Author Topic: German Pilsner Recipe/Procedure Advice  (Read 3121 times)

Offline Herminator

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German Pilsner Recipe/Procedure Advice
« on: July 22, 2015, 03:09:47 AM »
So I am in search of some guidance.  I love a good german pilsner but have yet to brew one.  I am deciding to take a stab at one this weekend and am looking for some advice on two items/issues.

A brief snapshot of the recipe: 5.5 gallons
100% pils (10.5#)
1 oz Magnum or Perle at 60 mins
1 oz Hallertauer at 20 mins and 5 minutes
White Labs 830

1. I have planned to do a single step mash with a protein rest for 15 minutes at 15 minutes and then ramping up to 148 sacch rest for  60 minutes.  My question, which I am asking because I have found conflicting opinions/suggestions.  Would I be better off doing a step mash or decoction?  I was thinking for a beer like a german pils, I would want to limit any mallard reactions which is why I decided to go with a step mash, but would love to know what others do and any feedback you can provide. 

2. D-rest: I have read to ramp up to 58-60 when activity starts to slow but also have seen ramping 1 degree F per day.  Any suggestions or thoughts on best practice? 

Thank you for any feedback or thoughts you can provide.  Brewing my first pils on a new system is probably not the smartest ideas but...hey! What the heck!

Cheers!

Hermen
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: German Pilsner Recipe/Procedure Advice
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2015, 04:17:38 AM »
Dude.... German pilsner is great.  I do have a few suggestions:

1) Skip the protein rest.  It doesn't help anything at all and will likely destroy body and head retention.  Not needed with 21st century malts.  Plus skipping it will make your mash schedule way simpler.  Also...

You don't need to do a decoction, but it really wouldn't hurt anything if you wanted to try it.  Just decoct from beta to alpha amylase, from 140 to 148 F or something like that.  Or throw in an acid rest at 100 F and then take that up to 148 F.  You could also decoct to mashout from 148 to 170 F.  But skip the protein rest at 122 F.

2) When gravity hits half of the OG (e.g., 1.060 turns to 1.030), then it's time to start the D rest.  No need for ramp up, just get it in the 60s and keep it there for 3 days.  You can keep the temperature up there even longer, for a week or longer if you want, with no ill effects.  It just helps the yeast finish the job and clean up after themselves, which includes diacetyl, sulfur, acetaldehyde, or other "green beer" characteristics.

3) What's your water going to look like?  For this style, I would recommend jacking up both sulfate and chloride to enhance both bitterness and malt.  If you're not sure how much to use, start with a teaspoon of each and see how you like the result.  Otherwise you can use software to nail the salt additions appropriate for the style.

4) How much yeast you using?  Be sure to pitch a nice big starter.  Maybe 2.5 to 3 quarts or liters would suffice.  I wouldn't use any less than that.  Keep those yeasty beasts happy and you'll be rewarded.

5) Personal opinion: I don't think the late Hallertau additions will do as much for you as people think.  In my experience, Hallertau (and any noble hops) taste better the LONGER they are boiled, not shorter.  Others might not agree with me and that's fine.  If nothing else, consider the idea of using Hallertau and/or Perle for all your bittering, and skip the Magnum, if you want lots of noble hop flavor.  I promise you, the noble hop flavors come through loud and clear even with just a single 60-minute addition and no later "flavor" additions.  In theory this might be due to the lower alpha acid, which would require that you use a higher quantity of the hops to get the IBUs you want... and the noble flavor has no trouble hanging around for the entire boil and fermentation.  You can also think about it this way... for a thousand years, breweries never boiled hops for any less than 30 minutes, and more often it was for hours.  Late hopping is a 20th century concept.  You want to brew a traditional German lager?  Then brew as the Germans do.

My opinions, take them for what they're worth, maybe 3 cents.   ;D

Best of luck to you.
Dave

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Offline AmandaK

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Re: German Pilsner Recipe/Procedure Advice
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2015, 12:00:12 PM »
I'll chime in. I'm working on nailing the German Pilsner now. I've done a few variations with Avangard Pils, Best Pils, single temp mash, Hochkurz step mash, balanced water profile, yellow dry/bitter water profile, Hallertauer, Saphir, and Vanguard hops, and two yeasts - WY2124 & WY2308.

I personally like the Best Pils/Hochkurz step 145 for 45', 158 for 30', 168 for 10' mash/bitter with Herkules flavor & aroma hops of Vanguard (but may go back to Saphir on the next one)/WY2124/yellow dry water profile. OG: 1.045, FG: 1.011.

1) Skip the protein rest.  It doesn't help anything at all and will likely destroy body and head retention.  Not needed with 21st century malts.  Plus skipping it will make your mash schedule way simpler.
 
Agreed.

2) When gravity hits half of the OG (e.g., 1.060 turns to 1.030), then it's time to start the D rest.  No need for ramp up, just get it in the 60s and keep it there for 3 days.  You can keep the temperature up there even longer, for a week or longer if you want, with no ill effects.  It just helps the yeast finish the job and clean up after themselves, which includes diacetyl, sulfur, acetaldehyde, or other "green beer" characteristics.
 
This is similar to what I do. Start at 48F, hold at 50F for 5ish days, start the ramp up (slowly for me) to the mid 60s. Confirm terminal gravity & absence of green apple/butter, then crash down to 34F. Rack when clear.

3) What's your water going to look like?  For this style, I would recommend jacking up both sulfate and chloride to enhance both bitterness and malt.  If you're not sure how much to use, start with a teaspoon of each and see how you like the result.  Otherwise you can use software to nail the salt additions appropriate for the style.

Agreed. If you're into using Brunwater - I find the "yellow dry" or "yellow bitter" to be just about perfect.

