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German Pils Gavin's Glorious German Pilsner

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Gavin C

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Recipe Type
All Grain
Yeast
WLP833
Yeast Starter
Yes. Lager Pitch Rate
Batch Size (Gallons)
5.5
Original Gravity
1.047
Final Gravity
1.008
Boiling Time (Minutes)
90
IBU
36
Color
3.6
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp)
Pitched at 48°F. Fermented at 50°F till 1-2°Plato above FG
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp)
N/A
Additional Fermentation
Cold crashed to 31°F. Gelatin finings in FV
Tasting Notes
Crisp and Refreshing. 1st Place. Pale Bitter European Beer. TX BBBO Score 41.5
I've been making quite a few lagers lately and this German Pilsner turned out very well. I decided to incorporate a step mash in the hopes of generating some complex mouthfeel. This beer is crisp, crushable and refreshing. It has a big fat foamy snow-white head, a grainy Pilsner flavor with a subtle floral and spicy hop aroma. The beer has a luscious golden straw color and gem-like clarity as is typical of a Pils. More brews of this beer are planned.

Grain Bill (80% Brewhouse Efficiency)


NB: The acid malt is needed in my setup as I utilize full-volume mashes. No sparging. Thinner mashes may need some form of additional acid. I use acidulated malt for this reason in calculated amounts and subtract them from the originally planned base malt to keep the OG unchanged. If acid malt is not needed in your setup simply delete it and substitute it with Pilsner malt.

Hops
Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 9.12.24 PM.png

Yeast

A starter size targeting a lager pitch-rate was prepared in my usual way. WLP833.

Water Profile
Water Profile.png

Mash Profile


The mash involved doughing in to hit a Beta rest, infusions of near boiling water to reach the planned rest temperatures prior to directly heating the tun to reach a short mash-out rest. If interested, you can read more about the step mashing process here.

An alternate approach would be to do a single infusion mash at 150°F.

Target and actual mash pH ~5.45


Fermentation Profile
Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 6.07.30 PM.png

NB: Despite the titles which I use to enable me to enter the differing temperatures with ease in Beersmith, all fermentation is done in the primary. No racking other than to the keg after cold crashing and gelatin fining. Changes to the temperature are dictated by visual clues and measuring the gravity.

OG and FG


Carbonation and Lagering
Force-carbonated to ~3.0 volumes. This beer was kegged 21 days after pitching the yeast. The beer was lagered at ~34F for about three weeks while carbonating and was excelent at this point.

Judging
Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 6.12.05 PM.png
This beer scored a 41.5 and a first place (Pale Bitter European Beer) in the recent 2016 Texas Blue Bonnet brew Off. The judges liked it as do I.

Pils, Glorious Pils
Pilsner Stein.jpg

3.jpg
6.jpg
7.jpg

If you like German Pilsner, (who doesn't) why not have a go at making this one. With Summer around the corner I'll need to make more of this soon. What could be better on a hot day? Prost!
 

wallybangbang

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Looks good Gavin! I made your Helles twice now and it was a solid recipe. What's with your No sparge method? Not knocking it in any way just curious. You BIAB or have a regular mash tun?I haven't read too much about the no sparging method. Keep up the good recipes!
 
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Gavin C

Gavin C

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Looks good Gavin! I made your Helles twice now and it was a solid recipe. What's with your No sparge method? Not knocking it in any way just curious. You BIAB or have a regular mash tun?I haven't read too much about the no sparging method. Keep up the good recipes!
I BIAB

More on my approach to BIAB and some other bits and bobs in my signature if you're interested.

Glad to hear you brewed the Helles (and liked it of course). Cool stuff.
 

KatoBaggins

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Thanks for the thorough and good write up on your recipe! It looks simple and delicious. And congrats on the 1st place. I'll have to put this one in the queue. :mug:
 

NTexBrewer

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Gavin,

Nice write up.

Have a couple questions after reading through your post. They are mainly about your process and not your recipe so I hope it is ok to ask here.

1. Where did you get your pH meter and how hard is it to use and keep calibrated.

2. What is the program you are using for your water profiles.

3. Where did you get the hydrometer for measuring the final gravity. That looks like it would easier on my eyes!
 
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Gavin C

Gavin C

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Gavin,

Nice write up.

Have a couple questions after reading through your post. They are mainly about your process and not your recipe so I hope it is ok to ask here.

1. Where did you get your pH meter and how hard is it to use and keep calibrated.

2. What is the program you are using for your water profiles.

3. Where did you get the hydrometer for measuring the final gravity. That looks like it would easier on my eyes!
Thanks. No worries at all. Happy to share where I get stuff.

