Pilsner (For Intermediate Homebrewers)

[Photograph: Sarah Postma]

This is an all-grain homebrewing recipe which is written for the intermediate level, brew-in-a-bag homebrewer. Since this beer is a lager style, it's highly recommended that you have a temperature controlled refrigerator you can use for cold fermentation and lagering. If this is your first lager, read this lager overview before you begin to make sure you know the process.

For this brew, you'll use the same equipment setup used for extract batches, but you will also need a kettle that is at least 7.5 gallons as well as an extra-large mesh grain bag. A second stockpot large enough to heat (not boil) 3 gallons of water is also recommended. An accurate brewing thermometer is very important when making an all-grain recipe; it's a good idea to check that yours is in good working condition.

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Pilsner (For Intermediate Homebrewers)

About This Recipe

Active time:5.5 to 8 hours
Total time:7 to 9 weeks
Special equipment:7.5 gallon kettle (or bigger), large mesh grain bag, the basic homebrewing equipment setup and a temperature controlled refrigerator
This recipe appears in: Homebrewing: How to Brew Pilsner

Ingredients

  • 7 pounds pilsner malt, crushed
  • 8 gallons of water split - blend 4 gallons tap water and 4 gallons distilled water
  • 1.5 pounds extra light dry malt extract
  • 1.5 ounces Saaz hops - 90 minutes
  • 1 ounce Saaz hops - 20 minutes
  • 1.5 ounces Saaz hops - 5 minutes
  • 1 ounce Saaz hops - 0 minutes (flame out)
  • Two 11.5 gram packages of dry lager yeast (Saflager S-23)

Procedures

  1. 1

    Line the 7.5 gallon kettle with the mesh bag, fill with 2.5 gallons of tap water and bring to 157°F. Remove from heat.

  2. 2

    Mash-in by slowly adding 7 pounds of pilsner malt into the water and inside the bag. Stir for 2 minutes to prevent balls of grain from clumping together, creating a consistent mash. The temperature should equalize to about 148°F.

  3. 3

    Cover the mash, only uncovering to briefly stir every 20 minutes. Heat 3 more gallons of water to 190°F.

  4. 4

    After 60 minutes, mash-out by carefully pouring the 190°F water into the mash, stirring to equalize temperature to about 170°F.

  5. 5

    Slowly raise the grain bag out of the liquid, allowing the wort to drain from the grain. Hold the grain bag above the kettle for 5 to 10 minutes as the wort drains. Top the wort off with water to 6.5 gallons and add 1.5 pounds extra light dry malt extract.

  6. 6

    Bring wort to a vigorous boil. When the boil begins, add 1.5 ounce Saaz hops in a mesh bag.

  7. 7

    After boiling for 70 minutes, add 1 ounce Saaz hops in a mesh bag.

  8. 8

    After boiling for 85 minutes, add 1.5 ounce Saaz hops in a mesh bag.

  9. 9

    After total of 90 minutes of boil, remove from heat and add 1 ounce Saaz hops in a mesh bag. Warning: After wort cools below 180°F everything that touches it should be sanitary, and exposure to open air should be limited as much as possible.

  10. 10

    Cool wort by placing pot in ice bath or by using a wort chiller until it is below 70°F. Transfer to sanitized fermentor (either a carboy or a fermentation bucket) and place in a temperature controlled refrigerator set to 48°F.

  11. 11

    Use a sanitized auto-siphon racking cane to remove enough wort to take a gravity reading with your hydrometer. Make a note of this number, since you will be using it to calculate the actual alcohol content when it's done fermenting. The reading should be around 1.054. Cover fermentor with a sanitized stopper and airlock.

  12. 12

    After wort cools to 50°F, agitate vigorously for at least 5 minutes. Add two 11.5 gram packages of Saflager S-23 yeast.

  13. 13

    Ferment for at least 3 weeks at 48°F

  14. 14

    After fermentation is complete, rack to a sanitized secondary carboy and allow the beer to raise to room temperature for 12 hours for a diacetyl rest.

  15. 15

    Lager for 4 to 6 weeks by placing carboy in a temperature controlled refrigerator set to 35°F.

  16. 16

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