What’s your favorite craft Pilsner malt?

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Sleepy_D

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I want to try one of the craft options on my next brew. I know I have access to Root Shoot and proximity but I may be able to get others. What’s your favorite craft maltster, especially for a great Pilsner malt?
 

AlexKay

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Where are you based? Sugar Creek in IN will ship directly to homebrewers, and their malts are generally fantastic.

That said, I’m totally unable to tell the difference between maltsters when it’s Pilsner malt. I’ve done taste tests both with the grain and with SMaSH lagers. I buy my Pilsner from Sugar Creek to support a small, local maltster, but I’m pretty sure I could buy it from Briess and get the same results.

Note that this is not at all true with other base malts: pale ale malts, and especially Munich and Vienna. Then the difference between maltsters is huge.
 
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Sleepy_D

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Where are you based? Sugar Creek in IN will ship directly to homebrewers, and their malts are generally fantastic.

That said, I’m totally unable to tell the difference between maltsters when it’s Pilsner malt. I’ve done taste tests both with the grain and with SMaSH lagers. I buy my Pilsner from Sugar Creek to support a small, local maltster, but I’m pretty sure I could buy it from Briess and get the same results.

Note that this is not at all true with other base malts: pale ale malts, and especially Munich and Vienna. Then the difference between maltsters is huge.
I’m in northern Colorado so root shoot is the closest to me I believe and I know I can get it at a local homebrew shop
 

Coastalbrew

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I'm a big fan of epiphany craft malt. I've used their pilsner, pale base malt, rye, wheat, and Munich style malts and have been very pleased with all of them. They are also my local maltster, I'm in NC, so it's nice to support my local brand as well. They are available at Atlanticbrewsupply.com. highly recommend.
 

mattman91

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I'm a big fan of epiphany craft malt. I've used their pilsner, pale base malt, rye, wheat, and Munich style malts and have been very pleased with all of them. They are also my local maltster, I'm in NC, so it's nice to support my local brand as well. They are available at Atlanticbrewsupply.com. highly recommend.
NC guy here too (Winston-Salem). I LOVE Epiphany!
 

duncan_disorderly

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I'm in the UK and although I don't brew lagers I buy pilsner/lager malt to brew blonde summer ales and the best I've had is Chateau pilsner from Belgium. Dingemans is good too. I like the Belgian stuff.
 

AlexKay

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I'm in the UK and although I don't brew lagers I buy pilsner/lager malt to brew blonde summer ales and the best I've had is Chateau pilsner from Belgium. Dingemans is good too. I like the Belgian stuff.
The Crisp Heritage malts can be very good. I just made a Bo Pils with Hana and liked the malt very much.
 

Sammy86

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I want to try one of the craft options on my next brew. I know I have access to Root Shoot and proximity but I may be able to get others. What’s your favorite craft maltster, especially for a great Pilsner malt?

I haven't brewed with but tried a Pilsner with Mecca Grade Estate Peleton malt. It was fantastic!
 

jdauria

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For me, it's Mecca's Pelton Pilsner or Stone Path Pilsner...Stone Path is a local Mass maltster, but besides malts they get from farms in Maine, they also are partners with Ireks and get grain from German farms in Franconia that they malt here in Mass. They also sell a lot of Irek's specialty malts too. Their giant combo germination/kilning drum is a German made Schulz system and they are only one of six maltsters in the world to use this system.
 

mashpaddled

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I want to try one of the craft options on my next brew. I know I have access to Root Shoot and proximity but I may be able to get others. What’s your favorite craft maltster, especially for a great Pilsner malt?

I've never tried Proximity as a comparison but I keep Root Shoot's pilsner and pale malt on hand for base malt always. It's a little more expensive than the larger suppliers but the flavor is better. Their pilsner malt has more flavor than most of the larger suppliers, both domestic and international. It's not a coarse flavor--there's just more depth and interesting notes to it.

That can be a benefit or a detriment, depending on your brewing goals. Their grain is almost too flavorful for some of the more delicate pale lager styles if your goal is emulating particular beers. Although I use Root Shoot in Belgian beers, it doesn't have that subtle grape flavor you find in Belgian and French pilsner malt.

