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Outback Lager

This morning was brewday for my experimental lager with New World hops that I'm adding to my Outback range by calling it Outback Lager. Here's the recipe:

Brew day

Recipe Specifications
Recipe: Outback Lager
Date: 29 Jan 2020
Batch Size (fermenter): 24.00 L  
Estimated OG: 1.042 SG
Estimated IBU: 28.6 IBUs
Estimated Mash Efficiency: 75.6 %
Estimated Color: 6.2 EBC
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes
Finished water profile: Ca:28, Mg:3, Na:9, SO4:10, Cl:44

Amt        Name                                  Type         %/IBU  
29.49 L    Tesco Ashbeck                         Water        -      
3.00 ml    Lactic Acid (Mash)                    Water Agent  -      
3.82 kg    Weyermann Bohemian Pilsner (4.0 EBC)  Grain        90.0 %  
0.42 kg    IREKS Crystal Maple (3.5 EBC)         Grain        10.0 %  
1.20 g     Calcium Carbonate (Mash)              Other        -      
0.30 g     Calcium Carbonate (Sparge)            Other        -      
0.20 ml    Lactic Acid (Sparge)                  Water Agent  -      
12.00 g    Magnum [11.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min      Hop          15.6 IBUs
10.00 g    Galaxy [15.60 %] - Boil 10.0 min      Hop          6.7 IBUs
10.00 g    Motueka [7.30 %] - Boil 10.0 min      Hop          3.1 IBUs
1.00 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 7.0 mins)      Fining       -      
14.00 g    Galaxy [15.60 %] - Boil 2.0 min       Hop          2.2 IBUs
14.00 g    Motueka [7.30 %] - Boil 2.0 min       Hop          1.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg    Munich Lager (Wyeast Labs #2308)      Yeast        -      

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 4.25 kg
Name              Description                             Step Temperat Step Time    
Mash In           Add 24.49 L of water at 69.1 C          66.0 C        60 min      

Sparge: Dunk sparge with 5 L of water at 75.0 C

I ground my grains and did the water treatment while the water heated up and then got the mash on for an hour at 66.1C. First time out for my new BIAB bag. The usual one was beginning to look a bit ragged around the seams so I thought it best to pre-empt disaster by replacing it.

The iodine test proved that conversion was complete, though it's never really in any doubt.

Pre-boil gravity was a point above predicted. Near enough, and looks suitably pale. The wort-soup appearance is due to my bag-squeezing after the sparge. Doesn't matter, what doesn't come to the top of the boil as crud that I skim off falls to the bottom when the Whirlfloc goes in.

This recipe will use up the last of my Galaxy and Motueka from Brew UK. Motueka's not hard to find, but Galaxy can be so I've got another couple of bags of the 2019 crop in the freezer. Wouldn't want to be without Galaxy. That would never do.

Boil done and I collected 23.6 litres into the fermenter. A good result that will get me a full corny and a couple of bottles post-fermentation.

An OG of 1.041 all said and done and very pale it is too. Assuming I get my usual 85%-ish attenuation from the yeast and it finishes at 1.006 then it'll be a nice easy 4.6% lager.


Today was kegging day for my Outback Lager. It's been in the fermenter for a total of 3 weeks, having spent the first 5 days at 10C, the next week at 16C and then the last week at 19C just to give it a final push over the finishing line, so to speak. FG was, as expected, 1.006 for an ABV of 4.6%.

With an EBC of less than 4 it's very pale. I got a full corny and 3 bottles. Kwik-clear was added to the keg, the headspace purged with CO2 and it's now on at tad less than 20psi for the next 3 weeks of conditioning and carbonating at 6C. All the flavours of Galaxy and Motueka were there in the sample jar when I tasted it so hopefully this experiment in non-traditional lagers is going to come good.

Tasting notes

It's crisp, clear and tastes of Galaxy and Motueka. Exactly as intended then. Photo coming soon. The thing is I'm not quite sure in my head that a lager should taste this way. It goes against expectations. I can't get it out of my mind that it's just like I'd expect a chilled APA to taste. Nothing wrong with that of course; I've had and enjoyed chilled Sierra Nevada Pale Ale more than a few times and it really is an accomplished beer. Perhaps I just need to re-align my expectations after brewing so many lagers with Saaz and Tettnang, or maybe tone down the powerful citrus hops to more match the delicate balance found in lagers?

It's looking great and tastes like it should but I still think the citrus flavours of Galaxy and Motueka don't quite belong in a cold lager, perhaps because citrus flavours are acidic and lagers are cold and crisp so you're lacking balance in the form of malty sweetness.