Sunday, 18 October 2009

Theses on lager

  1. Lager shouldn't be fizzy.
  2. Most of the lager in the world is complete crap.
  3. Most drinkers have no bloody idea what a good lager is.
  4. This includes Germans.


  1. 4. To which I should add: "and not few Czechs".

    Re: point 2. Is most of the lager in the world proper lager to begin with?

  2. In a nutshell:

    Decoction mashed. Bottom fermented (better in open fermenters). At least 5 weeks (some would say more) of secondary fermentation in cold temperatures.

    Many lagers aren't decoction mashed and/or the time they spend in the lagering cellars is just enough to cool it down.

  3. Can't argue with much of that.

  4. Why are open fermenters better? Whenever the theme comes up I am always reminded of US microbrewery pioneer Ray McNeill ranting "The yeast doesn't know! It doesn't have any eyes!"

  5. PF,

    With you on the decoction mash, as I wrote about the other day on Fuggled. Agree with Barm that the open fermenter thing is irrelevant largely - probably it is a beer geek think because we like to see what is going on, hence I like my clear carboy instead of my opaque fermenting bucket.

    By your definition, and I agree with most of it, many lagers made in the craft brew scene in the States are not lagers at all but bottom fermented ales! ;)

  6. I didn't say open fermenters weren't better, I'm open to argument on that one.

    While you guys are here, is kvasnicové always kräusened? Does that make it real ale? ;)

  7. Yes, kvasnicové is always kräusened. However, some people confuse kvasnicové with unfiltered beer.

    Real ale? Surely real lager? ;)

  8. Brewed with traditional ingredients and conditioned by secondary fermentation in the container from which it is served ... there's nothing about the kind of yeast or conditioning temperature in CAMRA's definition!

  9. I've been explained a couple of times why open fermenters are better, but can't remember it now.

    I don't think they make such a big difference at the end of the day, at least not like short lagering periods do. Still, most Czech (and I'm sure not few German) micros and not so micros still use them, and proudly. So there must be something they do right.

    I visited the Pardubice brewery two months ago. I spoke with the head brewer, he hated the CK's he has to work with, loves the old open ones.

  10. Here's an article from Brew Your Own magazine about open fermenters:

    It would be interesting to see how many breweries in the Czech Republic still use open fermenting vessels as opposed to the conical vessels.

  11. I don't have numbers, but I think that most of the regional ones still use them, at least for some of their beers. Switching to CK's isn't cheap and these breweries aren't exactly swimming in money. The micros, though. That's another thing, but I would bet on the majority using open fermenters.