I brewed this American lager recipe last summer, and thought I’d give it another go to close out the warm months here. The 2021 version is nearly identical, just with a small hop swap as well as water built (mostly) from scratch.
Mow the Damn Lawn, Farke
- 8.5 lb. 2-row malt (Great Western, California Select)
- 2 lb. flaked rice
- 4 oz. rice hulls
- 0.6 oz. Vanguard hop pellets (6.5% alpha), 60 minute boil
- 1 tsp. BruTanB, 10 minute boil
- 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 5 minute boil
- 1 tsp. yeast nutrient (WLN1000), 5 minute boil
- 2 pkg. Saflager Lager Yeast (W34/70)
- 1.046 s.g., 1.008 f.g., 5.0% abv, 14 IBU, 4 SRM
- 148° full volume infusion mash, 75 minutes, with 10 minute mash-out at 168°
- Water built from 6 gallons RO and 1.5 gallons Claremont tap water, to produce a water of 7 ppm Ca, 2 ppm Mg, 19 ppm Na, 10 ppm sulfate, 21 ppm Cl, 31 ppm bicarbonate, 26 ppm alkalinity; 19 ppm RA
- The night before brewing, I set in the water by mixing 1.5 gallon of tap water with 6 gallons of RO water and a quarter of a Campden tablet, to that it would all be ready to go in the morning.
- I heated the strike water to 153°, and hit a mash temperature of 148°. I recirculated at this temperature for 75 minutes, noting that the top of the mash read at 147.5°; I was pretty happy with this.
- After the mash, I heated to 168° for 10 minutes, and then pulled out the grain basket.
- In total, I had 6.75 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.038, for 68% mash efficiency.
- I brought the kettle to a boil, boiling for 30 minutes before adding the hops, in order to bring the gravity up a bit. Then, I boiled for another 60 minutes while adding hops and finings per the recipe.
- After the full 90 minute boil, I chilled the wort to 75°, and transferred to the fermenter for the final chill to 48° in the fermentation chamber. Finally, I pitched the yeast directly and let it free rise to 52°.
- I brewed the beer on 19 June 2021, fermenting at 52°. Starting gravity was 1.044.
- I cold crashed the beer on 10 July 2021, and kegged it on 14 August 2021.
- Final gravity was 1.009, which works out to 4.6% abv.
- The beer was surprisingly hazy at the time of kegging, especially after over a month of lagering.
- I tasted the beer on 17 August 2021, and it was an acetaldehyde bomb. Ugh. This was a surprise to me, because it had plenty of time to clean up (two months since brewing). I’m not sure why this was; maybe it hadn’t actually cleaned up because I skipped a diacetyl rest? I’ve gotten away without it before, though, and as mentioned it sat on the yeast for plenty of time. My other thought is that maybe if the airlock dried out a bit, this introduced some oxygen and created more acetaldehyde. In any case, I pulled the beer out to room temperature (~75°), and let it sit there for a few days, with occasional keg purges to outgas any unpleasantness, before re-chilling. It still had a decent bit of green apple when I tasted a week later, but it was much improved. After two more weeks, any acetaldehyde had faded to virtually nothing. In any case, a slight green apple quality is acceptable in the American lager style, so let’s just pretend that I meant to do this.
- Very clear, nearly brilliantly so, with a light yellow color. It pours with a creamy and tall white head that subsides to a modestly persistent thin rim.
- Light malty sweetness with a very very slight green apple character (virtually imperceptible), and a crisp, faint hop spice note
- Low level of maltiness and light sweetness, and a moderately low and clean bitterness. As with the aroma, there is a very faint green apple character, which has faded considerably since the early days on tap. It is a very drinkable beer.
- Light body, moderate carbonation, and slightly dry finish.
- Would I brew this again?
- This is a pretty good beer, which is fun as an experiment to see if I can pull off a light, high-adjunct beer. It’s certainly quite drinkable in decent quantity during a hot day, so I’ve hit that goal quite well. It’s not the most exciting beer ever, but then again that’s not what I was aiming for. I’m a bit disappointed by the heavy acetaldehyde in initial servings, and I don’t quite know what led to that. I suspect it was a combination of things, and will likely do a higher temperature fermentation rest on future batches.
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