Dark Mexican Lager

Playa Azul

1st lager of the year is in the fermentor and it is a style that I’ve yet to try and brew. One of my all time favorite beers is Negra Modelo and this was the inspiration for this beer. I wanted the clean, slightly malty with a touch of darker roasted flavors but with a little bit more complexity than is found in the original. I started with a vienna lager base and added some flaked corn and very small amounts of crystal and blackprinz to darken it up a little and bring in a little sweetness that is found in the original. This version will be hoppier than the original, but the bulk of the hops came at flameout and will mellow out during lagering. I wasn’t able to source the Modelo lager strain so I went with the Augustiner strain from Imperial. I’ve used this before with good results in a dark lager and it’s pretty clean, clears quickly and doesn’t throw much diacetyl. Imperial used to sell the Modelo strain but sadly it’s no longer in production for homebrewers.

OG: 1.054
FG: 1.011
ABV: 5.6%
Mash: 148 (15 min.), 150 (35 min.)
Boil: 60 min.

Water Profile:

Ca: 62
Mg: 1
Na: 10
So4: 59
Cl: 67
BiCarbonate: 32
Mash pH: 5.4

41.5% Goldpils Vienna
20.7% Weyermann Pilsner
20.7% Weyermann Munich II
12.4% Flaked Maize
3.1% C40
1.6% Blackprinz

25g Sterling (8.1%) 60 min.
2.75 oz Mt. Hood (4.9%) 5 min.
3.75 oz Liberty (2.5%) 0 min.*

*Hop steep of 20 mins, temperature down to 190 when started to cool.

Imperial L17 – Harvest

Pitched yeast at 52 and fermented at 54 before raising temperature for the d rest. Very slight blow off, mostly due to filling the fermenter a little too high. Fermentation started off pretty quickly, about 6 hours after pitching. Kegged on 3.11, finished nice and dry at 1.011 with 79% attenuation and tasted malty and nice and will on tap pretty soon.

Tasting notes – 4.26.17

Aroma: Bready malts with a hint of sweetness in the nose.

Appearance: Brilliantly clear deep amber with a foamy white head that has great retention. Fantastic looking lager.

Taste: Bready malts mix with some nice floral hopping and finishes clean and dry. The malt and hops are both represented well without either being too dominant. The caramel sweetness is pretty minimal but is a nice element to the beer.

Mouthfeel: Medium-low with medium carbonation.

Overall: Love how this one turned out. It has way more flavor than a Negra Modelo but not so much that it isn’t easy to drink. It’s hoppier than average for a mexican beer but it’s at nice level and isn’t over the top by any means. This beer really blends the bready and caramel malts with the hops in a way where all the flavors are easy to pick out and nothing really being dominant. This yeast finishes really clean and doesn’t take all that long to drop perfectly clear in the keg. Not too much I’d change on this one and with two hoppy ales on tap I notice myself going for this more often than anything else. Cheers!

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