Pilsnerpeton

I’m slowly and steadily improving my German pils game, and feel like this one is a winner! It’s a super basic recipe, but my philosophy has always been that the best pilsners are accentuated by skill and quality ingredients, rather than endless ingredient lists.

The name is a cheeky reference to a naming convention in zoology, with many amphibians, reptiles, and relatives getting an “-erpeton” suffix. It translates literally as “reptile” or “creeping thing.” Acquaintance Brad McFeeters cheekily noted that Pilsnerpeton would be a great name for a lagerpetid (dinosaur cousin), and I thought it would also be a euphonious name for a beer! I might keep it as the name for my house German pils recipe from here on out…

Pilsnerpeton

  • 10 lb. Viking Pilsner Zero malt
  • 0.4 oz. Perle hop pellets (7.1% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 0.15 oz. Sterling hop pellets (7.4% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 1.0 oz. Perle hop pellets (7.1% alpha), 10 minute boil
  • 0.25 oz. Mt. Hood hop pellets (4.6% alpha), 10 minute boil
  • 1 tsp. Fermax yeast nutrient, 10 minute boil
  • 1 WhirlFloc tablet, 5 minute boil
  • 1 pkg. Global liquid yeast (Imperial #L13)

Target Parameters

  • 1.046 s.g., 1.006 f.g., 5.2% abv, 4 SRM, 26 IBU
  • Full volume step mash, with 30 minute rest at 142°, 40 minute rest at 156°, and 10 minute mash-out at 168°
  • Claremont tap water, treated with Campden tablet.

Procedure

  • Around 12 hours in advance of pitching, I made a 1.5L SNS (shaken-not-stirred) starter with 150 g of light DME.
  • I heated 7.25 gallons of water to 147°, and mashed in the grains. I added 5 mL of 88% lactic acid to adjust pH.
  • I held the mash at 142° for 30 minutes, and then raised it to 156°, which took approximately 9 minutes. After 40 minutes at 156°, I raised the temperature to 168°, which took around 10 minutes. I held it at this temperature for 10 minutes, before removing the grains and bringing the kettle to a boil.
  • The gravity out of the mash was 1.039, with 6.4 gallons collected. This equates to 67% mash efficiency.
  • Once the kettle was boiling, I added hops and kettle finings per the recipe.
  • After a 60 minute boil, I turned off the heat and chilled down to 88° while recirculating. At this point, I stopped recirculation and let the wort settle for 30 minutes.
  • Then, I transferred the wort to the fermenter, discarding around 1 gallons of trub. This was probably a bit more than I needed to get rid of, and would aim for ~0.5 gallons next time.
  • In the fermenter, I chilled the wort down to 49°, over a 3 hour period. I oxygenated the wort for 40 seconds, and then pitched the yeast.
  • I brewed the beer on 28 December 2020. Starting gravity was 1.044.
  • I started fermentation at 48°, with a free rise to 50° after pitching. I raised the beer to 54° on 1 January 2021, 56° on 5 January, and 60° on 9 January. I cold crashed down to 34° on 16 January 2021.
  • I kegged the beer on 30 January 2021, after two weeks of cold crashing.
  • Final gravity was 1.013, down from 1.044, for 4.1% abv. The final gravity was a bit higher than predicted by BeerSmith, but I think that’s because the software doesn’t do well with calculating wort fermentability from step mashes.

Tasting

  • Appearance
    • Very clear light gold beer, just shy of brilliant, with a beautifully creamy, tall, and persistent white head. It has wonderful lacing down the side of the glass as you drink it.
  • Aroma
    • Malty sweet and cracker notes in a moderate malt aroma. There is a low level of “spicy” hop character. I might like a little more hop aroma, but that’s a minor fault.
  • Flavor
    • Clean, malty-sweet character, with moderate level of very smooth bitterness. The hop flavor is herbal/spicy, with a clean finish. The bitterness lingers pleasantly.
  • Mouthfeel
    • Medium-light body, moderate carbonation, very smooth finish.
  • Would I brew this again?
    • Yes! The malt/hop balance are perfect for my taste, so I think ~25 IBU in a lower-gravity pils is a sweet spot for my preference. Clean fermentation character and clean malt make this taste so good! I might try some hop adjustments for the late hopping to improve aroma, but that is the only real fault in this beer.
  • Overall
    • 9/10

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