Czech Premium Pale Lager 2017

>> Sunday, June 11, 2017

Today I'm brewing a Czech Premium Pale Lager. I brewed one a couple years ago that went on to win a gold medal at Beehive Brew-off. This recipe is slightly different and will be a 2.5 gallon batch size. Regarding process differences, I'm planning on doing a triple decoction mash. This isn't necessarily required with the well modified malts we have nowadays, but you definitely get a different and hard to replicate malty profile from doing a decoction mash. This is a bit more of an advanced technique, just an FYI in case you stumbled across this post looking for a quick easy Bo Pils recipe. I'm also using a Imperial Yeast's L28 Urkel which is described as follows:
A traditional Czech lager strain, Urkel allows for a nice balance between hops and malt. This strain can be slightly sulphery during fermentation, but it cleans up during lagering. Fermentation at the higher end of the range will produce a beer with minimal sulfur and a light ester profile.
Temp: 52-58F, 11-14C // Flocculation: Medium  // Attenuation: 71-75%
For process differences, I'm trying the fast lager method as outlined on This method can result in grain to glass times as short as 2 weeks.

4.5 # Avangard German Pilsner
1.0 oz Crisp Crystal 77
15g Saaz (FWH)
22g Saaz (30 min)
13g Saaz (10 min)
12g Saaz (0 min)
Imperial Yeast Urkel L28 in 1L starter
0.25 Whirlfloc
Wyeast Nutrient

Infusion mash resulting in rest at 100.4F for 30 min. Pull 1st decoction (1/3 of mash, as little mash liquid as possible) and raise in steps as follows:

First decoction
  • 10 min @149F
  • 10 min @ 161.6F
  • 10 min @ boiling
Return to mash to raise mash temp to 149F. Allow to rest for 10 minutes. Pull 2nd decoction and raise the temps in steps as follows:

Second Decoction
  • 10 min @ 161.6F
  • 10 min @ boiling
Return to mash to raise mash temp to 161.6F for 10 minutes. Pull 3rd decoction as follows:

Third Decoction
  • 5 min @ boiling
Return to mash to raise temp to 170.6F. Sparge and collect boil volume.

90 minute boil, chill to 48F then raise temp to 50F over 24 hours. When gravity is around 1.034, raise temps by 5F every 24 hours until temps reach 65F. Maintain temps at 65F until fermentation is complete, then reduce temps by 5-8F every 12 hours until it's at 30-32F.

Water Profile - to 7 gallons of distilled/RO water
0.38g Epsom Salt
0.23g Calcium Chloride
0.31g Baking Soda
0.31g Chalk

Brewing Notes
No issues during the decoction mash. This definitely adds time to the brew day although it's faster when doing it on a smaller sized batch.

No issues with the remainder of the brew session. OG came in at 13.8 (1.055). I'm currently chilling down to 48F before pitching yeast.

Update 6/12/2017
Yeast pitched this morning.

Update 6/22/2017
Pulled a sample today. I don't detect any acetaldehyde or diacetyl. I'm not getting sulfur either. The refractometer measured 6.4P, so the corrected gravity is around 1.007. That's lower than I expected, but the body doesn't seem thin at all. The hop bitterness seems a little high to me, but that will mellow after a few weeks. Malt character is very nice and bready. There's definitely something a little richer than the last time that I would attribute to the triple decoction. Clarity is surprisingly good considering I haven't cold crashed yet (still at 65F). Yeast profile is very clean, definitely a lager. I was a little worried because I was out of town when it was time to start ramping up the temperature, so I showed my daughter how to do it and she ended up starting it a little early (brulosophy prescribes at 4-7 days for a <= 1.060 beer with liquid yeast). I told her to start ramping on day 5, and I believe she started on day 3, so I'm relieved that it seems to have worked well.

Update 8/12/2018
This beer didn't do well in comp last year. Notes indicated the judges thought they detected a brett infection. I recently found two bottles in my beer cellar and this beer definitely had a brett infection. I opened the bottles and they were immediate gushers with definite brett aroma, so kudos to the judges for picking up pin this. After I got the scoresheets, I changed the cleaning and sanitizing regime for my counter pressure bottle filler to include recycling 139F water to pasteurize.