West Coast Brewer Home Brewing Blog

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New Digital Touch Screen Homebrewing System from More Beer!

Digital Homebrewing System and Brew Rig

Digital Homebrewing System and Brew Rig

 

Great news homebrewers, MoreBeer just released a follow up to their popular line of Homebrewing Brew Sculptures and HomeBrew Rigs! They are bringing homebrewing into the future and to a whole new level with a digital touch screen interface for they Low Rider homebrewing stand that lets you control almost every aspect of your brew session.

 

They are calling this new digital, stainless steel homebrewing system the Low Rider! The Low Rider is their new top of the line Single Tier Brew Sculpture. Since this brew system is low to the ground with all of the brew kettles at the same height, it allows you to access each kettle without the need for a step stool.  That is one of the reasons why these stainless steel homebrewing systems are popular pilot systems for  breweries like Russian River and Sierra Nevada.

 

So what makes this new homebrewing rig better than the other brew rigs out there? Quite simply, they are loaded with features and are super reliable!  Also, these home brew systems are built in the USA by MoreBeer and include free shipping.  Free shipping is a big deal when it comes to a homebrewing setup like this because it can cost several hundred dollars in freight charges to ship a setup like this! Following is a list of features included with this new MoreBeer.com homebrewing rig:

 

  • 304 Food Grade Stainless Steel Stand
  • 304 stainless steel brew kettles with welded fittings, notched lids included
  • High temp march pumps, heat resistant food grade silicone tubing and specially designed stainless steel quick disconnects all come standard
  • Includes a More Beer Ultimate Sparge Arm, which is one of the best sparge systems available in home brewing.  The mash tun has a perforated stainless mash screen that is reinforced for use with pump recirculation. Internally etched volume markers on the kettles makes for simple mash water additions.
  • Top of the line homebrew burners that are fast, efficient, reliable and have precision flame control.
  • The included boil kettle features an innovative whirlpool maker! This allows the home brewer to leave the hops and trub behind when transferring your wort to your fermentor!  The bottom of the boil kettle is tri-clad with a 4mm aluminum core sandwiched between two layers of 304 stainless which helps to eliminate scorching!
  • Free Shipping!

 

Digital Brew Rig

Digital Brew Rig

 

This new digital homebrewing system comes in two different versions.  The “low rider” format featured at the top of the article and this tippy dump version that is shown above. The two formats are priced similarly, so depending on which design works best for you, that can drive your choice.

 

What makes this new MoreBeer homebrewing system so incredible is the innovative new digital touch screen brewing control system.  This new digital brew rig control system is built around a 7 inch touch screen that lets you control everything from times and temperature to setting reminders for additions throughout the entire home brewing process. They have really brought home brewing into the future with this new digital brewing system.  The touch screen control panel allows the home brewer to  choose from 3 preset mash schedules and even design their own schedule with up to 5 steps.  Best of all, the digital control module maintains the hot liquor tank temperature for you by automatically turning the burner off and on and monitoring the temp with a digital probe.  If you are old school or afraid of Sky Net taking over, there is also a manual mode that allows you to over ride the system.

 

Click Here for all of the details and pricing on these new MoreBeer Digital Homebrewing Systems!

 

Morebeer also sells a variety of other homebrewing rigs, brew stands, brew rigs, homebrew rack, brew sculptures and homebrewing stands from other vendors such as Blichmann and Pico Brew.

Blichmann Fermenator Conical Fermenter Sale at MoreBeer

Blichmann Fermentator Conical Fermenter Sale

I just purchased a couple of conical fermenters and now it seems like all that I do is blog about conicals.  Well, this will be my last for a while, well at least until next week because I am just finishing up my temperature control unit and plan on posting some photos about that. I had to write this one because right now MoreBeer has a huge sale on Blichmann 7 gallon, 14 gallon and 27 gallon Fermentator conical fermenters currently going on.

