Brewing a Lager with Erik Schmid – BeerSmith Podcast #56

by Brad Smith on March 25, 2013 · 3 comments

This week we discuss how to brew the perfect Lager with Erik Schmid from The Brewmeister homebrew shop. Erik tells us how to overcome some of the challenges with Lager including refrigeration, yeast selection, ingredients, aging and dealing with off-flavors.

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Topics in This Week’s Episode (39:03)

  •  Erik Schmid is this week’s guest. Erik runs two home brew shops (The Brewmeister shop) near Sacramento California, and is an expert in Lager brewing. He also joined us for Episode 40 on Pilsners.
  • We start with a discussion on some of the history of lagers -which are a relatively new invention – with most forming around the mid 1800′s.
  • A lot of new homebrewers head right out to their local shop and buy a lager kit so they can brew their favorite American lager – but this is a bad idea as Erik will explain.
  • We talk about how important refrigeration is for brewing lagers, as well as some popular control systems for fermenting your lager.
  • Erik describes some of the differences between lager and ale yeast, why its important to pitch with twice as much lager yeast, and also how critical aeration (oxygen) is for brewing a good lager.
  • We discuss some popular lager ingredients including Pilsner malt, Munich malt and Vienna malt as well as noble hops.
  • Erik explains the lager fermentation schedule, what the various steps are for, and why lagers take a lot longer than ales.
  • We talk a bit about off flavors that frequently occur in lagers such as the rotton egg smell, as well as what to do with it
  • Erik talks about the importance of extended aging for a lager at near-freezing, as well as how long it takes (months) to completely clean out a lager.
  • We discuss carbonation of lagers which benefit from higher carbonation levels which bring out the clean flavor
  • Erik shares his final thoughts on lagers as well as talks for a minute about his homebrew shops and new home brewing club
  • Erik provided me with two recipes for Lagers – the first was a German Pilsner and the second an American Lager

Thanks to Erik Schmid for appearing on the show and also to you for listening!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Phil July 11, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Erik mentioned an article by Charlie Bamforth about decoction mashing being dead. I’m very interested in the article, but I cannot find it anywhere. Could you post a pointer to it? I’d love to find another way to make traditional German style wheat beers without decocting.

Or better yet, have Charlie on the podcast for a discussion.

-Phil

Phil Robson September 27, 2013 at 8:57 pm

Regarding Erik’s comments on carbonation for bottling lagers, roughly how much additional yeast should add at the priming stage?

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