1. pH meter I got from Hach. I find it very easy to use and the calibration of it is very easy.





*storage solution is not needed for this meter per the manufacturer

2. I use Bru'n water for water calculations. I find it to be a great tool and the creator is a member of HBT, a very active and helpful one at that.
The profiles I use are usually based on defaults in the program but lately I've been doing more research into each style I brew to more closely mimic a geographical profile (only the flavor ions, not hardness or alkalinity). Going to do more of that in the future especially with lighter beers.

3. The narrow range hydrometers were bought from Northern Brewer. A great set of tools. Well worth it. Other vendors sell them also.

Hope that is useful.
 

Murphys_Law

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Brewed this a few weeks ago and it's a tasty beverage! My wife likes it too - WIN!

Edit: I didn't do the step mash since I'm on propane and it's hard (at least for me) to control mash temps that tightly.

IMG_3201.jpg
 
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Gavin C

Gavin C

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Brewed this a few weeks ago and it's a tasty beverage! My wife likes it too - WIN!

Edit: I didn't do the step mash since I'm on propane and it's hard (at least for me) to control mash temps that tightly.
Incredibly beautiful looking beers there Murphy. Thanks for posting the great picture. It's making me thirsty.
 

jekeane

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I BIAB

More on my approach to BIAB and some other bits and bobs in my signature if you're interested.

Glad to hear you brewed the Helles (and liked it of course). Cool stuff.
Why infusion mashing when you BIAB?

When I have step mashed doing BIAB I have just done normal full volume and then bumped the whole thing up.

Do you think that mash thickness affects the benefits of the step mash?
 

JONNYROTTEN

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This will be my first lager attempt! My only issue would be lagering at 34 while carbing.Ill have another keg in the kegerator being served at around 37 deg.Would that work? If not any idea on how I could make it work?
 

superstorm204

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I just got this in the fermenter dropping temp to pitch temp. cant wait to taste it.
 

NTexBrewer

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Yeah. Are you entering that comp yourself?

Yes

Entered a
German Pils (Firestone Walker Pivo Pils Clone)
American Premium Lager
Euro Amber Lager
Belgian Wit
English Dark Mild
Lawnmower Beer

Had a huge office pool party a few weeks ago and having family reunion this weekend so I brewed a lot of easy drinking beers for those events and I figured I might as well enter them.
 
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Gavin C

Gavin C

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Yes

Entered a
German Pils (Firestone Walker Pivo Pils Clone)
American Premium Lager
Euro Amber Lager
Belgian Wit
English Dark Mild
Lawnmower Beer

Had a huge office pool party a few weeks ago and having family reunion this weekend so I brewed a lot of easy drinking beers for those events and I figured I might as well enter them.
That's a great selection. Best of luck.
 
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Gavin C

Gavin C

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You really take the most impeccable notes, Gavin. I swear you must have been an auditor in your past life. ;)

This recipe is at the front of my list now. Much obliged!
Thanks for the kind words Tipsy. Glad the recipe is of use to you.

The notes are largely from Beersmith. I take almost no written notes other than the raw data entered in the software.

WRT your question on the Sulphate and Magnesium ion levels.
Intentional, yes.

I make no effort to match Mg levels. It's arguably unimportant (assuming it's not at too high a level) as the ion plays a similar role to Ca2+ and adequate trace amounts of it are obtained from the grist.

Sulphate. I didn't want to go as high as the yellow bitter profile which is more applicable to a yellow bitter ale, not a lager.

With my latest batch I used a much softer water profile and it did not fare as well in competition. It scored a 37.5, advancing to mini BOS but did not place.

While disappointed, I'll be able to make use of this failure data and return to the water profile in the OP. (It's always hard to resist the urge to tinker. I also changed the hops for what I had on hand. (All Tettnanger).
 

jekeane

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For the original recipe what are your thoughts on the Dry vs Liquid yeasts? I haven't a dry lager yeast yet but it would allow me to sneak this beer into the schedule sooner than later.
 
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Gavin C

Gavin C

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For the original recipe what are your thoughts on the Dry vs Liquid yeasts? I haven't a dry lager yeast yet but it would allow me to sneak this beer into the schedule sooner than later.
I made it with 34/70 once. Finished a touch higher than planned at 1.009

I preferred the WLP 833 version but not having them side by side my memory could be off.
 

jekeane

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If all goes well. I may brew 10 gallons at the start of september and have a buddy split it with me and we can do dry / liquid side by side or maybe just another liquid strain.
 
