jmcamerlengo on June 27, 2012, 06:32:19 PM
Wouldn't excessive wort aeration cause more esters?

Jason,

Not sure what you mean here.  I just amply aerate the wort with a whisk before pitching the yeast, whether on top of the cake or directly.  When you say excessive, do you mean using pure O2 and putting in too much?

Dave

Yes thats what I mean!
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: beersk on June 27, 2012, 06:33:35 PM
Quote from: beersk
Without aerating the wort? I use a mix stir and I am wondering if I would be able to make up for the lack of aeration (as compared to pure O2) with pitching extra yeast.

Just looked back at this.  Got off track a bit.  If you aerate properly with a mix stir, you are fine.  Pitching more yeast will not fix poor aeration.
I have been under the impression that a mix stir will not aerate the wort enough for lagers.  2 or 3 minutes with a mix stir is all I usually do.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: davidgzach on June 27, 2012, 06:34:48 PM
Wouldn't excessive wort aeration cause more esters?

Jason,

Not sure what you mean here.  I just amply aerate the wort with a whisk before pitching the yeast, whether on top of the cake or directly.  When you say excessive, do you mean using pure O2 and putting in too much?

Dave

Yes thats what I mean!

Yep, that makes sense.  Wasn't sure if I was reading it properly......
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 27, 2012, 06:39:20 PM
Some of us have a lo sensitivity to diacetyl. I know one guy who is pretty much blind to it.

Wow, that's interesting/surprising.
About 20% of the population is blind to diacetyl.

I know one guy who is hypersensitive to diacetyl, but is blind to DMS. This is just like color blindness in its own way.

We all have strengths and weekness in our palate. That is why you want more than one judge, Bigger breweries know who can taste what and make sure there is a mix of sensitivities on the tasting panels they do daily.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: denny on June 27, 2012, 06:49:48 PM
Just looked back at this.  Got off track a bit.  If you aerate properly with a mix stir, you are fine.  Pitching more yeast will not fix poor aeration.

Actually....pitching more yeast is an alternative to aeration.  The purpose of aeration is to provide O2 for the yeast to synthesize sterols, whiuch the yeast use to build cells walls when the replicate.  If you pitch enough yeast, there is little to no need for tham to do that.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: davidgzach on June 27, 2012, 07:00:33 PM
I remember reading that to have a healthy fermentation you need the yeast to reproduce at least a certain amount. Also remember a thread where Tom explained this.  I'll try to find it.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on June 27, 2012, 07:45:33 PM
Quote from: beersk
Without aerating the wort? I use a mix stir and I am wondering if I would be able to make up for the lack of aeration (as compared to pure O2) with pitching extra yeast.

Just looked back at this.  Got off track a bit.  If you aerate properly with a mix stir, you are fine.  Pitching more yeast will not fix poor aeration.
I have been under the impression that a mix stir will not aerate the wort enough for lagers.  2 or 3 minutes with a mix stir is all I usually do.

I've been using a mix-stir to aerate my lagers for almost two years without issue.  I have excellent lager fermentations that attenuate completely. 
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: denny on June 27, 2012, 07:47:40 PM
I remember reading that to have a healthy fermentation you need the yeast to reproduce at least a certain amount. Also remember a thread where Tom explained this.  I'll try to find it.

I don't think it's so much that they have to as that you want to pitch enough yeast to limit the amount they do.  Also, I've found that some yeast growth can enhance flavor, which is why I seldom pitch on an entire yeast slurry.  But pitching more yeast can be an acceptable substitute to aeration in some cases.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 27, 2012, 08:08:07 PM
Ron, thanks for the lagering on the yeast cake comment - I do remember reading years back that the German use horizontal lagering tanks to let the yeast settle on more surface area, which makes more of the yeast in the lagering tank available to clear up the beer.

Budweiser uses the beechwood strips to give more area for the yeast to settle onto. Don't know the tank geometry.

I have thought of tranfering some yeast into the corny when racking, then lagering on the side. Afraid of leaks, but I might try that some day if I have room in the lagering freeze. I can fit 8 standing up. Need to see how many go in laying down.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: beersk on June 27, 2012, 08:37:12 PM
Quote from: beersk
Without aerating the wort? I use a mix stir and I am wondering if I would be able to make up for the lack of aeration (as compared to pure O2) with pitching extra yeast.

Just looked back at this.  Got off track a bit.  If you aerate properly with a mix stir, you are fine.  Pitching more yeast will not fix poor aeration.
I have been under the impression that a mix stir will not aerate the wort enough for lagers.  2 or 3 minutes with a mix stir is all I usually do.

I've been using a mix-stir to aerate my lagers for almost two years without issue.  I have excellent lager fermentations that attenuate completely. 
Great to know, thanks! I don't have the highest rpm drill, but would that make much difference? Probably just the rate at which the O2 is dissolved, right?

I wonder about lagering on the yeast cake, would that yeast still be viable at the end of the lagering phase?
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: davidgzach on June 27, 2012, 08:46:21 PM
Beersk,

If you are aerating at or close to your fermentation temp, you'll get more O2 in to solution.  Edit:  Than aerating at ale temps.....

Dave
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: denny on June 27, 2012, 09:10:35 PM
Great to know, thanks! I don't have the highest rpm drill, but would that make much difference? Probably just the rate at which the O2 is dissolved, right?

Yep...you might have to run it a bit longer, but no big deal.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on June 27, 2012, 09:13:36 PM
Beersk,

If you are aerating at or close to your fermentation temp, you'll get more O2 in to solution.  Edit:  Than aerating at ale temps.....

Dave

I guess I should have stated that I always cool my lager wort down to around 46F prior to aerating and pitching.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: beersk on June 27, 2012, 10:02:18 PM
Beersk,

If you are aerating at or close to your fermentation temp, you'll get more O2 in to solution.  Edit:  Than aerating at ale temps.....

Dave
Right, that's what I typically do or have done and will continue to do.......

Tons of great info in this thread guys, thanks a bunch.  Hopefully we can keep it going...too bad Kai isn't around anymore.  Where's he been? He's been updating his blog, I see...just not into the forums anymore I guess.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: bluesman on June 28, 2012, 01:06:12 AM
Ron, thanks for the lagering on the yeast cake comment - I do remember reading years back that the German use horizontal lagering tanks to let the yeast settle on more surface area, which makes more of the yeast in the lagering tank available to clear up the beer.

Budweiser uses the beechwood strips to give more area for the yeast to settle onto. Don't know the tank geometry.

I have thought of tranfering some yeast into the corny when racking, then lagering on the side. Afraid of leaks, but I might try that some day if I have room in the lagering freeze. I can fit 8 standing up. Need to see how many go in laying down.

I've thought about krausening the beer while lagering but I would need a second fementation at high krausen in order to do that.  Maybe I'll experiment with that idea someday.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: bluesman on June 28, 2012, 01:13:13 AM

Right, that's what I typically do or have done and will continue to do.......

Tons of great info in this thread guys, thanks a bunch.  Hopefully we can keep it going...too bad Kai isn't around anymore.  Where's he been? He's been updating his blog, I see...just not into the forums anymore I guess.

Yes...I was visiting Kai's Blog and saw that he has two new articles in his blog this year. 

Beer color to mash pH (v2.0)

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Beer_color_to_mash_pH_(v2.0)

Yeast Propagator

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Yeast_Propagator
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: beersk on June 28, 2012, 12:33:54 PM
Do you guys spend the money for cold yeast shipping or risk it? I don't have a local homebrew shop, at least one that doesn't carry enough to carry any fresh yeast. I want to buy yeast right now but it's so damn hot out and it's kind of pricey to get it shipped.  I'm thinking of either waiting until the weather breaks or just pay for the cold shipping option.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: davidgzach on June 28, 2012, 01:30:47 PM
I get an ice pack, but that's about it.  Haven't had any issues but you have to make a starter.....

Dave
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: beersk on June 28, 2012, 01:50:50 PM
I get an ice pack, but that's about it.  Haven't had any issues but you have to make a starter.....

Dave
Of course.  I may do the same and get the ice pack.  It usually takes 2 days to get my stuff, which isn't too bad.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: mmitchem on June 28, 2012, 01:53:52 PM
With summertime here, you can't be too safe with yeast, seeing how it sits on the delivery truck getting to the house. In the summer (with a 2 day ship), my icepacks are still a little cool to the touch, so it gives me a nice warm-n-fuzzy ;)
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: davidgzach on June 28, 2012, 02:09:18 PM
I get an ice pack, but that's about it.  Haven't had any issues but you have to make a starter.....

Dave
Of course.  I may do the same and get the ice pack.  It usually takes 2 days to get my stuff, which isn't too bad.

When I ordered from Midwest, it took 4 days.  No problem in the summer, but I did have one arrive frozen in the winter!   :o
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: denny on June 28, 2012, 03:14:14 PM
too bad Kai isn't around anymore.  Where's he been? He's been updating his blog, I see...just not into the forums anymore I guess.

I exchanged emails with him a few weeks back.  He's been very busy with real life, but was going to Australia to speak.  He hopes to be at NHC in Philly.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: beersk on June 28, 2012, 03:48:57 PM
With summertime here, you can't be too safe with yeast, seeing how it sits on the delivery truck getting to the house. In the summer (with a 2 day ship), my icepacks are still a little cool to the touch, so it gives me a nice warm-n-fuzzy ;)
Fantastic!

Quote from: denny
I exchanged emails with him a few weeks back.  He's been very busy with real life, but was going to Australia to speak.  He hopes to be at NHC in Philly.
Good to hear, too bad he's been so busy.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 28, 2012, 03:55:58 PM
too bad Kai isn't around anymore.  Where's he been? He's been updating his blog, I see...just not into the forums anymore I guess.

I exchanged emails with him a few weeks back.  He's been very busy with real life, but was going to Australia to speak.  He hopes to be at NHC in Philly.

That is great news, I figured life got in the way. I really enjoyed talking with him at the 2010 NHC. His doppelbock was excellent!

Hey, how many days until Philly?  :)
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: denny on June 28, 2012, 04:44:29 PM

That is great news, I figured life got in the way. I really enjoyed talking with him at the 2010 NHC. His doppelbock was excellent!

Hey, how many days until Philly?  :)

ALL of the beers he had there were excellent.

How many days til Philly?  Just enough to recover from Seattle!
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: bluesman on June 28, 2012, 05:06:18 PM

That is great news, I figured life got in the way. I really enjoyed talking with him at the 2010 NHC. His doppelbock was excellent!

Hey, how many days until Philly?  :)

ALL of the beers he had there were excellent.

How many days til Philly?  Just enough to recover from Seattle!

We'll need every one of those days to prepare for Philly.  ;)

I'm on the local committee and the GC sub-committee...and there will be a ton of work to do in preparation for this prestigious event.  :)

...as you very well know Denny.

BTW...you are now the 8K postman.  ;D
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: mmitchem on June 28, 2012, 05:13:51 PM
Wow - 8K posts! A staggering number indeed!
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: davidgzach on June 28, 2012, 05:42:48 PM

That is great news, I figured life got in the way. I really enjoyed talking with him at the 2010 NHC. His doppelbock was excellent!

Hey, how many days until Philly?  :)

ALL of the beers he had there were excellent.

How many days til Philly?  Just enough to recover from Seattle!

We'll need every one of those days to prepare for Philly.  ;)

I'm on the local committee and the GC sub-committee...and there will be a ton of work to do in preparation for this prestigious event.  :)

...as you very well know Denny.

BTW...you are now the 8K postman.  ;D

Ron, being local, I'd be happy to help for next year in any way.  Let me know.

Dave
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: denny on June 28, 2012, 06:30:56 PM
Wow - 8K posts! A staggering number indeed!

Staggeringly ridiculous.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: mmitchem on June 28, 2012, 06:32:57 PM
Wow - 8K posts! A staggering number indeed!

Staggeringly ridiculous.

Ridiculously dedicated? You have helped me out on more than one occasion for sure!
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: davidgzach on June 28, 2012, 06:38:04 PM
Wow - 8K posts! A staggering number indeed!

Staggeringly ridiculous.

Ridiculously dedicated? You have helped me out on more than one occasion for sure!

+1.  Me too!
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: denny on June 28, 2012, 06:53:16 PM
I love you, man!   ;D

Seriously, thanks, guys...I appreciate it.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: beersk on June 28, 2012, 07:26:22 PM
So, anyone craving a malty German lager right now?  I know I've got a Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfestbier in my fridge at home that is calling my name!  Now, to brew beer that good...one day.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: bluesman on June 28, 2012, 08:22:54 PM

That is great news, I figured life got in the way. I really enjoyed talking with him at the 2010 NHC. His doppelbock was excellent!

Hey, how many days until Philly?  :)

ALL of the beers he had there were excellent.

How many days til Philly?  Just enough to recover from Seattle!

We'll need every one of those days to prepare for Philly.  ;)

I'm on the local committee and the GC sub-committee...and there will be a ton of work to do in preparation for this prestigious event.  :)

...as you very well know Denny.

BTW...you are now the 8K postman.  ;D

Ron, being local, I'd be happy to help for next year in any way.  Let me know.

Dave

Thanks!

sent pm.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on June 28, 2012, 08:29:45 PM
I swear I'm going to make it to PA for the Conference next year!  I think I've known some of you guys online for almost 7 years.   :o 
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: weithman5 on June 28, 2012, 08:30:09 PM
So, anyone craving a malty German lager right now?  I know I've got a Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfestbier in my fridge at home that is calling my name!  Now, to brew beer that good...one day.

all flipping day long.  i just brewed my ofest, but screwed up my mash and it will be more of a session beer.  but that is okay. may try to get another one mashed correctly ( i was not paying attention and the mash temp went way too high) within the next few weeks.  dusseldorf next then refest
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: denny on June 28, 2012, 08:32:41 PM
I swear I'm going to make it to PA for the Conference next year!  I think I've known some of you guys online for almost 7 years.   :o

Then it's about freakin' time!  ;)
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: beersk on June 28, 2012, 08:54:08 PM
So, anyone craving a malty German lager right now?  I know I've got a Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfestbier in my fridge at home that is calling my name!  Now, to brew beer that good...one day.

all flipping day long.  i just brewed my ofest, but screwed up my mash and it will be more of a session beer.  but that is okay. may try to get another one mashed correctly ( i was not paying attention and the mash temp went way too high) within the next few weeks.  dusseldorf next then refest
Bummer.  I've been playing with Hochkurz decoction lately, so it's been fun.  I might've pulled too thin a mash last time, but the OG was higher than I expected, so it didn't mess with the efficiency.  But we'll find out what the flavor is like soon...
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: weithman5 on June 28, 2012, 09:11:19 PM
i am becoming more curious about the decoctions on these and what people think.  i have done a decoction once in the past but my questions are do people believe that the flavors are brought out by the individual rests (i e, just raising the temperature for a period of time/stepping through) or because of flavor changes in the mash that is pulled and boiled then re in fused.  would this be any different than pulling the first runnings and boiling down that volume for a bit before adding the remaining wort?
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: bluesman on June 29, 2012, 01:31:58 AM
I swear I'm going to make it to PA for the Conference next year!  I think I've known some of you guys online for almost 7 years.   :o

Then it's about freakin' time!  ;)

Yeah...what the hay!  :)
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on June 29, 2012, 02:07:31 AM
I swear I'm going to make it to PA for the Conference next year!  I think I've known some of you guys online for almost 7 years.   :o

Then it's about freakin' time!  ;)

Yeah...what the hay!  :)

I really thought I would be able to make it to Seattle.  But I just couldn't swing the $$ this time around.  I got a new job back in April and things will be different next year.   ;)  Already looking forward to knocking a few back with you guys!
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: davidgzach on June 29, 2012, 01:38:01 PM
Me too!   ;D
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: davidgzach on June 29, 2012, 02:23:39 PM
On topic, I'm in DC now at my buddy's house for the golf tournament.  I built a "Go Tap" on wheels with my old tower and brought it down with a BoPils.  He was blown away.  I used 9# Floor Malted BoPils with .5# Vienna and .5# Munich with 4 Saaz additions and it is AWESOME.  I can say that the Hochkurz definitely made a difference.

Also had to post #500!  Not quite to Denny level, but still proud to be a homebrew geek!   8)

Dave
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: beersk on June 29, 2012, 05:47:26 PM
i am becoming more curious about the decoctions on these and what people think.  i have done a decoction once in the past but my questions are do people believe that the flavors are brought out by the individual rests (i e, just raising the temperature for a period of time/stepping through) or because of flavor changes in the mash that is pulled and boiled then re in fused.  would this be any different than pulling the first runnings and boiling down that volume for a bit before adding the remaining wort?
The only thing I can realistically think of is that decoction allows for fuller conversion of less modified malts (or any malt for that matter).  I'm noticing quite a higher efficiency when I do a decoction, although the flavor contribution is highly debatable.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: jeffy on June 29, 2012, 07:18:58 PM
i am becoming more curious about the decoctions on these and what people think.  i have done a decoction once in the past but my questions are do people believe that the flavors are brought out by the individual rests (i e, just raising the temperature for a period of time/stepping through) or because of flavor changes in the mash that is pulled and boiled then re in fused.  would this be any different than pulling the first runnings and boiling down that volume for a bit before adding the remaining wort?
The only thing I can realistically think of is that decoction allows for fuller conversion of less modified malts (or any malt for that matter).  I'm noticing quite a higher efficiency when I do a decoction, although the flavor contribution is highly debatable.
Maillard reactions (non-enzymatic browning) take place during the boiling part of the decoction.  Boiling the grain breaks up the starches, too, for better extraction.  I am a firm believer in the increased malt complexity of decocted beers, but it is due to the boil part of the process more than the additional mash rest.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: weithman5 on June 29, 2012, 08:13:17 PM
that was my thought too, so then how much different would you expect it from just doing an extended boil with part of the runnings.  i suspect there would be still some difference do to possible flavors present in the grain that may not be in the wort but just guessing that is minimal
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: denny on June 29, 2012, 08:46:46 PM
that was my thought too, so then how much different would you expect it from just doing an extended boil with part of the runnings.  i suspect there would be still some difference do to possible flavors present in the grain that may not be in the wort but just guessing that is minimal

Boiling down the runnings gives you a sweeter flavor than what you (supposedly) get from decoction.  Decoction (supposedly) increases the malt flavor, which is not necessarily sweet.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: beersk on July 01, 2012, 02:17:59 AM
Well, either way it does a nice job of increasing your efficiency, which is why I feel it is done more because of under modified malts than added malt flavor.  It is obviously a highly debatable topic, so it's not clear whether it adds anything or not.  But it's kinda fun to do also.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: nateo on July 15, 2012, 02:33:37 PM
I've been going through Eric Warner's book again recently, and I came across something I've not heard other homebrewers talk about. He says that off-flavors from fermentation byproducts can be the result of too much, too little, or the wrong amount of amino acids in the wort. It's not feasible to evaluate this on a home scale, or even a small commercial scale. Formol titration isn't capital intensive, but it only gives you total nitrogen, not composition, IIRC.

