Let me take you back to 17th-century Germany, where a revolution in brewing was bubbling up. No, this wasn’t a revolt against the king, but against boring beer! Brewers began to experiment with lagers, bottom-fermented cousins of the common ale. The result? A clean, crisp beer that took the world by storm. Fast forward to the present day, and I’m using those very techniques to recreate the most iconic brew from our favorite animated sitcom, The Simpsons – the legendary Duff Beer.
I simply love brewing this style because, while it’s one of the simpler ones, the taste that emerges is pure, uncomplicated goodness. It’s the everyman’s drink, refreshing, perfect for a lazy summer afternoon, or after a long day at the power plant. Now, let’s roll up our sleeves and get to it!
- 6 lbs light dry malt extract
- 1 lb Carapils malt
- 0.5 lb Crystal malt (10L)
- 1.5 oz. Hallertauer hops (4.5% AA)
- Wyeast 2007 – Pilsen Lager Yeast
- 5 gallons of pure, clean water
- 3/4 cup priming sugar for bottling
- Start by steeping the crushed Carapils and Crystal malt in a muslin bag in 2.5 gallons of water at 155°F for about 30 minutes. You’ll start to see your water take on a nice, golden hue – this is the good stuff!
- Remove the grains, bring the wort to a boil, and then add in your malt extract, stirring to prevent any lumping or sticking. Once the wort’s back up to a rolling boil, add 1 oz. of your Hallertauer hops.
- Boil for 60 minutes, then add the remaining 0.5 oz. Hallertauer hops for the last 5 minutes. This adds a slight floral note to the aroma.
- Now here’s where the fun really begins – the cooling and fermentation! Cool your wort down to 70°F as quickly as you can, transfer it to your fermentation vessel, top up to 5 gallons with cold water if needed, and pitch in your Wyeast 2007.
- Then it’s time to lager this beauty! Keep the fermentation temperature around 50°F for 2 weeks, then increase it to 65°F for the diacetyl rest for 2-3 days.
- After the diacetyl rest, gradually lower the temperature by about 5°F per day until it reaches 35°F. Maintain this for a month, then bottle with your priming sugar.
- Original Gravity (OG): 1.050
- Final Gravity (FG): 1.010
- Alcohol by Volume (ABV): 5.3%
- International Bitterness Units (IBU): 18
- Color (SRM): 4.0
Brewing Process and Yeast Selection
Lagers, including this Duff Beer replica, are bottom-fermented at cooler temperatures.
This slower, colder fermentation allows the yeast to create a beer that’s smoother, cleaner, and more rounded than many ales. There’s less fruity esters and spicy phenols in the mix, giving a prominence to the malt and hops, which is exactly what we want with our Duff.
Now, why the Wyeast 2007, you ask? Well, it’s true lager yeast, selected specifically for its ability to produce a wide range of lager and pilsner beers. This strain brings out the crisp, complex flavors and aromas of the malt and hops without adding any of its own – perfect for a beer with the clear, simple charm of Duff.
In “The Simpsons”, Duff Beer is presented as a stereotypical mass-market lager, similar to Budweiser or Miller. However, as craft brewers, we know we can make something that evokes the spirit of Duff but tastes so much better! Did you know, in some episodes, they hinted that Duff, Duff Lite, and Duff Dry all come from the same pipe? Just a little Simpsons humor for you!
Looking for a commercial brew that’ll give you a taste of what we’re going for? Check out ‘Narragansett Lager’ or ‘Pabst Blue Ribbon’. While they’re not craft beers, they do carry that classic American lager profile that our Duff Beer is trying to achieve.
Once the brewing process is done and your Duff Beer is ready to serve, expect a light, crisp beer with a golden hue. You’ll taste the clean maltiness, balanced by a subtle hop bitterness. It’s an easy-drinker, just like Homer Simpson would love.
Remember, like all good lagers, this one benefits from a little bit of aging. Resist the urge to pop it open straight away, and let the flavors meld and smooth out. Trust me, the wait is well worth it! So, pop that cap, sit back, and enjoy the refreshing goodness of your own, home-brewed Duff Beer – Mmm…beer!