Re-creating Authentic German beers at home

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madscientist451

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Recently, a HBT member asked for advice on how to improve his homebrew German beers.
The word "authentic" was mentioned but beyond that, no specific beers were listed.
I've been brewing various German styles for several years and so was of course interested about ways to get my beers close to whatever "authentic" is.
The thread has been closed for various reasons, and there's no need to re-create the same discussion, but there were a few points that weren't mentioned.
I'm hoping a homebrewer who is actually in Germany can jump in on this.
Does anyone there ever talk about what makes an authentic German beer? Is there a preference for industrial, multi-national beers compared to beer that is made in smaller independent breweries? Or is it the other way around, are local beers usually thought to be better?
Note that just because a brewery is smaller, doesn't mean the local beer is really all that good, I've had my share of mediocre beer from small US breweries.
My efforts to achieve an authentic German beer have included: Using somewhat simple grain bills, using specific German malts and hops, using the correct yeast, longer mashing for fermentability and extended cold lagering.
I haven't gotten in to the low-oxygen techniques on the hot side, but I am going to keep an open mind and try it and see if I notice a difference.
Not being able to get fresh German beer to compare to mine to is an issue I can't do anything about. There are some breweries near me making some German styles, but I have no way of knowing if they are authentic or not.
If anyone has favorite commercial examples that are available here in the US that they have come close to brewing themselves, I'd like to hear about it.
 

cyberbackpacker

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You're close... simple grist, and simple hopping. Extended cold lagering is great too. Use Brulosophy's lagering technique, or use 1056 around 61F, and one addition of noble type hops at 40 minutes (or mt. hood, crystal, liberty, maybe even willamette). Just as good as any "authentic" German beer, especially being made stateside. For maltier styles (bock, etc), just use about 10-13% carapils and call it enough. Adding a nice charge of something like 1oz/5 gallons of mandarina bavaria at 10 is great in light lagers (Helles, Pils) too.
 

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Use Brulosophy's lagering technique

Are you referring to their warm lager fermentation? If so, I would not recommend this for any lager. This does not produce the same type of lager that cold fermentation does. The example I always use is, I find the warm lager fermentation technique to produce a blonde ale instead of a pilsner. The crispness just isn't there. Doesn't make a bad beer, just doesn't make a good lager IMO.
 

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Attenuation, attenuation, attenuation. Under 3Plato or bust.
Under 2°P or bust I'd say. But that's relative. What you're looking for is a good 85-86% AA. You'll want to pay close attention to mashing. Mash in at 131°-135°F, raise immediately for beta rests at 144°F (say 20 minutes) and then at gel temp, say 147°F for 30 or more minutes (this has to be determined by data for the lot of malt,) possibly a short rest at 153°F, a long (30 minute) one at 163°F for completion of alpha activity and glycoprotein synthesis while retaining high fermentability, and finally mash off at 170°F. The goal is to see ~90% of conversion in the beta range. In most of our systems, all this activity (circulation, stirring, etc.) opens us up to additional opportunities for oxidation, so any measures to mitigate this will be helpful.
 

Big Monk

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Under 2°P or bust I'd say. But that's relative. What you're looking for is a good 85-86% AA. You'll want to pay close attention to mashing. Mash in at 131°-135°F, raise immediately for beta rests at 144°F (say 20 minutes) and then at gel temp, say 147°F for 30 or more minutes (this has to be determined by data for the lot of malt,) possibly a short rest at 153°F, a long (30 minute) one at 163°F for completion of alpha activity and glycoprotein synthesis while retaining high fermentability, and finally mash off at 170°F. The goal is to see ~90% of conversion in the beta range. In most of our systems, all this activity (circulation, stirring, etc.) opens us up to additional opportunities for oxidation, so any measures to mitigate this will be helpful.

I have to agree here. Mashing is such an important factor and lever for manipulating multiple elements of the finished beer. Extract quality (and quantity), attenuation, body, foam, etc. are all key process based variables affected by a well thought out and executed mash schedule.
 

