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  1. #1
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    Next brew: Pilsner


    Hey guys,

    So I want to try my hand at a pilsner. A nice, smooth, crisp and refreshing pilsner. With noble hops and the works. However, a question. Can I sub out the large noble hop additions at the start of the boil for something else that's good at bittering? I don't want to end up using 150g of 3.5% hops in a single batch when I can use a cheap bittering hop at 60 and then simply add the noble hops later in the boil. Would that work, or be possible, and if so, how would I approach this? Where in the boil do we stop adding for bittering and when should I add for maximum flavour and aroma?

    My plan was, instead of adding like ~110g of some fancy Saaz hop right at 60 mins, to add around 15g or so of Magnum right at 60 for around 30 IBUs, and then just add Saaz at the end for aroma and flavour, around 20g or so? No idea how it'll work. I've never worked with these fancy hops before, so any advice would be GREAT.

    PS my current recipe I'm planning looks like 4.5kg Pilsner malt, mashed at around 66C for high fermentability, fermented with SafLager S-189. I'm hoping for a 1.045 OG for a 4.5% ABV Pilsner at around 35 IBUs at the end.

  2. #2
    Senior Member JIGSAW's Avatar
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    That could work yes ... I would do the same.

    4.5Kg Pilsner
    200g of some sort of Caramalt
    21g magnum @ 60min to get your 30 IBU
    14g Saaz @ 10min
    14g Saaz @ 5min tom get to 35 IBU

    I would even mash lower ... say 64C
    The Problem With The World Is That Everyone Is A Few Drinks Behind.!


  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by JIGSAW View Post
    That could work yes ... I would do the same.

    4.5Kg Pilsner
    200g of some sort of Caramalt
    21g magnum @ 60min to get your 30 IBU
    14g Saaz @ 10min
    14g Saaz @ 5min tom get to 35 IBU

    I would even mash lower ... say 64C
    Thanks for this, seems pretty solid. I've never mashed that low. I've always hunted "low fermentability" due to the low ABV train, but screw this, I want a nice round beer for this. Anyone made a Pils with S-189 yet? It seems to have a very good attenuation and results in a very neutral beer. I made a low ABV "light-PA" with it in December and was pretty happy, so I want to dump in that yeast cake for this brew.

  4. #4
    There's not a lot to hide behind in a pilsner, the recipe looks fine, I would suggest you dial down your total bitterness to 27-30 ibu's and abv to around 4.5/4.7. Aim for a bu:gu of 0.6 or even lower, makes for a crushable quencher. I've done a Saaz only Pils before and it was fine. Pilsner is a favorite style of mine and I've done plenty recently and find it hard to get bored of. I keep 34/70 on hand for just this, but have a couple of kveiks that gets extremely close and doubt most people could tell the difference. Enjoy the brew, underrated style in my opinion
    Last edited by groenspookasem; 28th April 2020 at 21:38.

  5. #5
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    Yeah I'm planning an ABV of around 4.5% at the end. Considering my amazing efficiency lately (even before the unmilled grain issue) I'm not sure if I'll obtain that though. We'll see. I checked out the BJCP style guide and it actually sticks the IBUs between 25 and 45. I don't want a REALLY bitter beer again, so I figured I'd turn it down a bit, but closer to 30 doesn't seem like a terrible idea. Let's see if I can get malt and stuff first, though, before I get my hopes up.

  6. #6
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    OK, so I made this beer finally. Well, I mashed and cubed it, at least. Anyway, some things.

    I had issues with efficiency and so on in the past when mashing and whatnot. I'm not sure why, but I think it could have been different malt brands and all kinds of things. Could also be a grain crush thing, or whatever. Anyway, I ordered malts from a different place this time (simply because Brewmart can't do orders right now), and, well, the story is somewhat better.

    I made 3 beers over the past 2 weeks. A small-batch pumpkin ale for a friend, a pilsner as above in a no-chill cube for that same friend and a pilsner for me. Now, when I started these, I did my calculations based on an "optimistic" efficiency I've been working on over the past several batches, and used 65%.

