Need help with brewing first Pilsner

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Pale Ales and Such

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hi everyone, I’m going to attempt my first Pilsner and I’m super excited. However, I’m having a hard time finding what I could use to keep the fermentation at 50 degrees or cooler. I live in South Texas and i brew 1 gallon batches. So I can’t brew it outside, I don’t have a basement and my fridge seems too cold to brew the Pilsner

soooo:
1. any one have any advice on what I can do to ferment the Pilsner at lower temperatures?

2. what’s the ideal ferment time for the Pilsner?

3. Is This recipe ok for my first Pilsner? I put it together based on a Pilsner I used to drink when I lived in the PNW, Pfriem’s Pilsner. It seems tasty

Steeping Grains
2oz - German Pilsner malt
1.3oz - Carafoam malt
1.3oz - acidualted malt

Extract:
1lb Pilsen DME

Hops:
.10oz- Perle (60 minutes)
.16oz - Saphir (10 minutes)
.20oz - tettnager (15 minutes)
.20oz - spalt (2 minutes)

thanks!
 

DuncB

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Well you could just use a kveik ( yeast ) and fermented at these temps it will be very clean. Not a true pilsner of course but you'll get a very good result with it.
I don't know much about extract recipes I'm afraid.
 

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If you have a cooler that can fit your fermenter in it, you can do that, and put in bottles of frozen water too. Then change them out every so often with new ones from the freezer. It helps to have a thermometer probe taped to the side of the fermenter.
 

marc1

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hi everyone, I’m going to attempt my first Pilsner and I’m super excited. However, I’m having a hard time finding what I could use to keep the fermentation at 50 degrees or cooler. I live in South Texas and i brew 1 gallon batches. So I can’t brew it outside, I don’t have a basement and my fridge seems too cold to brew the Pilsner

soooo:
1. any one have any advice on what I can do to ferment the Pilsner at lower temperatures?

2. what’s the ideal ferment time for the Pilsner?

3. Is This recipe ok for my first Pilsner? I put it together based on a Pilsner I used to drink when I lived in the PNW, Pfriem’s Pilsner. It seems tasty

Steeping Grains
2oz - German Pilsner malt
1.3oz - Carafoam malt
1.3oz - acidualted malt

Extract:
1lb Pilsen DME

Hops:
.10oz- Perle (60 minutes)
.16oz - Saphir (10 minutes)
.20oz - tettnager (15 minutes)
.20oz - spalt (2 minutes)

thanks!
1a. A mini fridge with a temp controller would work great to ferment at lager temperatures (low to mid 50s).
1b. Lutra ferments pretty clean at warmer temps. It's worth looking at.
1c. There's a whole thread of people who ferment lagers warmer. I've tested 34/70 and it works well at 60 (the manufacturer also tested at several temps/conditions with tasting panel data and found it to be similar.
1d. You could put your gallon jug in a larger bucket of water and add frozen water bottles/ice to it to keep temps low.

2. Until it's done :) If you're fermenting cool many people will raise the temp into the 60s for the last bit of the fermentation to help it finish out and clean up.

3a. I haven't done extract in a while, but acidulated is for mash pH adjustment. Not necessary for extract. You could probably just start off with pilsen DME and add more specialty grains after tasting this batch.
3b. Your hop additions are complicated. To start off, I'd recommend an addition of one variety at 15 or so to get a feel for what that hop tastes like, then make up the rest of your IBUs needed with a bittering addition.
 
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Pale Ales and Such

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If you have a cooler that can fit your fermenter in it, you can do that, and put in bottles of frozen water too. Then change them out every so often with new ones from the freezer. It helps to have a thermometer probe taped to the side of the fermenter.
This is actually a neat idea. I just imagine I’d have to switch out the ice bottles at least two times a day... or more.
 
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@marc1

The OP is trying to clone this " Pfriem’s Pilsner " which might explain the complicated hops.
Yeah, I plugged in the hop amounts and hop varieties based on what they use. I’m trying to match the flavor and IBU as close as possible.
 
