For discussion of German breweries, reviews of their beer,
tasting notes, impressions, their brewing processes (distribution to the US, decoction
mashing, recipes, flavor notes, etc).

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Postby darthkotor » Wed Mar 16, 2016 1:16 am

I emailed this brewery around March of 2015 inquiring about their decoction schedule for their Pilsner.

Thanks for the interest in our product. We use for Bitburger Premium Pilsner a classical decoction mashing regime (2 step) which is adapted to our malt quality. The aim of our mashing regime is to create a wort with an optimal composition (in means of nutrients for the yeast) for good fermentation and to fix the fermentability of the wort. One key parameter of our beer and its drinkability is the ratio of residual extract (attenuation) and bitterness.

Kind regards

I would assume that its the Hochkurz Decoction, I remember Troester talking about it in his AHNC speech that most german breweries who do still maintain a decoction schedule tend to favor it. The rep mentions "fermentability", "drinkability" and attenuation. This leads me to believe that my initial guess is correct because of the two step sacc rest Hochkurz gives us.

However the term "classical" does pop up, which skips the second sacc rest according to Troester. Either way, a decoction is used.

Bitburger Pils
Purchased 6 months after bottle date (yay California) in a 500mL can from Trader Joe's.

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Pours bright and beautiful. Light, polished gold in color.

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Flavor is to be expected from German Pils. Caramel, while light, is noticeable. Reminds me of the sweets my mother used to bake fresh out of the oven. Hop flavor is delicate, bitterness is upfront but short lived. This being my first time having Bitburger, it remind me a LOT of Pilsner Urquell. Urquell has a stronger, more herbal (almost tea like) hop flavor, and more caramel notes.

Rough translation :
Since 1817, Bitburger, Private Brewery
Under German Reinheisgebot, Guaranteed the best Raw Ingredients (also says "One Moment Please!" in script)

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Re: Bitburger

Postby darthkotor » Wed Mar 16, 2016 1:27 am

Also, if you are interested check out their video

Kind of entertaining video, there is a brewer attempting to use a hydrometer and a lederhosen-clad cellarman working the filters.

Looks like they lager for 4 weeks (

Bitburger Premium Beer maturates for four weeks, making it especially pure and free of fusel alcohols.

Looks like OG is 1.045, and FG is around 1.008
Original gravity in %content of ...% 11,3
Alcohol content in % by volume 4,8

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Re: Bitburger

Postby Bryan R » Wed Mar 16, 2016 10:02 am

I think its safe to say it's a standard Hochkurz, 62/72. What kind of caramel did you taste? When brewed properly as little as .5% will come though in the finished beer.

They show the 3 vessels of the brewery, but if you look in the pictures you see 2 smaller vessels in the background to the left side....Interesting.

Re: Bitburger

Postby darthkotor » Wed Mar 16, 2016 12:18 pm

The caramel reminded me of dusting pastries with sugar before you bake them. Just enough so the sugar melts and gets a bit browned.

On one of the other pages they said the pilot batch system was a 5 vessel brewhouse, thought that was interesting also.
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German Brewing
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Re: Bitburger

Postby Ancient Abbey » Wed Mar 16, 2016 5:49 pm

Which caramel malt would you say it lines up with? Carahell, carared, caraamber, caramunich (I, II, or III) or maybe carabohemian?
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Re: Bitburger

Postby darthkotor » Wed Mar 16, 2016 11:02 pm

To be completely honest I have no experience with those malts (that's why I am here!). I have some carahell on the shelf that I am using in my next helles.

The closest thing I can think of is the smell of english caramel 15, but with brown sugar tossed on top and toasted for 15 minutes.

I have seen many, many references to carahell being used in German Pils, so I am going to assume its that.
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Re: Bitburger

Postby Weizenberg » Sat Mar 26, 2016 5:20 pm

A classic double decoction isn't a Hochkurz schedule. Hochkurz is a modern schedule that became very wide-spread in the 60's.

But that's splitting hairs.

What's interesting is how he emphasised that they adapt the schedule to the malt and that the attenuation:bitterness ratio is an important yardstick ;)

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Re: Bitburger

Postby darthkotor » Sat Mar 26, 2016 6:06 pm

I know classic double and hochkurz are different mash schedules, hence why I specified that the mention of attenuation and drinkability lead me to think its a Hochkurz decoction.

I also specified that the classical decoction was different from hochkurz in regards to not using a second sacc rest.

I just find it a bit funny how on this forum, its a point to take pride in to get down to the nitty gritty detail. To cite sources and provide sound advice. To not just pull a comment out of your arse and post it without reading the parent post and provide no additional detail.

The only reason you, WeizenBerg, posted the comment was to flaunt your knowledge of brewing history. It didn't add anything to the conversation, nor did it actually critique my post. You mentioned attenuation to bitterness being "an important yardstick" like you are the only homebrewer who knows that. Attenuation/Bitterness ratio's are a super common measurement mentioned in almost every homebrew book and used in almost every microbrewery in America.

But that's just splitting hairs, I guess.

Re: Bitburger

Postby ajk » Mon Mar 28, 2016 8:39 am

I appreciate everyone's posts on this forum, and I hope they all continue.

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