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Old 04-01-2010, 03:01 PM   #1
maida7
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Default American Pilsner malt VS Continental Pilsner malt

How much difference is there between American made pilsner malt and Pilsner malt from Germany, Belgium, etc... ?

I've been listening to the Jamil Show podcasts and he stresses the use of continental pilsner malts when making German and Belgian style beers. The thing is that I can buy "Ida Pils" malt made by "Cargill" for super cheap from the local Brewery. Continental pilsner malt will cost me twice as much.

Do I really need to have expensive European pilsner malt or should I RDWHAHB?

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Old 04-01-2010, 03:18 PM   #2
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personally i say RDWHAHB. the only difference i can think of between the two is the soil the grain grows in. which will affect the grain. the thing about homebrew allot of people seem forget is that you can make the beer how YOU want it. if you don't want to spend the extra cash on the imported grain then don't. using american pilsner is not going to kill your brew.

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Old 04-01-2010, 03:22 PM   #3
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IMO, you'll get lots of opinions on this one and you'll never really know unless you compare for yourself. Just for one batch at least, go ahead and splurge on the continental malt. Then you won't have any doubts. Like they say, it only hurts once.

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Old 04-01-2010, 03:31 PM   #4
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yeah, I was thinking of doing a side by side comparison but it will take some time. I was hoping one of you guys had already done the legwork.

These are the beers I typically make with pilsner malt as a large percentage of the base:

Hefewiesse
Bohemian Pilsner
Belgian Dubble
Belgian Tripel
Belgian Pale Ale

Which of these do you think would work best for the malt taste comparison?

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Old 04-01-2010, 03:32 PM   #5
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which one has the highest percentage of pilsner?

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Old 04-01-2010, 03:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maida7 View Post
yeah, I was thinking of doing a side by side comparison but it will take some time. I was hoping one of you guys had already done the legwork.

These are the beers I typically make with pilsner malt as a large percentage of the base:

Hefewiesse
Bohemian Pilsner
Belgian Dubble
Belgian Tripel
Belgian Pale Ale

Which of these do you think would work best for the malt taste comparison?
Prob the Boh Pils or the BPA (and the BPA would be ready to drink way sooner). It's been so long since I used domestic I'm hesitant to compare. But there are significant differences even between the continental malts. Recently I've used Weyermann Pils, Weyermann Bohemian Pils, and Castle Pils and they are all different. A BPA made with Castle Pils should be awesome.
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Old 04-01-2010, 03:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TipsyDragon View Post
which one has the highest percentage of pilsner?
The Bohemian pilsner is over 90% pilsner but it's also a very hoppy beer & that may detract from comparing malts. It also takes a while to ferment and lager.

I think the Belgian Pale may work best. It's got a large % of Pilsner and it's got a very quick turn around time.
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Old 04-01-2010, 04:10 PM   #8
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The yeast could complicate differentiation slightly in the BPA depending on which one you use. I think wlp515 would be a great BPA yeast for comparing pils.
Malt nuances are pretty apparent in a Helles, though that was not a style you listed.
The difference between German malt and domestic is significant IMHO. German pils (I've only used Weyermann and Best Maltz) has what I perceive as pleasant light graininess and a bit of a cookie dough flavor that carries over to the beer. Domestic malt lacks this character.

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Old 04-01-2010, 05:20 PM   #9
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The yeast could complicate differentiation slightly in the BPA depending on which one you use. I think wlp515 would be a great BPA yeast for comparing pils.
Malt nuances are pretty apparent in a Helles, though that was not a style you listed.
The difference between German malt and domestic is significant IMHO. German pils (I've only used Weyermann and Best Maltz) has what I perceive as pleasant light graininess and a bit of a cookie dough flavor that carries over to the beer. Domestic malt lacks this character.
I've been trying to simplify my yeasts so I can keep a small library of strains from starters. I use the same strain for all my Belgians. I use the WLP530. This is the yeast used by Westmalle. It's fruity and phenolic. Not at all clean.

If the yeast or hops or something is gonna make the malt comparison difficult, then it's not such a big factor. Right?
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Old 04-01-2010, 06:49 PM   #10
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i guess i was thinking that if you really wanted to nail down the character that the various pils malts are contributing , then brewing a beer without a dominating hop or yeast character might be helpful. that said, i think the pils malt origin still does make a significant difference in many continental syles. for instance, in bo-pils and hefeweizens, i think moravian or german pils really compliments the hops and yeasts in those styles respectively, while the american pilsner malt I have used is more or less transparent in those stlyes.

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