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Lots of good suggestions so far. I enjoy the hell out of German beer styles and have made some very good ones over the years. The low oxygen techniques intrigue me although I have not yet brewed with that methodology. With rare exception most of the German style beers I've tried that were made in the US never lived up to their Old World heritage on my taste buds. There is an elusive profile in good German lagers combining a deceptively rich body with a very clean and slightly dry finish. These qualities are often missing and immediately flag the beer in my mind as "this sure wasn't made in Germany".

A simple recipe with a grist bill of fresh German malts is a good start. German hops or good domestic versions (like the Mt Hood family) are also a must as is a well-prepped pitch of your favorite German yeast strain. The mash schedule is also important in trying to reproduce the "German profile". I'm a long time fan of decoction mashing but the Hochkurz mash program can also produce excellent brew. The temperature differences in these mash styles IMO is one of the big reasons why most of the domestic attempts at German brews never seem to achieve that classic beer profile I find so appealing.

Of course attention to detail in recipe creation and mashing goes hand in hand with the the other steps in brewing the beer from fermentation, aging/lagering, and packaging.

As for commercial examples I'd first check your area to see if there are any bars or restaurants featuring German beer and look for a big selling fresh one on tap. Obviously things are sketchy right now with shutdowns and such but be patient and wait for things to fully open up if there is such an establishment in your area. Other than that I'd look for four packs of 500ml cans of German lagers. I've seen several pils and some dark lagers sold this way from Bitburger, Dinkel Acker, and Kostritzer among others. Maybe not the best German beers but still pretty damned good and the modern cans deliver a better product more often than bottles nowadays.
 

schematix

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You're close... simple grist, and simple hopping. Extended cold lagering is great too. Use Brulosophy's lagering technique, or use 1056 around 61F, and one addition of noble type hops at 40 minutes (or mt. hood, crystal, liberty, maybe even willamette). Just as good as any "authentic" German beer, especially being made stateside. For maltier styles (bock, etc), just use about 10-13% carapils and call it enough. Adding a nice charge of something like 1oz/5 gallons of mandarina bavaria at 10 is great in light lagers (Helles, Pils) too.

Funny you mentioned this. I bought a 500g bag of US-05 last year and made all of my standard lager recipes as ales. All extremely well pitched (60g for 10 gallons), and fermented at 60F.

Not one of them came even in the ballpark of replicating what you get with lager yeast. Not even close. Nothing you could confuse with a lager. The one gem out of the batch though was my marzen came out as a dead ringer for fat tire, a beer i had tried and failed many times to replicate. As a lager it doesn't taste anything like fatty.
 

BruceH

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I'm hoping a homebrewer who is actually in Germany can jump in on this.
Does anyone there ever talk about what makes an authentic German beer? Is there a preference for industrial, multi-national beers compared to beer that is made in smaller independent breweries? Or is it the other way around, are local beers usually thought to be better?

Not being able to get fresh German beer to compare to mine to is an issue I can't do anything about.
If anyone has favorite commercial examples that are available here in the US that they have come close to brewing themselves, I'd like to hear about it.

@Miraculix would be a good source for info since he lives in Germany, brews, and is German.

I've lived in Germany. Authentic German beer is a moving goal post depending on your taste. There isn't a definition other than the beer purity law imo. Many breweries exist as do many styles. Some are better than others.

There are local favorites from small breweries that you will never hear of (Kirner as one example) unless you visit and order a beer at a Gasthaus. My experience is that the big breweries are also the premium beers, ie Bitburger, Radeburger, etc.

The .5 liter cans of beer from Germany taste pretty fresh. I'd start with those for a comparison tasting as I haven't found a US beer that is close to being the same.

The best thing would be a ticket to Frankfurt along with a Eurorail pass to explore for a few weeks. Not possible right now but something to think about for the future.

I have a few beers I brew well. I don't think I will ever be able to fully replicate one of the big German Pils brands.
 

