Proven Pilsner Recipe Please

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Cobnut
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Re: Proven Pilsner Recipe Please

Post by Cobnut » Thu Oct 31, 2019 2:24 pm

I have a jar full of Voss Kveik yeast slurry.

Tempted to try a lager-like ale/beer with this yeast.

Anyone tried this yeast in a faux-lager? Guidance on fermentation temp?

The slurry is from a English style ale fermented at 33C. It turned out quite full bodied - creamy even - but with a very slight sourness. It might be because I grew a starter from a heavily hop-laden slurry - I doubted whether I'd get enough to pitch, but ended up with about a teaspoon full which seemed to work OK.

And now I have a jar full!
Fermenting: "Hoppy" Kolsch
Conditioning:
Drinking: Lacons Patriot Clone, Mocha Stout, Single (allotment grown) hopped ale, Hazelweiss (8th edition), 'Ol 'Enry Brut IPA, Cherry Chocolate Dubbel Trubbel
Planning: Munich Helles, Black IPA, Keyworth mid-season SMaSH, Weizenbock (1100+ OG), etc. etc. etc.

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Re: Proven Pilsner Recipe Please

Post by Meatymc » Thu Oct 31, 2019 3:00 pm

Digby wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 10:51 pm
Just to let you know, I use water butt water for my counterflow chiller and immersion chiller. I consider there is no realistic risk of contamination if I inspect the chiller and pipework to ensure no damage etc prior to use and stick to robust procedures. It means no mains water use!
As per previous post, will be seeking advice on equipment but wondered what pump you use Matt given the above is exactly what I'm considering?

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Re: Proven Pilsner Recipe Please

Post by McMullan » Thu Oct 31, 2019 7:19 pm

There’s really no reason why you couldn’t chill your wort with a simple, cheap DIY immersion chiller. Lots of info on youtube. Fermentation - yeast - is the key factor. Ignore decoction and stepped mashes. Keep it simple. You want a good, healthy culture of a lager strain. Forget the kveik crap*, unless you need a distiller's strain, to ferment spud moonshine. One of the most forgiving strains for a ‘pilsner’ is White Labs’ Mexican Lager. I brewed one last summer and, despite not being a big fan of lager, it was a cracking beer. It made me reconsider lager, to be honest. Sort out a DIY immersion chiller and you’re good to go, I reckon.

*The only people consistently banging on about it seem to be trying to make money out of it. Fermenting ‘hot’ might sound great, if you’re really desperate for alcohol, but beers fermented with distiller's strains don’t age well, in my experience. They lack refined character, too, frankly. A bit like Norwegians :lol:

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Re: Proven Pilsner Recipe Please

Post by Digby » Thu Oct 31, 2019 8:32 pm

Meatymc wrote:
Digby wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 10:51 pm
Just to let you know, I use water butt water for my counterflow chiller and immersion chiller. I consider there is no realistic risk of contamination if I inspect the chiller and pipework to ensure no damage etc prior to use and stick to robust procedures. It means no mains water use!
As per previous post, will be seeking advice on equipment but wondered what pump you use Matt given the above is exactly what I'm considering?
I use a standard Hozelock water butt pump. Works fine for me. I also use it for keg washing with a CIP ball!

Matt

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Re: Proven Pilsner Recipe Please

Post by TheSumOfAllBeers » Thu Oct 31, 2019 9:39 pm

Meatymc wrote:
As per previous post, will be seeking advice on equipment but wondered what pump you use Matt given the above is exactly what I'm considering?
You can get an actual water butt pump. They are usually inexpensive and you may be able to get one made for your water butt.

While I don’t have a water butt, I did pick up a pump to turn into a keg washer

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Re: Proven Pilsner Recipe Please

Post by Meatymc » Thu Oct 31, 2019 10:43 pm

And the good ideas keep rolling in.

Already looking at coiled pipe and a 'bender' so am seriously looking at that.

The hozelock looks like an option but even better would be a pump that 'draws' water by a pipe/filter rather than submersing the entire thing. We're on a heavy clay soil here and one part of the garden has been under water for almost 2 weeks - having just about drained from 2 weeks before. Wouldn't mind but it's the area we've got our cherry, plum, apple and walnut trees in and has defo got worse over the past couple of years.

Just for a laugh, last weekend, I handballed some water out of the 'gutter' between the lawn and the beds. 80 gallons later (and several pints of homebrew I have to admit) made no impact whatsoever. I said at the time it would be useful to have some sort of pump although of course that would simply allow the neighbours gardens to drain into our hopefully drying beds.

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Re: Proven Pilsner Recipe Please

Post by TheSumOfAllBeers » Thu Oct 31, 2019 11:39 pm

McMullan wrote:Forget the kveik crap*,

....

