Recipe: Riggs American Lager

Riggs Beer Company in Urbana, Illinois, brews this old-school American pale lager using a traditional double-mash process. The grain bill consists of six-row base malt and whole-kernel corn.

Riggs Beer Company Sep 7, 2020 - 3 min read

Recipe: Riggs American Lager Primary Image

Batch size: 5 gallons (19 liters)
Brewhouse efficiency: 80%
OG: 1.046
FG: 1.009
IBUs: 17
ABV: 5%

7 lb (3.2 kg) six-row
2 lb (907 g) whole-kernel corn

0.3 oz (9 g) Magnum [14% AA] at 60 minutes
0.2 oz (6 g) Crystal [3.5% AA] at 10 minutes

Any neutral lager strain, such as Fermentis SafLager W-34/70 or similar

First, the adjunct mash: Mill the grains. Mix 1.25 gallons of 167°F (75°C) water with 1.5 lb (680 g) of the six-row and all the corn. That should bring the mash to about 154°F (68°C). Rest 15 minutes. Raise the temperature to 200°F (93°C) and hold for 15 minutes to gelatinize the corn starch. (If using direct fire, continuously stir the adjunct mash to prevent scorching.)

As the adjunct mash approaches 200°F (93°C), start the protein rest by mashing in (in a separate vessel) the remaining 5.5 lb (2.5 kg) of six-row malt at 120°F (49°C). Once the adjunct mash has been at 200°F (93°C) for 15 minutes, combine the two mashes. Once combined, they should reach about 149°F (65°C) (if needed, heat to 149°F/65°C). Hold for 30 minutes. Then raise the temperature to 155°F (68°C) and rest 30 minutes. Raise to 168°F (76°C) and mash out.

Boil for 70 minutes, following the hops schedule. Chill to 50°F (10°C), aerate the wort, and pitch the yeast. Ferment at 50°F (10°C) until gravity reaches 1.024, then raise the temperature to 54°F (12°C) for 7 days. Chill and rack off the yeast. Lager at 31°F (0°C) for 1 month and carb to 2.8 volumes.

Here at Riggs Beer, we use six-row barley grown on our Central Illinois farm. Our homegrown, locally malted barley tends to be slightly under-modified. Since you’ll likely be buying fully modified six-row, it might be a good idea to swap a half-pound (227 g) of the six-row with Carafoam or Carapils to help maintain enough body in the beer. The corn we use isn’t commercially available; homebrewers can grind whole-kernel corn for the double-mash or use flaked corn in an infusion. Note: Malt mills aren’t designed to grind corn; you’ll want a coffee mill or something similar.

Use a water profile with low residual alkalinity and a calcium profile with CaCl2 and CaSO4 roughly in balance. Most water sources will benefit by being cut with 30–50 percent distilled water. Aim for a combined mash pH of 5.4.