I’ve already written at length about my love of Pale American Lagers. The first time I embraced this dirty secret through homebrewing was Elkland Adjunct Lager. The original plan for this beer was something closer to Yuengling. Eventually, I decided to go paler and save that idea for another time.
Flaked corn is what put the Adjunct in Elkland Adjunct Lager. Despite going paler, I stuck with this in favor of rice because I understood that it would not go as extreme in the direction flavorlessness. I added some Munich malt and some crystal malt keep some character. I was also already leaning that direction because of the original Yuengling plan.
Things went off plan when the fermentation got stuck well before the planned terminal gravity. I was fermenting this on the cake that started as a single dry yeast packet for Mount Hoodie, then went on to ferment the Pilsner I brewed next, but have yet to write about. I have since learned that lager yeast is not usually repitched as frequently as ale yeast. Weather it was just yeast fatigue or some other issue that lead the fermentation to stick around 1.02 I’ll never know, but it turned out to help the beer in the long run.
I brewed this beer as five gallons and planned to add water to take it to six after fermentation. When the fermentation got stuck, I added champagne yeast. This secondary yeast went crazy and took the beer down to about 1.004. If I stuck to my original plan, that would put the beer over 6.5% ABV. I didn’t want that, so I added even more water.
The result was a whole lot of super dry beer that was delicious and extremely refreshing. The extra specialty grains I added may not have made the beer any maltier than it’s commercial counterparts but they kept it from being watery despite all of the fermentation issues and panicked changes of plan.
This is probably the beer that went the most off the rails during the brewing process while still ending up exactly where it should have been. It turned out, in my opinion, just as good as my favorite macro brewed lagers but is, unfortunately completely unrepeatable.
My notes for this beer are completely inadequate. Hopefully, this blog will keep me from making this mistake in the future, but I had all but given up on this beer after close to two weeks of stalled fermentation. I roused the carboy, tried some other yeast additions before the champagne finally worked and added and indeterminate amount of water to end up at the final product.
I will post a recipe below, but there were way too many variables for it to be anywhere near reliable. From the limited notes I have, I know that my original gravity was 1.062, my terminal gravity was extremely low and I added a whole lot of water that, according to calculations that are lost to the ages, ended up creating a beer that was 5.5% ABV. The beer is long gone, but I remember it fondly and I hope that this year’s Elkland Lagers can recreate some of it’s magic in a more repeatable fashion.
Elkland Adjunct Lager
Style: 1C. Premium American Lager
Brew Date: 5/5/2013
Serve Date: 6/23/2013
ABV: 5.5% (with a lot of water added)
3 lb 6 Row Pale Malt
2 lb Flaked Corn
1 lb Light Munich
.5 lb Crystal 10L
7 lb Pilsen Light LME
60 min Cluster to 15 IBU
15 min Cluster to 7 IBU
Racked onto third generation Saflager W-34/70
Champagne yeast added
Tried to keep it cool, but was way warm for a lager. Stuck fermentation lead to a very long primary and short secondary/lagering.