Author Topic: American light lager  (Read 1785 times)

Offline TENNISPROROB

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American light lager
« on: December 11, 2017, 12:29:02 AM »
Do American light lagers have to have adjuncts like rice or corn? I just got session beers by Jennifer Talley one recipe in the book is an American lager from new glarus and it uses 100% 2-row.

Offline BrewBama

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American light lager
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2017, 01:26:13 AM »
Every recipe I’ve seen for what most Americans call beer has rice and/or corn adjuncts in it.

That reminds me of a joke: why is having sex in a canoe like drinking American Lager?  It’s F-ing close to water.

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« Last Edit: December 11, 2017, 01:29:20 AM by BrewBama »
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Offline TENNISPROROB

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Re: American light lager
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2017, 01:57:19 AM »
So would that make the recipe in the book not a true American lager?

Offline Phil_M

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Re: American light lager
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2017, 02:12:38 AM »
Without rice, I'd say no.

And corn isn't evil, despite it's association with crappy beer. The British used it frequently in their beers, prior to war rationing leading to the use of sugar instead. Some of the better simple American beers favor corn as well. (Yuengling, craft cream and pre prohibition pilsners, etc.)
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.

Offline BrewBama

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American light lager
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2017, 02:15:49 AM »
I’m no expert in the style but BJCP says “Characteristic Ingredients: Two- or six-row barley with high percentage (up to 40%) of rice or corn as adjuncts. Additional enzymes can further lighten the body and lower carbohydrates.” 

Interestingly it also says “Overall Impression: Highly carbonated, very light-bodied, nearly flavorless lager...”


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« Last Edit: December 11, 2017, 02:18:07 AM by BrewBama »
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Offline Phil_M

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Re: American light lager
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2017, 02:22:51 AM »
Hence why I feel that rice, rather than corn, is required for the style. Corn has a distinct (love it or hate it, sometimes) flavor, whereas rice just tastes like nothingness in beer. (Aside from Sake.)
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.

Offline BitterItDown

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Re: American light lager
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2017, 02:27:17 AM »
Do American light lagers have to have adjuncts like rice or corn?

If there are no adjuncts then supplementing with appropriate mash rests and alpha amylase enzyme is a requirement to "lighten the body".

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: American light lager
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2017, 02:28:04 AM »
Hence why I feel that rice, rather than corn, is required for the style. Corn has a distinct (love it or hate it, sometimes) flavor, whereas rice just tastes like nothingness in beer. (Aside from Sake.)


I agree, rice for 'flavorlessness'. Corn is a nice ingredient in some styles (Pre-pro lager, cream ale for starters) and gives flavor and character. Rice for the insipid BMC stuff.
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Offline Robert

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Re: American light lager
« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2017, 02:01:01 PM »
I've always been annoyed that BJCP prescribes adjuncts for Pre-prohibition because in fact all-malt was the standard, with adjuncts only in the cheapest brands, which were received by the public, when they heard that brewers were "adulterating" their beer, with outrage like we've seen recently surrounding "pink slime" and GMO's.  But that's because their Pre-prohibition style is really a late-20th c. invention representing what someone imagined the old beer should have been.  On the other hand the American Lager style is an accurate description of real, modern industrial beer, so you'd have to make it flavorless and spritzy and full of adjuncts to be in style. I haven't read Jen Talley's book yet, but maybe she's suggesting that you could make a beer with integrity that still has the refreshing quality of the crappy stuff?  It would be interesting to see if it slipped past the judges ...
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: American light lager
« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2017, 02:05:32 PM »
Ah, some American Lager, crisp refreshing and full of adjuncts, or not.

