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Czech Premium Pale Lager Ocas Lishky (Pilsner Urquell Clone)

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pjj2ba

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Recipe Type
All Grain
Yeast
WLP 800
Yeast Starter
1 l starter
Batch Size (Gallons)
5
Original Gravity
1.050
Final Gravity
1.013
Boiling Time (Minutes)
90
IBU
38
Color
5.5
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp)
21
Additional Fermentation
lager for at least 28 days
Tasting Notes
This beer took first place in the 2011 PU Master Homebrewer Comp in NYC
Batch Size (Gal): 5.00 Wort Size (Gal): 5.00
Total Grain (Lbs): 7.13
Anticipated OG: 1.048 Plato: 12.01
Anticipated SRM: 5.6
Anticipated IBU: 37.9
Brewhouse Efficiency: 90 %
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Grain/Extract/Sugar

% Amount Name Origin Potential SRM
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
70.2 5.00 lbs. F B Pilsener
7.0 0.50 lbs. Pilsner malt home toasted
7.0 0.50 lbs. Rye Malt
7.0 0.50 lbs. Aromatic Malt
5.3 0.38 lbs. Wheat - BestMalz
3.5 0.25 lbs. Flaked Oats

Hops

Amount Name Form Alpha IBU Boil Time
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
22.00 g. Sterling Whole 9.30 32.0 First WH
10.00 g. Saazer Whole 3.00 1.6 20 min.
10.00 g. Goldings - E.K. Whole 5.00 2.7 20 min.
8.00 g. Saazer Whole 3.00 0.6 5 min.
8.00 g. Goldings - E.K. Whole 5.00 1.1 5 min.

Yeast
White Labs WLP800 Pilsner Lager

Mash Schedule

Protein rest at 122 F for 20 min. then a 12 min ramp to 146 F and held for 30 min. Then a 7 min. ramp to 158 F and held for 15 min. Then up to 168 F for a mash out

My goal is to get nearly complete conversion at 146 F (for crispness) and then ramp it up to 158 F to get some more dextrins to improve the body

Fermented at 50 F

Notes
Pilsner malt was toasted for 30 min. at 350 F. It was turned every 10 min.
2 gal, of distilled water plus one gal. of tap water was used for the mash and 2 gal of distilled plus 3 of tap water was used for the sparge.
 

HopToItHomebrew

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That grist looks NOTHING like an Urquell. It's one of my fav styles and I've done tons of research. I have no idea how the judges didn't taste all of this:

7.0 0.50 lbs. Rye Malt
7.0 0.50 lbs. Aromatic Malt
5.3 0.38 lbs. Wheat - BestMalz
3.5 0.25 lbs. Flaked Oats

Just my 2c

Edit to add:

the hops are also way off; I'd stick with all Saaz. Also, I'd do myself the favor of doing a single infusion mash at 155 which should give the body you want without all the decoction.
 
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pjj2ba

pjj2ba

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I understand the grain bill looks nothing like Urquell. However it tastes just like the stuff available in Europe. One the the judges, and the one who had the final say, was the brewmaster himself. So if the brewmaster himself thinks the beer tastes like PU, the recipe can't be bad.

This was for last year's contest and the instructions had 15 % artistic impression as part of the judging critera (that is out this year). So I didn't set out to clone what I was used to in the typical PU found in the US. I wanted to tweak it, so I did. It just happens that my tweaks made it taste just like the stuff poured in Europe and at Hospoda where the contest was held (their PU kegs are shipped special to them - unpastuerized in refrigerated shipping containers - it is the only beer they serve).

Other than the rye, the extra grains I added were done to mimic a decoction as I thought it would be fun to try it that way.

I wanted to tweak the spicy so that is why the rye is there. Then to avoid making it too spicy I backed off on the Saaz and added in a more neutral hop. Sterling is VERY Saaz like. I like it as it has a higher AA% so I can use less and avoid any grassy notes from having to add a lot of low AA% hops to get the bitterness up there. Plus it stores better. Saaz has very poor storability.

