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Author Topic: Total newbie here. Trying to make a lager...  (Read 659 times)

Offline el_leo

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Total newbie here. Trying to make a lager...
« on: November 05, 2022, 10:49:50 pm »
What should I focus on if I'm trying to make a refreshing, crisp lager with ~4.5% ABV, 10-15 IBUs and 1.032 - 1.036 OG. I'm using W34/70.

Offline BrewBama

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Total newbie here. Trying to make a lager...
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2022, 05:32:25 am »
Sanitation. Water. Fermentation temp. Mash pH (if all grain). Yeast health and pitch rate. Quality ingredients. Have fun.

If you allow microorganisms into your wort they will thank you for such a great environment and reward you by (possibly) ruining your beer.  I recommend cleaning all equipment and especially focusing on sanitizing the cold side equipment well. If you like to clean and sanitize, you might be a brewer.

If you don’t use ‘good’ brewing water your beer will suffer. I recommend RO or distilled and use 1 tsp CaCl or gypsum or a combination of the two in an average 5 gal batch to get at least 50 ppm calcium . If you choose to use tap or well water you might need to take additional steps to get ‘good’ brewing water.

Maintaining a steady fermentation temp can help improve your beer. I recommend 55° +/- 3°F for W34/70. Others may recommend higher or lower temps. Regardless of the fermentation temp you choose, control that temp from spikes.

If you are mashing grain to convert starch to sugar, mash pH is considered foundational. Good things happen when mash pH is controlled. 5.3 +/- .1 pH is considered the sweet spot.

The fermentation temp, volume and SG of the wort can all play a factor in pitch rate. I believe it is a rare occasion that one 11 g package of dry yeast is adequate. For a 5 gal batch of 1.036 wort fermented at 55°F, I recommend 21 +/-1 grams of W34/70.

If you use old stale ingredients, a crisp light lager will reveal it. There are no esters or phenols or bold ingredients to mask flavor in such a beer. Buy good stuff.

Regardless of issues during the brewday or outcome: have fun doing it. It’s a hobby. It’s supposed to be time well spent and enjoyed.

*Disclaimer*: Any comment I add is simply the way I brew beer. I am not paid or sponsored by anyone. There are certainly other ways that can be equally effective which other brewers may contribute. This is what I’ve found that works for me using my equipment and processes so I offer this for your consideration. YMMV
« Last Edit: November 10, 2022, 11:42:47 am by BrewBama »

Offline KellerBrauer

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Re: Total newbie here. Trying to make a lager...
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2022, 06:51:13 am »
+1 to this ^^^^^
Joliet, IL

All good things come to those who show patients and perseverance while maintaining a positive and progressive attitude. 😉

Offline neuse

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Re: Total newbie here. Trying to make a lager...
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2022, 08:29:51 am »
+2

Offline Drewch

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Re: Total newbie here. Trying to make a lager...
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2022, 04:43:37 pm »
+3.

+1000 to Have Fun.  You've picked a challenging style to start with — don't get discouraged if your first attempt doesn't hit 100%.
The Other Drew

Home fermentations since 2019.

Offline Steve Ruch

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Re: Total newbie here. Trying to make a lager...
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2022, 08:57:49 am »
Keep it simple.
I love to go swimmin'
with hairy old women

Offline HighVoltageMan!

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Re: Total newbie here. Trying to make a lager...
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2022, 01:20:23 pm »
What should I focus on if I'm trying to make a refreshing, crisp lager with ~4.5% ABV, 10-15 IBUs and 1.032 - 1.036 OG. I'm using W34/70.

You will need closer to 1.040-42 OG to get the ABV to 4.5%. Mash pH is important, but so is pitch pH. A pitch pH of 5.1-5.2 will set up a condition for the yeast to hit a finish pH of 4.3 or so, this will help with crispness and smoothness. Mash at a low temperature 145-149F to get the attenuation up to 80% or better. Pilsner malt will keep the beer light, yet flavorful. Rahr Premium Pils or North Star Pils work really well, but any good pils malt will work. Adjuncts will keep it light too. Rice solids, rice or flake corn, etc. 34/70 is an excellent choice for yeast, that stuff is nearly foolproof.

Good luck!


Offline chinaski

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Re: Total newbie here. Trying to make a lager...
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2022, 02:26:12 pm »
I agree and will add patience to the list if you want lager.  There is plenty of evidence that you can get OK lager by using warmer temps in fermentation.  I haven't tried it.  What I do know is that all of my lagers always taste better after a long cold... you guessed it... lagering period at cold temps.  It's hard to wait the 4-6 weeks or more for all that conditioning time!

Offline denny

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Re: Total newbie here. Trying to make a lager...
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2022, 02:36:04 pm »
What should I focus on if I'm trying to make a refreshing, crisp lager with ~4.5% ABV, 10-15 IBUs and 1.032 - 1.036 OG. I'm using W34/70.

It might help to let us know what your skill level is so we can give appropriate tips
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline Big_Eight

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Re: Total newbie here. Trying to make a lager...
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2022, 03:38:00 pm »
Perfect question. Also to the OP don't take for granted that you have a legend trying to help you brew a good lager. Brew on!

Offline BrewBama

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Re: Total newbie here. Trying to make a lager...
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2022, 03:48:59 pm »
…skill level…

Title says “Total newbie”.

Offline denny

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Re: Total newbie here. Trying to make a lager...
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2022, 08:38:25 am »
…skill level…

Title says “Total newbie”.

In which case, a lot of the advice here isn't gonna make much sense.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

Offline denny

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Re: Total newbie here. Trying to make a lager...
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2022, 10:10:00 am »
So, let me ask some hopefully more pertinent questions....

Are you brewing with extract or all grain?

Have you brewed at all so far?  If so, what type of beers?

What's your equipment setup like, especially in terms of fermenting?

Once we know those things,  hopefully we can give you more relevant info.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

Offline Fire Rooster

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Re: Total newbie here. Trying to make a lager...
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2022, 11:50:42 am »
I think "total newbie" meant to this forum.
Knowing the style, ABV, IBU, starting OG, and W-34/70
isn't a brewing newbie to me.

Offline denny

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Re: Total newbie here. Trying to make a lager...
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2022, 11:51:54 am »
I think "total newbie" meant to this forum.
Knowing the style, ABV, IBU, starting OG, and W-34/70
isn't a brewing newbie to me.

Maybe we should let him speak for himself.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell