Ahoy, brew enthusiasts! Today, we’re going to journey through time and space (well, not really) to explore the delightful world of the American Lager. This humble style has its roots in the good ol’ days of the 19th century when German immigrants brought their lager brewing techniques to the Land of the Free. American Lager is like that one friend who’s always there for you, reliable and easy-going. It’s simple, crisp, and refreshing. It’s my go-to brew for a laid-back day and you’ll see why when we brew this up together! And don’t worry, extract brewers, we’ve got you covered with this 5-gallon version!
- 6.6 lbs Pilsner liquid malt extract (LME)
- 1 lb Flaked corn
- 1 oz Cluster hops (7% AA) for bittering (60 minutes)
- 1 oz Saaz hops (4% AA) for flavor (15 minutes)
- 1 packet of White Labs WLP840 American Lager Yeast
- Water with proper mineral balance
- Bring 2.5 gallons of water to 160°F (71°C) in your brew kettle.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the Pilsner liquid malt extract (LME) until it is completely dissolved.
- Return the heat and bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Add Cluster hops and boil for 45 minutes.
- Add Saaz hops and boil for another 15 minutes.
- Chill the wort to 52°F (11°C) using an immersion chiller, counterflow chiller, or ice bath.
- Transfer the chilled wort to a sanitized fermenter and top up with cold water to reach 5 gallons.
- Aerate the wort by shaking or stirring vigorously, then pitch the American Lager yeast (WLP840).
- Ferment at 50-55°F (10-13°C) for 2 weeks or until fermentation is complete.
- Optionally, perform a diacetyl rest by raising the temperature to 65°F (18°C) for 48 hours.
- Rack the beer to a secondary fermenter and lager at 35-40°F (2-4°C) for 4-6 weeks.
- Bottle or keg, carbonate, and enjoy your laid-back American Lager!
- Original Gravity (OG): 1.045-1.050
- Final Gravity (FG): 1.010-1.012
- Alcohol by Volume (ABV): 4.5%-5.2%
- International Bitterness Units (IBU): 18-25
- Color: Pale straw to light gold
For this style, the use of Pilsner LME and flaked corn creates a clean, crisp, and refreshing brew. The flaked corn contributes a touch of sweetness and body, while the Pilsner LME provides a light, bready malt backbone.
The chosen yeast, White Labs WLP840 American Lager Yeast, is a classic choice for this style. It ferments clean and produces minimal esters, allowing the simple malt and hop flavors to shine.
Did you know that the American Lager is often considered the “gateway beer” for many people who eventually delve deeper into the world of craft beer? It’s approachable and easy to drink, making it a great starting point for those new to beer.
Popular Commercial Versions:
- Miller High Life
- Pabst Blue Ribbon
- Yuengling Traditional Lager
There you have it, my fellow brewers! Our quirky spin on the American Lager in an extract edition for your brewing pleasure. Once you’ve followed these steps and patiently waited for your beer to carbonate, you’ll be rewarded with a crisp, clean, and refreshing brew. The flavors are subtle, with a touch of sweetness from the flaked corn and a light, bready maltiness from the Pilsner LME. The Cluster and Saaz hops add a gentle, balanced bitterness and a slightly spicy, earthy character to the beer.
As for aging, American Lagers are best enjoyed fresh, so don’t worry about tucking this one away for a special occasion. Drink up and savor the fruits of your labor, knowing you’ve brewed a classic beer that’s perfect for laid-back days and relaxed gatherings.