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Modern Lager Beer: Techniques, Processes, and Recipes
Modern Lager Beer: Techniques, Processes, and Recipes


This book is an exploration of the world of lager beers, their historical origins, and the detailed development and techniques used in their production today.

Item No. 69824
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By Jack Hendler and Joe Connolly

Jack Hendler is the founder and co-owner of Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers in Framingham, Massachusetts. Following years of hands-on experience and a degree in brewing from the Siebel Institute in Chicago and Doemens Academy in Munich, Jack opened Jack's Abby in 2011 with his brothers, Eric and Sam. The lager-only brewery has since grown to be one of the state’s largest breweries and remains family-owned and operated.

Joe Connolly is the Sales Director for Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers. Since joining the beverage industry in 2007, he has developed a passion for beer education and its importance to brewing. As a founding team member of the brewery, Joe has helped define its brand and establish its core values of community, education, experimentation, and fun. A Boston University graduate, Joe combined his passion for writing, travel, and beer production to co-author Modern Lager Beer.

The idea of crisp, pale lagers may have roots in 19th-century Bohemia, but lager beer is far older and richly complex. Since Pilsner beer took the world by storm, lager beer has become a household term and a commercial behemoth before taking root among homebrewers and craft brewers.

Modern Lager Beer is an exploration of the world of lager beers, their historical origins, and the detailed development and techniques used in their production today. Explore the Bavarian and Bohemian origins, followed by an examination of the many significant ways that the modern perception of lager styles has been shaped by a myriad of techniques used to produce them. Many traditional methods once employed in lager beer production can be used by the savvy brewer to create unique and delicious lager beers. Insight from many of today’s modern brewers, along with traditional beers that have inspired them, will highlight the interesting ways that lager brewers borrow from these traditions in search of creating their own unique expressions of lager.

Modern Lager Beer is filled with practical methods, processes, culture, and recipes from some of the world’s greatest lager craft breweries. From the smallest details of decoction programs to philosophies of fermentation tank geometry, as much as possible of the minutiae of the world’s most popular beer category is explored.

Modern Lager Beer: Techniques, Processes, and Recipes




Jack’s Journey
Joe’s Journey
Why We Wrote This Book
A Word to the Homebrewers

Chapter 1 – What Exactly Is a Lager?

Defining Lager Beer
The Major Lager Traditions: A Quick Tour

To the Pale
Bavarian Lagers Today
Ceské Pivo (Czech Beer)
American Lager: The Old Guard and the New

Drinkability in Lager
Lager as Process-Driven Beer

Chapter 2 – Raw Materials


Origins of Lager Yeast
Types of Lager Yeast
Characteristics of Lager Yeast Fermentation
How to Select a Lager Yeast Strain


Malt Analysis Parameters
Malt Modification
Modification and Other Factors Affecting Malt Quality
Historical Regional Trends in Barley Malt
Traditional Specialty Malts


Hardness and Alkalinity
Residual Alkalinity
Water Treatment


First Wort/Early Kettle Hopping
Dry Hopping Lager

Chapter 3 – Fermenting with Lager Yeast

What to Expect from Traditional Lager Fermentations
Historical Fermentation Process
Working with Lager Yeast in Modern Breweries

Types of Fermentation

Fermentation Variables

Free Amino Nitrogen
Pitching Rates
Top Pressure

Harvesting and Repitching Lager Yeast

Factors That Determine Lagering Time
Finding the Right Balance: Time versus Temperature
Knowing When Lagering Is Done
Yeast Health During Lagering
Sulfur Compounds

Tips for Homebrewing

Chapter 4 – Got Decoction?

Malt Before Mashing
What Is a Decoction Mash?