155 F is way too high for a single infusion pilsner. What you gain in body, you loose in crispness. Also a decoction is done primarily for flavor, not for body

They use step mashes in the brewery (got the tour) so if I'm not decocting, I can at least do a step mash
 

JRems

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I tasted it, it was better than mine and I did a much more traditional recipe. Don't knock it till you try it.
 

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I think I"ll try this one this fall, instead of my traditional BoPils. I think it'll be fun, although I might decoct anyway to step mash instead of ramping. Thanks!
 

emjay

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HopToItHomebrew said:
That grist looks NOTHING like an Urquell. It's one of my fav styles and I've done tons of research. I have no idea how the judges didn't taste all of this:

7.0 0.50 lbs. Rye Malt
7.0 0.50 lbs. Aromatic Malt
5.3 0.38 lbs. Wheat - BestMalz
3.5 0.25 lbs. Flaked Oats

Just my 2c

Edit to add:

the hops are also way off; I'd stick with all Saaz.
I definitely felt this way too when first glancing at the recipe.

Though it's important to note that there are many paths to the same destination, and when making a beer on a different system (ESPECIALLY when making a homebrew version of a commercial beer), the inputs (eg ingredients, process) often need to be different from the original in order to achieve an identical or near-identical output. And ultimately, the output is the only thing that really matters,so in any case, I think it's worth a shot if the judges really thought so highly of it.

HopToItHomebrew said:
Also, I'd do myself the favor of doing a single infusion mash at 155 which should give the body you want without all the decoction.
Now this is where any inclination to agree with you goes out the window. Have you actually even had Pilsner Urquell?? It's a great beer in large part due the fact that it's so crisp and refreshing. Attempting to give it more body by bumping up the sacc-rest temp would be criminal!

pjj2ba said:
155 F is way too high for a single infusion pilsner. What you gain in body, you loose in crispness.
^This times a thousand!

JRems said:
I tasted it, it was better than mine and I did a much more traditional recipe. Don't knock it till you try it.
Tasting "better" is one thing, but did you find it tasted authentic? I'm not so much concerned with brewing "better" beer if I go ahead with this recipe - my goal would be to reproduce Urquell as closely as possible.

Yooper said:
I think I"ll try this one this fall, instead of my traditional BoPils. I think it'll be fun, although I might decoct anyway to step mash instead of ramping. Thanks!
Really? The grain bill looks odd but, as the OP said, it was done to emulate the decoction mash without actually having to perform one, and as somebody who prefers to get a decoction profile by tweaking the grain bill instead, I can definitely see it.

With that in mind, I think doing a decoction mash ON TOP of this grain bill would be a bit much, and would push the beer further away from being an identical clone. Obviously this isn't exactly your first batch, and if a more intense decoction profile is what you want, then by all means, go for it! But if you're trying to brew as authentic a clone as possible and insist on decoction mashing anyway, you'd very likely do best to choose a recipe with a simpler, more conventional grain bill.

You probably know all that already Yoop and I don't want to insult you by implying otherwise. But if nothing else, hopefully the explanation I just gave will allow other brewers thinking of decoction mashing this to make a more informed decision.
 

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Really? The grain bill looks odd but, as the OP said, it was done to emulate the decoction mash without actually having to perform one, and as somebody who prefers to get a decoction profile by tweaking the grain bill instead, I can definitely see it.

With that in mind, I think doing a decoction mash ON TOP of this grain bill would be a bit much, and would push the beer further away from being an identical clone. Obviously this isn't exactly your first batch, and if a more intense decoction profile is what you want, then by all means, go for it! But if you're trying to brew as authentic a clone as possible and insist on decoction mashing anyway, you'd very likely do best to choose a recipe with a simpler, more conventional grain bill.

You probably know all that already Yoop and I don't want to insult you by implying otherwise. But if nothing else, hopefully the explanation I just gave will allow other brewers thinking of decoction mashing this to make a more informed decision.
Good points! I actually don't want to "clone" PU, but I usually make one BoPils a year. I like the looks of it, and may or may not decoct. My usual BoPils recipe is 100% pilsner malt, with a tiny bit of carapils, and all saaz hops. It's time for something different, but not too different! I could go with a German pilsner, of course, but I think this may be the way to go for me.