*The only people consistently banging on about it seem to be trying to make money out of it. Fermenting ‘hot’ might sound great, if you’re really desperate for alcohol, but beers fermented with distiller's strains don’t age well, in my experience. They lack refined character, too, frankly. A bit like Norwegians :lol:
Are you confusing distilling yeast with kveik? They are separate things.

Kveik ferment cleanly at high temperature and the famous esters that they throw out often have to be achieved with tricks like under pitching.

They were a novelty until quite recently when people started to realise that if you took steps to minimise their ester production like lower temps, bigger pitches, or isolate strains that put out little or none, then you can consider them for their process potential.

For instance the Australian brewers are quite keen on the high temperature pitching, because they can’t cool low enough in summer when their ground water is in the high 20s.

And this is relevant to the OPs request - it’s his macro swilling mates who are requesting something more to their preference.

It could take time to get the lagering ready, but a kveik blonde ale could be made with a German/Czech pils grist and hop profile to nail the recipe. And it would probably satisfy the demand, if the kegs themselves are lagered long enough.

You may be right in the end that kveik yeast used in this way, may be absent of subtle character that define great lagers.

But it’s worth an experiment I think

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Re: Proven Pilsner Recipe Please

Post by McMullan » Fri Nov 01, 2019 7:12 am

There wasn't much of a tradition for brewing beer in Norway, post Danish rule. Spud moonshine was a lot more common. Even as recently as the 1990s you would have been more likely offered a home-distilled concoction than a home-brewed beer in rural Norway*. Spuds don't make good beer and there was likely a general lack of local ingredients suitable for brewing quality beer worts. If you know about distiller's yeast, you should be able to join the dots.

Note too that some Australians can actually chill hot wort without much difficulty. And not all lager is macro piss water.

*Those draconian alcohol regulations weren't introduced for the fun of it.
Last edited by McMullan on Sat Nov 02, 2019 8:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Proven Pilsner Recipe Please

Post by McMullan » Fri Nov 01, 2019 5:27 pm

You might have read random statements claiming how ‘beer has been brewed in Norway for over a thousand years’. You won’t find much evidence, though. Norway’s landscape is predominantly mountainous, rugged with thin soils and generally deficient in good arable land*. In pre-industrial times, grains were mainly imported, as there were serious deficiencies annually in locally-grown crops, even in the south where conditions might have been more ‘favourable’. They traded timber for Danish grains during Danish rule. I suspect the Danes malted barley for them too. I doubt Norwegian farmers were sufficiently skilled to malt barley themselves**. After the Napoleonic Wars, the Treaty of Kiel, when Danish rule in Norway ended, the spud became an increasingly popular crop among Norwegian farmers. The favoured variety was more suited for distillery fermentations than the dinner table. Little has changed. There are now two varieties generally available. Neither of which belongs on a dinner table, in my honest opinion. Good for aquavit, though.

*That and the miserable climate hardly make an environment conducive to what we consider ‘craft brewing’ these days.

**There’s a reason why Norwegian cuisine is blander than bland. It’s a reflection of poor soils and recalcitrant farmers.

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Re: Proven Pilsner Recipe Please

Post by McMullan » Sat Nov 02, 2019 2:26 pm

:roll:
Last edited by McMullan on Sat Nov 02, 2019 2:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Proven Pilsner Recipe Please

Post by McMullan » Sat Nov 02, 2019 2:27 pm


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Re: Proven Pilsner Recipe Please

Post by TheSumOfAllBeers » Mon Nov 04, 2019 2:13 pm

@McMullan :

If I am to summarise your points its something along the lines of:
- norwegians never brewed much
- the beer they made was poor
- therefore anything you make according to norwegian traditions (i.e. use kveik) will be poor

if you are making a point here can you clarify it? The arguments you have put against what I have advised suffer from classic correlation vs causation.

This is the advice I gave the OP: using his existing brewing techniques, he could make a blonde ale with a classic pilsner/helles recipe, lager it, and see if it would satisfy his friends who made the request. I didnt dissuade him from going 'total lager', but its a big switch for him, and 'fake kveik pils/helles' might be a good interim step to progressively deal with some of the other things mentioned.

While my personal experience is hardly the proof of a theory, it costs the OP nothing to give it a go, and he can learn a lot to take forward when he approaches authentic lager making.

But you are not giving good advice or information here, and some of the comments and innuendoes are starting to grate.

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Re: Proven Pilsner Recipe Please

Post by McMullan » Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:23 am

The easy-to-solve problem for Meatymc here is chilling wort. A simple DIY wort chiller is going to help him produce a better lager and chill wort generally in a fraction of the time it currently takes his wort to cool down to pitching temperature. That was my main point. How he could easily move away from his current ‘hot-end’ set up. He seems to have everything else covered, e.g., temp control.

