We report on a thin-disk Yb:YAG laser made from a Q-switched oscillator and a multipass amplifier delivering pulses of 48 mJ at 1030 nm. The peculiar requirements for this laser are the short delay time (< 500 ns) between electronic trigger and optical output pulse and the time randomness with which these triggers occur (with trigger to next trigger delay ges 1.5 ms). Details concerning the oscillator dynamics (-switching cycle, intensity stabilization), and the peculiar amplifier layout are given. Simulations of the beam propagation in the amplifier based on the Collins integral and the measured aspherical components of the disk reproduce well the measured beam intensity profiles (with higher order intensity moments) and gains. Measurements of the thermal lens and ASE effects of the disk are also presented. A novel method to deduce the effective Yb:YAG upper state lifetime (under real laser operation and including ASE effects) is presented. That knowledge is necessary to determine gain and stored energy in the active medium and to understand the limiting factors for energy scaling of thin-disk lasers.