Still, it's made me wonder about people who use step mashes when maybe they shouldn't, and if that could cause low-level off-flavors in the finished beer. 
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on July 15, 2012, 08:19:41 PM
Great discussion.

I have made my share of Czech lagers.

1) Continental ingredients.
2) Decoction or at least step mashing (Sorry Denny).
3) Lager yeast.
4) Proper Pitch, Ferment well.
5) At least 2 weeks on cold storage. Colder better.
6) Package and sell it. Ops. this is homebrew forum. Scrap this step.

Enjoy.
Title: That German lager flavor
Post by: denny on July 15, 2012, 09:20:00 PM
Great discussion.

I have made my share of Czech lagers.

1) Continental ingredients.
2) Decoction or at least step mashing (Sorry Denny).
3) Lager yeast.
4) Proper Pitch, Ferment well.
5) At least 2 weeks on cold storage. Colder better.
6) Package and sell it. Ops. this is homebrew forum. Scrap this step.

Enjoy.

No need to be sorry, Leos.  I've tried your beers and whatever you're doing is the right thing to do.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
Title: That German lager flavor
Post by: bluesman on July 16, 2012, 01:39:26 AM
Great discussion.

I have made my share of Czech lagers.

1) Continental ingredients.
2) Decoction or at least step mashing (Sorry Denny).
3) Lager yeast.
4) Proper Pitch, Ferment well.
5) At least 2 weeks on cold storage. Colder better.
6) Package and sell it. Ops. this is homebrew forum. Scrap this step.

Enjoy.

No need to be sorry, Leos.  I've tried your beers and whatever you're doing is the right thing to do.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

+1

I've tried them too...and I also have to say that you definitely have a formula for success Leos.  Keep on brewing! :)
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on July 16, 2012, 02:33:46 AM
Great discussion.

I have made my share of Czech lagers.

1) Continental ingredients.
2) Decoction or at least step mashing (Sorry Denny).
3) Lager yeast.
4) Proper Pitch, Ferment well.
5) At least 2 weeks on cold storage. Colder better.
6) Package and sell it. Ops. this is homebrew forum. Scrap this step.

Enjoy.

No need to be sorry, Leos.  I've tried your beers and whatever you're doing is the right thing to do.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

+1

I've tried them too...and I also have to say that you definitely have a formula for success Leos.  Keep on brewing! :)
Thank you guys.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on July 16, 2012, 02:50:12 AM
I don't live that far from Leos and I still haven't tried any of his beers.  Bummer!

I'm going to pass through Eau Claire on Labor Day weekend.  I think a stop is in order!
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: denny on July 16, 2012, 04:11:48 PM
I don't live that far from Leos and I still haven't tried any of his beers.  Bummer!

I'm going to pass through Eau Claire on Labor Day weekend.  I think a stop is in order!

I wish I was closer so I could be a regular customer.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: nateo on July 16, 2012, 04:34:06 PM
What brewery is it? I have family in WI I visit sometimes, I wouldn't mind making a detour.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: beersk on July 16, 2012, 05:19:53 PM
Lazy Monk brewing in Eau Claire.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on July 16, 2012, 11:43:02 PM
Lazy Monk brewing in Eau Claire.
Correct.

We just opened a tap room a few weeks ago.
Anybody is welcome to stop by.
http://www.lazymonkbrewing.com/
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lazy-Monk-Brewing-LLC/188535614492258
(http://www.lazymonkbrewing.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Bar-Area.jpg)
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: morticaixavier on July 17, 2012, 04:09:30 AM
that looks amazing Leos. I will for sure keep it on my to do list.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: tschmidlin on July 17, 2012, 06:45:31 AM
Awesome ;D
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on July 17, 2012, 01:39:19 PM
Wow, Leos -- you've been busy!  Taproom looks great.  Also, I'm not sure when you got that new website, but it's really nice. 
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: bluesman on July 17, 2012, 01:41:40 PM
Well done!  :)
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: beersk on July 17, 2012, 03:18:40 PM
The taproom looks very quaint.  I like it.  Nice work, Leos!
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on July 18, 2012, 01:46:21 AM
Thank you guys.

The most credits goes to my wife. She picked up the color and all the other stuff. All I picked up was four kegs kegerator (direct draught system).

morticaixavier Remember what I said about taproom.

Pawtucket Patriot The website is just themed wordpress CMS. We had it for some time. We can easily update the content by ourselfs. No programing needed.

One more thing. I heard that some of you got some fancy diesel car.
well I just got one of these:
(http://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/601731_451870058158811_48099029_n.jpg)

No fancy at all but I can put 48 cases of growlers in there!!
If you see me, honk :)
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: denny on July 18, 2012, 02:04:45 AM
Leos, I am so happy for you!  Congratulations to you!
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: thirsty on July 18, 2012, 04:39:01 AM
That is so cool. If I'm ever close by, I am stopping in for a drink.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: morticaixavier on July 18, 2012, 02:47:51 PM
Thank you guys.

The most credits goes to my wife. She picked up the color and all the other stuff. All I picked up was four kegs kegerator (direct draught system).

morticaixavier Remember what I said about taproom.

Pawtucket Patriot The website is just themed wordpress CMS. We had it for some time. We can easily update the content by ourselfs. No programing needed.

One more thing. I heard that some of you got some fancy diesel car.
well I just got one of these:
(http://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/601731_451870058158811_48099029_n.jpg)

No fancy at all but I can put 48 cases of growlers in there!!
If you see me, honk :)

Oh beleive me, I am remembering. Maybe when my kid is that age I will be able to post similar pics.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Kit B on July 18, 2012, 03:25:56 PM
I don't live that far from Leos and I still haven't tried any of his beers.  Bummer!

I'm going to pass through Eau Claire on Labor Day weekend.  I think a stop is in order!

I have...You should pick some up, just across the border.
It's delicious!
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: udubdawg on July 27, 2012, 02:52:59 AM
Lazy Monk brewing in Eau Claire.
Correct.

We just opened a tap room a few weeks ago.
Anybody is welcome to stop by.
http://www.lazymonkbrewing.com/
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lazy-Monk-Brewing-LLC/188535614492258
(http://www.lazymonkbrewing.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Bar-Area.jpg)

going to bump this up in another shameless plug for Lazy Monk.  Truly excellent dark lager and vienna lager, and thanks for the tour of the brewery a couple hours ago.  Will try to visit again soon.

cheers--
--Michael
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on July 28, 2012, 02:59:42 AM
Michael,

Thank you for stopping by and traveling all the way from Kansas.
WOW.
That is all I can tell.

See you soon and travel safe.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: tschmidlin on July 28, 2012, 05:00:31 PM
Leos, my Dad will be in Eau Claire tomorrow.  Any recommendations for where he can find your beer?
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on July 29, 2012, 12:33:25 AM
http://www.lazymonkbrewing.com/about-us/where-to-find-our-beers/
Here is a link to where to find our beers
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: CASK1 on August 01, 2012, 10:34:13 PM
I don't think this topic has come up yet. I've read in numerous places (don't have sources handy) that cooling to secondary lagering temps after a diacetyl rest (or not) should be slow (4 degrees F per day? Don't have the number handy.). How crucial is this? Has anyone compared a "fast cold crash" lager to a slow cooling to lager temps? For those that cool slowly to lager temps, how do you do it? The freezer portion of my lager fridge stores meat and other frozen foods, so I can't raise the temp in the fridge above ~40 without spoiling food (I'm in Florida). I do my best to insulate my fermenter when starting the lager stage, but I'm sure it's cooling a lot faster than what I've read is ideal. However my lagers seem to be just fine. Thoughts?
Cheers!
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: hopfenundmalz on August 01, 2012, 11:13:26 PM
I don't think this topic has come up yet. I've read in numerous places (don't have sources handy) that cooling to secondary lagering temps after a diacetyl rest (or not) should be slow (4 degrees F per day? Don't have the number handy.). How crucial is this? Has anyone compared a "fast cold crash" lager to a slow cooling to lager temps? For those that cool slowly to lager temps, how do you do it? The freezer portion of my lager fridge stores meat and other frozen foods, so I can't raise the temp in the fridge above ~40 without spoiling food (I'm in Florida). I do my best to insulate my fermenter when starting the lager stage, but I'm sure it's cooling a lot faster than what I've read is ideal. However my lagers seem to be just fine. Thoughts?
Cheers!

You have cleaned up the beer with the elevated D-rest. You can crash it down. You could go down slowly, but what is the point as the yeast have cleaned up.

I will continue to link to Kai's site, even though he is back.  ;) The profile F is what I am talking about. Lower right of all the graphs.
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Fermenting_Lagers#Maturation_of_the_beer

Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: ynotbrusum on August 03, 2012, 02:32:07 AM
I pick up a couple growlers each time I pass through on my way up to the northern WI fishing lake.  Great stuff with the new tap room.  I'll try to schedule my October trip for a time when your tap roomi is open. 

Congrats Leo's on your continued success as you build almost literally in the shadow of the Leinenkugel brewery.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: beersk on August 03, 2012, 01:51:53 PM


Congrats Leo's on your continued success as you build almost literally in the shadow of the Leinenkugel brewery.
I'm sure it's MUCH better beer too.  Haven't liked Leinenkugel's beer for a long time, it's a funk to it.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Kaiser on August 05, 2012, 12:32:38 PM
I read through all the posts here and have a few comments.

I don't think there is any single thing or procedure that causes this German Lager flavor. I believe it is a combination of things and simply a product how Germans brew beer. However, German brewing practices today are very much different from what we think. Most beer is mass produced, especially the big brands like Bittburger, Warsteiner, Radeberger ... Even most of the local brands are produced the same way. Most breweries in Germany are either owned by InBev or the Radeberger Gruppe, which is is part of Dr Oetker, a conglomerate that started out as a baking powder company.

A few month back I got pointed to a very good German TV documentary that highlighted how German beer had lost its way. For posterity, here is the link (http://www.zdf.de/ZDFmediathek/beitrag/video/1656374/ZDFzoom-Hopfen-und-Malz-verloren!#/beitrag/video/1656374/ZDFzoom-Hopfen-und-Malz-verloren (http://www.zdf.de/ZDFmediathek/beitrag/video/1656374/ZDFzoom-Hopfen-und-Malz-verloren!#/beitrag/video/1656374/ZDFzoom-Hopfen-und-Malz-verloren)) there are a few German speakers on this forum for which that might be useful.

I just came back from a trip through the northern part of Germany and I have to admit that most beers in Germany do taste rather bland these days.

Beers brewed in southern Germany tend to be better. For one, they have a better beer culture down there and there is also a bit more variety. Especially when it comes to Weissbier.

As for the brewing processes that can give this characteristic German flavor, I don't think that decoction has anything to do with it. Most German beers are made w/o decoction and I have made many decocted beers that I would say have that German taste. This is not to say that decoction doesn't make a difference, lets leave this for a different discussion.

Warm vs. cold maturation rest? A few times I have tried the cold maturation rest, i.e. where the beer is slowly cooled after primary fermentation is done. The biggest problem was that I ended up stalling fermentation and the beer did not attenuate as expected. These days I often raise the maturation rest temp to 70 F for a week in order to make sure the beer fully attenuates before cold conditioning. The complete fermentation is more important than doing a cold maturation (a.k.a. diacetyl) rest. When I say complete fermentation I mean getting close to the attenuation from the FFT, especially for a Pilsner. A Schwarzbier can be a few attenuation percentage points off and a Doppebock can show 4%-6% lower attenuation than its FFT. Simply judging complete fermentation by the absence of activity may not be accurate enough. The low fermentable sugar content, that you get when the beer ferments to the attenuation of its FFT, is important to get a very drinkable beer.

One major factor in getting the German flavor is the aroma of the beer. German beers have a very subtle aroma. These days many beers don't seem to have any aroma since brewers skimp on good aroma hops. But even the good examples don't have a strong hop aroma. If hops dominate the aroma, its never like sticking your nose in a bag of hops. Instead the hop aroma is more refined. This comes from the fact that German brewers don't add hops late. Even aroma hops are added with 10-15 boil time to go. According to a number of sources I have come across the hop aroma compounds oxidize in the boiling wort and create less volatile compounds. This leads me directly to FWH. FWH doesn't appear to be common in German brewing, but I have had great success with getting that German hop profile into my Pilsner and Helles by using FWH.

Another important part is smooth bitterness and for that I strongly believe that the Kraeusen should not be allowed to fall back into the beer. I make sure that it blows off. Even if that means I have to add more sanitized wort after I realized that I didn't fill my carboy enough to get a blow-off. When I don't do this the bitterness gets a harsh character.

I also started experimenting with CO2 hop extract. The gooey hop resin that NB sells as the Hopshot. A few years back I bought a 150g can and put it into syringes. I know that the use of hop extract is frowned upon among beer geeks, but hop extract is able to add bitterness w/o bringing vegetal matter into the boil that can lead to increased tannins. I have not done a side-by side between a classic bitterning hop like Magnum and hop extract.

While I do have a number of thoughts on this topic, I haven't found that perfect procedure that will always give you the authentic German taste. There are too many variables that would have to be evaluated. Just be open to experimentation and start trying things that you haven't tried yet. This obviously implies that you can brew a clean beer repeatedly and that you brewing process is not plagued by more straight forward issues.

Kai
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: denny on August 05, 2012, 04:39:49 PM
Great info!  Thanks for your thoughts, Kai.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: The Professor on August 06, 2012, 01:40:25 AM
Kai...that was a great post.  Thanks for weighing in!
Title: That German lager flavor
Post by: bluesman on August 06, 2012, 02:05:01 AM
Interesting points Kai. One of the things that you made mention to was large scale brewing in Germany and it's effects on beer flavor. We are brewing on a much smaller scale which can be a factor in the fermentation.

There may be some credence to the effects of vessel geometry and how it can affect beer flavor. For example, the pressure that is on the yeast during fermentation and how that can effect the esters produced or lack there of. Troughs vs conical, etc..

I think fermentation schedule and process are  major factors in German brewing. Temperature, yeast handling, vessel geometry and time are all key variables in the production of German beer or any beer for that matter.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Kaiser on August 06, 2012, 02:36:26 AM
There may be some credence to the effects of vessel geometry and how it can affect beer flavor. For example, the pressure that is on the yeast during fermentation and how that can effect the esters produced or lack there of. Troughs vs conical, etc..

Yes, that is probably the most difficult aspect to mimic. One could try pressurized primary fermentation, which has been done on the home brewing scale.

However, I think it is possible to get to this German flavor even w/o big fermenters. For the longest time I thought the 7 day primary fermentation at 8 C is only possible b/c of the strong circulations in larger fermenters until I saw in a paper that the same primary fermentation time can also be achieved in 20 l fermenters.

Kai
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: mabrungard on August 06, 2012, 12:37:33 PM
I've read conflicting accounts about pressurized fermentation.  I had originally heard that elevated pressure helped suppress ester production.  That is a good thing in a lager.  But then I heard that yeast should ferment at atmospheric pressure for better performance (I'm not sure what performance they were alluding too).  My conical is set up to allow pressurization of up to about 12 inches of water column.  I haven't tried any more than several inches so far.  I'm curious if others have evaluated the effect of pressurized ferments?
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: bluesman on August 06, 2012, 04:51:16 PM
There may be some credence to the effects of vessel geometry and how it can affect beer flavor. For example, the pressure that is on the yeast during fermentation and how that can effect the esters produced or lack there of. Troughs vs conical, etc..

Yes, that is probably the most difficult aspect to mimic. One could try pressurized primary fermentation, which has been done on the home brewing scale.

However, I think it is possible to get to this German flavor even w/o big fermenters. For the longest time I thought the 7 day primary fermentation at 8 C is only possible b/c of the strong circulations in larger fermenters until I saw in a paper that the same primary fermentation time can also be achieved in 20 l fermenters.

Kai

I tend to agree with you. 

I have a 14.6 gallon Blichmann conical that I fermented a 5 and 10 gallon batch of the same recipe only to achieve two very different flavor profiles.  The five gallon batch had a very estery flavor profile while the ten gallon batch exhibited a much more subdued ester profile (relatively speaking).  I believe that this is related to the pressure on the yeast during fermentation.  I think that the yeast are more prone to ester production when they have less pressure upon them during fermentation.  This isn't reasonably scientific but an observation that I noted.

Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: onthekeg on August 09, 2012, 04:36:59 AM
Most of the time if the beer is brewed in a horizontal vessel, there is less pressure than with a vertical one such as a conical.
I believe historically German's used barrels for lagering.

Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: beersk on August 09, 2012, 01:17:07 PM
Most of the time if the beer is brewed in a horizontal vessel, there is less pressure than with a vertical one such as a conical.
I believe historically German's used barrels for lagering.


