This is probably one of the most memorable homebrew recipe names out there, at least for me. “Mow the Damn Lawn,” by Annie Johnson, took the gold medal at the 2013 National Homebrew Competition, and helped propel Johnson to 2013 Homebrewer of the Year. It’s intended to be a flavorful but highly drinkable “lawnmower beer,” and I’ve wanted to brew it for some time now! And what better time to do so than a SoCal summer?
The original recipe is posted at the Homebrewers Association website, and I made a few minor modifications for ingredients on-hand. I left the basic malt bill unchanged, with ~80% 2-row and ~20% flaked rice. I subbed in Mt. Hood as an American version of Hallertauer, and used a re-pitch of Que Bueno Imperial Yeast L09 instead of an American lager yeast (WLP840). So, it’s not exactly the same beer, but I think it’s certainly close to the spirit of the recipe. I’ve thus augmented the recipe name slightly, to emphasize that any flaws are mine and not the original recipe designer’s.
Mow The Damn Lawn, Farke
- 8.5 lb. 2-row premium malt (Great Western)
- 2 lb. flaked rice
- 2 oz. rice hulls
- 1 oz. Mt. Hood hop pellets (4.6% alpha), 60 minute boil
- 1 tsp. Fermax yeast nutrient, 10 minute boil
- 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 5 minute boil
- 1 repitch of Que Bueno yeast (Imperial Yeast #L09)
- 1.046 o.g., 1.008 f.g., 15 IBU, 3 SRM, 5.0% abv
- 148° infusion mash, 60 minutes, batch sparge
- Claremont tap water, alkalinity neutralized by 88% lactic acid, with CaCl added to the boil, to produce final profile of 54 Ca, 17 Mg, 7 Na, 50 SO4, 118 Cl, 25 HCO3, 49 hardness, -49 RA
- To 9 gallons of local tap water, I added 8 mL of 88% lactic acid and 1/2 Campden tablet. This knocked total alkalinity down to 25 ppm, based upon a quick water test.
- I heated 3.75 gallons of water to 157°, and mashed into hit a target temperature of 149°. I added 2.5 mL of 88% lactic acid, to adjust pH.
- After 60 minutes, I added 1.4 gallons of water at 185°, let it sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the first runnings.
- Next, I added 3.75 gallons of water at ~185°, let sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the rest of the runnings.
- In total, I collected 7.65 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.039, for 79% efficiency.
- I brought the runnings to a boil, adding hops and finings per the schedule.
- After 60 minutes, I turned off the heat, chilled, transferred to the fermenter, and chilled the rest of the way, down to ~48°.
- Once the beer was chilled, I oxygenated with pure O2 for 30 seconds and pitched the yeast.
- I brewed this beer on 20 June 2020, and fermented at 49° for the first 5 days. There was fermentation activity visible within 12 hours, and really vigorous activity during the first few days.
- I notched the fermentation chamber up to 50° on 25 June 2020, and let it free rise to 54° on July 1. I let it rise to 58° on July 3, and then 60° on July 4. Over several days, I dropped to 55° (July 5), 50° (July 6), 45° and then 40° (July 7), 35° (July 8), and 33° on July 9.
- I kegged the beer on 17 July 2020; it was still pretty hazy at this point. Final gravity was 1.010, for 4.7% abv. I conditioned at 33° for a few weeks, before putting the beer on tap.
- Nearly brilliantly clear, medium yellow in color, with a tall, creamy, and persistent white head. The head on this is seriously amazing–almost too amazing, because it takes a bit to pour a full glass of this stuff.
- Fresh, grainy aroma, with just a little bit of spicy hop note behind that. Very clean yeast character.
- Malty sweet flavor at the forefront, with a wonderfully rounded malt profile. The hop level is fairly even against the malt, and the hop level is just bitter enough to keep the beer from being overly sweet. The finish has a subtle bitterness to it, without being too much.
- Medium-light body, moderate carbonation. Crisp finish without being too dry. Carbonation could be a bit higher for the style, but it does lose a little bit when poured .
- Would I brew this again?
- Yes! This is a very flavorful light lager, that is incredibly easy to drink. This accolades for this recipe are indeed deserved. The only thing I might change, and this is a bit of a personal preference, would be to dial back the 2-row to both lighten the flavor a touch more and also reduce the alcohol level. I really would like this as a sub-4.5% beer. It would be interesting to try this with W34/70 or the American lager yeast in the original recipe, which I suspect would dial back the malt character a touch versus the Mexican lager yeast that I used here.