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Video Course: Old-Fashioned Lagers and Smoked Beers with Live Oak

Are you ready for this one, lager nerds? In this discursive but detailed video course, Live Oak founder Chip McElroy and head brewer Dusan Kwiatkowski talk smoked beers, pre-Prohibition lager, cereal mashes, decoctions, and much more.

Chip McElroy , Dusan Kwiatkowski May 8, 2022 - 2 min read

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Live Oak Brewing in Austin, Texas, is best known for their old-fashioned, highly drinkable, award-winning lagers and wheat beers. Many of those beers involve Old World ingredients, traditional decoction mashes, or significant portions of smoked malts.

In this wide-ranging, opinionated, 68-minute conversation, founder Chip McElroy and head brewer Dusan Kwiatkowski detail the how and why of the recipes and processes behind their beers—in particular, they zoom in on their pre-Prohibition–style Pre-War Pils and remarkable Polish-style Grodziskie, brewed with 100 percent oak-smoked malt.

Among other topics, they discuss:

  • the benefits of decoction mashing
  • adjuncts and cereal mashes for pale American lagers
  • working with corn grits, from mash to lauter to clarity
  • fully avoiding DMS in adjunct lagers
  • bitterness and hopping in various styles of pilsner
  • yeast pitch rates, fermentation, harvesting, and lagering
  • the particularities of certain Czech and German lager strains
  • the benefits of horizontal tanks for fermenting and lagering
  • combining spunding and forced CO2 to hit target carbonation
  • brewing “Polish champagnge,” aka grodziskie
  • classic ingredients and step-infusion mash for grodzisikie
  • the challenges of lauering 100 percent smoked wheat malt
  • building great smoked beer based on classic styles
  • embracing smoke flavor

And more.

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