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First All Grain Attempt... at a Pilsner

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Jim Noto

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Soooo I might have set my sights a little too high for my first attempt. I have a lot of the information I need to make a gracious (yet probably a fail) attempt at a decoction mash. One thing I’m having a problem with is amount of strike water and sparge water I need. Anyone have any advice or tips and tricks to help a newbie who could be a little over his head o_O
 

Konadog

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My advice would be to not do a decoction mash as your first all grain attempt. Start with something simple to learn how to get your process down before you try something as trying as a decoction. There are just to many places to fail at, and when your beer doesn't turn out the way you thought it should, you might not know where in your process you messed up at, or how to fix it the next time around.
 

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That would depend on the water profile of your water, and your grain bill, what type of Pilsner, czech or a german. A Czech Pilsner water is typicly extremely low in mineral ions (soft water) and a German Pilsner has a bit more.

The last Czech Pilsner I made was with straight RO water with a bit (about a gram) of calcium chloride, that's it.
 
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Jim Noto

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this is the recipe I’m working with but I’ve been looking around at different ones because I don’t really like how this one is structured
 

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jschein

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How large is your batch?
How many temperature rests do you plan on?
Simple answer if you are going for a 5 gallon batch with 2 temperature rests and then a decoction you can mash in with half your volume for the first temperature rest then add the reminder of your mash water To bring up to second temperature rest. Then do the decoction and bring up to your final mash temperature for the 60 to 240 minute Mash depending on your recipe . Sparge as normal.
It can get very complicated depending on where the Pilsner recipe came from
 
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Jim Noto

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This is the recipe I have, but I’m not sure I’m gonna stick to it. I have the grains already though, so I might have to.
 

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jschein

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I don’t want to discourage you trying something new, it can be fun.
I found an old recipe in my brewing journal and this is what I did.
Mash in with 5 gallons of water to target 150, after about 25 minutes I took out about 25% of the mash out, this is your decoction . Start boiling the decoction, bring the decoction to boil and stir and add water as necessary so it doesn’t burn the grain . Add the decoction at mashout then sparge to get your boil volume
This was a 5 gallon batch.
 
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Jim Noto

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I was thinking bring my strike water to 130. Rest at 30 minutes. Decoct for 10-15 minutes put back in the mash. Stir. Rest for 30 Get my mash to about 155. Decoct again. Boil for 15 add to mash for the last 30 minute rest
 
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Jim Noto

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That’s what I heard so I wasn’t entirely sure how to proceed. You think a single decoction will do the trick?
 

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Pilsner is one of my favorite styles to brew during the warmer months. Super simple, I ferment with 34/70 at room temp and it comes out great. This time around I used 100ppm of sulfates and 50ppm of chlorides. About 17 ibu's. 4 weeks after brew day, it's carbonated, clear and super crisp. Can't go wrong with 15-20 ibu's of bittering at 60 and an oz of saaz or any favorite noble hop variety at 5 min.
 

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Jim Noto

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Pilsner is one of my favorite styles to brew during the warmer months. Super simple, I ferment with 34/70 at room temp and it comes out great. This time around I used 100ppm of sulfates and 50ppm of chlorides. About 17 ibu's. 4 weeks after brew day, it's carbonated, clear and super crisp. Can't go wrong with 15-20 ibu's of bittering at 60 and an oz of saaz or any favorite noble hop variety at 5 min.
Do you have the full recipe?
 

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Make a simple ale recipe to begin with. A pilsner requires you to make minimal to zero mistakes in you brewing process. They are so light in body and flavor that any of your flaws will be amplified.
As others have suggested a decoction mash is probably more than a first timer should attempt plus probably not necessary with today's well modified malts.
And the 10 gallon batch size shown in that recipe you provided... is that the batch size you plan on making? That's a lot of beer to choke down if it turns out less than desirable.

I suggest starting with a pale ale, brown ale, cream ale or even a straight forward IPA. After you have had consistently good results then try the pilsner. As for decoction mashes I believe every brewer should try it at least once. Most brewers I know who have done so say never again. Set that as another goal after you have had consistent results from your pilsner. As for batch size... that's up to you. I make 10+ gallon batches but never on the first attempt of something I've never brewed before.

Good luck.
 

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