5) Personal opinion: I don't think the late Hallertau additions will do as much for you as people think.  In my experience, Hallertau (and any noble hops) taste better the LONGER they are boiled, not shorter.  Others might not agree with me and that's fine.  If nothing else, consider the idea of using Hallertau and/or Perle for all your bittering, and skip the Magnum, if you want lots of noble hop flavor.  I promise you, the noble hop flavors come through loud and clear even with just a single 60-minute addition and no later "flavor" additions.  In theory this might be due to the lower alpha acid, which would require that you use a higher quantity of the hops to get the IBUs you want... and the noble flavor has no trouble hanging around for the entire boil and fermentation.  You can also think about it this way... for a thousand years, breweries never boiled hops for any less than 30 minutes, and more often it was for hours.  Late hopping is a 20th century concept.  You want to brew a traditional German lager?  Then brew as the Germans do.


As a German lover... I hate to agree with this, but I do. Hallertauer just doesn't seem right when it's used as a later addition. It's probably due to the freshness of hops we can get from those regions. As such, I've started using American versions of German Noble hops.
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Offline brulosopher

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Re: German Pilsner Recipe/Procedure Advice
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2015, 12:35:35 PM »
I'm a huge fan of all things Pilsner! Personal anecdote:

A GP I made using 90/10 Belgian Pils malt and Vienna malt single infusion mashed at 150F and fermented with WLP029 advanced to the second round of NHC. Was it the best GP? Nah, but it was damn tasty.

Make of this what you will. Cheers!

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: German Pilsner Recipe/Procedure Advice
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2015, 01:25:45 PM »
fermented with WLP029 advanced to the second round of NHC

*dmtaylor Likes this*

:)
Dave

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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: German Pilsner Recipe/Procedure Advice
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2015, 01:56:33 PM »
Some of the best ones I have made used Hallertau Mittelfruh at 20, and Saaz at 10. A fair amount of both. I like to use Tettnanger as a mid boil addition.

Low alkalinity is a plus, mash in the 5.2-5.3 range, as you want a crisp finish.

I have a bag of Best Pils to try, as the reviews that I have read are very positive.


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Offline gman23

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Re: German Pilsner Recipe/Procedure Advice
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2015, 02:41:35 PM »
At what times are you all making hop additions?
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: German Pilsner Recipe/Procedure Advice
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2015, 02:58:37 PM »
60 - bittering, Perle, Magnum, or a higher AA US noble derivative like Sterling.
30- Tettnanger
20 - H. Mittelfruh
10 - Saaz or HM (I might use 4 or 5 oz of HM here, 10 gallon batch)

Shoot for half of the IBUs to be from 30 on, half from 60 minutes.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: German Pilsner Recipe/Procedure Advice
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2015, 03:01:59 PM »
Single addition at 60.  I grow my own Hallertau and always have plenty of that on hand, so that's what I use, although Tettnang, Spalt, Saaz, Mt. Hood, Liberty, Perle, Sterling.... all those should work well with this single hop regimen.  I like the first four.  Haven't tried the others yet.
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Offline gman23

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Re: German Pilsner Recipe/Procedure Advice
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2015, 03:08:14 PM »
Thanks. I did a lager recently and used Sterling and Crystal for the first time. Definitely had that noble character to them.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: German Pilsner Recipe/Procedure Advice
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2015, 03:09:46 PM »
The last one I made was bittered with Sterling, finished with Liberty and Mt Hood in the whirlpool/steep. No other boil hops. The flavor and aroma were very nice.
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Re: German Pilsner Recipe/Procedure Advice
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2015, 03:10:12 PM »
60 - bittering, Perle, Magnum, or a higher AA US noble derivative like Sterling.
30- Tettnanger
20 - H. Mittelfruh
10 - Saaz or HM (I might use 4 or 5 oz of HM here, 10 gallon batch)

Shoot for half of the IBUs to be from 30 on, half from 60 minutes.

I have seen two  mention of the technique of blending several varieties and the using a portion of the blend for each addition. That is on my list of things to try.
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Offline Steve Ruch

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Re: German Pilsner Recipe/Procedure Advice
« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2015, 09:57:54 PM »
Some of the best ones I have made used Hallertau Mittelfruh at 20, and Saaz at 10. A fair amount of both. I like to use Tettnanger as a mid boil addition.

Low alkalinity is a plus, mash in the 5.2-5.3 range, as you want a crisp finish.

I have a bag of Best Pils to try, as the reviews that I have read are very positive.

The last pils that I brewed was 100% Best pilsner malt and mittelfruh hops. It turned out real good with an infusion at 150f and fermented with S-34/70 at 52f.
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Offline Herminator

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Re: German Pilsner Recipe/Procedure Advice
« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2015, 03:03:51 AM »
A huge thank you!  This is great information.  So I wonder if a step mash or decoction is worth it.  Given the high modification of the malts, maybe a single infusion?  I have a 2.2 liter starter crashing right now.  Should do the trick. 

Thanks for the info on the D rest.  Very helpful. 

For water, I am using Brun Water and utilize "yellow bitter" and it has me adding about 2.5 g of citric or lactic which is new for me.  It typically doesn't have me add any acidity.  It does have me adding a total 4 g gypsum.  Giving me a estimated mash pH of 5.7. 

Thanks again!

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Offline 69franx

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Re: German Pilsner Recipe/Procedure Advice
« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2015, 03:24:49 AM »
Hermen, with info found here on the forum, I have targeted around 5.2 pH for my last 2 German Pilsners. Using Bru'NWater,  with yellow bitter with RO water. Your 5.7 seems high, and won't yield the crisp finish you likely want in your GP. At least that's how I have interpreted what I have read here
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