Heading into the warmer months, I love having some crisp, drinkable lagers on-hand. I often err on the side of a traditional German pils, but it’s nice to explore other realms of lager space. It may be rather generic, but the “International Pale Lager” style in the BJCP sure can be refreshing during warm weather.
This batch was ridiculously simple–100 percent Viking Pilsner Zero malt, Liberty hops at 60 minutes and 10 minutes, and Novalager for my yeast. The latter is a new strain from Lallemand, bred to be clean and highly flocculant. I was intrigued to try a new dry yeast, especially given how much I love Diamond Lager. It can’t hurt to have a few more tools in my toolbox.
- 10 lb. Viking Pilsner Zero Malt
- 1 oz. Liberty hop pellets (4.0% alpha), 60 minute boil
- 1 oz. Liberty hop pellets (4.0% alpha), 10 minute boil
- 1 tsp. BrewTanB, 10 minute boil
- 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 5 minute boil
- 2 pkg. Novalager dry yeast (Lallemand)
- 1.049 s.g., 1.003 f.g., 5.9% abv, 20 IBU, 4 SRM
- Full volume mash, 144° for 45 minutes, 160° for 45 minutes, 168° mash-out for 10 minutes
- RO water built up to hit target water parameters of 54 ppm Ca, 42 ppm SO4, 64 ppm Cl.
- I started with 7 gallons of RO water, adding 2 g gypsum and 3.5 g of calcium chloride, to hit my water targets.
- I heated the water to 149°, adding the grains as well as 1.1 mL of 88% lactic acid. I held the temperature at 144° and recirculated for 45 minutes, before raising the temperature to 160°. I held it here for 45 minutes, and then mashed out at 168° for 10 minutes.
- In total, I collected 6.2 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.044, for 73% mash efficiency.
- I brought the kettle to a boil, adding hops and finings per the recipe. After a 60 minute boil, I turned off the heat and chilled to 70°.
- I transferred the wort to the fermenter, and chilled it down to 50° before pitching the yeast. I held the temperature at 52° for fermentation.
- I brewed the beer on 20 February 2023. Starting gravity was 1.051.
- I held the beer at 52° for five days, before pulling it to ambient (~50°) for the next stage.
- I moved the beer to “house ambient” (~66°) on 18 March, and then kegged on 26 March 2023.
- The final gravity was 1.010, for 5.4% abv.
- I held the beer at near-freezing; it had dropped clear by 15 April 2023.
- Brilliantly clear and straw in color, with a moderately persistent white head.
- Grainy sweet malt character, with a slight floral and spice hop profile.
- Medium-light malty and slightly grainy flavor as well as a bit of cracker for the malt, with medium-low bitterness. Very clean yeast profile.
- Medium-light body, medium carbonation. Smooth finish that tilts towards the malt.
- Would I brew this again?
- Absolutely! It’s not the most exciting beer, but it’s a darned great one. It’s super flavorful, but not too much flavor–in other words, exceptionally drinkable. This is more interesting an a light adjunct lager. I’m also impressed by the clarity. This is a perfect “lawnmower beer”! The combo of Novalager and Viking Pilsner Zero really pay off.