 

Blichmann 7 Gallon Fermenator Conical Fermenter

Blichmann 7 Gallon Fermenator Conical Fermenter

 

Right now, you can get this 7 gallon Blichmann stainless steel conical fermenter for only $499

Click Here for the 7 Gallon Conical Fermenter Sale

 

 

Blichmann 14 Gallon Fermenator Conical Fermenter

Blichmann 14 Gallon Fermenator Conical Fermenter

 

Right now, you can get this 14 gallon Blichmann stainless steel conical fermenter for only $533

Click Here for the 14 Gallon Conical Fermenter Sale

 

 

Blichmann 27 Gallon Fermenator Conical Fermenter

Blichmann 27 Gallon Fermenator Conical Fermenter

 

Right now, you can get this 27 gallon Blichmann stainless steel conical fermenter for only $707

Click Here for the 27 Gallon Conical Fermenter Sale at MoreBeer

 

 

Blichmann is known for their high quality homebrewing products and they have not compromised their standards on their conical fermenters.  They are some of the best stainless steel conicals available to home brewers. These Blichmann stainless steel conical fermentors features a weld-free interior, a dump valve for removing yeast and sediment, and a rotating racking arm for clearn beer transferring. Prior to bottling or kegging your home brew, you can dump your yeast and trub out of the bottom valve, making for a very clean transfer and giving you the ability to harvest your yeast. The lid has a removable hatch that is pressure capable, allowing you to easily transfer using CO2 to minimize air exposure and oxidation.

Click Here To See All Of The Deals

 

Retrofitting a 7 Gallon Stainless Steel Conical Fermenter to fit in a Chest Freezer

Stainless Steel Conical Fermenter ANIMATION

Stainless Steel Conical Fermenter ANIMATION

 

Recently I had purchase a 7 gallon stainless steel conical fermenter and was in heaven until I realized that it did not fit in my converted chest freezer / fermentation chamber! So you know what that means; time to grab the cut saw and go all A-Team on the conical fermenter.

 

Stainless Steel Conical Homebrewing Fermenters

Stainless Steel Conical Homebrewing Fermenters

 

In the above photo, the stainless steel conical fermenter on the right is the 7 gallon unit that I am converting to fit into the chest freezer.  I am adding a temperature control unit to the stainless steel conical fermenter on the left and will cover that project in a future blog.  So to start, I had to replace the lid on fermenter with the lid from one of my stainless steel brew buckets.  Because the stainless steel brew bucket lid is flat, it saved me a few inches and let me connect a stainless steel elbow pipe fitting so that I can use a blow-off tube as opposed to an airlock which save me another couple of inches.  With those simple modifications, I was just about there.  Next I measured the clearance space from the lower valve to the floor and I had approximately 4 inches of clearance.  So I trimmed each leg down approximately 3 inches as you can see in the photo at the top of the page.

 

The modifications to my stainless conical fermenter worked perfectly and now it easily fits in my chest freezer and I am once again a happy man. You can see the photo below. If all goes well, I will brew my first batch with this fermenter this weekend and will let you guys know how it goes, but so far I have been very happy with the quality. I gave it a good cleaning and there were no leaks, all of the welds are perfect and the valves and fittings are all very high quality.

 

If you are looking to purchase one, they are currently available for just $395!

Click Here For the 7 Gallon Stainless Steel Conical Fermenter

 

If you need on of the stainless steel brew bucket lids, they can be purchased here for $23

Stainless Steel Brew Bucket Conical Fermenter Lid

 

 

Conical Fermenter

Conical Fermenter

 

 

 

Stainless Steel Conical Fermenter Sale at MoreBeer!

Stainless Steel Conical Fermenter Sale

Stainless Steel Conical Fermenter Sale

 

Act now and save big at MoreBeer.com!

MoreBeer is currently having a sale on their top of the line Stainless Steel Conical Homebrewing Fermenters.  If you are not familiar with MoreBeer you should check them out.  Not only are they one of the best homebrewing supply outfits but they also manufacture some of the best homebrewing products, including stainless steel brew rigs and stainless steel conical fermenters.  Right now their line of stainless steel conical fermenters is on sale and you can save a bundle while it lasts.

 

There is no promo code needed for this offer and it is valid on their 7 gallon conical fermenter, 14 gallon conical fermenter and 27 gallon stainless steel conical fermenter. These conical fermenters carry a 5 star user rating and are probably the best home brewing conical fermenter on the market.