My HLT element is 4500w and I"m not sure how well it would ramp in enough time to go from the protein rest to the saccrification rest (I'm not worried about the second saccrification rest or mash out since it would be after conversion)- I'm more afraid that I'd be too long at protein rest temps. A decoction would allow me to better control that, I think, since I have more experience with step mashing via decoction than ramping. I hope that makes sense!
 

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Tasting "better" is one thing, but did you find it tasted authentic? I'm not so much concerned with brewing "better" beer if I go ahead with this recipe - my goal would be to reproduce Urquell as closely as possible.
Sorry, by better I meant closer to PU. I did a step mash with my electric system and did 2 small decoctions. I only used pils and a little aromatic to correct color. But mine still ended up lighter in color and not nearly as malty. To get the ibus correct I used 4 oz of saaz and could detect a slightly grassy flavor. I think the bittering hop substitution is a good choice.
 
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pjj2ba

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I definitely felt this way too when first glancing at the recipe.

Though it's important to note that there are many paths to the same destination, and when making a beer on a different system (ESPECIALLY when making a homebrew version of a commercial beer), the inputs (eg ingredients, process) often need to be different from the original in order to achieve an identical or near-identical output. And ultimately, the output is the only thing that really matters,so in any case, I think it's worth a shot if the judges really thought so highly of it.
This is spot on. If I had access to the same malt, and their brewery, then I would use their recipe and brew it the way they do. I however, have access to none of that.

Just a reminder, when I first created this recipe, my intent was not to make an exact clone of PU, or at least to clone the PU that I was used to (the rules last year were a little vague). I was lucky in that my choices for "adulteration" made it taste more like what the Europeans were used to.

To critique my own recipe (in terms of perfecting the clone), it is too "hot" (5% ABV). I need to reduce the base malt a bit, and probably also the aromatic malt, but not to the same degree. My beer was a little bit "sweeter/richer". Color and bitterness were spot on. My foam is better :p. I could drop the oatmeal, but I just love a thick long lasting head on a beer

Now one thing I always wonder about my set up is that while I don't use a decoction, I do use direct heating, and am subjecting the mash to ~ 25 min. total of heat at the bottom of the mash (minimal stirring). I'm thinking that I'm getting some Maillard reactions occurring this way - but not what I would get with a decoction
 

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Hello,

This recipe calls for roasting some of the grains at home. There is no good malt supplier where I live so I order my malt on the net. My supplier is always kind enough to grind my malt for me so i don't have to. My question is, can I roast the malt after it has been ground? This would roast the inside and not just the husk as it would when you roast pre grinding. I am excited to try this recipe as I have tried others PU recipes that clone the bottled US version but never one that aims to replicated the taste as it is served in the CZ.
 

castermmt

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I'm going to make this my first Lager of the year next week using my all electric HERMs system. I'm thinking of doing a little step mashing. I'll let you know how it turns out. Castermmt

Finally brewing this this morning. Everything going OK so I'll know how it turns out in a few months.
 

raef

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Going to brew this weekend. A quick? Primary at what temp and sec
Lager at 50?
 
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pjj2ba

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Primary and secondary at 50 F. Lager just above freezing. I normally ferment in primary for 2-3 weeks and then keg it and keep the keg at 50 F for another week or two before dropping to lager temps - sort of a secondary.
 

BadMrFrosty

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I visited the Pilsner Urquell brewery a few weeks back armed with several recipes for clones. I spoke at length with the master brewer (in Czech language) about the accuracy of the recipes. This came out as one of the worst. Although he obviously would not give the exact recipe he did confirm its essentially a SMASH using pilsner malt and ZPC hops grown in CZ, the Saaz hops grown elsewhere are a poor imitation. Having brewed this recipe I agree it is nothing like a real PU. Maybe you get something over there that is Pilsner Urquell by name alone? The real stuff should be 4.4% alcohol, quite sweet, little to no hop aroma with creamy mouth feel, a mild hop taste and a mild bitterness.
 
