Monday, June 6, 2016

Quick Lager Method (Pilsner)

The last time I brewed a pilsner (and the first time) I wasn’t particularly pleased with the results. I blamed that mostly on the base malt that I used. Maltsters use different malting techniques, which provide different flavor profiles to their grain. On top of that, grain from different parts of the world will also taste different. The best way to get an idea of your grain is to chew on it. Before I brewed my pilsner I was aware of this, but I didn’t really think it would make that much of a difference. I was wrong. For certain styles it probably doesn’t matter that much, unless you’re brewing on a large scale, but for a subtle style of beer your base grain is important. 

This time around I was able to get a bag of Wayermann Pilsner, as opposed to last time where I used Briess Pilsner malt, which I think has a toasty and malty flavor. I wanted to rebrew my pilsner anyway because I wasn’t pleased with it, still had yeast, and really enjoy a good pilsner. Luckily I recently finished all of the beer I had on tap and my homebrew club is able to serve homebrew at our competition (ACCF) award ceremony this year. It sounds strange, but we couldn’t serve homebrew because the award ceremony was hosted at a brewery and according to our TABC representative, that is illegal. This year, however, we changed the location and can serve homebrew. Being only three weeks out it gave me the perfect opportunity to test the quick lagering method that I’ve read about on Brülosophy. The basic concept is to use a lager strain that can ferment clean at elevated temperatures for a quicker fermentation, followed by an extended diacetyl rest to clean up the beer, and finally to clear the beer out with gelatin to avoid having to lager for an extended time. Using this method I should be able to crank out a pilsner in 3 weeks and be serving it for our award ceremony.

One of the best things about homebrewing is the ability to easily experiment with ingredients and/or processes. This is only the third time that I’ve brewed a lager, however, I really enjoy them. The only thing that has prevented me at this point was the time it would take for them to be ready, which ultimately ties up my keggerator for a long time as well.  If this method works out well I’ll definitely be brewing more lagers.

Beer Stats
Batch size: 10.5 Gallons
Boil time: 90 minutes
Est Original Gravity: 1.049
Measured Original Gravity: 1.051
Measured Final Gravity: 1.008
ABV: 5.6%
SRM: 4.5o
IBU: 38

Grain Bill
20lbs Wayermann Pilsner malt
1.5lbs Carapils
1lbs Acid malt

Hop Schedule
60 minutes – Hop Extract – 8 ml
0 minutes - Saphir – 2 ounce
Dry hop (70F) 5 days – Saphir – 2 ounce

Mash Schedule
146oF single infusion for 30 minutes
154oF infusion with 5 quarts of boiling water for 20 minutes


Slurry from my last pilsner (34/70)

5/20/16 – Brewed by myself. Using RO water I added 5 grams of CaCl and 0.5 grams of gypsum to the mash. Mash pH was 5.25 and my target was 5.28. Sparged with RO water. Wort chilled to 78F and oxygenated with pure O2 for 60 seconds, then placed in chest freezer for 4 hours to chill to 60F. Yeast pitched after additional chilling.

5/25/16 – Increased temperature to 70F

6/3/16 – Lowered temperature to 45F and added gelatin for clarification, then lowered temperature to 34F

6/5/16 – Kegged and set pressure to 20psi

6/7/16 - Set psi to 10 for serving

6/17/16 - First tasting. Great clarity, clean and crisp.


  1. I appreciate the sharing of brewing a Pilsner and I will definitely try this recipe. I have added your blog to my list.