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Pangea 08-25-2009 02:52 PM

Dont use "C" hops when brewing a light pilsner
So I had this hair-brained idea - Hey, let's try to make a pilsner with pacific northwest "C" hops! I was thinking Biermuncher's Centennial Blonde recipe, but in a pilsner style with a little Saaz on top! Sounds good right? Wrong.

It didn't turn out so well. The grapefruityness of Centennial and Cascade dont match the pilsner malt. It's just too harsh. I used sparingly small amounts (only 0.5 oz of each plus 0.25 oz saaz for aroma) and its just too overbearing and doesn't mesh. I think you need a pretty solid malt base to match the potency of the C-hops. The light pilsner base just doesn't do it. Mine was OG 1.044, 90% pilsner malt, for example. Oh, and I used 1/2 distilled, 1/2 spring water.

Anyway, just my $0.02 and experience I wanted to share with the HBT community.

Lou 08-25-2009 03:01 PM

How long ago did you brew this? I bet some aging will help take some of the bite off of those hops...

weirdboy 08-25-2009 03:13 PM

You should try Humulus Lager from the Bruery. It's an excellent highly-hopped light-bodied beer. Plenty of "C" hops in there!

Lil' Sparky 08-25-2009 03:18 PM


Originally Posted by Lou (Post 1505495)
How long ago did you brew this? I bet some aging will help take some of the bite off of those hops...

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. Give it some time before you write it off.

samc 08-25-2009 03:20 PM

Old Lompoc in Portland has this (pretty good!) and it is now in bottles.

C-Note Imperial Pale - This HUGE Imperial Pale Ale (100 IBU!) is a hop head’s dream. Using Crystal, Cluster, Cascade, Chinook, Centennial,
Columbus and Challenger hops.* (6.9% a/v)

Pangea 08-25-2009 06:09 PM

Yes, you're right. C hops can work in a pilsner or lager, but it has to have plenty malt backbone to give some balance to the bite of the C hops. Mine is thin, a lighter pilsner. Also, something about the combo of the spice of the saaz with the fruity/citrus bite of the centennial/cascade doesn't taste good like you'd think it would. Again, just too much grapefruity, sour bite. I brewed this sucker on 6/27, put it in the keg on 7/18, lagered at 34F until 8/10, then put on the gas for another week or so and now I'm tasting it. For a lighter beer, its aged plenty I think. Its not a guzzler, so I'll have it around for a while. If it changes or softens, I'll update this thread.

jsullivan02130 08-26-2009 12:17 PM


For summer drinkin' I made a cream ale (4.5 lb. two row, 4.5 lb. belgian pils, and 3 lb. flaked maize, with US-05) with Santiams and Cascades.

I hopped it lightly because I knew that Cascades were, at least historically, inappropriate for the style. I love the Cascades but this was just too flowery. That light malt backbone just calls for some spiciness.

If I did it again (and I will, great summer beer) I'll stick with a noble or noble-derived American hop.

Pangea 08-26-2009 02:23 PM

I'm brewing this pilsner again this weekend, but using Sterling for bittering and Liberty for taste and aroma at 1oz at 15 min, 1 oz at 2 min. Should be more mild than using cascade and centennial.

mkling 08-26-2009 02:54 PM

I've made several light lagers or American pilseners with cascade hops as the only variety used and they have universally been great!

Only the other hand, I've been hesitant to use centennial, columbus, or chinook for these. They just seem just a bit more assertive than Cascade. You've got to use a light touch, but Cascade can be very nice in a light lager.

bernerbrau 08-26-2009 02:56 PM

What's a "C" hop? Do certain hops beginning with "C" all exhibit similar qualities?

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