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Pilsner Urquell Brewing Method

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aaronpetersen

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I've seen this article from Brewing Techniques posted a few times. I'm planning to have a go at copying the method and was wondering if anyone else has tried. I will try to stick to the reported method as much as possible but there will be a few small differences. This is what I plan to do:

Target OG: 1.048
IBU: 40

100% Weyermann floor malted pilsner malt
Wyeast 2001 Urquell yeast
Soft Melbourne tap water.
Equipment: electric BIAB rig, extra pot and gas burner for decoctions.

Mash in with cold water (whatever temp comes from the tap)
Heat mash to 35C and rest for ~40 min while doing the first decoction.
While main mash is resting, pull first thick decoction, heat it to 65, rest for 20 min, bring to boil for 5 min then return it to main mash to bring it to 53C.
Rest main mash @ 53C for ~40 min while doing second decoction (actual time will depend on decoction but I want to minimise it as I'm worried that such a long protein rest will ruin head retention).
While main mash is resting pull second thick decoction, same as first but return to main mash to bring it to 62C.
Rest main mash @ 62C for ~40 min while doing third decoction.
While main mash is resting pull third thick decoction, bring it straight to the boil and boil for 5 min then return to main mash to bring it to 73C.
Rest at 73C for 10 min then heat to 78C for mashout.

After pulling the bag and before wort starts boiling, add FWH. I've never FWH'ed before but from what I have read it seems to add equal (perceived) bitterness to a 20 min hop addition so that is what I will base my bittering calculations on.
Boil for 120 mins with hop additions at 80 min and 25 min. I will probably divide all 3 hop additions equally unless anyone has a good reason that I shouldn't.
Chill to 9C and pitch Wyeast 2001.
Ferment, lager, keg, drink!

My main concern is the long protein rest killing the head. I can't really make the rest much shorter as it will take about 40 mins to do the decoction. Has anyone else done a long protein rest and what effect did it have on the head?
 

mxd

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be interested to see how it goes and would love to try it, it appears a lot of work so hopefully a bewdiful beer
 

manticle

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Only once have I protein rested for what I would consider an excessive amount of time (close to 2 hours due to equipment failure). Most of that beer is still aging but a small portion was separated, had things added to it and was then bottled. That beer had sheizenhousen head (I p-rst most bers for 5-10 minutes and usually have very good head formation and retention).

You can alter your regime to make the p-rest shorter (essentially just raise the temp from 53 -65 after 10 mins by means other than decoction) but you may not replicate PU as much as you would like.


For example: Mash in 35, hold 40 mins. Pull first decoction, bring to 60-68 degrees and hold 10 minutes, bring to boil.
Raise to 53, hold 10 mins. Pull second decoction, bring to 60-70, hold 5-10 minutes, bring to boil
Add first decoction back to main mash to raise to 62, hold 40 mins. Add slowly and use extra heat if need be to hit 62. After 10 minutes, pull third decoction and bring straight to boil.
Add second decoction, use to raise main mash to 73, hold 10 mins
Add third decoction, raise to 78.

Just a rough schedule based on what I do - Monday I did a triple decoction with one pulled at 63 and one pulled at 68. Thin decoction pulled at 72, mash out at 78. Easy to do if you are not relying purely on decoction for heating your steps and I figure you have other means.

Still doing multiple decoctions for flavour and to help push temp steps, avoiding excessive p-rest and associated potential problems and still allowing starch conversion for each step.

I've read that decoction is supposed to replicate enzymatic starch conversion in poorly modified malt but since we have good stuff and can avoid worrying about whether we will or won't, I reckon the sacch rest for decoction steps is worth the peace of mind.
 

yum beer

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I wouldnt be too worried about head retention, its not something you get with the style.
Most pilsner's have little if any head, its obviously a part of the process.

Nail the method and youll get a great beer... :icon_cheers:
 

Steve@PMF82

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I wouldnt be too worried about head retention, its not something you get with the style.
Most pilsner's have little if any head, its obviously a part of the process.

Nail the method and youll get a great beer... :icon_cheers:
Not that i am a style nazi, but this is straight from style guidelines for Bo Pils

Appearance: Very pale gold to deep burnished gold, brilliant to very clear, with a dense, long-lasting, creamy white head.
 

Nick JD

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I've found Budvar is almost cloneable; Urquell ... very, very difficult. I just can't replicate that "bittersweet" malt/hop thing PU has no matter what I try. People talk of halted fermentation and I'm beginning to believe it. I think you need to make a wort of 1.055 and stall it at 1.018+ leaving all that sweetness. I'm also suspicious of the "all saaz" thing. And who knows how they combine their H and the other yeast strains ... the H works better than the other one (Czech Pils I think).

My Bud is DAMN close, but. I have officially given up trying to make PU at home and would love to try anyone's back to back with a bottle of the real thing to compare it. I'd shake their hand if they nailed it.