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1a. A mini fridge with a temp controller would work great to ferment at lager temperatures (low to mid 50s).
1b. Lutra ferments pretty clean at warmer temps. It's worth looking at.
1c. There's a whole thread of people who ferment lagers warmer. I've tested 34/70 and it works well at 60 (the manufacturer also tested at several temps/conditions with tasting panel data and found it to be similar.
1d. You could put your gallon jug in a larger bucket of water and add frozen water bottles/ice to it to keep temps low.

2. Until it's done :) If you're fermenting cool many people will raise the temp into the 60s for the last bit of the fermentation to help it finish out and clean up.

3a. I haven't done extract in a while, but acidulated is for mash pH adjustment. Not necessary for extract. You could probably just start off with pilsen DME and add more specialty grains after tasting this batch.
3b. Your hop additions are complicated. To start off, I'd recommend an addition of one variety at 15 or so to get a feel for what that hop tastes like, then make up the rest of your IBUs needed with a bittering addition.
Lots of good info here, thank you! The hops are based on what they use for the Pfriem Pilsner. I try to match as close to the flavor profile and IBU. Plugging the numbers and amount into brewers friend seems to match what they are doing. I know it’s not as accurate since they are an actually brewery, but I’m trying my best. Mainly because a good friend is having a baby and this is his favorite beer he can’t get anymore so I’m trying my earnest to try to match it
 
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For additional info: I’m doing this for a friend who loves this beer (I love it as well) but it’s his favorite Pilsner that he can’t get where he is at now. I want to make it as a way to congratulate him for having his first kid :)
 
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Well you could just use a kveik ( yeast ) and fermented at these temps it will be very clean. Not a true pilsner of course but you'll get a very good result with it.
I don't know much about extract recipes I'm afraid.
I’ll look into it. Will the yeast cause a lot of flavors to be off?
 

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I have used Opshaug kveik for a pilsner and an Asahi clone. Not much room to hide any off flavours with the Asahi came out well in both cases.
Have a read of this thread.


Also several youtube quick lagers with kveik.
 
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Pale Ales and Such

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Have you tried contacting the brewery for any advice. Lots of breweries are surprisingly cooperative.
Yeah, I’ve tried and they have yet to respond. Pfriem, overall, is a very good brewery and has amazing beers. But haven’t heard from them yet.
 
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Pale Ales and Such

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I have used Opshaug kveik for a pilsner and an Asahi clone. Not much room to hide any off flavours with the Asahi came out well in both cases.
Have a read of this thread.


Also several youtube quick lagers with kveik.
Awesome info here! Thanks!!!
 

marc1

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Lots of good info here, thank you! The hops are based on what they use for the Pfriem Pilsner. I try to match as close to the flavor profile and IBU. Plugging the numbers and amount into brewers friend seems to match what they are doing. I know it’s not as accurate since they are an actually brewery, but I’m trying my best. Mainly because a good friend is having a baby and this is his favorite beer he can’t get anymore so I’m trying my earnest to try to match it
I recommended simplifying based on this post being in the beginner's forum; hitting the general flavor a commercial beer on a first attempt at a lager without a recipe to start from seemed like you were trying to do too much at once - if it didn't taste right, how would you know what to change to start to hone in on it? Would it be a recipe issue or a process issue?

If you try out each of the hops you can see what they bring to the table while you work out your lager process. As long as you don't do anything crazy you should get good beer along the way.

But playing around with recipes can also also fun! Let us know what you decide to do and how it comes out!
 
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Pale Ales and Such

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I recommended simplifying based on this post being in the beginner's forum; hitting the general flavor a commercial beer on a first attempt at a lager without a recipe to start from seemed like you were trying to do too much at once - if it didn't taste right, how would you know what to change to start to hone in on it? Would it be a recipe issue or a process issue?

If you try out each of the hops you can see what they bring to the table while you work out your lager process. As long as you don't do anything crazy you should get good beer along the way.

