How much of a taste difference is there between a standard store-bought
lager, and a home-brewed lager. I'm trying to decided whether or not to
try making some.
> Eric Nastav
I'd tend to agree with this, thought that's probably because we don't
really get any *good* lagers here. The stuff from the big boys is insipid
swill imo, and all the imports tend to be rather oxidized or skunked by
the time they arrive here.
You do need to have the ability to ferment at cool temperatures, of
course, and it does take longer to get a finished product than when making
an ale. But, it can be worth it.
Keep in mind that I think you'd find it difficult to really duplicate the
colour and flavour (or lack thereof) that you find in a run of the mill
industrial light lager. Not that I've ever tried mind you, I have
absolutely no interest in producing that sort of thing in my home brewery.
Several years ago, while my wife still liked bud light, I cooked up MWB--
Marlys' Wimp Beer. I took papazian's rice-beer recipe, swapped another
pound of grain for rice, and fermented warm with ale yeast.
I wasn't impressed, but Marlys and my coors-light type friends loved it.
Then one cold (by Nevada standards, not Iowa :) winter day, I tossed in
lager yeast, tossed it in the garage, and let it do its thing.
Turned out that it tasted wonderful. But for the first few mugs,
I waited until my wife was gone, and the curtains were drawnw.
It was probably not much more than 030 gravity, but it had a pleasant
bite to its taste, which I presume was the rice.
Now that I'm in a house in iowa, I'm presuming that I'll be making
lager all winter, and hit spring with 17 full and well-lagered kegs :)
These opinions will not be those of UNI until it pays my retainer.
> Well, I was asking because thus far, my motivation for home brewing has
> been making things I like myself for less money and being able to play
> with different ingredients.
> I don't like any store-bought lager so am a little reluctant to try
> making one.
If you mean Budweiser, Coors, Miller, etc., the chance of your duplicating it
at home, especially on your first try at a lager, is zero. Not because it's
good beer, but because it's hard to make beer that light in color, with that
clarity (it's all filtered), and that lack of off flavors (or desirable
flavors, for that matter) at home.
German lagers are a whole nother story. Unfortunately, you may have tried
those also and not liked them, because a lot of them aren't very good from the
store in the U.S. Some of them are ***to start with (Beck's) and the good
ones are frequently not fresh and/or spoiled by poor handling. Canadian and
Australian lagers are pretty much like the U.S. piss, if that good.
But if you get hold of a good German lager (say Paulaner's) that's anywhere
near peak condition, it's a whole new world. You aren't going to make anything
like that on your first try, either. After three years of trying to duplicate
Paulaner Oktoberfest, I've finally made something reasonably close.
By the way, have you tried Sam Adams? That's a pretty damn good lager by any
standard, especially fresh from the tap.
In any case, unless you have temperature control (such as a freezer and
controller) and are prepared to manage your yeast more intently than you would
with ale (mainly, you have to use a lot more yeast to overcome the low
fermentation temperature of a lager), you aren't going to make anything like a
real lager (clean, not "fruity", etc.) anyway.
But will you make something you like better than the store-bought U.S. and
Austra-swill mentioned above? Almost certainly. Is it worth trying? Why the
hell not? How else are you going to know for sure?