Bilsch

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The great thing about most of the German beers you find in cans is they print the date of production and expiration quite legibly, in the correct format (day/month/year) right on the bottom. Try to find a Bitburger or König Pils with a date inside 3 months are you'll get a really good idea of what it tastes like there.
 

Bilsch

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I don't think I will ever be able to fully replicate one of the big German Pils brands.

I will agree it is tough but not impossible. One of the big things in my mind beyond making great wort is yeast health. They really only get good after a couple repitches and the time between pitches has to be short for best results. Essentially this means is you must have a lot of time to brew and be willing to make a few batches back to back before the yeast hit the sweet spot. If things come up and you slack off for a couple weeks then it's back to the drawing board.
 

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I'm a german homebrewer, located close to Hamburg.

I got into making more lagers recently, trying to make an excellent pils is my goal right now. It's kind of a tough task as a homebrewer. I'm at version 3 of my pils right now. the 2 previous ones where good, but not quite perfect. Right now I got my hands on the liquid version of the 34/70, straight from the Weihenstephan yeast bank. Att whent down to 82%, the beer is about to be kegged. I'm kinda nervous how it's gonna taste. It was a 95% pilsner malt and 5% chitmalt grist, easy 2-step infusion, 12°P. Fresh 2019 hops of tettnanger and saphir, I bittered with akoya (new hop, to replace perle in the long run) to 40 IBUs.

It all comes together, you can't hide much under a layer of dryhops or hazyness or whatsoever. Yeast, pitching rate and fermentation temperatures are the first and most important things you should focus on at first imo. I pitch at 8-9°C, at 50% att i let the temperatur rise step by step to 12°C, where i let the beer attenuate to the end. A little diacethyl rest follows before I cold crash for 3-4 days.

Pitching rate is key. With dry yeast I use 1g/l wort, liquid I use 2l(starter)/10l of wort.

For darker or more maltier beers decoction mash is the way to go.

This baby right here was Version 2. Good beer, but it was lacking in bitterness and was just a tiny bit too fruity.
But it's possible. I recently tasted a homebrew some dude from south germany sent me. It was a Pils made withe the W120 (Weihenstephan) and it was the best Pils i've had in a while. I will also try to encourage some german dudes, that are better than me in brewing good german lagers, to participate here.
IMG_20200405_151415 (Klein).jpg


The standard german lagers made by the big players like Bitburger are not considered "authentic" by people that know beer. These are very good lagers, but not what those beers, especially pilsners, used to be. The IBUs are down, hop aroma is down, they all taste the same. Authentic beers are usually made by old, smaller breweries that still focus on their region, not shooting for the big markets. Talking about Pils here. Most other styles are not made by the big breweries anyways.

What all german breweries do good, even the big ones, is Hefeweizen. There is no Weizen that isn't good. Some are only good, thats the worst you can get.
 
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Miraculix

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I'm a german homebrewer, located close to Hamburg.

I got into making more lagers recently, trying to make an excellent pils is my goal right now. It's kind of a tough task as a homebrewer. I'm at version 3 of my pils right now. the 2 previous ones where good, but not quite perfect. Right now I got my hands on the liquid version of the 34/70, straight from the Weihenstephan yeast bank. Att whent down to 82%, the beer is about to be kegged. I'm kinda nervous how it's gonna taste. It was a 95% pilsner malt and 5% chitmalt grist, easy 2-step infusion, 12°P. Fresh 2019 hops of tettnanger and saphir, I bittered with akoya (new hop, to replace perle in the long run) to 40 IBUs.

It all comes together, you can't hide much under a layer of dryhops or hazyness or whatsoever. Yeast, pitching rate and fermentation temperatures are the first and most important things you should focus on at first imo. I pitch at 8-9°C, at 50% att i let the temperatur rise step by step to 12°C, where i let the beer attenuate to the end. A little diacethyl rest follows before I cold crash for 3-4 days.

Pitching rate is key. With dry yeast I use 1g/l wort, liquid I use 2l(starter)/10l of wort.

For darker or more maltier beers decoction mash is the way to go.

