In Recipe


Apologies for the absence.

The most popular session beer in the world?  As I've said before on this blog, I'm not a macro lager hater, they have their place and the big breweries know how to brew this tricky style well.  So this time I thought I would try and brew the most consumed beer style in the world.

When brewing a Standard American Lager, the key is a clean flavor profile.  Not too much malt, not too much hops or yeast derived esters.  In fact, in the BJCP description it actually says, "strong flavors are considered a fault".  The devil for this one is in the ingredients.  I went with the standard American 2-row since pilsner malt would be too flavorful for this style.  Corn and rice adjuncts include a fair amount of the total grist and sometimes up to 40%.  I used a little less than 10% flaked rice (which I prefer over corn for it's neutral flavor but that's just a personal preference) and a little light crystal for body.

This was also the first time I tried the S-189 dry Swiss Lager yeast.  I had heard good things about it but I haven't had good success with dry lager yeasts in the past.  I tried Saflager W-34/70 and wasn't particularly impressed.  It threw a lot of diacetyl, which isn't a big deal on it's own, but the flavor profile also left something to be desired.  Also, I'm looking for a nice all around lager yeast and one that produces a lot of diacetyl is just going to be a pain.  

Anyway, Fermentis doesn't seem to sell small (~11 gram) packet to homebrewers but there's a sight ( that buys in bulk and repackages into 11 gram packets.  Much better than buying a 500 gram packet.  I was worried about contamination due to the repackaging but the yeast performed well for me, so I have no complaints.

Standard American Lager (BJCP Description)
(6 Gallons, ~70% Eff, Tinseth)

OG: 1.043
FG: 1.011
IBU: 14
ABV: 4.2%
SRM: 3.8

9 lbs - Domestic 2-Row
.875 lb - Minute Rice
.5 lbs - Crystal 10

1 oz - German Hallertau (Whole Leaf) 3.8% @ 60 Min
.5 oz - German Hallertau (Whole Leaf) 3.8% @ 10 Min
1 oz - German Hallertau (Whole Leaf) 3.8% @ 0 Min

Yeast: Saflager S-189 Swiss Lager (22 grams re-hydrated)
Mashed 60 min @ 154, 1.25 qt/lb
Fermented for one month at 50 degrees.

Tasting Notes:
Look - Straw gold, brilliant white head that surprisingly sticks around (most likely due to the low adjunct content), slight chill haze
Aroma -  Sweet grainy malts, not much hop aroma, clean lager yeast
Mouthfeel - Medium-thin bodied, crisp
Taste - Sweet bready/grainy malts, spicy herbal/lemony hops, firm bitterness

Notes:  Overall I'm very happy with the beer and the dry yeast's performance.  It's a solid, flavorful, well brewed and very drinkable lager.  However, if I was to enter this into a competition I would probably enter it as a Premium American Lager because to me, it has too much malt/hop flavor for a Standard.  I would probably increase the percentage of adjuncts to eliminate some of the flavor from the 2-row, cut out the crystal malt and drop the last hop addition.

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