Palaeotis Pils

pilsner_maltOn my continued quest to learn brewing grains in depth, I recently purchased a 55 lb. sack of Weyermann’s floor-malted Bohemian pilsner malt. This is the same stuff I used for my Lithographica Pilsner, and is cool on a scientific level because the grains are malted on floors made of Solnhofen Limestone (more details here).

For my first brew with this sack of malt, I elected on doing a German pils. That’s a new style for me, and also can be brewed with a minimum complexity of ingredients (I’m really gravitating towards those sorts of simple recipes).

The name for the batch honors an important fossil bird from the Messel pits of Germany, around 47 million years old. Palaeotis is potentially an early ratite, a member of the group of birds including ostriches and emus.

Palaeotis Pils

  • 8.5 lbs. floor-malted Bohemian pilsner malt (Weyermann)
  • 0.21 lb. acidulated malt
  • 0.6 oz. Magnum hop pellets (13.2% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 1 oz. German Hallertau hop pellets (3.2% alpha), 5 minute boil
  • 1 tsp. Fermax yeast nutrient, 10 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 10 minute boil
  • German lager yeast (White Labs WLP830), prepared in 1.7L starter

Target Parameters

  • Double decoction mash, 10 minute rest at 122°, infusion to hit 60 minute rest at 148°, thick decoction to raise temperature to 154°, 10 minute rest, thin decoction to mash out at 168°. Batch sparge.
  • Water built from R.O., to hit 59.1 ppm Ca, 8.2 ppm Mg, 89 ppm SO4, and 62.9 ppm Cl.
  • 1.045 o.g., 1.008 f.g., 4.9% abv, 34 IBU, 3 SRM, 5 gallons into fermenter


  • Five days in advance (4 December 2016), I made a 1.75 L starter for my yeast culture. After two days on the stir plate, I cold-crashed the starter.
  • For this recipe, I built my water to match the “Pilsner Water” profile on Braukaiser. For the 3.6 gallons of mash water, I added 1.4 g of gypsum, 1.1 g of epsom salt, and 1.8 g of calcium chlorie. For the 5 gallons of sparge water, I added 1.9 g of gypsum, 1.6 g of epsom salt, and 2.5 g of calcium chloride.
  • I mashed in with 2.25 gallons of water at 134° to hit 126°, and left it for a 10 minute protein rest.
  • Next I added 5.25 quarts of water at 197°, to hit a mash temperature of 149° (after a bit of stirring).
  • After 50 minutes, I pulled a thick decoction of 7 quarts. I heated it to 154°, let it rest for 10 minutes, and brought to a boil for 10 minutes. The decoction addition brought the mash up to 156. I let the mash rest for 10 more minutes.
  • Next, I pulled 1 gallon of wort for a thin decoction, boiled it for 10 minutes, and returned it to the mash. This raised the temperature up to around 168°.
  • I pulled the first runnings, and added the 5 gallons of sparge water. After 10 minutes and a vorlauf, I collected the remainder of the wort. I had around 7 gallons, so added 0.25 gallons of water to bring up the volume to my target.
  • In total, I had 7.25 gallons of mash runnings at a gravity of 1.038, for 84% efficiency.
  • I brought the kettle to a boil, and added the hops and other ingredients per the schedule. I added 0.25 gallons of RO water during the boil, to top things up and keep the gravity from getting too high.
  • After 60 minutes, I chilled the wort down to 70°, transferred the wort while aerating, put the fermenter into the fermentation chamber, and pitched the yeast.
  • Starting gravity was 1.048, a touch above my target of 1.045. I will be fermenting this at 52°. I brewed the beer on 9 December 2016.