But playing around with recipes can also also fun! Let us know what you decide to do and how it comes out!
Yeah, I know it’s complicated but I’m happy to try it since it’s a gallon batch. I actually was able to match Pfriem’s IPA pretty closely, not exactly there, but very close. As well as Buoy’s Pale Ale, which came out very very nice. I’m going to probably try the recipe I created based on what they use.
 

hotbeer

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2. what’s the ideal ferment time for the Pilsner?
Well to be flippant, I'd say when it's through fermenting. Once it's in the fermenter, other than control the temp, there isn't much you can do. It is in control of itself for how long it takes.

But I suppose there might be a time that is considered normal for most pilsner's. If that is just a curious need to know for you. I don't know myself. You wouldn't bottle just by reaching that time would you?

I do recommend you keep notes about everything you do when you brew. And the results when you pop the top too.
 

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There are articles out there like the one below that decribe how to make a “Mocktoberfest” - Octoberfest brewed as an ale. I don’t know how well this method might apply or translate to a pilsener recipe.

Even with the “mock” lager recipes, you need to store your beer cold for a period of time at some point before packaging. In my case, I have a 2 tap kegerator that can hold 3 kegs. So I use that. I brew mock lager, or psuedo-lager or “plager” as I’ve started calling it, and ferment it at ale temps like any other beer. The back of my basement reads 63 degrees right now. Then I transfer it off the yeast and store it cold for a couple weeks, then keg it. My kegerator is set at 35.

I’ve tried a few yeasts so far. Wyeast 1056 is a clean yeast that works well but doesn’t want to drop out and leave bright beer. Wyeast says this “normally requires filtration for bright beers.” If you want to use 1056, you can call it a “Kellerbier”. 1272 worked better and dropped clear more easily. I’ve also used 2 English strains - 1968 and 1099 - and those also came out pretty clean tasting and bright after some cold storage. I did also use gelatin to clear these beers, 1g per gallon.

At the 1 gallon batch level, I start to balk at the cost of yeast relative to the value of the batch. A liquid cost about $10 now shipped to me with an ice pack. My “local” homebrew shop is over an hour away so it would actually cost me more in gas to drive there and get it. Even dry yeasts are about $5 now. I usually brew 3 gallons at a time, and because of the cost, I try to re-use yeast at least 2 or 3 times.

When I make these “plagers”, I’m just taking German Festbier recipes (for the golden version actually served over there, not the dark amber colored version served in the US) using pilsener malt, a little light munich, a little carapils and German hops like Hersbrucker or Mittelfruher. Though those are very low alpha this year so I’ve been using Perle for bittering. Then handling as described above.

 
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william_shakes_beer

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There are many options for temp control. The simplest is a water bath. Get a plastic tote bin deep enough to make contact with your fermentation vessel. Fill it part way with water so it doesn't overflow when you set in the fermenter. If you need to increase the temp, add an electric immersion aquarium heater. If you need to lower temperature, drop in some frozen water bottles.
 

bwible

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I stumbled on this the other day. It has apparently been out for awhile, I’ve just never seen it. Looks interesting. They are out of stock right now though.
 

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Steeping Grains
2oz - German Pilsner malt
1.3oz - Carafoam malt
1.3oz - acidualted malt
^Why did you select these grains to steep? Below is some information on steeping grains and grains that need to be mashed.

Pilsner malt is the lightest colored base malt and must be mashed to extract any fermentable sugars as well as malt flavor. Steeping it will add no flavor and could potentially extract unfermentable starches which will cause you beer to be cloudy.

Carafoam is a kind of dextrine malt, which may or may not be similar to very light crystal malts . Some dextrine malts can be steeped, others should be mashed. Per this article, Carafoam is high in protein and undermodified and should be mashed: Dextrins and Mouthfeel - Scott Janish - "however. Weyermann Carafoam (Carapils outside the US) is different than Briess Carapils and is akin to chit malt, high in protein and under-modified. It is mealy/starchy so it too is converted into fermentable sugars when mashed, but would be unsuitable for steeping. Weyermann suggests it can be used as up to 40% of the grist.18 For the purposes of this post, I focus on and use Briess Carapils."

