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Who Brews An American Light Lager for Brewpub?

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  • Who Brews An American Light Lager for Brewpub?

    wondering how many people out there actually brew a yellow fizzy American light clone out there for their brewpub?

    the new brewpub i am taking over duties at wants to eliminate the regular domestics from draft (hooray) but would like to offer an alternative house beer.

    i know alot of places do a blonde ale or kolsch but we have the extra place to actually do a lager if needed. i have sometimes witnesses domestic drinkers trying samples of psuedo-lagers and not really liking them. they seem to pick up on the ale characteristics.

    if you had the space and time would you rather go with a real lager?
    be authentic and use adjuncts?

    thanks for input

  • #2
    Try a Munich Helles.


    • #3
      Lager It Up!


      It's time to make some beer now!

      If you have excess capacity to do a lager and you can eliminate a big domestic from your tower, don't hesitate, just do it! Nothing against the big guys but you are a craft brewer and you should be promoting the history of beer and traditional and untraditional styles.

      As mentioned - try a helles style lager. Try to emphasize the malt character without finishing too sweet. Market your lager as malty, yet balanced. Don't forget, you are responsible for educating people about traditional beer styles and this is your avenue to do so. If your niche is set on an Emerican Laght Lager (American Light Lager) than use adjuncts to obtain those characteristics.

      If you have a single infusion brewhouse, don't count yourself out. Many great lagers are made on single infusion systems employing single infusion mash regimes. Pre-gelatinized adjuncts will also have to be used with infusion systems.

      Fermentation and maturation are the keys to great lagers. You need a minimum of 28 days in maturation. A solid VDK rest torward the end of fermentation is also essential.

      Lager strains are numberous however, more simplistic and unvaried than ale strains. Try 34/70 !!
      Last edited by Todd; 11-13-2008, 12:18 PM.
      Todd Malloy
      Director of Brewing
      Glenwood Canyon Brewing Co.
      Glenwood Springs, Colorado


      • #4
        The problem I see with a true lager would be turn around time. Chances are, it may be one of your top selling brews, so you will need to keep up with demand. How many tanks can youe dedicate to lagering? Will lagering this beer tie up tanks that could be used to make quicker full flavored ales? I brew a nice crisp, clean kolsch that appeals to the demographic you are referring to. Find a nice clean ale yeast, ferment it at a cooler temp(63-65) use some pilsner malts and a touch of nobel hops and serve well cold. You dont have to call o\it a kolsch. I call mine a light beer. The bud and labatts drinkers love it, and sooner or later you will see these people trying ambers and pale ales too.
        Tim Butler

        Empire Brewing Co.
        Syracuse, NY


        • #5
          yellow fizzy

          I brew a german pils with Saflager-23. All german pils malt in a 7bbl brew. It is very, very pale yellow and appeals to the domestic beer drinkers(we've managed to switch a few over to the craft side). Also it has become my favorite because of how drinkable and delicate, yet flavorful pils malt character can be. I even hopped it more than an american light lager but haven't heard anything about it being too bitter. I say pils all the way...a good way to appeal to the masses without abandoning your craft beer sensibilities. Just my two cents...
          Last edited by monkeybrewer; 11-13-2008, 02:15 PM.
          Jay Stoyanoff
          Plattsburgh Brewing Co.
          Plattsburgh, NY


          • #6
            I brew a Kolsch as well. Pils malt, a touch of wheat malt and a nice noble hop character fermented with a Kolsch ale strain from Weinstephan. Ferment a 64 degrees F and lager for no less than 4 weeks. It is my biggest seller 4 to 1 and it does tie up my tanks but the folks at the bar love it. Ran out once a month or so ago (for reasons beyond my control) and had so many complaints and a number of guest walk out because of it.

            I now always have two fermenters full of Kolsch no matter what.

            Bill Madden
            Mad Fox Brewing Co.
            Bill Madden
            CEO and Brewer
            Mad Fox Brewing Company
            Northern Virginia
            703.380.0622 cell


            • #7
              brewpub light beer

              The best light beer (lite??) that I have had on a brewpub level is Opa-Opa Steakhouse in southampton, MA.
              It seems to be a lighter version of their American Helles style, which mimics what has already been said in the thread.
              you can contact them HERE They are some really nice people that make good beer.



