Equipment Glossary Acknowledgements

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Section 1
Brewing Your First Beer With Malt Extract
1 A Crash Course in Brewing
2 Brewing Preparations
3 Malt Extract and Beer Kits
4 Water for Extract Brewing
5 Hops
6 Yeast
7 Boiling and Cooling
8 Fermentation
9 Fermenting Your First Beer
10 What is Different for Brewing Lager Beer?
11 Priming and Bottling
Section 2
Brewing Your First Extract and Specialty Grain Beer
Section 3
Brewing Your First All-Grain Beer
Section 4
Formulating Recipes and Solutions


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Chapter 10 - What is Different for Brewing Lager Beer?

10.8 Bottling

See the next chapter, Priming and Bottling, for information on how the bottling and carbonating of lager beers can differ from ale beers.

Brewing American Lager Beer

A lot of people want to know how to brew their favorite American light lager beer, like Bud, Miller, or Coors. First thing I will tell you is that it is difficult to do. Why? Because these beers are brewed using all-grain methods that incorporate rice or corn (maize) as about 30% of the fermentables. The rice or corn must be cooked to fully solubilize the starch and then added to the mash so that the enzymes can convert the starches to fermentable sugars. See Chapters 12—What is Malted Grain, and 14—How the Mash Works, for more info.

Second, there is no room in the light body of these beers for any off-flavors to hide—off-flavors stand out. Your sanitation, yeast handling, and fermentation control must be rigorous for this type of beer to turn out right. The professional brewers at Bud, Miller, and Coors are very good at what they do—turning out a light beer, decade after decade, that tastes exactly the same. Though come to think of it, bottled water companies do that too...

Lastly, as an extract brewer, you can really only do rice-type lagers. Rice extract is available in both syrup and powder form, and will produce a decent Heineken or Budweiser clone. Corn syrup and corn sugar have had their corn character stripped away and will not produce a good extract based corn-type lager like Miller or Coors. To brew this type of beer, refer to the recipe in Chapter 19—Some of My Favorite Beer Styles and Recipes, for the Classic American Pilsner recipe, “Your Father’s Mustache,” and reduce the OG and IBUs to the guidelines below. The methods described in the “YFM” recipe can be used to brew a typical American lager using flaked corn or corn grits.

Typical American Lager Style Guidelines
OG: 1.035-50
IBUs: 8-22
Color: 2-8 SRM
Commercial Example: Budweiser

Typical American Lager Beer

3.5 lbs. of pale DME
1.5 lbs. of dry rice solids (powder)
BG for 3 Gallons 1.070
OG for 5 Gallons 1.042

1 oz of Tettnanger (5%) Boil for 60 minutes
1&Mac218;2 oz of Tettnanger (5%) Boil for 10 minutes
Total IBUs = 17

American Lager Yeast

Fermentation Schedule
2 weeks at 50°F in primary fermenter. Rack and lager at 40°F for 4 weeks.
Prime, and store bottles at room temperature.

Noonen, G., New Brewing Lager Beer, Brewers Publications, Boulder Colorado, 1996.

Previous Page Next Page
What is Different for Brewing Lager Beer?
Yeast Differences
Additional Time
Lower Temperatures
Yeast Starters and Diacetyl Rests
When to Lager
Aagh! It Froze!
Maintaining Lager Temperature
Real Beer Page

Buy the print edition
Appendix A - Using Hydrometers
Appendix B - Brewing Metallurgy
Appendix C - Chillers
Appendix D - Building a Mash/Lauter Tun
Appendix E - Metric Conversions
Appendix F - Recommended Reading

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All material copyright 1999, John Palmer