As one of my goals for 2018, I wanted to rebrew a Czech Pilsner to correct a flaw I had in the one I brewed in 2017. The big difference in the 2018 beer was eliminating the water chemistry tinkering that I tried out last year. Get our thoughts as we sit down and compare two Czech Pilsners brewed a year apart and see if I improved things or not.
Notes On The 2018 Process
So lagers are still fairly challenging for me even though I have won awards in homebrewing competitions for the ones I have brewed.
Well, maybe I should revise that statement – I don’t feel link I have brewed light-colored lagers to my satisfaction.
As most homebrewers know, light lagers are difficult because the simple ingredient list accentuate flaws that may be hidden in a more complex beer. You have to hit all the notes perfectly for it to really be excellent.
For Czech Pilsners, the commercial ones I had in Europe had a flawlessness that I wanted to replicate at home. I remember the dry, minerally, crisp aftertaste of those beers and thought I could achieve this flavor aspect by adding brewing salts to my water in 2017. I felt it gave the beer a real chalky taste. In 2018, I brewed with just spring water and hoped that would solve the flaw and to achieve the aftertaste I wanted.
Well, tasting the year old pilsner revealed its flaw to me very quickly. I was happy to report that the 2018 one did not have it but, this year’s beer wasn’t perfect either.
My fermentation in 2018 was really slow. I bought 4 packets of White Labs WLP800 because I didn’t have time to build a starter before I brewed. I really should have made that starter – my fermentation didn’t kick in fully until 1 week after the brew session. It was a horrible lag time.
The resulting beer was fine but it could be better.
The other thought I had was about the Saaz hops. The hops didn’t taste fresh in either beers. Knowing that I need a large amount, I may seek out another source for this variety since it seems to me that the packages I have been getting from the old local homebrew store are probably old.
To sum up, I am going to brew this beer again. Here are the tips I need to remember:
- Use Spring Water
- Find Fresh Saaz hops
- Plan ahead and make a yeast starter
I know others have mentioned adding a bit of acidulated malt to my grist to lower the pH. Since I don’t know what my mash pH is, maybe I need to get the ph meter going.