German Pilsner (Pivo Pils)

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German Pilsner (Pivo Pils)

Postby Josh1ne on Sun Jun 21, 2015 9:20 am

Hey all, finally picked up my new 10G kettle from Brewers Hardware and going to dive into my first Pilsner, and my first brew at home since my son was born. I'm realizing that I should've done a starter, but I may have to tackle that next time since I'm a ways down the road with this one. Just thought I'd toss this up for feedback and any tips on my process. I'm kind of taking bits and pieces from everything I've read and heard in terms of best practice.

Here's the gist of the Pivo Pils-like recipe (avoiding a decoction mash this go around):

Goal
4-6 SRM
IBU - 40-41
OG - 1.054-1.056
FG - 1.008-1.010
Target ABV: 5.4%

Grain Bill
9 lbs. 8 oz German 2-Row
12.8 oz Vienna Malt
8 oz Aromatic Malt
6.4 Munich Malt

Hop Sched
0.7 Magnum @ 60 mins (12.2 aa)
0.8 Hallertauer @ 20 mins (2.7 aa, substitute for Saphir)
0.8 Tettnang @ 20 mins (2.4 aa, substitute for Spalt Select)
0.6 Tettnag @ 5 mins
0.6 @ 0 mins
Dry Hop: 1 oz. Hallertauer on final 7 days.

With new 10-gallon setup and I’m on my electric stove, I went slightly higher on the grain in case efficiency isn’t as good. Using BIAB method this go around as well.

BeerSmith Numbers
OG - 1.059
IBU - 40.5
SRM - 5.8
ABV - 6.3 (grain is already milled, so hopefully my efficiency is under as I suspect it will be)


After reading a lot of suggestions for a step mash [122 (20), 145(20), 152 (40), 165 (10, mash out)], decided to just mash at 148 for 60 mins after speaking with guys at Stein Fillers.

Using two vials of White Labs (830), and going to pitch the yeast once temps reach 55 degrees and then turn it down to 50. Let it go two full weeks, and then I'll raise temps to 65 degrees for 3 days. Then, move to secondary for cold aging, moving down from 65 to 58 day 1, 58 to 51 day 2, 51 to 44 day 3, 44 to 39 day 4, and 39 to 35 on day 5. Let sit for 3 weeks at 35. Dry hop on last week 1 oz of Hall.

Any thoughts or tweaks on the process?
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Re: German Pilsner (Pivo Pils)

Postby Megastout on Mon Jun 22, 2015 11:17 am

Sounds great. Will look forward to tasting.
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Re: German Pilsner (Pivo Pils)

Postby bwarbiany on Mon Jun 22, 2015 11:48 am

In the future, if you don't make a starter I'd recommend the SafLager W-34/70 strain of dry yeast. 2 packs should be sufficient for most 5-gallon lager batches, and will be a higher cell count than those two vials of WLP830.

I've also used SafLager S-23, and Mangrove Jack's M84 dry lager yeasts, but neither IMHO compare to the SafLager W-34/70.
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Re: German Pilsner (Pivo Pils)

Postby Josh1ne on Tue Jun 23, 2015 9:59 pm

I typically use dry yeast but was suggested the White Labs while picking up supplies at Stein Fillers so I went with it.

I let the temp come a ways down to 53 before pitching yesterday at 2 p.m. roughly, and now at 10 p.m. the following night still no activity at all. Is this 830 just that slow to start? I'm sitting right at 51 degrees and it's quiet. Any suggestions? I'm flying blind at these temps from personal experience, so any insight helps.
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Re: German Pilsner (Pivo Pils)

Postby bwarbiany on Wed Jun 24, 2015 3:33 pm

Well, two vials without a starter would be considered underpitching, so you'll have to figure that into the lag time. And lag time on a lager has traditionally been longer than an ale, in my experience.

With the exception of the Mangrove Jack's M84, which took 92-96 hours to show visible signs, all of my lager batches were showing activity within 48 hours. These are typically 4 packs of dry yeast in 10 gallons of wort, so roughly double your pitch rate. And I oxygenate the wort... Not sure if you're doing that.

