The business statistics portray that Lager beers is the most popular among beer lovers in the entire world. How to brew Lager at home?
On the contrary, beer lovers were initially introduced to the idea of the tastes of lager beers, while homebrewers out there fancied the concept of brewing ales.
The reason as to why this is the case is the variation in the yeast strains for the brewing processes used for lager beers and ales. The strains complement best at mild temperatures for lager beer fermentation as opposed to their ale counterparts.
Read more about How to brew beer at home.
Lager beers take up more extended conditioning periods that may last from weeks to months which is not the case for ale fermentation processes.
Lagers are crisp and aromatic in flavors. Even homebrewers can brew lager beers from ales following specific tips and tricks to get that crisp flavor of lagers. This post will acquaint you with the processes of brewing lager beers.
Read more about Lager and Pilsner differences.
If not better, they’ll undoubtedly have the same clean aroma flavor as the commercially brought lagers. So, let’s chug it!
How to brew lager – 10 steps
Enlisted here are the ten steps that lead your way through the process of making lager at home that have the same clean flavor and aroma as the commercial lagers. Read on!
Lager beers take time in all their brewing processes than ales. You must be consistent and have the utmost patience while brewing lager at home. Lagers, originally, take longer storage periods that last from weeks to months until you finally consume them.
Fermentation for lagers is pretty much similar to that of ales. However, this process also goes through a longer period due to temperature exposure. Let the fermentation process develop and run at its natural pace without rushing it for a clean finished product.
Consider taking a while before racking or bottling, if in doubt. Allow the fermentation to set in place. Also, it is entirely normal to have unusual smells during fermentation. It is usual to have unusual smells during fermentation.
Keep Track Of The Temperature
The yeast strains for fermentation of lager beers need to be run through certain temperatures. It can range between 38-60 degrees Fahrenheit. You must keep the optimal temperature ranges set throughout the fermentation process.
A helpful note here is to store the fermenter equipped with a thermometer. Or in this case, you may as well get a fermenter bucket with an in-built thermometer. Thermometers, while the fermentation process, helps keep track of the temperature throughout the fermenting process.
Fermenters should be kept in cold areas without exposure to direct sunlight. You can store your fermenter in the garage or the basement. As the summers get warmer, you can store the fermenters in buckets of cold water.
The Ideal Yeast For Lagers
Yeasts today are available in so many different varieties that it is just convenient for homebrewers to start brewing their beers any time they want. Nevertheless, for lagers, it would be best to have a liquid yeast strain or culture.
Liquid yeast strains are expensive than dry yeast, no doubt. However, they are efficient in giving you the desired consistency. They are even more true to their efficiency at the lower temperatures needed for lager brewing.
These liquid cultures influence the purity and performance of the final lager beers to a great extent. Moreover, their extensive availability only paves out the ways to create different lager styles.
Preparing A Yeast Starter
It is always best to start with making a yeast starter while brewing a true lager. With a drop in the temperature, the metabolism of the lager yeast tends to slow down. Therefore, homebrewers using liquid yeast strains or culture should take this as an essential part of the process.
The yeast cells reproduce after the process of pitching and release adequate cells needed for fermenting. As mentioned earlier, lagers need falling temperatures for their brewing, and this delay slows down the growth. This may lead to contamination.
It would be best to create your yeast starter before your brewing process actually starts.
The Irish Moss And Boiling The Wort
Proteins play a key role in lager textures. Additional contact time between the fermenter and the protein trub can lead to off-flavored lagers.
Lager fermentation takes longer periods than ales, and the low temperatures for lagers allow the proteins to accumulate. Thus, boiling the wort with a refining agent like the Irish moss allows proper precipitation of the proteins. Thus, you can prevent most of the proteins from reaching the fermenter for a clean final lager.
Cool Down The Wort
If you cannot efficiently cool down the temperature of the wort to resemble the temperatures during the fermentation process, it results in premature fermentation. This way, the fermentation process starts much earlier and reaches its optimum range.
This creates characteristics in the lager which are similar to that of ales. Moreover, wort chilling stimulates protein coagulation and prevents the protein from reaching the fermenter.
Homebrewers can bring the temperatures of the wort to as low as 60 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent early fermentation. This should be enough to stop the onset of the lag phase before reaching the optimal fermentation levels.
Despite the use of fining agents and hard boil, protein trub can still make it to the fermenter. Racking the lager from a vessel to another can eliminate the extra protein. It also helps remove the additional yeast sediment to avoid the off-flavor from the lager beer.
Through a healthy fermentation process and extended periods for conditioning can maintain the yeast strain’s overall range. Racking processes will also contribute towards eliminating the of-flavors from the beer.
A Fermentation Diacetyl Rest
While diacetyl compounds, a resultant by-product of yeast fermentation, complements the ale flavors, it adds to the flaws of lagers. Before the yeast stabilizes, it metabolizes and decreases the content of diacetyl.
The low temperatures delay the metabolization processes and stimulate the settling of the yeast. This reduces the periods of breaking these compounds. A solution to this is to incorporate a diacetyl rest after fermentation. The rise in the temperature ensures the breaking of the compound and the completion of the fermentation process.
Be Selective Of The Lager Style Ingredients
Lagers differ from ales in terms of crisp nature and clean, aromatic flavors. Brewing these beers at home, unrestricted by commercial considerations and style, you can work out the ingredients conveniently. Hops and malt combine to present the desired yeast characteristics and aromas.
Being selective of the ideal ingredients to brew the perfect lager is essential. You can surely try out the different ingredients. The fact to keep in mind is to acquire the ideal clean aromas and flavors of true lagers. For that, you need to follow the origins of lager-style beers.
Sanitation is important both for brewing ales and lagers. However, they carry more weightage for lager beers. Lagers go through a long fermentation process that makes them relatively much older than ales before consuming them. This stimulates the chances of bacteria growth in the lager beers.
Moreover, clean lagers are prone to high risks of contamination. These are a couple of reasons you should consider for firm sanitation processes while brewing lager beers.
Brewing lagers requires more effort and technique, but it is doable if approached in a planned manner.
All the tips mentioned above are useful for brewing any type of beer. However, applying them to your brewing regime will give you commercial quality lager beers. You can then enjoy chugging this top-quality lager beer at home!