Pilsner - Help Required

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J_P

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Evening Gents

This evening I have enjoyed a bottle of Pilsner Urquell and was wondering if anyone could offer any advice on brewing a clone to put on for the chaps at beer club in December.

As far as I understand it, and correct me if I'm wrong, to brew an authentic pilsner you need the following

1) Pilsner Malt
2) Soft Water
3) Saaz Hops
4) Pilsner Yeast
5) Long Cool Fermentation

I reckon I can manage most of those things with a little help with points 2 and 5. Does anyone know how I make my water soft and does anyone have a lagering schedule that would work?

Should I worry about decoction mashing :wha: or are there ways around having to do a full blown decoction? I was thinking of either adding carapils or boiling up part of the mash, will either of these methods work?

Cheers in advance

John
 

Vossy1

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I'm looking in the clone brews recipe book and it uses

OG 1.050 - 1.053
IBU 43
FG 1.011 - 1.013

Saaz hop for bittering and flavour.

Malt

German pilsner malt
Light crysltal malt

Yeast Wyeasts 2278.
 

Smod

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I can only quote from a couple of books I have. Never brewed it so can only hope it as close as.

I will post the recipe if it's allowed?
 

Smod

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Disclaimer.

Only posted with consent from admin.

I'm sure the authors would approve as if it brews well there are many more recipes in Brew Classic European Beers at Home by Graham Wheeler and Roger Protz.

I sure there's one in Clone Brews but I don't have that to hand.

Forgive me as I'm not used to all the normal jargon etc.

For 25l

Lager malt (Pilsen) 5080g
Carapils 265g

Start of Boil

Saaz Hops 75g

Last 45 mins of Boil

Saaz hops 35g

Last 15 mins of boil

Saaz hops 15g
Irish Moss 10g

Brewing Method
Temp stepped infusio or triple decoction mash.
Bottom working lager yeast.

Mash Schedule
50c 20mins
60c 20mins
65c 30mins
70c 20mins

Boil time 150 mins

Rack gravity 1011 2.7 plato
Alcohol 5% ABV 4% ABW
Bitternes 40EBU
Colour 6EBC

Quote

"The commercial version of this beer is simmered for two and a half to three hours, rather than being boiled hard for 60-90 mins. The Burton brewers uses also to do this during the nineteenth century. According to one contemporary writer, this gave the Burton beers their soft agreeable bitterness. This beer is, apparently, fermented at the relativeley low temperature of 6c and lagered for ten weeks at 1c"

God that's alot of tying when you've had a few beers!!
 

Aleman

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I spent three years going after this one, and it is a real bugger to get spot on. There is very little room to hide in here if you get it wrong. Also bear in mind that I visited the brewery in 1987 when the communists were in power, so this is very much the way they did it then . . . and the beer was much superior to todays

Malt - The Plzen brewers use wind dried high protein malt made for them at the maltsters next door, so you are looking at a very pale pilsner malt . . . I use Weyermann, and aim for 1.048. There are NO crystal malts or adjuncts used at all, they rely on the triple decoction process to give the required degree of darkening and luscious malt flavours

Hops - Zatec Red, at one time it was illegal to export these hops from Czechoslovakia, punishable by death I believe :shock: Today we know them as Saaz (Or for correctly Toztz) and they are the finest noble hop in the world (Biased - me?) Aiming for 40IBU

Water - Soft IIRC the Ca level for Plzen is 6mg/l so you are looking at using RO water, and cutting your tap water to eliminate a lot of minerals. . . .Asda Smart price etc is another option. Remember you will need to add Calcium to get a good hot break and yeast floculation. I would suggest a 1:1 mix (gypsum:calcium chloride) to hit 100mg/l in the mash and an additional 75mg/l in the boiler.

Yeast - any of the good liquid yeasts, I've used 2124 and 2007, but feel that the best results are from the Wyeast Bavarian 2206 as it is a more consistent Diacetyl producer . . . Yes that's right the third component of a good bohemian pilsner is diacetyl, just up there at the taste threshold, and the flavour contributed is enough to compensate for the incredible bitterness you would otherwise get.

Fermentation Pitch a large starter at 8C and allow it to go to 10C over a couple of days, ferment at 10C, and then rack to lagering chamber and lager at 0C-1C for an appropriate time.

The brewers at Plzen use the rules of 12 for this beer

12 Hours Mashing
12 Days Fermentation
12 Weeks Lagering

And yes that is 12 Hours mashing . . . They do a triple decoction remember. One reason for the extended boil is that the mash ends up really runny (around 6L/Kg after the final decoction) so there is a lot of liquor to evaporate off . . . . Personally I use a more sensible liquor to grist ratio (3.3L/kg) and Single infusion mash . . . Boil for 90-120 minutes though.

Ok there are several cheats you can use.