This baby right here was Version 2. Good beer, but it was lacking in bitterness and was just a tiny bit too fruity.
But it's possible. I recently tasted a homebrew some dude from south germany sent me. It was a Pils made withe the W120 (Weihenstephan) and it was the best Pils i've had in a while. I will also try to encourage some german dudes, that are better than me in brewing good german lagers, to participate here.View attachment 683650

The standard german lagers made by the big players like Bitburger are not considered "authentic" by people that know beer. These are very good lagers, but not what those beers, especially pilsners, used to be. The IBUs are down, hop aroma is down, they all taste the same. Authentic beers are usually made by old, smaller breweries that still focus on their region, not shooting for the big markets. Talking about Pils here. Most other styles are not made by the big breweries anyways.

What all german breweries do good, even the big ones, is Hefeweizen. There is no Weizen that isn't good. Some are only good, thats the worst you can get.
I agree.

I'm also from Hamburg, but now I live in Bremen. Yesterday I bought the local "cheapo" beer in a 0.5l can at Aldi, a Haake Beck.

That was a really good beer! More ibus then usual, like jever, really good grainy malt flavour, little sulfur, pretty dry, my type of beer. 69 cents per can...
 

Johst12

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Haake is one of better examples, true, even if it's made by Becks. On a brewery tour I did years ago at Becks Bremen, the also had the Haake Kräusen, which was pretty good I thought back than.

Are you also activ at www.hobbybrauer.de?
 

Miraculix

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Haake is one of better examples, true, even if it's made by Becks. On a brewery tour I did years ago at Becks Bremen, the also had the Haake Kräusen, which was pretty good I thought back than.

Are you also activ at www.hobbybrauer.de?
No, i started brewing in the UK and somehow ended up here. Is it a good forum?
 

Hanglow

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Funny reading this thread, I spent many hours over the last few days going through hobbybrauer.de . My german is poor so I was having to use google translate a lot

I've spent a few months, spread over a number of years, drinking my way through parts of germany and while their big beers (Bitburger, Warsteiner etc) are better than many other countries national brands, I think they pale compared to what you can find in Franconia and other parts of Bavaria etc. Although I still really like the likes of Jever and Flensburger

Thankfully there are a few beer shops in Germany that ship to the UK and good value too
 

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Honestly, for me it is the Low Oxygen Brewing stuff that makes that difference. I slowly began to incorporate some of those techniques, and for me it really is the only way to make a Lager.

I don't do all beers this way, but Lager's and Kolsch - it was like night and day for me.
 

Nate R

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@Miraculix would be a good source for info since he lives in Germany, brews, and is German.

I've lived in Germany. Authentic German beer is a moving goal post depending on your taste. There isn't a definition other than the beer purity law imo. Many breweries exist as do many styles. Some are better than others.

There are local favorites from small breweries that you will never hear of (Kirner as one example) unless you visit and order a beer at a Gasthaus. My experience is that the big breweries are also the premium beers, ie Bitburger, Radeburger, etc.

The .5 liter cans of beer from Germany taste pretty fresh. I'd start with those for a comparison tasting as I haven't found a US beer that is close to being the same.

The best thing would be a ticket to Frankfurt along with a Eurorail pass to explore for a few weeks. Not possible right now but something to think about for the future.

I have a few beers I brew well. I don't think I will ever be able to fully replicate one of the big German Pils brands.
To the OP question on authentic taste- i think Bruce nailed it- there's just too many beers in Germany to nail down one style.

I think the "limitations" of the purity law is a great place to start- no chemical treatment to water, etc. Like the Haiku- the limitation is the beauty? Lol.

I wonder if Germans argue over the One Way to make a true West Coast IPA? (My comparison here is that we could argue for hours over who is the best- Lagunitas, Stone, Rouge, etc etc etc)

I have yet to go to Germany, but stateside the Urban Chestnut Brewery in St Louis is, in my opion, the closest i have found. Their brewer trained and studied for some time in Germany. As have man others of course.

