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Old 11-07-2012, 10:39 PM   #1
JLem
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Default Keys to a good German Pils?

I'm thinking of brewing up a German Pils. Never brewed one before (never brewed up a true lager either - done some hybrid beers like Alt and Kolsch). I know the grist is just pilsener malt, but what about hop schedule? Yeast? Water chemistry? What makes a great Pils?

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Old 11-08-2012, 12:06 AM   #2
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- Very low mineral water - nearly 100% distilled water
- Can go all bittering hops (1-2 oz Hallertauer or Saaz at 90 min), some aroma hops are OK
- I have started loving Saflager 34/70, but 2206 is also good
- Good fermentation profile (Narziss-like: pitch at 44F and raise to no more than 50F) will produce a cleaner beer

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Old 11-08-2012, 01:45 AM   #3
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I believe that soft water is more a characteristic of Czech Pilsner than German Pilsner, BJCP even suggests using "medium sulfate water". I agree about w34/70, I think it's a fantastic lager yeast I pitch 2 packages for a standard strength lager. Hop additions are, of course up to your discretion. Personally, I like around 3 oz. of late additions (I use 15, 5, and 1 minute additions).

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Old 11-08-2012, 03:31 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pivovar_Koucky View Post
I believe that soft water is more a characteristic of Czech Pilsner than German Pilsner
I generally agree. It's mostly just personal preference on my part. BCS suggests adding gypsum to softer water to enhance hop sharpness in its German Pils recipe. I tend to like lesser hop character in my pilsners. I realize it's heavily commercialized and some would say not the best example of a German Pils, but I really like Warsteiner. It's well known for using very soft water, but it probably not the norm.
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Old 11-08-2012, 12:39 PM   #5
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With such relatively soft water (straight distilled or only slightly amended), do you use a decent amount of acidulated malt or food-grade acid to keep the mash pH low enough?

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Old 11-08-2012, 02:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JLem
With such relatively soft water (straight distilled or only slightly amended), do you use a decent amount of acidulated malt or food-grade acid to keep the mash pH low enough?
Yes, normally between 2 and 3 mL of 88% lactic acid. That's based solely on spreadsheet predictions. I've measured pH with strips and it seems good, but strips can be inaccurate . Never had any major conversion problems or sharp flavors.
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Old 11-08-2012, 02:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hex23

Yes, normally between 2 and 3 mL of 88% lactic acid. That's based solely on spreadsheet predictions. I've measured pH with strips and it seems good, but strips can be inaccurate . Never had any major conversion problems or sharp flavors.
What pH are you shooting for in your calcs for strike water and sparge water when you do this?
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Old 11-08-2012, 03:08 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by greatschmaltez

What pH are you shooting for in your calcs for strike water and sparge water when you do this?
Ill have to check my spreadsheet when I get home, but IIRC 5.3 or 5.4. I treat all my mash water the same.

Edit: On one beer the spreadsheet prediction was 5.5 and the strip read 5.4
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Old 11-08-2012, 04:53 PM   #9
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Yooper has a nice looking Bo Pils recipe. Tasty too. Water may be the big thing you have to do. Low mineral. German Pils has a bit more hop character IIRC than the Czech Pils, but it's still a light lager beer. Everything has to be clean, so mash 90, boil 90, keep the temps in order, and do a D-rest. Make sure you use a proper yeast.

Man, I might be talking myself into trying to brew another lager again...

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Old 11-08-2012, 05:15 PM   #10
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I would place proper fermentation and the right yeast selection above all else with a lager.
Proper lagering temperatures and schedule.
Also, a diacetyl rest close to the end of fermentation.

I am still using Ice Mountain spring water for all my brews with only pH adjustments using phosphoric acid.

I have had great success so far.

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