This was my second attempt at making a Czech Dark lager, with things going much more smoothly than the first time.
Because of the great experience I had with Atlantic Homebrew Supply when I ordered the ingredients for the Festbier, I decided to order the ingredients for this batch from them as well. Once again, I was pleased with their service, responsiveness in my asking about the alpha acid content of the Saaz hops, and timely shipment and delivery of my order.
The ingredients were largely the same as the last batch, with some slight differences in the amount of hops (due to a different alpha acid content) and foregoing the Wyeast 2000 Budvar Lager strain of yeast that caused me such problems previously in favor of the White Labs 802 version of the yeast.
The following ingredients were purchased:
- 7.5 pounds of Barke Pilsner Malt (1.5-2.2°L)
- 2.5 pounds of CaraMunich Malt (46.0°L)
- 8 ounces of Carafa II (375-450ºL)
- 3.0 ounces Saaz Hops (3.0% alpha acide)
- 2 packages of White Labs 802 Czech Budejovice Lager Yeast
The recipe was tweaked slightly from the previous batch of Tmavý Ležák. I was hoping for a slightly sweeter beer, much more in keeping with examples like Bernard rather than a pronounced roasted malt bitterness, which gave the previous batch more of a porter flavor. In continuing to research the style of Czech Dark Lagers, one suggestion that I found was to not include the darker Carafa II malt for the entire mash schedule, but rather to add for the last 10 minutes of the mash. I incorporated this into the mash schedule.
I again had problems with the valve on the mash tun clogging with grain. I’m thinking I’m going to have to make an adjustment, such as lining the bottom of my mash tun false bottom with mesh, such as that used for the brew-in-a-bag technique. It is clear that the grinding of the mash is finer that my false bottom can readily filter.
- Original Gravity: 1.054
- Final Gravity: 1.012
- Alcohol by Volume: 5.5%
- IBU: 23
- Color: 27°L
My original gravity measured prior to fermentation came in around 1.056. The beer was in primary fermentation for two weeks. Similar to the Oktoberfest Märzen I made two weeks previously, the gravity when I transferred the beer to secondary was again a point higher (1.022) than the targeted final gravity (1.012). After four weeks lagering time, I fined the beer with gelatin, let it sit for three days, and kegged/force carbonated it on the same day as the Festbier and the Märzen. I let it sit another 12 days before I tapped it to try it.
Holding the Carafa II malt out of the mash until the final 10 minutes seemed to cut down a lot on the roasted malt bitterness, though it was still present. I think this beer was probably a bit young when I kegged it, since it seems to have improved a bit in the month since I tapped the keg.