I highly reccomend a visit here if you can. My in-laws (whom i was visiting) had to drag me out here kicking and screaming. Food was good, too.
 

Jeff...

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I'm on V4 of a German Pilsner recipe. It turned out very well. 97% Pilsner 3% Melanoidin Single infusion @148F, sparge 168F.

25.5 IBU German Sazz 21.3% AA start of boil, 2.3%AA 10 mins, 1.8% AA 1 minute.

I fermented it with Fermentis German Lager S-189. S189 has a long lag so don't panic.

Your 100% correct, there is no where to hide in a German Pilsner. It's the most intimidating beer, I have ever brewed.
 

Jeff...

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Recently, a HBT member asked for advice on how to improve his homebrew German beers.
The word "authentic" was mentioned but beyond that, no specific beers were listed.
I've been brewing various German styles for several years and so was of course interested about ways to get my beers close to whatever "authentic" is.
The thread has been closed for various reasons, and there's no need to re-create the same discussion, but there were a few points that weren't mentioned.
I'm hoping a homebrewer who is actually in Germany can jump in on this.
Does anyone there ever talk about what makes an authentic German beer? Is there a preference for industrial, multi-national beers compared to beer that is made in smaller independent breweries? Or is it the other way around, are local beers usually thought to be better?
Note that just because a brewery is smaller, doesn't mean the local beer is really all that good, I've had my share of mediocre beer from small US breweries.
My efforts to achieve an authentic German beer have included: Using somewhat simple grain bills, using specific German malts and hops, using the correct yeast, longer mashing for fermentability and extended cold lagering.
I haven't gotten in to the low-oxygen techniques on the hot side, but I am going to keep an open mind and try it and see if I notice a difference.
Not being able to get fresh German beer to compare to mine to is an issue I can't do anything about. There are some breweries near me making some German styles, but I have no way of knowing if they are authentic or not.
If anyone has favorite commercial examples that are available here in the US that they have come close to brewing themselves, I'd like to hear about it.

Yeah that was me 😂 thanks for spinning up this thread. I surely need help! I guess the word "authentic" is highly subject to interpretation... What I meant is... Yes I use authentic ingredients (from Germany) but my end result is far from what I drank while visiting Germany. I know that's broad brushed but I think this is most definitely PEBWAG (Problem Exists Between Water And Glass). Meaning the problem is me, my techniques and my homebrew gear.
Hope that helps somewhat
 
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NewFranconiaBrewing

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I lived in Bavaria for a few years, and I found significant variation in beer styles as well as many beer styles that aren't exported. I think brewers looking to make "authentic" German beers have more latitude to experiment than the BJCP style guide would indicate.

With pilsners, they ranged in color from pale straw to a darker yellow; some were relatively light while others had a more pronounced malt flavor. Hops for flavor and aroma varied as well.

Zoigl beers were quite interesting; although made with lager yeast, they weren't lagered and were actually served young. What we would normally consider off-flavors, including green apple flavor, was a hallmark of the style.

Kellerbiers were also young lagered beers that could be hazy, and they could be light or amber colored. I believe they have some caramel malt, because I remember them being sweeter and fuller in malt flavor than pils, but I didn't really know what I was drinking that long ago.
 

Jeff...

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To the OP question on authentic taste- i think Bruce nailed it- there's just too many beers in Germany to nail down one style.

I think the "limitations" of the purity law is a great place to start- no chemical treatment to water, etc. Like the Haiku- the limitation is the beauty? Lol.

I wonder if Germans argue over the One Way to make a true West Coast IPA? (My comparison here is that we could argue for hours over who is the best- Lagunitas, Stone, Rouge, etc etc etc)

I have yet to go to Germany, but stateside the Urban Chestnut Brewery in St Louis is, in my opion, the closest i have found. Their brewer trained and studied for some time in Germany. As have man others of course.

I highly reccomend a visit here if you can. My in-laws (whom i was visiting) had to drag me out here kicking and screaming. Food was good, too.