    I did some gravity checks with the pumpkin ale and was pleasantly surprised. I ended up with a 77% efficiency. I actually ended up with more wort than I planned, right at the aimed gravity. So that was great. I then made the pilsners, and they both ended up WAY over my aimed gravity for the volume. I left my buddy's as is, he can water it down on fermentation side if he wants to, but mine I had to water down quite a bit last night. I was so worried about efficiency in these beers that I used water sparingly in the mash and sparge, and ended up with 19l of wort in the fermenter yesterday when I decanted from the cube. I did a gravity test and found the pilsner's gravity at 1.060 exactly. I ran the numbers and boom, 77% efficiency again, for both these batches as well. I then watered down the wort to 24l (overshot my aimed volume) in order to get my aimed gravity of 1.046, and hit the nail on the head there. It's not a bad problem to have, this, I have to say.

    Now the question - is this just because of a different malt manufacturer, or a different company's mill, or is it possibly because I'm starting to hone my skill on my equipment, or perhaps a bit of all?

    I must say one thing - I'm starting to brew significantly FASTER. No-chill takes a ton of time out of the brew day and I like that. I saw with the pilsners a full batch made like that takes me exactly 3 hours, sans clean-up, but since I now brew outside, cleanup is an absolute breeze. It takes 20 minutes where I just hose everything down and go at the tougher spots with a dish sponge. And that's it. Done.

    My first all-grain brews took me, I remember, all the way from 07:00 in the morning to 14:00 in the afternoon, which involved A LOT of frustration because I forgot this, missed that, did this wrong, etc. etc. Now it's great. Can't wait for my 50l kegs so I can ramp this production up!

  7. #7
    Good news indeed, doing SG checks gives you the option to increase or decrease hopping rates and adjust your profile beer before committing. I've come to trust my process, malt manufacturer and milling to a point where I don't check as often or not at all anymore. If anything changes in the process, manufacturer or milling I'd be sure to test that SG before mucking up a beer.

    It does seems like you're coming "right" in all the variables.

  8. #8
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    I'm still "over the place" a bit with my hopping rates. I sometimes like to take a pre-boil gravity reading to determine and adjust my hopping rates for the boil, but for the past few beers I've just skipped it. I aim for something in the middle of the IBU range I should be going for for the style or the taste I'm looking at and just go for that. Like with this pilsner - it's supposed to be between 25 and 45 IBUs, but I just took my calculators online and worked on a "middle way", aiming for about 30 IBUs. Working back with the numbers now it seems like I should be close to 28.5 IBUs, so not far off at all. I'm happy with a bit lower bitterness, I'm trying to aim for a crisp, clean beer here.

  9. #9
    Senior Member JIGSAW's Avatar
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    Just make 77% your new "optimistic" efficiency and work from there.

    77 does sounds closer to what you should be getting than that 65 in any event
    The Problem With The World Is That Everyone Is A Few Drinks Behind.!


  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by JIGSAW View Post
    Just make 77% your new "optimistic" efficiency and work from there.

    77 does sounds closer to what you should be getting than that 65 in any event
    Yep, I'm now setting my efficiency numbers to 75% in all my apps. I was really starting to think I'm just stupid, or all three my thermometers are wrong when I was mashing because of my crap efficiency. At one stage I even considered the possibility that my hydrometer is wrong or completely missing the point, so I checked it with pure water and sugar water solutions. I also thought my tap water profile was crap so I used RO water for a few batches. I didn't know what was wrong, but it seems the second I moved to a different homebrew shop, my issues stopped.

    The last 3 batches were made with malts from National Food Products. No idea what malts they use, but their milling was great, and, well, the rest is history, as they say. Really, really chuffed with these numbers. Feels like I'm finally doing something right here.

    Thanks for all you guys' help, by the way. I was hellishly frustrated with myself, because I kept getting tips and hints from you guys and I implement them and I kept sticking to 60%~65% efficiency. I remember one batch I mashed for 90 minutes and sparged the malts 4 times until the resulting wort was almost just water, but my efficiency just-just touched 70% there. Beer was great, but it still felt terrible to get such a low efficiency.

    EDIT: Oh yeah, and another thing. This new malt produces one hell of a hot break. Previously I had tiny, tiny foamups when boil was reached. With these though I had to turn off the urn for a minute to let the foam settle or it was going to boil over. I had to stir the crap out of the wort for about 2 minutes to just settle the foam. It was both scary and awesome to have my first massive hot break on my 20th or so batch.

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