Determined to find a drinkable, flavorful beer for warmer days, but also wanting to remain coherent and fresh for evening activities, AHA Founder Charlie Papazian created “Embracing Sunset Lager,” a wonderfully balanced and relatively low alcohol lager that combines lightly toasted malt flavors with subtle hop character. This recipe was originally featured in 2002 March/April Zymurgy.
If you want to experiment with hops, choose low alpha acid ratings. High alpha acid hops will overpower the malt character and defeat the purpose of this beer – to enjoy on a summer sunset! Charlie believes this beer is a warm weather standard that should be brewed many times as supplies run out. Only one way to find out, though…
Embracing Sunset Lager | Vienna Lager
- 7.0 lb (3.0 kg) Munich malt (7° L)
- 8 oz (225 g) Belgain aromatic malt
- 1.25 oz (35 g) Santiam, Tettnanger or Mt. Hood pellet hops (60 min)
- 0.6 oz (16 g) Crystal, Tettnanger or Mt. Hood whole hops or pellets (5 min)
- 0.25 tsp (1.25 ml) powdered Irish moss
- 0.75 cup (180 ml) corn sugar for priming bottles or 0.33 cups (80 ml) corn sugar for kegging
- Oktoberfest style lager yeast or other Munich/Bavarian style lager yeasts
- Original Gravity: 1.040
- Final Gravity: 1.011
- ABV: 3.8%
- IBU: 28
- SRM: 11
A step infusion mash is employed to mash the grains. Add 7.5 quarts (7.1 L) of 145° F (63° C) water to the crushed grain, stir, stabilize and hold the temperature at 132° F (53° C) for 30 minutes. Add 4 quarts (3.8 L) of boiling water and add heat to bring temperature up to 157° F (69.5° C) and hold for about 30 minutes. Then raise temperature to 167° F (75° C), lauter and sparge with 4.5 gallons (17 L) of 170° F (77° C) water. Collect about 6 gallons (23 L) of runoff and add 60 minute hops and bring to a full and vigorous boil.
The total boil time will be 60 minutes or long enough to end up with 5.5 gallons (21 L) of wort. When 10 minutes remain, add Irish moss. When 10 minutes remain add 0.6 ounces of hops. After a total wort boil of at least 60 minutes (5.5 gallons should remain) turn off the heat and cool all the wort. Use an immersion cold water bath or heat exchanging coils. Then strain and sparge into a sanitized fermenter.
Pitch a good dose of healthy active lager yeast when temperature of wort is about 70° F (21° C) , then primary ferment at temperatures at about 55° F (12.5° C); make sure that nearly all of the fermentation is completely before lagering. Rack from the primary to the secondary. Your net yield will be five gallons (19 L) to the secondary. Lager between 35-40° F (2-4.5° C) for four to six weeks. Prime with sugar and bottle or keg when lagering is complete.
Ingredients for 5 gal (19 L):
(2) 3.3 lb cans (6.6 lb or 3 kg) pale/amber malt extract syrup
1.6 oz (45 g) Santiam, Tettnanger or Mt. Hood pellet hops (60 min)
0.6 oz (16 g) Crystal, Tettnanger or Mt. Hood whole hops or pellets (5 min)
0.25 tsp (1.25 ml) powdered Irish moss
0.75 cup (180 ml) corn sugar for priming bottles or 0.33 cup (80 ml) corn sugar for kegging
Oktoberfest style lager yeast or other Munich/Bavarian style lager yeast
Add malt extract to 2.5 gallons (9.5 L) hot water.
Bring to a boil and add 60 minute hops. Boil for 50 minutes. Then add remaining Irish moss. When five minutes remain add the 5 minute hops.
After a total wort boil of 60 minutes turn off the heat. Then strain out and sparge hops and direct the hot wort into a sanitized fermenter to which two gallons (7.5 L) of cold water have been added. If necessary add additional cold water to achieve a 5.8 gallon (22 L) batch size. Add a starter culture of yeast when temperature of wort is about 70° F ( 21° C).
When evidence of fermentation is seen ferment at about 55° F (12.5° C) range for about seven days or until fermentation is complete and appears to clear and darken. At this point rack (transfer) the beer into a secondary fermenter and lager between 35-40° F (2-4.5° C) for four to six weeks.
Bottle or keg with corn sugar. Age and carbonate/condition at temperatures around 70° F (21° C)