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Old 06-20-2011, 11:57 PM   #1
JohnFrum1978
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Default What is pilsner malt?

Probably a stupid question.

Last year I went to the brew shop to put together a trappist ale. The recipe called for Pilsner malt. The owner looked puzzled, said he'd never heard of it, asked me what I was making, and hooked me up with some light DME. The beer turned out great.

Just now I was reading an article about Belgian Dubbels in an old Brew magazine. They were going on and on about how important pilsner malt is.

I frequent three different brew shops and have never seen it. Can someone shed some light on this?

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Old 06-21-2011, 12:10 AM   #2
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I frequent three different brew shops and have never seen it. Can someone shed some light on this?

Not a stupid question but it is one IMO that an owner of a HBS should be able to answer even if they do not stock pilsner malt. Pilsner malt is produced from high quality European 2-row barley and is lightly kilned so as to yield a very light color in the finished beer. German and Czech pils are brewed from pilsner malt as are many other beers and it is a favorite base ingredient in many Belgian beers. Besides being light in color pilsner malt has a delicate yet distinctly malty flavor and aroma.
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Old 06-21-2011, 12:10 AM   #3
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It's the base malt for just about every Belgian or German beers. You know what a pilsner is right?

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Pilsner malt is a base malt that can be made from 2 or 6 row malt. It gets its characteristics from the drying and curing steps in the malting process, where in the kiln the temperatures are kept lower in comparison to other malts’ productions. The kiln is also well ventilated in Pilsner malt production so it dries out quickly. The malt is cured at lower temperatures too.

What is produced is a very light-colored, highly-modified malt with excellent glucan and protein levels.

Pilsner malt seems to be produced in a number of different countries including Germany, Belgium, The UK, and the US. Without doing an experiment, my guess is that each area produces something that is similar but a little bit different…probably not much different though.

It be used at up to 100% of total grist since its diastatic power tends to be over 100° Lintner (which is the measure of the malt’s ability to break down starch to sugar)

Some suggest a protein rest during the mashing of this malt, but others state that it should produce an excellent wort with a single infusion procedure.

It is recommended to boil your wort for 90 minutes when using Pilsner malt. If your grist has over 50% Pilsner malt in it, then you should plan for a longer boil to combat the production of DMS. DMS is Dimethyl Sulfide and it produces a cooked vegetable/corn aroma in your beer. Not good. Boil for 90 minutes and cool your wort down quickly to stave off DMS as much as possible.

More stats:

Flavor: Ferments clean, some grainy notes

Color:1.4 to 1.9° lovibond

Body: Good body and mouthfeel

Use: All lagers, but especially pilsners. Belgian beers work too.
For extract beers, you can get both pilsner lme and dme, in fact you can even order pilsner dme from Amazon.com . So I'm really surprised 3 brew shops never heard of either pilsner malt or extract.
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Old 06-21-2011, 12:13 AM   #4
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The name comes form Pilsen, Czechoslovakia. It's the lightest kilned malt. It needs a longer boil to remove DMS. It is commonly used in European lagers and Belgian ales.

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Old 06-21-2011, 12:20 AM   #5
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I'm guessing that 99.9% of all beer sold in the world was brewed from pilsener malt. You might inform your LHBS friend of this. I'd guess that it is the main (only) barley in all BMC beers (although there is plenty of rice in there too!).

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Old 06-21-2011, 12:23 AM   #6
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I'm guessing that 99.9% of all beer sold in the world was brewed from pilsener malt. You might inform your LHBS friend of this.
I don't think it's that high!

But he does have a point. Owning a brew store and saying you never heard of pilsner malt (or pilsner extract made by Briess for one) is like owning a spaghetti sauce factory and saying you never heard of tomatoes!

Pilsner malt is an incredibly common base grain, as is maris otter, and US two-row. I would be very suspect of ANY store that is ignorant of a very common ingredient in many beers!
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Old 06-21-2011, 12:26 AM   #7
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I'm guessing that 99.9% of all beer sold in the world was brewed from pilsener malt. You might inform your LHBS friend of this. I'd guess that it is the main (only) barley in all BMC beers (although there is plenty of rice in there too!).
Maybe you mean Lagers, right? I'd say maybe 99% of all lagers are brewed with pilsner.
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Old 06-21-2011, 12:33 AM   #8
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I just can't imagine the owner of a LHBS saying he's never heard of pilsner malt. But, the fact that this was an extract recipe, may have caused some confusion. Morebeer, for example doesn't list Pilsner malt as a DME, but carries it as LME. So, I could see that if the recipe calls for Pilsner DME, and they don't have it, maybe some employee would say "never heard of it".

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Old 06-21-2011, 12:39 AM   #9
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I doubt that 99% of the beer in the world is made from Pilsner malt. Anheuser-Busch sells about 1/3 of the beer in the world. They malt there own but I would not call it Pilsner. It's more like American 2-row and 6-row lager malt (and nothing like a continental pils aside from color.)

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Old 06-21-2011, 12:44 AM   #10
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The guy at first thought that it may have been some kind of pre-hopped LME, but then he saw that the recipe already called for a fair amount of hops. It was one of the trappist ale recipes I found on this site. He ended up balling up the recipe, tossing it aside, and putting together something for me along those lines on his own.

Most of the extracts the shops carry around here are categoriezed by color. Light, amber, and so on.

Is the light DME he gave me an adequate substitute?

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