Triple Decoction
Double Decoction
Single Decoction
Simplified Decoction
Examples of Unconventional Decoction Programs
Double/Adjunct Mash, or Cereal Cook

History of Decoction Mashing

Historical Lager, Malt, and Mashing Principles
Addressing Explanations for the Origins of Decoction
So Why Decoction?
Decoction Starts to Be Questioned
Modern Misconceptions of Decoction

Considerations for Decoction

Deciding to Decoct
Designing a Grist for Decoction
Malt Modification
Extract and Attenuation
Maillard and Caramelization Reactions
Dark Malts and Astringency
Color Impact
Water-to-Grist Ratio
Mash Quantity
Decoction Portion
Mixing the Grains
Hot Side Aeration

Homebrewing Tips

Decoction Homebrewing
Step-Infusion Homebrew Process

Chapter 5 – Carbon Dioxide: The Fifth Ingredient

Understanding Carbon Dioxide Sources
Impact of Carbonation

Beer Foam

Understanding Carbonation in Beer
Natural versus Force Carbonation Process
Executing Natural Carbonation

Bunging: How and When
Spunding: Primary Fermentation
Krausening: Secondary Fermentation
Working with a Bunging Apparatus/Spunding Valve
Forced Fermentation Test
Spunding and Krausening for Homebrewers

Chapter 6 – Other Traditional Lager Techniques

Serving from Wooden Barrels
Open Fermentation
Coolships and other Wort Cooling Devices
Cold Break: Sedimentation and Flotation Tanks
Biological Acidification

Chapter 7 – The Future of Lager Brewing

Hops for the Future
Future of Yeast
Future of Malt
A New Type of Landbier
Lager Aged on Wood
Serving Lager
Lager, and Beyond

Chapter 8 – Recipes

Adjunct Pale Lagers

Riggs Beer Company American Lager: American Corn Lager
F.X. Matt Utica Club 1933 Pilsener: Prohibition-Era Pilsner
pFriem Japanese Lager: Rice Lager

German-Inspired Pale Lagers

Goldfinger Original Lager: Helles-Style Lager
Riegele Feines Urhell: Helles Lager
Seitz-Brau Hallertauer Hof-Bier Hell: Landbier
Jack’s Abby Post Shift: Bavarian-Style Pilsner
Weihenstephaner Helles: Helles Lager

Czech-Inspired Pale Lagers

Brevnov Monastic Brewery Benedict Pale Lager: Pilsner-Style Pale Lager (Svetlý Ležák)
Live Oak Pilz: Czech-Style Pilsner
Cohesion 12° – Pale Czech Lager: Czech-Style Pilsner

Copper to Brown Lagers

Rittmayer Kellerbier: Kellerbier
Brandholz Brauerei Golden Brown: Franconian Märzen Lager
Utepils Brewing Broomstacker: Red Lager
Jack’s Abby Red Tape Amber Lager: Munich-Style Dunkel
Heater Allen Dunkel: Munich-Style Dunkel

Strong Pale Lagers

Privatbrauerei Stöttner Export “Hell”: Export-Style Lager
Jack’s Abby and Weihenstephan Fest of Both Worlds: Festbier
Enegren Brewing Company Maibock: Maibock

Dark and/or Strong Lagers

Brauerei Hofstetten Granitbock: Historical Stone Beer (Steinbier)
Jack’s Abby Framinghammer: Baltic Porter
East Rock Black Lager: German-Style Schwarzbier
Human Robot Tmavy 13°: Czech-Style Dark Lager
Bierstadt Lagerhaus Snüpinator Doppelbock: Doppelbock Dunkel

Nouveau Lagers

Highland Park Brewery Timbo Pils: West Coast–Style Pilsner
Jack’s Abby Hoponius Union: India Pale Lager
Threes Kicking and Screaming Foeder Lager: Foeder-Aged Pilsner

Smoked Lagers

Jack’s Abby Fire in the Ham: Rauchbier Hell
Counter Weight Brewing Drudenhaus Rauchbier: Märzen Rauchbier



Publish Date: 2024
Format: 6” x 9” softcover
Pages: 332
Publication Weight: 2 lbs

By Jack Hendler and Joe Connolly

Modern Lager Beer: Techniques, Processes, and Recipes

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