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Messages - muhleisenmatt

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: That German lager flavor
« on: November 18, 2012, 08:56:25 AM »
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.


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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: That German lager flavor
« on: November 16, 2012, 08:47:23 AM »
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!

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