 

Stainless Steel Conical Fermenter

Stainless Steel Conical Fermentor

 

These home brewing stainless steel conical fermenters are designed and fabricated in the USA by MoreBeer’s fabrication team of homebrewers. MoreBeer offers a variety of sizes for your homebrewing needs, from 5 gallon batches to above 20! These conical’s are built to last and are made from food grade 304 stainless steel. They also have the ability to hold up to 5 psi of pressure for sealed beer transfers. MoreBeer conical fermenters are built with professional quality and sanitary tri-clamp fittings that are welded in place for a lifetime of use. The have also included a stainless steel rotating racking arm that permits you to adjust where you are drawing beer from on the inside of the conical fermenter. The hatch on the top of the fermenter lid allows you to add dry hops or oak during the fermentation process if desired.  MoreBeer homebrewing conicals are trusted by breweries like Sierra Nevada, Stone and Russian River for their pilot brewing systems.

 

Here are some of the features that these stainless steel conical fermenters boast:

  • 304 Stainless Steel Construction and 1.5 inch butterfly valve
  • Commercial-quality gasket made from durable, food-grade silicone
  • Stainless Steel threadless racking arm
  • Professional sanitary sample and transfer valve
  • Cone removes from stand for easy cleaning
  • Domed lid with 3 inch clover fitting at the top
  • Sturdy lid clamp allowing for 5 PSI of pressure (with addition of CO2 Adapter package)
  • Includes stopper and airlock

 

With the current sale you can save hundreds of dollars on these fermenters!

7.5 Gallon Stainless Steel Conical fermenter $649

14 Gallon Stainless Steel Conical fermenter $699

27 Gallon Stainless Steel Conical fermenter $899

Click here for more details on this limited time promotion on MoreBeer Stainless Steel Conical Fermenters

 

Adventures in HomeBrewing Sale on All Grain Beer Stands

If you are looking to transition from extract brewing to all grain homebrewing and want to do it as inexpensively as possible; Adventures in Homebrewing is currently running a sale on All Grain Homebrewing systems that might be perfect for you.

Adventures in Homebrewing Coupon Code

Adventures in Homebrewing Coupon Code

Promotion Details:  Complete 15 Gallon All Grain Brewing System for $1299

Here are the details on this Homebrewing.org All Grain Brewing System.  Adventures in Homebrewing Brewing Rig \ 15.5 gallon all grain brewing system allows you to brew up to 12 gallon beer batches. This homebrew system even comes with one pump to be used on your mash tun. This all grain homebrewing kit comes with everything you need but you can also upgrade your Hot Liquor Tank and Boil Kettle to a 2 weld pot, for installing items like a thermometer instead of a long stem clip on thermometer. This all grain homebrew setup also comes with a 3 burner system.

Here is what this all grain homebrewing system comes with:

  • 1-Two Weld Mash Tun
  • 1-False Bottom and Legs
  • 1- 1/2″ NPT 2″ Thermometer
  • 1-One Weld HLT Kettle
  • 1-One Weld Boil Kettle
  • 1-10″ Flat False Bottom
  • 1- 1/100th March Pump
  • 3 Burner System w/ Regulator and Hoses
  • 1- Stainless Steel Braided Hose
  • 50′ Copper Immersion Wort Chiller
  • Homebrewing Mash Paddle
To take advantage of this home brewing promotion, use the coupon code listed above if applicable and click on the following promo code link:

Click Here for this Homebrewing.org Homebrew Rig Promotion

 

If you are looking for a slightly higher end version of a 15 gallon home brewing rig, they also have a sale going on for their 15 Gallon Ruby Steer brew rig for $2850!

 

Ruby Steet Homebrewing Rig

Ruby Steet Homebrewing Rig

Here are some of the features of the Ruby Street Homebrew Rig:

  • Steel tube frame construction with powder coated finish on frame
  • Includes 15.5 Gallon 304 Stainless Steel Kettles w/ Lids
  • 3 piece ball valves included on all kettles and pump
  • Stainless steel flexible gas lines
  • Propane regulator including 4′ stainless braided hose included
  • Magnetic drive pump included with stainless steel drip shield and stainless outflow control valve
  • All sanitary tri-clamp fittings on mash tun, boil kettle, and pump.
  • Both boil kettle and mash tun include 18 gauge perforated false bottoms and 1/2″ stainless steel dip tubes.

