How To Brew Lager Beer
If you’ve run the gamut at your local liquor store and want to learn how to brew a lager beer, this is the article for you. For those of you who are still fuzzy on the difference, an ale is any beer that utilizes yeasts that ferment from the top at warmer temperatures, whereas a lager uses bottom-fermenting yeasts that thrive in colder temperatures. After reading this article, you should be one step closer on your journey to brewing your own lager. There are an infinite number of ways to brew your lager.
You will need:
- Malt extract
- Lager yeast, Saccharomyces carlsbergensis
- A food-grade plastic bucket
- An air trap
- Space in your refrigerator
- Space in your freezer
- Erlenmeyer flask
- Plastic tubing
Once you have all of your materials accumulated, you are ready to begin the process of brewing your own lager.
- Sanitize everything you plan to use while brewing your lager. Bacteria thrive in the sugary conditions found in your wort and will destroy all of your hard work. Scrub everything with hot, soapy water and soak in a mild bleach solution before rinsing it thoroughly.
- Boil a half-gallon of water to 77 degrees Celsius and reduce it to 32 degrees C before mixing in a portion of your malt extract.
- Stir it thoroughly so the malt doesn’t scorch on the bottom of your pan.
- Pitch your yeast and let it sit between seventeen and 24 degrees C for twelve to 72 hours. This yeast starter will give your yeast a strong start when brewing your lager, produce the alcohol faster and prevent harmful bacteria from contaminating your wort.
- Boil your wort, a mix of hops and malt extract and reduce it to 60 degrees before pitching your yeast starter. Some lagers may need to be cooled to as low as seven degrees in order to ferment properly.
- Let your lager ferment for two weeks. Monitor the bubbles passing through your air trap; once the bubbles cease, the yeast has consumed their maximum of the sugars in your lager wort.
- Bring your lager to eighteen degrees Celsius and hold it there for two or three days.
- Siphon your lager from your fermentation tank into a carboy or large jug.
- Once in the carboy, drop your lager’s temperature by five degrees a day until it reaches two degrees C. Hold it there for another six weeks. During this time, yeasts and other particles still held in suspension will drop to the bottom of the carboy. The cleaner your lager, the clearer it will be with a better flavor.
- Once six weeks have passed, it is time to keg or bottle. Congratulations! You’ve made your own beer!
And there you have it: everything you need to properly brew a lager in ten easy steps. There are a number of competitions a seasoned brewmeister can enter, and who knows? Maybe some day, your home brew could become the next favorite microbrew to thousands, not just your friends!
Posted on: Apr. 18, 2010