Acidulated malt is a base malt (needs to be mashed) used to adjust the PH of your mash. If you are not mashing and only steeping why are you using it as it has contains lactic acid which is not a flavor you want to add to a Pilsner? The rule of thumb for acidulated malt is it will lower your mash PH .1 for every 1% of the grain bill. If you are planning to do a mini-mash with your grains, your acidulated malt quantity is extremely-extremely high and will produce an extremely low mash ph.

The only grains that should be steeped, generally speaking, are crystal/caramel malts as they have been mashed in the husk so the starches have been converted to fermentable sugars and roasted malts as they have been so darkened that the roasty flavors can be extracted without worry of unfermentable starch extraction. Munich malts and most of the darker kilned malts (Melanoidin, Biscuit, Amber, etc) should be mashed as they have not been converted, but there are exceptions (I think Breiss says Victory malt can be mashed), although generally speaking they are not converted. There are some brewers who do steep many of the darker kilned malts and claim to extract good flavors, however the maltster typically say they should be mashed.

Bottom line - forgo the steeping grains as they will not add anything good to your Pilsner. Even a mini-mash of these grains will not add any discernable flavors as they are really just base malts.
 

Holden Caulfield

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Hops:
.10oz- Perle (60 minutes)
.16oz - Saphir (10 minutes)
.20oz - tettnager (15 minutes)
.20oz - spalt (2 minutes)
First, apologize in advance if someone already covered the below.

In my opinion (so not worth very much), it is very common for new brewers to build very complicated recipes with many grains and many hops, which very often does not improve the final product. It also makes it difficult for them to learn the flavors that each malt and hop provides. Making a great beer is unrelated to the number of grains and hops - many of the great beers of world have very simple grain bills and hop schedules.

As this is your first Pilsner (my favorite style), my thoughts are that you simplify the hops schedule to 1 or 2 hops. Saphir is the oddball of the 4 as it is suppose to provide a citrusy flavor. Tettnanger and Spalt are both noble and Perle is noble-ish. Tettnanger is a classic noble hop and learning its flavor/aroma will be invaluable for future brews - you may want to consider just buying 1 oz of it and using .2 at 20 mins, .2 at 2 mins, and use the balance at 60 mins for bittering. Before deciding exactly how much bittering hops to use, you should run the schedule through a calculator to ensure you hit your IBU target - you may need to reduce the quantity or add more.
 

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I recently brewed my first pilsner and it was a labor intensive task. First of all, I used a double decoction mash - I feel this important to get the right flavors out of Pilsner malt. I have no idea if you can get this out of DME. Secondly, I built a proper keezer before even trying this out. In fact, that was the reason I brewed it in the first place - I would not try a lager without it. It is based on a chest freezer and it is plugged into an inkbird controller. My heating element is a 40w light bulb and a computer fan. The temperature is taken from a thermowell in the fermenter and it can keep fermenting wort it at +/- 3 degrees of anything from freezing to above 80F through active exotherimic fermentation (ca 50F) and passive later stage fermentation (still 50F) to lagering stages (ca 34F). Plan on lagering for a couple of months...
 

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The light has a metal lampshade to which a 5" elbow duct is connected. The computer fan is attached to the end of the elbow duct. It is basically a low power heir dryer. A little light leaks out, but the fermentation tank is opaque anyway :)
 

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I’ve decided I’m gonna get a 115-can beverage cooler to use as my prime fermenter. They range from $200 and up and the one I’m looking at is temperature controlled up to 50 degrees which is perfect for the Pilsner.

As for the recipe, I can’t stress this enough, the grains and hops are specifically because that is what the brewer “Pfriem” uses for their Pilsner which is so delicious, and it’s what I’m trying to clone here.

I took the recipe I developed and inputted it into brewers friend and it’s giving me the overall IBU, ABV and SRM of what Pfriem states their Pilsner is. I do know this doesn’t account for flavor amongst other things, but I’m ok with trying all this since it’s only 1 gallon batches and I’m enjoying experimenting with the custom recipes I’m trying.

Thanks again everyone for all your feedback and wisdom, it has made me think about things but ultimately, I’m going to try the recipe and ferment it in a temperature controlled beverage cooler :).
 