 

 The Ruby Street Homebrewing Rig Sale is available here

 

 

Russian River Consecration Homebrewing Beer Recipe Kit

Russian River Consecration Homebrewing Beer Recipe Kit from MoreBeer – MoreBeer.com

 

Homebrewing Russian River Consecration Beer Recipe Kit

Homebrewing Russian River Consecration Beer Recipe Kit

 

About a year ago now, I brewed this MoreBeer.com clone of Russian Rivers Consecration sour ale. It is a fantastic beer, one of my favorites and this homebrewing beer recipe kit really does it justice. After allowing my Consecration to age for about 12 months and then tasting the two next to one another, they are a very close match.

 

This Russian River Consecration Beer Recipe Kit is released by More Beer with Vinnie from Russian River Brewing’s blessing and he actually released his Consecration recipe to them. If you have not had the pleasure of tasting this incredible sour beer, Consecration is a sour dark ale aged in a Cabernet Sauvignon barrel. The beer ages for almost 8 months with currants and brettanomyces. What makes this MoreBeer homebrewing ingredient kit so special is that they provide actual oak chunks from real Russian River Consecration barrels! Where else are you going to find a home brewing ingredient kit with that. They also include two pounds of currants to replicate the original recipe as much as possible.  I have had great success with this Consecration Homebrew ingredient kit and I highly recommend it to any sour beer lover.

 

 To Purchase the Consecration Homebrewing Clone Recipe Kit, Click Here

 

Here is a quick video review of the Russian River Consecration Beer Recipe Kit!

 

If you have any question on this Russian River Consecration clone beer kit, feel free to reach out to me. Happy home brewing!

Guide on how to make beer at home. A beginners how to on brewing beer with an extract home brewing kit.

Instructions for brewing beer at home.

How to guide on how to brew beer at home.

 

Over the last several years, both craft beer and homebrewing have become very popular.  Every day new home brewers are born as they attempt to brew their first batch of beer at home.  This guide on how to brew beer at home covers the basic instructions on how to brew beer with a extract home beer brewing kit and goes over the basics beer brewing rule of thumbs so that you can create a great batch of beer your first time out!

 

Lets start with the what you will need to brew your first batch of beer.  I would recommend staring with an extract home beer brewing ingredient kit and one of these homebrewing equipment starter kits.   Click on the image below to pick out a home beer brewing equipment kit if you have not already purchase one:

 

Homebrewing Equipement Starter Kit Includes most of the basic equipment you need to brew beer at home

Homebrewing Equipement Starter Kit

 

Next you will want to pick out the extract home brewing ingredient kit that you will want to brew. These beer brewing ingredient kits include all the ingredients that you will need (except the water) to brew your first batch of beer, including the hops and grain extract.  Make sure that you select an appropriate yeast and priming sugar if your will be bottling your beer.  I choose to brew an American Wheat beer for my first batch and had allot of success with it, but I recommend you choose one of your favorite beer styles for your first batch.  MoreBeer offers a great selection of home brewing beer recipe kits, click the beer image to view their starter kit selection.

 

Home Beer Brewing Ingredient Starter Kits

Home Beer Brewing Ingredient Starter Kits

 

Optional equipment that you will want to consider to help your first home beer brewing session go as well as possible are as follows.  I would recommend if you are brewing a 5 gallon batch of beer that you purchase a stainless steel 8 gallon home brewing kettle.  This will provide you with some additional head space in the kettle and help you avoid a boil over during the boiling process.  A great economical brew kettle would be this 8.5 gallon stainless brewing pot. Click the image for additional details and to order one.

 

8.5 gallon stainless home brewing kettle

8 gallon stainless home brewing kettle

 

Another item that I would recommend is a stainless steel home brewing wort chiller.  A home brewing wort chiller is important because after your beer has boiled it is concentrated with sugar and very susceptible to infection by bacteria or wild yeast strains.  A wort chiller helps cool your beer down rapidly after the boiling process has completed so that you can move it over to a sterilized fermenter to begin to fermentation process as quickly as possible and diminish to probability of an infection occurring.  Here is a great wort chiller for 5 gallon home beer brewing batches.