Yes, but it's probably not as common today.  My original intent was to find that "flavor" present in Spaten or Weihenstephaner lagers.  From what Kai says, it sounds like he is even still searching for it......
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: redbeerman on August 09, 2012, 01:43:04 PM
I believe that "flavor" you are looking for may be related to late hop additions.  Ron made a Helles earlier this year that was somewhat over hopped at the end making it more of a pilsner, but the flavor that the late hops imparted reminided me very much of the elusive flavor that we have been looking for in our lagers.  More experimentation needs to be done, of course, but the results from this happy (hoppy?) accident are very promising.  I haven't yet had time to brew a helles using this hopping strategy (adding all late hops after 5 minutes left in the boil, no flavor addition), but I plan on doing one in the near future.  It will be a SMASH using German pils malt, Mittelfruh hops and WLP833 yeast.  It may sound strange getting a flavor component from an aroma charge, but I think the results will prove it out.  Please stand by............
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Kaiser on August 09, 2012, 02:00:44 PM
To comment on the effects of fermenter geometry, I found this German article (http://www.sachverstand-gutachten.de/veroeffentlichungen/veroeffentlichungen_brauerei_gaerungsnebenprodukte_braum_09_05.html) a while back. There is one pargraph worth translating:

Quote
When 25 years ago most big breweries moved from vats to conicals for fermentation they realizes that the necessary brewing procedures also depends on the available technology. In other words the change in fermenter geometry changes the flavor of the beer significantly of the rest of the brewing process is kept the same

This tells me that there is a lot of compensating that is done in breweries just to keep the beer flavor changes to a minimum. I suspect that if the beer flavor is allowed to change this change has to be gradual so it is not noticed by the consumer.

@redbeerman, yes I do think that the right hop presence in the aroma has a lot to do with that typical German flavor. My experiences however is that FWH and/or fairly early aroma hop additions do better than late aroma additions.

Kai
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: redbeerman on August 09, 2012, 06:29:17 PM
Have not tried FWH yet in a lager, but I know 20-10min additions won't give me the results I'm looking for.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: denny on August 09, 2012, 06:48:49 PM
Have not tried FWH yet in a lager, but I know 20-10min additions won't give me the results I'm looking for.

I always FWH my German pils and Maibock and I love the results.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: mmitchem on August 09, 2012, 06:52:25 PM
Have not tried FWH yet in a lager, but I know 20-10min additions won't give me the results I'm looking for.

I always FWH my German pils and Maibock and I love the results.

That sounds awesome, especially with the mellow bitterness you get from a FWH. I will try that once on my next Maibock, which was said to "need a little more hop bitterness" at NHC this year. Good tip!
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: bluesman on August 09, 2012, 08:23:31 PM
Have not tried FWH yet in a lager, but I know 20-10min additions won't give me the results I'm looking for.

I always FWH my German pils and Maibock and I love the results.

I'm going to try FWH my Ofest tomorrow.  I've never tried it on a German lager.  Should be interesting.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: malzig on August 10, 2012, 01:17:51 AM
Have not tried FWH yet in a lager, but I know 20-10min additions won't give me the results I'm looking for.
I always FWH my German pils and Maibock and I love the results.
I FWH all my German Lagers. My favorite Dunkel might come out with a little too much hop flavor (surprisingly much, considering how little hops go into the FWH, which is the only hop charge), but I love it. 
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: redbeerman on August 10, 2012, 11:27:21 AM
Denny, do you calculate bitterness as a ~ 20 minute boil addition for FWH?  This is something that has caused me some confusion in the past, since it's more about perception of bitterness than actual bitterness.

Thanks,

Jim
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on August 10, 2012, 12:29:25 PM
What would the FWH addition look like for a German Pils?  And what would the rest of the additions look like?

Denny, IIRC, you calculate the perceived bitterness from a FWH addition as being similar to that of a 20 minute addition.  In addition to a 20 minute addition, I usually do 10, 5, and 0 minute additions for my German Pils.  If I were to FWH my Pils, would I still do the 10, 5, and 0 minute additions?
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: redzim on August 10, 2012, 12:47:33 PM

A few month back I got pointed to a very good German TV documentary that highlighted how German beer had lost its way. For posterity, here is the link (http://www.zdf.de/ZDFmediathek/beitrag/video/1656374/ZDFzoom-Hopfen-und-Malz-verloren!#/beitrag/video/1656374/ZDFzoom-Hopfen-und-Malz-verloren (http://www.zdf.de/ZDFmediathek/beitrag/video/1656374/ZDFzoom-Hopfen-und-Malz-verloren!#/beitrag/video/1656374/ZDFzoom-Hopfen-und-Malz-verloren)) there are a few German speakers on this forum for which that might be useful.

Kai

Interesting film, just watched the first third of  it and will have to finish later...  and I think your other comments are unfortunately right on, in that there is no ONE thing to do to get that German beer experience except for us all to keep trying little tweaks to our various processes and sharing them here!  I've certainly gotten closer over the last 2 years and 8 or so batches of Pilsner plus at least that many other German styles (Helles, O-Fest, Schwarz, a variety of Bocks), thanks mainly to info and suggestions from you folks on this forum...

One thing I do have to say is that since adding a warmer-than-I-would-have-thought (~65-70F) maturation rest to my German beers, usually for only 48 hrs, I like the results... I think it does help to hit those final gravities and attenuate the beer out more fully.  I may have to try that for a week as Kai suggests...

-red
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: hopfenundmalz on August 10, 2012, 12:53:38 PM

A few month back I got pointed to a very good German TV documentary that highlighted how German beer had lost its way. For posterity, here is the link (http://www.zdf.de/ZDFmediathek/beitrag/video/1656374/ZDFzoom-Hopfen-und-Malz-verloren!#/beitrag/video/1656374/ZDFzoom-Hopfen-und-Malz-verloren (http://www.zdf.de/ZDFmediathek/beitrag/video/1656374/ZDFzoom-Hopfen-und-Malz-verloren!#/beitrag/video/1656374/ZDFzoom-Hopfen-und-Malz-verloren)) there are a few German speakers on this forum for which that might be useful.

Kai

Interesting film, just watched the first third of  it and will have to finish later...  and I think your other comments are unfortunately right on, in that there is no ONE thing to do to get that German beer experience except for us all to keep trying little tweaks to our various processes and sharing them here!  I've certainly gotten closer over the last 2 years and 8 or so batches of Pilsner plus at least that many other German styles (Helles, O-Fest, Schwarz, a variety of Bocks), thanks mainly to info and suggestions from you folks on this forum...

One thing I do have to say is that since adding a warmer-than-I-would-have-thought (~65-70F) maturation rest to my German beers, usually for only 48 hrs, I like the results... I think it does help to hit those final gravities and attenuate the beer out more fully.  I may have to try that for a week as Kai suggests...

-red
The wife and I watched that program a while back, and were able to follow it pretty well with our meager German skills. Thought it was a good report on the state of German brewing.

When Kai mentioned the 70F rest, well that caught my eye. Will try that on my next Pils.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Kaiser on August 10, 2012, 01:33:43 PM
One thing I do have to say is that since adding a warmer-than-I-would-have-thought (~65-70F) maturation rest to my German beers, usually for only 48 hrs, I like the results... I think it does help to hit those final gravities and attenuate the beer out more fully.  I may have to try that for a week as Kai suggests...

red, unless you are already doing this, start doing the fast ferment test: http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Fast_Ferment_Test . It's result will help you guide your fermentation. W/o it you'll be flying in the dark.

Kai
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: redzim on August 10, 2012, 01:53:43 PM
One thing I do have to say is that since adding a warmer-than-I-would-have-thought (~65-70F) maturation rest to my German beers, usually for only 48 hrs, I like the results... I think it does help to hit those final gravities and attenuate the beer out more fully.  I may have to try that for a week as Kai suggests...

red, unless you are already doing this, start doing the fast ferment test: http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Fast_Ferment_Test . It's result will help you guide your fermentation. W/o it you'll be flying in the dark.

Kai

I do this on most but not all my lagers....   I skip it on the ones I've got really dialed in and don't even notice/care if they come out a couple points off (like Schwarzbier)

-red
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: denny on August 10, 2012, 03:41:29 PM
Denny, do you calculate bitterness as a ~ 20 minute boil addition for FWH?  This is something that has caused me some confusion in the past, since it's more about perception of bitterness than actual bitterness.

Thanks,

Jim

Yep, I do, Jim.  It's really subjective, so you might want to start with that and adjust in the future depending on what you taste.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: redbeerman on August 10, 2012, 04:31:08 PM
Thanks!  Any experience with FWH in a Helles?  I think I will be doing that after my Oktoberfest is done lagering.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: denny on August 10, 2012, 04:45:46 PM
Thanks!  Any experience with FWH in a Helles?  I think I will be doing that after my Oktoberfest is done lagering.

Nope, no experience with Helles.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Kaiser on August 10, 2012, 05:00:55 PM
Thanks!  Any experience with FWH in a Helles?  I think I will be doing that after my Oktoberfest is done lagering.

Try it. The main difference between Helles and Pilsner is the bitterness and hop aroma. Some hop presence works well in a Helles. There are Helles beers in Germany that have more hop presence than some Pilsners.

Kai
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: hopfenundmalz on August 10, 2012, 06:07:23 PM
Thanks!  Any experience with FWH in a Helles?  I think I will be doing that after my Oktoberfest is done lagering.

Try it. The main difference between Helles and Pilsner is the bitterness and hop aroma. Some hop presence works well in a Helles. There are Helles beers in Germany that have more hop presence than some Pilsners.

Kai

Can you name a few. I will seek those out on my next trip to Germany. Research you know!
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: redbeerman on August 10, 2012, 06:50:58 PM
Thanks!  Any experience with FWH in a Helles?  I think I will be doing that after my Oktoberfest is done lagering.

Try it. The main difference between Helles and Pilsner is the bitterness and hop aroma. Some hop presence works well in a Helles. There are Helles beers in Germany that have more hop presence than some Pilsners.

Kai

Can you name a few. I will seek those out on my next trip to Germany. Research you know!

Jeff,  Kai has a number of German beer reviews on Braukaiser and there are a few Helles listed there.

Jim
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Kaiser on August 10, 2012, 08:03:17 PM
Can you name a few. I will seek those out on my next trip to Germany. Research you know!

Try to find these:

- Badische Staatsbrauerei Rothaus: Tannenzaepfle - very nice Pils with a dry finish and good hop character
- Allgauer Brauhaus: Teutsch Pils - This was amazing and how a Pils should taste. Very nice hop character (http://braukaiser.com/blog/beers/2011/01/27/allgauer-brauhaus-teutsch-pils/)

These were the only two that stood out to me. A Helles that tastes as bitter as a Pils is the one brewed by Ayinger.

Kai
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: denny on August 10, 2012, 08:10:29 PM
- Allgauer Brauhaus: Teutsch Pils - This was amazing and how a Pils should taste. Very nice hop character (http://braukaiser.com/blog/beers/2011/01/27/allgauer-brauhaus-teutsch-pils/)

This is sold at a local bottle shop and is amazingly good.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Kaiser on August 10, 2012, 08:18:07 PM
I didn't even think that this would be available in the US. But then again, a lot of the smaller German beer brands find more appreciation in the US than in Germany.

Kai
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: hopfenundmalz on August 10, 2012, 08:19:45 PM
Can you name a few. I will seek those out on my next trip to Germany. Research you know!

Try to find these:

- Badische Staatsbrauerei Rothaus: Tannenzaepfle - very nice Pils with a dry finish and good hop character
- Allgauer Brauhaus: Teutsch Pils - This was amazing and how a Pils should taste. Very nice hop character (http://braukaiser.com/blog/beers/2011/01/27/allgauer-brauhaus-teutsch-pils/)

These were the only two that stood out to me. A Helles that tastes as bitter as a Pils is the one brewed by Ayinger.

Kai
Kai - thanks. I am reading on wiki often, not the Blog. Need to go there more often.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Kaiser on August 10, 2012, 08:29:42 PM
Kai - thanks. I am reading on wiki often, not the Blog. Need to go there more often.

The brewing blog is where I write more often these days. Stuff written there doesn't have to be as complete and comprehensive as on the Wiki. The beer blog is for beers I had during a 2008 trip to Germany. I had many beers on my last trip too, but not many of them stood out. I may want to add the ones that did stand out to me.

Kai
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: denny on August 10, 2012, 08:39:49 PM
I didn't even think that this would be available in the US. But then again, a lot of the smaller German beer brands find more appreciation in the US than in Germany.

Kai

Our local bottle shop (The Bier Stein for those in the area) has an amazing array of imported beers that I haven't seen elsewhere.  And they're generally in pristine condition.  IIRC, they have at least 3 varieties of the Allgauer.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: musseldoc on August 12, 2012, 12:14:15 PM
I hope I am not too late for the discussion to throw my two cents in here:

I think process, ingredients, water and fermentation play an equal role.  It is a combination of variables and no one thing.  While we have documentation of historical and current water profiles, German's cut their water with RO/DI too.  I know the Hofbrauhaus in Newport, KY uses a water softener on all of their brewing water.  I have found, myself, that when I cut my tap water 50% or 75% with RO/DI I get a different beer.  Generally, I prefer the lower hardness water as the malts flavors are richer and bitterness less harsh.

There is much discussion about decoction mashing.  I have found it results in a dryer finish (due to the higher fermentability of the wort), maltier profile and more authentic taste.  I have been amazed at how much malt flavor and complexity I can get out of a Pils only recipe using a decoction mash.  However, I believe the effects of the decoction mash are minimized if you use kilned specialty malts. The melanoidins are already present in the higher kilned malts, so you don't notice the effect of the decoction like you do with Pils only beers. 

I also believe the source of the malt makes a big difference.  I have made many pils only beers using different cultivars and maltsters, and they all taste different. They all have that signature Pils sweetness, but side by side you can definitely tell they are not the same malt.  Some continental pils have too much sweetness and throw off the malt profile, for me; the resulting beers are a little less authentically German.  They come out more like French Pilsners, with almost a grape-like pils sweetness. 

Yeast makes beer, right, so no doubt yeast makes a big difference.  I would even claim that using a yeast outside of its sweet spot even results in a profile that just makes you teeter on the edge and say its just a little off from authentically German.  I think in our haste, too warm of a diacetyl rest, too soon in the process, can slightly affect the melding (oxidation, conversion and reabsorption) of flavors.  I feel I get a slightly maltier beer when I leave it at 50F for 4-8 weeks, rather than fermenting 2-3 weeks and doing a D-rest warm.  I also lose that slight, fleeting, initial sulfur character that I taste in a lot of the great German lagers when I do the warm D-rest.  This may just be due to physics and vapor pressures and such when performing a warm D-rest rather than fermenting cold continuously.  In terms of fermenting, I think of it like low and slow in barbecuing.  Yeah, you can cut an hour off your day by searing, then going low and slow, but it just isn't quite the same as slowly and continuously letting the juices leak out of your grillables and sear over a long period at low temperatures.  The hard way is usually the best way, for me.   

Then again, what is authentically German anyways.  Traditional?  Modern?  Modern lagers are changing due to economics.  If chasing the flavors of a modern, mass-produces German lager is authentic, then I don't want to be authentic anyways.   
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: nateo on August 12, 2012, 02:21:00 PM
I have found it results in a dryer finish (due to the higher fermentability of the wort), maltier profile and more authentic taste.  I have been amazed at how much malt flavor and complexity I can get out of a Pils only recipe using a decoction mash.  However, I believe the effects of the decoction mash are minimized if you use kilned specialty malts. The melanoidins are already present in the higher kilned malts, so you don't notice the effect of the decoction like you do with Pils only beers. 

Some continental pils have too much sweetness and throw off the malt profile, for me; the resulting beers are a little less authentically German.  They come out more like French Pilsners, with almost a grape-like pils sweetness. 

If decoction makes a more fermentable beer, it doesn't do so consistently. I haven't found that to be the case. Decoction cuts down on the hot break in the kettle, which would otherwise bind with hop acids and decrease utilization. So less hot break = more bitter beer. I also suspect decoction mashing extracts more tannins which contribute to that perception of dryness. I haven't found decoction to make my beers tastes more "authentic," though I do have a slight preference for decoction over melanoidin malt, but I've made beers I enjoy without either, just using 100% base malt and single infusion.

I've noticed that grape-like pils sweetness on some beers too, but I wasn't sure what was causing that.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: hopfenundmalz on August 12, 2012, 03:14:26 PM
One of the BJCP National level judges in our club pointed out that Bocks often have a grape taste from the Munich I malt. So it is not limited to just Pils malt.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: musseldoc on August 13, 2012, 12:54:22 AM
I have found it results in a dryer finish (due to the higher fermentability of the wort), maltier profile and more authentic taste.  I have been amazed at how much malt flavor and complexity I can get out of a Pils only recipe using a decoction mash.  However, I believe the effects of the decoction mash are minimized if you use kilned specialty malts. The melanoidins are already present in the higher kilned malts, so you don't notice the effect of the decoction like you do with Pils only beers. 

Some continental pils have too much sweetness and throw off the malt profile, for me; the resulting beers are a little less authentically German.  They come out more like French Pilsners, with almost a grape-like pils sweetness. 

If decoction makes a more fermentable beer, it doesn't do so consistently. I haven't found that to be the case. Decoction cuts down on the hot break in the kettle, which would otherwise bind with hop acids and decrease utilization. So less hot break = more bitter beer. I also suspect decoction mashing extracts more tannins which contribute to that perception of dryness. I haven't found decoction to make my beers tastes more "authentic," though I do have a slight preference for decoction over melanoidin malt, but I've made beers I enjoy without either, just using 100% base malt and single infusion.

I've noticed that grape-like pils sweetness on some beers too, but I wasn't sure what was causing that.

What is interesting about the decoction process is that it defies conventional logic and does not extract excessive tannins.  The pH equilibrium shifts towards more acidic as you get closer to boiling, so tannins really are not extracted.  The increase in fermentability comes from the step mash profile of a triple decoction.  More time spent at the protein, limit dextrinase, beta amylase and alpha amylase rests increase fermentability and reduce body and mouthfeel.  This is why decoctions are dryer than non-decoctions, not because of hopping rates and tannins.  This is also why mash efficiency is improved with decoctions.  Now if you single infuse at an alpha rest, then do a single decoction to raise to mash-out, then no, you would not get increased fermentability. 
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: nateo on August 13, 2012, 01:17:34 AM
What is interesting about the decoction process is that it defies conventional logic and does not extract excessive tannins.  The pH equilibrium shifts towards more acidic as you get closer to boiling, so tannins really are not extracted.  The increase in fermentability comes from the step mash profile of a triple decoction.  More time spent at the protein, limit dextrinase, beta amylase and alpha amylase rests increase fermentability and reduce body and mouthfeel.  This is why decoctions are dryer than non-decoctions, not because of hopping rates and tannins.  This is also why mash efficiency is improved with decoctions.  Now if you single infuse at an alpha rest, then do a single decoction to raise to mash-out, then no, you would not get increased fermentability.

