Warm weather is around the horizon, which means pale lager season is soon to be here. Time to get brewing! This recipe is modified from the “Generic Green Bottle” formulation in Dave Carpenter’s recent Lager book. The book is a nice, accessible overview of the subject, supplementing the conversational text with a nice appendix of recipes for a variety of styles.
Relative to Dave’s recipe, I substituted in Warrior for Magnum, and used Belgian malt instead of German. Additionally, I used WLP830 instead of the suggested Wyeast 2042 Danish Lager yeast. My heart is in the right place, though–this is intended to be a clean, middle-of-the-road European lager, and I figure that the ingredient substitutions will keep the flavor in that realm.
Little Green EuroLager
- 9.25 lbs. Château Pilsen malt (Castle Malting)
- 0.25 lb. Carahell malt (Weyermann Malting)
- 0.3 oz. Warrior hop pellets (15.8% alpha), 60 minute boil
- 0.5 oz. Hallertauer Mittelfrueh hop pellets (4% alpha), 15 minute boil
- 1 oz. Saaz hop pellets (2.7% alpha), 5 minute boil
- 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 10 minute boil
- 1 pkg. German Lager yeast (White Labs, WLP830)
- Infusion mash to hit target of 149°, 90 minutes, batch sparge.
- 1.049 o.g., 1.009 f.g., 5.2% abv, 24 IBU, 3 SRM
- Water built from RO and Claremont tap water to hit target of 40 ppm Ca, 10 ppm Mg, 9 ppm Na, 41 ppm SO4, 39 ppm Cl, 87 ppm HCO3, 37 ppm RA.
- Two days before brew day, I made a 2L starter. After 36 hours, I cold crashed the starter for another 24 hours.
- I mashed in with 3.25 gallons of RO water with 2 g of Epsom salts, 2 g CaCl, and 5 mL 75% phosphoric acid, to hit a temperature of 149°. After 90 minutes, I sparged with 3.25 gallons of tap water (with 1/4 of a Campden tablet) and 1.75 gallons of RO water.
- In total, I collected 7.1 gallons of wort at a gravity of 1.042, for 84% efficiency.
- I boiled for 60 minutes, chilled to 75°, and then chilled to 49° over a period of 12 hours before oxygenating (a 60 second pulse) and pitching the yeast. I brewed the beer on 2 March 2018, and pitched the yeast on 3 March 2018.
- I fermented at 52° for around 2 weeks, before raising to 66° or so. On 23 March, I dropped the temperature to 34° for a cold crash.
- I kegged the beer on 3 April 2018, adding 1 tsp. of gelatin in 1 cup of water to clarify.
- Starting gravity was 1.050, and final gravity was 1.006, for 5.8% abv.
My initial impressions of this beer, after it has been on tap for a few weeks, is that it is pretty awesome and almost exactly what I was looking for. Malt character is glorious, and the aroma is crisp. The yeast character is super clean. My only minor ding is that the bitterness can come across as a touch harsh; I’ve noticed that on a few batches of lighter beers where I use Warrior as the bittering hop. Despite that hop being billed as a good general bittering hop, I think it’s probably just a bit too forward for anything less robust than a porter or stout, or less hoppy than a pale ale. That aside, I’m absolutely enjoying the beer. It has received high compliments from several people whose opinions on beer I trust, which is an exceptionally gratifying piece of feedback.