Sunday, December 1, 2013

Are you ready to try an all-grain lager?

Here is a recipe I just came up with.  It came out crisp and clean, with a beautiful amber color and that classic corn flavor that the big guys have.  I was trying to clone my favorite large brewery, our local Yuengling lager.  It came pretty darn close.

American Lager (12 gallon all-grain)
14 lb Briess 6-row
6lb corn grits (I used cannisters of Quaker grits from the supermarket)
2lb Weyerman Caramunich
1 lb Weyerman Cararoma
2 lb dextrose
2oz cascade 60 minute
1oz cascade 15 min
1oz cascade 5 min
Wyeast 2035 American lager
1 gal. Yeast starter, split into two 1/2 gal growlers with air locks.


Step mash:  30 minutes at 122, 45 minutes at 156.

Cook your grits in a large pot for a minimum of 30 minutes.  Add a little extra water than what the recipe on the grits container calls for, but not too much.  My mash tun cooler is a 40 qt, so a recipe this size maxes it out.  I have to be very careful with how much water I add or I can easily overflow it when I am making temp corrections.

Getting the temperature right with a big pot of hot cereal is tricky.  I would say cool your grits to 130 before adding to the mash tun.  If you don't cool the grits ( I never feel like waiting), add them to your mash tun, then begin adding cool water until it cools to about 130, then stir in the 6-row and add water at 130 (sparingly) until the grist is wet and you have a temp of 122. Do not add too much water during this step! You will need to add more soon. Also be careful not to exceed 150 degrees at any stage. Let rest for 30 min.

At the end of the protein rest, add 200 degree water until a temp of 156 is reached.  Your total water used (including water used to make grits) should be a minimum of 5 gallons in order to ensure good sugar conversion. I like to add 6 gallons so that it stirs more easily.  Mash for 45 min or until litmus comes out clean. 

Sparge using preferred method with 170 degree water until a total of 14-15 gallons is reached in your boil pot.  Boil wort, adding hops as scheduled above, then cool to 70 and strain into fermenter(s).  Primary yeild should be around 13 gallons. Pitch yeast and ferment for 10 days in cool (50 deg) temps.  Syphon to secondary and lager in cold (35-40 deg) temps for 1 month.


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