Well, I disagree. I recently did a back-to-back beer, one triple decocted, and one with 5% melanoidin malt, and their OG and FG were identical. I didn't claim decoction extracts "excessive" tannins, just more tannins than would otherwise be extracted during an infusion mash. "Excessive" is subjective, but in absolute terms, a decoction mash will extract a great amount of tannin for a given weight of grain.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: musseldoc on August 13, 2012, 02:06:33 AM
I disagree, more tannins are not extracted.  Monitor the pH during the decoction and you'll see for yourself.  A decrease in pH decreases tannin extraction.  Higher temps off-gas CO and thus bicarbonate.  Additionally, the precipitation of calcium phosphate at higher temps releases hydrogen ions.  The pH has no choice but to go down. 

You may have a crush or lautering system that gets you 80+% efficiency anyways, so you may not see a change in mash efficiency.  Most will see an increase though.  However, you will have no choice but to see a difference in fermentability.  You cannot perform a step mash profile without converting more sugars into maltose and less into dextrins. 
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: nateo on August 13, 2012, 02:19:07 AM
However, you will have no choice but to see a difference in fermentability.  You cannot perform a step mash profile without converting more sugars into maltose and less into dextrins.

My hydrometer disagrees as well. But, I'll leave it at that.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Kaiser on August 13, 2012, 04:35:43 AM
musseldoc, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

I have never tried anything else but German pils malt for my Pilsners. There are enough other variables that I want to look at first.

I think claims about more tannins being released or not are difficult to support given that we don't measure them and the amount we are talking about here is not showing up as a noticeable taste difference. During a decoction mash the pH does go down. Whether or not this ultimately results in less tannin extraction despite the temperature being higher is debatable.

Decoction's effect on fermentability can also go both ways given that you can't simply compare 2 mashed done with the same rest temps.

Kai
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: nateo on August 13, 2012, 03:41:15 PM
I think claims about more tannins being released or not are difficult to support given that we don't measure them and the amount we are talking about here is not showing up as a noticeable taste difference. During a decoction mash the pH does go down. Whether or not this ultimately results in less tannin extraction despite the temperature being higher is debatable.

Hmm, I'm surprised to hear you say that. I was basing my position on your interview on BBR. It is a couple years old, so I'm interested in what changed your mind.

http://media.libsyn.com/media/basicbrewing/bbr05-27-10kaidecoc.mp3

Starting around 27min: "Decoction mashing does extract more husk compounds, so the decocted beer tends to be slightly more robust tasting, and that works well for darker beers. There should not be excessive tannin extraction, but there is some tannin extraction. Decoction is not so much suited for a more delicate beer, like a German pilsner. German brewers may go out of their way to separate their husks from their grits and flour, just to minimize tannin extraction." He goes on to say that separating the husks is not really that common, though some German brewers do it, as well as Trumer, who calls it "endosperm mashing."
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Kaiser on August 13, 2012, 03:51:13 PM
You got me there :)

What I said in that interview comes from fairly reputable literature sources. I'm just backing down from this being always true given that it is something we can't easily measure or taste. I still think its more likely that decoction mashing increased tanning extraction even if the pH drops a little.

Kai
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: nateo on August 13, 2012, 04:33:03 PM
You got me there :)

I'm not trying to give you a hard time. I've said a lot of things over the years I now think was completely wrong. I was just curious if your view had changed.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on August 14, 2012, 02:34:29 AM
Back to FWH.

I have to say that earlier hops additions gives me harsher and lingering bitterness.
Not sure why FWH would not do the same.

This is my experience.
Kind of learned it hard way with 350 gallons of beer.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Kaiser on August 14, 2012, 10:47:31 AM
Thirsty,

with what type of hops did you make this experience?
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: mabrungard on August 14, 2012, 12:25:41 PM
I have to say that earlier hops additions gives me harsher and lingering bitterness.
Not sure why FWH would not do the same.

Elevated pre-boil wort pH can help create that problem.  Hopefully the mashing and sparging water alkalinity are properly reduced.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: AmandaK on August 14, 2012, 12:57:00 PM
I also believe the source of the malt makes a big difference.  I have made many pils only beers using different cultivars and maltsters, and they all taste different. They all have that signature Pils sweetness, but side by side you can definitely tell they are not the same malt.  Some continental pils have too much sweetness and throw off the malt profile, for me; the resulting beers are a little less authentically German.  They come out more like French Pilsners, with almost a grape-like pils sweetness. 

Can you go into this a bit more? I mean, can you name some names? I'm interested to hear the results.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: musseldoc on August 15, 2012, 01:08:54 AM
I also believe the source of the malt makes a big difference.  I have made many pils only beers using different cultivars and maltsters, and they all taste different. They all have that signature Pils sweetness, but side by side you can definitely tell they are not the same malt.  Some continental pils have too much sweetness and throw off the malt profile, for me; the resulting beers are a little less authentically German.  They come out more like French Pilsners, with almost a grape-like pils sweetness. 

Can you go into this a bit more? I mean, can you name some names? I'm interested to hear the results.

Sure.  I have tried with Briess, Munton Weyerman and one from my homebrew shop labeled Belgian Pils (don't know the brand).  Munton calls their pils lager malt, but it is the traditional luv range of pils malt.  The Weyerman had the richest malt character with some sweetness.  The Belgian was fairly clean with a distinctive pils sweetness.  The Muntons had the intense pils sweetness that was grape-like.  Briess was somewhat sweet, but almost just neutral malt in character. 
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: musseldoc on August 15, 2012, 01:17:06 AM
Back to FWH.

I have to say that earlier hops additions gives me harsher and lingering bitterness.
Not sure why FWH would not do the same.

This is my experience.
Kind of learned it hard way with 350 gallons of beer.

In George Fix's book, principles of brewing science, he sites the blind taste tests where FWH was show to have a cleaner, less harsh bitter taste, despite having higher measured IBU's.  I think Gordon goes into this in his book too, and he is a big believer in FWH.  I only tried it once with an APA.  I took a medal at a fairly large competition (300+ entries), and my scoresheets described the beer as malty and dry with a bright hop flavor and no harsh bitterness.  I am fairly convinced that FWH does produce different flavors than 60 minute additions.  I know Jamil is not sold on it tho. 

I know that regardless of traditional or FWH,when I use a low alpha hop to get a lot of IBU's, then I get a lot of vegetal material (polyphenols) dissolved in the beer and it comes out grassy and astringent.  To me, that makes the bitterness harsh. 
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Kaiser on August 15, 2012, 02:33:40 AM
... I know Jamil is not sold on it tho.

Some brewers swear by it, others don't like it. I think its worth a few batches for brewers to see themselves. Especially when you are looking for something new to try. The science behind why the hop flavor/aroma stays in the beer may not be as simple as for late hop additions but who cares if it works.

Quote
I know that regardless of traditional or FWH,when I use a low alpha hop to get a lot of IBU's, then I get a lot of vegetal material (polyphenols) dissolved in the beer and it comes out grassy and astringent.  To me, that makes the bitterness harsh.

You may want to give hop extract (NB sells it as the hop shot, but you can also buy 150g cans for $15 through bulk buys) a try for basic bittering additions. There is no vegetal matter that can lead to the flavors you described above.

The last Pilsners I made used 30g Saazer as FWH and 2 g hop extract (54% AA) for bittering. This is for 25 l preboil. I feel that the utilization for hop extract is a bit less than for hop pellets and you have to add a bit more.

Kai
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: erockrph on August 15, 2012, 02:40:17 AM
I know that regardless of traditional or FWH,when I use a low alpha hop to get a lot of IBU's, then I get a lot of vegetal material (polyphenols) dissolved in the beer and it comes out grassy and astringent.  To me, that makes the bitterness harsh.

And for that reason I'd love to see varietal Hop Shots, especially for some of the lower AA hops. My freezer would look like a heroin junkie's stash if they made Czech Saaz and EKG Hop Shots.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Lenk on August 15, 2012, 03:05:32 AM
So...how much yeast should you pitch for a 5 gal batch? I've been doing a one smack pack yeast starter a day or two before my brew day. Is this short for a G-Lager? Should I start sooner, then add more DME @ 1.04 one more time or even two times? I just started doing yeast starters.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Kaiser on August 15, 2012, 03:41:47 AM
I pitch about 90 - 100g freshly propagated yeast sediment into a 12 Plato 5 gal batch. That is about 400 Billion cells and I need about 2.5 l wort at 10 Plato to grow that much on a stirplate.

Kai
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: AmandaK on August 15, 2012, 12:30:05 PM
Sure.  I have tried with Briess, Munton Weyerman and one from my homebrew shop labeled Belgian Pils (don't know the brand).  Munton calls their pils lager malt, but it is the traditional luv range of pils malt.  The Weyerman had the richest malt character with some sweetness.  The Belgian was fairly clean with a distinctive pils sweetness.  The Muntons had the intense pils sweetness that was grape-like.  Briess was somewhat sweet, but almost just neutral malt in character.

Good information! I was leaning towards trying Weyermann's Floor Malted Bohemian Pilsner malt for an upcoming Helles or German Pils, so I may do just that.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Kaiser on August 15, 2012, 12:54:47 PM
My freezer would look like a heroin junkie's stash if they made Czech Saaz and EKG Hop Shots.

You mean like this:

(http://braukaiser.com/images/misc_forum/Hop_extract_in_freezer.jpg)

I'm not sure of there is a large selection of varietal hop extract available. It's mostly used for substituting bittering hops and brewers still add pellets for aroma/flavor. Some vegative matter is beneficial for good hop break.

Kai
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: erockrph on August 15, 2012, 03:06:11 PM
I'm not sure of there is a large selection of varietal hop extract available. It's mostly used for substituting bittering hops and brewers still add pellets for aroma/flavor. Some vegative matter is beneficial for good hop break.

I've got an all-Hop Shot APA in the fermenter as we speak, so I'll reserve judgement until I taste it. But, of all the batches I brewed that day, the Hop Shot one smelled the best. I did get a bunch of green scum on top of the boil, so I think at least a little of the vegetative "stuff" comes through in the extract. The Hop Shot I used looks like it was quite a bit darker than what you have.

(http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-W-umWbgj1iE/UCu6kWAN1MI/AAAAAAAAB3s/KsMTdO56_4g/s320/Hop+Shot.jpg)
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: denny on August 15, 2012, 03:49:42 PM
Back to FWH.

I have to say that earlier hops additions gives me harsher and lingering bitterness.
Not sure why FWH would not do the same.

This is my experience.
Kind of learned it hard way with 350 gallons of beer.

In George Fix's book, principles of brewing science, he sites the blind taste tests where FWH was show to have a cleaner, less harsh bitter taste, despite having higher measured IBU's.  I think Gordon goes into this in his book too, and he is a big believer in FWH.  I only tried it once with an APA.  I took a medal at a fairly large competition (300+ entries), and my scoresheets described the beer as malty and dry with a bright hop flavor and no harsh bitterness.  I am fairly convinced that FWH does produce different flavors than 60 minute additions.  I know Jamil is not sold on it tho. 

I know that regardless of traditional or FWH,when I use a low alpha hop to get a lot of IBU's, then I get a lot of vegetal material (polyphenols) dissolved in the beer and it comes out grassy and astringent.  To me, that makes the bitterness harsh.

You might be interested in the results of a FWH experiment I did years back.  I split a batch of wort and one half got an oz. of Cascade as FWH and the other got an oz. of Cascade as a 60 min. addition.  The beers were analyzed for IBU and there was a blind triangle tasting by experienced homebrewers, BJCP judges, and commercial brewers.  The results are at http://www.ahaconference.org/wp-content/uploads/presentations/2008/DennyConn.pdf starting on pg. 29.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: denny on August 15, 2012, 03:52:26 PM
Sure.  I have tried with Briess, Munton Weyerman and one from my homebrew shop labeled Belgian Pils (don't know the brand).  Munton calls their pils lager malt, but it is the traditional luv range of pils malt.  The Weyerman had the richest malt character with some sweetness.  The Belgian was fairly clean with a distinctive pils sweetness.  The Muntons had the intense pils sweetness that was grape-like.  Briess was somewhat sweet, but almost just neutral malt in character.

Good information! I was leaning towards trying Weyermann's Floor Malted Bohemian Pilsner malt for an upcoming Helles or German Pils, so I may do just that.

I would also recommend you look into Durst and Best malts.  I've tried maybe 6-7 different pils malts, including most of the ones listed above.  Durst was my go to for years, then I discovered Best.  I've used it exclusively for pils malt and continental Munich ever since.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: AmandaK on August 16, 2012, 06:18:14 PM
I would also recommend you look into Durst and Best malts.  I've tried maybe 6-7 different pils malts, including most of the ones listed above.  Durst was my go to for years, then I discovered Best.  I've used it exclusively for pils malt and continental Munich ever since.

Hmmm... more food for thought. I knew I liked this place!  :D

Problem is, I'm living in small town southern Illinois right now, and have to mail order just about everything. Should I assume you get Best Malz Pils locally? I'm not finding a good source online.  :-\
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Kaiser on August 16, 2012, 09:16:22 PM
I like Weyermann malts, but can't get them through our club bulk buys. I've never done a direct side by side to compare Weyermann and Best pils, though.

Weyermann Munich I and II don't seem to have good substitutions made by other maltsters.

Kai
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: denny on August 17, 2012, 05:05:44 PM

Hmmm... more food for thought. I knew I liked this place!  :D

Problem is, I'm living in small town southern Illinois right now, and have to mail order just about everything. Should I assume you get Best Malz Pils locally? I'm not finding a good source online.  :-\

Yeah, our club does a group buy through a local brewery.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: mmitchem on August 17, 2012, 05:23:40 PM
Is there a malt that anyone has used that is undermodified for use in decoction mashing? 
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: nateo on August 17, 2012, 06:10:01 PM
Is there a malt that anyone has used that is undermodified for use in decoction mashing?

I tried to find some, but the least-modified I found had a Kolbach of around 37, which is "overmodified" for traditional lager brewing, according to Noonan.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on August 20, 2012, 02:18:38 AM
Thirsty,

with what type of hops did you make this experience?
Sorry for late response.
I use Magnum and Saaz.

It is normally 27 IBUs of Magnum and 4 IBUs of Saaz at 60 min.

The sharp and lingering bitterness was from
9.3 IBUs Saaz at 75 min and
21 IBUs Magnum at 60 min.

I was trying to get to more "traditional" hops.
Reducing Magnum and increasing Saaz.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on August 20, 2012, 02:22:15 AM
Back to FWH.

I have to say that earlier hops additions gives me harsher and lingering bitterness.
Not sure why FWH would not do the same.

This is my experience.
Kind of learned it hard way with 350 gallons of beer.

In George Fix's book, principles of brewing science, he sites the blind taste tests where FWH was show to have a cleaner, less harsh bitter taste, despite having higher measured IBU's.  I think Gordon goes into this in his book too, and he is a big believer in FWH.  I only tried it once with an APA.  I took a medal at a fairly large competition (300+ entries), and my scoresheets described the beer as malty and dry with a bright hop flavor and no harsh bitterness.  I am fairly convinced that FWH does produce different flavors than 60 minute additions.  I know Jamil is not sold on it tho. 

I know that regardless of traditional or FWH,when I use a low alpha hop to get a lot of IBU's, then I get a lot of vegetal material (polyphenols) dissolved in the beer and it comes out grassy and astringent.  To me, that makes the bitterness harsh.

If FWH works for you, go for it.
This is not my experience and I did it a few times.
Could be my water or my process.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Kaiser on August 20, 2012, 03:29:12 AM
If FWH works for you, go for it.
This is not my experience and I did it a few times.
Could be my water or my process.

Thirsty,

You are not the first one that reports that FWH doesn't work. Is it just the harsh bitterness or also the lack of flavor and aroma? I too wonder why. Could it be that you expect something else? I think the flavor and aroma one gets from FWH is not the same that you get from a late hop addition.

My current theory is that FWH has to do with oxidation of hop compounds. However, what if its some enzymes active in the FW that are responsible for flavor and aroma of FW hops surviving the boil.

Kai
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on August 20, 2012, 01:32:23 PM
Is it just the harsh bitterness or also the lack of flavor and aroma? I too wonder why. Could it be that you expect something else? I think the flavor and aroma one gets from FWH is not the same that you get from a late hop addition.

From mentioned hop schedule I got sharp and lingering bitterness.
I thought that it was sharper because it had more Saaz and lingering because I added it at 75 min.

I also use 10 min Saaz addition for aroma.

People commented if I "Changed the sanitizer". I have messed with recipe before. From time to time you can not get the same malts and I have to use substitute. I never had returned beer before. People who knew my pilsner were not very happy.

I think mine water composition to why I do not like FWH, Melenoiden malt and WY2178 and other people are just fine with it.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Kaiser on August 20, 2012, 02:02:04 PM
Thanks.

In the near future I actually plan to ferment 5 1 gal Pilsner batches from the same wort but with different hopping schedules. I think that getting the hopping right will be key to an authentic Pils and I want a good side-by side of the hopping options.

Kai
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: mabrungard on August 20, 2012, 02:10:09 PM
I would not be surprised if the water in Eau Claire is hard and alkaline.  That area is prone to that. 

I assume that Thirsty is properly controlling alkalinity and pH of mash and kettle wort.  If that pH was a little high, that could make the hop flavor coarser and less pleasant. 

I have found FWH to be quite effective in my ales.  I haven't made a hop-forward lager, so I can't comment on the effect there. 
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on August 20, 2012, 11:34:12 PM
I will post this month water report when I take picture of the report.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: narvin on August 21, 2012, 05:17:24 AM
I had a Bier-Hannes Zwickel Pils today that a coworker brought over in his suitcase from Frankfurt.  Even for not being a typical lager (served fresh, i.e. cloudy), it had that lager flavor of bready grains with slight sulfur. 

