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Old 11-29-2010, 02:46 PM   #1
ylee21
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Default Authentic Bohemian/Czech/Slovak recipe help

All -

My wife's grandmother was bohemian and czech and just recently passed away. She loved beer and often talked about the bohemian beers she would drink when she was younger.

I want to make a batch of some type of authentic bohemian/czech beer as a gift for the family and as my first jump off into AG brewing (extract only at this point).

Any suggestions on what type, or what ingredients, or even any insights into the styles of beer that are bohemian/czech/slovak?

Thanks!

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Old 11-29-2010, 03:27 PM   #2
blazin
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I am actually in Slovakia right now and about to go out for some beers with my girlfriend so I thought it would be appropriate that I respond to this.
Pretty much all of the Czech and Slovak beers I have come across are lagers which fall into 2 major categories; light beer (svetle pivo), which includes the classic pilsner style as well as other light lagers and dark beer (tmave pivo). Light beer is by far the most commonly drank. Commercial examples you can find in the US include the classic Pilsner Urquell, Budvar (know as Czechvar in US), and less commonly found are Staropramen and Kozel. I prefer Budvar as more of a casual drinking beer when I go out to the pubs with friends and Pilsner Urquell with a meal.
I have done a few batches of both bohemian pilsners (Pilsner Urquell) and moravian pilsners (Budvar aka Czechvar in US). Traditionally they are made with 100% pilsner malt and mashed using a triple decoction. Budvar traditionally uses special moravian under-modified malt, but I have yet to find this in the US. I usually do a double decoction and add about .5lb dextrin malt to add some body and head retention.
Saaz hops are the most commonly used for czech pilsners. However with the other light lagers it is not uncommon to find Hallertau, Tettanger, or Spalt. I usually do a 90 minute boil and start adding hops after 60 minutes. I don't have my exact recipe in front of me because I am traveling right now but I will be back in a few days and can post it then. IMHO bohemian and moravian pilsners are some of the best in the world. Let me know if you have any more questions and good luck!

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Old 11-29-2010, 03:47 PM   #3
markg388
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Blazin pretty much nailed it on the head. They're toughies to do right, but rewarding. I go for German lagers myself (mostly because they're easier to find), but the difference between Czech and German lagers is not much. The important tips you need to know:

- American pilsner malt makes beer that tastes like American lagers. You have to get imported stuff. When using Weyermann pilsner, I get the best results just mashing at 156 w/o a decoction. I don't know about other brands though.
- like was said earlier, boil 30 minutes before you add your bittering hops.
- spend some quality time reading about proper lager fermentation techniques, as that will be the toughest part. Nearly any lager yeast will do the trick if you treat it right.
- these are delicate beers and therefore very tricky to balance. Even hoppier pilsners need less hops than your typical American microbrew style ale.

I prefer a malty lager, I do 90% pilsner and 10% carafoam (OG 1.048 - 1.050), with a bittering addition only of noble hops to 18 IBU. If you're looking for more of a pilsner style just add some later hop additions and probably a bit of extra bittering hops too. If I give you an exact recipe, you'll still probably have to adjust it for your setup/tastes, so this is the best i can do .

You can use kolsch yeast and ferment it ale style if you can't lager yet, it will be pretty similar with a few extra green apple/pear esters thrown in. I like to practice with kolsch before I dive in with the lager yeast, I hate waiting 3 months for a recipe that's not dialed in. Good luck!

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Old 11-29-2010, 05:24 PM   #4
ylee21
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Blazin and markg388 - thanks a ton, this is exactly the type of direction I was looking for. I'm in no real hurry to make the beer, so I will do all the needed research and post the results.

Thanks again!

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