Author Topic: Looking for Czech Pils tips?  (Read 458 times)

Offline Homebrew_kev

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Looking for Czech Pils tips?
« on: May 22, 2020, 12:58:02 PM »
I am preparing to do a Czech Pilsner here's what I've got so far...



I'll be doing a 2L yeast starter with a stir plate, oxygenate with pure O2, and fermenting in a keezer with temp control.

I want to learn more about mashing. I've been able to hack a fly sparging set up together, and it's been efficient enough. But, I am intrested in using some new techniques. I'm considering doing a dedoction - just for the fun of it.

So I'm looking for some tips or different techniques that I could look into for this Czech Pils.

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Re: Looking for Czech Pils tips?
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2020, 01:44:59 PM »
One thing that stands out to me right away is the chalk in your water profile.  Its pretty much useless.  Without running that through Bru'nwater, I also find the lack of acid suspicious.
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Online BrewBama

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Looking for Czech Pils tips?
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2020, 01:57:01 PM »
+1. Though the Pils style will call for a slightly different approach, for a light colored beer I use 8.5 gal distilled with 2.6 grams Cal Chloride and Gypsum, 2.4 g Epsom salt, .4 grams Non-Iodine Salt, and 5ml lactic acid.  I try to steer clear of Baking Soda, Pickling Lime, and Chalk. That gets me at ~5.4-5.5 pH in a base + 5% 10-60*L C malt combination which is my standard for 90% of my beers.


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« Last Edit: May 22, 2020, 05:23:22 PM by BrewBama »
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Offline goose

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Re: Looking for Czech Pils tips?
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2020, 02:06:04 PM »
For future use in your water profile, I would ditch the chalk and use pickling lime instead.  Chalk is notoriously difficult to dissolve in water, it has to be really hot to force it to go into solution.  Pickling lime dissolves pretty easily and works the same way as chalk in the mash.  You can find it in stores that sell food canning supplies. 

For a Pils you want really soft water. I ran the water profile for Pilsen water through Bru'n Water and if you leave out the chalk or (pickling lime) you will be fine.  The rest of the minerals are pretty much on the money for a Pilsen water profile  I assumed 3.5 gallons of water for your mash which is 1.3 quarts/lb.  I normally go 1.5 quarts/lb (4 gallons) but your brew system may have volume limits  You can go with this or use Brewbama's idea.  The predicted mash pH at 3.5 gallons of mash liquor was 5.69 according to Bru'n Water so as Denny and Brewbama mentioned, a bit of lactic acid or a small amount of acidified malt will help bring the pH to the proper range.

Personally, I don't put water salts in my sparge liquor, I just acidify the distilled water (in my case Reverse Osmosis water, which is the same thing) with phosphoric acid to get the pH in the 5.2-5.6 pH range. That said, adding minerals to the sparge liquor is your choice.  If you don't have a pH meter, you will probably be OK sparging with just plain distilled water as the mash will act as a buffer to keep the pH from getting too high.  If you don't already have one, you should consider investing in a pH meter and calibration solutions.   It is a valuable brewery tool.

Regarding doing a decoction, I personally wouldn't do one for this beer but again that is your choice if you want to play with learning how to do decoctions.  The malts today are really well modified and you really don't need to do one.  A single infusion mash at 152 would be fine, but it's your beer so you can make it like you want.

Just my .02.  I am sure others will add to this as well.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2020, 02:19:05 PM by goose »
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Looking for Czech Pils tips?
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2020, 02:48:54 PM »
The Briess Pilsen malt has a very high Diastatic Power, at 170 Lintner. It will convert quickly. A decoctions will add a point or two to the OG by making more starch available, and Maillard reactions will be produced.

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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Looking for Czech Pils tips?
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2020, 05:03:10 PM »
Just a casual observation on the salt additions - you have a lot of pushes and pulls lined up there, but I don't think you need that much going on with a Czech Pale, and frankly, I would adopt a policy of heading in one direction at a time with a beer (i.e., for mashing - reducing pH on light colored beers and raising pH on dark colored beers).  If you are adding Epsom Salts and Calcium Chloride with a light colored beer, omit the baking soda, chalk and any item that increases alkalinity.  Run it through a water spreadsheet and see what it estimates the pH to be before any changes.  If you are concerned about minerality, then use lactic acid or phosphoric acid as the acid side adjustment to drive down the mash pH.  If you use pH neutral sparge water, you can probably skip any additions to that, or again, just a touch of lactic acid or phosphoric acid.
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Offline goose