 

Stainless Steel Wort Chiller

Stainless Steel Wort Chiller

 

The last set of equipment that I would recommend if you can fit it in your budget is a home brew beer kegging system.  Cleaning, sanitizing, priming, filling and capping your beer bottles is a serious pain in the butt and a kegging system helps you avoid just about all of that.  Not to mention it allows you to control your carbonation level and is much safer since an over carbonated bottle can explode! Here is a great home beer brewing keg system that I would recommend. Please click the keg system image for more details and pricing options.

 

Home Beer Brewing Keg System

Home Beer Brewing Keg System

 

Alright, now that we have all of that out of the way, we can get down to business!  Here is a basic guide on how to brew beer at home.  If you have any questions on one of the steps you can always feel free to reach out to me and I will do my best to give you good advice.

 

Step #1:
Review your beer brewing recipe and make sure that you have everything that you will need to brew your batch of beer.  Set your yeast out so that it will acclimate to room temperature. Begin heating the water in your brewing kettle or large pot. Once the water is heated to the desired temperature add your flavoring or steeping grains if included with your home brewing ingredient kit. Place the grains in a mesh bag and allow them to steep for approximately 30 minutes at 160F or the temperature your beer recipe states. Once the grain steeping is completed, press against the grain bag with a spoon to release as much as the flavor as possible and then remove the grain bag and bring the mixture to a boil.

 

Home Beer Brewing Ingredients

Home Beer Brewing Ingredients

 

Step #2:
Once your water has reached a boil, reduce the temperature just slightly and add in your liquid malt extract and or dry malt extract. The malt extract is composed of sugars that have been extracted for you from beer brewing malts and grains. Stir the mixture which at this point in the home beer brewing process is known as wort. Stir you wort vigorously, making sure that it does not clump or burn on the bottom of the kettle or home brewing pot. Slowly increase the temperature until the kettle until it reaches a boil. At this time you will want to closely monitor your home brewing kettle closely to avoid a boil over.  A kettle boil over is most likely at the start of your boil than at any other time.  If you notice a large head of foam begging to form, reduce the temperature of the kettle and rapidly stir the wort until it subsides. Once your wort has been boiling for 5 minutes, begin your boil timer for hop additions.

 

Home Beer Brewing Hops

Home Beer Brewing Hops

 

Step #3:
Once your wort has achieved a strong rolling boil you will want to add in your first timed hop addition. Hops are what adds the bitterness to your beer and much of the aroma. Typically your bittering hops are added early in the boiling process and much remain in contact with the boiling beer for an extended period of time (usually 60 minutes) to transfer all of their bittering potential to the beer; so keep in mind that the longer that your hops are exposed to the boiling wort, the more bitter the finished beer will be. Once you have added in your first hop addition, you will want to set a timer for your next hop addition.

 

Step #4:
Once you have finished boiling your wort and making all of your hop additions including any final 0 minute aroma hop additions; turn the heat off and cool the wort as quickly as possible.  This is the time when you would want to utilize your wort chiller if you decided to purchase one.  The wort chiller will allow you to cool your wort rapidly. If you do not have a home beer brewing wort chiller available then I would recommend soaking your beer brewing kettle or pot in an ice bath while stirring the wort to help it cool down more quickly. Make sure that the spoon that you stir your wort with is sanitized, because from this point forward your wort will need to remain as sterile as possible to help avoid a contamination in your beer from bacteria or foreign yeast sources.

 

Step #5:
Once you have cooled your wort to approximately 70 F (for an ale or 50 F for a lager), you will transfer your home brewing beer wort to a sanitized carboy, stainless steel ferenter or fermentation bucket. It is important to make sure that the fermentation vessel and any tubing the wort comes in contact with has been cleaned and sanitized! Try to splash the wort around while transferring it as that will help to oxygenate the wort. The yeast utilizes the oxygen for its initial reproduction phase of the fermentation process. Once the wort has been transferred to the carboy, add your home brewing yeast into the fermenter and seal the fermenter with an airlock. The home brewing airlock will permit CO2 to escape while not allowing in any outside contaminants or oxygen. Allow the beer to ferment at approximately 68 F for an Ale or 52 F for a lager, until the fermentation process has completed. The fermentation process typically takes between 2 to 3 weeks to complete depending on the potential alcohol level of the beer, the yeast and the fermentation temperature.

