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Articles in this section
Articles in this section

How to Brew a Classic American Lager

Like many homebrewers, for a long time we were uninterested in making an American Lager. They're certainly not as fancy as a Coffee Stout or a Brut IPA. But after a long steep in US brewing history (Land of Amber Waters is a solid read), we saw that there's much to appreciate about the American Lager.

We have two American Lager kits for order, both of which make a stellar beer:

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Pre-Prohibition Lager

John Q. Adams Marblehead Lager

Why did the American Lager come to be? By brewing with what our forefathers had on hand, of course, just like everyone else; that's why Belgian Tripels have candi sugar, Japanese beers have rice, British brewers have wonderfully biscuity malt flavors... the list goes on.

Corn

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Although over-reliance upon this crop is much maligned, corn is an American fixture. It only makes sense that it features as a prominent adjunct.

This same reliance on corn also planted whiskey firmly within the soil of the American soul - but that's another story.

Design Your Own

One of our Brewmasters played around with the style a bit, throwing in his own flair. His goal was to tread the lines between crisp and silky, new world and old. 

The recipe is included below.

5 lbs Rahr 2-row
2 lbs German Munich
.5 lbs Flaked Maize
.25 lbs Flaked Barley
.4 lbs Briess Carapils
.5 oz Northern Brewer @ 60 min
.5 oz Czech Saaz @ 5 min, Mash at 152
OG 1.048 (approximately 80% efficiency)
Wyeast 2124 Bohemian Lager

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Corn provides crispness, dryness, and a distinctive grainy/sweet flavor. The tiny amount of flaked barley is there for smoothness and, with luck, a flavor that shifts a bit, with a slightly full and silky start yet a crisp, dry finish.

Carapils lends some body and sweetness, and the hops are minimal, just a bit to keep it interesting.

Rahr 2-row is a plain malt, and this beer should be mainly plain, but a small amount of Munich should keep it interesting without dominating.

This is just one lager experiment among infinite options. Let your freak flag fly. Or your American flag. Either way.

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Rahr 2-Row

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Flaked Maize

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Flaked Barley 

Photo Credit:

Corn by Antonio Bovino on Flickr