I have a son that lives up by St Louis, I'll ask him about Urban Chestnut Brewery. next time I'm up there, I'll be sure and swing in for a brew or two or three.

Edit... Texting with my son. He says Urban Chestnut Brewery is his favorite place to go. He's had every one of their beers and they are all great, food is really good also. His fav beer is their Zwickle Bavarian Lager if you look under more details they tell you the malts and hops that went into the brew. I like that :)
 
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Nate R

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I have a son that lives up by St Louis, I'll ask him about Urban Chestnut Brewery. next time I'm up there, I'll be sure and swing in for a brew or two or three.

Edit... Texting with my son. He says Urban Chestnut Brewery is his favorite place to go. He's had every one of their beers and they are all great, food is really good also. His fav beer is their Zwickle Bavarian Lager if you look under more details they tell you the malts and hops that went into the brew. I like that :)
Dude... yes!!! Lol.
They retail in supermarkets and stores in the area. So yummy!
 

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A few personal observations from a german beer drinker and sometimes brewer living in the US (for close to 30 years):

1) Imported bottled german Pilsners often have a 'metallic', for lack of a better word, slightly off flavor that they do not have in Germany. I would not strive to achieve that taste. Cans and small (5L) kegs that you can occasionally find sometimes do better than beer imported in bottles. Ditto for german beer on tap.

2) To me, the main difference between mainstream (nationally distributed) Pilsners in Germany (Bitburger, Warsteiner, Krombacher and the like) and better US beers is a) the attenuation or more precisely the final sugar content - german Pilsners seem drier, although I must admit so far I haven't actually measured the final gravity of any beer I bought - and b) 'better' (non-Budweiser, Miller, Pabst etc.) US beers in general seem to have a more forward hop flavor, on top of the greater sweetness.
By 'dry' I do not mean the slightly astringent 'strawy' flavor that mainstream US lagers and maybe to a lesser degree also Japanese beers (Kirin, Asahi etc.) do have. My theory is that this astringent flavor derives from adjuncts like sugar, corn or rice.

3) When in Germany, I prefer and seek out Pilsners from regional breweries. These are not microbreweries. They are regionally distributed in supermarkets and in the german equivalent of liquor & soda stores. Licher Pils and Eder Pils are examples I like or used to like. (I'm not sure the latter still exists.) They might not be your 'typical' german Pils, but to me they have more character and are very drinkable. That being said, Krombacher is not bad.

4) I find it easier to brew a good wheat beer (Weissbier) than a good Pilsner. I think you need to achieve final gravity below 1.01 for a good Pilsner. My best Pilsner attempt so far was a high gravity (and alcohol) Maibock, where I found the higher final gravity acceptable. It did not taste like a typical Pilsner though.

Summary: in my opinion, it might be difficult to find a good german Pilsner in the US. Nationally distributed Pilsners are not necessarily the best examples of the general type. I think the main difficulty in home brewing a Pilsner might be achieving a low enough final gravity.
 

Robert65

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Achieving that high degree of attenuation is not difficult at all. But common homebrew practices such as simplified mash programs and underpitching yeast will make it impossible.

I discussed mashing in post #7.

It is also important to pitch sufficient healthy yeast (a smack pack in a 2 liter starter will not come anywhere close.)

Another often overlooked point is the need to ensure sufficient zinc in the wort. Almost all worts are deficient, because most of the zinc provided by water and malt is bound up and retained in spent grains and trub and is therefore unavailable to yeast. Supplementation is almost always necessary, whether by addition of zinc sulfate or zinc chloride, or a product line Servomyces. Adding it directly to the fermentor is preferable.
 

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I'm a german homebrewer, located close to Hamburg.

I got into making more lagers recently, trying to make an excellent pils is my goal right now. It's kind of a tough task as a homebrewer. I'm at version 3 of my pils right now. the 2 previous ones where good, but not quite perfect. Right now I got my hands on the liquid version of the 34/70, straight from the Weihenstephan yeast bank. Att whent down to 82%, the beer is about to be kegged. I'm kinda nervous how it's gonna taste. It was a 95% pilsner malt and 5% chitmalt grist, easy 2-step infusion, 12°P. Fresh 2019 hops of tettnanger and saphir, I bittered with akoya (new hop, to replace perle in the long run) to 40 IBUs.