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pjj2ba

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Of course this recipe is nothing like the real Pilsner Urquell recipe. I don't have access to their malt and hops. However, using the ingredients we have access to, and using my equipment, this recipe comes pretty close to the PU we can get here. I'm talking the stuff that is kept cold all the way to the USA (which is different from the stuff that we used to get that was not refrigerated). The PU brewmaster himself rated the results of this recipe 1st, and then 2nd place in consecutive years.

If it were as simple as just using 100% pilsner malt and ZPC hops, then everyone who brewed that recipe would get a beer exactly like PU. This clearly is not the case. The process (and the brewer) are at least as important as the recipe, if not more important. Give 10 brewers exactly the same ingredients, and you will get 10 different beers. Or by another analogy, 2+5=7, but 3+4=7 as well. Pick the method that works best for you.

This recipe might not work for everyone, but it works well for me on my system.
 

BadMrFrosty

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I have never tasted a PU in the USA so I don't know how different it is but I do know what a fresh PU tastes like as its available in every other pub here. Of course it is not just about the malt and hops, the water in Plzeň and the skill of the brewer also play a big part. Yes you can get to the same destination by taking different routes but I don't think this recipe gets us to the same destination as the real PU one.

However, this was not an attack on the beer made with your recipe as it was a rather good Czech Pilsner, its just not something I would call a Pilsner Urquell.
 
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pjj2ba

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Of course it isn't as good as the real thing, but you'd be surprised with this beer. Much of the "odd" ingredients are to compensate for not doing a triple decoction.

I have had the beer at the brewery and in several bars in the Plzen area, so I have a pretty good idea what it tastes like - including the unfiltered version
 

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Of course it isn't as good as the real thing, but you'd be surprised with this beer. Much of the "odd" ingredients are to compensate for not doing a triple decoction.

I have had the beer at the brewery and in several bars in the Plzen area, so I have a pretty good idea what it tastes like - including the unfiltered version
Isn't this the beer that won the PU competition, complete with a trip to the brewery? Was it considered a "clone", or just a great representative of a BoPils?
 

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Of course it isn't as good as the real thing, but you'd be surprised with this beer. Much of the "odd" ingredients are to compensate for not doing a triple decoction.

I have had the beer at the brewery and in several bars in the Plzen area, so I have a pretty good idea what it tastes like - including the unfiltered version
The unfiltered and unpasteurized or "Tankové" beer tastes quite different from a normal draft pint. Would you compare your version to the standard draft or the Tankové?

Although I much prefer the Tankové version, it is not as widely available and is not what most people (mistakenly or not) would consider the real PU taste. However, almost all of the big breweries now offer a unfiltered beer labeled as tankové, nefiltrovaná, kvasnicová or nepasterizovaná which are becoming available in more and more pubs so maybe that opinion will change in time.
 
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Isn't this the beer that won the PU competition, complete with a trip to the brewery? Was it considered a "clone", or just a great representative of a BoPils?
The goal of the competition was to "clone" PU. As I have mentioned before, this is not what I set out to do. The contest announcement was a bit vague about this. I was lucky in that what I brewed just happened to be more like the stuff that was just starting to be cold shipped to the USA, and not what I had previously been used to. I think if I had tried to brew exactly what I had been used to I might not have won. The cold shipping definitely makes a difference!

Out of the full kegs of BoPils, Kolsch Saison, and session IPA I served at our recent pig roast (a hot day), the BoPils kicked first

The unfiltered and unpasteurized or "Tankové" beer tastes quite different from a normal draft pint. Would you compare your version to the standard draft or the Tankové?