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First, apologize in advance if someone already covered the below.

In my opinion (so not worth very much), it is very common for new brewers to build very complicated recipes with many grains and many hops, which very often does not improve the final product. It also makes it difficult for them to learn the flavors that each malt and hop provides. Making a great beer is unrelated to the number of grains and hops - many of the great beers of world have very simple grain bills and hop schedules.

As this is your first Pilsner (my favorite style), my thoughts are that you simplify the hops schedule to 1 or 2 hops. Saphir is the oddball of the 4 as it is suppose to provide a citrusy flavor. Tettnanger and Spalt are both noble and Perle is noble-ish. Tettnanger is a classic noble hop and learning its flavor/aroma will be invaluable for future brews - you may want to consider just buying 1 oz of it and using .2 at 20 mins, .2 at 2 mins, and use the balance at 60 mins for bittering. Before deciding exactly how much bittering hops to use, you should run the schedule through a calculator to ensure you hit your IBU target - you may need to reduce the quantity or add more.
Thanks for the reply and details of your fine wisdom here. I’m trying to clone on my small scale, the Pfriem Pilsner. They use all these hops and grains. I want to give it a try and see what comes of it. I inputted everything into brewers friend and it gave me identical IBu, ABV and SRM to what Pfriem’s has it at. I also read up on the hops and their flavor profiles and what I put together seems to get me what I want. However, I’m also going to take into account your response here. Attempting to clone this amazing beer by Pfriem might be a bit too advanced for my skill set but I’m willing to try to see what happens. I don’t have all the ingredients yet, but once I do and test it out, I’m going to reply in the main post with how it turns out.
 
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^Why did you select these grains to steep? Below is some information on steeping grains and grains that need to be mashed.

Pilsner malt is the lightest colored base malt and must be mashed to extract any fermentable sugars as well as malt flavor. Steeping it will add no flavor and could potentially extract unfermentable starches which will cause you beer to be cloudy.

Carafoam is a kind of dextrine malt, which may or may not be similar to very light crystal malts . Some dextrine malts can be steeped, others should be mashed. Per this article, Carafoam is high in protein and undermodified and should be mashed: Dextrins and Mouthfeel - Scott Janish - "however. Weyermann Carafoam (Carapils outside the US) is different than Briess Carapils and is akin to chit malt, high in protein and under-modified. It is mealy/starchy so it too is converted into fermentable sugars when mashed, but would be unsuitable for steeping. Weyermann suggests it can be used as up to 40% of the grist.18 For the purposes of this post, I focus on and use Briess Carapils."

Acidulated malt is a base malt (needs to be mashed) used to adjust the PH of your mash. If you are not mashing and only steeping why are you using it as it has contains lactic acid which is not a flavor you want to add to a Pilsner? The rule of thumb for acidulated malt is it will lower your mash PH .1 for every 1% of the grain bill. If you are planning to do a mini-mash with your grains, your acidulated malt quantity is extremely-extremely high and will produce an extremely low mash ph.

The only grains that should be steeped, generally speaking, are crystal/caramel malts as they have been mashed in the husk so the starches have been converted to fermentable sugars and roasted malts as they have been so darkened that the roasty flavors can be extracted without worry of unfermentable starch extraction. Munich malts and most of the darker kilned malts (Melanoidin, Biscuit, Amber, etc) should be mashed as they have not been converted, but there are exceptions (I think Breiss says Victory malt can be mashed), although generally speaking they are not converted. There are some brewers who do steep many of the darker kilned malts and claim to extract good flavors, however the maltster typically say they should be mashed.

Bottom line - forgo the steeping grains as they will not add anything good to your Pilsner. Even a mini-mash of these grains will not add any discernable flavors as they are really just base malts.

The grains are being used based on what Pfriem is doing with their Pilsner. So, what could I do in regards to an extract? Should i use a LME or DME and based on Pfriem’s Pilsner here, what would you recommend?

