Help with a Bohemian Pilsner

Post #1 made 2 years ago
Hi all

Having got a few brews under my belt, and now having access to fermentation temperature control, I wanted to test myself with a Pilsner. It strikes me that this style is probably somewhat unforgiving to brew, and I wanted to create a nice simple recipe to get started with.

I should probably also note that I am a stove-top brewer, so deal exclusively in fairly low volume batches.

Having done some research and looked at a fair few recipes of others, I've come up with the following recipe. Does this look somewhat sensible?

[center]BIABacus Pre-Release 1.3T RECIPE REPORT[/center]
[center]BIAB Recipe Designer, Calculator and Scaler.[/center]
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[center]My First Bohemian Pilsner - Batch 1[/center]

Recipe Overview

Style: Bohemian Pilsner
Source Recipe Link:
ABV: 5% (assumes any priming sugar used is diluted.)

Original Gravity (OG): 1.048
IBU's (Tinseth): 35
Bitterness to Gravity Ratio: 0.73
Colour: 4.9 EBC = 2.5 SRM

Kettle Efficiency (as in EIB and EAW): 85.1 %
Efficiency into Fermentor (EIF): 72.9 %

Note: This is a Pure BIAB (Full Volume Mash)

Times and Temperatures

Mash: 90 mins at 66 C = 150.8 F
Boil: 90 min
Ferment: days at 12 C = 53.6 F

Volumes & Gravities
(Note that VAW below is the Volume at Flame-Out (VFO) less shrinkage.)
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Total Water Needed (TWN): 15.37 L = 4.06 G
Volume into Boil (VIB): 14.25 L = 3.76 G @ 1.033
Volume of Ambient Wort (VAW): 9.33 L = 2.47 G @ 1.048
Volume into Fermentor (VIF): 8 L = 2.11 G @ 1.048
Volume into Packaging (VIP): 7.41 L = 1.96 G @ 1.01 assuming apparent attenuation of 80 %

The Grain Bill (Also includes extracts, sugars and adjuncts)

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92% Pilsner Malt (2.5 EBC = 1.3 SRM) 1636 grams = 3.61 pounds
8% Carapils (4 EBC = 2 SRM) 142 grams = 0.31 pounds

The Hop Bill (Based on Tinseth Formula)

27.3 IBU Magnum Pellets (12%AA) 8.2 grams = 0.29 ounces at 60 mins
5.2 IBU Saaz Pellets (3%AA) 8.2 grams = 0.29 ounces at 30 mins
2.5 IBU Saaz Pellets (3%AA) 8.2 grams = 0.29 ounces at 10 mins
0 IBU Saaz Pellets (3%AA) 8.2 grams = 0.29 ounces at 0 mins

Mash Steps

Mash Type: Pure BIAB (Full-Volume Mash): Saccharifiaction for 90 mins at 66 C = 150.8 F

Strike Water Needed (SWN): 15.67 L = 4.14 G 68.2 C = 154.7 F

Fermentation & Conditioning

Fermentation: Mangrove Jack M84 at 12 C = 53.6 F
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Last edited by obsidian on 01 Jun 2016, 01:18, edited 1 time in total.

Post #2 made 2 years ago
Hi Obsidian,

I love Pilsners (German & Czech), and will take a stab at it for you... Your BIABacus looks pretty good to me, but I might be able to point out a couple things that could help. At a to be aware of. :cool:

Mash Temperature:
The Brewing Classic Styles book recommends a 67 Deg C / 154 Deg F Mash Temp for a Czech / Bohemian Pilsner. So a little warmer mash temp. for a fuller bodied (and less alcoholic) beer. (NOTE: The BCS Book - for the drier and less bodied German pilsner - would recommend a 64 deg C / 147 deg F mash temp). Your 150 Deg F is more of a "middle of the road" mash temp. Should make good beer - a good pilsner even, but not as full bodied as a traditional Bohemian Pilsner...

Hops / Bitterness:

This comes down to preference, but I wonder if your hop bitterness may be a tad on the "light" side...? Nothing wrong with dialing back the bitterness, but when compared to my Bohemian Pilsner recipe your IBU (by tinseth) is lower; mine @ 42, yours @ 35. Again - no problem - could run it this way and then increase it later if you want...but it could be a tad low. :think: And one other note on the hop selection for Bohemian Pilsner, lots of folks just use Saaz hops for everything...that's what I do on Bohemian Pilsner (but admittedly, that may be just tradition and knit-pickyness???). Magnum is a great hop choice for bittering a lager.

On the Mangrove Jack M84 yeast, I have no experience but you are assuming an attenuation of 80%, which is pretty high. But their info online says "high attenuation", so maybe the 80% is correct. :think: If possible, would be good to get confirmation.

Best of luck to you, and by all means let us know what you did, and how it turned out! :luck:
Last edited by Scott on 01 Jun 2016, 10:13, edited 1 time in total.
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Post #3 made 2 years ago
[EDIT: As you'll see, I'm really stuck on giving advice on this. Hopefully one or two things might be of help though :dunno:.]

Hi again obsidian :),

Totally agree with what Scott has said above.

