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Let's talk about German Pilsner

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bluesman:
I recently did a blind tasting of six different examples of German Pilsners.

Bitburger
Paulaner
Warsteiner
Brooklyn Pilsner
Victory Prima Pils
Samuel Adams Noble Pils

While all of the beers were good, the German varieties have a distinct taste that I can't quite put my finger on. I want to say it's a hop spicyness but I think it's more than that. I want to say it's in the water. I am going to attempt a German Pilsner in a couple weeks and want to try adjusting my water using CaCO3 and maybe some salts in an effort to get closer to this "distict taste" only found in the German varieties.

Thoughts....opinions?

denny:
I've always attributed it to a sulfury quality from the yeast.

blatz:
All nice examples, though Bitburger stopped distributing here, dammit.

First , use Best Malz Pils.  

Going off memory without my notes, I like to keep Ca between 50-75, HCO3 ~100, and keep the sulfates higher than the chlorides, but try not to go over 100ppm.

If you can, get good quality nobles, as fresh as you can get em.  Be careful with them on the hopping schedule.  There's a fine line and once you cross it, harshness can step in.

Due to quality issues, I actually have been steering towards the American versions - Hood, Liberty, Crystal and US Tettnang.  I really feel I get a better flavor and aroma with these.

Finally, I remember reading on a thread somewhere about Victory's hopping - I'll see if I can locate it for you.

*Edit* here it is ( I believe from Zymurgy)

10 lbs german pilsner malt mashed @ 150*F.
1oz tradition @ 60min
1oz tettnang @ 30min
1oz hallertau @ 20min
1oz saaz @ 10min
WL830

bluesman:

--- Quote from: denny on March 29, 2010, 10:08:59 AM ---I've always attributed it to a sulfury quality from the yeast.

--- End quote ---

I first discovered this "distict German taste" about a year or so ago. I did a blind tasting of nine different Ofests. The conclusion was the same in that all of the German varieties had that "distinct taste". The American examples just didn't have it. I originally pointed to the yeast but now I'm not so sure about that. Although I can't rule out the yeast I can at least try adapting my water to acheive similiar tastes. So for now I am aiming for the water.

bluesman:

--- Quote from: blatz on March 29, 2010, 10:15:40 AM ---All nice examples, though Bitburger stopped distributing here, dammit.

First , use Best Malz Pils.  

Going off memory without my notes, I like to keep Ca between 50-75, HCO3 ~100, and keep the sulfates higher than the chlorides, but try not to go over 100ppm.

If you can, get good quality nobles, as fresh as you can get em.  Be careful with them on the hopping schedule.  There's a fine line and once you cross it, harshness can step in.

Due to quality issues, I actually have been steering towards the American versions - Hood, Liberty, Crystal and US Tettnang.  I really feel I get a better flavor and aroma with these.

Finally, I remember reading on a thread somewhere about Victory's hopping - I'll see if I can locate it for you.

*Edit* here it is ( I believe from Zymurgy)

10 lbs german pilsner malt mashed @ 150*F.
1oz tradition @ 60min
1oz tettnang @ 30min
1oz hallertau @ 20min
1oz saaz @ 10min
WL830

--- End quote ---

I've seen many recipes using water additions similiar to what you're doing. I am planning to use a similiar hop schedule. It sure is a fine line.

I wonder if Kai has any thoughts on this? Being the Imperial Beer Geek that he is. :)

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