Using an appropriate grist eliminates the need for a decoction mash
5% Carapils will give you increased head retention (saving the 1st 30C rest)
10-15% Light Munich or Vienna will give you a good degree of melanoidins saving the 50 C rest
Up to 5% Melanoidin (Use very Sparingly) will boost those melanoidins to 'silly' levels saving the 70C mash out rest. If you do do a single decoction for a mash out drop the melanoidin malt, and cut back on the Munich as it is too easy to go over the top with the malts if you do. Hop schedule wise, go with a FWH of Saaz for 75% of the IBU (~30) at the start of the boil. Add the remaining 25% IBU at 15 minutes for flavour . . . . switch the boiler off and cool to 70C before adding a really good handful of Saaz for aroma (As a Czech brewers said to me as I threw a bucket load of the stickiest Saaz hops you will ever see, into the copper "Its very important . . . for the aroma").

Enough pointers? :D
 

J_P

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Cheers folks

Reading Smod's post I was having second thoughts and by two thirds down Alemans post I had decided to call the whole thing off until the last third.

In you opinion does the "cheats recipe" come anywhere close to the lager produced with all that faffing on?
 

Aleman

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J_P said:
In you opinion does the "cheats recipe" come anywhere close to the lager produced with all that faffing on?

I've never hit PU spot on . . . . I've come damned close, and made some damn fine Czech pilsners though(*). The only way you will tell the difference between the single infusion recipe and the triple infusion is if you do a side by side comparison . . . . and even then it is pretty subtle. If you are in a competition then you might get an additional point or two with the decoction . . . . of course that assumes you have everything else under control.

(*) I've been brewing a lot of CAP's over the past few years, and now that I have fermentation temperatures, and yeast propagation under control, I'm going to go back to Bohemian Pilsners and have another crack at PU
 

J_P

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Right - I have just returned from the H&G with some Saaz, 3 types of speciality malt and a tube of WLP830 yeast (Wy 2124). I'm now going to see if anyone at beer club has any gypsum or CaCl2 if they do then it looks like I could be brewing Pilsner next weekend!
 

J_P

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I was wondering if someone could cast their eye over the following grist please

4.25 Kg Lager Malt (~80%)
0.50 Kg Vienna (~10%)
0.25 Kg Melanoidin (~5%)
0.25 Kg Carapils (~5%)

I'm planning on using supermarket water and am trying to work out how much cacl2 / caso4 to add
 

Aleman

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Grist looks OK to me.

Water treatment I use Grahams Water treatment Calculator and treat mash liquor separately to Sparge liquor (Which I don't treat the salts go directly into the boiler).

I would aim for a 1:1 Ratio or possibly a 3:2 of Gypsum to CaCl2, slightly biasing to the hops side, as the malt side is taken care of with the melanoidin and Vienna
 

An Ankoù

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Evening Gents

This evening I have enjoyed a bottle of Pilsner Urquell and was wondering if anyone could offer any advice on brewing a clone to put on for the chaps at beer club in December.

As far as I understand it, and correct me if I'm wrong, to brew an authentic pilsner you need the following

1) Pilsner Malt
2) Soft Water
3) Saaz Hops
4) Pilsner Yeast
5) Long Cool Fermentation

I reckon I can manage most of those things with a little help with points 2 and 5. Does anyone know how I make my water soft and does anyone have a lagering schedule that would work?

Should I worry about decoction mashing :wha: or are there ways around having to do a full blown decoction? I was thinking of either adding carapils or boiling up part of the mash, will either of these methods work?

Cheers in advance

John
Evening J_P,
Urquell is my favourite "lager" and I've been trying to get close for years. I understand you need to use bohemian pilsner malt and the proper yeast. MJ M84 is typical although Wyeast and Whitelabs do liquid versions. Saaz hops indespensible.
Many, if not all recipes I've seen so far try to darken the malt with Vienna or Munich to get the colour while avoiding having to do a decoction mash. I've had two further attempts this winter and made two excellent beers which don't even come close!!!!
Next winter, I'm going to go for the triple decoction if it takes all day and all night as I've tried eveything else.
Oh, the water's got to be the softest of soft water you can get. Mine here runs off granite and schist and there are no aquifers so it's really soft. I don't add anything at all to it, certainly not calcium sulphate and not even calcium chloride. The yeast will just have to manage.
Good luck and please let us know how you get on.
 
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Get rid of the carapils, it does nothing.

It's not technically a pilsner with that grist, but I bet it would taste really good!

Forget about water additions unless you know what you're doing and why. Just find the water with the lowest mineral content you can and you're virtually good to go.
 

AlDaviz

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206EF59A-B156-445C-A627-3C32554A58F6.jpeg

I emailed Weyermann and they came back with this sheet attached, I’ve made a mixture between David heaths from youtube and these grains. I’ve just transferred my second batch to secondary fermenter and tastes good enough to bottle and drink now !-) bit gonna place in my fridge for 7 weeks !
 
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Resurrecting this again and a Czech Pils is my next planned brew.

Just looking at water profiles, I'm 'blessed' with London water, so quite high Ca and HCO3. I can deal with the HCO3 with CRS and, from what I read above, despite Pilsen water being soft with approx 7ppm Ca you should use salts to up it to around 100ppm, my water is around 107 anyway so does this look right, just 26ml of CRS plus a bit of lactic to bring pH down to 5.3... The Cl and SO levels are a fair bit higher than target but they are in the same(ish) proportions, 1.3
1640181533869.png


Alternatively I can use the water filter we use for filling the kettle, which has roughly 0 HCO3 and 10 Ca but this varies a lot with the age of the filter.
 
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