"Cracker" in a Pilsner

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by scottakelly, Apr 9, 2017.

  1. scottakelly

    scottakelly Devotee (491) May 9, 2007 Ohio

    While I was drinking my homebrewed Czech Pils yesterday and contemplating how I would tweak it, I decided I would like a "cracker" flavor to it.

    The two beers that come to my mind with that flavor are the 2015 Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest and Stoudt's Pils. I know the SN offering supposedly obtained that flavor from a unique pilsner malting of the Steffi barley variety, so I doubt I can use that approach to get this flavor. I'm contemplating a small percentage of biscuit malt to attempt it.

    So has anyone tried biscuit malt in a pilsner? Or another specialty malt that has contributed a "cracker" flavor?
    Is there any pilsner malt that has a more pronounced "cracker" profile?
    dmtaylor likes this.
  2. dmtaylor

    dmtaylor Initiate (169) Dec 30, 2003 Wisconsin

    I personally don't think biscuit malt will get you the "saltine cracker" thing. It's not exactly the same.

    I would love to create a lager with a cracker flavor someday. So far, I have not found a pilsner malt suitable. More experiments are needed. And someone else out there probably has some ideas for us.
    scottakelly likes this.
  3. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,694) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
    Premium Member

    Not sure if it is what you are after but the Weyermann Barke Pils offers something a little different.
  4. csurowiec

    csurowiec Devotee (429) Mar 7, 2010 Maryland

    Victory malt will give you a cracker flavor without adding any sweetness to the finished beer.
  5. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,446) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    The commercial Pilsner that 'proclaims' cracker for me is Neshaminy Creek Trauger Pils.

    Let me tell you a story:

    I was at a Neshaminy Creek tasting event where the Philly area sales rep from Neshaminy Creek was pouring. As I drank a sample pour of Trauger Pils I remarked how I enjoyed the cracker-like malt flavor. I asked the sale rep if you knew what malt was used to make this beer (as in which malting company/brand). He said "No, but I can find out for you". He pulled out his smart phone and after about 3 minutes he informed me: "They use German Pilsner malt". I replied (in a bit of an exasperated manner): I am aware they use German Pilsner Malt but which brand/malting company". He gave me a dull look and said: I don't know.

    @scottakelly. maybe shoot an e-mail to Neshaminy Creek Brewing and ask which brand/malting company they buy their Pilsner malt from for Trauger PIls? If you find out I would be interested in knowing that too.

    I have brewed with a number of Pilsner Malts:
    • Weyermann 'regular' Pilsner Malt
    • Weyermann Floor Malted Bohemian Pilsner Malt
    • Bestmalz Pilsner Malt
    • Castle Pilsner Malt
    • Rahr Premium Pilsner Malt
    • Briess Pilsner Malt
    • Kolsch Malt (from Northern Brewer)
    • a bunch of others
    I have not perceived any cracker-like flavors from the Pilsner Malts that I have brewed with.

    On my bucket list I hope to brew with:
    • Durst Pilsner Malt
    • Avengard Pilsner Malt
    • Dingemans Pilsner Malt
    scottakelly likes this.
  6. invertalon

    invertalon Devotee (434) Jan 27, 2009 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    Yeah, I would add a touch of Victory for that flavor note. Like a 1/2lb or so to start.
    scottakelly likes this.
  7. scottakelly

    scottakelly Devotee (491) May 9, 2007 Ohio

    What are your impressions of the Barke Pils?
  8. scottakelly

    scottakelly Devotee (491) May 9, 2007 Ohio

    Jack, I've never had the Neshaminy Creek Pils. I know it is not distributed in Ohio, but how widely is it available in PA? I'll put it on my search list when I make it to PA some day.

    Regarding your malt list, I have used regular Weyermann, Bestmalz, and Rahr as well and agree there is no "cracker" profile. I have used Avangard Pilsner as well, which imo is a very nice pilsner malt for the price, but alas no cracker profile.

    I will likely email Neshaminy and Stoudt's as part of my research.
  9. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,694) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
    Premium Member

    I've used it in a small 2.5 g batch of pils. I only managed to have one glass out of that batch. It was very good, but I cannot express how it compared. I just didn't have enough to form that opinion. I also used it with a bunch of Munich in a Baltic porter, which also is very good, but with the rest of the grist of that recipe, there really is no way to discern the Barke Pils.

    When you and others say "cracker" from pils malt, do you mean saltine? I've always had a tough time with that, as saltines are not too distinctive.
    scottakelly likes this.
  10. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,446) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    The best that I can report is that I have seen it on tap and in beer stores (cans) in Southeastern PA (Philly area).

    scottakelly likes this.
  11. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,446) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    Summit Keller Pils is brewed using Weyermann Barke Pilsner Malt. I discussed that beer last year in a NBS thread (see link below). That beer had zero cracker aspect for my palate.

    I described the malt backbone as: “The slightly sweet and toasty Pilsner Malt flavor…”

    I enjoyed the aroma/flavor of Weyermann Barke Pilsner Malt but if you want cracker I personally would not suggest this malt.


    scottakelly likes this.
  12. scottakelly

    scottakelly Devotee (491) May 9, 2007 Ohio

    I dislike saltines so in my mind I'm thinking something more like a club cracker, obviously taking out the salt and butter aspect, but there is a bread flavor, in my mind at least, that is greater than the "white bread" flavor I normally get from pilsner malt but less than the "toast" from Munich.

    I've made pilsners before with small amounts of Munich and Melanoidin malt as well, but alas that didn't capture it either.
    pweis909 likes this.
  13. dmtaylor

    dmtaylor Initiate (169) Dec 30, 2003 Wisconsin

    I wonder what happens if you use >50% wheat malt, and maybe toast like 5% of it.
    FeDUBBELFIST and scottakelly like this.
  14. premierpro

    premierpro Aspirant (278) Mar 21, 2009 Michigan

    Maybe mash in with a couple boxes of crackers! Good luck in your search!
  15. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,446) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    Jim, you win the award.:slight_smile:

    I was tempted to say no commercial brewer would add crackers to their grains as they mash but in today's day and age....:rolling_eyes:

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  16. Hanglow

    Hanglow Defender (624) Feb 18, 2012 United Kingdom (Scotland)

    There's a commercial ale made with old bread that's available here, so you never know
  17. dmtaylor

    dmtaylor Initiate (169) Dec 30, 2003 Wisconsin

    My kvass made with bread and bread yeast tasted like.... bread! So I appreciate very much the suggestion of using real crackers in a crackery beer. It can and should be done by someone at some point.

    scottakelly likes this.