Brew Day: Bohemian Pilsner (Beer #45)

December 12, 2012 by Jack

Sunday before last I brewed up a couple lagers, the first of which was the Bohemian Pilsner recipe from Brewing Classic Styles. Also known as Czech Pilsner, this beer is maltier and more rounded than the dryer, more crisp German Pilsner. It’s still a crisp, refreshing, hop-forward beer; it’s just not quite as dry and bitter as German Pilsner.

Beer doesn’t get much lighter than that. Those are the darker first runnings, even.

The recipe was as simple as can be: 10 pounds of German pilsner malt, 13 ounces of Cara-Pils, and about six ounces total of Czech Saaz hops added at at various times. That’s a lot of hops for a five gallon batch of beer that isn’t some sort of American Ale.

Loads ‘o hops

They’re low-alpha hops, so the bitterness is down around 40 – high, but not american ale high.

Brewmaster Bean kept an eye on the process.

After a 90 minute boil, I chilled the wort to 65°F, racked it to a fermenter, then put it in the fermentation chamber to finish chilling to 48F before pitching the yeast later that night.

A while back I swtiched from Irish moss to Whirlfloc for my kettle finings. That, coupled with pilsner malt protein’s tendency to clump, created one super clear wort. The wort in the carboy was a clear as a filtered glass of beer. At least until I got close to the bottom of the kettle and started sucking up some cold break, which is actually good for the fermentation & flocculation. For future batches I need to devise a way to get all the wort, some of the cold break, and none of the hop debris. That’s a problem that pretty much all homebrewers wish they could solve.

Clear wort atop cold break & hop debris

This beer was about 75% finished with fermentation after five days, at which point I warmed it up to 67°F for a diacetyl rest. It sat there for three days and now it’s resting at 34°F for a crash-cool. I’ll keg it tomorrow night. I plan to serve it sometime in March or April, though I’m sure I won’t be able to wait that long.

2 Responses to “Brew Day: Bohemian Pilsner (Beer #45)”

  1. Hi Jack. I have been reading about the beers you brew. I am wondering how this beer is as I read that it had a strong taste of butter. I have just finished my starter of Wyeast Urquell Lager yeast 2001 and will give it a try soon. I don’t brew a lot of lagers because of that very same taste – butter or buttered popcorn. My fermentation schedule is the same as yours. I wonder if I am in for a butter blast myself.

    Nice detailed homebrew site.



  2. Hi Chris. Thanks for commenting and the compliments. I will have a follow-up post about this beer soon. Yes, it was very buttery. Overwhelmingly so. In an attempt to correct it, I let the keg warm up to room temperature and bled off the CO2. I pitched a small starter of 1056 at high krausen directly into the keg and let it run with it for a week or so. That cleaned the butter up. I cold-crashed the 1056 in that keg, racked to a fresh keg, and it’s sitting now waiting for an open CO2 line so I can carbonate it. The butter is gone, but it has a good bit of sulfur now, likely from krausening in a closed vessel.

    I, personally, might stay away from 2001 in the future because of my experience with it as well as what I’ve heard from others. Funnily enough, the guys from The Mad Fermentationist mentioned this exact yeast as being a big diacetyl producer on this weeks Basic Brewing Radio podcast. I say go ahead and work with the yeast, but you might want to give an extended d-rest and maybe do a forced diacetyl test before packaging the beer.

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