Thursday, June 30, 2016

NY Pilsner, Pre Brew Day

A buddy and I went for a bike ride last weekend and ended up at a biker bar/restaurant where we enjoyed a couple beverages and some burgers. It was a hot and humid day so I was thrilled to see a Pilsner on tap from the local Steuben Brewery. I never had this beer and I quickly ordered it up.

There could not have been a more refreshing beer at that point in time. The beer was crisp but with a full body and light hoppiness that complimented it perfectly. The beer was called NY Pils and I didn't even try another beer after having this one it was so good.

So the next day I went to the breweries website where they had the grain and hops used (all from NY, cool). Bingo! I'm making a clone (even though I can just grab a growler anytime it's not the same as having it on tap!).

I had to guess at quantities and adjuncts after some quick historical pilsner research (byo.com, seriouseats.com, www.homebrewersassociation.org) this is what I came up with

The basis for a good pilsner seems to be these few items.

  1. Use soft water, this will give the beer a round soft hoppiness. RO is near a perfect match for historical Pilsen water but many people seem to use a mix of RO/Distilled with tap water, meh.
  2. Use Pilsen malt for the grainy taste and almost nothing else.
  3. Decoction mash for the full body.
I did read an article in BYO that stated to use acid malt which makes sense to bring the pH in range since there are no crystal or other dark malts to bring the pH down. After reading this I looked at all AHA recipes for the style (https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/homebrew-recipes/?style=pilsner) and saw that maybe a quarter did use acid malt in the grain bill. With my experience with mashing I think this is a good idea.

It's hot and humid in NY right now plus I have 8 gallons of sour to bottle and another 10 gallons of ESB to keg so I'm skipping the decoction, it just takes up too much time. To try and make up the difference I've included 5% melanoidin in the grain bill and I'm mashing at a very high 161F.

So this is what I'm looking at:

11 Gallon Batch, 1.047 OG

90% Pilsen Malt
05% Acid Malt
05% Melanoidin Malt

1oz Cascade @ 60
3oz Cascade @20
2oz Cascade @ 5
2oz Cascade @ 0

Mash In @ 148 for 10 min then raise to 161 for 40 min.

Cool to 50F, pitch yeast and use Fast Lagering to ferment the beer.


I've done my homework and designed my recipe. Time to clone, wish me luck!