Bohemian Pilsner

>> Saturday, May 30, 2015

Today I'm brewing a lager, something I rarely do, and it's the first time brewing this style, Bohemian Pilsner a.k.a. Czech Pilsner (a.k.a. 3B - Czech Premium Pale Lager per 2015 BJCP Guidelines). As you can tell from my posts, I tend to brew ales, but I've been wanting to try my hand at some lagers.

Another first, I decided to start tweaking my water profiles. I've done very rough tweaking in the past...like cutting my carbon-filtered tap water with RO water in some of the pale beers I've made. These adjustments weren't really based on any specific measurements. This will be the first time using all distilled water and adding brewing salts to build up to a specific water profile.

The recipe is based on the Style Profile column from BYO magazine, adjusted for 83% efficiency. Since I've never brewed this style before, I'm sticking pretty close to the recipe. The recipe as I'm making it:

8.0# 11 oz. Avangard German Pilsner
9 oz Briess Carapils
34g Czech Saaz 4% AA (60 min)
41g Czech Saaz 4% AA (30 min)
20.5g Czech Saaz 4% AA (10 min)
20.5g Czech Saaz 4% AA (0 min)
2 packs of Wyeast 2001 Urquell Yeast in 2L starter
0.5 Whirlfloc
0.5t Yeast Nutrient

Mash at 154F for 90 mins, 90 minute boil, chill to 44F, aerate and pitch yeast. Raise temp to 50F over 36 hours.

Water Profile

  • Ca - 7.5ppm
  • Mg - 1.3ppm
  • Na - 2.8ppm
  • SO4 - 5.2ppm
  • Cl - 4.7ppm
  • HCO3 - 14.7ppm
Brew Water Recipe
  • 9 gallons distilled water
  • 0.5g Epsom Salt
  • 0.3g Calcium Chloride
  • 0.4g Baking Soda
  • 0.4g Chalk
  • 5 gallons of mash liquor acidified with 2.4ml 88% lactic acid
Brewing Notes
No real issues. I collected bit more volume in the BK than I'd planned, so the OG is a few points lower than I wanted (1.052 rather than 1.056). It's still within style guidelines, so no harm. I chilled down to 60F with my plate chiller then put it in the ferm chamber to continue chilling down to 44F. Hopefully it'll be there and I can pitch the yeast in the morning.

Update 5/31/2015
I was still a few degrees shy of 44F this morning so I had to wait a few more hours. Wort is now aerated and yeast is pitched. I'll gradually ramp up the temp to 50F over the next 36 hours.

Update 6/2/2015
Everything seems to be happily chugging along,with,this beer. I'm doing the final bump up to 50F today.

Update 6/21/2015
This beer spent the last week at 60F. Basically a diacetyl rest that also allowed me to ferment my Smoke & Wood Imperial Porter. I've now started dropping the temps for the lagering phase.

Update 6/27/2015
I went ahead and kegged this beer today so that I can clear out the ferm chamber for another beer. It has dropped very clear, but it has a little bit of haze. I treated it with gelatin so I'll let it work away on clearing the beer. I'll let it finish out its lagering phase in my keezer.

Not to toot my own horn, but in my opinion this turned out really well. Nice malt character with rounded bitterness, clean fermentation...I can't wait for it to carb up. The gravity finished out at about 6.8 brix (1.012). Definitely interested to see how this one stacks up against the competition.

Update 8/9/2015
The Beehive Brew-Off wrapped up today. This beer took gold in 3B Czech Premium Pale Lager. Not bad considering this is the first lager I've entered in a competition.

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