The "best by" date was 28-10-2012, but I'm not really sure what this means in terms of the bottling date.  It's entirely possible that it has been sitting at room temperature for 6 months, so some aging and slight oxidation could have occurred.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on August 22, 2012, 08:02:41 PM
Water report from Aug 1 2012.
City Of Eau Claire.
all in mg/L

Calcium   20
Chloride  13.0
Chlorine  1.0

Magnesium 6.8
Manganese <0.02

Nitrate-Nitrogen 1.1
pH   8.9 (guess this is not in mg/L)
Potassium 0.9
Sodium  7.9

Sulfate (Not listed but I have found older source (from city water dept) that lister 5.8)
Total Alkalinity 82.0
Total Hardness 104.0
Total Solids  144.5

This water report is from city (NOT from Ward Lab).
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: beersk on August 22, 2012, 08:59:46 PM
That's pretty low in minerals, seems to me the harshness wouldn't be coming from that.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: narvin on August 22, 2012, 09:06:55 PM
You do have moderate alkalinity with little calcium, which could cause an elevated pH for light colored beers.  If you aren't lowering the pH with acid, this does cause a harsher bitterness.  I don't know if this would affect FWH more than using a bittering and flavor addition instead, but perhaps it could because of the longer boil time?
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on August 23, 2012, 12:40:28 AM
Yes I add lactic acid to lower pH of the mash. I also adjust the sulfate to chloride to be balanced to malty depending on beer.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: mabrungard on August 23, 2012, 12:41:50 AM
I think Chris nailed it.  The alkalinity is fairly high and the hardness is modest.  The residual alkalinity is in the 60 ppm range and that could be problematic for a light beer like a pils.  Slight acidification of both mash and sparge water appears needed for brewing a light beer with this water.  High kettle pH of the wort can increase the harshness perception of hopping. 

Thirsty, make sure your wort pH in the kettle ends up in the 5.3 to 5.4 range when measured at room temperature.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on August 23, 2012, 03:02:39 PM
Thirsty, make sure your wort pH in the kettle ends up in the 5.3 to 5.4 range when measured at room temperature.
Martin,

I used to measure the wort pH and I was always in the range. I do not do it now but I will start again.
My HLT is not large enough to hold all the liquid for brew session and I always add more water to it as I brew.

If I find that my wort pH is higher can I add more lactic acid to it?
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on September 07, 2012, 12:39:12 PM
Reviving this thread just to say that I had the opportunity to pick up three growlers of Leos' beer on the way to my family's cabin in WI last weekend.  I got to try his Vienna Lager, Bohemian Pils, and Czech Dark Lager.  All were absolutely top notch brews!  The Vienna was smooth and malty with a nice crisp finish.  The Czech Dark had a rich and slightly robust malt quality -- almost earthy -- while remaining very drinkable.  And the BoPils was fantastic too.  In fact, we ran out of that one first. ;)

Great work, Leos!
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: mabrungard on September 07, 2012, 05:15:16 PM
If I find that my wort pH is higher can I add more lactic acid to it?

Sorry, I didn't see this post earlier.  Yes, if you find that the wort pH in the kettle is higher than your target, then adding an acid to the kettle is a good idea.  Having a high wort pH can make the bittering and hop character a little rougher. 

Of course, if the sparging water has already been treated to have low alkalinity or it natually has low alkalinity (like RO) and the pH in the mash is kept in the desired range, then its unlikely that the wort pH in the kettle will be out of range.  Focus on all the contributors before adding a band aid at the end, if at all possible.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Kaiser on September 07, 2012, 05:45:25 PM
I wouldn't call kettle wort acidification a band-aid. There are legitimate reasons to acidify in the mash and kettle or only one place. I have been using kettle acidification on occasions.

Kettle acidicfication allows you to run your mash at a higher, more optimal pH for starch conversion, while keeping the kettle pH optimal for protein coagulation, bitterness quality and cast-out pH. With higher mash pH you may actually get a lower beer pH. This has to do with a increase of the wort's pH buffer capacity due to phytase that is more active at lower mash pH.

If the Kettle acidification is necessary because alkaline sparge water increases pH too much, I do agree that sparge water acidification is a better approach.

Kai
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on September 07, 2012, 07:17:10 PM
Reviving this thread just to say that I had the opportunity to pick up three growlers of Leos' beer on the way to my family's cabin in WI last weekend.  I got to try his Vienna Lager, Bohemian Pils, and Czech Dark Lager.  All were absolutely top notch brews!  The Vienna was smooth and malty with a nice crisp finish.  The Czech Dark had a rich and slightly robust malt quality -- almost earthy -- while remaining very drinkable.  And the BoPils was fantastic too.  In fact, we ran out of that one first. ;)

Great work, Leos!

Thank you Matt. Glad you like the beers.
Vienna was just a little bit bigger then usual.

We will start canning before Christmas but still no plans to go over the border.
Pilsner will be first to go.
I am quite exited about that.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on September 07, 2012, 07:25:31 PM
I wouldn't call kettle wort acidification a band-aid. There are legitimate reasons to acidify in the mash and kettle or only one place. I have been using kettle acidification on occasions.

Kettle acidicfication allows you to run your mash at a higher, more optimal pH for starch conversion, while keeping the kettle pH optimal for protein coagulation, bitterness quality and cast-out pH. With higher mash pH you may actually get a lower beer pH. This has to do with a increase of the wort's pH buffer capacity due to phytase that is more active at lower mash pH.

If the Kettle acidification is necessary because alkaline sparge water increases pH too much, I do agree that sparge water acidification is a better approach.

Kai

My HLT, MT and BK are the same size. What this means is that HLT is undersized and I need to refill it when I sparge. This is where the challenge is to acidify the water in HLT. I also double brew in one day so I constantly refill HLT and my main concern there is to maintain the water temperature.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: mabrungard on September 07, 2012, 07:43:17 PM

Kettle acidicfication allows you to run your mash at a higher, more optimal pH for starch conversion, while keeping the kettle pH optimal for protein coagulation, bitterness quality and cast-out pH. With higher mash pH you may actually get a lower beer pH. This has to do with a increase of the wort's pH buffer capacity due to phytase that is more active at lower mash pH.


Very good point.  Not a band aid.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Kaiser on September 07, 2012, 09:00:31 PM
Thirsty, when amount of acid you need in the   MLT depends on alkalinity and volume. You could add premeasured amounts of acid when you (re) fill the MLT.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on September 08, 2012, 01:48:42 AM
Thirsty, when amount of acid you need in the   MLT depends on alkalinity and volume. You could add premeasured amounts of acid when you (re) fill the MLT.
Good Point. Thank you.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: redzim on September 13, 2012, 08:09:36 PM
Just got back from two weeks in Germany (near Jena in Thüringen if anyone knows the area) and of course took the opportunity to "recalibrate" the palate.  Interestingly,  I found, while sampling a number of regional and national German Pilsners, some in bottles, some "vom Fass", (Köstritzer, Ur-Krostitzer, Wernesgrüner, König, Saalfelder, Jever, Radeberger, Bitburger are the ones I can remember)  that what I am chasing as a German Pils aroma over here in the US seems to be mostly muted or subdued in Germany, and in some cases it is non-existent (for example in Ur-Krostitzer which I had from the tap at a reputable place run by friends of my brother, that I know plows through the stuff, so I know it was quite fresh).

I've heard/read some comments along those lines but would be interested what others who have been to Germany recently think on this issue....  is it possible that some of what we are discussing here is just a bit of oxidation, perhaps some light- and heat-struck issues, etc, rather than an actual "good" component of a beer that we should be trying to emulate?

Just a thought...

-red
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: redbeerman on September 14, 2012, 03:26:30 PM
Just got back from two weeks in Germany (near Jena in Thüringen if anyone knows the area) and of course took the opportunity to "recalibrate" the palate.  Interestingly,  I found, while sampling a number of regional and national German Pilsners, some in bottles, some "vom Fass", (Köstritzer, Ur-Krostitzer, Wernesgrüner, König, Saalfelder, Jever, Radeberger, Bitburger are the ones I can remember)  that what I am chasing as a German Pils aroma over here in the US seems to be mostly muted or subdued in Germany, and in some cases it is non-existent (for example in Ur-Krostitzer which I had from the tap at a reputable place run by friends of my brother, that I know plows through the stuff, so I know it was quite fresh).

I've heard/read some comments along those lines but would be interested what others who have been to Germany recently think on this issue....  is it possible that some of what we are discussing here is just a bit of oxidation, perhaps some light- and heat-struck issues, etc, rather than an actual "good" component of a beer that we should be trying to emulate?

Just a thought...

-red

Some of what we experience here in bottled commercial examples is without a doubt oxidation and perhaps light-struck.  I calibrate my pils palate with Bitburger on tap from my local German restaurant.  There is firm bitterness from the hops and a crisp finish.  there is also some nice aroma as well and we have found, on the homebrew scale anyway, that this can be attained through generous late hop additions.  Had a fairly fresh Konig Pilsner last night from a bottle and it did not have the flavor from oxidation that some get.  It was also packaged in the sixpack that does not let light in.  It was quite nice.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Kaiser on September 14, 2012, 05:27:56 PM
I totally forgot to reply to red’s post. I read it on my phone and wanted to give a more lengthy response w/o writing it on the phone.

I studied in that area on Germany and have been to Jena many times.

If you are looking for a good German pilsner, you have to search for them these days. Major brand Pilsners like Bitburger, Hasseroeder, etc. are becoming more and more bland. They are the German equivalent of Budweiser. No hop aroma and very little bitterness for the style. This is why German brewers also have a hard time winning in the Pils category at big international Beer comps. You’ll have to go off the beaten path and seek out smaller brands that you find in well stocked beverage markets in Germany. Don’t be afraid to buy lots of different beers and pour them out when you don’t like them. This way you can cover a lot of ground w/o getting wasted.

It’s difficult to tell exactly how a good German Pils should taste when even in Germany it’s difficult to find good examples.  I mentioned Algaeuer’s Teutsch Pils and Rothaus’s Tannenzaepfle Pils as 2 examples of Beers that stood out to me in Germany. There are likely more, but you have to find them.

Kai
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: beersk on September 16, 2012, 01:16:45 AM
Just got back from two weeks in Germany (near Jena in Thüringen if anyone knows the area) and of course took the opportunity to "recalibrate" the palate.  Interestingly,  I found, while sampling a number of regional and national German Pilsners, some in bottles, some "vom Fass", (Köstritzer, Ur-Krostitzer, Wernesgrüner, König, Saalfelder, Jever, Radeberger, Bitburger are the ones I can remember)  that what I am chasing as a German Pils aroma over here in the US seems to be mostly muted or subdued in Germany, and in some cases it is non-existent (for example in Ur-Krostitzer which I had from the tap at a reputable place run by friends of my brother, that I know plows through the stuff, so I know it was quite fresh).

I've heard/read some comments along those lines but would be interested what others who have been to Germany recently think on this issue....  is it possible that some of what we are discussing here is just a bit of oxidation, perhaps some light- and heat-struck issues, etc, rather than an actual "good" component of a beer that we should be trying to emulate?

Just a thought...

-red

I certainly wouldn't be surprised if that flavor we all seek is just the oxidation/light struck flavor.  Might be chasing ghosts...which is sad if it's true.
This seems to have come to focus on the pils flavor, but I'm more interested in that flavor in Spaten helles or dunkel, or the flavor of a nice bock or doppelbock.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Kaiser on September 16, 2012, 02:04:44 AM
...but I'm more interested in that flavor in Spaten helles or dunkel, or the flavor of a nice bock or doppelbock.

For the Dunkel and the Doppelbock, I think aging the beer is key.

Kai
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: denny on September 16, 2012, 04:11:56 PM
...but I'm more interested in that flavor in Spaten helles or dunkel, or the flavor of a nice bock or doppelbock.

For the Dunkel and the Doppelbock, I think aging the beer is key.

Kai

Having tried Kai's beers, I have to say that if he's aging them to get that flavor, it's the right thing to do.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: ynotbrusum on September 17, 2012, 01:25:19 AM
I base my "German" flavor on the German beer that my friend brings back from Germany - he travels there at least twice a month, but he usually brings back Franfurt area beers, like Binding, Licher and Henninger.  I know that they are as mass produced as any other like Spaten or Augustiner, but I like them and they are extremely fresh.

I stop and pick up Leo's beers at least twice a year and they taste very good and I think that they mimic the German profile very well.

I have been fermenting cold with bottled spring water and calcium chloride additions and most of my friends are pretty happy with the results.  I try to stay consistent with my methods, but I don't have a pH meter to test acidity levels.  For the average homebrewer, I think the best we can do is make a style over and over and over until we get what we like.

All that having been said, it is interesting to hear from those of you that have the science behind the process to help us non-science types cut down on the trials and errors.  Please keep up the posting, as it helps the intermediate brewers greatly.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: craigevo on September 17, 2012, 08:44:55 AM
Martin, when you say make sure your wort pH in the kettle ends up in the 5.3 to 5.4 range when measured at room temperature...

Do you mean pH at the start of the boil or end of the boil ?
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: mabrungard on September 17, 2012, 12:43:43 PM
That is a Start of boil pH.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: beersk on September 17, 2012, 02:23:02 PM
...but I'm more interested in that flavor in Spaten helles or dunkel, or the flavor of a nice bock or doppelbock.

For the Dunkel and the Doppelbock, I think aging the beer is key.

Kai
Good to know.
I tapped a keg of dunkel this weekend and it tastes very good, I'm quite happy with it. It may still be missing just a hint of that mysterious flavor, but it's still very nice tasting. It had only been lagering for about 4 weeks, but the gravity was pretty low, only ended up being about 4.4% abv.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on October 21, 2012, 12:24:35 AM

Kettle acidicfication allows you to run your mash at a higher, more optimal pH for starch conversion, while keeping the kettle pH optimal for protein coagulation, bitterness quality and cast-out pH. With higher mash pH you may actually get a lower beer pH. This has to do with a increase of the wort's pH buffer capacity due to phytase that is more active at lower mash pH.


Very good point.  Not a band aid.

Well time had come to taste my Pilsner.
The same recipe as last two brews.
First hops additions was 60 min (just to make sure) and I added lactic acid for sparge water to BK.
I did not measure pH of BK (me bad).

Results.
Looking pretty good.
No harsh bitterns at all.

I am brewing Pilsner tomorrow. I will measure pH of BK.
Thank you guys.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on October 21, 2012, 03:36:46 PM
pH of first batch was 5.0 with coloroHast strips on sunlight.
There is an adjustment factor to it that I do not remember right now.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: mabrungard on October 21, 2012, 03:51:03 PM
The pH adjustment with colorpHast strips is somewhere around 0.2 to 0.3 units higher, so your strip reading of 5.0 suggests that you were in the desirable range of 5.2 to 5.3 for the mash.  That aspect shouldn't give you trouble.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: muhleisenmatt on November 16, 2012, 03:47:23 PM
Hey Guys,

My first post having just joined the AHA a few weeks back.  I've been brewing fairly consistently for the last 3-4 years.  Like all of you I have made some bad beers and some good ones but I keep improving, which is good. 

Anyways, like the OP, I am a sucker for that 'German Lager Flavor' which I can only describe as light bready/malty with a grape-like flavor in the finish that is so unique and refreshing. 

I double decocted an Oktoberfest back in March and did the typical fermentation schedule, giving it 2 months of lagering before I kegged it and let it sit in a keg until my Oktoberfest party in early October.  I took occasional samples through the summer and while it always tasted good, it wasn't until right around the time of the party that it really took a turn for the better.  I tasted all those great flavors that I've always loved in a good German lager.  It even had the mysterious grape-like finish.  Not to toot my own horn, but I enjoyed that beer as much as any lager I've ever had.  Ever.  Too bad for me, so did everyone else at my party.

At any rate, the decoction mash I think helped.  I really dialed in my water chemistry to give me a good pH while also keeping the mineral content low but balanced just to the malty side.  I'd be happy to share my entire recipe for anyone interested.

This is a long reply that only serves to agree with what Kai and other have said.  A good long aging period (in my case 7 months from brewday) really made my lager fantastic.  I can't wait to do it again, next time I'll make more than 5 gallons!
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: beersk on November 16, 2012, 03:57:28 PM
Nice to hear, thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.  Post that recipe and water profile if you want, I'd like to see it, at least.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: davidgzach on November 16, 2012, 04:09:38 PM
I've been reading this thread from the start.  Posted a few times I think.  I tried something new with my past couple of German Lagers that has really changed the game for me and made that "wow, that's amazing" beer. 

This may be back there somewhere, but I have been lagering on the cake, in primary for 2-3 weeks before kegging.  I'll let it finish out, raise it to 65F if it's not at FG, then bring it down 2-3F every day until I'm at 36F.  I leave it there for 2-3 weeks, then keg and continue lagering until I need a beer on tap.  I took one out the other day that was kegged for only a week as an emergency party continuer, and it was great.  Not only clean, but really had "That German Lager Flavor". 

Just passing along my experience with this.

Dave
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: hopfenundmalz on November 16, 2012, 09:40:18 PM
There is a Dunkel in the kegerator that was always a good one. Didn't have it on tap for a while. It is now excellent. The BJCP judges at the last club meeting said 44-45 points in a competition. The longer lagering and the Redox that goes on has really helped this one.

80% dark Munich, ~19% pils, ~1% Carafa for color, WLP-833, and some HM for hops to 20 IBU. Hochkurtz Decoction also. Simple recipe, excellent beer.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: beersk on November 18, 2012, 12:32:48 AM
Long lagering time seems to be the key more than anything else, I'm gathering.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: redbeerman on November 18, 2012, 03:14:44 PM
I've been reading this thread from the start.  Posted a few times I think.  I tried something new with my past couple of German Lagers that has really changed the game for me and made that "wow, that's amazing" beer. 