 
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There are many options for temp control. The simplest is a water bath. Get a plastic tote bin deep enough to make contact with your fermentation vessel. Fill it part way with water so it doesn't overflow when you set in the fermenter. If you need to increase the temp, add an electric immersion aquarium heater. If you need to lower temperature, drop in some frozen water bottles.
Thanks for the info here! I am going to buy a temperature controlled 115-can bottle cooler that allows the user to set temperatures up
To 50 degrees. My gallon fermentor will wonderfully fit and I can keep it at 50 degrees during the fermentation process so the yeast doesn’t get stressed.
 

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The grains are being used based on what Pfriem is doing with their Pilsner. So, what could I do in regards to an extract? Should i use a LME or DME and based on Pfriem’s Pilsner here, what would you recommend?

If you are extract based, then for this just use Pilsner DME. The Breiss one, for example, is made from 99% Pilsner and 1% Carapils, so you've got your pilsner malt and your head retention builder in it already.

The beverage cooler looks great, but I recommend getting a temperature controller with it. That way you can control temps much easier, and you can set to mid 30s for cold crashing up through 60s into 70s for ales, too! If you're going to spend the $$$, give yourself some flexibility.
I got this bad boy and wired it up to a plug for heat (heat wrap plug) and a plug for cooling (fridge plug). Attach the probe with some bungee to the side of your fermenter under some bubble wrap to insulate it. Set the temp and let it go. It sounds like you probably don't need the heat, though :)
 
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If you are extract based, then for this just use Pilsner DME. The Breiss one, for example, is made from 99% Pilsner and 1% Carapils, so you've got your pilsner malt and your head retention builder in it already.

The beverage cooler looks great, but I recommend getting a temperature controller with it. That way you can control temps much easier, and you can set to mid 30s for cold crashing up through 60s into 70s for ales, too! If you're going to spend the $$$, give yourself some flexibility.
I got this bad boy and wired it up to a plug for heat (heat wrap plug) and a plug for cooling (fridge plug). Attach the probe with some bungee to the side of your fermenter under some bubble wrap to insulate it. Set the temp and let it go. It sounds like you probably don't need the heat, though :)
Ok cool! Yeah, I decided to buy this:

It has the dimensions I need and temperature control. For the Pilsner, I’ll just use the Pilsen DME since it’s already a good selection. Thanks!
 

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A bit of blu tack on the temp probe and then the bubble wrap or High density foam adds a bit of thermal mass to the temp probe whilst holding it supplementary. Comes off a lot easier than the double sided tape I used to use.
 

hotbeer

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Well let us know how it goes.

But consider the wisdom of some that said you should go for less complicated recipes so you can learn what a particular hop added when tastes like.

Also, I'm in favor of the KISS plan. You won't know you really need to spend money on all that gadgetry if you never have experienced failures with out it.

Of course you have to do what interests and motivates you. And if that is gizmo's, then go for it.
 
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Pale Ales and Such

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Well let us know how it goes.

But consider the wisdom of some that said you should go for less complicated recipes so you can learn what a particular hop added when tastes like.

Also, I'm in favor of the KISS plan. You won't know you really need to spend money on all that gadgetry if you never have experienced failures with out it.

Of course you have to do what interests and motivates you. And if that is gizmo's, then go for it.
For sure I’ll let everyone know how it goes. I also looked up pfriem Pilsner clone recipes online and I was able to get good info from those recipes as well as what I’ve been getting here from everyone’s wisdom.

Overall, it’s not pricey to get the dme, lme, grains, and hops. The pricey item was the temperature controlled beverage cooler I bought (about $200), but that is gonna come in handy either for a fermentation chamber or just a cooler I can use.

No other gadgets or gizmos are being used here, just some recipe attempts at this point to see how it turns out. I’ve already made brews with 3-4 types of hops and they’ve come out well and tasty, so I think the result will be tasty..it’s just a matter of getting it to be as near as I can to what Pfriem does.
 

madscientist451

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Throw together something like this:

I used something like this for several years, using 1 and 2 L frozen water bottles and changing them out every day/as needed.
The insulated box w/ice maintained about 10 degees F below ambient, so if you don't have a cool basement, get your lager brewing done in the cooler months.
 
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