Although I much prefer the Tankové version, it is not as widely available and is not what most people (mistakenly or not) would consider the real PU taste. However, almost all of the big breweries now offer a unfiltered beer labeled as tankové, nefiltrovaná, kvasnicová or nepasterizovaná which are becoming available in more and more pubs so maybe that opinion will change in time.
More like the standard draft, although the first couple of pints out of the keg are a little yeasty and remind me of the Tankové. I also preferred the Tankové! I see that this is is now making it to England occasionally. Perhaps it will make it to the USA as well

I should mention, that out of all of the crazy ingredients I use, the one that finally made the beer taste like a BoPils was the home-toasted malt. When I got into lager brewing I had made several attempts at a BoPils, but they always ended up tasting more German-like, even with using soft water, CZ hops, etc. One day I remembered seeing in the 1st edition of Papazian's "Complete Joy of Homebrewing" that in the ingredient table (extract + specialty grains) for various brew styles, toasted malt was listed for the BoPils. I had tried this WAY back when I first got into brewing and had tried a BoPils as an ale (what has I thinking?). When I added the toasted malt, bingo, I finally had something that tasted Czech.
 

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I do appreciate all feedback (banter). Going to give it a try today. Time will tell but I'm excited and quite curious about this recipe. Thanks
 

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My buddy and I just brewed a double batch of this on Saturday. It was a joint effort, but it was essentially two five-gallon batches on our respective equipment. It's in the fermenters and looking good. It should be a good comparing the two. For example, his OG was a few points higher than mine.
 

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Mine is two days into lager and also a split batch.
 
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I have a few questions about this recipe.

Was the Pilsener malt you used well-modified or under-modified?

Your brewhouse efficiency is 90%. Where I do mine is 77%. So, for the grain bill I multiply your weight by 90/77, right?

Does this efficiency also affect hops?

I plan to FWH with Saaz, Santiam, and a little bit of Magnum. I like the Santiam and Magnum for the same reason you used Sterling. I had also planned hop additions at 20 min, 8 min and flameout with Santiam and Saaz.

I imagine you got a very nice head with the adjuncts, and that no crystal or cara malt was needed...

Any further suggestions would be much appreciated. This is my first all-grain and first lager, although my partner is experienced and successful with Ales(all-grain).
 
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pjj2ba

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I have a few questions about this recipe.

Was the Pilsener malt you used well-modified or under-modified?

Well modified

Your brewhouse efficiency is 90%. Where I do mine is 77%. So, for the grain bill I multiply your weight by 90/77, right?

Yep


Does this efficiency also affect hops?

shouldn't as long as the SG is similar

I plan to FWH with Saaz, Santiam, and a little bit of Magnum. I like the Santiam and Magnum for the same reason you used Sterling. I had also planned hop additions at 20 min, 8 min and flameout with Santiam and Saaz.

I tend to be light handed with my flavor (0.5 oz) and aroma (0.25 oz) additions as they compete with malty flavors, which you want to accentuate in this style - if you are trying to be authentic.


I imagine you got a very nice head with the adjuncts, and that no crystal or cara malt was needed...

VERY nice head

Any further suggestions would be much appreciated. This is my first all-grain and first lager, although my partner is experienced and successful with Ales(all-grain).

Pitch the proper amount of yeast, and keep your temperatures under control. Too warm and you can get some sweeter, bubble gummy flavors
If you have any more questions, let me know
 
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Originally Posted by makellr View Post
I have a few questions about this recipe.

Was the Pilsener malt you used well-modified or under-modified?

Well modified

Your brewhouse efficiency is 90%. Where I do mine is 77%. So, for the grain bill I multiply your weight by 90/77, right?

Yep

Does this efficiency also affect hops?

shouldn't as long as the SG is similar

I plan to FWH with Saaz, Santiam, and a little bit of Magnum. I like the Santiam and Magnum for the same reason you used Sterling. I had also planned hop additions at 20 min, 8 min and flameout with Santiam and Saaz.

I tend to be light handed with my flavor (0.5 oz) and aroma (0.25 oz) additions as they compete with malty flavors, which you want to accentuate in this style - if you are trying to be authentic.

The grain bill is malty. I will be adding the home-toasted Pilsener malt. Toasting malt like that is something I have done before, albeit not during the 21st century. ;)

The "hops bill" we plan is a bit different, but the IBUs add up the same. I can't resist the temptation to go a bit beyond style with the aroma hops. Some of them just smell so good. If I can convince myself about authenticity, I will eliminate the addition at flameout.

I imagine you got a very nice head with the adjuncts, and that no crystal or cara malt was needed...

