Author Topic: keys to a crisp lager  (Read 1509 times)

Offline goschman

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keys to a crisp lager
« on: June 05, 2015, 02:07:29 PM »
My second lager is on tap now and while although good it doesn't have the crisp lager character that I was going for. My first lager turned out fantastic however that was a dark lager and this is a light lager. I assume this is related to my fermentation process and lack of 'lagering'. Or perhaps it just needs more time. The beer has a malty and grainy character that I cannot really explain...not bad but different. Strangely enough it reminds me of Budweiser or something with a lot of adjuncts.

83% German Pilsner
17% German Vienna
2% melanoidin

W34/70

Fermented at 52F, brought up to 62F over 5 days, brought back down to 52 over another 5 days and held. It has been in the keg at 38F for only about 3-4 weeks now. I don't have the ability to store it colder...

Is this strictly a temperature issue during fermentation and not being stored colder? I have read a lot of users' lager process so I don't really need to know the best one. Looking more for an explanation which I think I have likely already answered... :-\
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: keys to a crisp lager
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2015, 02:15:25 PM »
pH is a big part of getting a crisp, lager like character. I like a pH of 5.3 for pale lagers.
Jon H.

Offline goschman

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Re: keys to a crisp lager
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2015, 02:19:06 PM »
Yeah I think I was at 5.4 for this guy
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: keys to a crisp lager
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2015, 02:22:14 PM »
Yeah I think I was at 5.4 for this guy

Actually, I've read some brewers here going down closer to 5.25 - 5.2 for light lagers.   I use 5.2 for saison and it gives a slight tartness that I'm not sure I'd want in a lager.  I might try 5.25 some time, though.  I like 5.3 though.


EDIT - There's a good chance that some of the tartness from the saison may come from the yeast strains though, come to think of it.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2015, 02:52:03 PM by HoosierBrew »
Jon H.

Offline goschman

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Re: keys to a crisp lager
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2015, 02:25:44 PM »
Cool thanks. I did an American Wheat recently at 5.25 but tried acidulated malt for the first time to get there. It is crisp but also a little tart. I think I will stick to the lactic acid even though they should have the same affect...

In my mind, I was going for an 'Americanized' helles type of thing which is probably why I chose 5.4. At least that sounds right in my head...

Do you think temperature is partly to blame as well?
« Last Edit: June 05, 2015, 02:27:22 PM by goschman »
On Tap/Bottled: Haze for Daze IPA, Euro Pale, Kolsch, Summer Gold       

Fermenting: 
Up Next: IPA, Vienna, Pumpkin, Red Rye

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: keys to a crisp lager
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2015, 02:46:33 PM »
Do you think temperature is partly to blame as well?

As the beer is lagered and gets clear it'll taste cleaner and crisper to a degree. I don't think it's a temp issue as much as a pH thing. 

Jon H.

Offline erockrph

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Re: keys to a crisp lager
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2015, 02:46:40 PM »
Cool thanks. I did an American Wheat recently at 5.25 but tried acidulated malt for the first time to get there. It is crisp but also a little tart. I think I will stick to the lactic acid even though they should have the same affect...

In my mind, I was going for an 'Americanized' helles type of thing which is probably why I chose 5.4. At least that sounds right in my head...

Do you think temperature is partly to blame as well?

I don't think temperature is to blame, but the colder you can get the faster everything will drop out. It may continue to improve if you keep it stored cold.

Also, you could certainly try dosing a sample with a small amount of lactic acid and see if the flavor goes where you want. If it solves the problem you could dose in the keg.
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Offline goschman

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Re: keys to a crisp lager
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2015, 02:50:02 PM »
Thanks guys. My lack of patience still rears its ugly head from time to time. I plan to alter the hops for next attempt so I can fiddle with mash pH and get this closer to what I had envisioned. I am still a little thrown off by the flavor profile right now...
« Last Edit: June 05, 2015, 02:52:56 PM by goschman »
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Offline beersk

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Re: keys to a crisp lager
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2015, 03:30:39 PM »
I just tapped a German pilsner that I feel kinda blah about. It may be the yeast (Wyeast 2206) and it may just need more lagering. Or both. It's still a tad hazy.  It could also be my palate. 

I may have to try dosing a sample with a tiny amount of phosphoric (it's all I have) to see if that helps.
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Offline denny

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Re: keys to a crisp lager
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2015, 03:35:27 PM »
pH is a big part of getting a crisp, lager like character. I like a pH of 5.3 for pale lagers.

and sulfate
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Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: keys to a crisp lager
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2015, 03:41:01 PM »
pH is a big part of getting a crisp, lager like character. I like a pH of 5.3 for pale lagers.

and sulfate

+1  That northern german pils you had of mine Jon is mash PH 5.2ish, 100pm sulfate driven by epsom, and 40ish IBU
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: keys to a crisp lager
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2015, 03:55:14 PM »
pH is a big part of getting a crisp, lager like character. I like a pH of 5.3 for pale lagers.

and sulfate
I like 70 to 90 ppm sulfate for a German Pils. 5.2 to 5.3 mash pH.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: keys to a crisp lager
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2015, 03:55:21 PM »
pH is a big part of getting a crisp, lager like character. I like a pH of 5.3 for pale lagers.

and sulfate

+1  That northern german pils you had of mine Jon is mash PH 5.2ish, 100pm sulfate driven by epsom, and 40ish IBU

Ok cool. Well it was excellent . Spot on. Looks like I will shoot for 5.2 then on pale lagers!  Like I edited, the tartness on saisons had to be from the yeast.
Jon H.

Offline goschman

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Re: keys to a crisp lager
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2015, 04:44:34 PM »
Can't remember my sulfate level but I rarely do anything under 70 ppm these days. I probably went with a slightly modified 'yellow balanced' profile...

It sounds like my issue could be related to multiple things regarding temp, time, pH, etc...
« Last Edit: June 05, 2015, 04:47:05 PM by goschman »
On Tap/Bottled: Haze for Daze IPA, Euro Pale, Kolsch, Summer Gold       

Fermenting: 
Up Next: IPA, Vienna, Pumpkin, Red Rye

Offline denny

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Re: keys to a crisp lager
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2015, 05:22:59 PM »
pH is a big part of getting a crisp, lager like character. I like a pH of 5.3 for pale lagers.

and sulfate
I like 70 to 90 ppm sulfate for a German Pils. 5.2 to 5.3 mash pH.

Same here.  Did one like that yesterday, using the boiled Jever Bru'nwater profile.
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