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Re: Looking for Czech Pils tips?
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2020, 06:42:28 PM »
Just a casual observation on the salt additions - you have a lot of pushes and pulls lined up there, but I don't think you need that much going on with a Czech Pale, and frankly, I would adopt a policy of heading in one direction at a time with a beer (i.e., for mashing - reducing pH on light colored beers and raising pH on dark colored beers).  If you are adding Epsom Salts and Calcium Chloride with a light colored beer, omit the baking soda, chalk and any item that increases alkalinity.  Run it through a water spreadsheet and see what it estimates the pH to be before any changes.  If you are concerned about minerality, then use lactic acid or phosphoric acid as the acid side adjustment to drive down the mash pH.  If you use pH neutral sparge water, you can probably skip any additions to that, or again, just a touch of lactic acid or phosphoric acid.

I don't disagree with your "pushes and pulls" observation.  The sodium level in the Pilsen water profile is low (IIRC about 4 ppm) so you could probably get away without the baking soda.  I might stick with the picklng lime just to give a bit of alkalinity.  I am not in front of the brewing computer right now and if I recall from running the mineral additions Kevin specified through Bru'n Water, he got really close on this profile with everything he was adding and the lime gave only about 14 ppm of alkalinity.  If he left it out it also wouldn't hurt.  Being that I like to closely match ion concentrations for the water profile I am using, I would keep them in mine, but that's just me.
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Re: Looking for Czech Pils tips?
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2020, 06:44:51 PM »
Just a casual observation on the salt additions - you have a lot of pushes and pulls lined up there, but I don't think you need that much going on with a Czech Pale, and frankly, I would adopt a policy of heading in one direction at a time with a beer (i.e., for mashing - reducing pH on light colored beers and raising pH on dark colored beers).  If you are adding Epsom Salts and Calcium Chloride with a light colored beer, omit the baking soda, chalk and any item that increases alkalinity.  Run it through a water spreadsheet and see what it estimates the pH to be before any changes.  If you are concerned about minerality, then use lactic acid or phosphoric acid as the acid side adjustment to drive down the mash pH.  If you use pH neutral sparge water, you can probably skip any additions to that, or again, just a touch of lactic acid or phosphoric acid.

I don't disagree with your "pushes and pulls" observation.  The sodium level in the Pilsen water profile is low (IIRC about 4 ppm) so you could probably get away without the baking soda.  I might stick with the picklng lime just to give a bit of alkalinity.  I am not in front of the brewing computer right now and if I recall from running the mineral additions Kevin specified through Bru'n Water, he got really close on this profile with everything he was adding and the lime gave only about 14 ppm of alkalinity.  If he left it out it also wouldn't hurt.  Being that I like to closely match ion concentrations for the water profile I am using, I would keep them in mine, but that's just me.

Pickling lime will raise the pH.  It needs to be lowered.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Looking for Czech Pils tips?
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2020, 09:10:44 PM »
I’m curious about the guidance used for planning the water chemistry?  It doesn’t look like the adjustments that fit the grist.
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Re: Looking for Czech Pils tips?
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2020, 09:22:00 PM »
I’m curious about the guidance used for planning the water chemistry?  It doesn’t look like the adjustments that fit the grist.

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Offline EnkAMania

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Re: Looking for Czech Pils tips?
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2020, 09:29:42 PM »
I’m curious about the guidance used for planning the water chemistry?  It doesn’t look like the adjustments that fit the grist.

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Offline dls5492

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Re: Looking for Czech Pils tips?
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2020, 09:37:07 PM »
Annie Johnson did an excellent presentation in Minneapolis Homebrew Con 2017 called "Czech Plz! What I Learned Brewing with the Czech Masters". You should give it a listen.
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Re: Looking for Czech Pils tips?
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2020, 11:11:12 PM »
Have you used Polaris in a beer like this before? I got an herbal-mint character (think Ricola cough drop) out of this the times I've used it, and I'd be hesitant to put it a clean lager like a Pils.

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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Looking for Czech Pils tips?
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2020, 02:04:30 AM »
Have you used Polaris in a beer like this before? I got an herbal-mint character (think Ricola cough drop) out of this the times I've used it, and I'd be hesitant to put it a clean lager like a Pils.

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It is something like Menthol, or wintergreen.
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Offline Homebrew_kev

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Re: Looking for Czech Pils tips?
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2020, 02:40:26 AM »
I’m curious about the guidance used for planning the water chemistry?  It doesn’t look like the adjustments that fit the grist.

I used the Beersmith water tool to match to the Czech profile. Maybe it's time I look into this Bruinwater spreadsheet everyone is talking about  ;)