18 - The Unbearable Lightness of Brewing
4 Feb 2019
Brian Trammell
2 minute read

Brewed 4 Feb 2019 | Bottled 16 Feb 2019 | Yield 19.5L / 4.8% (11.3°P → 2.2°P)

bottle label

It’s fifteen degrees down in the cellar, which means it’s time to try my hand at a lager. Just trying to replicate Feldschlossli would be pointless and boring, though, so let’s make things a bit more interesting.

This is an attempt at a four-grain American light lager: malted barley, wheat, and dinkel, together with crushed boiled rice.

four grains in three pots

Grain Bill

  • 3400g Pilsner malt (7 EBC)
  • 495g Light Wheat malt (4 EBC)
  • 440g white rice (ground to 1/3 grain size, boiled 30min, mixed with 1/2 volume rice husks)
  • 385g Dinkel malt (4 EBC)
  • 50g Acid malt (5 EBC)


The mash program came from splitting the difference between a step infusion mash for a Swiss lager in the SiOS Braufibel and a recipe for American lager in the second edition of Papazian’s second book, with the amylase rest lengthened out to help convert the rice.

  • Mash in 23L @ 50°C
  • 30 min @ 50°C
  • 65 min @ 65°C
  • 15 min @ 72°C
  • 5 min @ 75°C
  • 5 min @ 78°C

Sparging was fast - 6L at 78°C took 8 minutes. Next time, fewer rice husks.


I boiled the wort for five minutes before adding the first hops. Hopping as follows:

  • Bittering: 60 min 28g 6.7% Cascade
  • Flavor: 30 min 10g 13.2% Citra
  • Aroma: 3 min 5g 13.2% Citra

Pitching and Fermentation

Cooling to 18.5°C with an immersion cooler took 36 minutes. Initial gravity was 11.3°P. Pitched 11.5g of Saflager W-34/70 (noting too late that this might be underpitching) to 22.5L of wort. Fermentation started after 48 hours and was done in 72, but the vagaries of my doing-nothing month-off schedule meant I left it in the fermenter an extra week.


unbearable lightness, bottled

All of this batch went into bottles. I primed with 100g of table sugar in 400mL of water, then left it to boil for long enough (oops) that I ended up with about 350mL of sugar solution. In addition to the customary flip-top bottles I’ve been reusing for the past four years, I also took the chance to play with my new 29mm bottlecapper and reuse some champagne bottles I’ve had in the cellar for a while.