In pursuit of homebrewing a better German Pils, Brew Dude John focused on his water chemistry among other elements of his brewing process. We have learned over the years that our tap water is not great for brewing excellent beers. Good beers? Sure. Excellent beers? Not so much.
Watch this video to learn what went into setting up his water profile, what went into his grain bill, and what the outcome was.
German Pils Recipe and Process
For a 5 gallon batch in the keg
10 pounds (4.5 kg) of German Pilsner malt (95% of grain bill)
.5 pounds (227 g) of Acidulated malt ( 5% of grain bill)
1.25 ounces (35 g) US Tettnanger hops – 60 minutes to go in the boil
1 ounce (28 g) German Hallertaur hops – 20 minutes to go in the boil
1 ounce (28 g) German Hallertaur hops – 1 minute to go in the boil
2 packets of Mangrove Jack’s M84 Bohemian Lager Yeast
2 grams of Calcium Chloride added to mash
2 grams of Calcium Sulfate added to mash
2 grams of Calcium Chloride added to sparge
2 grams of Calcium Sulfate added to sparge
I mashed with 4 US gallons (15.1 Liters) of distilled water. I held the mash at 150° F for 90 minutes. I ran off the wort from the mash and then sparged with 5 gallons (18.9 Liters) of distilled water.
The boil was for 90 minutes and added hops to it based on the schedule above. I added a Whirlfloc tablet with 15 minutes to go in the boil to help with clarity. After the boil, the wort was chilled to 54°F (12° C).
I hit the wort with 2 minutes of pure oxygen and pitched the yeast. The beer was left to ferment for 5 weeks.
I did move the fermentor out of my fridge for a couple of days while I was moving kegs around. You could consider that time a diacetyl rest, I guess.
I then cold crashed the beer for a couple of days and then racked it to a purged with CO2 keg.
Original Gravity: 1.054
Final Gravity: 1.014
Brewing Plan and Tasting Notes
So, I am now a little obsessed with brewing a better pilsner. I have tried before and I felt it missed the mark. Collecting tips from others, this brewing plan brought together some of the adjustments I have picked up.
- Use distilled water and build up your water profile with brewing salts
- Bring a little acid to your mash
- Pitch a lot of yeast in oxygenated wort
- Be patient with your fermentation
With that plan, I felt like I was going to brew an excellent example of the style.
I got close.
The fermentation was clean. The body of the beer was where I wanted it to be. The brightness of the beer hit the mark.
The knocks we would give this beer are the lack of hop bitterness and a certain acidity to the aftertaste.
The things I would adjust for next time include using a high alpha acid bittering hop variety – Hello, Magnum and know my pH for the mash with an actual meter. Using other recipes to guide my acid malt addition to my grain bill was a good start, but I need data to dial it in.