Pilsner Urquell Master Homebrew Competition 2012

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pjj2ba

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Pilsner Urquell has announced it's 2nd annual homebrewer competetion

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-rele...master-home-brewer-competition-147913525.html

Open to the the first 75 folks who sign up for NYC, Chicago, or this year San Francisco (75 per city). You must be there in person to have your beer judged. The winner in each city gets a trip for two to Prague and Pilzen.


Get your brews on! I'll be back in NYC to try and make it back to back wins! We want to go back - it was way too short a trip. We had flight troubles and lost a day to that and my wife had a cold at the time. It was still a blast!

I will admit I was a bit lucky. No, not that I had a good brew, but that my tweaks made my beer more like what they serve in Europe. They have changed the guidleines for this year. They do want you to make something very much like PU. Last year they said 15% of the judging was artistic interpretation. So my thinking last year was that they wanted something similar but different. So I played around. This year that is out - they want PU-like beer

Now I can't vouch for what happened in DC or Chicago, but at Hospoda, where the NYC comp. was held, they serve PU specially shipped to them in refrigerated containers. This beer is phenomenal, and different from what I'm used to in PU on tap. Well, my "tweaks" made my beer taste more like the stuff they pour at Hospoda (and what we drank in Prague and Pilzen), which all of the judges were drinking before things got started. The "European" version is a little fuller bodied, and the bitterness was smoother - still quite bitter, just smoother.

My recommendations:

If you are entering in NYC, get yourself to Hospoda (upper East side) and try the beer - they only serve PU. The food is a bit pricey - but very good - perhaps go for appetizers - and tell them why you are there. I don't know if that is where this years comp. will be held, but the beer is worth the trip.

You do not need to do a decoction. I did not. I messed with the grain bill instead.

If you are registered and are not happy with how your beer turned out. Bring it anyway. The event itself was a blast. Free food and beer and great people!
 

StoneHands

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I followed your thread about this last year, I think it's awesome that you won this, and great that PU does this here in the states. Too far for me to go, but maybe in years to come if they keep it up. Good luck!
 

Ghostly

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Hospoda is a good visit for homebrewers in general. Good lesson in how carbonation changes a beer. Kind of an expensive lesson, but the food is tasty.
 

Joeneugs

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Well, we're at the point where most people in the contest have probably finished brewing by now, or at least finishing up this weekend hopefully! Anyone want to give an update on how things are going?? I'll start:

*Disclaimer* This is my first lager AND my first entry into any contest, so I'm not expecting anything except a fun night here in San Francisco.

I decided to use 100% floor malted bohemian pilsner malt from Weyermann. No specialty malt except for a couple ounces of acidulated for pH adjustment. I also used 100% R.O. water with some calcium chloride and gypsum added to the mash and to the boil.

I did the Hochurz decoction schedule (big thanks to Kaiser for the great wiki!), although I probably didn't have to. It was still a fun yet arduous process. If anything, I think I got closer to the deeper gold color necessary for an Urquell clone. I had some problems hitting my temps even though I decocted way more than what I calculated... I think my crappy thermometer needs replacing.

I used 4 ounces of Czech saaz. 1.5 as a first wort hop, 1.5 for bittering and a 1 ounce addition with 20 minutes left in the boil. I'm hoping the first wort hops will add a more complex aroma to the finished beer. This technique was another first for me. I guess I'll find out if it was worth it.

I used Wyeast 2001 with a massive starter that I stepped up several times the week before brewing. Fermented at 47-48 F with a day at 65 toward the end for a diacetyl rest.

I actually did two separate batches this way with the only difference being the gravity. The first batch had a SG of 1.044 and a FG of 1.010. A little out of style, I know. So my second batch had a SG of 1.049, and I'm hoping it finishes out a bit higher. We'll see.

Anyone else want to share details?
 

StoneHands

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Awesome details Joenugs. I try to follow anything on this competition as well as anything interesting in lager brewing. Not sure if people don't want to share because of the competition, or maybe there aren't many PU brewers out there. I promise to share next year.
 

