Vienna Lager Brew Day: Semi Short-and-Shoddy
As soon as I finished my fermentation chamber, I knew that I HAD to brew a lager. My WiFi temperature controller project is also up and running! I’ve kept away from lagers simply because I haven’t had a place to ferment them cool. And with my job I’m not really around enough to babysit the temperature controller when it’s time for the diacetyl rest and the cold crash.
Finally, have my WiFi temperature controller up and running, so I’m able to control my temperatures from anywhere in the world. I also ordered and received a Tilt Hydrometer, which transmits the gravity and temperature of my fermenting beer in real time! Fermentation temperature can be viewed online and then I can change the temperature accordingly from across the country.
I also wanted to give the “short and shoddy” brewing process a try that I’ve been hearing and reading about from the guys over at brulosophy.com. So, for this batch I tried a 30 minute mash and a 45 minute boil. The Brulosophy guys seem to be going with 20 minute mashes and boils, but I’m still a little skeptical about cutting the times down that much.
My big mistake was that I decided to go with the short and shoddy process after I had gone to get my ingredients, so the lower efficiency really shined through. I missed my original gravity by about 11 points. But if you feel like brewing a tasty SESSION Vienna Lager, then I think this recipe may be for you!
“Short and Shoddy” Session Vienna Lager
Estimated OG: 1.054
Estimated FG: 1.013
Actual OG: 1.043
Actual FG: 1.012
3.5 lb Vienna
2 lb Pale Two-Row
1 lb Flaked Corn
5 oz Crystal 40L
1 oz Mt. Hood at 45 minutes
WLP940 – Mexican Lager
I went with a 600 ml 24 hour starter of 1.030 starter wort. I used the SNS method in a mason jar.
HEB Spring Water
1 gram lactic acid
.5 gram salt
2.0 grams gypsum
Full boil volume at 154 for 30 minutes
Brew Day Notes
Brew day began around 10 AM. The goal for the day was to do my first attempt at a lager and also the “short and shoddy” brewing process. Mainly, I wanted to speed up my brew day and make less of a mess. I mashed in with my full boil volume of 4.5 gallons of water. Added 2 grams of gypsum, .5 grams of salt and one gram by weight of lactic acid. Set the timer for a 30 minute mash and a quick rise to 168 for a “mash out”. When I bought the grain bill, I hadn’t changed my mash and boil times in BeerSmith. My gravity was about 10 points low after the boil (which I lengthened to 45 minutes from 30). I will lower the efficiency in BeerSmith to 60% for my next quick brew day. More grain! Cooling was very quick and easy. I actually cooled below pitching temp and waited for it to warm back up before pitching around 2 PM. I took my time with clean up and finished around 3 PM.
The temperature controller is running great and the TILT seems to be very accurate. Diacetyl rest will be around 1.018 – 1.020 gravity and then transfer to crash in a secondary. Just to get the TILT out and turned off. Those batteries aren’t cheap.
TILT hydrometer is kicking ass. Sending updates every 30 minutes. I haven’t pulled a sample to compare to a hydrometer, but based on the fermentation schedule, the gravity is on track at 1.016. Showing 68% attenuation. Ramped slowly to 64 degrees F starting at about 1.020, which was 4 days into fermentation. Will crash when the SG stays solid for 2-3 days. Temp controller is working well as well.
Transferred to my 3 gallon PET carboy. This carboy was used to fruit a sour beer, but hopefully I got it properly sanitized. We’ll see if plastic DOES, in fact need to be kept separate. Placed in the fermentation chamber and crashed to 33 F. Finished SG was 1.012. TILT hydrometer was dead-on compared to a hydrometer reading. 72% attenuation and 4% ABV.