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Gavin C

Gavin C

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If all goes well. I may brew 10 gallons at the start of september and have a buddy split it with me and we can do dry / liquid side by side or maybe just another liquid strain.
Sounds like a great plan. Best of luck. Hope it turns out to your liking Keano.
 

jekeane

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what is the time breakdown for your mash schedule? looking at beer smiths chart gives my Venn diagram sweats... Looks like 25-30m at 140 30 at 150 and 15 at 155 is that right? Buddy decided to go in with me and we are doing a big split batch this weekend. 5g on 830 5g on Mexican Lager and 2.5g on a dry yeast.
 
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Gavin C

Gavin C

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what is the time breakdown for your mash schedule? looking at beer smiths chart gives my Venn diagram sweats... Looks like 25-30m at 140 30 at 150 and 15 at 155 is that right? Buddy decided to go in with me and we are doing a big split batch this weekend. 5g on 830 5g on Mexican Lager and 2.5g on a dry yeast.
Yeah. Those timeframes are about right.
 

h22lude

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This sounds great. I have a blonde ale I'll be making for my next batch but this will be right after that.

For your yeast starters, you do 1g per 10mL. Do you weigh out the DME and then fill the flask up to the marking of whatever you need OR do you weigh out the DME and then put in the amount of water required? For example, if the calculator says 1 liter with 101 grams of DME do you put in 101 grams of DME and then fill the water up to the 1 liter line OR do you put in 101 grams of DME and then put in 1 liter of water?

Do you add a little more for boil off?
 
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Gavin C

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This sounds great. I have a blonde ale I'll be making for my next batch but this will be right after that.

For your yeast starters, you do 1g per 10mL. Do you weigh out the DME and then fill the flask up to the marking of whatever you need OR do you weigh out the DME and then put in the amount of water required? For example, if the calculator says 1 liter with 101 grams of DME do you put in 101 grams of DME and then fill the water up to the 1 liter line OR do you put in 101 grams of DME and then put in 1 liter of water?

Do you add a little more for boil off?
Xg of DME to 10x ml of final starter volume.

  • Add DME to flask, add water to reach target volume (e.g.: 100g DME added to flask, add water to reach 1L and you have a starter of SG ~1.040)
  • Take 1L of water and add 100g of DME and your SG will be ~1.037 with a volume greater than 1L.

Not a big deal but I do the former as 1.040 is the sweet spot for yeast growth-v- economy of starter volume. Any higher SG and you don't get any more growth per g of DME, any lower SG and you're making the starter volume needlessly large.

I don't adjust volume for boil-off as my starters are not boiled for any significant length (1-3 mins is the norm) and are boiled in the flask which greatly reduces volume loss.

Hope that helps. Best of luck with the brew. Hope it turns out well for you.
 

h22lude

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Xg of DME to 10x ml of final starter volume.

  • Add DME to flask, add water to reach target volume (e.g.: 100g DME added to flask, add water to reach 1L and you have a starter of SG ~1.040)
  • Take 1L of water and add 100g of DME and your SG will be ~1.037 with a volume greater than 1L.

Not a big deal but I do the former as 1.040 is the sweet spot for yeast growth-v- economy of starter volume. Any higher SG and you don't get any more growth per g of DME, any lower SG and you're making the starter volume needlessly large.

I don't adjust volume for boil-off as my starters are not boiled for any significant length (1-3 mins is the norm) and are boiled in the flask which greatly reduces volume loss.

Hope that helps. Best of luck with the brew. Hope it turns out well for you.
That's what I figured but wanted to make sure. I have been using a pot for my starters and I did boil off a noticeable amount. I'm going to try using my flask with this batch. Only issue is, I have glass stove top which I have read can crack the flask. I'm going to figure out another way. Maybe put the flask in a pot of water.

Haven't brewed a lager in a while. Can't wait to try it. I wish I didn't have this blonde ale to make.
 

TastyAdventure

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Gonna brew this tomorrow. My first lager! And my first time building up RO water
 

wyowolf

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I brewed this yesterday, cant wait to taste it. Above you show using 5 Oz hops, but when I plugged that in Beersmith, it was WAY over bittering? BS said to use 3 so thats what I did.

put in the fridge to cool down to 50 then will pitch the yeast tonight, stepped it 4 times so hopefully that is enough.
 
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Gavin C

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I brewed this yesterday, cant wait to taste it. Above you show using 5 Oz hops, but when I plugged that in Beersmith, it was WAY over bittering? BS said to use 3 so thats what I did.

put in the fridge to cool down to 50 then will pitch the yeast tonight, stepped it 4 times so hopefully that is enough.
Hope it turns out great for you. Keep us posted.

The data I include in the recipe is from Beersmith.

Differing boil-times and alpha acid content will impact the estimated IBU's the software calculates. My numbers are correct (insofar as they are an estimate based on data available to me)

 
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