Hoppy Pilsner Water profile

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RKi

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After being inspired by Firestone Walker Pivo Pils last September, i'm brewing a hoppy pilsner. The last pilsner i made, i used a water profile very similar to Prague (So super soft). The beer was good but a bit soft, and it lacked definition. I also think that due to the low Ca levels (20), attenuation wasn't as high as it could've been.

I want the hops to pop more on this beer, along with a dry finish. I'm thinking of using my usual Pale Ale profile :

Ca+2 Mg+2 Na+ Cl- SO4-2
83 19 28 54 261

Think that'll achieve what i want? The recipes i've seen for beers of this ilk so far online strangely seem to favour Cl to SO4. (CL 120 So4 20 for example)
 

ajdelange

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The fact that you are trying to imitate something with the word Pivo in its name suggests you want the Czech stye. Those beers are traditionally made with soft water and a soft character is part of what they are. The hops don't 'pop' in a Czech Pils. They present melded with the other flavors. Bittierness may be 40 IBU or more and the brewers get away with that by using noble hops (Zatec isn't that far from Prague and Pilsen) which work with the soft water to provide the classic intense but fine bitterness associated with these beers. The key here is very low sulfate.

But you aren't trying to match a style. You are trying to get a beer you like so the rules for making a Czech pils don't apply. If you still have some of the beer you find falls short try drinking some of that with a pinch of calcium chloride. This will tend to make the beer taste fuller and sweeter. See if you like this effect. Now take another sample and drop in some calcium sulfate solution. Taste this and see how you feel about what sulfate does. Based on these experiments adjust your mineralization on the next brew.

It seems to me that you probably want a German style pils more than a Czech one. These are brewed with harder water, including sulfate, and have the dry finish you mention. Interestingly enough the thing that comes to mind is Singha before they wimped that down (to attract the younger market). If you brew with a higher sulfate water stay away from the Noble varieties. Sulfate destroys that fine bitterness and so there is no point in paying a premium for something you are going to destroy. There are plenty of fine German hops available. But note also that there have been times when Saaz cost no more than some of them.
 

mabrungard

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Oh, I wouldn't consider a profile like a Pale Ale profile for something that light and delicate. While including sulfate in the water is a path to maintaining malt presence while drying the finish, I don't recommend over-doing it. If your previous version was too soft, I wonder how much sulfate was in the water for that version? Adding a bit more might be sufficient. I can't see going over 40 ppm sulfate though.

I brewed a Dortmunder Export about a year ago, using the Dortmund water profile which includes 330 ppm sulfate and 130 ppm chloride. While the beer was malty and crisp, the minerally water was certainly apparent. With that experience, I wouldn't pursue levels any higher than 2/3 of those levels for that style to avoid what I found to be excessive minerality. While this example has nothing to do with your Pils, its a worthwhile data point for consideration in other styles.
 
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RKi

RKi

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Thanks for the feedback again :]

The old profile i used was :

Ca:20 Mg:2 Na:8 Cl:43 SO4:16

I'm quite liking the look of the Dusseldorf profile in Bru'n water (Ca:40 Mg:15 Na:26 SO4:80 CL:45)

Think that'd be well suited to this beer? or should i just stick with the original profile and bump up the Gypsum some more?
 

Braufessor

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I brew a lot of these "hoppy pilsners" - like you, inspired by beers such as Pivo Pils.
I use 100% RO and then use the "Jever boiled" profile in B'run water. It works very well for these beers in my experience.

I use lactic acid to get pH in the 5.25 range or so.

** It is pretty close to that Dusseldorf profile.
 

schematix

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I use RO + 0.7g/G of CaCl2 and 0.3g/G of NaCl.

Before i added the NaCl i thought the beers were a little lacking in pop. That seems to have solved.
 

couchsending

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Matt Brynldson has given the suggested water profile for Pivo, you can google it. I don’t remember the exact amount but It’s a decent amount of CaCl and that’s it.
 
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RKi

RKi

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Thanks guys. I had no idea what "Jever" was in Bru'n water but i'll definitely take a look. Seems like bumping up the ca + cl seems the way to go.
 

ajdelange

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Jever is a Friesien pils that used to be really, really bitter. As is the case with many such local brews it has been wimped down for the modern market. In any case there are several guys here apparently trying to imitate a Czech style (Pivo is not a German word) with German water. This, of course, is immaterial if they are getting a beer they like but it's still interesting.

Matt Brynldson has given the suggested water profile for Pivo, you can google it. I don’t remember the exact amount but It’s a decent amount of CaCl and that’s it.
Now that's my idea of what goes into pivo as opposed to bier and that's what I always put into mine. I put just enough to, I figure, precipitate oxalate which is appreciably more that in Pilzn water and in so doing discovered that it made the beer richer than calcium chloride additions more closely matching the Urquel. That's why I recommended that OP try CaCl2 augmentation in a taste test. Not so authentic, perhaps, but more to my taste.
 
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RKi

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Thanks for the feedback all. I've been doing some reading and found quite a few articles on the brewing of Pivo Pils. The common concensus, water profile wise was basically simple CaCl2 additions. So i've settled on this:

Ca+2 Mg+2 Na+ Cl- SO4-2
74 2 0 120 24
 

couchsending

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I believe Pivo finishes at around 1.005. With it’s highish IBUs and low FG I believe that’s why they use that much CaCl, to give it a little more body and “smooth” it out a bit. If you don’t get that low a FG there’s a chance with a bunch of CaCl it could come off as too sweet or not crisp enough so it’s sort of a balancing act.

