Author Topic: Pilsner Malt question  (Read 3022 times)

Offline -Liam-

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Pilsner Malt question
« on: February 05, 2015, 02:16:18 PM »
I cloned a version of Allagash Black recently which called for Pilsner malt to be used as the base. I got Bohemian Pilsner for the recipe which I believe to be of better quality than the standard Pilsner malt available from them. I checked my gravity after 10 days (WLP500) and everything seemed to have stabilised. But there's a fairly strong sulphur type smell and taste that comes along with my hydrometer sample. It's very similar to the taste and smell that I got last time I brewed a Dunkelweizen and a Hefe before that. Reading up on this seems to suggest that this will mellow out and dissipate, but it never did in my Dunkel and remained quite unpleasant (it mellowed somewhat in the Hefe but not completely). I'm worried that this is going to end up tasting the same. I plan to leave it in the primary for another week or so as it seems this strain takes an age to drop out.
My question is whether or not this is being caused by a weak boil? I can only boil on my stove top and although I can reach boiling point, it is a gentle boil rather than a vigorous one. I used 90% RO water & 10% tap. I added a campden tab and 2 tsps of Calcium Chloride.
Should I steer clear of recipes that use Pilsner malt until I get a gas burner that can boil wort aggressively?

Offline -Liam-

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Re: Pilsner Malt question
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2015, 02:27:30 PM »
But this flavour never left my Dunkelwiezen (that was the Weihenstephan strain) and I'm worried that it will hang around in this brew also.

Offline majorvices

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Re: Pilsner Malt question
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2015, 02:29:40 PM »
are you using any nutrients or copper in your boil kettle? Sulphur is more of a yeast health problem. I brew with pils in almost ever batch and it is not a problem.

Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: Pilsner Malt question
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2015, 02:29:44 PM »
are you monitoring/manging PH?
Ken- Chagrin Falls, OH
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Offline -Liam-

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Re: Pilsner Malt question
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2015, 02:40:49 PM »
I used yeast nutrient and my IC is copper.
I don't have a ph meter right now, so wasn't able to monitor it.
Fermentation seemed strong and quick. I used a 1.8L starter.

Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: Pilsner Malt question
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2015, 02:43:07 PM »
I used yeast nutrient and my IC is copper.
I don't have a ph meter right now, so wasn't able to monitor it.
Fermentation seemed strong and quick. I used a 1.8L starter.

Sulfur with these strains of yeast you've mentioned may occur but is gone by the time you are ready to rack the beer. When its still there, IME its been because of yeast health and PH -both in mash and prior to pitching yeast into wort. When I first started brewing, I had issues with these strains of yeast and sulfur production that never went away (hefe and dunkel that tasted and smelled horrible). During this brewing period, I ended up determining my mash PH was outside the range of 5.2-5.5. Having an adequate amount of healthy yeast for your beer, good oxygenation, PH  5.2-5.5, and proper sanitation will give you good results with these yeast strains as well as any other.



EDIT: here's a good explanation of common sulfur issues:

Sulfury

Sulfur flavors and aromas manifest in a variety of ways, from very low levels that are imperceptible to very high levels that is best described as rotten eggs. Sulfur-dioxide (SO2) is produced in very low amounts from mashing, but is driven off by a rigorous boil, otherwise the character imparts a sharp, biting flavor and aroma that is accentuated by oxidation. Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) is created in the boil in the presence of copper and is driven off by both aggressive boiling and warmer ale fermentation by escaping CO2, which explains why lager fermentation is more susceptible. Mutant yeasts that have defective metabolic pathways can produce excessive amounts of H2S that may linger enough to contaminate the flavor of the beer. Light-struck beer can create sulfur compounds because of corruption of the hop flavor. Formation of DMS is also a source from either malting or as a yeast by-product. Enteric bacteria can cause DMS-producing critters, but can be held at bay by good sanitation and by the natural lowering of pH though a healthy ferment by adding sufficient yeast. For larger breweries, recovering the CO2 can result in accumulation of sulfur compounds without proper scrubbing and filtration. Lastly, sulfur contamination can occur from allowing the beer to sit too long on the yeast, thus resulting in the breakdown of yeast walls though autolysis.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2015, 02:54:46 PM by wort-h.o.g. »
Ken- Chagrin Falls, OH
CPT, U.S.Army
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Harveys-Brewhaus/405092862905115

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Offline bassetman

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Re: Pilsner Malt question
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2015, 03:05:27 PM »
I had similar issues before getting control of my water (switching to RO) and my ph.
If it ain't broke let me have a go at it.

Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: Pilsner Malt question
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2015, 03:05:51 PM »
since you used 90% RO and 10% tap, presume you have water report for your tap water and used software to estimate your additions and PH?
Ken- Chagrin Falls, OH
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Offline kramerog

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Re: Pilsner Malt question
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2015, 03:13:15 PM »
DMS, a sulfur compound, is driven off during the boil and is more prevalent in pilsener malts.  Without knowing exactly what you are smelling it is hard for me to rule out DMS as an issue.  DMS is the a sulfury smell that I get during the boil. Finishing the fermentation warm may help.

Palmer has a good explanation of DMS at http://www.howtobrew.com/section4/chapter21-2.html

Offline Stevie

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Re: Pilsner Malt question
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2015, 03:31:23 PM »
Doesn't the bohemian have a higher sms content (Dms precursor)?

Offline kramerog

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Re: Pilsner Malt question
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2015, 03:43:23 PM »
Doesn't the bohemian have a higher sms content (Dms precursor)?

If the floor malted Bo Pils from Weyermann was used then you may be right.

Offline joe_feist

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Re: Pilsner Malt question
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2015, 05:14:19 PM »
I had a very foul smelling lager once. It's been awhile and I don't have those notes, so I can't speak to the yeast I used, temps, etc. It worked it's way out during a long, cold lager period and turned out to be pretty good.
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Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: Pilsner Malt question
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2015, 06:30:37 PM »
not uncommon for lager to throw off sulfur and then clean up during the process.

my gut leans towards the yeast (health and quantity) and the environment (wort PH, sanitation) as being the culprit here for sulfur in his ale.

sulfur that doesn't go away after fermentation points to yeast stress IME with these yeast strains.

just my opinion.
Ken- Chagrin Falls, OH
CPT, U.S.Army
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Harveys-Brewhaus/405092862905115

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=The_Science_of_Mashing

Serving:        In Process:
Vienna IPA          O'Fest
Dort
Mead                 
Cider                         
Ger'merican Blonde
Amber Ale
Next:
Ger Pils
O'Fest

Offline beersk

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Re: Pilsner Malt question
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2015, 12:04:10 AM »
are you using any nutrients or copper in your boil kettle? Sulphur is more of a yeast health problem. I brew with pils in almost ever batch and it is not a problem.
Even your IPAs and such?
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Pilsner Malt question
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2015, 12:25:08 AM »
I boil all pils-based beers for 90 minutes. I know some brewers here report getting no DMS in shorter boils, but I'd rather boil the beer for 90 and be sure than be stuck with a Rolling Rock-esque DMS bomb and have to curse every time I pour a pint (or pour it out).
Jon H.