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Old 09-12-2009, 08:10 PM   #1
oswegan
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Default The Greatest Pilsner Recipe

Well first I have to say I'm an ale guy and I like it hoppy. My favorite hops are Simcoe and Amarillo. In fact I just finished brewing two fresh hop beers, one red and one IPA, that each had about 4lbs of fresh hops in the boil. It was alot of fun and am really looking forward to sharing it with friends.

But thats not why I'm here today.

I have a couple of friends who get a puckery look on their faces when they drink my beer and they prefer to bring their own lagers - one in particular loves Pilsner Urquel which I think has Saaz as its hop.

Anyway, I keep promising these friends that I will brew a light bodied Pilsner beer for them but I keep failing to do so. I have brewed some lagers in the distant past when I used to do extract brewing, but haven't done that in a long while. I have never brewed a lager all grain which is now the only way I brew.

Can someone point me in the direction of a basic (not wimpy) pilsner recipe that would have notes of a Saaz profile? I would like something that has a fairly high alcohol percentage and a great hop flavor and nose, yet is refreshing, light bodied and drinkable for my friends who just can't get into my hop head ales.

Maybe I am asking too much but I am hoping someone has a place for me to start.

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Old 09-12-2009, 08:58 PM   #2
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Jamils' Bohemian Pilsner Recipe is fantastic.

It's only 5.5% though so it might not be what you want. If you want it higher just add more Pils malt, and more bittering hops to keep the IBU/SG ratio in line.

JZ Bohemian Pilsener

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Old 09-13-2009, 12:31 PM   #3
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There is nothing at all wimpy about a high-quality Czech style pilsner. While the flavors are different the IBU/OG ratio is similar to many hoppy pale ales. Quality ingredients, careful brewing and fermentation combined with a good lagering period are the keys. The recipe is simple: good pilsner malt, lots of Saaz hops (you can suppliment the bittering addition with a clean bittering European variety like Magnum or Northern Brewer) and a large batch of Czech lager yeast. I like to shoot for an OG of 1.050-1.054 and IBU of 45-48. Pilsner Urquell uses just two hop additions IIRC although my preference is for an extra one in the middle to add a little more hop flavor.

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Old 09-13-2009, 05:35 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigEd View Post
There is nothing at all wimpy about a high-quality Czech style pilsner.
I couldn't agree more.
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Old 09-14-2009, 05:56 PM   #5
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Thanks for the advice.

To clear the air, I wasn't trying to say that pilsners are wimpy.

I was saying that I am looking for a recipe that won't produce a wimpy beer. In other words I am looking for something with a good amount of flavor and good alcohol content that will still please people who don't really like strong beers.

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Old 09-14-2009, 06:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WorryWort View Post
Jamils' Bohemian Pilsner Recipe is fantastic.

It's only 5.5% though so it might not be what you want. If you want it higher just add more Pils malt, and more bittering hops to keep the IBU/SG ratio in line.

JZ Bohemian Pilsener
Thanks.

What is the preferred lagering temp? Can I put it the fridge with my pouring kegs? 40-45?
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Old 09-14-2009, 06:33 PM   #7
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FWIW, a little lager trick that lends to a nice clean flavor... brew the wort, and then crash cool (in a refrigerator, perhaps overnight, if you have the facilities.) Rack off the break material and trub the next day, *then* oxygenate and pitch your yeast (make a big starter) when it warms back up to 45°F or so. And then make sure you do a diacetyl rest. The jamil recipe is tasty.

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Old 09-15-2009, 02:21 AM   #8
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I'm enjoying a tasty BP as we speak, and DAMN its good! The JZ recipe is a great one. Its a PITA to get the wort down to below 50, takes a lot of ice in my IC and making the starter took a while. But man oh man, its a fine beer. I've got another batch that I'm bottling that next couple of days. Thinking about using the yeasties from that one to do a 10G batch.....
Dont be afraid to use saflager 34/70. Its a fine yeast but maybe not 100% to style, I think you can get 2 packs for about 8 bucks or less and not have to go through the trouble of a starter.

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Old 09-15-2009, 03:13 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oswegan View Post
Thanks.

What is the preferred lagering temp? Can I put it the fridge with my pouring kegs? 40-45?
To be clear, you'll need to ferment around 50F, but when you lager 40-45 will work. In general, the higher temp should take longer, you might want upwards of 2-3 months of lagering. I personally lager at 33-35F because I have a spare fridge.
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Old 09-15-2009, 09:48 AM   #10
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If you really want to try a flavorful Pilsner lager, try Victory Brewing Company's Prima Pils if you can get it in your area. It's a German Pils as opposed to a Bohemian, so the water profile is not quite as soft, with more in the way of carbonate and sulfate which contribites to the sharp cripsness of the hop flavor/bitterness. It's a little drier than a Bo-pils as well, which brings the hops even more forward and makes the beer very drinkable. I blieve Victory says the IBU's are 50-60 so there is no lack of hops! This is my favorite beer...and I used to be an IPA-man/major hop-head!

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