This may be back there somewhere, but I have been lagering on the cake, in primary for 2-3 weeks before kegging.  I'll let it finish out, raise it to 65F if it's not at FG, then bring it down 2-3F every day until I'm at 36F.  I leave it there for 2-3 weeks, then keg and continue lagering until I need a beer on tap.  I took one out the other day that was kegged for only a week as an emergency party continuer, and it was great.  Not only clean, but really had "That German Lager Flavor". 

Just passing along my experience with this.

Dave

I have lagered on the primary yeast for as long as 8 weeks.  The result is a very clean tasting, beautifully clear beer.  My usual is at leat 4 weeks.  I have learned to not be in a hurry when it comes to lagers.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: muhleisenmatt on November 18, 2012, 03:56:25 PM
Nice to hear, thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.  Post that recipe and water profile if you want, I'd like to see it, at least.

OK, this recipe is based around JZ's recipe from 'Brewing Classic Styles'.  But, in anticipation of higher efficiency due to the decoction, I adjusted my grains as I saw fit and deviated slightly from his recipe.

As a quick side note, I've focused on water chemistry this year (about 16 batches) and I feel like I'm brewing much better beer.  Here my recipe:

Water Chemistry:
50% Mountain Valley Spring Water (I live in Northwest Arkansas so have easy access to this water)
50% Distilled water
~3g CaCl for every 5 gallons of brewing water
~2g CaSO4 for every 5 gallons of brewing water

Based on Palmer's Residual Alkalinity worksheet, the above ratios yield:
Ca - 102ppm
Mg - 4ppm
Alkalinity as CaCO3 - 95
Na - 1ppm
Cl - 78ppm
Sulfate - 64ppm

Grains:
Weyermann German Pilsner - 4#
Briess Munich 10L - 3.5#
Briess Vienna - 2.5#
Crystal 60L - 0.5#
Belgian Cara45 - 0.5#

Hochkurz Double Decoction.  First Sacc rest at 146F for 60minutes.  Second Sacc rest at 158F for 30min. 85% efficiency.  Preboil gravity on 7.5 gallons was ~1.044.

90 minute boil to reduce to 6 gallons, racking 5.5 gallons to primary.  6 gallon OG was 1.055.

Hops:
1.1oz Hallertau (5.7AA) at 60min
0.4oz Hallertau at 20min

My cooling setup is pretty pathetic and I was only able to cool to about 65F.

Pitched WLP820 Oktoberfest yeast which I had built up off one vial and a 2-stage starter.  1 liter to get the viability up and the yeast active, then cooled and decanted.  Pitched into a 2 liter starter to get cell count where I wanted it.

Obviously pitched warm but put in fridge set at 49F (I don't have an O2 stone or anything like that...when I rack to my primary fermentor I keep the vinyl tubing at the opening of the carboy so the beer splashes and tumbles into the fermentor, has worked well for me in my opinion).  Took almost 48 hours to show good signs of fermentation (i.e. krausen).  Primary for 3 weeks.  Diacetyl rest at 60F for 4 days then cooled slowly to 40F over the next 3 days and racked to secondary on day 28.  Gravity was ~1.017 when racked.

Lagered for 9 weeks (this wasn't premeditated, rather just when I was able to finally keg based on other life activities) at 34F before kegging.  Put into kegerator under 12psi at 45F for 17 weeks until my Okto party.

I think that covers most of the recipe....any questions let me know.  Again, this was my favorite beer I've ever made and I plan to do it again, on a larger scale.  It demanded patience but was worth it.

Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: musseldoc on December 25, 2012, 06:25:50 PM
John Palmer made a statement about noble hops and German beer on his last interview with BeerSmith.  He claimed that the oxidized beta acids are largely responsible for the bittering of German beers and the characteristic noble hop character.  Anyone investigated this with their beers?  Any discussion on that interview in regards to this thread?
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Kaiser on December 26, 2012, 01:29:31 PM
I'm not sure about the oxidized beta acids. German brewers do take care not to oxidize hops too much. In fact, most of the time they are using hop extract which stores very well.

At the ANHC I mentioned that the German hop character in beers is likely from aroma compounds that oxidize in the boil. I'm not sure if John misunderstood that comment.

Kai
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: bluesman on December 26, 2012, 05:47:29 PM
I have lagered on the primary yeast for as long as 8 weeks.  The result is a very clean tasting, beautifully clear beer.  My usual is at leat 4 weeks.  I have learned to not be in a hurry when it comes to lagers.

+1

This has been my experience as well. 

Someday I'd like to try an experiment by splitting a  ten gallon batch using the same yeast but lagering one batch on the yeast and the other racked into a keg to lager off of the primary yeast. Then do some blind tasting to determine the differences, if any.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: tomsawyer on December 28, 2012, 04:49:16 PM
For those that lager on yeast, are you doing this in a topped up carboy?  A carboy with some head sapce?  Or transferring the beer to a keg with a good amount of the yeast?
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: redbeerman on December 28, 2012, 05:18:51 PM
I lager in the primary fermenter (bucket) with an air lock.  I believe the low temperatures keep oxidation at bay.  At least I haven't had any issues with it.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: musseldoc on December 28, 2012, 08:29:44 PM
If you are using an airlock, then the headspace should be CO2 and keep you safe from oxidation (not indefinitely, but a while).  I think the most important variable is ensuring that yeast is present in whatever container you choose to lager your beer.  Obviously, if you leave it on the primary, then there is plenty of yeast.  However, if you are transferring to a keg or secondary carboy to lager, make sure you transfer the beer before you crash cool to lager temps.  This way, some yeast makes it over into your new lager vessel. 
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: tomsawyer on December 28, 2012, 09:16:23 PM
I've never found the amount of yeast left suspended at the end of fermentation to be enough to keep things going.  I tend to give the beer a stir when I rack to a secondary, and really pull out a good amount of yeast.  Maybe 20% or more of whats in the bottom.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: nateo on December 28, 2012, 10:34:33 PM
I've never found the amount of yeast left suspended at the end of fermentation to be enough to keep things going.  I tend to give the beer a stir when I rack to a secondary, and really pull out a good amount of yeast.  Maybe 20% or more of whats in the bottom.

Yeah. I think a homebrewer is better served by waiting until the beer hits FG before lagering. Trying to lager the traditional way (before terminal gravity is reached) is begging for a stuck ferment.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: beersk on May 24, 2013, 01:21:30 AM
Resurrection! I'm hitting the German lagers hard again. I just had a Weihenstephaner Pilsner and damn was that good! Anyone brewing any good lagers lately? Maybe it's oxidation or something, but whatever makes that beer smell and taste so good, I want it!
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on May 24, 2013, 02:53:58 AM
I think I am brewing some good lagers.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: gmac on May 24, 2013, 04:27:48 AM
I think I am brewing some good lagers.
I thought so when I had them.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: davidgzach on May 24, 2013, 11:14:12 AM
Resurrection! I'm hitting the German lagers hard again. I just had a Weihenstephaner Pilsner and damn was that good! Anyone brewing any good lagers lately? Maybe it's oxidation or something, but whatever makes that beer smell and taste so good, I want it!

Got 4 x 5G in the chest freezer which will start to come down to 32F today for 3 weeks before kegging.  Just tapped a BoPils last night that made me smile!   :)

And 3 more kegs in the lager fridge!

Lager away man! 
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: beersk on May 24, 2013, 02:50:54 PM
So jealous. I have a German Pilsner ale-style on tap right now that is pretty good. Not a lager, but resembles one. Any thoughts on Saflager 34/70? Is it basically the WY2124 strain in dry form?
I'm guessing Rahr pils malt is not a good choice for an authentic German lager, it doesn't seem to have that quality aboot it. While clean and tasty, it's missing something.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: davidgzach on May 24, 2013, 03:08:38 PM
Have not used 34/70 so can't help there at all besides that I've heard good things.....

I have used about all the Wyeast strains though and lean towards, in order: 2001, 2278 and 2124 for my BoPils.  For German Pils I use 2206 and 2308.  And I am about to tap a Spaten clone made with WLP860.  Really looking forward to that!  Tapping tomorrow on a camping trip!   :)

Dave


Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: redbeerman on May 24, 2013, 03:23:42 PM
34/70 is the Weihenstephaner strain.  I have used it a number of times, but had issues with diacetyl early on.  You need to pitch two packets reconstituted, and give it a good few days diacetyl rest close to finishing.  It seems to get better with subsequent generations.  I have found that liquid strains with ample starters work better in my experience.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: nateo on May 24, 2013, 04:14:39 PM
S-189 is the best lager strain I've used. It's super easy to use, very clean, but not particularly "German" flavored. IIRC it's a Swiss lager strain.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: narcout on May 24, 2013, 08:10:57 PM
Anyone brewing any good lagers lately?

I tapped a keg of Munich Dunkel last night that I'm pretty happy with.  I don't brew much lager, but this beer has me reconsidering that approach.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: jeffy on May 24, 2013, 09:24:06 PM
I've been brewing a few lagers lately.  I have a Double Bock on tap now (although a bit young), a CAP lagering and a German Pils fermenting.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: kmccaf on May 24, 2013, 10:19:34 PM
I have lagers sitting in the fridge that I am going to tap in a few weeks. A Czech Dark Lager (saflager 34/70), a Landbier (wlp 833), and a Baltic Porter. I got a little antsy and started drinking the Baltic, which has been hitting the spot this spring. Samples from the others have been very tasty.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: beersk on May 28, 2013, 03:54:19 PM
I think I may be upgrade my kegerator situation soon to a decent sized chest freezer so I can have space for 3 beers on tap and a few kegs lagering. I need to be brewing more lagers.
I had New Glarus Edel-Pils this weekend and MAN! is that good beer. It has the distinctive flavor I'm after. And speaking of New Glarus, I went to the brewery on Sunday. Felt like a pilgrimage, just a stellar experience.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: bluesman on May 28, 2013, 04:34:01 PM
I have a Munich Helles that's been lagering on the yeast for a couple of weeks. I plan to keg it this weekend and start a German Pilsner with the yeast cake from the Helles.

Love them German Lagers!
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: beersk on May 28, 2013, 04:39:31 PM
I have a Munich Helles that's been lagering on the yeast for a couple of weeks. I plan to keg it this weekend and start a German Pilsner with the yeast cake from the Helles.

Love them German Lagers!
What's your preferred yeast for those beers?
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: davidgzach on May 28, 2013, 04:59:55 PM
I have a Munich Helles that's been lagering on the yeast for a couple of weeks. I plan to keg it this weekend and start a German Pilsner with the yeast cake from the Helles.

Love them German Lagers!
What's your preferred yeast for those beers?

I used WLP860 for my Helles and it was about as close to (my personal) perfection as I've come!  4 of us hit that sixtel and it was gone in about 3 hours....... ::)

Damn good yeast.....I hope you can find one as it's their Platinum Series for March and April release.

I would use 2001 or 2206 otherwise.  Ron, what about you?

Dave
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: nateo on May 28, 2013, 05:12:03 PM
262 days until I'm in Munich. I can't wait!
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: davidgzach on May 28, 2013, 05:12:56 PM
262 days until I'm in Munich. I can't wait!

VERY jealous!

Dave
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: nateo on May 28, 2013, 05:47:54 PM
VERY jealous!

Dave

You should come visit! I'll probably have the tiniest shoebox apartment ever (well, probably not as bad as Tokyo), but you're welcome to a few feet of floor. I might even have a couch!
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: beersk on May 28, 2013, 06:57:15 PM
VERY jealous!

Dave

You should come visit! I'll probably have the tiniest shoebox apartment ever (well, probably not as bad as Tokyo), but you're welcome to a few feet of floor. I might even have a couch!
Moving there indefinitely or temporarily? Pretty lucky, dude.

I'd like to try the pilsner yeast, that's the WY2001, right? How is it in dunkels or schwarzbiers?
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: nateo on May 28, 2013, 07:09:48 PM
Moving there indefinitely or temporarily? Pretty lucky, dude.

Temporarily for sure, maybe indefinitely, if I can swing it. I'll be in Aachen for my last semester of grad school, and I have a friend in Munich who might be able to get me a gig at his bank after I graduate. He also might be able to get me an internship there before I go to Aachen, it's all kind of up in the air right now.

I'm super excited. In Aachen, I'll have a bus/rail pass from school for the whole state of Nordrhein-Westfalen, so I'm planning on spending a lot of time in Köln and Düsseldorf, and making some trips to Belgium too.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: HoosierBrew on May 28, 2013, 07:14:20 PM
Moving there indefinitely or temporarily? Pretty lucky, dude.

Temporarily for sure, maybe indefinitely, if I can swing it. I'll be in Aachen for my last semester of grad school, and I have a friend in Munich who might be able to get me a gig at his bank after I graduate. He also might be able to get me an internship there before I go to Aachen, it's all kind of up in the air right now.

I'm super excited. In Aachen, I'll have a bus/rail pass from school for the whole state of Nordrhein-Westfalen, so I'm planning on spending a lot of time in Köln and Düsseldorf, and making some trips to Belgium too.
That's amazing.  I'm very envious!
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: nateo on May 28, 2013, 08:08:31 PM
That's amazing.  I'm very envious!

I'll keep everyone posted, and if anyone wants to come visit, they're more than welcome.

I'm hoping to get a much better idea of what German lagers are "supposed" to taste like.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: davidgzach on May 28, 2013, 08:36:39 PM
Yes, 2001 is the Pilsner Urquell yeast.  Have only used it in BoPils so far but it's great.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on May 29, 2013, 02:03:27 AM
That's amazing.  I'm very envious!

I'll keep everyone posted, and if anyone wants to come visit, they're more than welcome.

I'm hoping to get a much better idea of what German lagers are "supposed" to taste like.
That is open invite. I am in :)
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: nateo on May 30, 2013, 12:56:37 AM
That is open invite. I am in :)

If you make it over, let's go to the Czech Rep. too! I don't speak any Czech, so that'd be super convenient.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: beersk on May 30, 2013, 01:10:20 PM
Nice. Sounds like a great opportunity. I'd be super nervous about that, learning another language and another culture. Just a huge adjustment. Hopefully you'll be able to get homebrewing supplies when you need them.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: HoosierBrew on May 30, 2013, 01:19:44 PM
That is open invite. I am in :)

If you make it over, let's go to the Czech Rep. too! I don't speak any Czech, so that'd be super convenient.
Prague is another on my list of dream European beer vacations.  I've heard amazing things from people who have been there.  Much more affordable than some of the other nearby countries.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: hopfenundmalz on May 30, 2013, 01:35:41 PM
Moving there indefinitely or temporarily? Pretty lucky, dude.

Temporarily for sure, maybe indefinitely, if I can swing it. I'll be in Aachen for my last semester of grad school, and I have a friend in Munich who might be able to get me a gig at his bank after I graduate. He also might be able to get me an internship there before I go to Aachen, it's all kind of up in the air right now.

I'm super excited. In Aachen, I'll have a bus/rail pass from school for the whole state of Nordrhein-Westfalen, so I'm planning on spending a lot of time in Köln and Düsseldorf, and making some trips to Belgium too.
Very easy to make beer runs to Belgium from Aachen (your German friends will not understand).

To really get an understanding of German lagers, you will need to travel around the country, as Aachen is not German Bier heaven. You probably know this already. Have fun.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Pinski on May 30, 2013, 02:35:03 PM
That's very exciting that you'll be able to spend a good amount of time exploring.  My co-brewer and I started an Oktoberfund account where we have $30 from every check direct deposited into a joint account.  We're looking at going over for a couple weeks in either '14 or '15 to at least see the Munich O-fest but mostly explore the countryside a bit.
Any advice for first timers with a two week window?
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: nateo on May 30, 2013, 03:18:39 PM
@ beersk - There is an American guy in Germany, ex-military, IIRC, who does bulk orders of hops from America. He sells them for super cheap, sometimes much cheaper than we can buy here. My friend in Munich said he paid like ~$5 USD per lb on the last order. Malt is super cheap there, as well. You can get a sack of Weyermann bopils for like $40, shipped to your door. Not nearly as many LHBSs there, but there are a handful of good online shops.

@ Hoosier - I have a friend who goes to Prague every other year or so. She loves it there. It does sound super rad, more old-school European than some of the big cities in western Europe.

@ Jeff - yeah, I know what you mean. One of the guys I talk to is from near Brackwede, between Bielefeld and Dortmund, and he has never even visited Belgium, or the Netherlands. I was kind of amazed. I mean, it's like, a day trip, and a $20 train ride. I guess if you're from there, you don't appreciate how easy it is to travel.

@ Pinski - I'll probably have more advice after I've been there for a while, but I'd say learn as much German as you can. Most Germans under about 40 can speak English passably, but many older people don't speak any English. Among the 20-30-year-olds I talk to, one is fluent, but most have big holes in their English. Between my bad German and their bad English, though, we can communicate fine. So if you can learn some German and try to meet them half-way, I bet you'd have a much better time. 

I've been to south and central America. I don't speak more than a few words of Spanish, and it was kind of a bummer. It was still awesome, but I think I would've had a much better time if my Spanish was better.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: hopfenundmalz on May 30, 2013, 03:46:52 PM
My German acquaintances would travel the world - Africa, America, Asia, and even the  Arctic to the North Pole. Some had never been to parts of Germany that we traveled to. The ones that had assignments to the USA would go places I had never been though.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: bluesman on May 30, 2013, 04:36:15 PM
I have a Munich Helles that's been lagering on the yeast for a couple of weeks. I plan to keg it this weekend and start a German Pilsner with the yeast cake from the Helles.

Love them German Lagers!
What's your preferred yeast for those beers?

This time I'm using WLP830 German Lager Yeast which is the equivalent of  Wyeast's 2124 Bohemian Lager Yeast, but I also like to use WLP833 (lends a bit more maltiness) for my Helles as well.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: redzim on May 30, 2013, 06:47:22 PM
I have a Munich Helles that's been lagering on the yeast for a couple of weeks. I plan to keg it this weekend and start a German Pilsner with the yeast cake from the Helles.

Love them German Lagers!
What's your preferred yeast for those beers?

This time I'm using WLP830 German Lager Yeast which is the equivalent of  Wyeast's 2124 Bohemian Lager Yeast, but I also like to use WLP833 (lends a bit more maltiness) for my Helles as well.