JRems

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I just finished Brewing mine yesterday, going to ny comp. Color seems correct, I used a fully modified weyerman pilsner malt and added some specialty grains. I did do a protein rest and changed temps using my herms system instead of with decoctions. I did do one decoction to mash out.I used Czech saaz and did a Fwh, 55,and 12 min addition. I used mostly RO water with a little of my well water added. I used white labs wlp800, 2 vials and made a starter. It's my first lager, it's about 46 degrees now and seems to be active. Good luck to all
 
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pjj2ba

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Here is what won last year in NY. Keep in mind I wasn't trying to clone PU exactly, I was counting on the 15% of the judging based on artistic creativity. I was lucky in that my tweaks actually made it taste more like the stuff that is served in Europe (and Hospoda, the contest site). This year the rules clearly say the goal is to clone PU. I'm still aiming at the European version, not what we get here in the US

I thought it would be cool to add some rye to complement the spicyness of the Saaz and make it more complex. I didn't want it to be so spicy so I reduced the Saaz hops and added in Goldings as I find it to be a relatively neutral hop. I choose Sterling to FWH for it's very subtle hints of citrus. Again to make it a little different.

Aromatic malt and home toasted malt were added for color and to mimic a decoction. Wheat malt and oats were added as body improvers and for head retention

Recipe Specifics

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

OG 1.050
Fermenting at 50 F. I'll keg this in 1 week and then lager it at 35 F. Force carb. I'll bottle 1 week before the comp.

Notes

Pilsner malt was toasted for 30 min. at 350 F. It was turned every 10 min.
2 gal of distilled water was used for the mash and and an extra 2 gal of distilled water in the sparge
 

1971hemicuda

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I've been looking at the rules (at least the ones on the Facebook page for the contest) and I don't see it specifically say they want you to clone PU

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Our panel will judge contestants’ home brews based on the following criteria:

• 75% -- Accuracy to style (Czech style pilsner)

• 25% -- Cleanliness (absence of off flavors)

A panel of experienced beer tasters, including Pilsner Urquell brewmaster Vaclav Berka, will judge the competitions in NY, Chicago and San Francisco. The San Fran event will be coordinated through BrewLab San Francisco.

Contestants should bring along 3 bottles of their home brew, in 10 to 14-ounce, green or brown bottles.

The competitions dates are listed below. Once you have emailed us to reserve your spot, we will follow up with exact times and locations.

New York -- July 23, 2012

Chicago-- July 26, 2012

San Francisco -- July 28, 2012
--------------------------------------------------------------------

I brewed mine to a Czech Style Pilsner...so i'm HOPING they aren't expecting a PU clone...I guess the only way to know is to show up!

Its still fermenting away...i'll have a days diacetyl rest next week...2 weeks lagering...and i'm putting all 5 gallons into keg. Thanks to morebeer.com's carbonation lid
http://morebeer.com/view_product/18212/ i can carb the entire thing in 2 days! I'll pull all the bottles fresh that morning before the contest! I can't wait...I've done a few lagers before, but this is my first lager after I started using some brew science to adjust water pH, adding water salts and trying to clone the PU water profile. I'm hoping for something delicious regardless of the W! Should be a damn good time!
 
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pjj2ba

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The instructions we're even more vague last year. However when we got to the venue, there were little promotional fliers that said something like, "Can you brew Pilsner Urquell" - at least that was the gist of it. Then when the first guy started talking, he made it clear, there looking for something close to PU. My heart sunk when he said that, as I didn't set out to clone PU - or at least what I was used to as PU. It turned out though that my beer was a pretty darn good clone of the stuff served in Europe (and at the NYC venue)

I think there is some leeway though as Mike R., who took second, had added a fair bit of late hops that were definitely noticeable, and pushing the style limits (he kindly brought an extra beer to share). Afterward one judge said he had Mike's beer as #1. I think it came down to Vaclav Berka, the PU brewmaster, having the final say. I added a little more aroma hops to this years batch

For anyone who has entered but don't like how their beer turned out - Go anyway! The PU folks know how to throw a good party.
 
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pjj2ba

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Less than a week until the NYC event! I would be great to meet more HBT members! My hair has gotten pretty long these days (going to donate it) so if you see someone with fairly gray hair pulled back with a barrette (yes barrette), that would be me.

I'm very pleased with how mine turned out. I made a batch which I served at our pig roast 2 weeks ago, and it was the first keg kicked. It was awesome! I meant to bottle some up in case the next batch wasn't as good. Needless to say, I didn't get to it before it was kicked. Luckily, the next batch is just as good!

I'm going to bring an extra bottle so I can share it if the venue doesn't mind. Last year Michaeltrego (2nd place) was kind enough to bring an extra bottle along to share with several of us - with the venue's approval. I'm always a bit nervous about bringing my beer to a bar.

Good luck everyone!!
 