 

Step #6:
Once the yeast has completed fermenting your beer, which typically takes 7-21 days; then either transfer the beer to a keg or add an appropriate amount of priming sugar to the beer and then bottle it. The beer should carbonate condition for about 2 weeks for best results. If you are using a keg and CO2 tank to carbonate your beer, the process can go much quicker. Keep in mind that if you are bottling your beer you will want to let the beer carbonate and condition at approximately 70 F so that the sugars can be fermented into CO2 to properly carbonate the beer.  Once completed, your beer is ready to enjoy!

 

For home beer brewing equipment and supplies I highly recommend MoreBeer.com.

 

West Coast Brewer Session Pale Ale

West Coast Brewer Session Pale Ale

 

Homebrewing.org Adventures in Home Brewing Sale of Homebrewing Clone Beer Kits

Homebrewing

Homebrewing

 

Thinking about brewing up your next hombrew batch but you are not too sure what to brew?  Maybe you want to test your metal and see how your home brewing skills compare to the big craft brewers out there?  Well this might be a great time to see how you compare and save yourself a few bucks at the same time.  For a limited time, the guys at Homebrewing.org or Adventures in Homebrewing are having a promotion where you can save 10% off of many of their home brewing clone recipe kits, and we are talking some really good clone beer kits.  Just some of the clone recipe kits include, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Clone, Two Hearted Clone Recipe Kit, Three Floyds Gumballhead Clone Home Brewing Recipe, Russian River Pliny the Elder Homebrewing Kit, Blue Moon Beer Recipe Kit, Summer Shandy Homebrewing Recipe Kit and Fat Tire Clone Recipe Kit.  There are many more to choose from.

 

No promo code or coupon code is needed to take advantage of this sale, just click the following link for a full listing of the available homebrew clone kits!

Homebrewing Recipe Kits 10% Off

Home Brewing Fermenters!

Home brewing stainless steel conical fermenters!

Homebrewing Fermenters

Stainless Steel Conical Homebrewing Fermenters

 

Back in my day, if you were a home brewer and wanted to ferment your beer, you only had a few options. You could ferment in a bathtub, plastic bucket, glass carboy or perhaps if you liked to hang out at the Renaissance Faire a bit too much you might ferment your beer in a wooden barrel.

 

Renaissance Faire Beer

Image courtesy of Angelfire

 

But now a days with home brewing growing so rapidly in popularity we have it easy and there are a variety of fermenter options we can choose from! So wipe that mascara and tears from your eyes pirate man, because home brewers can now brew with small scale versions of what pro brewers use and for relatively low prices. As a matter of fact, right now you can pick up a 14 gallon stainless steel conical fermenter for $495. Click here for more details. These are not some piece of junk fermenter either, they are the real deal, constructed from Food Grade 304 Stainless Steel.  Here are some specs on the stainless conicals:

 

  • Rotating Stainless Steel Racking Arm
  • 60° cone for yeast harvesting and cleaning
  • Weldless thermowell included
  • 1.5” Tri-Clamp Fittings on the lid, side and bottom
  • Molded Silicone Gasket for airtight Lid seal.
  • Pressure relief valve included
  • Spring-Loaded Lid Clamps hold Lid in place
  • The fermenter is pressurizeable to 5 PSI for beer transfers
  • Electrically etched (not painted) gallon markings

 

Stainless Steel Homebrewing Fermenters

Stainless Steel Homebrewing Fermenters

 

You can pick up a 7 gallon version of this stainless steel conical fermenter for just $395, but I would recommend the 14 gallon version which is currently $495 and is perfect for 10 gallon beer batches. Even if you are not brewing 10 gallon batches now, you may be down the road, so it is something to consider.

