German Pilsner: Tasting Notes

After many months of lagering in keg, my June-brewed German Pilsner is very nice. SMaSH in recipe, this hop-forward, session-style lager shines with simplicity. Like its cousin, Session Helles, this small, 2.5 gallon batch was intended to grow lager yeast for the 2014 Fall German Lagers. My only wish was that I had more than two-gallons of this brew. A review and recipe below. Cheers, and happy brewing!

Review
Pouring into a pilsner glass, this German Pilsner has a clear, straw appearance with fine white head. The aroma is hop-forward, on the floral spectrum reminicent of jasmine with light hints of citrus. In tasting, floral, spicy hops with firm bitterness along with notes of grainy, Graham cracker malt. On the palette, the beer finishes very crisp and clean, lager-like with hops up front, balancing nicely with some malt, and finishing dry. At ~4.6% ABV, this is one of my favorite all-purpose beers, going well with all forms of weather and food. My favorite pairing is thick-crust cheese pizza and an action movie. Also, while planning ahead for the Fall season, this starter batch grows plenty of yeast for my stronger German lagers.

Recipe Design
German pilsners do best when kept simple on the SMaSH-y spectrum. Go with a characterful pilsner malt (like Weyermann or Durst) and noble hop. My favorite noble hop is Hallertau Mittelfruh, but Hersbrucker works well as a replacement. Flaws show easily in this style; great examples have dialled-in fermentation and water chemistry. Key goals are a hop-forward water profile (usually a little gypsum will work) and attenuation (proper pitch rates and oxygenation help a lot). Other than that, any good German lager yeast will do. The Wyeast 2124 Bohemian Lager yeast is very nice.

Recipe: German Pilsner
2.5 Gallon Batch, all-grain
Stats: OG 1.046 FG 1.011 ABV: ~4.6% IBU: ~35, 85% mash efficiency

Grist
4 lbs Weyermann Pilsner Malt

Single-infusion mash at 150 F 60 min, mashout at 170 F 10 min

Hops
Hallertau Mittelfruh at 60, 10, 0 mins to get to 35 IBU

Yeast
Wyeast 2124 Bohemian Lager, pitched cold ~58 F, chilled to 48 F over 24 hours, fermented at 48-50 F 21 days

Water
Added 1 tsp gypsum to nice clean soft-ish water

4 thoughts on “German Pilsner: Tasting Notes

      • Looks beautiful. I have my German Pils in the ferm set at 35F for about 2 weeks now, I think I will let it go another 2 more weeks. This one is half of a 10 gallon batch. The first half was lagered for a week same temp, I added 15g sea salt and 3 lime slices in secondary. It was a hit. Not as clear as I wanted it, but I expected that. Salude!

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