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Style of the Week: Bohemian pilsner!

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June 18, 2015 by fhsteinbart


Typical Pilsener style glass with a nice white foam collar to top off the bright gold color of a fine beer!

Typical Pilsener style glass with a nice white foam collar to top off the bright gold color of a fine beer!

One of the most enjoyed style that homebrewers try to emulate is the Light Czech Lager that started the Pilsner revolution, which continues to this day! That’s over 173 years of continuous production, and proliferation! The only other beer that even comes close to this one is English or London style Porter lasted for almost 300 years! While the recipe below isn’t anything like Pilsener Urquell, it is still a well defined beer of that style, with a medium to full body, malty, yet hoppy. To emulate the flavor of a decoction, I use specialty grains to give the kind of melanoidins found in these rich, light colored, but full flavored beers. Also, the use of Noble European or American hops make for a brisk and refreshing crispness to this beer. So without going on forever, here is my house lager recipe which I hope that you will relish it as much as I do!

Extract:

6 lbs. Extra Light DME

½ lb. Melanoidin Malt

½ lb. Aromatic Malt

3 oz. Liberty Hops (bitterness)

1 oz. Liberty hops (flavor)

1 oz.  Liberty hops (aroma)

Wyeast 2112, WLP810, or W34/70 Lager yeast

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 to 6½ gallons total.
  • Turn off heat and add malt extract, stirring until fully dissolved.
  • Return to Heat, bring back to boil.
  • After 10 minutes, add the bittering hop addition.
  • At 20 minutes remaining, add the Whirlfloc tablet or Irish Moss.
  • At 15 minutes remaining, add the flavor hops.
  • At knockout, add the aroma hops, then 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 58°~62°F for 7 to 10 days.
  • Allow to age an additional 2~3 weeks before packaging up as usual.

All Grain:

10 lbs. Pilsner Malt

½ lb. Melanoidin Malt

½ lb. Aromatic Malt

3 oz. Liberty Hops (bitterness)

1 oz. Liberty Hops (flavor)

1 oz.  Liberty Hops (aroma)

Wyeast 2112, WLP810, or W34/70 Lager yeast

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 154°F for 1 hour. Sparge to 6.5 gallons of wort, and bring to a roiling boil. Add the bittering hops 10 minutes into the boil. Continue boiling for 40 more min. then add Whirlfloc tablet or Irish moss.  At 45 min. then add flavor hops. At knockout, add the aroma hops, then cool the 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 58°F to 62°F. Gravity may vary depending on system efficiency, so adjust accordingly.

Package up as usual; bottled versions should use 120 gms. corn sugar (approx. ¾ cup), or kegged to 20 psig, and allow two weeks to come into condition. Serve at 45°~50°F in an Pilsner style 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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