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120v Electric Brewing Light Lager Experiment
This recipe is an adapted version of a 2017 National Homebrew Competition gold medal light lager called Phil’s Lager. We’ve adapted this award-winning recipe and we’re making it in order to prove that the 120 Volt Brewing System we sell can make light beer with zero DMS off-flavors. DMS is an off-flavor that tastes like creamed corn and this recipe is highly susceptible to it because of its light grain bill.
This is the brew system we'll be using for this recipe
This recipe calls for German Pilsner Malt as a base, which is lightly kilned and therefore has a much higher chance of producing DMS in a beer than other malts would.
Any beer that tastes like this is a waste of a brew day
Fortunately, DMS is a very volatile compound with a low boiling point of 99° F (37.2° C). A vigorous boil and fermentation can ensure that DMS is removed from a beer. Because this is a low ABV light lager, the fermentation will not be very active, so the boil we create with our 1650 watt element must be vigorous enough to boil all DMS away. However, in order to boil with our 120-volt system, our kettle lid has to at least be cracked. Boiling with our lid cracked creates the additional concern that DMS couldn’t escape even if it turned into vapor.
This is how our lid is positioned during a boil with our 120 volt system
Our concerns about DMS wouldn’t be an issue for someone using one of our 240 Volt Systems, but not every homebrewer has access to a 240-volt power outlet, especially those renting an apartment. The accessibility of our 120 Volt Brewing System is one of the biggest reasons to buy it.
Our question - Is the boil produced by a 1650 watt element heating up 6.5 gallons (24.6 liters) of wort sufficient enough to remove DMS?
Read on to see what we found out and to also learn a great recipe that you can brew on our system
Full Brew Day Video
Watch us brew this beer using our 120-volt system in the video below.
Start with 6.5 gallons (24.6 liters) of water in the kettle.
The grain bill for this recipe is as follows
- German Pilsner Malt - 6 lbs (2.72 kg)
- Caramel Malt 10L - .25lb (113 g)
- Caramel Malt 20L -.25lb (113 g)
Pouring grains into our grinder
We mashed in at 152° F (67° C) and did a 60 minute mash.
Our system uses a spray valve to ensure all the water is mixed with the grain
Boil & Hops
After mashing for 60 minutes we pulled our grain basket and put our heating element at 100% of power to start a boil. This recipe calls for a 60-minute boil.
Pulling our spent grain at the end of the mash
At the beginning of our boil, we added .25 ounces (7.1 grams) of Centennial Hops. This is the only hop addition the recipe calls for.
Adding hops to our hop silo
For our 120v system to boil the wort, our lid has to be on. This is another reason we're concerned about DMS.
Our boil can be maintained for about a minute once the lid is removed
Yeast & Fermentation
After a 60-minute boil, we chilled our wort down to around 55° F (12.7° C) and pitched two packets of Saflager W-34/70 dry yeast.
We fermented this for 6 weeks in total. During the first 5 weeks and 2 days, we kept the fermenter at 55° F (12.7° C). For the last 5 days, we did a diacetyl rest and raised the fermentation temperature up to 65° F (18.3° C).
The first thing we pointed out upon tasting this beer was how extremely crisp and clean it tasted. There was zero evidence of DMS in the aroma and flavor proving that our 120-Volt Brewing System is capable of making light lagers with no off-flavors.
Both Kyle & Emmet agreed that there was no sign of DMS in the finished beer
This beer finished with 10 IBUs and a 3.4% ABV, making it our definition of a springtime beer that we would enjoy while doing yard work or bring to a cookout. If you make this you’ll definitely know why it’s an award-winning recipe.
Check out these links and videos below for more light lager homebrew recipes.