If you're looking for something that is not as bland as Briess but not as expensive or quite as interesting, Rahr and Great Western would be good options although not really craft maltsters.
 
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Sleepy_D

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I've never tried Proximity as a comparison but I keep Root Shoot's pilsner and pale malt on hand for base malt always. It's a little more expensive than the larger suppliers but the flavor is better. Their pilsner malt has more flavor than most of the larger suppliers, both domestic and international. It's not a coarse flavor--there's just more depth and interesting notes to it.

That can be a benefit or a detriment, depending on your brewing goals. Their grain is almost too flavorful for some of the more delicate pale lager styles if your goal is emulating particular beers. Although I use Root Shoot in Belgian beers, it doesn't have that subtle grape flavor you find in Belgian and French pilsner malt.

If you're looking for something that is not as bland as Briess but not as expensive or quite as interesting, Rahr and Great Western would be good options although not really craft maltsters.
This is exactly the info I was looking for, thank you! I do make a decent bit of lighter pilsners so maybe the root shoot Pilsner will be a bit much on its own.
 
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Sleepy_D

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For me, it's Mecca's Pelton Pilsner or Stone Path Pilsner...Stone Path is a local Mass maltster, but besides malts they get from farms in Maine, they also are partners with Ireks and get grain from German farms in Franconia that they malt here in Mass. They also sell a lot of Irek's specialty malts too. Their giant combo germination/kilning drum is a German made Schulz system and they are only one of six maltsters in the world to use this system.
Just realized I can get the pelton malt off northern brewer, is this malt not “too much?” I like making lighter lagers so I don’t want something super overpowering but rather that will deliver something a little more. I saw some people comparing this to the Weyermann barke Pilsner. If this is a fair comparison then it’s an easy choice for me because I love barke Pilsner lol
 

jdauria

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Just realized I can get the pelton malt off northern brewer, is this malt not “too much?” I like making lighter lagers so I don’t want something super overpowering but rather that will deliver something a little more. I saw some people comparing this to the Weyermann barke Pilsner. If this is a fair comparison then it’s an easy choice for me because I love barke Pilsner lol
It's not "too much" and is kind of similar to Barke, which I love too...but a little more of a note of grass with Pelton. You can also order by the pound directly from Mecca, or by exact amounts needed from F.H. Steinbart in Oregon. I have ordered from both, shipping can be a little slow to East Coast from both, but Northern Brewer has been wicked slow with shipping post Covid too.
 
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Sleepy_D

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It's not "too much" and is kind of similar to Barke, which I love too...but a little more of a note of grass with Pelton. You can also order by the pound directly from Mecca, or by exact amounts needed from F.H. Steinbart in Oregon. I have ordered from both, shipping can be a little slow to East Coast from both, but Northern Brewer has been wicked slow with shipping post Covid too.
Thanks for the info. It’s actually similar, a little cheaper, to get a 55lb sack straight from Mecca grade even with the shipping vs northern brewers free shipping, at least where I am.
 

wepeeler

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Weyermann Pils is great, but I've been on a Mecca Grade kick for awhile now. Free shipping from Northern Brewer. Also, I recently got IREKS Pilsner malt from Texas Brewing Co and it's fantastic. Done a Festbier and Kolsch so far and both came out great. BUT, shipping more than doubles the price.
 

jdauria

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Weyermann Pils is great, but I've been on a Mecca Grade kick for awhile now. Free shipping from Northern Brewer. Also, I recently got IREKS Pilsner malt from Texas Brewing Co and it's fantastic. Done a Festbier and Kolsch so far and both came out great. BUT, shipping more than doubles the price.
After a few years of using Barke malts 99% of the time, with the other 1% being Mecca, I started using IREKS occasionally instead now and then and really like it and have had good results. I have ordered from Texas Brewing also...but we have a local maltster here in Mass, Stone Path, that are partners with Ireks...they sell a lot of the Ireks specialty malts by the sack, but then also get unmalted grain from the same farms in Germany that IREKS does and they malt them in a German built system and sell Pilsner, Munich and Vienna under the Stone Path name, but the grain is almost identical to IREKS. Plan on buying sacks from them when by Barke Pils and Munich run out.
 

