I wrote some time ago about my third attempt to brew a lager. As anybody who homebrews knows, lagers are a bit more tricky than ales. That's why my first two attempts resulted in beer that tasted like buttered popcorn and eventually began to spray out of the bottle once I opened it. When I wrote about attempt number three, I was feeling a bit more confident.
Honestly, I don't know why this is so important to me. It probably has more to do with an obsessive/compulsive aspect to my personality than anything else. Another thing is that lagers are amongst the most famous German styles, and being half German myself, I was hoping to make a beer from "my people". (It seems as though lagers most likely began in Germany.) With that said, I probably prefer ales to lagers on the whole, even though some of my favorites are lagers. Among my favorite lagers are the ones that have a bit more flavor than the more popular lagers. So, why bother? I guess because I just want to say that I can do it, and I like the challenge.
So, that post was back in August. What's the verdict?
When I took my first taste of one, I had that diacetyl (buttery) flavor, and it had a pretty strong alcohol burn to it as well. The diacetyl was fairly mild though, and the bottles weren't gushing, so I decided to age it out at room temperature for a couple of weeks. When I finally tried another after that time had passed, the diacetyl was gone, and I had a perfectly drinkable beer. Still, something about it tasted a bit off. It had a really malty taste to it - almost like taking a bit of caramel. (And just like diacetyl, that sort of a flavor can be a good thing if there's only a hint of it.)
With the cooler temperatures, I no longer need to ferment my beers in the beer fridge, so I emptied it out and put all of my lagers into the fridge and set the temperature to 35 degrees. I had one with dinner today, and I have to say that it was pretty tasty. It still has a bit of a strong malt flavor - perhaps a bit too strong, but it's definitely mellowing out. I figure that if I let them "lager" for a few more weeks, they should be really good.
What's frustrating with lagers is that it takes so much longer to find out whether it came out right or not. I suppose that I'll try one again eventually, but I think that I'm just going to be satisfied with this one for now.
This "Stan Lee Challenge" was inspired by one of the "Tales of Asgard" stories from Journey into Mystery: "The Coming of Loki!"