How Do I Homebrew A Lager?

Question:

Can you provide some advice on brewing a lager?

Answer:

If you enjoy home brew lager, you might be interested in finding out a bit more about the brewing process itself. Brewing technology varies from one brewery to another, and it has also changed a great deal over time. Basically, however most beer has four main ingredients, which are water, yeast, hops and barley.

There are also four steps in the brewing process, which include:

1. Malting
2. Preparing the wort,
3. Fermentation
4. Maturation

Home Brew Lager: Malting

Malting is the process of sorting and weighing the barley, then purifying it to be sure there is no foreign matter in it. Then you steep the barley in water. If this is not done the barley will not germinate. The barley is kept at 58?F (14?C), and germination occurs after five to seven days. This process results in green malt, which is then dried in special ovens, a process known as kilning. When the moisture content of the green malt has dropped to 2-5%, germination is halted. Following kilning, you remove the sprouts from the malt, and then the malt is milled.

Home Brew Lager: Preparation of the Wort

Water is now mixed into the milled malt, so that it becomes a mash. The mash is then slowly heated, and when it reaches specific temperatures the enzymes begin converting the starches in it into simple sugars. This process takes over four hours, and the result is the wort. This is then filtered, so that there are no impurities in it. Now the wort is boiled, so that the enzymes cease working. Meanwhile hops are added. It is this which results in the characteristic bitter taste in the resulting beer. The boiling lasts around two hours, after which the wort is allowed to cool.

Home Brew Lager: Fermentation

This is usually considered to be the most important step of the process of brewing. The wort contains simple sugars, and with the addition of yeast these convert into alcohol and carbon dioxide. This process takes up to a week, but the length of time and the temperature are what determine the type of beer produced (lager or ale). The beer at this stage is known as green beer, and it is placed in tanks to mature, in a lagering cellar.

Home Brew Lager: Maturation

It is during maturation that the beer takes on its own aroma and flavor, and the carbon dioxide being released gives it the bubbles. This stage lasts between three weeks and a few months, according to the type of beer you want to produce. When it is ready the final product is packed into bottles or casks, and can be dispatched to its destination (your table?).

So will you try home brew lager, or some other type of beer?

Home Brew Lager: Have a Go

So why not have a go at home brew lager for yourself. You are bound to enjoy it, and gain a sense of achievement. When you drink your own lager, it will be worth all your time and effort!