Pilsner Recipe

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by AMW, Dec 3, 2018.

  1. AMW

    AMW Initiate (76) Jan 13, 2013 Massachusetts

    Looking for a Hill Farmstead Mary or Suarez Family Pils clone recipe. My basement is pretty consistent in the 50-55 degree F range and it'll be my first batch with lager yeast. Happily take any tips too.
  2. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,712) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I do not have a clone recipe to offer but some considerations for brewing a German style Pilsner:

    Grain Bill
    Make sure you use a Continental Pilsner Malt. I prefer to use German Pilsner Malt for this sort of beer but there are a number of high quality Belgian Pilsner malts that will 'work' as well. My personal preference is a 100% Pilsner Malt bill.

    There are a number of lager yeast strains which could be used but my personal preference is Wyeast 2124 for brewing my Pilsners. Keep in mind that lagers require 'extra' yeast amounts so a yeast starter or multiple yeast packets are needed here.

    Use Noble hops for flavor and aroma additions. Select either Spalt, Tettnager, Hallertauer Mittelfruh or Saaz based upon your preferences. I choose to use either Sterling or German Magnum for bittering.

    The above touches upon ingredient selection but when it comes to brewing a beer style like Pilsner process is equally (more?) important. Conduct a cool ferment and then conduct a proper lagering phase. How will you be lagering this beer?

  3. wasatchback

    wasatchback Aspirant (270) Jan 12, 2014 Utah

    According to the HF instagram the Poetica version of Mary is single decocted, uses Spalt and Hersbrucker, and is krausened (as are all their lagers). Poetica they just lagered in oak so I’d make a guess to say regular Mary is a similar “recipe”.

    Really the recipe is the least important part, the process is what makes these beers. From everything I’ve gathered their lagers are very traditionally made. So a step/single decoction mash schedule of 145/162/168 is probably a good place to start. Weyermann Floor Malted Pils or Barke Pils and that’s probably it for grain. Spalt/Hersbrucker at FW/40/20 to 40 or so IBUs. I believe their pils gets its Ca from gypsum and not CaCl but it’ll have a modest amount of Na as well.

    Big fan of German Lager X personally for these beers. It’s the Andech’s strain and produces a slightly more malty/softer pils. Tough to find but it’s still available through Austin Homebrew Supply. Shoot for a pretty high pitch rate (over 2 mil/ml/* Plato) and ferment it cold and I’d bet they step the temp down for the last 4* Plato or so, definitely no warm diacetyl rest. You’ll need to Lager it for 5-8 weeks probably too.

    I degassed a Mary this summer and FG was 1.010 if my memory serves me.

    I wish u luck. Incredibly hard to replicate the precision with which those beers are made.
    Supergenious, NeroFiddled and AMW like this.
  4. beer_thusiast

    beer_thusiast Initiate (34) Sep 5, 2015 Missouri

    Water is important. I brewed an “American/German” Pilsner yesterday (German malt and yeast, cascade hops). I don’t know my water profile. But I read that you can approximate Pilsen water by using a 2:1 distilled to tap water ratio. The wort had that sort of soft, thin, bitter edge that I associate with a Czech Pilsner. Whatever you do, water in this style is important.
  5. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,469) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    That would depend entirely on what's in your tap water. Most random tap waters would not work out this way. All you can say without knowing your profile is that diluting it will make it softer and reduce alkalinity.

    BTW, you're shooting for a German and/or American pilsner. So why Pilsen (Czech Republic) water?
    Prep8611 and hopfenunmaltz like this.
  6. Prep8611

    Prep8611 Aspirant (250) Aug 22, 2014 New Jersey

    I’m a huge fan of distilled plus CaCl and that’s it. Otherwise I use half my tap(soft) and cut it with a few gallons of distilled if I don’t feel like adding brewing salts.
    dmtaylor likes this.
  7. beer_thusiast

    beer_thusiast Initiate (34) Sep 5, 2015 Missouri

    You are correct about my not knowing the profile of my water and diluting it with distilled making it softer. That was my intention. Regarding Pilsen water, I was under the impression that German Pilsner has a similarly soft water profile. If not then I guess my beer will be a combination of three different styles/ingredients (German yeast and malt, American hops Czech-ish water). Cheers.
  8. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,712) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I suspect that the brewing water for German Pilsners will vary upon the brewery’s location in Germany but needless to say a brewery has the ability to build their brewing water per their specifications.

    In the below link is a recipe for water to brew a German Pilsner (and American Pilsner) that you may want to utilize for a future batch.


    premierpro and beer_thusiast like this.
  9. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,386) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    The water in Germany is generally more mineralized than Pílzn. It can be hard or fairly alkaline.
  10. TheBeerery

    TheBeerery Initiate (84) May 2, 2016 Minnesota

    All the large German breweries are using RO/ion exchange.
    hopfenunmaltz likes this.
  11. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,386) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Even some smaller ones do that
    TheBeerery likes this.