Some other things struck me as well but before we get to those, my best advice when trying a new style is to copy or at least base the recipe on one from a trusted source such as Brewing Classic Styles (I might take that back below ;)) or Modern Homebrewing Recipes (doesn't have a Bohemian Pilsner recipe) or, a recipe on this site that has been vetted and brewed. Searching the internet for recipes is a recipe for low quality as the majority of recipes you find are written by inexperienced brewers, often they've never been brewed, and it's very hard, unless you are experienced, to tell if the recipe you are looking at has any integrity.

Here's the things that worry me, besides what Scott mentioned, in the recipe...

Carapils: Also known as dextrine or maltodextrin is used to add body/mouthfeel to a beer. 8% is a massive amount in a pilsner grain bill. I wouldn't go any more than 2% on this style, if mashing at 66°C /151F but I could be wrong on this. (BCS recipe has around 6% but I'm not sure why?).

Mashing: I'm really confused on this and I'm not sure why Brewing Classic Styles (and some other sources) recommends mashing at 67C when you want a clean, crisp, light-bodied beer :scratch:. Personally, I'd step mash this style now and will do so when I next brew something similiar. In the past, when single-infusing, I've gone for more like 62 or 63C for lagers/pilsners.

Hops: I wouldn't use Magnum as the bittering hop. Personally, I'd stick to Saaz or Tettnang. Once again, I might be wrong. I'd prefer to see delicacy in this style - no aggressiveness. So much so in fact, that I'd consider First Wort Hopping. Brewing Classic Styles gives the same timing of hop additions as you obsidian but not the same emphasis on the 30 minute addition. I've always wondered about the purpose of any 30 minute addition so I'm, once again confused.

Not being much use to you here am I? :lol:.

I think I better brew this style myself and let you know how I go (need to get a fridge repaired first though.)

Yeast and Temps: On this small batch size, might as well use one sachet. With lagers, chill to 2°C below desired fermenting temperature and then pitch. Restrain the temperature until fermentation gets under way and then keep it at your desired fermentation temperature until high krausen. After that you can be less diligent and let it rise a bit. The purpose of this is to avoid having to do a diacetyl rest.

12 °C is too high in my opinion (although the site says 10-15 °C). I tend to pitch at 8C on lager/pilsners and restrain to 10C. Maybe compromise and go 9 then 11?

The above is possible the most confusing post I have ever written! I better get back to brewing more lagers/pilsners - they are bloody great though.

Last edited by PistolPatch on 01 Jun 2016, 20:16, edited 1 time in total.
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Help with a Bohemian Pilsner

Post #4 made 2 years ago
For a first crack the grain bill and hops schedule will be fine. The critical element to any lager is fermentation. Getting the temperature right and making sure there is enough healthy yeast to do the job.

With a small batch and dried yeast one packet should be ok, I have only used liquid yeasts and made big starters for lagers.

I agree with PP that pitching low is essential, I always start at 8C and hold it there for the ferment, in reality at high krausen it is probably a couple of degrees warmer.

When Gravity is about 8 points above your target final gravity raise the temp 2-3C. This will help with attenuation. You only need to do a diacetly rest at a higher temp if you can taste it in your samples.

A ferment normally takes at least 2 weeks, once it is done drop the temp as cold as you can for as long as you can. Depending on how much time I have anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks.

To get a really clear beer I find gelatine is great. I add it to the keg but if you bottle you can either add to the fermenter or secondary if you do that.

It's a tricky style because there isn't anything to hide behind and a good clean ferment is the key!

Post #5 made 2 years ago
Contrarian - Certainly his schedule and plan will work, and will probably make a fine beer...something in the "Pilsner" category, but it won't really be a Bohemian Pilsner... "If" he wants the style to be "Bohemian Pilsner", it is easy to make a couple minor adjustments now and he will have one. Agreed...?
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Post #7 made 2 years ago
Thanks for all the feedback, that's all really interesting and helpful. I note the advice on fermentation, and I'll start low as suggested. I'll probably make the folllowing alterations to the above plan:

1) Replace magnum with saaz
2) Reduce carapils amount to 2%. Maybe even eliminate it and go SMASH?
3) Increase 60 minute addition to get IBU to 38

The mash temperature sounds like an interesting issue. I think I'd rather avoid a step mash, I want to keep this pretty simple. So perhaps I will just go with 67C this time, and perhaps experiment with a lower temperature in a future batch.

I'll follow up with a new biabacus file when I've had a chance to alter it.

Post #8 made 2 years ago
OK, I've tweaked the biabacus file- down to 5% carapils (since that's around where classic styles has it), 67 degree mash and Saaz hops all the way.
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Post #9 made 2 years ago
I'm going to leave it to to the others to give full comments although I see nothing wrong on a glance except...

I used one of Magrove Jack's yeasts a few weeks ago and wasn't happy with it. Asked another experienced member who found the same on another yeast of theirs. In other words, I would advise playing it safe and going for a brand that has been around for several years.

I don't like giving that advice as it is always nice to see new things on the market but I must say I have never had such an inactive ferment. It could be due to my retailer? I just don't know.
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Post #11 made 2 years ago
Just a quick note to say I brewed this recipe, and it turned out great. Really crisp with lovely saaz character. I used Saflager S-23 because I didn't have access to the equipment for doing a proper yeast starter (something I have now remedied), pitched at 10 degrees C and fermented at 12 before ramping up for a diacetyl rest. It was a really great learning experience, and I am very pleased indeed with my first attempt at a lager.

Thanks for all the help in this thread!
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