Some of the lads who attend Beer Club, our monthly event to drain my garage of my brewing experiments, prefer lager. It’s just a fact of life that we cannot avoid. And actually having spent some time living in Prague, I do like a lager, but it has to be a good one.
I’ve made some lagers before – namely I made a Czech Pilsner and a similar pilsner for Oktoberfest. The second one was from a recipe called Bohemian Pilsner from the same book containing the recipe on Czech Pilsner. Of course, Bohemia is part of Czechia and contains Plzeň where Pilsner originates. I’m sure there are pedants arguing over this one somewhere.
This time I tried something slightly different, a Dortmunder Export. The mash was a simple mix of Pilsner malt (95%) and Munich malt. Tettnang and Hallertauer Hersbrucker hopes were added at various stages of the boil. The wort was fermented with Wyest 2124 Bohemian Lager yeast.
Unfortunately I do not have anywhere in the house that is reliably 12 degrees Celcius this time of year. The garage is below 10 degrees and most of the house is around 20 degrees. I fermented this one at too high a temperature, but conditioned it correctly at 3 degrees in a fridge.
One of the ways to fix this is to get a dedicated fridge big enough to hold the fermenter and a hot plate to compensate. Of course this is more money to put onto the hobby so although it is on the list, it is not something that is happening soon. During the winter I could probably just get away with a hot plate.
The beer fermented quickly and I took gravity readings that suggested the final product was around 4.6% ABV. The beer sat for several weeks in a refrigerator and it was opened last weekend. It didn’t last long with 6 thirsty drinkers.
Similar to the Lambic I spoke about recently, I had a problem with the gas. The first few pints were fine and then it lost its gas. I re-gassed the barrel and found that I had a small leak in the pin on the top. A bit of grease fixed this, but I’m beginning to think that these barrels are not a long-term solution. Perhaps it is the sterilisation process that is corroding the pins.
Other than that, I’m told that this was a decent drink. It had fruity tones on top, but this is due to the hot fermentation. We shall be brewing a lager again – oh yes.