Brewing Solutions7 Secrets that you Must Know to Brew a Great Lager

Considering sales volumes, one of the most popular beers on the market today are lagers. The first beer style tasted by new beer drinkers is often the ever popular “lagers.” Lagers have a clean and crisp aroma that makes for a great introductory drink and the style being preferred by a vast number of beer lovers.

With that said, brewing a great lager isn’t that easy. It requires heaps of expertise and patience to get it right. Fret not, here in this post; we share the secrets to brewing a great lager with you. With these tips, you can get a crisp, clean lager aroma and flavour, similar to the ones found in commercial lagers.

Buckle up as we get started.

1. Patience is indeed a Virtue

While ales can be brewed, bottled and consumed within a few weeks, lagers require plenty of time. Sometimes, even months, before the brew is ready. In fact, the word “lager” is derived from a German word, which originally meant “to store.”

It’s the fundamental law of nature that as temperatures drop down, metabolism takes a hit. Yeast cells responsible for fermentation are no exception.

While the fermentation process of both lagers and ales are similar, the former is slow due to the low temperatures used. The key to a good lager is to let each step of the process run its course, without intervention.

When you try to rush any part of the process, you end up with off-flavours ruining the entire drink. So, while brewing lagers, make sure to cultivate patience and avoid the temptation to speed up things.

2. Control the Temperature with a Tight Fist

Different yeast strains have varying temperatures where they function optimally. When it comes to lager yeast, the ideal temperature range can be between 38°F to 60°F. Make sure to identify the perfect temperature for your particular yeast strain and keep the fermentation process well within this range.

Use a stick-on thermometer on the fermenter to monitor temperatures. Make sure to keep the fermenter in a cold place like a garage or basement. If you live in areas where temperatures run high, then you can put off lager brewing for the winter months. This way you don’t run the risk of exceeding preferred temperatures.

3. Start with a pure lager yeast

Today, there are plenty of yeast strains available on the market. When it comes to choosing lager yeast, make sure to opt for a liquid strain or culture. While liquid cultures are a bit more expensive than dry yeast, they often give consistent results.

Liquid yeast cultures are far superior to dry yeast both in performance and purity. Additionally, you can use it to produce a wide array of lager styles. When picking a yeast strain, make sure to check out all the information provided by the supplier to choose the right one that matches your specific needs.

4. Make use of a Yeast Starter

A yeast starter makes an excellent choice when brewing lagers. During fermentation, as the temperature drops, the metabolism of the yeast strain turns sluggish.

During the growth phase that follows pitching, yeast cells reproduce to start fermentation. In a lager, because of the low temperature, this yeast production is delayed leading to a very long lag phase. An extended lag phase may lead to bacteria reproduction, thereby increasing the chances for contamination.

An excellent way to overcome this problem is by using a larger amount of yeast than typically required. Brewers use two to three times of yeast, than what you use for ales. The easiest way to achieve this is by creating a yeast starter.

5. Consider using a vigorous full-wort boil and an Irish Moss

When the brew comes in contact with the protein trub for an extended period, it could lead to the creation of off-flavours. The trub is nothing but the sediment that collects at the bottom of the fermenter.

This plays a crucial part in lagers, as they ferment for a longer time than regular ales. Also, the cold temperatures cause the proteins to settle at the bottom. By boiling all the wort instead of just skimming it off in the fermenter can cause proteins to precipitate, thereby avoiding an adverse reaction. Additionally, adding Irish moss (a fining agent) can help in protein precipitation.

With all the proteins out of the way, you get a bright, clean final product.

6. Invest in a Wort Chiller

One of the main reasons for premature fermentation is the inability to control the wort temperature. When this happens, the majority of the fermentation process occurs way before the wort cools down to the optimal fermentation temperature.

The best way to avoid this issue is by investing in a wort chiller. A wort chiller not only helps in right fermentation but also accelerates coagulation of proteins.

7. Make sure to properly Sanitise Equipment

While clean and sanitised equipment is crucial for all brewing, it’s highly essential in lager brewing. The reasons for this are:

Most lagers have an extended aging period. While the temperatures are low, bacteria can still reproduce and grow. The long ageing period increases the probability of bacteria development, leading to an off-flavour in the beer. So, make sure that you sanitize all the equipment perfectly and thoroughly to prevent bacteria growth.

When it comes to ales, the esters mask slight contamination efficiently. However, with lagers, there are no estery smells, and even minor contamination is very well apparent.

Final Thoughts

Brewing a high-quality lager often requires more effort and time than brewing regular ales. But, it’s worth the effort. Make use of the handy tips listed above to brew a lager that is better than the ones produced by commercial breweries.

If you require any further assistance with your brewing methodology or need to purchase specialized equipment, get in touch with Rohit Jafa by giving us a ring at +91 – 9811233358 / 9811196262 / 8588838333. Microbrewery India is one of the most trusted and preferred brewery equipment suppliers in India, with several years of experience and expertise in the field. So, when you partner with us, you can be assured of the best assistance.