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Style of the Week: Preprohibition American Pilsner!

1

April 17, 2015 by fhsteinbart


Here's what a Preprohibition Pilsner looks like in a modern Pilsner style glass. I prefer this kind as it concentrates the aromas in the mouth of the glass.

Here’s what a Preprohibition Pilsner looks like in a modern Pilsner style glass. I prefer this kind as it concentrates the aromas in the mouth of the glass.

About three years ago, I found out that my Great Grandfather was a brewer. He brewed for a still existent brewery that contracts brews nowadays. Back in those days beers were more like today’s beers than at any other time in history. What really caught my eye was the use of 2-row Pilsner malt, and rice with just a dash of corn to balance out the bitterness. While the original recipe had an OG of 1.065, and a TG of 1.018, using the highly modified grains we have nowadays won’t get such a high TG as was initially used 150 years ago. So I bumped up the OG until I hit the proper TG to get the finish, balance, and profile as stated in the recipe. So below you’ll find an authentic, yet slightly tweaked version of what our 19th Century predecessor’s imbibed:

Extract:

5 lbs. Pilsen Light DME

2 lbs. Rice Syrup Solids

1 lb. Corn Syrup or Brewer’s Crystals

½ lb. Melanoidin Malt

2 oz. Magnum Hops (bittering)

2 oz.  Liberty hops (aroma)

Wyeast 2112, WLP810, or SafLager 34/70

Procedure:

  • Heat ¾ gallons of water to 165°F.
  • Add steeping grains to kettle and steep for 30 minutes.
  • Remove grains, and rinse with 165°F water
  • Turn off heat and add malt extract, stirring until fully dissolved.
  • Return to Heat, bring to boil for 5 min. then add bittering hops.
  • At 15 minutes remaining, add the Whirlfloc tablet or Irish Moss.
  • At 7 minutes remaining, add the aroma hops.
  • At knockout, cool the mixture by placing kettle in an ice bath or use a wort chiller. Add the mixture to the fermenter, removing the hops, and bring total volume to 5 gallons using distilled, bottled, or filtered tap water.
  • Aerate unfermented wort (shaking works well).
  • Pitch yeast and ferment at 55°~58°F for 7 to 10 days.
  • Allow to age an additional two to three weeks before packaging up as usual.

All Grain:

9 lbs. Pilsner Malt

3 lbs. Flaked Rice

½ lb. Flaked Corn

2 oz. Magnum hops (bittering)

2 oz.  Liberty hops (aroma)

Wyeast 2112, WLP810, or SafLager 34/70

¾ gm. Brewing (Calcium Chloride) Salts per gallon (~3.75 gms. or 1 level tsp.) in the mash and in the boil.

Procedure:

Infusion mash at 148°F for 1 hour. Sparge to 6.5 gallons of wort. Bring to boil for 5 min. then add bittering hops (Magnum). At 45 min. then add Whirlfloc tablet or Irish moss.  At knockout add aroma hops. Turn off heat and cool mixture by placing kettle in an ice bath or using a wort chiller. Add mixture to fermenter, removing hops, and aerate unfermented wort (shaking works well). Pitch yeast and ferment at 55°F to 58°F. Gravity may vary depending on system efficiency, so adjust accordingly.

Package up as usual; bottled versions should use 100 gms. corn sugar (approx. ¾ cup), or kegged to 15 psig, and allow two weeks to come into condition. Serve at 50°~55°F in a Pilsner glass, share, and enjoy! This beer will continue to evolve and change over the coming months, so make enough to last you through your next brew.

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One thought on “Style of the Week: Preprohibition American Pilsner!

  1. Dave Sutton says:

    I’m guessing you meant “Heat 3 or 4 gallons of water…”, not “3/4 gallon”. I’m guessing an automatic spell-checker did it to you. Kind of like mass-produced swill some call beer – satisfies most of the masses most of the time, but leaves out the important ingredient – taste

    Like

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