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Old 11-08-2012, 07:33 PM   #11
Pivovar_Koucky
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You really cannot brew beer with only distilled water, the mash, break, and hop character all require minerals beyond what is supplied by the malt.

You should not add acid or acidulated malt unless you test your pH and it is high. It is exceedingly unlikely that you will use very soft water and you will end up with a high pH. High pH is likely to occur when you use very hard water and very light malt. Darker roasted malt tend to add acid to the mash and this is one reason why darker beer styles tend to dominate in regions with hard water. In my own experience, Weyermann Bohemian Pilsner malt in Poland Spring water (maybe with a little calcium chloride) should be fine for Bohemian Pils. For German Pils, I use tap water, unless your tap water is really hard or really soft it should probably be fine.

As you say, I don't think Warsteiner is typical of German Pils, in my opinion it is more like Heineken and St. Pauli Girl than Bitburger. Also, I think that most American brewed pilsners tend to have too little hop character. I would guess this is a result of drinking imports from green bottles which were stored under fluorescent light, resulting in a significant loss of hop character. In Warsteiner's favor, it has a lower hop character and comes in a brown bottle so it is less likely to be skunked when you get it.

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Old 11-08-2012, 10:37 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JLem View Post
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?
Nice choice for your first lager.


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Originally Posted by JLem View Post
What makes a great Pils?
Keep it simple, use the best quality ingredients and give the beer the time it needs.

Malt: German pils malt of course. You can add a touch of CaraHells or CaraPils if you like, maybe 3-5%.

Hop schedule: Simple is the word here. A firm bittering addition with a smaller mid/late addition (~20 min) is my preference. German noble hops are the way to go. I like Spalt and Hallertau but whatever is your favorite is fine. The American Hallertau derivatives like Mt. Hood also work very well. For an OG in the standard range of 1.048-1.054 shoot for IBUs from the high 20s to the high 30s depending on how hoppy a beer you prefer.

Yeast: A big starter culture of your favorite. The White Lab strains are all Bavarian style, the WLP-030 and WLP-038 are very good. If you want a drier, Northern style brew the Wyeast 2042 is very nice. The White Labs WLP-802 (Budvar) while a Czech style, is fairly neutral and is an excellent general purpose lager yeast.

Water: Clean (obviously) and fairly soft but you can use a little more mineral content than you would with a Czech pils. I'm not big on adding sulphates to pils water but a little will add to the hop edge if you want. Calcium chloride is your friend here. Use the CaCl2 to get the Ca+ up to ~60ppm and at your option use about 1/3-1/2 the amount of Calcium Sulphate to add some SO4.

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Old 11-09-2012, 12:41 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pivovar_Koucky View Post
You really cannot brew beer with only distilled water, the mash, break, and hop character all require minerals beyond what is supplied by the malt.
I've not experimented with 100% distilled, but I wonder what the limits would really be. In some of my lagers, like my Warsteiner clone and a Helles, I cut my tap water to 80% distilled. It started at 138 ppm total hardness, 6ppm sulfates, and 14 ppm chloride. I was trying to match Warsteiner water at 1-2 German degrees of hardness (at least that's what they say on their website!)

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Originally Posted by Pivovar_Koucky View Post
You should not add acid or acidulated malt unless you test your pH and it is high.
I agree, I wouldn't advocate blindly making additions and my numbers are dependent on my water.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pivovar_Koucky View Post
As you say, I don't think Warsteiner is typical of German Pils, in my opinion it is more like Heineken and St. Pauli Girl than Bitburger. Also, I think that most American brewed pilsners tend to have too little hop character. I would guess this is a result of drinking imports from green bottles which were stored under fluorescent light, resulting in a significant loss of hop character. In Warsteiner's favor, it has a lower hop character and comes in a brown bottle so it is less likely to be skunked when you get it.
I don't get the Heineken comparison. I've had multiple Heineken that to me had a fairly noticeable banana ester (especially in cans) and Warsteiner has more hop character. St. Pauli Girl is pretty close, but I think a little less malty. Of course Bitburger is probably most closely associated with German Pils. I'm not a huge fan because it is too dry for my palate. But it's probably true to style.
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Old 11-13-2012, 03:47 AM   #14
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I just made this recipe, a slight variation on a gold medal recipe from the world beer cup. One of my all time favorite pilsners, commercial or homebrewed. I did do a protein rest at 122, but then just ramped to mash temps with RIMS tube. Was going to do the decoction on a buddy's outdoor system, but he hurt his ankle setting up and I had to transfer the brew day to my indoor electric rig. I used a 50/50 mix of distilled water to carbon filtered. I think there's something to the protein rest. Beer has a smoothness to it that is terrific.



