The DC Homebrewers Club recently hosted its second annual 2015 Cheery Blossom Competition. The competition name is a nod to the National Cherry Blossom Festival held in Washington, D.C. and attracts nearly 200 entries from around the country.
The overall “Best of Show” beer recipe in the competition was a rather traditional style: a Bohemian Pilsner recipe brewed by Shawn Scott. This beer is crisp, clean and refreshing, with complex maltiness balanced with a rounded bitterness and spicy flavor from Saaz hops.
The beer’s inspiration first emerged when Scott visited the Czech Republic in 1994. He fell in love with Pilsner Urquell, and it became one of his favorite styles to brew and consume. So much so that he’s made several visits there over the years, each visit inspiring him to experiment with recipe formulation and brewing techniques to match the style. So we ask you, what will be your inspiration to brew a “Best of Show” homebrew recipe?
Chodsko Pivo Bohemian Pilsner | Bohemian Pilsener
- 12.0 lb (5.44 kg) Weyermann Bohemian Pilsner malt
- 0.75 lb (340 g) Weyermann Munich II
- 0.75 lb (340 g) Weyermann Carafoam
- 1.06 oz (30 g) Saaz Special, 6% a.a. (FWH)
- 1.06 oz (30 g) Saaz Special, 6% a.a. (20 min)
- 1.06 oz (30 g) Saaz Special, 6% a.a. (whirlpool)
- Wyeast 2001 Urquell Lager and 2124 Bohemian Lager yeast (starters for each)
- Dextrose sugar for priming
- Original Gravity: 1.053
- Final Gravity: 1.013
- IBU: 26
- SRM: 4.4
To brew this Bohemian Pilsner recipe, mash in at 148°F (64°C) with 1.5 quarts/pound of grain. Heat to 161°F (72°C) and rest for 20 minutes. Heat to 170°F (77°C) and rest 15 minutes.
Open ferment at 48°F (9°C) for 12 days. Rest 48 hours at 60°F (16°C), then rack onto enough priming sugar to achieve 2.5 volumes of CO2 in a sealed keg. Rest at 48°F (9°C) for two to three weeks before counter-pressure bottling. Lager at 33°F (1°C) for 30 days. Scott says, “Alternatively, one could bottle after the diacetyl rest in lieu of kegging.”
“I typically wouldn’t use any specialty malts when conducting the traditional decoction mash. If you have the time, it’s worth the effort—but with modern malts, one can make a decent Pilsner using an infusion or step mash.”
“I’m also blessed with naturally soft water, so brewers should take a good look at their water profile and either dilute with distilled or RO water, or lower the hop additions if they have significant sulfate levels.”
“By the way, the Chodsko is a scenic region that borders Germany in western Bohemia.”
To brew this Bohemian Pilsner recipe, omit Munich and Carafoam malts, and replace Bohemian Pilsner malt with 11 lb (4.99 kg) Pilsner malt extract syrup. Dilute with 100 percent distilled or reserve osmosis water.