While I was down in Florida over Christmas break I was able to try some imported German beer. I really like the Köstritzer Black that I tried, and even my mom who doesn’t drink beer thought it tasted good. It was a very smooth beer, a black lager that drank easily and didn’t leave any aftertaste. Now that I have my new beer fridge I decided that I could try a clone of this beer and lager it in the fridge at 35 F. This will be my first lagering attempt, other than the Gun Closet Kölsch which was lagered at around 50 F in my dad’s basement.
Activated the yeast pack. Put 1.5 gallons of water into my cooking pot and heated it to 155 F, at which point I added my grains in a grain bag to steep for 30 minutes. After steeping I rinsed the grains with another gallon of warm water, and then I heated the wort to a boil. As it was heating I added my liquid malt extract to dissolve. I also rinsed out my malt container with another gallon or so of water and added that to the wort.
When the boil began I added my first addition of 0.75 ounces of Hallertau hops. At 40 minutes I added another 0.75 ounces of Hallertau, and another half ounce at 20 minutes. At 15 minutes I put in a Whirlfloc tablet to help the beer clarify. After 90 minutes I turned off the heat and removed the wort from the stove.
I added ice to my primary bucket and then poured my wort into the bucket through a strainer to remove the hops. Stirred it to melt the ice and ended up with a final temperature of 75 F so there was no need for additional cooling. I measured the OG and pitched the yeast, then sealed the bucket and attached the blow-off tube.
1-14-12: Put into primary. OG measured at 1.051 giving an alcohol potential of 6.3%ABV.
1-25-12: Racked to secondary carboy, and placed carboy in my fridge to lager at about 35 F. SG measured at 1.018.
2-4-12: Checked SG and it was 1.017, so it has continued working a bit but very slowly. I was doing some reading about lagering and apparently it is suggested to go from primary fermentation temperature to lagering temperature over a period of several days as not to shock the yeast. I did it over one day, so the yeast may have been shocked into dormancy, but I hope they will continue to work a bit over the next few weeks and achieve an FG around 1.014.
3-10-12: Because I had lagered this beer for roughly 6 weeks I was not sure how much yeast was still in suspension. After doing a bit of reading on how to bottle condition lagers, I decided to add some fresh yeast to ensure carbonation. I rehydrated some dry yeast by adding it to 3/4 cup of water at 90 F for 15 minutes. In the meantime I boiled a pint of water and dissolved my priming sugar in it. I added the yeast and sugar to the bottling bucket when they had cooled down a bit, and then racked the beer onto them. Bottled into 56 12-ounce bottles. FG measured at 1.017 giving a strength of 4.5 %ABV.
3-21-12: The beer has already carbed nicely and I moved it to my beer fridge to store it. Initial tasting is very promising, a light bodied beer with some awesome roasted malt characteristics balanced by some malty sweetness.