It all comes together, you can't hide much under a layer of dryhops or hazyness or whatsoever. Yeast, pitching rate and fermentation temperatures are the first and most important things you should focus on at first imo. I pitch at 8-9°C, at 50% att i let the temperatur rise step by step to 12°C, where i let the beer attenuate to the end. A little diacethyl rest follows before I cold crash for 3-4 days.

Pitching rate is key. With dry yeast I use 1g/l wort, liquid I use 2l(starter)/10l of wort.

For darker or more maltier beers decoction mash is the way to go.

This baby right here was Version 2. Good beer, but it was lacking in bitterness and was just a tiny bit too fruity.
But it's possible. I recently tasted a homebrew some dude from south germany sent me. It was a Pils made withe the W120 (Weihenstephan) and it was the best Pils i've had in a while. I will also try to encourage some german dudes, that are better than me in brewing good german lagers, to participate here.View attachment 683650

The standard german lagers made by the big players like Bitburger are not considered "authentic" by people that know beer. These are very good lagers, but not what those beers, especially pilsners, used to be. The IBUs are down, hop aroma is down, they all taste the same. Authentic beers are usually made by old, smaller breweries that still focus on their region, not shooting for the big markets. Talking about Pils here. Most other styles are not made by the big breweries anyways.

What all german breweries do good, even the big ones, is Hefeweizen. There is no Weizen that isn't good. Some are only good, thats the worst you can get.
I'm from Portugal and I've visited Germany several times. I fear I haven't had many of those "authentic" lagers you talk about, but the Hefeweizen... they were absurdly good. I buy them in Portugal often, and I like them, but man, having them on tap in Bavaria is a whole different level... amazing, simply amazing.
 

couchsending

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The Low Oxygen practices are a place to spend some time reading. It’s often hard to implement everything depending on your system but even some practices will help considerably.

Step Mash, step mash, step mash

Pitch way more yeast than you think, way more!

Ferment cold, pitch colder

Spund or krausen for carbonation
 

Nate R

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The Low Oxygen practices are a place to spend some time reading. It’s often hard to implement everything depending on your system but even some practices will help considerably.

Step Mash, step mash, step mash

Pitch way more yeast than you think, way more!

Ferment cold, pitch colder

Spund or krausen for carbonation

You say: Ferment cold, pitch colder

Question- let's say i ferment at 55.
What temp do i picth at? What temp should the yeast be at?

I know there are specifics for each sttain, etc. Just looking for general idea
Thanks
 

couchsending

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Mash in at 131°-135°F, raise immediately for beta rests at 144°F (say 20 minutes) and then at gel temp, say 147°F for 30 or more minutes (this has to be determined by data for the lot of malt,) possibly a short rest at 153°F, a long (30 minute) one at 163°F for completion of alpha activity and glycoprotein synthesis while retaining high fermentability, and finally mash off at 170°F.

What your indicator on the malt COA when it comes to the “gel temp”? The Kolbach index for modification?

Good you give an example of say X number would benefit from X temp?

I’ve seen this mentioned quite a bit and I assume it has to do with modification but I can’t really find any more technical info on what determines the optimum beta temps.
 

couchsending

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You say: Ferment cold, pitch colder

Question- let's say i ferment at 55.
What temp do i picth at? What temp should the yeast be at?

I know there are specifics for each sttain, etc. Just looking for general idea
Thanks

Yeah that depends on what strain you’re using and how much yeast your pitching. If using enough yeast and something like the liquid forms of 34/70 or 2206 or any of the good cold fermenting yeasts you can pitch at 43 and ferment at 46, max at 48. If you’re using dry yeast or maybe other warm fermenting strains like Augustiner might mean pitch at 50 and ferment at 52.

