Searching for the line between "hobby" and "obsession"

Cliffred Lager

My Dad and buddy Corey came over for Barking Dog’s first all-grain brew day. We did Midwest Supplies’ Midwest Red Lager recipe:

Base malt: 9 lbs domestic pilsner
Specialty: 8 oz carapils, 12 oz Carmel 40, 2 oz Debittered black (pre-mixed)
Hops: 2 oz Hallertau
Yeast: White Labs German Lager #WL830 (did a yeast starter)


  • Started the day at about 9:30am. Cooooold in the garage!!! I think the grain bed got down to 140* during the hour it was in the mash tun. Started off at about 150* or so.
  • 90 min. sparge
  • OG: 1.045 (11.3 brix) while target is 1.042-1.046 so I’m pretty happy
  • Doing a longer boil (75 min.) to promote clarity in the finished product, forgot to buy Irish moss… Recipe said I could go as long as 90 min. in the boil.
  • Hallertau in at 60″
  • Hallertau in at 2″
  • Post boil, came up about a gallon short of volume (longer boil = less final product, whoops, duh). Brix was back up to almost 14 so I didn’t feel bad adding over half a gallon of spring water I had laying around to the fermenter. Got the brix reading back down to 11.9 (1.048) which is just above target. Good to go.
  • I had done a yeast starter (one cup dried Pilzen malt extract with four cups water boiled together for 15 min.) on Thursday night prior to this Saturday brew day. I’ve read it can be bad to do them too early, as the yeast could be tired out by the time they’re pitched, but I think I may have done this one a bit too close to pitch time, as there wasn’t a ton of activity in the container — but some. Pitched at about 4:00pm.


  • I had the carboy in our bedroom to keep it as warm as possible while the yeast got started (I’d read that was preferred somewhere, but I’ve also read that’s not necessary…) and was awoken at 4:30am by vigorous fermentation! 12 hours after pitch? I’ll take it.
  • Moved the brew to the primary fermentation lager location: a closet that always seems to be cold due to its proximity to my garage. 54-47* throughout most of primary


  • Gravity coming in at 6.5-7 brix (1.013 – 1.016) with a goal of 1.010-1.012 so I’ll wait


  • Pretty much the same 6.75 brix reading (1.015). I got worried it was too cold at 47* so I put the batch to a cellar room downstairs and that brought it up to 52*


  • 6.0 – 6.3 brix (1.010 – 1.012) = TARGET! Next I waited a few days until I had the free time necessary to do a transfer from primary to secondary (for both this batch and the Off-Leash Coffee Stout batch I had going nearly concurrently)


  • I attempted a diacetyl rest in the 24 hours prior to transfer, got the brew pretty close to 60* in attempt tohave the yeast finish off the diacetyl so there isn’t any butterscotch flavor / so this lager comes out as crisp as possible. Given the samples I tasted while taking brix readings, I think it worked.
  • Brix after the rest day was 5.5 (1.007)
  • This brew is currently lagering at about 33 degrees in my garage. I’m a bit worried it might freeze. I’ve read beer freezes at 28*
  • OG and FG run through the ABV formula show this beer sitting at 5.44% ABV

This batch is taking it’s name from Clifford, the big red dog. Loved those books as a kid.


2 responses

  1. Pingback: NHC 2011, Barking Dog Beer Entries « Barking Dog Beer

  2. Pingback: Baby girl Belgian honey ale « Barking Dog Beer

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