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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Dark Lager

After thinking a bit about which beer to brew I decided on a dark lager. I had tried to brew a dark lager a few years back. That effort ended with me being awoken in the middle of the night by the sound of bottles exploding. I had not tried again since then.

Why I decided on now as the time to once again tempt the dark side of lager beers, I cannot say. Perhaps it was simply the need to once again face that which had defeated me. Whatever the reason that compelled me, I, and my tasters, are glad that I did.

The recipe for this was a figment of my own imagination, flavored by my past experience. I started with a base of pale Pearl malt with some 20L crystal malt for a bit of flavor. Then I added a couple ounces of dark wheat malt for some sharpness in the flavor and a bit of color. The last ingredient was Kent Goldings hops.

For a yeast, I used one of my new favorites, Saflager dry lager yeast. This is a powerful, fast working yeast. When I bottled, only half the bottles were primed, with dry malt extract.

Unlike my previous effort, this time no bottles exploded. The result was a well carbonated (both primed and unprimed) dark lager. The flavor had a hint of hop bitterness with a very crisp sharpness from the wheat malt (and possibly the yeast) that was dominant and led to a dry finish. The unprimed bottles were slightly smoother, but very close to the primed bottles in flavor.

I gave this beer to several outside testers. I was a bit worried that it may be too sharp for some tastes. I need not have worried,it received universal approval. Ah, sweet success. I guess sometimes we need to revisit our failures to, quite literally, taste success.

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