I’ve been using the Andechs strain a lot lately and have had great luck pitching at 46, setting to 48, setting to 50 on day 2 and raising to 52 for the final 1* plato. Zero diacetyl, drops incredibly clear, very clean at the end of fermentation.
 

Robert65

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What your indicator on the malt COA when it comes to the “gel temp”? The Kolbach index for modification?

Good you give an example of say X number would benefit from X temp?

I’ve seen this mentioned quite a bit and I assume it has to do with modification but I can’t really find any more technical info on what determines the optimum beta temps.
Gelatinization temperature increases with decreasing Hartong VZ 45°C. So you won't necessarily know the exact gel temp, but can estimate it, and judge whether a particular malt might necessitate adjusting the mash program. Some of Weyermann's malts, for instance, particularly the Barkes, have had higher gelatinization temperatures in recent crop years.

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Remember also that gelatinization is not an on/off switch, but happens over a range leading up to the full gelatinization temperature. There is plenty of substrate available to enzymes well below this temperature, and enzyme activation and denaturation is similarly something that occurs well outside the usually stated conditions. So extended mash rests at lower temperatures will contribute lots of highly fermentable extract.
 

Brooothru

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Lots of good suggestions so far. I enjoy the hell out of German beer styles and have made some very good ones over the years. The low oxygen techniques intrigue me although I have not yet brewed with that methodology. With rare exception most of the German style beers I've tried that were made in the US never lived up to their Old World heritage on my taste buds. There is an elusive profile in good German lagers combining a deceptively rich body with a very clean and slightly dry finish. These qualities are often missing and immediately flag the beer in my mind as "this sure wasn't made in Germany".

A simple recipe with a grist bill of fresh German malts is a good start. German hops or good domestic versions (like the Mt Hood family) are also a must as is a well-prepped pitch of your favorite German yeast strain. The mash schedule is also important in trying to reproduce the "German profile". I'm a long time fan of decoction mashing but the Hochkurz mash program can also produce excellent brew. The temperature differences in these mash styles IMO is one of the big reasons why most of the domestic attempts at German brews never seem to achieve that classic beer profile I find so appealing.

Of course attention to detail in recipe creation and mashing goes hand in hand with the the other steps in brewing the beer from fermentation, aging/lagering, and packaging.

As for commercial examples I'd first check your area to see if there are any bars or restaurants featuring German beer and look for a big selling fresh one on tap. Obviously things are sketchy right now with shutdowns and such but be patient and wait for things to fully open up if there is such an establishment in your area. Other than that I'd look for four packs of 500ml cans of German lagers. I've seen several pils and some dark lagers sold this way from Bitburger, Dinkel Acker, and Kostritzer among others. Maybe not the best German beers but still pretty damned good and the modern cans deliver a better product more often than bottles nowadays.

I'm just not convinced that you'll ever get an "authentic" German beer outside of Germany. Beyond the psycho-babble about "mood, set and setting" being major contributors to human perception and enjoyment, there's more to German beer enjoyment than consumption in a centuries-old Brau Haus, starting with the differences between export and non-export versions of the same beer. I don't know what or why, but believe it to be much more than simply Reinheitsgebot. Perhaps our German brewing friends can weigh in?

Brooo Brother
 

Robert65

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You won't find that on any COA as there is no standardized test for malt, only for raw unmalted grain.
See post previous to yours. Or just dismiss out of hand information published by a slate of so-called experts from TUM-Weihenstephan.
 

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I'm just not convinced that you'll ever get an "authentic" German beer outside of Germany.

Brooo Brother

The .5 liter cans are an improvement over most of the bottled stuff imo.

I agree with you about it not being the same. I don't usually order a specific brand, just ask for a beer and sample what I get.

While I like Pils I'm also fond of the Bavarian Lagers. I did order a Pils at Ayinger in Munich, of course that resulted in the waiter answering in English to make sure I knew what I was ordering, lol.

I wish I could remember all of the different local beers from the last Germany vacation, we went around the entire country.
 
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