Mashing Czech Pilsner

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Natebriscoe
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Mashing Czech Pilsner

Postby Natebriscoe » Sat Feb 04, 2017 8:29 am

Would a standard step mash be appropriate for a Czech pilsner? I was thinking about the fuller body of this style of pils and how the hochkurz seems to yield a lower fg. Or would one just to load up the grist with dextrin malts and proceed as usual?
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Mashing Czech Pilsner

Postby Bryan R » Sat Feb 04, 2017 9:02 am

I have tried the "usual" suspects when making bopils and to me it's still just not right. To me, to be something like PU you need fermentable sugar left to get that sweetness. Oh and oxidized wort, and super long decoction!


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caedus
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Re: Mashing Czech Pilsner

Postby caedus » Sat Feb 04, 2017 6:07 pm

FWIW I just did a czech pilsner after listening to Good Beer Hunting's episodes on some czech breweries.

I did a Hochkurz mash, typical of almost every brew I do, and I used a little more water than normal. I cranked up the heat during the boil to get more maillard reactions, also boiling off more than normal.

Some czech breweries swear by their 2 hour long boils, so I did my best to try and recreate that. Color is spot on (used Bryan's 50/50 base malt blend and a ~3% CaraHell), and the flavor is coming along just fucking awesome.

Did a Lodo pitch of WLP800 the Urquell H-Strain (~600B cells/6 gallons).

And a shit load of the freshest saaz or sterling you can find. I just picked up a lb of Whole Leaf Saaz to play with.
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Re: Mashing Czech Pilsner

Postby Techbrau » Sat Feb 04, 2017 6:22 pm

You could try another batch without the intensive boil, instead targeting 8% boiloff over 60 minutes and using 3-5% caramunich (instead of the carahell) to see which version you prefer.
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caedus
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Re: Mashing Czech Pilsner

Postby caedus » Sat Feb 04, 2017 7:56 pm

Definitely curious to see what crystal/melanoiden reactions create. Just finding fresh Pilsner Urquell out here would be pretty sweet.
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Weizenberg
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Re: Mashing Czech Pilsner

Postby Weizenberg » Sun Feb 05, 2017 5:13 am

Decoction schedules have a few advantages but also notable disadvantages over step infusions.

Amongst the advantages is that it deals much better with malts that are difficult to work with, such as poorly modified malt or malt from a vintage where the gelatinisation point is rather high (64-67 Celsius). Boiling can lead to some flavour compounds being made, but one needs to know a product rather well and be very in tune with the expected flavours to notice a difference. The brewhouse efficiency takes a noticeable bump upwards.

Amongst the disadvantages are the inevitable release of unwanted substances from the husk (take a look at the Kubessa and "Spelzenmaischverfahren"), substantially higher energy use and prolonged mash times. Mash oxidation could become a real issue unless one doesn't treat the malt to reduce the amount of LOX considerably and transfers the mash by gently pumping and re-introducing from below, thus making this a rather impossible feat for the oxygen conscious enthusiast.

Take your pick.

In the end your influence on the flavours in the final outcome is about 30%, whereas the rest is done by the maltster. Therefore, whatever you make, your choice of malt and supplier is the most determining factor.

Most of the methods practiced today is because it is very difficult to establish a brand in an industry where supply outstrips demand. Once that solid customer base is established, many are becoming rather risk-adverse and are reluctant to change any variables in a commercially successful process.

I did a long 3 step decoction mash, using undermodified malt, a 1:8 ratio and a 4 hour (gentle) boil once.

Never again.

And let's not get started on two strain fermentation followed by later blending.

Good luck getting your hands on Moravian malt manufactured like it is done at the PU own maltings. There is only one place in the world where it's available, and I doubt they'd sell it.

But you can make a sensible blend which can yield great results.

So it's best to get your grain bill right and develop a good feel for the impact the various ingredients have.

For a Bohemian Pils that means a solid base malt, erring on the darker end of the spectrum (~3.5 EBC), a blending malt (5-9 EBC) to up your base malt into the 3.8-4 EBC range. And a decent Caramalt -- which will where there are going to be a lot of divisive opinions. Pick carefully ;)

For my tastes a healthy amount of darker Caramalt in the 90-160 EBC range (according to taste) in amounts of about 3-5%, works rather well (the Caramunichs).

There are loads of other things, but this should give you a reasonable baseline to start from.

Happy brewing
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caedus
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Re: Mashing Czech Pilsner

Postby caedus » Sun Feb 05, 2017 11:00 am

You mentioned the dual fermentation- do you have any sources on that? I know PU has two strains (D and H) but I am unfamiliar with their unique properties or usage.
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Re: Mashing Czech Pilsner

Postby wobdee » Tue Feb 07, 2017 1:06 pm

PU is one of my favorites! My next attempt will be a Best Pils blend with about 10% vima and 3% caramunich 2 and mash it around 69c. Very tough to clone this beer, I know I haven't found the magic bullet yet.
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Weizenberg
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Re: Mashing Czech Pilsner

Postby Weizenberg » Tue Feb 07, 2017 5:37 pm

It makes a lot of the flavours in the kettle -- which is different from caramalts (these didn't exist when that beer was conceived). But you can simulate it close enough. And that works well for me. If you can afford to do a long boil, then do that for a PU. You are looking at quite a long one: 3-4 hrs and a grist to water ratio of about 1:8.

Studying the history of that stuff gives quite a lot of clues.
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Weizenberg
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Re: Mashing Czech Pilsner

Postby Weizenberg » Tue Feb 07, 2017 5:42 pm

caedus wrote:You mentioned the dual fermentation- do you have any sources on that? I know PU has two strains (D and H) but I am unfamiliar with their unique properties or usage.


H is the main flavour strain.

2 strain fermentation, ie one for primary the other in secondary, is widely practiced. For wheat beers as well as lagers.

Google "Staubhefe" and it's usage
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