VERY nice head

Any further suggestions would be much appreciated. This is my first all-grain and first lager, although my partner is experienced and successful with Ales(all-grain).

Pitch the proper amount of yeast, and keep your temperatures under control. Too warm and you can get some sweeter, bubble gummy flavors

We plan to pitch about 4 to 5 Liters. Two experienced Lager brewers recommended WY 2124 for first Lager. They said it is robust and easy to work with. I realize this is not perfectly authentic for a Pilsener, but I expect it to produce something yummy. We have tested the fermentation cooler. It will hold 10 C no problem. Lagering will take place in a converted chest freezer that should hold a good temp as well.

Thank you so much for your encouragement.
 
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Dear PJJ,

After many months, my version of Bohemian Pilsner, based mostly on what I learned from reading your recipe and your answers to my questions, is ready to drink. Results are very tasty and easy to look at. Thank you.
 

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I brew Pilsner beer exclusively, typically SMaSH beers. This looks like something I may need to give a twirl.

Great thread! I've read some of the threads that quickly disintegrated because of critical posters. :mug: Cheers to pjj2ba for maintaining the friendly tone.
 

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I brew Pilsner beer exclusively, typically SMaSH beers. This looks like something I may need to give a twirl.

Great thread! I've read some of the threads that quickly disintegrated because of critical posters. :mug: Cheers to pjj2ba for maintaining the friendly tone.
Yeah im new on here and some people on here seem like insufferable douche bags, picking apart other peoples recipes like a bunch of overanalytical nerds. I think some people have forgotten what brewing beer is actually about.
 

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It's been a while since I made this, but I need to give it a review. Great stuff! Urquell is my absolute favorite beer in the world. Period. And we rarely get it here on draft. As an aside, the new packaging for the bottles has increased the quality tenfold here in the U.S.

But back to the review. Carefully brewing this recipe yields outstanding results. When my wife and i tried our first taste, we both said it tastes like Plzen! This is now a regular in our home.
 

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This is to be my first lager - I can't wait! Before I had little interest in investing in equipment for lagering, until I started falling in love with czech pilsners, particularly PU.

pjj, a question, which reveals my pilsner-noobism: Are you using a particular bohemian pilsner malt? In any case, do you think the recipe would taste significantly different with other pilsner malts or 2-row, or otherwise make a big difference in other respects?

I'm looking to buy bulk grain, and I'm not sure if my LHBS will be able to order bohemian pilsner malt. And hell, if 2-row could pull this off, why not save a few?
 
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In the original posting "F B" means Franco-Belges for the Pilsener malt. When I asked PJ about it he let me know that he was investigating other malts. To me it seems that the most important things about this recipe are:

1) The interesting mix of character malts that are simulating decoction

2) The attention to detail in the mash

3) Amazing efficiency...Be sure to adjust the efficiency of this recipe if you give it a try.

With the other malts, I suggest that any high-quality Pilsener malt will be just fine.

Happy brewing!
 

jonpecan

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Thanks makellr, definitely wasn't expecting franco-belges. Will consider obtaining!
 

jonpecan

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This was my first lager of any kind, and I did not do a diacetyl rest. Alas, I found myself with some significant diacetyl. I'm curious whether this recipe requires a diacetyl rest, or if the rest is unnecessary if the fermentation and lagering times are followed to the minimum specifications. There were plenty of reasons why I could have triggered diacetyl independently - may have happened due to some of my practices, along with my shortened secondary/lager time (other kegs kicked unexpectedly). Despite the diacetyl in my botched batch, still a delicious brew underneath! Thanks for the recipe, I have another batch going to work out the kinks.
 

castermmt

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Diacetyl rest is necessary, if you want to keep it from spoiling the flavor of the beer. I do it on all my lagers and have never had any issues with diacetyl off flavors. This is a kick ass brew, you should have a go at it again and enjoy the experience.
 

Brettomomyces

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Gearing up to make this beer, going to ferment it alongside a german pils so I can use my ferm chamber better.

Question to Pjj, what is your opinion of base malt choice for this? Should I seek out the FB pilsen?
 

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