wepeeler

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After a few years of using Barke malts 99% of the time, with the other 1% being Mecca, I started using IREKS occasionally instead now and then and really like it and have had good results. I have ordered from Texas Brewing also...but we have a local maltster here in Mass, Stone Path, that are partners with Ireks...they sell a lot of the Ireks specialty malts by the sack, but then also get unmalted grain from the same farms in Germany that IREKS does and they malt them in a German built system and sell Pilsner, Munich and Vienna under the Stone Path name, but the grain is almost identical to IREKS. Plan on buying sacks from them when by Barke Pils and Munich run out.
I tried contacting them but never heard back! I wanted to take the drive to save on shipping. They have a brewery there too, right? I'd be very interested in buying in bulk and trying their beer.
 
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Sleepy_D

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After a few years of using Barke malts 99% of the time, with the other 1% being Mecca, I started using IREKS occasionally instead now and then and really like it and have had good results. I have ordered from Texas Brewing also...but we have a local maltster here in Mass, Stone Path, that are partners with Ireks...they sell a lot of the Ireks specialty malts by the sack, but then also get unmalted grain from the same farms in Germany that IREKS does and they malt them in a German built system and sell Pilsner, Munich and Vienna under the Stone Path name, but the grain is almost identical to IREKS. Plan on buying sacks from them when by Barke Pils and Munich run out.
Would you say IREKS is better than barke and Mecca grade in your experience?
 

Henbrew

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I often buy from a local malt house called Deer Creek for my pilsner malt and other base malts, never disappoints. My LHBS stocks their products so it's easy to incorporate into my grain bills when crafting a recipe.

 

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Castle Malting (Chateau) Pilsner is my favorite for Euro and Belgian styles. Seems to be crisper and cleaner than others I have tried.
 

Dr_Jeff

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My favorite pilsen malt is Franco-Belages.
I figured if one wants to brew Belgian beers and try to get them to taste as close as possible, use the malt that they most likely use.
 

Northern_Brewer

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I've used Chevallier but not Hana or Plumage Archer.
The Crisp Hana makes amazing lager, the Plumage Archer is of less interest.

(for those that don't know, Hana is the traditional barley of Bohemia, so is the "Chevallier" of lager brewing. Crisp have recently revived it and are floor-malting small quantities of it. I imagine it's the sort of thing that outside the UK you would probably have to get on special order but in theory you should be able to get it from anywhere that deals with Crisp)
 

Northern_Brewer

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For those in the US, Northern Brewer is selling Hana by the pound and by the bag:
Hana Heritage Malt - Crisp
$2.79/pound is pretty steep for base malt. It's a bit cheaper by the bag (and ships free.)
It's a labour of love for them, there's only a couple of acres being grown of it. Here in the UK, it's about the same as Chevalier, 5% more than the Crisp floor-malted Otter, and about 15% more than their regular Otter.

Last year they made some Vienna with Hana, I don't know if they've repeated that this year.
 

jdauria

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Would you say IREKS is better than barke and Mecca grade in your experience?

I wouldn't really say better than Barke, but equal to regular Weyermann malts. As for Mecca Grade, no, I think Mecca is more favorable than Ireks. Weirdly though, most of my beers with Mecca don't seem to perform as well in comps as those with Barke or Ireks. The other think about Ireks, and the Stone Path I mentioned, was that last year, due to a shipping container shortage, it was hard to get Weyermann malts and my LHBS was done to just a few sacks of Weyermann specialty malts and Avagard base malts...so being able to get Ireks via Stone Path allowed me to get by during the shortage.
 

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I also tried Sekado Czech Pilsen malt. Very complex, earthy, tasted like a farm-to-table product. Great in Czech Amber.
Ahhh...my local shop has been shifting their offerings of bulk malts due to availability and costs. They had that Sekado malt in stock so I just grabbed a bag to give it a try. I mostly use Pils malt for brewing Belgians, but was also looking for something more characterful than Avangard to use in a West Coast Pilsner.

As far as this thread goes...I had great luck brewing some batches with Pilsner (and also 2-Row and English) malt from Murphy & Rude here in Virginia. I wish I had easier access to their malts, but I can probably get some through one of the local breweries. Overall I like the concept of using locally malted grains that were grown in the area.
 
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