Making a Lager Beer and Types of Lager Available
What is a Lager Beer?
There are two main types of beer, which are Ales and Lagers. Lagers differ from Ales because Lagers will ferment at a much lower temperature and the yeast flocculates at the bottom part of the brew instead of the top part. With a much aggressive fermenting process, the yeast will produce a residual sweetness. Lagers also have a much longer aging process, which can take several months. Lager beer is much preferred by most beer drinkers because it is cleaner and clearer looking than Ales.
How to Make a Lager
Lager beer is made by simply fermenting the beer at a much lower temperature. It may sound simple but you have to be attentive to every detail to create a crisp and clean beer flavor. You should have the right tools and follow the steps accordingly without any mistakes.
Build a Yeast Starter
Making a yeast starter is very important because the yeast will be working at a much lower temperature. This is how you make a yeast starter:
- Pour 1.9 liters or half a gallon of water into a stockpot and heat it up to 170 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Put half a pound of malt extract, stir it in and bring it to a boil.
- Let the water boil for about 10 minutes.
- Let the water cool down as quick as possible to about 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Pour it into a sanitized container and put the yeast in as well.
- You will wait 2 to 3 days for the yeast to propagate before brewing.
Pitch Yeast Starter Into the 60F – 65F Range
When the fermentation starts, you have to drop to the recommended temperature of your yeast, which can be as low as 45 degrees Fahrenheit. You can place your fermentation vessel into an ice chest that has a thermostat.
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2 Weeks Fermentation
Fermentation will take about 2 weeks. After 2 weeks or after fermentation, you should raise the temperature to as close as 62 degrees Fahrenheit. This stage is called the Diacetyl Rest wherein the increased temperature will assure the fermentation is complete and drive off the remaining CO2 that might disrupt the flavor. The increased temperature will also allow the yeast to completely absorb the diacetyl produced by the fermentation.
Rack the Beer Into a Carboy
After two or three days at 62 degrees Fahrenheit, it is time to rack the beer into a carboy. The temperature should be lowered by about 5 degrees Fahrenheit a day until it reaches 35 degrees Fahrenheit. Lagering has started and this process can be done for a minimum of six weeks.
Bottle the Beer
After lagering or the secondary fermentation process, you can now bottle the beer or put it in a keg. Lager beer should look clean and clear.
Types of Lager Beer
Pale lagers are the most basic beers that most Americans know. This type of lager is light-colored and corn or rice is added to the barley mixture during the brewing process. It contains about 4 to 5 percent alcohol by volume and designed to be served very cold.
American Dark Lagers
This type of lager is the counterpart of the German Dark Lagers. However, American Dark Lagers are not as rich and malty flavored as the Germans. Some US breweries add spices or different variations of malt, hops and yeast.
The flavor of Bock beer is quite intense with a hard bitterness and a malty sweetness. It is mostly dark but it can range in color with a touch of sweetness to it’s taste.
The Eisbock is a subcategory of Bock beer but this one is the strongest available. This type of beer is made by placing the fermented beer to a subfreezing temperature. The brewers can then take out the water crystals that formed in the beer. The beer that is left behind is now a more concentrated version.
This type of beer originated in Dortmund, Germany. The color is pale gold and it has the malty flavor of Munich Helles and the crispiness of German Pilsner. It is referred to as export because of the alcoholic strength of the beer, which can be applied to other styles of beer as well.
Vienna Lager is malty with an amber color and medium body. This beer is more popular in Mexico with a well-rounded bold taste.
Lager beer has a taste quality that is cleaner and crisper with more emphasis on the malt and hops flavor. Other type of beer that is included in the Lager family includes the bocks, pilsners and dunkels. Creating a Lager beer is easy if you will stick to the instructions and follow the steps carefully.