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Alpha Amylase

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Background... I'm having trouble getting the true crisp taste in my pilsners.
My general recipie is as follows.

100% pilsner malt
Hopping to 25 IBUs  (light pils style)
WY2042, S-189, or W34/70 ( take your pick ) I do use enough yeast, and pitch yeast at 45f aprox.
into wort at 48f with as much trub removed prior to pitching.

Mash at 149f for 90 minutes, boil for 90 minutes
I use my soft tap water treated with campton.
My mash ph is between 5.2 and 5.5 using 1 tsp of gypsum in the mash
I batch sparge and single infuse
Aerate using pure O2 and a stone for 1 minute.

I ferment at 50f until done, anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 weeks usually, and then rack
into a corny for lagering at 34f for a minimum of a month, but usually 2 months.
I usually go from an OG of 1045 - 1050 to a Fg of 1010 to 1012

I have read that using alpha amylase will dry out a brew more leaving it more " crisp ".
What will using alpha amylase really do to my brew if I use it?

And would dropping my mash temp down to 147f do the same as the alpha amylase?

I haven't bothered to check my mash for conversion lately as in all the batches I did, I only once
had a positive reaction to the iodine, and that may have been husk reacting to the iodine.


I don't think you would want it any more dry - and dryness isn't necessarily the same as "crispness." In any case, Amalyse Enzyme is NOT the way to go on these beers. That produces rocket fuel and the few times I have tried it I have sometimes gotten a strange flavor as well.

A couple things I noticed from your post:

1 minute might not be enough aeration. I aerate my lagers for 2-3 minutes with pure 02 through a stone at a very slow trickle in which I move the stone constantly through the wort. You want very few bubbles coming to the surface (aim for none - bubbles mean o2 is escaping.)

For a pilsner aging 1 month would be about the longest time necessary. You should be at least half way through the keg at 2 months.  ;) The beer should pretty much taste ready to go at transfer. Most of my pale lager are fined and lagered at 32 degrees for 2-3, maybe 4 weeks. That really is all it should take.

The big question though: You don't mention yeast pitching temperature, nor how much yeast you pitch. You need a huge amount of yeast for a lager (the slurry from at least a one gallon starter, for instance) and you need to pitch in the low 50s at the very highest, preferably in the mid to high 40s. If you do all that it may just take pitching a bit more yeast. Also, you might try fermenting at 48 degrees (be sure this is the temp of the beer not the ambient air) and then slowly letting themp raise up to the high 50s near the very end to insure attenuation and clean up any diacetyl. Diacetyl will definitely take away from the "crispness".

Well I do areate slow and move my wand around the wort as I'm doing it. I get a good fermentation as I pitch either a decanted gallon starter, or a yeast slurry ( lots there ) or 20 g of rehydrated climatized dry yeast
As I stated in oy OP, I climatize my yeast to about 45f and pitch it into wort at 48f. I get short lag times < 12 hours, and fermentation in done watching the strip on my fermenter which will show between 48f and 50f. Ambient temp inside my fridge will vary between 44f and 50f.

I did forget to mention that I do a diacetyl rest by bringing it up to ambient room temperture ( 62f ) and leave it until it is completly finished fermenting. I know that a diacetyl rest isn't always nesessary, but understand that it also don't hurt to do one.

I'm getting ready to do a lager using a gallon starter of WY 2206 to see what difference this yeast will do, but that will be next week.

Are you checking your pH? You are using soft water but do you know your water chemistry? It might be simply changing your CL/So4 ratio.

Regardless, 1.010-1.012 is plenty dry for your beer. Sounds like your fermentation is sound, that leads me to wonder about your water.


Your process looks pretty good.
If your beer taste "muddy" check your mash pH.

How about your carbonation?
Higher carbonated beers gives you "crispier" taste.
On the other side over carbonated beers will give you carbonic bite.
Try to carbonate it to 2.8 volumes.


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