Video Tip: Using Horizontal Tanks for Lager and Hefeweizen Fermentation

Live Oak founder Chip McElroy and head brewer Dusan Kwiatkowski explain why shallower horizontal tanks have a treasured place in their fermentation cellar.

Dusan Kwiatkowski , Chip McElroy Jun 1, 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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