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Author Topic: brewing light beer  (Read 2736 times)

Offline doug

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brewing light beer
« on: August 08, 2010, 08:57:42 am »
What is the lightest beer i can brew?   looking for an easy session beer that isn't like my usual imperial IPA's, etc.
I don't have the temp regulation for lagering and i do not care for belgium/wheat beers.  Any help would be great.  Thanks!

Offline babalu87

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Re: brewing light beer
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2010, 09:00:51 am »
You can brew a bitter down to around 1.035 and still have lots of flavor
Milds can be brewed to the low 1.030's and still be excellent

On draught:
IIPA, Stout, Hefeweizen, Hallertau Pale Ale, Bitter

Hefeweizen,Berliner Weisse, Mead

Offline majorvices

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Re: brewing light beer
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2010, 09:40:53 am »
Lots of great beers you can brew. The one thing you will need to be aware of is that lighter colored brews are going to need very soft water and very strict managing of the pH for them to really shine. You will also need a good pitch of yeast (unless using dry yeast). See the pitching calc at to get an idea what size you need for Ale, "Hybrid" or lager.

Here's a few of my light recipes.

Alabama Shine
OG 1.048
IBU ~37
12 Gallons

15 lbs Pilsner Malt
5 lbs Yellow Corn Grits (you can sub flaked maize)

1 oz Magnum (14aa) 60 min
1oz Liberty (4 aa) 20 min
1oz Liberty (4aa) 10 min

Lager (S-189) for CAP or Ale yeast (US-05) for Cream Ale

Mash in at 150-152 for 60 min, 90 min boil.

For lager ferment at 48 degrees for Cream Ale ferment at 58

Lager 2-4 weeks.


Solace (Helles)
OG 1.050
IBU approx 22
6 gallons

10lbs German Pils
1lb German Munich (Weyermann Type I)

10 grams German Magnum (14.9aa) @ 60
.5 oz Hallertauer Hersbrucker (3aa) 30 min
.25 oz Hallertauer Hersbrucker (3aa) flame out

Wyeast 2124 Bohemian Lager yeast (or whatever)

Mash in @ 152 for 60 min. Mash out @ 165 if that's your thing. 90 min. boil. Cool to 44 degrees and pitch yeast. Ferment at 48-50 raising temp to 52 after 5-10 days. Raise temp to 56-58 near end to insure attenuation. After fermentation has ceased hold at 56-58 for a few days before tranferrring to 2ndary and crash cooling. Lager at 32 degrees for 2-4weeks.



12 Gallons
OG 1.050-1.052
IBU 23

20lbs German Pils
2.75lbs Wheat Malt

.75oz Magnum (14.9) 60 min
1oz Mittlefruh (3) 30 min
.5oz Mittlefruh (3) 10 min

WLP029 Starter or slurry (I make a 2.5 liter stirred starter or slurry from a previous batch. be sure to pitch enough yeast)

Boil 90 minutes to alleviate concerns about DMS

Aerate and pitch at 56 degrees. Ferment 58-60 for 3 days and then let rise to 62-64 until finished.

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: brewing light beer
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2010, 10:15:14 am »
You can also think about doing a Scottish 60/-.  I recommend Jamil's recipe from Brewing Classic Styles.  I made it once and served it to my neighbor who's from Belfast.  I didn't tell him what it was, but he said it reminded him of the beers he would drink when he would go see friends in Edinburgh.  Low alcohol (mine was under 3% abv), very easy drinking, but with really good flavor.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline Matt B

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Re: brewing light beer
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2010, 10:48:41 am »
I'm also partial to blondes (beer and women both) especially during the summer. Easy drinking. Light. Won't get you completely trashed. Made with ale yeast so it's not as hard or long to ferment as a lager.

A recipe that's worked out well for me (and hasn't stuck around long enough for me to enter into a competition):

10g batch, all grain
7kg american 2 row
.5kg crystal 15
.1kg honey malt
.1kg munich malt (I like my blonde with just a touch of a malty flavor)
1oz willamette @60m
1oz cascade @60m
1oz willammete @15m
WLP001 chico strain ale yeast

I cut my tap water with RO water to get the carbonates down to 145, and SO4:Cl ratio was about 4:1, keep that baby crisp, you notice the maltiness at first, but doesn't linger in the aftertaste.

Offline gordonstrong

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Re: brewing light beer
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2010, 01:45:53 pm »
I'd suggest cream ale or Kolsch.  Kolsch yeast like to be somewhat cool, so I'd go with a cream ale for the summer.  OG 1052, 15 IBUs, 8.5 lb 2-row/pils blend, 2 lbs flaked corn, 1 lb sugar, 1/4 oz late hops of your choice (I'd pick something noble), mash 152, 1056 yeast at 68F. 5.5 gal batch.

My standard American lager recipe is essentially my cream ale with different yeast.

Blonde ale is a good choice too, especially if you want something with a little more flavor.

So I guess this means just pick something from BJCP category 6 and you should be fine.

Gordon Strong • Beavercreek, Ohio • AHA Member since 1997 • Twitter: GordonStrong

Offline jalynn2

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Re: brewing light beer
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2010, 06:42:05 pm »
Last winter I was inspired by the mention of an "American Ordinary Bitter" from my 365 Beers page-a-day calendar. Here's what I came up with:

6 lbs Pilsner malt (didn't have any pale ale malt on hand)
1 lb. Crystal 45L
6 oz Belgian Biscuit malt.
1/2 oz Chinook 11.8% - 60 minutes
1/2 oz Simcoe 12% - 20 minutes
Wyeast 1882 Thames Valley Ale II
Mash @ 154F
O.G. 1.040, F.G 1.014, 3.4% ABV.

It was a nice session beer, lots of flavor.

Offline euge

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Re: brewing light beer
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2010, 11:35:20 pm »
If you are willing to brew with extract a nice refreshing light beer can be made easily. I prefer Amber or Pale- even Dark malt can be used. Starting gravity of 1.035 and try to hit 1.008-1.010. Maybe try substituting some of the extract for cane sugar will help get it down. Hop in the 20's and it'll be plenty bitter. A high flocculating yeast like S-05 and served cold most people won't be able tell it's not a Lager. Won't taste Commercial Light. ;D But the calories should only be about 120.

Grain is more complicated. Extract is simple for this.
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