I have had a couple years of great success using W-34/70 (dry) for all malty German styles: Helles, Maibock, Trad Bock, Schwarzbier, I've even used it on an Alt and a couple Oktobers....  it starts slowly, so I'll make a 1.050 Helles first, then use the cake from that for a Maibock and it goes off like a rocket.

It does work for Pilsners too.... but I find I am having to tweak water and hops to get them where I want them.

-red
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: beersk on May 30, 2013, 08:09:06 PM


This time I'm using WLP830 German Lager Yeast which is the equivalent of  Wyeast's 2124 Bohemian Lager Yeast, but I also like to use WLP833 (lends a bit more maltiness) for my Helles as well.

I have had a couple years of great success using W-34/70 (dry) for all malty German styles: Helles, Maibock, Trad Bock, Schwarzbier, I've even used it on an Alt and a couple Oktobers....  it starts slowly, so I'll make a 1.050 Helles first, then use the cake from that for a Maibock and it goes off like a rocket.

It does work for Pilsners too.... but I find I am having to tweak water and hops to get them where I want them.

-red

I am planning on trying the 34/70 out on a Helles here soon. Why is it more troublesome for Pilsners for you?
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Pinski on May 30, 2013, 08:30:59 PM
I have a Munich Helles that's been lagering on the yeast for a couple of weeks. I plan to keg it this weekend and start a German Pilsner with the yeast cake from the Helles.

Love them German Lagers!
What's your preferred yeast for those beers?

This time I'm using WLP830 German Lager Yeast which is the equivalent of  Wyeast's 2124 Bohemian Lager Yeast, but I also like to use WLP833 (lends a bit more maltiness) for my Helles as well.

I have had a couple years of great success using W-34/70 (dry) for all malty German styles: Helles, Maibock, Trad Bock, Schwarzbier, I've even used it on an Alt and a couple Oktobers....  it starts slowly, so I'll make a 1.050 Helles first, then use the cake from that for a Maibock and it goes off like a rocket.

It does work for Pilsners too.... but I find I am having to tweak water and hops to get them where I want them.

-red

Interesting, I find that encouraging.  I had half a batch of Dortmunder that I pitched with the Budvar strain that didn't take off after 4 days so I rehydrated and pitched with some backup 34/70.  Took off within a few hours.  That's the first time I've had a yeast not perform at all, two smackpacks worth. 
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: redzim on May 31, 2013, 11:56:14 AM


This time I'm using WLP830 German Lager Yeast which is the equivalent of  Wyeast's 2124 Bohemian Lager Yeast, but I also like to use WLP833 (lends a bit more maltiness) for my Helles as well.

I have had a couple years of great success using W-34/70 (dry) for all malty German styles: Helles, Maibock, Trad Bock, Schwarzbier, I've even used it on an Alt and a couple Oktobers....  it starts slowly, so I'll make a 1.050 Helles first, then use the cake from that for a Maibock and it goes off like a rocket.

It does work for Pilsners too.... but I find I am having to tweak water and hops to get them where I want them.

-red

I am planning on trying the 34/70 out on a Helles here soon. Why is it more troublesome for Pilsners for you?

I miss a certain aroma that I associate with classic German Pilsners like Jever, Warsteiner, Krombacher, Bitburger, Radeburger, etc.  The flavor/bitterness is fine but I find aroma lacking somehow.  Some interplay between hops, sulfates, yeast, etc. It's a puzzler.  For the maltier styles mentioned above, for some reason, it doesn't seem to be as much of an issue. YMMV.

HOWEVER I continue to use 34/70 for Pilsners because of ease of use (I can brew on a day's notice with dry yeast; no starter needed), and I'm happy that my Pils is "close enough". And also because of based on discussion on this board, a number of you also find  your Pilsners lacking that "special something" even when using different yeasts. (The more I brew, the more I think a lot of that special aroma might be oxidization...)

-red
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: redbeerman on May 31, 2013, 01:35:08 PM
Hey red, I have found that boosting the late hops in pilsners really kicks up both the flavor and aroma.  And I do agree that the certain flavor profile is most likely from oxidation.  I have noticed, for instance, that Bitburger from tap has none of those properties that I have found in the bottled version, but instead has a nice clean flavor with medium bitterness, and good hop flavor and aroma (My homebrew is still better though ;)).  It also is available in cans, which I have yet to try.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: nateo on May 31, 2013, 01:44:57 PM
The Germans I talk to tell me they keep all the good beer for themselves. The really good brewers don't export. I don't know if it's true, or not, but they also decry the expansion of macro-lager in Germany. Under the current German beer laws, lager brewers can use adjuncts when brewing export versions. So big brands like Krombacher or Bitburger are probably closer to Budweiser than most people think.   
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: wobdee on February 13, 2015, 03:05:51 PM
This is a great thread. I've been in search of that German Lager flavor for awhile and thought I'd share what I've been doing for the last year or so. I have been doing a single decoction method called the Schmitz Process and it has given me a better malty flavor than my previous step or single infusion mashes. I also use mash hopping for all my flavor and aroma. This has given me a smoother flavor and a nice balanced aroma.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: dfhar on February 14, 2015, 02:36:42 AM
Wobdee, I've been doing something very similar as well, and I'm totally sold a good single decoction mash. Rather than doing the textbook Schmitz, I have been doing a hybrid Schmitz/Hochkurz that looks something like this:

1. Dough in at 2 qt/lb to reach protein rest temp of 130 F, hold 10 min
2. Direct heat up to 145 F for maltose rest, hold 15 min
3. Pull thick decoction consisting of entire grist plus 1/3 of the sweet liquor
4. Hold main mash at 145 F, meanwhile raise decoction to 160 F, hold 10 minutes, then boil 30 minutes
5. Return decoction back into main mash to raise to 160 F, cooling any leftover decoction to 160 before adding it back in; hold 60 minutes

The above mash with soft water and a grist of 90% pilsner, 10% light munich, and enough acidulated malt/lactic acid to keep the mash pH at 5.4 makes a KILLER helles.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: wobdee on February 14, 2015, 01:22:39 PM
Wobdee, I've been doing something very similar as well, and I'm totally sold a good single decoction mash. Rather than doing the textbook Schmitz, I have been doing a hybrid Schmitz/Hochkurz that looks something like this:

1. Dough in at 2 qt/lb to reach protein rest temp of 130 F, hold 10 min
2. Direct heat up to 145 F for maltose rest, hold 15 min
3. Pull thick decoction consisting of entire grist plus 1/3 of the sweet liquor
4. Hold main mash at 145 F, meanwhile raise decoction to 160 F, hold 10 minutes, then boil 30 minutes
5. Return decoction back into main mash to raise to 160 F, cooling any leftover decoction to 160 before adding it back in; hold 60 minutes

The above mash with soft water and a grist of 90% pilsner, 10% light munich, and enough acidulated malt/lactic acid to keep the mash pH at 5.4 makes a KILLER helles.
That's pretty much what I do except my first rest is at 150 for 15 min, transfer most liquid to cooler to keep at 150, bring mash slowly to boil, boil 30-40 min, cool mash down to 160-165, add liquid back and mash at 155 for 30 min.

I thought about an alpha rest while bringing the decoction up to boil, I'll have to try that. Why the long rest at 160?

I also was going to go with a lower beta rest at first but was told to keep it in a range where both alpha and beta would be active and not denature one or the other while the mash is boiled. Then you would have both enzymes active for the second rest. I guess there are many different ways to do decoctions, I like this method it doesn't take all day and gives great results.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: dfhar on February 14, 2015, 04:06:05 PM
I started doing the long rest at 160 after I read this on Kai's page on decoction mashing.

From:
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Decoction_Mashing

Quote
Narziss [Narziss, 2005] and Fix [Fix, 1999] suggest, that a rest at 158 - 162 *F (70 - 72 *C) benefits head retention and body of the beer though glycoproteides that are extracted from the malt but not degraded by enzymatic activity. Because of that Narziss suggests holding this rest up to 60 min.

I've been meaning to try the textbook Schmitz process. I have an inkling keeping both alpha and beta active for the final rest could potentially result in a lower limit of attenuation and a drier beer, depending on the final rest temperature. With 1.050 wort made from mostly pils and a little munich/vienna, my fast ferment tests usually go down to 1.011 or 1.012ish, which I really like for Helles or Marzen beers. I'd like to try and get that down to 1.009 for a Kolsch or German Pilsner.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: wobdee on February 14, 2015, 04:31:19 PM
I started doing the long rest at 160 after I read this on Kai's page on decoction mashing.

From:
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Decoction_Mashing

Quote
Narziss [Narziss, 2005] and Fix [Fix, 1999] suggest, that a rest at 158 - 162 *F (70 - 72 *C) benefits head retention and body of the beer though glycoproteides that are extracted from the malt but not degraded by enzymatic activity. Because of that Narziss suggests holding this rest up to 60 min.

I've been meaning to try the textbook Schmitz process. I have an inkling keeping both alpha and beta active for the final rest could potentially result in a lower limit of attenuation and a drier beer, depending on the final rest temperature. With 1.050 wort made from mostly pils and a little munich/vienna, my fast ferment tests usually go down to 1.011 or 1.012ish, which I really like for Helles or Marzen beers. I'd like to try and get that down to 1.009 for a Kolsch or German Pilsner.
Ah, that's good to know. I'm brewing tomorrow, 50/50 pils/munich lager. I think I'll change things up a bit and follow your mash schedule. Thanks for posting.

My Pils usually end up 1.012-1.015 with a straight Schmitz mash. I think I'm going to have to drop my first rest down a couple degrees if I'm looking to get a drier beer.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: hopfenundmalz on February 14, 2015, 04:35:45 PM
I started doing the long rest at 160 after I read this on Kai's page on decoction mashing.

From:
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Decoction_Mashing

Quote
Narziss [Narziss, 2005] and Fix [Fix, 1999] suggest, that a rest at 158 - 162 *F (70 - 72 *C) benefits head retention and body of the beer though glycoproteides that are extracted from the malt but not degraded by enzymatic activity. Because of that Narziss suggests holding this rest up to 60 min.

I've been meaning to try the textbook Schmitz process. I have an inkling keeping both alpha and beta active for the final rest could potentially result in a lower limit of attenuation and a drier beer, depending on the final rest temperature. With 1.050 wort made from mostly pils and a little munich/vienna, my fast ferment tests usually go down to 1.011 or 1.012ish, which I really like for Helles or Marzen beers. I'd like to try and get that down to 1.009 for a Kolsch or German Pilsner.

Yeah, a 45-60 min rest at 158-160F gives excellent head retention.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: ynotbrusum on February 14, 2015, 05:07:10 PM
With 10 gallon batches, I would think that a full grist decoction would be tough to pull off in a reasonable time frame.  Maybe I'll do a 5 gallon batch using that suggested approach mentioned above.  The other thought I have is using a second vessel in which the liquor could be heated to 160 or so and mash out with the decocted grist....
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: wobdee on February 14, 2015, 05:08:39 PM
I started doing the long rest at 160 after I read this on Kai's page on decoction mashing.

From:
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Decoction_Mashing

Quote
Narziss [Narziss, 2005] and Fix [Fix, 1999] suggest, that a rest at 158 - 162 *F (70 - 72 *C) benefits head retention and body of the beer though glycoproteides that are extracted from the malt but not degraded by enzymatic activity. Because of that Narziss suggests holding this rest up to 60 min.

I've been meaning to try the textbook Schmitz process. I have an inkling keeping both alpha and beta active for the final rest could potentially result in a lower limit of attenuation and a drier beer, depending on the final rest temperature. With 1.050 wort made from mostly pils and a little munich/vienna, my fast ferment tests usually go down to 1.011 or 1.012ish, which I really like for Helles or Marzen beers. I'd like to try and get that down to 1.009 for a Kolsch or German Pilsner.

Yeah, a 45-60 min rest at 158-160F gives excellent head retention.

That's one thing my beers have been lacking, I'm going to give a 160 degree 60 min rest a try. Thanks
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: rabeb25 on February 16, 2015, 02:01:06 AM
Sounds pretty close to the Hokurtz method I use. I don't decoct, but all my lagers get it. I do 145 for 40 min, and 158 for 30. Great fermentability but still has great body, and head retention.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on February 16, 2015, 11:25:39 PM
I've done the same. Wish I could say I could perceive a difference in finished product, but can't say I do.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: HoosierBrew on February 16, 2015, 11:27:31 PM
I've done the same. Wish I could say I could perceive a difference in finished product, but can't say I do.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

+1.  I don't either.
Title: That German lager flavor
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on February 16, 2015, 11:35:44 PM
Yeah it's really about the maillard reactions. I've achieved better results with some melanoidin and higher mash temps with longer rests.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on February 17, 2015, 12:03:44 PM
Sounds pretty close to the Hokurtz method I use. I don't decoct, but all my lagers get it. I do 145 for 40 min, and 158 for 30. Great fermentability but still has great body, and head retention.

if you interested in an experiment, throw in 6-8 oz of melanoidin, mash in at 156F-158F and let it rest for 75-90 minutes.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: coolman26 on February 17, 2015, 02:18:57 PM
if you interested in an experiment, throw in 6-8 oz of melanoidin, mash in at 156F-158F and let it rest for 75-90 minutes.
[/quote]
So you also can't taste a difference in decoctions?  I have read this from several people.  I've never mashed that high for worrying about attenuating low enough.  I may give this experiment a try next weekend when I start my lager batches.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on February 17, 2015, 02:21:33 PM
if you interested in an experiment, throw in 6-8 oz of melanoidin, mash in at 156F-158F and let it rest for 75-90 minutes.
So you also can't taste a difference in decoctions?  I have read this from several people.  I've never mashed that high for worrying about attenuating low enough.  I may give this experiment a try next weekend when I start my lager batches.

if you haven't seen this thread, check it out. https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=22186.0
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: coolman26 on February 17, 2015, 02:47:57 PM
Thanks great read.  Funny that I have brewed this long and worried so much about my mash tamp.  I've always used single infusion, but was thinking about different steps.  After reading this, why would I go through the trouble? 
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: rabeb25 on February 17, 2015, 04:41:54 PM
That didn't/doesn't hold true for me.  My mashes pretty much follow this rule of thumb:

158 =1.018
156=1.016
154=1.014
152=1.012
150=1.010
148=1.008

This is for my system, pretty much regardless of malt type.
HERMS(two loops, a heat and a cool, accurate to 1/10th of a degree), mill gap of .025, 60 minutes, 5.3-5.5 pH.

I posted my results to Denny's wall, but I have no idea how to find it.

There is no way I will mash a Pils at 156 and add melanoidian, that is a sure recipe for disaster(for me).
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: mabrungard on February 17, 2015, 05:23:34 PM

158 =1.018
156=1.016
154=1.014
152=1.012
150=1.010
148=1.008


Interesting result. Thinking back to some of my last brews, I believe my results are similar. I had just not thought about it in this way. Thanks.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: HoosierBrew on February 17, 2015, 05:25:38 PM

158 =1.018
156=1.016
154=1.014
152=1.012
150=1.010
148=1.008


Interesting result. Thinking back to some of my last brews, I believe my results are similar. I had just not thought about it in this way. Thanks.

Of course grist is a big factor, but in general that looks pretty similar to my results.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on February 17, 2015, 05:34:20 PM
That didn't/doesn't hold true for me.  My mashes pretty much follow this rule of thumb:

158 =1.018
156=1.016
154=1.014
152=1.012
150=1.010
148=1.008

This is for my system, pretty much regardless of malt type.
HERMS(two loops, a heat and a cool, accurate to 1/10th of a degree), mill gap of .025, 60 minutes, 5.3-5.5 pH.

I posted my results to Denny's wall, but I have no idea how to find it.

There is no way I will mash a Pils at 156 and add melanoidian, that is a sure recipe for disaster(for me).

i wouldn't disagree about lower mash temp for a pilsner where you are targeting low FG.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: dfhar on February 17, 2015, 05:36:52 PM
That didn't/doesn't hold true for me.  My mashes pretty much follow this rule of thumb:

158 =1.018
156=1.016
154=1.014
152=1.012
150=1.010
148=1.008

This is for my system, pretty much regardless of malt type.
HERMS(two loops, a heat and a cool, accurate to 1/10th of a degree), mill gap of .025, 60 minutes, 5.3-5.5 pH.

I posted my results to Denny's wall, but I have no idea how to find it.

There is no way I will mash a Pils at 156 and add melanoidian, that is a sure recipe for disaster(for me).

Is this all assuming a 1.050 OG?
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on February 17, 2015, 05:40:02 PM

158 =1.018
156=1.016
154=1.014
152=1.012
150=1.010
148=1.008


Interesting result. Thinking back to some of my last brews, I believe my results are similar. I had just not thought about it in this way. Thanks.

Of course grist is a big factor, but in general that looks pretty similar to my results.

besides grist, yeast and OG. and two FG beers of 1.016 may have completely different perceptions of residual sweetness or apparent dryness when tasted.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: HoosierBrew on February 17, 2015, 05:52:26 PM

158 =1.018
156=1.016
154=1.014
152=1.012
150=1.010
148=1.008


Interesting result. Thinking back to some of my last brews, I believe my results are similar. I had just not thought about it in this way. Thanks.

Of course grist is a big factor, but in general that looks pretty similar to my results.

besides grist, yeast and OG. and two FG beers of 1.016 may have completely different perceptions of residual sweetness or apparent dryness when tasted.

Absolutely, no arguments.  Just saying in general that, on my system, mash temp is one of the factors in attenuation.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on February 17, 2015, 05:58:23 PM

158 =1.018
156=1.016
154=1.014
152=1.012
150=1.010
148=1.008


Interesting result. Thinking back to some of my last brews, I believe my results are similar. I had just not thought about it in this way. Thanks.

Of course grist is a big factor, but in general that looks pretty similar to my results.

besides grist, yeast and OG. and two FG beers of 1.016 may have completely different perceptions of residual sweetness or apparent dryness when tasted.