I wouldn't be alarmed that you're not seeing anything yet given that it's underpitched. If you start lagging much beyond 48 hours, you *might* get a little concerned, but even then, I'm not sure that you can expect much faster without a starter.
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Re: German Pilsner (Pivo Pils)

Postby Josh1ne on Wed Jun 24, 2015 10:29 pm

Hey Brad, thanks for all of the info. Finally, signs of life.

Typically when I'm brewing ales, I cool down and pitch usually that evening, so by the next morning/afternoon it's going. I finally have activity tonight, so basically it went beyond the 48-hour mark. Having never brewed at this low a temperature or used this yeast, I was feeling like something must be wrong. I guess it just needed time. Even though I am underpitching, I guess I still figured the yeast would get going but just not as aggressively. Clearly I need a starter or more yeast next go around - or to stick with dry packets, which I almost always do.
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Re: German Pilsner (Pivo Pils)

Postby bwarbiany on Thu Jun 25, 2015 7:42 am

Yep... SafLager W-34/70 and WLP830 are both reportedly the Weihenstephan strain, and I've had a lot of good luck with the W-34/70. If you want to avoid starters, I'd go that route next time...

That said, if you have lager questions, Brad Nixon is the guy to ask... He makes more lagers in a year than I've made in my entire brewing career ;)
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Re: German Pilsner (Pivo Pils)

Postby SamIam on Thu Jun 25, 2015 9:51 am

bwarbiany wrote:That said, if you have lager questions, Brad Nixon is the guy to ask...


You mean the evil sith lord known as Darth Lager.
"I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day!"
~Frank Sinatra
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Re: German Pilsner (Pivo Pils)

Postby dhempy on Thu Jun 25, 2015 2:31 pm

My first couple of lagers were woefully underpitched and it took a while to see any activity. Now I usually do a multi step starter up to about 5L (when using a single vial / pack). This spring I did 4 German Lagers back to back in 6 weeks .. Vienna, Dortmunder Export, Munich Helles, and Schwartzbier. The beauty of that was after the first batch the starters were already done and just needed to be pulled from the fermenter. For those last 3, activity was within 24 hours .. the first was a bit longer but not much.

Welcome to lager brewing! Once you have adequate temp control, you just need a little more patience!

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Re: German Pilsner (Pivo Pils)

Postby BrewMasterBrad on Mon Jun 29, 2015 9:35 am

Sorry I'm a little late getting in on this thread. I know, I'm a slacker. I think you guys covered it pretty well. The biggest thing on brewing lagers is pitching enough healthy yeast. Next, you need a lot of patience. I also freaked out the first few times I brewed lagers since it does take them a while to get going and they don't take off like ales do. Like Dan says, now that I repitch so much, the second generation and beyond take off like wild fire.

The guys at Steinfillers were correct, there is no need for a step mash with modern highly modified malts.

FWIW, since I now am probably on the verge of over-pitching my lagers, I never do a diacetyl rest. With enough healthy yeast and enough time, it is not necessary. Another key thing during the brewing process itself is to do a 90 minute boil. This helps reduce the DMS precursors so you don't end up with that cooked corn aroma and flavor in your lagers. This can happen because the very pale Pilsner malt contains more of those precursors than more highly kilned malts.

Your recipe looks great. Can't wait to taste the finished product. I have a German Pilsner in the primary right now too. Going to repitch the yeast into a Vienna lager on Friday.

By the way, I love Pivo Pils. One of my favorite craft lagers. While they call it a German Pilsner on the web site, it is more hoppy like a Bohemian Pils. There is some overlap between the two styles, but I am pretty sure they were shooting for more of a Bohemian Pils since Pivo is the Czech word for beer.
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Re: German Pilsner (Pivo Pils)

Postby Josh1ne on Wed Jul 08, 2015 12:24 pm

Thanks for all of the feedback everyone! After my initial concerns, the yeast was steadily active for much of the past week and a half, and even still was lightly active as I bumped the temperatures up to 65. A few more days I'll transfer it off the yeast and start the lagering. If I screw something up, it sounds like all the collective lagering experience from everyone will help me pinpoint what went wrong. Fingers crossed. At least I'll get a reading to see how well/poorly fermentation went.
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