Recipe: Pre-war 1912 Lager draft beer


This homebrew-scale recipe, based on brewer’s own notes, Paul Kaiser, is for an authentic pre-war American lager recipe with a high proportion of additives.

This homebrew scale recipe is based on Paul Kaiser’s notes for “Draft Beer 1912”, an authentic pre-war American lager recipe with a high proportion of additives. For simplicity, this version goes with flaked corn and mash in one brew, but feel free to opt for corn grits and mashed cereal for a more traditional process.

For more on American lager brewing during this time, see America’s Founding Lagers: The Pre-Prohibition Landscape.

Lot size: 5 gallons (19 liters)
Brewery efficiency: 72%
OG: 1,049
FG: 1.011
IBU: 20
ABV: 5%

4.3 lbs (2 kg) six-row light
4 lb (1.8 kg) corn flakes
1.1 lb (499 g) flaked wheat
1 lb (454 g) rice husks

0.33 oz (9 g) 90 minute cluster [9 IBUs]
0.33 oz (9 g) 60 minute cluster [8 IBUs]
0.18 oz (5 g) in a cluster at 30 minutes [3 IBUs]

Fermentis SafLager W-34/70 or other preferred brewer’s yeast

Grind the beans and mash at 150 ° F (66 ° C) for 1 hour. Vorlauf until the tracks are clear, then slip into the kettle. Water and wash as needed to get 6.5 gallons (25 liters) of mash, or more, depending on your evaporation rate. Boil for 90 minutes, adding the hops according to the program. Refrigerate to about 48 ° F (9 ° C), aerate well and toss in plenty of healthy yeast. Ferment at about 50 ° F (10 ° C) for about 2 weeks, or until final gravity is reached. When it nears terminal severity, increase the temperature to 57 ° F (14 ° C) for 1 day for a diacetyl rest. Then cool about 2 ° F (1 ° C) per day until you reach a storage temperature, about 32 ° F (0 ° C). Lager for 4-6 weeks, then wrap and carbonate.


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