2018 New Zealand Pilsner

>> Sunday, September 16, 2018

I've recently been drawn more and more to lagers, so today I'm brewing a New Zealand Pilsner inspired by NZED Pilsner from Salt Fire Brewing. This isn't a clone, just something in the same vein.

This beer is basically a German Pilsner base featuring New Zealand hops. I'm shooting for a bit more hop character than a typical German Pils. Here's the beer as I'm brewing it today.

6.75# Weyermann Bohemian Floor Malted Pilsner
1.0# Avangard German Pale
14g Green Bullet (60 min)
14g Pacific Jade (5 min)
14g Waimea (5 min)
7g Green Bullet (Whirlpool @170F)
7g Pacific Jade (Whirlpool @170F)
7g Waimea (Whirlpool @170F)
Imperial Global Yeast
Yeast Nutrient
7g Green Bullet (Dryhop)
7g Pacific Jade (Dryhop)
7g Waimea (Dryhop)

Mash at 151F, 90 min boil, start fermentation at 46F, ramp up to 52F over 6 days, diacetyl rest when gravity ~1.016.

Water Profile
I'm using the same water profile I used for a German Pils I made a couple years ago. To 10 gallons of distilled water, add:

  • 4.0g Gypsum
  • 2.8g Epsom Salt
  • 4.8g Calcium Chloride
Brewing Notes
No issues. Mash pH measured 5.25. Post-boil pH measured 5.36. OG measured 12 brix (1.047). I only got the temp down to ~70F, so I won't be pitching the yeast until it gets down closer to 46F, likely tomorrow morning.

Update 9/17/2018
I pitched the yeast tonight, about 24 hours after transferring into the fermenter. I noticed my Czech Pils had an acetaldehyde problem and I'm thinking it's most likely due to under-pitching or oxygen exposure post-fermentation. To be safe, I pitched a second pouch of Global in addition to the one I've been stepping up.

Update 9/19/2018
Fermentation is plugging along. I'm using my Tilt Hydrometer to monitor the temp and gravity. I forgot to calibrate it before transferring the wort to the fermenter, so it was reading a few points low compared to the refractometer reading (1.045 vs 1.047). As of this morning, it's dropped to around ~1.036. This is an approximation because during active fermentation, the gravity readings can vary a little bit.

One nice thing, the Tilt's temp reading is really close to the reading I get from my temp controller with the probe attached to the side of my fermenter (typically no more than 0.5F difference). I know a lot of brewers swear that thermowells will give you more accurate readings, but I tried using one with my current hot liquor tank back when I first built it, and I found that sometimes it was off but as much as 7F. I'd move the probe around slightly, and the temp would change, so it seemed like it wasn't making good contact with the interior of the thermowell. Some kind of thermal paste would probably have resolved this issue, but I didn't want to have to deal with messy paste anytime I pulled the probe out for cleaning of the HLT.  7F isn't much of a concern when it comes to a hot liquor tank, but that's huge for fermentation, so I just don't trust thermowell readings for fermentation.

Update 9/20/2018
Gravity is down to 1.027 this morning. At this rate, I should definitely be starting the diacetyl rest before the weekend is over.

I'm still mulling over the dry hop additions. I want the NZ hops to be apparent, but I also want the base beer to come through. I'm probably going to wait until after the d-rest and see where the hop flavor and aroma are at. I'll probably also take a look at dry hopping rates for some IPL recipes so that I (hopefully) don't overdo it.

Update 9/21/2018
Gravity is down to ~1.015 this morning so I'm starting to raise the temps for the diacetyl rest. I use an Inkbird ITC-310T-B temp controller for the diacetyl rest as well as the cold crash that follows. It's nice because I can program up to 12 steps at a time, so it will automatically raise and lower ferm temps for me. There's a bit of sulfur in the aroma in the ferm chamber, but that's fairly normal with this strain and it'll take care of itself in time.

Update 9/24/2018
Gravity is down to ~1.008 this morning. For the dry hopping, I think I'm going to go with 7g of Waimea, 7g of Pacific Jade, and 7g of Green Bullet. I'll probably start DH in a couple days.

Update 9/25/2018
I checked the gravity tonight and it's showing a 1.011 which seems crazy, but the gravity readings can jump around a little bit depending on activity, yeast rafts, krausen, etc.

Update 9/26/2018
I added the dry hops tonight. I went with 7g of each for Green Bullet, Pacific Jade, and Waimea.

Update 10/6/2018
I kegged this beer tonight and put it in my keezer under about 14 psi off CO2. The Tilt was showing a finished gravity of 1.008, consistent with the reading on 9/24. I ended up using a Brulosophy-inspired mylar balloon for the cold crashing. Basically, The balloon acts as a CO2 reservoir so that it doesn't draw any oxygen in during the cold crash.