Forget your IPAs, double IPAs, imperial stouts, I can take them or leave them. If there was only one beer that I had to spend the rest of my life drinking it wouldn’t be any of those. If there was only one beer that I had to choose it would be Pilsner.
Don’t get me wrong I love big, bold, full flavour beers as much as the next brewer. I like them in small quantities. Like drinking red wine, it is much better to have a small glass and appreciate the flavours, the nuance, not order a pint of it.
Let’s move on from that entirely hypothetical scenario. The truth is I’ve just moved house and only just set up my fermentation fridge. At my old place I didn’t really have enough room to make decent lager and keep fermentation temperatures where I wanted them. Now though I have a shed, it’s not just any shed though, it’s a brew shed.
I’m planning to kit it out some more, get a keg setup in place and be able to serve cold beer throughout the summer. At the moment though I’ll be sticking with bottling. Just the thought of the hopefully hot summer has my mind turning to a refreshing cool Pilsner.
Pilsner & Beer Halls
I’ve been to Prague and experienced some of the pub culture there. The kind of places where you walk in and you’re immediately given a foaming pint of pilsner, there’s a guy at the ornate beer tap filling mug after mug with the same beer. This is because they only have one beer. In a few places you’ll find they have two beers, either a light lager or a dark lager. Many of the beer halls the beer are brewed on site they only brew one or two beers but still you know that what you’re getting is something beautiful, flavorful yet delicate and after drinking the first pint you are brought another by the waiter. He starts the tally for your table by placing a piece of paper in the middle and adding a line for every beer he brings.
A large part of what makes pilsner special to me may not be the way it tastes but rather the experience and the ambience of the place that I was drinking it. The beer and the way it tastes does have a large part to play though.
A shed in my garden may not have the same atmosphere and ambience as a beer hall in Prague, if I invite a few friends over, start pouring beers and start a tally maybe after a few lines have been jotted down I can convince myself that the shed in my backyard is my very own beer hall.
This recipe is going to be super simple, there’s only a couple of ingredients. Any recipe that you do like this you have to get the freshest and best quality ingredients you can find. It’s no good using malt that has been hanging around for a couple of months, it has to be freshly milled. It’s the same with the hops preferably using them straight out of the sealed the vacuum pack.
The majority of the grain bill is going to be Weyermann floor malted Bohemian Pilsner malt. The floor malted version of this grain is a touch more expensive, however it is said to have a more full bodied malty character. Along with this I am adding a small amount of Munich to give the malt a bit more backbone.
The hops I’m going to use are just the one variety and that’s Saaz.
I’m only going to perform a single infusion mash for this beer so I am going slightly off plan here. I could add hot water infusions to do a step mash and maybe I will if I have the time. If not though it will just be a single infusion at 65 degrees celsius.
Of course the fermentation fridge come into play once the yeast is pitched. I am planning to ferment at 12 celcius as according to Wyeast this strain can be fermented warmer to reduce sulfurous flavours. The Pilsner will then be lagered for around 1-2 months.
Pilsner - Bohemian Pilsener ================================================================================ Batch Size: 18 L Boil Size: 21 L Boil Time: 75.000 min Efficiency: 70% OG: 1.050 FG: 1.010 ABV: 5.3% Bitterness: 32.3 IBUs (Tinseth) Color: 10 SRM (Morey) Fermentables ================================================================================ Name Type Amount Mashed Late Yield Color Weyermann - Bohemian Pilsner Malt Grain 3.8000 kg Yes No 81% 2 L Munich Malt Grain 400.000 g Yes No 80% 9 L Total grain: 4.200 kg Hops ================================================================================ Name Alpha Amount Use Time Form IBU Saaz (Czech Republic) 4.5% 55.000 g Boil 60.000 min Leaf 28.5 Saaz (Czech Republic) 4.5% 20.000 g Boil 10.000 min Leaf 3.8 Saaz (Czech Republic) 4.5% 30.000 g Boil 0.000 s Leaf 0.0 Yeast ================================================================================ Name Type Form Amount Stage Wyeast - Czech Pils Lager Liquid 125.000 mL Primary Mash ================================================================================ Name Type Amount Temp Target Time Infusion 12.180 L 71.207 C 65.000 C 60.000 min Final Batch Sparge Infusion 13.377 L 81.926 C 74.000 C 15.000 min
There we have it as you can see it’s an extremely simple recipe, my focus is going to be totally on the process and getting everything just right. Controlling the process and making sure my technique is on point should hopefully get me somewhere close to my Prague Beer Hall.
I’ll update the blog with the tasting notes and how the brew day went when the beer is ready.