Absolutely, no arguments.  Just saying in general that, on my system, mash temp is one of the factors in attenuation.

i know you get it. i just worry that people will look at a chart with xx temp =  xx FG and think its a one to one without the multitude of variables.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: HoosierBrew on February 17, 2015, 06:05:15 PM

158 =1.018
156=1.016
154=1.014
152=1.012
150=1.010
148=1.008


Interesting result. Thinking back to some of my last brews, I believe my results are similar. I had just not thought about it in this way. Thanks.

Of course grist is a big factor, but in general that looks pretty similar to my results.

besides grist, yeast and OG. and two FG beers of 1.016 may have completely different perceptions of residual sweetness or apparent dryness when tasted.

Absolutely, no arguments.  Just saying in general that, on my system, mash temp is one of the factors in attenuation.

i know you get it. i just worry that people will look at a chart with xx temp =  xx FG and think its a one to one without the multitude of variables.

Yep, it's not that simple.  With some people posting that they don't feel that mash temp makes a lot of difference (within reason), I still feel it does, at least in my system.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: rabeb25 on February 17, 2015, 07:08:56 PM

158 =1.018
156=1.016
154=1.014
152=1.012
150=1.010
148=1.008


Interesting result. Thinking back to some of my last brews, I believe my results are similar. I had just not thought about it in this way. Thanks.

Of course grist is a big factor, but in general that looks pretty similar to my results.

besides grist, yeast and OG. and two FG beers of 1.016 may have completely different perceptions of residual sweetness or apparent dryness when tasted.

Completly agree as well.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: rabeb25 on February 17, 2015, 07:10:31 PM
That didn't/doesn't hold true for me.  My mashes pretty much follow this rule of thumb:

158 =1.018
156=1.016
154=1.014
152=1.012
150=1.010
148=1.008

This is for my system, pretty much regardless of malt type.
HERMS(two loops, a heat and a cool, accurate to 1/10th of a degree), mill gap of .025, 60 minutes, 5.3-5.5 pH.

I posted my results to Denny's wall, but I have no idea how to find it.

There is no way I will mash a Pils at 156 and add melanoidian, that is a sure recipe for disaster(for me).

Is this all assuming a 1.050 OG?

I would say 1.042-1.055
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: beersk on February 18, 2015, 01:49:34 AM
I've found a Hochkurtz 2 step infusion mash is my favorite and easiest.  I rest at 145 for 30 minutes, infuse with a gallon or so of boiling water up to 158, rest for 40 minutes. Get good efficiency, good head retention, and great attenuation (1.010-1.012). I've been thinking about doing this mash schedule for all my beers, regardless of style.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: rabeb25 on February 18, 2015, 02:00:48 AM
I've found a Hochkurtz 2 step infusion mash is my favorite and easiest.  I rest at 145 for 30 minutes, infuse with a gallon or so of boiling water up to 158, rest for 40 minutes. Get good efficiency, good head retention, and great attenuation (1.010-1.012). I've been thinking about doing this mash schedule for all my beers, regardless of style.

Shhhh lets keep this our secret ;)
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: brewday on February 18, 2015, 02:01:51 AM
I've found a Hochkurtz 2 step infusion mash is my favorite and easiest.  I rest at 145 for 30 minutes, infuse with a gallon or so of boiling water up to 158, rest for 40 minutes. Get good efficiency, good head retention, and great attenuation (1.010-1.012). I've been thinking about doing this mash schedule for all my beers, regardless of style.

I do the same, only with full volume/no sparge.  Half of my water to mash i at 145, the other half to raise to 155-158, vorlauf, drain, boil.

I do this for all styles, but I'll alter the rest times depending on what I'm brewing.  Pales usually get 45/15, Porters get 15/45, others 30/30.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on February 18, 2015, 02:04:45 AM

I've found a Hochkurtz 2 step infusion mash is my favorite and easiest.  I rest at 145 for 30 minutes, infuse with a gallon or so of boiling water up to 158, rest for 40 minutes. Get good efficiency, good head retention, and great attenuation (1.010-1.012). I've been thinking about doing this mash schedule for all my beers, regardless of style.

I do the same, only with full volume/no sparge.  Half of my water to mash i at 145, the other half to raise to 155-158, vorlauf, drain, boil.

I do this for all styles, but I'll alter the rest times depending on what I'm brewing.  Pales usually get 45/15, Porters get 15/45, others 30/30.

Are you measuring and adjusting ph at each step?


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: beersk on February 18, 2015, 02:13:07 AM

I've found a Hochkurtz 2 step infusion mash is my favorite and easiest.  I rest at 145 for 30 minutes, infuse with a gallon or so of boiling water up to 158, rest for 40 minutes. Get good efficiency, good head retention, and great attenuation (1.010-1.012). I've been thinking about doing this mash schedule for all my beers, regardless of style.

I do the same, only with full volume/no sparge.  Half of my water to mash i at 145, the other half to raise to 155-158, vorlauf, drain, boil.

I do this for all styles, but I'll alter the rest times depending on what I'm brewing.  Pales usually get 45/15, Porters get 15/45, others 30/30.

Are you measuring and adjusting ph at each step?


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
I don't. I measure out my total mash water, add salts/acids, then pull out (and set aside) my infusion water, which is usually 3-4qt.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: dfhar on February 18, 2015, 02:21:21 AM

I've found a Hochkurtz 2 step infusion mash is my favorite and easiest.  I rest at 145 for 30 minutes, infuse with a gallon or so of boiling water up to 158, rest for 40 minutes. Get good efficiency, good head retention, and great attenuation (1.010-1.012). I've been thinking about doing this mash schedule for all my beers, regardless of style.

I do the same, only with full volume/no sparge.  Half of my water to mash i at 145, the other half to raise to 155-158, vorlauf, drain, boil.

I do this for all styles, but I'll alter the rest times depending on what I'm brewing.  Pales usually get 45/15, Porters get 15/45, others 30/30.

Are you measuring and adjusting ph at each step?


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

I had the same gut reaction when I first read this. If the infusion water has low alkalinity and the mash pH at the beta rest is adjusted to be in the neighborhood of 5.4, I would expect the extra gallon of mash water to raise the pH to no higher than 5.5 or 5.6. This might even be beneficial for alpha amylase, as it has a pH optimum at 5.7.

As far as no-sparge, I'm not a huge fan because in my experience even with my low alkalinity water (< 40 ppm), I notice my mash pH can be up to 0.4 higher than if I mash at 2 quarts per pound. If you measure the mash pH at your alpha rest and it's 5.7 or less, you're probably okay (although I do believe that a pH of 5.4 results in a better flavor). If not, you can always just acidify your infusion water before you add it.
Title: That German lager flavor
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on February 18, 2015, 02:26:02 AM

I've found a Hochkurtz 2 step infusion mash is my favorite and easiest.  I rest at 145 for 30 minutes, infuse with a gallon or so of boiling water up to 158, rest for 40 minutes. Get good efficiency, good head retention, and great attenuation (1.010-1.012). I've been thinking about doing this mash schedule for all my beers, regardless of style.

I do the same, only with full volume/no sparge.  Half of my water to mash i at 145, the other half to raise to 155-158, vorlauf, drain, boil.

I do this for all styles, but I'll alter the rest times depending on what I'm brewing.  Pales usually get 45/15, Porters get 15/45, others 30/30.

Are you measuring and adjusting ph at each step?


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

I had the same gut reaction when I first read this. If the infusion water has low alkalinity and the mash pH at the beta rest is adjusted to be in the neighborhood of 5.4, I would expect the extra gallon of mash water to raise the pH to no higher than 5.5 or 5.6. This might even be beneficial for alpha amylase, as it has a pH optimum at 5.7.
Part of what I found to be the PITA with infusion steps. Assuming a PH OF 5.4 could be incorrect , worrisome if no measurements are being taken. Could very well be at the 5.5-5.6 in first step, or depending on the grist much lower or higher. Just takes more management.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: dfhar on February 18, 2015, 02:30:37 AM
Absolutely (I edited my last posts with a few additional thoughts regarding this). No-sparge is dangerous if you don't know your water - I have measured no-sparge mashes with a pH that was 0.4 higher than the same grist at 2qt/lb.

I prefer to direct heat or use a decoction for my steps. I typically direct heat from 130 to 145, then decoct up to 160. I adjust my pH to 5.4 (measured at room temp) during my protein rest, and it always stays around there for the remainder of the mash.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: wobdee on February 18, 2015, 02:15:02 PM
Hmm, more excuses for me to purchase a PH Meter. I brew full volume no sparge and adjust my water according to Brewers Friend calculator. It always seems I need another toy with this hobby.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on February 18, 2015, 02:16:26 PM
Hmm, more excuses for me to purchase a PH Meter. I brew full volume no sparge and adjust my water according to Brewers Friend calculator. It always seems I need another toy with this hobby.

a must have IMO. i hate flying blind. even with a recipe ive brewed, any new malt or different lot can tweak the PH.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: rabeb25 on February 18, 2015, 02:56:01 PM
That brings up a good point... What pH's do you like for the rests?

FYI, I am no sparge and build my water from scratch. I have no problems hitting really close if not dead on pH's that Brunwater predicts.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: rabeb25 on February 18, 2015, 03:01:02 PM
I've found a Hochkurtz 2 step infusion mash is my favorite and easiest.  I rest at 145 for 30 minutes, infuse with a gallon or so of boiling water up to 158, rest for 40 minutes. Get good efficiency, good head retention, and great attenuation (1.010-1.012). I've been thinking about doing this mash schedule for all my beers, regardless of style.

I do the same, only with full volume/no sparge.  Half of my water to mash i at 145, the other half to raise to 155-158, vorlauf, drain, boil.

I do this for all styles, but I'll alter the rest times depending on what I'm brewing.  Pales usually get 45/15, Porters get 15/45, others 30/30.

Would love to see some of your results (fg's and whatnot) from your different rest times... thanks!
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: brewday on February 18, 2015, 03:53:36 PM

I've found a Hochkurtz 2 step infusion mash is my favorite and easiest.  I rest at 145 for 30 minutes, infuse with a gallon or so of boiling water up to 158, rest for 40 minutes. Get good efficiency, good head retention, and great attenuation (1.010-1.012). I've been thinking about doing this mash schedule for all my beers, regardless of style.

I do the same, only with full volume/no sparge.  Half of my water to mash i at 145, the other half to raise to 155-158, vorlauf, drain, boil.

I do this for all styles, but I'll alter the rest times depending on what I'm brewing.  Pales usually get 45/15, Porters get 15/45, others 30/30.

Are you measuring and adjusting ph at each step?


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

I don't.  I used to, but I can't even remember the last time that I did.  My readings were always in range as predicted by Martin and/or Kai's models each and every time, so I ditched the meter.  One less thing to deal with.

I will say that my process is very consistent.  I use RO water with all salts added in advance and one of only three base malts (TF&S MO, Avangard Pils, or Rahr Pale Ale) depending on style.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: brewday on February 18, 2015, 04:03:46 PM
I've found a Hochkurtz 2 step infusion mash is my favorite and easiest.  I rest at 145 for 30 minutes, infuse with a gallon or so of boiling water up to 158, rest for 40 minutes. Get good efficiency, good head retention, and great attenuation (1.010-1.012). I've been thinking about doing this mash schedule for all my beers, regardless of style.

I do the same, only with full volume/no sparge.  Half of my water to mash i at 145, the other half to raise to 155-158, vorlauf, drain, boil.

I do this for all styles, but I'll alter the rest times depending on what I'm brewing.  Pales usually get 45/15, Porters get 15/45, others 30/30.

Would love to see some of your results (fg's and whatnot) from your different rest times... thanks!


Sure thing.  Here are some recent batches with beta/alpha rest times, OG & FG.  The Germans got WY 1007 or WY 2565, everything else WY 1968.

ESB
45/15
1.057 -1.014

Best Bitter
45/15
1.048 - 1.012

Porter
15/45
1.060 - 1.016

Altbier
30/30
1.053 - 1.012

Sticke Altbier
45/15
1.060 - 1.012

Kolsch
45/15
1.048 - 1.009

IIPA / American Barleywine
60/15
1.090 - 1.016

APA
60/15
1.053 - 1.010
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: ynotbrusum on February 18, 2015, 06:35:25 PM
Interesting discussion, but to the topic, do you also do this with your lagers?  I have decocted in this manner 45/15 or 60/15 with some success, especially for a Munich Helles.  I've even had the second rest at 156-158F due to the uncertainty of the grist volume pulled.  I like the flavor profile achieved with at least one decoction and the head retention from the higher rest step.  I could be wrong, but it seems to have improved my lagers more than anything since doing the RO with salts and lactic adds per Brunwater....
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: brewday on February 18, 2015, 09:03:33 PM
Interesting discussion, but to the topic, do you also do this with your lagers?  I have decocted in this manner 45/15 or 60/15 with some success, especially for a Munich Helles.  I've even had the second rest at 156-158F due to the uncertainty of the grist volume pulled.  I like the flavor profile achieved with at least one decoction and the head retention from the higher rest step.  I could be wrong, but it seems to have improved my lagers more than anything since doing the RO with salts and lactic adds per Brunwater....

My apologies - I wasn't trying to steer the topic away from lagers, just responding beersk's thought of expanding his two-step infusions to other styles.

Having said that, I'm not a lager brewer but everything you mentioned is in line with my expectations, and I would absolutely use this mash program if I were brewing lagers.  As for decoctions, I have incorporated them into these step mashes for Hefeweizens and Berliners and I like the results.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: beersk on February 19, 2015, 06:08:01 PM
Interesting discussion, but to the topic, do you also do this with your lagers?  I have decocted in this manner 45/15 or 60/15 with some success, especially for a Munich Helles.  I've even had the second rest at 156-158F due to the uncertainty of the grist volume pulled.  I like the flavor profile achieved with at least one decoction and the head retention from the higher rest step.  I could be wrong, but it seems to have improved my lagers more than anything since doing the RO with salts and lactic adds per Brunwater....
You REALLY notice a difference, huh? I may have to try one again on my next helles. I'm trying to brew a helles every 3rd batch or so just because it's a style I can drink everyday and never get tired of it. I've had poor luck with decoctions in the past though...I never seem to be able to get to my next rest from 145 to 158 and I usually pull a quart for every pound of grist, which ends up being almost all of the grist. Then I always loose several degrees while I'm boiling the decoction (even when the decoction boil is short >10). I just gave up...didn't feel it was worth the effort.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: wobdee on February 20, 2015, 06:28:43 PM
What about length of wort boil? Could longer 2+ hour boils contribute to that German Lager flavor?
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: ynotbrusum on February 23, 2015, 12:19:06 PM
Beersk - I have lost temp, too on occasion, but I can direct fire to maintain  temp in my MLT.  Others will drain off to a prewarmed cooler to hold temp on the wort that is not being decocted.  One fellow brewer swears that decoction is the key to the "true" Munich Helles flavor profile.  He never uses Melanoiden malt.

As to longer boils, I don't think that boiling beyond 90 minutes (to drive off SMM) is necessary, but it may give you a better chance at higher amounts of Maillard reactions. I haven't done so, but iwould like to hear the comments of others.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: wobdee on February 23, 2015, 12:41:26 PM
Doesn't Pilsner Urquell boil for 2+ hours? Then if you add the triple decoction boils on top of that. It would be interesting to know the boiling lengths of other brewers.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on February 23, 2015, 12:47:43 PM
Beersmith - I have lost temp, too on occasion, but I can direct fire to maintain  temp in my MLT.  Others will drain off to a prewarmed cooler to hold temp on the wort that is not being decocted.  One fellow brewer swears that decoction is the key to the "true" Munich Helles flavor profile.  He never uses Melanoiden malt.

As to longer boils, I don't think that boiling beyond 90 minutes (to drive off SMM) is necessary, but it may give you a better chance at higher amounts of Maillard reactions. I haven't done so, but iwould like to hear the comments of others.

Browning reactions: Also known as Maillard reactions, browning reactions is the term used to describe the chemical change that occurs when a sugar solution is heated. The chemistry of the reaction begins when amino acids (liberated during mashing) and reducing sugars combine under heat to produce melanoidins, which add color and body to beer. These reactions occur during the malting process of some grains as well as in the kettle and can be very beneficial in some styles, such as Bock beers. Flavors associated with melanoidins include toffy, nutty, malty, and biscuity.

EDIT: i dont rule out a decoction schedule can do this ^^^^^.
I often wonder if either on our scale of brewing, or because there's a very precise method for achieving this, that it can be difficult to replicate what breweries perform. I may run experiment soon, taking my melanoidin and about a pound of the base malt (pils for instance) and withhold that. then boil it, mash in, and add that to the entire single infusion mash. perhaps additional melanoidins will be created and into the kettle for increased maillard reactions to occur.
Title: Re: That German lager flavor
Post by: brewsumore on February 24, 2015, 04:01:25 AM
I brewed my first German pilsner this past Saturday and opted for a single infusion mash, and gambled on getting enough attenuation for a crisp, to style beer based on the assumption that my (and most mainstream malts) are highly modified. 

From that starting point, I did everything else I know to create a highly fermentable wort, including a 90 minute mash with dough-in at or just under 149F.  I'll see how fermentable the wort actually ends up, but I did get 79% brewhouse efficiency, and expected good attenuation and efficiency based on a few other good practices including: 1) omitting any crystal malts and using a reputable pilsner malt (Best Malz), 2) crushed until scared, 3) 1.71 qts per lb mash ratio, 4) +3 minutes stirring the sparge (batch sparge), 5) ~167F sparge temp, 6) careful water chemistry, i.e. nailing Kai's GP water profile, and hitting ~5.25 - 5.3 pH for the mash, and 5.1 pH in the kettle, 7) addition of yeast nutrient in the boil, 8 ) 3 minutes aeration with straight o2, 9) pitching plenty of yeast (rehydrated 34/70 dry yeast based on Mr Malty calculator).

I am following up with slow-ramped cool ferment, to reduce likelihood of diacetyl and to keep flavors clean.

Time will tell.

Oh yeah, other than pilsner malt I used 3.3% melanoidin, which might help capture "that German lager flavor".

Not intending to second guess at least a 2-step step mash - I see that Randy Mosher also identifies that as the standard minimum practice for a Euro Pilsner in "Mastering Homebrew".  BTW, I love this book!