BeerSmith 2 Recipe Printout - http://www.beersmith.com
Recipe: Ruffian Pilsner
Brewer: Dan
Asst Brewer:
Style: Bohemian Pilsner
TYPE: All Grain
Taste: (30.0)

Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Boil Size: 14.21 gal
Post Boil Volume: 11.96 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 11.00 gal
Bottling Volume: 11.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.050 SG
Estimated Color: 3.9 SRM
Estimated IBU: 37.9 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 76.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 79.5 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
18 lbs 2.5 oz Pilsner (2 Row) Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 92.2 %
1 lbs 1.5 oz Munich Malt (9.0 SRM) Grain 2 5.5 %
7.0 oz Acid Malt (3.0 SRM) Grain 3 2.2 %
4.40 oz Spalter [4.50 %] - Boil 90.0 min Hop 4 37.9 IBUs
1.10 oz Saaz [4.00 %] - Aroma Steep 0.0 min Hop 5 0.0 IBUs
2.0 pkg Saflager Lager (DCL/Fermentis #W-34/70) Yeast 6 -


Mash Schedule: Temperature Mash, 2 Step, Light Body
Total Grain Weight: 19 lbs 11.0 oz
----------------------------
Name Description Step Temperat Step Time
Protein Rest Add 25.61 qt of water at 129.0 F 122.0 F 30 min
Saccharification Add 0.00 qt of water and heat to 150.0 150.0 F 75 min
Mash Out Heat to 168.0 F over 10 min 168.0 F 10 min

Sparge: Fly sparge with 10.42 gal water at 168.0 F
Notes:
------


Created with BeerSmith 2 - http://www.beersmith.com
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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Old 11-15-2012, 04:32 PM   #15
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Thanks all. Still mulling this over - probably won't get to it until sometime this winter. Honestly, I don't have true temperature control, so I am going to rely on the ambient temps of my garage, mudroom and cellar. I'm fairly confident I can maintain steady temps in the appropriate range...just need to wait until December to start.

I'm leaning towards something simple - perhaps 100% pilsner malt, 2 Hallertau additions (60 and 15). Might do a decoction mash - I ran one with the Altbier I made last year and it didn't give me any problems and the beer came out great. This is one reason I am thinking of just going with 100% pilsner malt. If I don't go with the decoction, I might add some other grains to the grist. Thinking of using WLP833 - I've heard a bunch of folks (Jamil Z. and Gordon Strong) use this as their go-to yeast for all lagers.

I use store-bought spring water that is pretty low overall in mineral content - I have the spec sheets from the bottling source - and will adjust it with some gypsum to get the Ca up. I'll also use some acidulated malt to hit my mash pH.

Thanks again for the insights. Looking forward to brewing this up once temps get a touch colder.

BigEd - I'm sure I'll see you at BVBS when I'm ready to get going on this!

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Old 11-15-2012, 11:20 PM   #16
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Quote:
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BigEd - I'm sure I'll see you at BVBS when I'm ready to get going on this!

See you there, Jim. Good luck with the brew.
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Old 01-28-2013, 03:28 AM   #17
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Finally got around to brewing this one. It's chilling as I type...

Here's what I went with:

Estimated OG: 1.051 SG
Estimated Color: 3.7 SRM
Estimated IBU: 37.2 IBUs
90 minute boil

98% Pilsener malt
2% acid malt (for mash pH)
New Zealand Hallertau hops - FWH, 60 min, 15 min, 1 min
WLP833 (German Bock)

Water mineral estimates (all ppm):
Ca: 57
Mg: 11
Na: 3
Cl: 56
SO4: 94

Mash profile:
protein rest @ 131°F for 20 minutes
sacch rest @ 148°F for 45 minutes
single decoction to mash out @ 170°F

Hopefully the fermentation goes well!

Thanks for all the input on this.

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Old 02-20-2013, 06:37 PM   #18
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Any initial tasting notes from checking the sample? Do the hops have that nice crisp finish as they should?

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Old 02-20-2013, 10:47 PM   #19
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Any initial tasting notes from checking the sample? Do the hops have that nice crisp finish as they should?
Honestly, I am a little "worried" about this beer. The sample I tasted did not jump out to me to be very hoppy at all. I know it was just one sample and it was still far from done (currently lagering), but I was expecting something a little more up front. I'll keep this thread posted as the beer matures. Still a few weeks from putting it in bottles.
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Old 03-24-2013, 05:39 PM   #20
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Just bottled this beer - looks great, smells great, tastes great...perhaps a bit too fruity from the NZ Hallertau for a "true" German Pils, but I am very excited for this beer. I'll post back in a few weeks with the finished product...hopefully it carbs up ok.

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