My second point (the main point really) was that the most important ingredient in brewing is yeast. If you want to make a pilsner, use a genuine pilsner yeast strain, not something being pitched (in marketing terms) as the ‘holy grail of Brewer’s yeast’. With little effort, selecting a recognised yeast strain for a particular style can produce something much better than followers of the ‘holy grail’ like to claim.

Those were the important points really.
If I am to summarise your points its something along the lines of:

- norwegians never brewed much
Not so much after Danish rule, no. The law that Norwegian farmers had to brew beer (at least for Christmas) was a Danish law. Following the Treaty of Kiel, many farmers stopped brewing beer. Out of spite, presumably. Then they discovered an easy-to-grow variety of spud and how to ferment it, to make moonshine.
- the beer they made was poor
Norway was one of the poorest places in Europe. Plus the harsh environment wasn’t noted for producing sufficient quality ingredients for brewing good beer. It’s never been any kind of ‘breadbasket’ in Scandinavia*. The quality of beer brewed historically in Norway is an unknown. Hardly anything was ever documented**. That shouldn’t be abused as an opportunity to engineer history or an imaginary Norwegian culture of any significance. Then resell it? Culture evolves over time. If we consider brewing culture before ‘craft’ arrived late in Norway, in the early naughties, we find very little to note apart from a paucity in macro piss-water offerings. There’s absolutely no evidence that Norway was ever a noteworthy ’brewing nation’. The odd ‘renegade‘ brewing beer in some isolated location, here and there, with whatever ingredients he could lay his hands on, hardly translates into a significant culture at the national level. Not in a positive manner, anyway. Having been living in Norway for several years, and a frequent visitor before that, since the mid 90s, I’m very confident about it - Norway ain’t a noteworthy beer brewing nation. In fact, after my first couple visits, in the 90s, I started taking an extra suitcase, to smuggle some decent beer to enjoy while in Norway.
- therefore anything you make according to norwegian traditions (i.e. use kveik) will be poor
Of course not. With all the wonderful ingredients now available, a good beer should be doable. Even with Baker’s yeast it’s doable. But I wouldn’t use it just because it’s branded ‘Norwegian’. That really means sweet FA.

*They often struggled to feed themselves, suffered famines and migrated in large numbers, since the so-called Viking Age, to Britain, Iceland and the US.
**If you were to be led by the traditional Norwegian palate, in the absence of any documented evidence, it’s probably safe to assume it was fn terrible.

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Re: Proven Pilsner Recipe Please

Post by Meatymc » Thu Nov 07, 2019 6:02 pm

Interesting discussion developed here with valid comments throughout.
McMullan wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:23 am
The easy-to-solve problem for Meatymc here is chilling wort. A simple DIY wort chiller is going to help him produce a better lager and chill wort generally in a fraction of the time it currently takes his wort to cool down to pitching temperature. That was my main point. How he could easily move away from his current ‘hot-end’ set up. He seems to have everything else covered, e.g., temp control.
Not being (currently) able to rapid chill the entire brew - although as I think I've mentioned I do a further 1 gallon/10 minute boil to late hop which I can cool rapidly in an ice filled sink - does I feel limit what I can produce. What Mc has suggested should be doable, worthwhile and benefit all brews going forward. Just need to sort out a suitable, not too expensive pump etc and move the 3 water butts we have.
TheSumOfAllBeers wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 2:13 pm
While my personal experience is hardly the proof of a theory, it costs the OP nothing to give it a go, and he can learn a lot to take forward when he approaches authentic lager making.
My staple brew - a citra hopped IPA, took several attempts before I was happy with it and I'm always willing to give things a go. But, at the same time, I want to be able to offer people a 'beer' that is recognisable for what it is - either a bitter, an IPA, a porter or hopefully at some stage, a true pilsner/lager. The latter may not be acheivable at the moment with my set-up and of course it doesn't help that I'm not a huge fan of the style, but 'giving it a go' is something I'm more than happy to go along with. You never know, a hybrid may be something I take a liking to.

Thanks everyone

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Re: Proven Pilsner Recipe Please

Post by HTH1975 » Wed Nov 20, 2019 6:43 pm

If you can’t cool your wort, maybe think about doing a smaller volume of wort, then add half of your fermentables as DME at the end of your boil and continue for another 5 mins.

You will have a higher gravity wort, but then you add cold water at the end to get your final volume of wort atvthe desired OG, and of course it will cool your wort too. I find that 5L bottles of Tesco Ashbeck cooled in the garage are great for this approach.

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