FWIW I’ve sent Mary into Ward Labs based on that I would say they don’t add any CaCl to the water for that beer. It is a more traditonal German Pilsner however. All Ca additions are from Cas04 and whatever their water brings to the table.
 

couchsending

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Sorry. I just can't make out what you are saying here.
Mary

Hill Farmstead’s German Pils. A high regarded beer. Their lagers are as close to the best European offerings as I’ve had in the US.

The ward labs report on the final beer indicated to me that there are no Cl additions to that beer based on what we know base malt contributes.
 

ajdelange

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As the Germans say "In die Kurze liegt die Würze" and you are certainly a master there. I still couldn't make it out until I went to Hill Farmstead's web page and learned
1)Mary is one of their beers
2)The brewery is only 40 mi south of here.

So I take from this that you sent a sample of Mary off to Ward Labs for a chloride analysis, that they came back with a low number and as barley matter contains little chloride on it's own you concluded that the brewery's water is low in chloride and that they did not supplement it.
 

Braufessor

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Thanks guys. I had no idea what "Jever" was in Bru'n water but i'll definitely take a look. Seems like bumping up the ca + cl seems the way to go.
Jever Profile on B'run water is as follows....my actual calculated #'s are in parentheses:
Ca = 48 (51)
Mg = 5 (3)
Na = 15 (8)
Sulfate =75 (85)
Chloride = 30 (38)

I add all of the minerals to mash water, none to sparge water. I add 2ml of lactic acid to my mash water, 1 ml lactic to my sparge water. All water = RO.

Because I add all my minerals to the mash, that bumps mash pH down to 5.20-5.25 range or so.

The hoppy pilsner I make is very similar to Pivo. Actually, drank the two of them side by side last night and I would say they are 90%+ similar. The only real difference is that Pivo comes off with a slightly sharper/more assertive hop presence..... A bit more of a "bite" - which could also be the lower FG suggested in an above post. Mine finishes around 1.009.

The other difference is I was not trying to clone Pivo - so I did not use the same hops. (I think that uses Saphir). I used the following schedule (rough ounces to a 5 gallon batch in parentheses):
15 IBU Spalter @ 60 (1 ounce)
6 IBU Kazbek @30 (1/2-1 ounce)
4 IBU of Edelweiss and 4 IBU of Tettnang @ 15 (3/4- 1 ounce of each)
1.5 IBU of Edelweiss and 1.5 IBU of Tettnang @ 5 (3/4 - 1 ounce of each)
**Edelweiss is a "Lager Hop Blend" from Hop Heaven
Mine comes in around 30-35 IBU's

Grain=
71% Barke Pilsner
21% Barke Vienna
5% Weyermann Munich
3% CaraHell

I use Wyeast 2124

If I was going to try to "clone" Pivo, I would do everything else the same except I would substitute Saphir for the last two hop additions and bump the IBU's up to around 40 - I would use Magnum at 60 and Spalter at 30. Personally, I have never liked dry hopping in pilsners - they almost always come off as grassy to me. So, I personally would not dry hop this beer - even though Firestone walker does with theirs. It honestly comes off very, very close and definitely within the spirit of that beer or others that are similar.
 
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couchsending

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As the Germans say "In die Kurze liegt die Würze" and you are certainly a master there. I still couldn't make it out until I went to Hill Farmstead's web page and learned
1)Mary is one of their beers
2)The brewery is only 40 mi south of here.

So I take from this that you sent a sample of Mary off to Ward Labs for a chloride analysis, that they came back with a low number and as barley matter contains little chloride on it's own you concluded that the brewery's water is low in chloride and that they did not supplement it.
I based my assumptions off the study done by the folks at Ballast Point that analzyzed the ion contributions from different base malts in a 10 Plato beer.
 

ihavenonickname

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@couchsending @Braufessor
I’m making a pivo pils style beer, It’s hard for me to wrap my head around a hoppy beer with zero sulfate. I don’t know if I can trust the process enough to add only CaCl and expect hoppy, dry, bright and crisp. So I’m leaning more towards what you two are suggesting CaCl and CaSo4 additions to 60ppm each, 40 ibus (half from first wort hop) and sim to finish 1.006-1.008.
 

couchsending

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A low ABV beer finishing at 1.006-1.008 with elevated IBUs does not need any sulfate in my opinion. The CaCl will smooth the beer out considerably. If the beer finished at 1.014 and was lower in IBUS then yes some CaSo4 might be advisable.
 

mabrungard

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Pilsner Urquel adds gypsum to their brewing water. Having some sulfate does help dry the finish and balance the beer. Don’t believe the hooey that says sulfate is bad or makes beer bitter.
 

couchsending

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Pilsner Urquel adds gypsum to their brewing water. Having some sulfate does help dry the finish and balance the beer. Don’t believe the hooey that says sulfate is bad or makes beer bitter.
Exactly my point. PU finishes at 1.015 and is decocted. Without sulfate additions it would not nearly be as drinkable.

A beer finishing at 1.5-2 plato with similar bitterness levels benefits from more CaCl
In my opinion. Which is why Matt Brynildson recommends only CaCl additions for Pivo.
 

ihavenonickname

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Thanks for massaging out this point a little bit, it makes sense, and helps me get excited to try out a totally new to me technique. Since switching to all RO about 80 beers ago, I’m quite sure I’ve added some gypsum to every beer! So this will be different for me.
Just have to trust my step mash and yeast performance to dry out as I tended.
 
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Braufessor

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Ultimately, the best thing to do is to brew the same beer twice. Tweek the water and nothing else. Then you can see for yourself if one is "better" than the other, or, as is often the case....... whether it really makes a noticeable difference at all.

In my experience, one of the things that has taught me more than anything is brewing the same beer many times..... being able to replicate it over and over, and changing one variable from time to time to see the impact myself. Great way to learn.
 
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