Author Topic: Caribbean, Central American and/or Mexican lagers...  (Read 372 times)

Offline Village Taphouse

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Caribbean, Central American and/or Mexican lagers...
« on: March 02, 2020, 01:21:37 AM »
IOW, good old-fashioned swill.   :D

I have had a number of these light, refreshing lagers (for those who have tried them... Presidente from DR, Balashi from Aruba, Carib from Trinidad, Pilsen from Costa Rica, Sands from the Bahamas, Polar from Venezuela, etc) and I am looking for a reasonable recipe.  I'm thinking a run-of-the-mill Pilsner malt (I have a 55-pound sack of Swaen at the moment), flaked corn and just one hop addition for somewhere around 18 IBUs and a lager yeast that wouldn't contribute much in the way of character (2124, WL940, etc).  Is it that easy?  Make it between 4.5 and 5%?  Add a little Vienna or something just to keep it from being TOO boring?  In the spring and summer I have beers like this on tap all the time.  I think they're light but then true swill drinkers will say, "Wow, this has MUCH more flavor than I expected it to!" which is probably me not being able to restrain myself on the hops.  I probably hop these beers to 24-25 IBU which I'm sure is too high.  What about the water?  Anyone dabble in this style?  Cheers. 
Ken from Chicago

Offline fredthecat

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Re: Caribbean, Central American and/or Mexican lagers...
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2020, 03:46:22 AM »
I've thought about "easy to drink as hell and clean", i think homebrewers overthink it a lot and youve answered it yourself.

plain malt, no speciality malts, make it easier and just use 100% extract, ~1.042-44OG, hop to 25IBU with a small noble hop aroma add. ferment with W34 and filter it really well before bottling


Key thing - Serve it really, really cold and it will taste like a clean lager. ive overthought this kinda thing before and the sad truth is memories of X beer is often a combination of setting/experience and brand-marketing more than anything.

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Caribbean, Central American and/or Mexican lagers...
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2020, 09:48:37 PM »
I've thought about "easy to drink as hell and clean", i think homebrewers overthink it a lot and youve answered it yourself.

plain malt, no speciality malts, make it easier and just use 100% extract, ~1.042-44OG, hop to 25IBU with a small noble hop aroma add. ferment with W34 and filter it really well before bottling


Key thing - Serve it really, really cold and it will taste like a clean lager. ive overthought this kinda thing before and the sad truth is memories of X beer is often a combination of setting/experience and brand-marketing more than anything.

That's definitely true.  If you're sitting in a thatched-roof cantina on a beach in Mexico next to your lovely wife or GF, the beer is probably going to taste damn good.  You could be catching a marlin on a boat or snorkeling on a beautiful reef and the next beer will have some memories.  I have some 940 running right now and some "caribbean beer" is going to be brewed here for the warmer summer months.  Cheers.
Ken from Chicago

Offline Andy Farke

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Re: Caribbean, Central American and/or Mexican lagers...
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2020, 12:49:37 AM »
Your recipe (pilsner malt+corn) really is what you want to shoot for! And a bit of Vienna can be nice. In fact, I'm brewing a Mexican-style lager tomorrow...The recipe is here: https://andybrews.com/2019/05/26/alta-california-lager/ -- the main difference is that I'll be using flaked corn and skipping the cereal mash to save time. I like the various Mexican lager yeasts out there, but haven't tried other lager yeasts, so I don't know how much of a difference it makes.

The May/June 2017 issue of Zymurgy magazine had some nice recipes (pretty much within what you proposed), if you wanted some more ideas.

For water, I go with fairly minimal mineralization--this is one of those recipes where I try to build up from RO if I can, to avoid much in the way of sulfates, carbonates, etc. For my batch last year, it was just RO water and calcium chloride. But, I think you'd get good results with other versions, as long as the water ain't overly hard.
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Caribbean, Central American and/or Mexican lagers...
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2020, 01:02:53 AM »
My water numbers are all pretty modest except for the 138ppm of bicarbonate.  I neutralize that with lactic acid and then add a bit of CaCl or CaSO4 depending on the style.  All of the other numbers are low:  Ca 34, Mg 12, Na 13, Cl 21, SO4 27.  The source water makes a nice pale lager as long as the pH is accounted for and the bicarb is neutralized.  Now to get my hands on the 2017 issue of Zymurgy!  :D  Cheers. 
Ken from Chicago

Offline Andy Farke

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Re: Caribbean, Central American and/or Mexican lagers...
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2020, 04:25:05 AM »
Great numbers overall! That's nice brewing water--I'm jealous. Good luck on your brew for this one!
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Caribbean, Central American and/or Mexican lagers...
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2020, 02:54:53 PM »
Great numbers overall! That's nice brewing water--I'm jealous. Good luck on your brew for this one!
Years ago I thought I was cursed with bad brewing water.  Pale-colored lagers were not coming out well and I was buying bulk RO water.  In those days I was not up to speed on good pH control throughout the process nor was I heavy into water composition.  With a bit of understanding of both, the angels started to sing.   ;D Cheers.
Ken from Chicago

Offline Andy Farke

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Re: Caribbean, Central American and/or Mexican lagers...
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2020, 09:55:05 PM »
Years ago I thought I was cursed with bad brewing water.  Pale-colored lagers were not coming out well and I was buying bulk RO water.  In those days I was not up to speed on good pH control throughout the process nor was I heavy into water composition.  With a bit of understanding of both, the angels started to sing.   ;D Cheers.

I had a very similar experience...once I started thinking about water chemistry and pH adjustment (and using RO when necessary, because we do have ridiculous carbonate load in ours), my beers really turned a corner too! One step at a time...I wish I knew way back then what I know now, but I suppose then I wouldn't have the fun of learning and seeing improvements!
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Caribbean, Central American and/or Mexican lagers...
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2020, 10:25:54 PM »
Years ago I thought I was cursed with bad brewing water.  Pale-colored lagers were not coming out well and I was buying bulk RO water.  In those days I was not up to speed on good pH control throughout the process nor was I heavy into water composition.  With a bit of understanding of both, the angels started to sing.   ;D Cheers.

I had a very similar experience...once I started thinking about water chemistry and pH adjustment (and using RO when necessary, because we do have ridiculous carbonate load in ours), my beers really turned a corner too! One step at a time...I wish I knew way back then what I know now, but I suppose then I wouldn't have the fun of learning and seeing improvements!
Right.  You failed and then found the issue and moved past it which is not only a great learning experience but you can now give back to those who may find themselves in the same spot.  It's not fun when it happens but when you look back you know that you needed to cross that bridge to get to a better spot.  Cheers brother. 
Ken from Chicago

Offline MNWayne

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Re: Caribbean, Central American and/or Mexican lagers...
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2020, 02:03:28 PM »
Same here.  My pale lagers dramatically improved when I addressed my water composition and pH.
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Offline BrewBama

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Re: Caribbean, Central American and/or Mexican lagers...
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2020, 02:16:54 PM »
I was a little high on my pH today and noticed the clarity suffered and I lost a few SG points. Noted for this recipe next time around.


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Offline cmb4642

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Re: Caribbean, Central American and/or Mexican lagers...
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2020, 02:58:19 PM »
Don’t forget to let the beer get slightly light struck before packaging for that true to style taste. LOL


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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Caribbean, Central American and/or Mexican lagers...
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2020, 04:05:25 PM »
Don’t forget to let the beer get slightly light struck before packaging for that true to style taste. LOL
LOL... I always liked that scene where you're on a beach somewhere and someone has a big, metal tub of Corona bottles on ice and it's all just sitting out in the sun.  Uh... no thanks!!  :D
Ken from Chicago