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Light Lager

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Ah, American Light Lager. One of the most popular beer styles in the world, the very mention of it raises the ire of many a homebrewer. However, this beer style is the very pinnacle of the science of brewing. Nearly colorless and flavorless, with no place for the slightest flaw to hide…

Anyway, love it or hate it, there will always be a place for lawnmower beer. This somewhat German-inspired batch, utilizing all German ingredients, was very refreshing and drinkable during the hot days of summer. The beauty of a sub-3.5% beer is that you can easily drink it by the mass, the 1 liter glass pictured above, no special occasion necessary.

Recipe 23L
OG 1.029
FG 1.004
Apparent Attenuation 86%
ABV 3.3%
Bitterness 10ibu (0.34 bu/gu)
Color 2.2srm

Grist
100% Avangard Pilsen

Mash
66C/151F – 75 min
10L/kg – no sparge

Boil
70 min boil time
8 ibu German Tettnang 3.8% @ 60 min
1/2 Whirlfloc @ 15 min
10g Tettnang @ 10 min

Fermentation
The fermentation for this one was a little screwy. I made a 2L same-wort starter upon cooling, to which I pitched a vial of WLP838. 24hrs later, with the wort cooled to 10c/50f, I pitched the starter. Since the starter didn’t seem very active, I went ahead and pitched a second vial of 838.

3 days later, NOTHING. I don’t know what happened, but I had zero fermentation activity. At this point, I rehydrated and pitched two packs of Saflager W34 / 70, in hopes of salvaging a lost batch.

2 days later, still at 10c, the beer was in high krausen. I raised the temperature to 15c/60f for 1 day, then again to 22c/72f for 4 additional days. At this point, the krausen had completely fallen and the beer was at FG. The temperature was crashed to 2C/36f for a week of lagering.

Packaging
The beer was kegged on day 14 and the regulator was set to 30psi for 24 hours to carbonate, after which it was reduced to serving pressure. The beer was also fined with 1/2 pack gelatin at kegging time.

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Evaluation Reviewed 22 days after brewing
Appearance Very pale straw. Big fluffy white head recedes to a short, persistent foam cap. Decent lacing. Absolutely brilliant clarity.
Aroma Very mild aroma, grainy sweetness with a little corn. Faint spicy hops and lager character.
Taste Initially sweet and grainy. Bitterness dries out the finish. Very faint herbal hops. Clean and mild.
Mouthfeel Very light and thin. Medium carbonation, slight creaminess on the tongue.
Overall Lawnmower beer! Mild and drinkable, but missing a little something. Needs more hop flavor, and probably some CaraFoam to help the watery mouthfeel.

Was it anything special? Not at all, but it served its purpose well, as it was very refreshing on hot days. Also, a beer like this is a good test to see if you have any flaws in your process causing off-flavors; something so clean and light makes it very easy to determine if there’s a problem occuring somewhere.


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