American Lagers of today have high adjunct percentages and low bitterness. It was not always so, and the CAPs and PrePro Pilsners hade less % adjuncts and more bitterness. They were crisp and refreshing, and tasted like beer! The adjuncts reduced the protein from the North American 6row, which made for clear beer.  Here is an article by my fellow AABG member and friend Jeff Renner.
https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/attachments/0000/1298/SOzym00-Pilsner.pdf

The Bushwick section of Brooklyn was a brewing center at one time. Those breweries made Pilsners with Adjuncts, except for one, Trommer’s. That was all malt.
https://www.morebeer.com/brewingtechniques/library/backissues/issue2.1/jankowski.html

I have not read the Jennifer Tally book, but the description of the beer has a couple of clues that stand out. An all malt session beer at 1.040 will naturally be lighter in body due to the lower gravity. New Glaris is know for their lagers, as Dan Carry got his brewing education in Germany and brews many beers to the Reinheitsgebot. I don’t know what base malt was specified, but you can brew clear beers with North American 2 rowPils malt.

One other thing needs to be stated. Rice is used in Budweiser labeled brands, it says so on the cans. Busch Brands use corn syrups from what I can tell (AB used to have a corn processing plant in Lafayette Indiana way back when I was going to Purdue). Some breweries still use corn grits, and you can see the cereal cooker at Yuengling’s new brew house in Tampa.

As to a currently produced all malt 5% beer, August Schell’s Pilsner fits the bill.
http://schellsbrewery.com/beer/pils/
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Offline Robert

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Re: American light lager
« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2017, 02:29:03 PM »
^^^^
Jeff, as to the old saw about adjunct lightening the protein load of six-row malt:  Some of the analyses in the Wahl-Henius Handybook show that American six-rows often had protein levels on par with modern European two-row. I suspect that American protein levels (and accompanying enzymes) increased over time to suit adjunct use rather than the other way around!   It really was just about cost.
Rob
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: American light lager
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2017, 02:53:48 PM »
^^^^
Jeff, as to the old saw about adjunct lightening the protein load of six-row malt:  Some of the analyses in the Wahl-Henius Handybook show that American six-rows often had protein levels on par with modern European two-row. I suspect that American protein levels (and accompanying enzymes) increased over time to suit adjunct use rather than the other way around!   It really was just about cost.

I can agree with that after WWII, when the adjunct % went up and the hop rate went down.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2017, 04:02:44 PM by hopfenundmalz »
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: American light lager
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2017, 03:32:14 PM »
Miller uses corn rather than rice, so rice is definitely not an obligatory ingredient for AAL.
Heck yeah I blog about homebrewing: Brain Sparging on Brewing

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: American light lager
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2017, 04:04:07 PM »
Miller uses corn rather than rice, so rice is definitely not an obligatory ingredient for AAL.
Corn grits or corn syrups are what most use. Budweiser has American grown rice, and they claim it is more expensive than Barley malt.
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Offline Robert

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Re: American light lager
« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2017, 07:09:39 PM »
Here is an article by my fellow AABG member and friend Jeff Renner.
https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/attachments/0000/1298/SOzym00-Pilsner.pdf

The Bushwick section of Brooklyn was a brewing center at one time. Those breweries made Pilsners with Adjuncts, except for one, Trommer’s. That was all malt.
https://www.morebeer.com/brewingtechniques/library/backissues/issue2.1/jankowski.html


Thanks for the links.  I knew nothing about those Bushwick brewers!   Your friend's article brings up a couple of things I find problematic about reproducing these beers.  First,  you have to be careful weighing info in Wahl and Henius, as they make it clear they aren't providing info to help the brewer make choices, but telling you how they think you should do things.  They are largely propagandists and evangelists for adjunct brewing.  They kind of started the myth: they try to cast adjunct use in a positive light as diluting protein, while the very data and experiments they publish contradict this, and they readily admit that cost cutting is the real motive. Second, we don't  have historical malts (though that may be changing.)   FWIW here's a template I like to use for some of my favorite beers, what I call "Pre-prohibition inspired: "  Since I think modern six-row bears little resemblance to the old stuff, I use German Pilsner and a touch of Victory (for a bit of extra graininess to suggest the extra huskiness six-row would contribute. ) I hop with Cluster, US Fuggle (grown from the 1890s ) and Czech Saaz (the finest hops would be included in premium all-malt brews.) Mash for full body:  the Handybook's analyses show a lot of residual extract.  It's "retro," not "repro." 
« Last Edit: December 11, 2017, 07:13:21 PM by Robert »
Rob
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