Japanese Rice Lager – Recipe Stash

A pilsner is one of those classics. The crisp body. The floral hop aromas. It’s the dream of all great breweries to have a satisfyingly thirst quenching pilsner on tap.

But not all countries make their lagers in the same way.

American lagers are significantly lighter, use more adjuncts than traditional German pilsners bound to the Reiheinsgebot of 1516 (German Purity Law) which limited additives to only hops, yeast, water and malt.

When Japan took up brewing they found their own way using local ingredients to shave costs and produce their own unique style. And what was the starch of choice in Japan?

Sapporo and Asahi committed themselves to an ever-evolving style of beers beginning in the 1970s that changed the way beer would be made in Japan. Consumers enjoyed the dry crispness and economic factors hampered utilizing large volumes of malted barely. Rice as an additive was cheap and effective and on the side it dried out the resulting beers. As time progressed the “Dry Wars” emerged wherein Sapporo and Asahi competed to find finishing gravities so low one might mistake them for a white wine or champagne. In doing so, Japan made a great style of their own and one that many breweries worldwide mimic.

Sapporo uses a unique hop grown in Japan known as Sorachi Ace. It emerged in American beers through a beer by Brooklyn Brewery which presented a unique lemon peppery note which gave a nice finish to the matching ester profile of a saison. It shines, as do most citrus dominant flavors, in a dry style and so it complemented well the new style of Japanese lager.

This unique rice lager has a refreshing dry crisp complemented by that citrus/herbal/pepper note that matches well with the low sulfur aromas found in a traditional Pilsner yeast.

Try it out. It’s the perfect beer for an outdoor barbeque.

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