Sunday, January 16, 2011

Corn Lager and Corn Kolsch

I don't brew too many lagers, in fact I actually don't drink many either. I don't really know why that is, I do after all enjoy a nice Dunkel, Marzen or Pilsner, I guess I just don't have the desire to drink 5gals of it very often. Thinking about it now, it might be that in general I usually prefer a yeast driven beer and all the layers of complexity that brings.

Recently however, I was quite surprised by a very simple straight forward beer. I was visiting a relatively new brewpub here in the Phoenix area, and happened to order their sampler. The first beer I tried knocked my socks off and Ive been in love with it ever since. I didn't think Id ever be saying this but it was a lightish American lager, and wow was it good! Ever since then Ive tried to drop in now and again and grab a pint or two of this wonderful simple beer.

I tried unsuccessfully to get a hold of the owner/brewer for tips on creating a beer like this myself, but I didn't have any luck. Somehow I'm betting that I didn't send it to the right email, as Ive met him in the past and he seemed to be a pretty good guy. He's actually an ex-homebrewer turned pro with his own place, sounds like a blast, but probably has a lot more stress involved that Id be ready for so I can understand if he just wasn't able to get back to me. I do suggest if your ever in the area to stop by and try out his beer sampler, its dirt cheap and you get a lot of really good beers in the process.

Anyway, after quite a bit of research (drinking) I decided on a simple malt bill incorporating lots of corn for a nice round sweetness to round out the beer. As is with most of my beers now, I included a healthy portion of low aa hops to provide smooth bitterness and lots of head retention. My recipe is quite a bit more bitter and probably maltier than his, but I kinda wanted to have a bit stronger beer than his.

The one aspect of the beer I was actually most interested in finding out was the yeast, the beer is extremely clean and I actually think that was one of its best qualities, but honestly I didn't really know what yeast to use for something like this. Ive used a few lager yeasts in the past, but they always had that malty German lager quality to them, and this really didn't. I was planning on going with WY2105, 2007 or 2035 but as usual my LHBS didn't have anything I was looking for. So I was stuck between using a 6mos old smack pack of 2124 (aka w34/70) or a 1month old pack of WY2278 the Urquell D strain. Without much thinking involved I grabbed the Urquell yeast, I'm really hoping that very cool temps will minimize the Urquell-esque flavors, but only time will tell

Because it is such a light and drinkable beer, and before my yeast woes I had decided to do a double batch and had already bought all the flaked corn, so I still went with a 11gal batch, but instead of fermenting the whole batch with 2278, I split the batch and used a Kölsch yeast on 5gal. If anything a Corn kölsh should be pretty tasty! and Ill get the chance to really see the difference two yeasts can offer to a simple light beer.

Corn Lager & Corn Kölsch
Malt Bill
Amt (lbs)Type
4.0Flaked Maize
Amt (oz)TypeTime
4.5Crystal (3.3%)60
Mash Schedule
170F1.8qt/lb15min - vorlauf
YeastCzech Pils WY2278 - 5gal
Kölsch WY2565 - 5gal
11 galOG1048 est
? eff (didn't measure)IBU25
7gal BoilFG1010

Corn Lager Review - 3/8/2012 - Notes & Thoughts

Corn Kölsch Review - 9/18/2011 - Notes & Thoughts


Russ said...

Thanks for the head's up on Sleepy Dog! I'm meeting some college buddies in Phoenix next month so I'm scouting brewpubs in the area. The other recommendations I've gotten are Papago and Four Peaks.

Ryan said...

Four peaks has gone down hill quite a bit the last few years, Papago is a decent place although I enjoy Sun Up more than the rest

Sun Up is in downtown phoenix just off a metro stop, their ipa on cask is awesome!

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