              • #8
                I recently started working for a chain of brewpubs that does make a straight-up American Light Lager. We do it with two-row on a single-infusion system and and a 28 day lager fermentation. The final product tastes alot like a slightly cleaner version of Miller. It is our most popular offering, and because of our customer mix, we'd probably lose alot of business if we didn't have it, since we too only serve our own beer and the first thing about 50% of folks ask for is Bud or Corona. If you are eliminating the macro-tower I really suggest having something very similar on hand for folks to try. Also I wouldn't bother with the adjuncts, our beer tastes amazingly close without them and as a server in the pub I find "all-malt" makes an excellent point for differentiating the product.
                Last edited by wlg; 12-11-2008, 08:57 AM.


                • #9
                  Yellow and fizzy

                  Ditto, I too work for a larger chain, infact, I wouldn't be surprised if the last post and I share the same boss. You certainly have to stay on top of your lager but I see Bud drinkers every day make the switch. It takes time but is a deffinate asset to my line-up. Cheers


                  • #10
                    Low carb

                    Well, by light you mean a low carb beer right? In Germany light beers are actually low alcohol beers. To further confuse, "Helles or Hell" is the German word for light (as in light in color). I brew a Munich Helles style Lager that is light in color but definitely not in flavor or alcohol (about 4.8%abv). We sell the beer this way also - we call it "light in color". I'm not sure, but I think if you call a beer in the U.S. a "light beer", you may be required to be able to back that up according to some regulation somewhere i.e. post the caloric content etc.


                    • #11
                      I brew two light lagers for our "transitional" folks here at the pub, a Pilsner and Helles lager. I ususally rotate them in production because I have only 4 fermenters, and keep 6-8 beers on tap. I use a unique lager strain that ferments a bit on the high end for a lager and I ferment it under pressure.
                      We turn these around in 3 weeks and have had great success. The strain produces a slight bit of sulfer at the begining of fermentaion but cleans out by the end of conditioning. Clean tasting and fully carbonated in 3 weeks!
                      I know.....hardly "traditional" lagering, but for a small brewery who wants to produce a light lager I highly recommend it. My colleagues who have had a pint are amazed when I describe the process to them.

                      Shoot me an e-mail if you want more specifics!

                      Beer is Fun!

                      Brian Ford
                      Auburn Alehouse


                      • #12
                        Try a Kolsch with american ale yeast. It is very simple and clean tasting.
                        Danny McGovern
                        Monhegan Brewing Co.
                        Monhegan Island, ME. USA


                        • #13
                          My 'fizzy yellow beer' will be a Pre-prohibition style cream ale, brewed with a full on cereal mash of local corn, pils malt, vienna malt, wheat malt and a touch of honey malt, Sterling and Mt. Hood hops to 25 IBUs and a cool ale ferment. I expect it to contend for our top seller along with our Wit and APA.
                          Fighting ignorance and apathy since 2004.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by drewseslu
                            My 'fizzy yellow beer' will be a Pre-prohibition style cream ale, brewed with a full on cereal mash of local corn, pils malt, vienna malt, wheat malt and a touch of honey malt, Sterling and Mt. Hood hops to 25 IBUs and a cool ale ferment. I expect it to contend for our top seller along with our Wit and APA.
                            Another yellow, fizzy beer:
                            10 degree P.
                            90% Pils malt
                            5% Munich malt
                            5% Wheat malt
                            Single infusion mash 158 - 160 F.

                            12 IBU from one addition, ferment 65 F. with American ale yeast, filter. Very clean with just enough flavor molecules.
                            Cheers & I'm out!
                            David R. Pierce
                            NABC & Bank Street Brewhouse
                            POB 343
                            New Albany, IN 47151


                            • #15
                              Light Beer

                              90% Pilsen
                              10 % Carapils 1.8 Lovibond

                              12 IBU Saaz

                              11 Plato

                              Oxygenate abit more, 60 Degree Fermentation, 1056 Wyeast, very clean and crisp. If you need a bit more dry, try some enzymes in the mash. No fruitiness present in final product.

                              Any opinions??