As readers of my blog may know, I occasionally brew with ‘Mike’ – my wife’s uncle. Mike is a BMC lager fan who also doesn’t mind some forms of craft beer. Brewing with him has been an adventure on my end, as its forced me to explore some of the lighter ale and lager styles I normally wouldn’t brew – and in doing so, I’ve become rather enamoured with some of the maltier German lagers.
While leads me to today’s post/beer, a Dortmunder-style lager (‘German Helles Exporbier’ in the new style guidelines) that Mike and I brewed a little over a month ago. I brewed this beer using the fast-lager method I’ve developed (based on Brulosophy work) over the past year, using another vial of the W34/70 frozen down in my “Freezing Yeast” video. The “warm lager” method I’ve settled on works as follows:
Pitch a healthy dose of a warm-lager-comparable (e.g. W34/70) lager yeast into cellar-temperature wort (10-16C).
Ferment ~ 1 week at cellar temperature, then warm beer to 20C for another weeks fermentation.
Keg after 14 days fermentation, or transfer to secondary and age further at cellar temperatures .
This has turned around 5 lager beers, most in 2-3 weeks, all of which tasted excellent and without significant flaws. This is now my go-to method of brewing lagers. This Dortmunder was no exception – a fantastic beer whose only notable flaw was a mis-balance in bitterness and maltiness, due to a higher-than-expected starting gravity.
Recipe, brew-day notes and tasting notes can be found below the fold…
Mash Name: Single Infusion, Light Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 10.11 kg
Sparge Water: 36.03 l
Grain Temperature: 19.0 C
Sparge Temperature: 75.6 C
Tun Temperature: 19.0 C
Adjust Temp for Equipment: TRUE
Mash PH: 5.20
Add 26.63 l of water at 75.0 C
Sparge Step: Batch sparge with 2 steps (9.77l, 26.27l) of 75.6 C water
Notes: Uneventful brew-day, only ‘flaw’ was the pre-boil gravity was higher than the planned for post-boil gravity.
Appearance: Pours with a thick white head, and a golden effervescent body.
Aroma: Aroma is Pilsner malt (breaddy/malty) and a nild but spicy hop aroma.
Flavour: The beer is malt-forward, with a wonderful pilsner-malt flavour. This is balanced by a rather modest hop bitterness and subtle hop flavour (spicy/herbal). I really enjoy this beer, but it is somewhat off-style (and now quite what I was hoping for), as there should be a more perceptable bitterness. This mis-balance is due to the higher than expected starting gravity, without a correction in the amount of bittering hops added (due to the absence of any extra hops in my freezer). As a consequence this beer is not as balanced between hops and malt as is expected of the style, and instead is more malt-dominant – an “imperial helles” captures the character rather accurately. Beer ends malty, but dry.
Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel on this beer is spot-on; malty, but not overly so, and quite thirst quenching.
Overall: A good – but not great – beer. The higher-than-planned gravity, combined with my failure to dilute the wort or add extra hops, led to an overly-malty beer. And while the final beer is quite good, the relatively low bitterness leaves it a little too malt-forward for my tastes.