Hey there, fellow beer lovers! Stu here, back with another fantastic brewing recipe. Today, we’re diving into the world of American Light Lager. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Stu, are we really making that?” But trust me, there’s a rich history behind this style, and it’s one of the most popular beers in the world for a reason. It’s crisp, refreshing, and perfect for warm summer days. So let’s get into it!
- 5 lbs Light Liquid Malt Extract (LME)
- 1 oz Saaz hops (4.5% AA)
- 1 oz Willamette hops (5% AA)
- 1 pack American Lager Yeast (Wyeast 2035, White Labs WLP840, or SafLager™ S‑23)
- 3/4 cup Corn Sugar (for priming)
- 4 gallons water
- Heat 2.5 gallons of water in your brew kettle to 155°F (68°C).
- Turn off the heat, then add the LME to the kettle and stir until dissolved.
- Bring the wort to a rolling boil.
- Add 1/2 oz Saaz hops and 1/2 oz Willamette hops for bittering (60-minute addition).
- After 45 minutes of boiling, add the remaining 1/2 oz Saaz hops and 1/2 oz Willamette hops for aroma (15-minute addition).
- Cool the wort to 70°F (21°C) using an immersion chiller or ice bath.
- Transfer the cooled wort to your sanitized fermenter, topping off with water to reach 5 gallons.
- Aerate the wort well, then pitch your choice of American Lager yeast.
- Ferment at 50-55°F (10-13°C) for two weeks.
- Conduct a diacetyl rest by raising the temperature to 68°F (20°C) for 48 hours.
- Lower the temperature to 35°F (2°C) and lager for an additional 4-6 weeks.
- Bottle (with 3/4 cup corn sugar for carbonation) or keg your beer.
- Original Gravity (OG): 1.038-1.045
- Final Gravity (FG): 1.008-1.013
- Alcohol by Volume (ABV): 3.8-4.6%
- IBUs: 8-18
- SRM (Color): 2-4
Now, let’s chat about the brewing process for this style. The American Light Lager is characterized by its use of adjuncts, such as corn or rice, to lighten the body and decrease maltiness. In this recipe, we’re using a light LME to keep things simple, but you could also use corn or rice syrup for a more authentic touch.
As for the yeast, we chose American Lager yeast strains due to their clean fermentation profile and low sulfur production. These strains will help create a beer that’s light, crisp, and true to the style.
Fun fact time! Did you know that American Light Lager is the most widely consumed beer style in the United States? It gained popularity after Prohibition, as it was easier to produce and appealed to a wide audience.
Popular commercial versions of the style include Bud Light, Coors Light, and Miller Lite. While these may not be every craft beer enthusiast’s cup of tea, they certainly have their place in the beer world.
As for aging, American Light Lagers are best enjoyed fresh. There’s no need to age this beer, as its delicate flavors won’t benefit from extended storage. In fact, aging it could lead to off-flavors and a loss of its refreshing quality.
In conclusion, the American Light Lager is a crisp, refreshing beer that’s perfect for those hot summer days. The expected flavors in this style are mild and subtle, with a light grainy malt character and a gentle hop bitterness. The finish is clean and dry, making it highly drinkable and thirst-quenching. While it may not be the most complex beer you’ll ever brew, it’s certainly one that’ll please a crowd and keep everyone coming back for more. So, there you have it, folks! A simple, easy-to-make American Light Lager that’s perfect for those lazy, hazy summer days. Give it a try, and you might just discover a newfound appreciation for this classic beer style.
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