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.
As the days turn towards winter, I’m in a dark [beer] mood. This is the time of year when I really like having a stout, porter, brown ale, or even an amber ale on tap to round out my beer choices.
To kick things off for the fall/winter dark beer season, I brewed up “Kveik the Keg Brown Ale.” It’s a total experiment, pulling together something that’s vaguely an American-style brown ale, with a repitch of the Hornindal kveik culture used in my recent pale ale. The idea was to make a sessionable beer holding ample malt character and a citrus highlight…something like a “chocolate orange” feel. I modified this from the Wasatch Premium Ale recipe in the Brewing Session Beers book by Jennifer Talley, because it looked like it had many of the initial features I was hoping for. For the malt base, I mixed American 2-row and light Munich malt, supplemented by a hefty dose of crystal 75, some chocolate malt, and a touch of Carafa Special III for color. For hops, I used all whole-Cascade hops. The Hornindal culture, which produces a subtle citrus character, would hopefully work alongside the Cascade. As you’ll see in the tasting notes, this was a pretty successful experiment!
Kveik the Keg Brown Ale
6.25 lb. 2-row brewer’s malt (Great Western)
2.5 lb. Munich light malt (Chateau)
1 lb. crystal 75 malt (Great Western)
2.6 oz. Carafa Special III malt (Weyermann)
2.5 oz. chocolate malt (Briess)
1 oz. Cascade whole hops (5.5% alpha), 60 minute boil
0.5 oz. Cascade whole hops (5.5% alpha), 30 minute boil
1.5 oz. Cascade whole hops (5.5% alpha), 10 minute boil
1 tsp. yeast nutrient, 10 minute boil
1 Whirlfloc tablet, 5 minute boil
Hornindal Kveik (Omega OYL-091), repitched from previous batch
1 oz. Cascade whole hops (5.5% alpha), dry hop in fermenter
1.044 s.g., 1.011 f.g., 4.4% abv, 18 SRM, 33 IBU
Infusion mash, 156°, batch sparge; 60 minute boil
Claremont water, with Campden tablet to remove chloramines.
I mashed in with 3.4 gallons of water at 166°, to hit my mash target of 156°. After 40 minutes, I added 1.5 gallons of hot water (~175°), to raise the mash temperature to 164°. I let this sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the first runnings.
Next, I added 3.75 gallons of hot water, to hit a ~164° mash temperature. I let this sit for 10 more minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the second runnings.
In total, I collected 7.3 gallons of runnings at a gravity of 1.038, for 76% mash efficiency.
I brought the runnings to a boil, and added hops, nutrients, and finings per the indicated schedule. After 60 minutes, I turned off the heat, chilled the wort down to 89°, and transferred it to the fermenter.
I brewed this beer on 19 September 2020. Starting gravity was 1.045, pretty close to my target. I pitched around 8 ounces of yeast slurry (which had been harvested a week prior), and saw signs of fermentation within 90 minutes of pitching the yeast! Within 18 hours, there was vigorous fermentation. What a solid start for this culture! I fermented this at ambient temperatures.
On 23 September, I added 1 oz. of dry hops directly to the fermenter.
I kegged the beer on 3 October 2020, adding 2.8 oz. of corn sugar boiled in 1 cup of water. The keg sat at ambient for ~10 days, before I topped up the pressure using force carbonation.
Final gravity was 1.017, down from 1.045, for 3.6% abv.
Very clear, deep brown beer with a persistent ivory head. It is exceptionally pretty!
Moderate chocolate character to the malt aroma, with a slight citrus character, presumably from the yeast and hops. Very clean!
The beer has a surprisingly rich, bready malt base (must be that Munich malt!), with a dark caramel and chocolate character behind that. Bitterness is at a moderately high level, but not over the top relative to the malt. There is definitely an orangey citrus character in play here.
Moderate carbonation, with a fairly light body and a crisp finish. There is a very slight bit of what might be astringency on the extended finish, but it’s barely noticeable. It’s not harsh at all, but does seem a touch out of balance with the rest of the beer.
Would I brew this again?
Yes! I might make a few minor modifications, perhaps to dial the bitterness back just a touch and maybe reduce the dry hopping level or dry hopping time. I think the beer would also benefit from swapping out the 2-row base malt with a Vienna or Maris Otter-type malt, to enrich the malt character. All that said, it’s overall a pretty good beer. I really like how the kveik culture worked in this beer, and it’s pretty nice to find something for this yeast that’s not yet another oversaturated IPA. I’ll probably be brewing more beers like this down the road!