 

Click here for a full list of available fermenters

West Coast Brewer featured stainless steel home brewing fermenters

Article Keywords: Home brewing, Conical fermenters, stainless steel homebrewing fermenters, home to ferment your home brewed beer, best home brewing fermenters, beer fermentors, stainless fermentor, homebrew.

How to Brew a Great Lager!

How to brew a great lager!

home brewing lager beers

How to brew a great lager

 

For the most part home brewers tend to start out brewing ales and stick to them since ales ferment faster, tend to be a bit more versatile than lagers and do not require you to keep your home at the temperature of a morgue if you want to ferment your beer in your closet.  Not to mention, most home brewing supply shops tend to release far more ale recipes than lager recipes and relatively few craft breweries even have a lager in their beer lineup.

 

So why brew a lager?  Because lagers are awesome! They are crisp and clean, delicious to taste and beautiful to look at!  In fact, some of the worlds best beers are lagers. Not to mention, lagers were session beers before session beers were even a thing, which means you can throw back a few lagers while brewing a batch of beer and not be so tipsy that you forget to add your hops to the brew kettle or pitch your yeast in the fermentor.  And do not go thinking that a lager has to be some low IBU (International Bittering Unit) grandma beer.  Several breweries have been crafting beers like IPL’s India Pale Lagers and other non traditional lager styles that will make you rethink what a lager is.

 

Brewing Lagers

Brewing Lagers

 

Now that we have that squared away, lets start at the beginning. What is the difference between a lager and an ale?  Lager is the German word meaning storage or to store.  As in, “Kann ich bitte lager meine Essiggurke in Sie” or “Can I please store my pickle in you”.  The Germans called a lager a lager because they would cold store the beer for several weeks as it fermented and after it fermented, creating an exceptionally clean and crisp beer.  That does not mean that you can just place your ale in a closet for 6 weeks and all the sudden have yourself a lager.  A lager is fermented with a lager yeast as opposed to an ale yeast.  Lager yeast is different from ale yeast in a few ways.  For one thing lager yeast conducts most of its fermentation at the bottom of the fermentor as opposed to an ale which does so at the top of the fermentor. Most importantly is the temperature at which the fermentation occurs. While the ideal fermentation temperature for most ale yeast strains is right at about 68 F, the ideal temperature for most lager yeast strains is about 50 F, which means you better buy a jacket with your lager recipe kit if you are going to ferment in your living room.

 

So how do you brew a great lager?  To start with, you are going to need a great recipe kit.  Lagers can be pale or dark, do not let all of the typical mass brewed American lagers skew your understanding of what a lager is or can be.  A couple of great lager examples are Vienna lagers which are a beautiful amber color with a rich malty taste and a Munich Helles which has a pale golden color with a mild bitterness.

 

You can find some great lager home brewing kits here: Home Brewing Recipe Kits

 

Next you will want to select the ideal yeast strain for your style of lager. You can find a fantastic selection of lager yeasts here. If you can not decide which to go with, the Munich 2308 is usually a safe bet.  You can pitch these yeast packages directly into your fermentor but I recommend that you create a yeast starter for a few reasons.  Most importantly it will allow you to confirm that the yeast is alive and healthy, it will allow the yeast to return to an active state so that it can begin reproducing and fermenting immediately when placed in contact with your lager wort and lastly it will boost the yeast cell count to help insure a fast and complete fermentation takes place.

 

If you do not have access to a fermentation chamber such as a temperature controlled chest freezer, refrigerator or fermentor setup such as this one Brew Bucket Temperature Controller, you will want to make sure that you brew your lager during a time of the year where the average temperature that you ferment your beer will be approximately 50 F.  If it is much colder than that your fermentation process will slow to a crawl or cease all together, if it gets much higher your lager will ferment to fast and is likely to create unwanted off flavors .  You can also use items like an electric blanket and a temperature control unit such as this one Ranco Digital Temperature Controller, to help regulate your fermentation temperature.  Consult your specific lager yeast strain packing to find the ideal fermentation temperature as they can differ.  Keep in mind that patience is a virtue when it comes to brewing a lager and if you take your time you will more than likely be rewarded with a better beer!