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pjj2ba

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And a side note, for those of you who don't follow Pilsner Urquell USA on facebook, they have announced new shipping and packaging to the US. The new packaging will be totally enclosed so no light gets to the bottles, and maybe more important - it will be shipped here in refrigerated containers!!!!!! Now everyone will be able to taste what the Europeans do!

I don't know what the time line for this is, but I assume there will be some kind of marketing campaign. It would be cool to see a PU commercial on TV!!
 

JRems

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I just got some PU at the beer distribitor yesterday to do a taste test against the one I'm bringing to the comp. The new 6 and 12 packs are completely covered. They are in a thin cardboard box. I'll have to check but I don't think it even has cutouts to grab the box by, so no light can get in. Or they could just use brown bottles for export, you would think that would be easier.
I'll see you there
 

Joeneugs

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Yeah, I'm excited to try the fresh PU as well! I haven't seen the new packaging yet out here in Cali.

I'll be at the San Francisco event next week. I'm really excited! This is my first ever competition AND my first ever lager. It didn't quite turn out the way I wanted, but I'm looking forward to having a good time at the event anyway. Hopefully I'll meet some other homebrewtalk'ers.

:rockin:
 
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pjj2ba

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Best of luck to all the brewers this year! Maybe Phil can pull off a back to back!
No back to back. I did manage to take your spot this year. I am quite happy with 2nd place. The guy who took 3rd last year took first, If you had been there, maybe it would have been the same top three in NYC!

Great event at the Radegast Bier Hall in Brooklyn. Got to meet JRems and his wife. JRems made it into the top 9 finalists! Way to go!!

Good luck to those in Chicago and San Francisco!! And most of all, have fun and enjoy the party!
 

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No back to back. I did manage to take your spot this year. I am quite happy with 2nd place. The guy who took 3rd last year took first, If you had been there, maybe it would have been the same top three in NYC!
Congrats Phil! Very impressive to see two of the top three repeat. Lucky for me Mike couldn't make it this year :)
 

michaeltrego

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Congrats Phil! Very impressive to see two of the top three repeat. Lucky for me Mike couldn't make it this year :)
Way to go Phil and Alastair - HBT and Brew Free or Die represents again! Wish I could have been there again this year, but just didn't have the time. Looking forward to next year.
 

Joeneugs

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Well, the San Francisco event was a lot of fun!

I placed somewhere between 4th and 8th. I was pretty happy making the top 8 considering I wasn't really crazy about how my beer turned out. The judges said that the beers at our event were the best of all three cities... but maybe they say that to everyone!

I got a chance to talk to the winner briefly and she said that she did a triple decoction, so theres a plug for the traditional method. In fact most of the people I talked to did some form of decoction. I hope they return to SF next year.
 

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I placed somewhere between 9th and however many other entries there were (did they ever say?). I was one of those that did the triple decoction too. It was both my first decoction and first lager. So I wasn't expecting to place very well anyway. I left shortly after they announced the top 8 spots. I take it they never released any official scores or ranks during the remainder of the event? That's also the impression I got about the other events from looking at comments on the Urquell Facebook page as well. This was the most disappointing aspect for me. After putting so much into it, and having no clear indication of where I came out in the competition. It really just felt like just a big marketing gimmick for Urquell to me in the end.
 
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pjj2ba

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I placed somewhere between 9th and however many other entries there were (did they ever say?). I was one of those that did the triple decoction too. It was both my first decoction and first lager. So I wasn't expecting to place very well anyway. I left shortly after they announced the top 8 spots. I take it they never released any official scores or ranks during the remainder of the event? That's also the impression I got about the other events from looking at comments on the Urquell Facebook page as well. This was the most disappointing aspect for me. After putting so much into it, and having no clear indication of where I came out in the competition. It really just felt like just a big marketing gimmick for Urquell to me in the end.
No decoction for my beer. This winter I'll mess around with that.

Last year there was no feedback either to the brewers - unless you talked to the judges immediately afterwards. I can understand the desire for feedback, but on the other hand, it cost nothing to enter, and they do throw a nice party with free beer and food.

It's great that a woman won!! We had two women in the top 9 in NYC
 

Joeneugs

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Yeah, I was dissapointed that they didn't give out scoring sheets. I asked the Pilsner Urquell people if we could get any feedback at all about our beers, and they said no because the beers are all tasted anonomously. I even tried to find out where I placed between 4th and 8th, and they couldn't even tell me that. Hopefully they change that in next years competition since feedback is often the most beneficial part of entering a contest in the first place especially with the great judging panel they had!
 
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