Friday, December 19, 2008

Copper Lager 3

It's a pretty bad ice & snow storm passing straight through Chicago today. Last night Doplar radar showed the storm spanning from Lake Michigan all the way to the eastern boarder of Colorado. Yikes!

But when its freezing outside, lager season once again begins. To start it out right, I'll be brewing my 3rd annual Copper Lager. Years prior, this beer was made up from left over grains, and it was really a great beer no matter what hops were thrown in. This year however, the recipe is created special and with a few twists.

It's orange-copper color will come from Belgian CaraMunich 57L malt. It looks pretty dark and should be a nice replacement for the usual American Crystal. The hops should be a bit more focused with Sterling as bittering, and Perle as flavor/aroma. Also, I decide to throw the bittering hops in at 45 minutes till the end. I'm curious what a touch more hops at that time might do instead of the usual 60 minute addition.

The biggest difference is a change in yeast strain. Because I'll be brewing an Octoberfest lager with this yeast cake, I wanted to try out Wyeast's Octoberfest Lager Blend. I have a feeling it will be similar to the Bavarian strain.

This beer is really a fun one to make, and it has only gotten better every year. I hope these changes will make an even better brew. I may regret not making 9 gallons.

Please read about the others...
Copper Lager 2
Copper Lager 1

Copper Lager 3

8.0 lbs. Organic American 2-Row
2.0 lbs. German Munich
1.0 lbs. Belgian Wheat
.75 lbs. Belgian CaraMunich 57L

.80 oz. Sterling, 5.3%, pellet, 45min
.40 oz. Perle, 5.7%, pellet, 45min
.45 oz. Perle, 5.7%, pellet, 30min
.30 oz. Perle, 5.7%, pellet, 15min
.40 oz. Sterling, 5.3%, pellet, 15min

Wyeast 2633: Octoberfest Lager Blend decanted 24oz. starter

Brew Day Stats

Brewed: 12/19/08
Racked: 1/4/09
Kegged: 1/29/09

Water Adjustment:
Strike: .5 tsp Gypsum, .5 tsp CaCl, .75 tsp Acid Blend
2nd Sparge: .5 tsp Gypsum, .5 tsp CaCl, .25 tsp Epsom, .25 Kosher Salt

H2O/Grain Ratio: 1.25 qt/lb
Mash Ph: 5.1
Sacch. Rest Temp/Time: 152°F/60min
Mash Out Temp/Time: 166°F/10min
1st Batch Vol/SG: 3.85/1.061

2nd Batch Sparge H2OTemp/MashTemp: 183°F/172°F
2nd Batch Vol/SG: 3.65/1.026

Pre-Boil Vol: 7.5 gallons
Pre-Boil SG: 1.044
Boil Time: 90+min
Post-Boil Vol: 6 gallons
Mash Efficiency: 75%

OG: 1.054
IBU: approx. 30
Color/SRM: Copper-Orange/9-11
Ferment Temp: 50°F

FG: 1.018
ABW: 3.8%
ABV: 4.7%


1. Brewing went well. Hit the OG on the mark @ 1.054.
2. I recall the scent of this wort from previous years. Overall, it didn't smell as sweet. Perhaps the Crystal and Melanoidin/Aromatic malts are sweeter than the CarMunich.
3. Made changes to the hops after opening and smelling them. The Perle didn't smell bright and fresh enough, so I put more into bittering and moved some Sterling to the 15 minute position. Either my scale is broke or there was more hops in each 1 ounce package. I measured more than 2 might be a tad more hoppy this time around.
4. There usually is a fairly long lag time before fermentation with this size of yeast starter.
5. After 24 hours, it's a still wort. Just the very smallest sign that something is happening in there...when I swirl the carboy, the airlock bubbles pretty good. The temp is held at about 52°F, and it should pick up in the next 12 hours or so. Not too worried.
6. It's been super cold the past few days, and had to set the thermostat controlled heater up to 60°F just to maintain a temp near 40°F. But today the temp has risen into the 20's outside, and rose up in the porch, and as a result the fermentation temperature rose close to 54°F. Not so critical, and it's going back down slowly.
7. The smell of the fermenting beer is pretty good. A little sulfur notes coming out, and it seems like it'll be a pretty clean beer...not as sweet as the previous Copper Lagers. Pretty exiting to use a new lager yeast!
8. Tasting a carbonated bottle from primary, and a sample at kegging (which has a very subtle amount of carbonation), it does taste remarkably like the first two Copper Lagers. The FG is higher here, and the maltiness is a bit more accentuated, so in a sense it does have a level of sweetness. I thought this yeast would attenuate better.


Unknown said...

Ted, do you have a LHBS that you order from or do you order online? I've had some trouble finding Perle hops but you seem to always have a never ending supply! :)

Ted Danyluk said...

ZC, I tend to find Perle hops at our LHBS. I buy them from time to time. They are a decent replacement for Northern Brewer, and I can't find that one around here. I do order certain varieties online.

Russ said...


Two thoughts... First, I too am a fan of Perle hops and find them to be quite versatile--especially as a brewer who gravitates towards German styles.

Second, I was thinking about lager yeasts after having some issues with my Oktoberfest this past fall, and something occurred to me... Why should I use a different yeast strain for Maerzens? Traditionally, I can't imagine the Bavarian brewers went and got a different yeast just for their slightly stronger Oktoberfest brew. In fact, I'm not even sure they had isolated bottom-fermenting yeast when the first Oktoberfest took place. Anyway, I just brewed a Helles with WLP 838- South German Lager that came out really well and I've already decided to use that for next year's Oktoberfestbier. This is more a rant on my putting too much stock in the name of yeast than a comment on your yeast choice (after all, you yourself noted it will likely be similar to their Bavarian strain), but figured I'd share since you brought it up... well, sort of.