 

In order to create the best tasting lager possible you will need to reduce or eliminate one of the more common off flavors in a lager which is diacetyl. To do so, you should perform a diacetyl rest at the end of your primary fermentation. Dicaetyl is described as tasting like butter and some popcorn manufactures use it as an artificial flavor for their microwave popcorn.  While it may make your popcorn taste better, it should be avoided in your lager and is something that your yeast will produce during fermentation.  The good news is that your yeast can also remove it! If at the end of your primary fermentation you allow your fermentation temperature to increase from 50 F to 55 F for a few days, the yeast will naturally begin to eliminate the dyacetyl from your beer.  After the three days you will want to reduce your fermentation temperature to 50 F once again.

 

One of the most important characteristics of a lager is its clarity and brightness!  For that reason, I suggest that you conduct a 2 stage fermentation and “lager” or store your beer in a secondary fermentor after primary fermentation has completed and the yeast and solids have consolidated on the bottom of your fermentor.  Primary fermentation will typically have completed in about 3 weeks or so but take gravity readings to be sure. Racking your beer off of the expended yeast, residual hop matter and fallen proteins will also help prevent off flavors from forming in your lager as your beer ages in the secondary fermentor. I would suggest allowing your beer to age for an additional 2 to 4 weeks in secondary fermentation.  During the final week of secondary fermentation I will typically cold crash my fermentor down to 38 F which encourages any fine particulates and residual yeast cells to drop out of the beer and consolidate on the bottom of the fermentor.  I then rack the beer to a keg and let it slow carbonate and condition for another week or so before enjoying!

 

Best of luck to you in brewing your lager and let me know if you have any suggestions that you would like to share with other West Coast Brewer visitors!

 

Joe

 

Home Brewing Stands and Home Brewery Rig Images

 

Home Beer Brewing Setups, Home Breweries, Homebrew Stands and Beer Brewing Rigs!

Home Brewing Stands, Beer Brewing Rigs and Home Brewer Racks

Home Brewing Stands, Beer Brewing Rigs and Home Brewer Racks

I am starting up a page to view your Home Beer Brewing Stands, Home Brew Rigs, Beer Brewing Racks and Brew Sculpture of West Coast Brewer viewers!  So if you have a photo or image of your home brewing setup, extract or all grain, big or small, please email them to me at joe@westcoastbrewer.com and I will get them posted!  It is always great to see the different home brewing setups to people have made to inspire others to build their own!

 

If you are looking to purchase a home brewing stand, I have compiled a list of available units here.

Home Brewing Stands and Beer Brewing Rigs for Sale

 

Here are a few of my favorites:

Some images taken from pinterest.com and homebrewingstand.com

 

Home Brewery

Home Brewery

Homebrewing Rig

Homebrewing Rig

Home Brewing Setup

Home Brewing Setup

Homebrewing Stand

Homebrewing Stand

Homebrew Stand

Homebrew Stand

 

 

Beer Brewing Configuration

Beer Brewing Configuration

beer brewing rigs

beer brewing rigs

home brewery

home brewery

brew rigs

brew rigs

 

 

Home Beer Brewing Setup

Home Beer Brewing Setup

Homebrewing Sculptures

Homebrewing Sculptures

Home Brewing System

Home Brewing System

Homebrewing Systems

Homebrewing Systems

homebrew rigs

homebrew rigs

Homebrew Setup

Homebrew Setup

 

 

Russian River Pliny the Elder Beer Kit

 Russian River Pliny the Elder Beer Kit

Russian River Pliny the Elder Beer Kit

Russian River Pliny the Elder Beer Kit

 

If you have never had the pleasure of trying Pliny the Elder, then trust me when I tell you that Pliny the Elder is perhaps the best example of a DIPA or Double India Pale Ale available for purchase.  It has a malty body that is perfectly balanced with one of the nicest hop profiles I personally have ever tasted. Unfortunately Russian River does not produce enough of it.  The good news is that you can brew it at home and MoreBeer has about the best kit around for it and it is sanctioned by Russian River Brewing.

 

They have a sale running on the Pliny the Elder extract beer kit today, but if you are an all grain brewer fear not, they have a Pliny the Elder All Grain version as well, it is just not on sale.

 

Click Here for Pliny the Elder Home Brewing Kits

 

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