Schell’s Pilsner Clone 2021

I brew this recipe from time to time, and have enjoyed it pretty well so far. It’s a nice German pils to have around, and has a wonderfully simple approach. This year’s edition is generally the same as in past years, although I used all-Sterling as the hop, rather than a mix of Mt. Hood and Sterling, and I have a different brand of base malt.

Schell’s Pils Clone

Schell’s Pilsner Clone 2021

  • 11 lb. Viking 2-row Xtra Pale Malt
  • 0.25 lb. Carapils (Briess)
  • 0.75 oz. Sterling hop pellets (7.4% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 0.5 oz. Sterling hop pellets (7.4% alpha), 20 minute boil
  • 1 g BruTanB, 10 minute boil
  • 1.3 oz. Sterling hop pellets (7.4% alpha), 5 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 5 minute boil
  • 1 pkg. German Lager yeast (WLP830), in 2L starter
  • 1.25 oz. Sterling hop pellets (7.4% alpha), 3 day dry hop

Target Parameters

  • 1.050 o.g., 1.006 f.g., 5.9% abv, 35 IBU, 4 SRM
  • 60 minute full volume mash, with 40 minutes at 144° and 10 minutes at 158°
  • Claremont tap water


  • I mashed in with 7.3 gallons of water at 150°, adding 7 mL of 88% lactic acid, and recirculated at a mash temperature of 144° for 40 minutes.
  • Next, I raised the mash temperature to 158°, holding it there for 10 minutes.
  • Finally, I raised the mash to 168° for 10 minutes, before removing the grains.
  • In total, I collected 6.4 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.044, for 68% mash efficiency.
  • I brought the kettle to a boil, adding hops and finings per the schedule. After 60 minutes, I turned off the heat and chilled, transferred, and finished chilling to 48°. I oxygenated with pure O2 for 40 seconds before pitching the yeast.
  • I started with ~5.25 gallons of beer in the fermenter and an original gravity of 1.050.
  • I brewed the beer on 1 May 2021.
  • I began fermentation at 50°, and raised the temperature to 52° on 8 May 2021. I raised the temperature to 60° on 26 May 2021, and cold crashed on 26 May 2021. My fermentation chamber broke(!) on 1 June 2021, so the beer was at ~65° for around 24 hours. I got it back cold on 2 June 2021, and added the dry hops on 5 June 2021.
  • I kegged the beer on 12 June 2021, adding 1 tsp. of gelatin heated to 156° in 3/4 cup of water.
  • Final gravity was 1.010, which works out to 5.2% abv.


  • Appearance
    • This is a light gold/yellow beer that pours brilliantly clear, with a persistent creamy head.
  • Aroma
    • The beer has a light, spicy hop note, and a crackery malt note.
  • Flavor
    • It has a prominent bitterness, with a crisp and clean hop character. The bitterness is a bit over the top, and the water has a mineral-type (almost salty) character. Paired with the right food it does OK, but it is a bit too bitter on its own. The malt is light and crackery; very simple, but nice. Yeast profile is quite clean.
  • Mouthfeel
    • Medium-light body, moderate carbonation, slightly dry finish.
  • Would I brew this again?
    • Yes, but next time I’m going to do better on the water profile. I think using tap water was a mistake here, especially without more adjustments to knock out carbonates, etc. The bitterness is just too much, which is unfortunate! In going back through my notes, all past iterations have built up from RO water, and I think I’ll do that again next time. Everything else works pretty well, and I suppose the bitterness is within the upper bounds of a German pils, so I can’t ding it too much. I might also try going back to the Mt. Hood+Sterling hop combo, just to give it a touch more interest in the hops.
  • Overall
    • 6/10

Schell’s Pils Clone 1.1

Last year, one of my favorite recipes was a clone of Schell’s Pils, a German-style pilsner from Minnesota using 2-row malt rather than pilsner malt. I decided to have another go at this recipe, but with a few minor modifications in the ingredients.

Schell’s Pils Clone 1.1

  • 11.5 lb. 2-row malt (Great Western)
  • 0.25 lb. Carapils malt (Briess)
  • 1 oz. Mt. Hood hop pellets (4.6% alpha), first wort hopping and 60 minute boil
  • 0.75 oz. Mt. Hood hop pellets (4.6% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 0.75 oz. Mt. Hood hop pellets (4.6% alpha), 20 minute boil
  • 0.5 oz. Sterling hop pellets (7.4% alpha), 5 minute boil
  • 1 tsp. Fermax yeast nutrient, 10 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 5 minute boil
  • 1 repitch of German lager yeast (White Labs WLP830)

Target Parameters

  • 1.052 o.g., 1.011 f.g., 5.4% abv, 38 IBU, 4 SRM
  • 60 minute infusion mash, 152°, batch sparge
  • Water built up from RO, to hit target water profile of 59 ppm Ca, 8 ppm Mg, 89 ppm SO4, 63 ppm Cl; RA=-47ppm


  • I built up my RO water with 1.86 g CaCl, 1.45 g gypsum, and 1.2 g Epsom salt in total with 8.5 gallons of RO water.
  • I mashed in with 4 gallons of water at 163.5°, to hit a mash temperature of around 152°. After 60 minutes, I added 1.1 gallons of water at ~185°, let sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the first runnings.
  • I next added ~3.6 gallons of water, let sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the second runnings.
  • In total, I collected 7.25 gallons of runnings with a graviy of 1.045, for 77% mash efficiency.
  • I brought the kettle to a boil, adding the hops, nutrient, and finings per the schedule.
  • After a 60 minute boil, I chilled the wort down to ~75°, and transferred to the fermenter.
  • I chilled the wort in my fermentation chamber down to 49°, oxygenated with 30 seconds of pure O2, and pitched a culture of yeast from a previous batch (my Crystal Pils, harvested about 6 weeks prior).
  • I fermented at 52°, for just under a month.
  • Starting gravity was 1.053, on 7 March 2020.
  • I didn’t change the temperature at all during the duration of fermentation, figuring that any lingering off-flavors would be cleaned up during this time.
  • I kegged the beer on 4 April 2020. Final gravity was 1.010, for 5.7% abv.


golden beer with white head in conical pilsner glass
  • Appearance
    • Thick white head, pretty persistent. It pours well, and sticks around, too. The beer itself is light yellow and pretty clear (but not quite brilliant).
  • Aroma
    • Lightly spicy hop character, slight grainy-sweet malt character.
  • Flavor
    • Definitely hop dominant, with an assertive hop presence that is on the tongue well after finishing the sip. Malt character is smooth and slightly doughy, but definitely in the background…almost too much so.
  • Mouthfeel
    • Off-dry, moderately high carbonation, with a lingering bitter finish.
  • Would I brew this again?
    • For my tastes, I liked the first batch much better. This version is still a pretty good German pils, but definitely a touch more bitter than I care for in this style. It just overwhelms the malt too much. I think I’ll go back to my hopping schedule from the previous version. The hop/malt balance was just better in that one. I’ll still keep the dry-hop out, though. I also wonder if changing from Rahr to Great Western for the malt made a difference?
  • Overall: 6.5/10