GBP70 – Bohemian Pilsner Recipe & Tasting

In honor of my dad’s 70th birthday (he introduced me to homebrewing, after all!), I brewed a Bohemian-style pilsner. It was pretty tasty, and sadly didn’t last long enough even for me to do a formal tasting. I made the mistake of serving it at a party, and the keg was finished before I could blink!

GBP70 (Greg’s Birthday Pilsner 70)

  • 10.5 lbs. Barke pilsner malt (Weyermann)
  • 2.3 oz. melanoidin malt (Weyermann)
  • 0.3 oz. Carafa Special III malt (Weyermann)
  • 2 oz. Saaz hop pellets (3.0% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 0.75 oz. Saaz hop pellets (3.5% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 10 minute boil
  • 1 tsp. Fermax yeast nutrient, 10 minute boil
  • 2.25 oz. Saaz hop pellets (3.5% alpha), 5 minute boil
  • 2 pkg. W34/70 Saflager Lager Yeast (Fermentis)

Target Parameters

  • 60 minute infusion mash, 150°, no sparge
  • 1.049 o.g., 1.010 f.g., 5.2% abv, 38 IBU, 5 SRM
  • Water built from RO to hit targets of 7 ppm Ca, 2 ppm Mg, 2 ppm Na, 5 ppm SO4, 5 ppm Cl, 15 ppm HCO3

Procedure

  • To 7.75 gallons of RO water, I added 0.6 g baking soda, 0.4 g CaCl, and 0.3 g gypsum.
  • I heated the mash water to ~160°, added to the mash tun, allowed to cool to 155.4°, and then added the grains along with 10 mL of 88% lactic acid.
  • I hit 150.7° on the mash temperature–not too bad! It was down to 148.7° after 45 minutes.
  • After 60 minutes, I collected 6.5 gallons of wort with a gravity of 1.041. This works out to 67% efficiency. That’s a fair bit lower than my typical efficiency (73 to 75%), but not unexpected given the no-sparge methods. I added 0.25 gallons of RO water to bring up the volume in the kettle.
  • I boiled for 60 minutes, adding hops and other ingredients per the schedule.
  • I chilled the wort to 75° in the kettle, and chilled the rest of the way down to 49° after transferring to the fermenter. I oxygenated for 60 minutes at this point, and then pitched the dry yeast directly into the wort.
  • Starting gravity was 1.046 on 12 January 2019.
  • I raised the brew temperature to 64° on 26 February 2019, and cold crashed on 28 February 2019. I kegged the beer (using a closed-transfer technique, directly into the CO2-purged keg) on 9 March 2019.
  • Final gravity was 1.010, down from 1.046. This equates to 4.9% abv.

IMG_20190327_202833General Tasting Impressions

I didn’t get to do a formal tasting for this one, and it was finished before it really hit its ultimate peak, but overall I’m pretty happy with it. The malt flavor was spot-on, and I think I’ve finally iterated into a good balance of melanoidin malt within my no-decoction Bohemian pilsner recipes. The beer was pretty clear, but would have cleared to brilliant with another week or two in the keg. The head and head retention were fairly good also, but not the best I’ve ever had. Not sure why that was. I’m still chasing a perfect Saaz hop aroma in my Bohemian pilsners; it’s just a matter of finding the right hops with the right freshness. The ones I used in this batch weren’t awful, but they weren’t awfully exceptional, either. Overall, I would give this recipe 8/10, with targeted improvements to mainly chase the best possible hop flavor.

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