My recent version of a Bohemian pilsner has been on tap for a few weeks, and is at its peak for enjoyment. Today, I did a head-to-head with the classic flagship for the style, Pilsner Urquell.
Try Again Bohemian Pilsner
- The Basics
- 1.053 s.g., 1.014 f.g., 4.2% abv, 36 IBU, 5 SRM
- Pours with a fine white head with excellent persistance. The beer itself is a golden hue, nearly an exact match for Pilsner Urquell but perhaps just a notch lighter. It is very clear, but not quite brilliant (Urquell has a slight edge here). In terms of appearance, mine is equal in color, better in head (and head retention), and needs slight improvement in clarity.
- My beer tips a little bit more towards malt prominence; there is a very slight spice note from the Saaz hops, but that’s still not quite where it should be. Urquell has the hop note perfectly, so I give it a slight edge on this count.
- Bitterness levels are not quite evenly matched between Urquell and mine; Urquell comes across as a bit more bitter. Mine has a nice malt character, but this is slightly at the expense of the hops. The malt on my homebrew is rich and bready, and the bitterness stands well against that. The finish is balanced well. Relative to Urquell, it tips more towards the malt than bitterness on the finish, and I prefer the hoppier Urquell version a bit more.
- My brew has a medium body and moderate carbonation. Urquell is definitely drier than my beer, with a more extended and more bitter finish. The finish on mine is smoother yet I prefer the Urquell “bite” just a touch.
- Would I brew this again?
- Yes, with a few minor modifications! There is lots I like about my beer, such as the appearance and malt character. I do feel like it could be a bit drier and crisper (relative to Urquell), because the hops are just a tiny bit “flabby”. My main adjustment would be to increase the hopping, and mash at a slightly lower temperature to dry out the beer a bit. I might also try halving the melanoidin contribution; I think it might be contributing some unfermentables that keep the beer from being as dry as it might be. The Barke pilsen malt that I used in this recipe has plenty of character on its own, anyhow!