I think cracking PU is the holy grain of homebrewing; most else is cloneable, what those Czechs do in Pilsen is magic.
 

Wolfy

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I've seen this article from Brewing Techniques posted a few times. I'm planning to have a go at copying the method and was wondering if anyone else has tried.
The article and method was the basis for the BoPils that I brought to the recent Grain Bulk Buy pickup day, people said good things about it and finished the keg, so I guess it was OK (though whomever complains about free beer).
Interestingly given what Nick JD said above, it started at 1.058 but 1.018 was the last gravity reading I made, that was 10 days after pitching the yeast and a few days before a D-rest, so I presume it finished a little lower.
 

Dazza88

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I have brewed this twice
pils urq knock off

It works!

Yet to use the recommended yeast, 2278, its in da fridge ready to happen.

I wonder what malt urquell uses?
 

Florian

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After pulling the bag and before wort starts boiling, add FWH. I've never FWH'ed before but from what I have read it seems to add equal (perceived) bitterness to a 20 min hop addition so that is what I will base my bittering calculations on.
Boil for 120 mins...
That's not how it works. If you boil for 120 min you will get the same amount of bitterness with or without FWH.
Your bitterness might be perceived a little different, but it will still be bitter, a lot, lot more than 20 min.

The 20 min part is meant to apply for aroma/flavour, not bitterness. You're 'meant' to get aroma/flavour components similar to a 20 min addition of your hop.

Find out for yourself how that works for you as opinions vary wildly and a far from 'scientific'.
 

Dazza88

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That's not how it works. If you boil for 120 min you will get the same amount of bitterness with or without FWH.
Your bitterness might be perceived a little different, but it will still be bitter, a lot, lot more than 20 min.

The 20 min part is meant to apply for aroma/flavour, not bitterness. You're 'meant' to get aroma/flavour components similar to a 20 min addition of your hop.

Find out for yourself how that works for you as opinions vary wildly and a far from 'scientific'.
Was wondering about fwh. Why doesnt 90 min boil drive off flavor?
 

aaronpetersen

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Was wondering about fwh. Why doesnt 90 min boil drive off flavor?

There's a fairly lengthy thread somewhere on AHB about FWH-ing and how it might work. I think I might have to read it again myself.
Here it is.
 

manticle

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That's not how it works. If you boil for 120 min you will get the same amount of bitterness with or without FWH.
Your bitterness might be perceived a little different, but it will still be bitter, a lot, lot more than 20 min.

The 20 min part is meant to apply for aroma/flavour, not bitterness.

I meant to include something like this in my reply but got carried away with working out an alternative decoction schedule. Definitely worth pointing out.

@DazDog: There are quite a number of compounds in hops that contribute to both bitterness and flavour. Wort boiling changes a lot of these compounds (for example alpha acids isomerise and become soluble). Quantifying flavour is not as easy as quantifying things like bittering units (which, in lab conditions, directly measures the isomerised alpha acid content) but even that can't quantify bitterness perception. That's made even more difficult when you realise there are compounds other than iso-alpha that may contribute to bittering as well as recipe balance etc.

As far as I understand, there is a suggestion that FWH contributes flavour and aroma due to a different spectrum of hop oil components when compared with late hopping and that there may be a reduction in oxygen bearing components which leads to smoother bitterness.

What I am unsure about, having not read the original studies, is whether whole cones or pellets were used in the study/ies as there are certain essential oils that are at significant levels in noble hops that are destroyed/reduced by pelletisation.

Really means - try it for yourself and see what happens.
 

aaronpetersen

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I've found Budvar is almost cloneable; Urquell ... very, very difficult. I just can't replicate that "bittersweet" malt/hop thing PU has no matter what I try. People talk of halted fermentation and I'm beginning to believe it. I think you need to make a wort of 1.055 and stall it at 1.018+ leaving all that sweetness. I'm also suspicious of the "all saaz" thing. And who knows how they combine their H and the other yeast strains ... the H works better than the other one (Czech Pils I think).

My Bud is DAMN close, but. I have officially given up trying to make PU at home and would love to try anyone's back to back with a bottle of the real thing to compare it. I'd shake their hand if they nailed it.

I think cracking PU is the holy grain of homebrewing; most else is cloneable, what those Czechs do in Pilsen is magic.
I have read somewhere about Urquell halting the fermentation early. The FG reported in the Brewing Techniques article 1.015, which to me seems quite high as I have always perceived PU do have a fairly dry finish. Mind you, I haven't had one for a while. Time for some more research!
 

aaronpetersen

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Only once have I protein rested for what I would consider an excessive amount of time (close to 2 hours due to equipment failure). Most of that beer is still aging but a small portion was separated, had things added to it and was then bottled. That beer had sheizenhousen head (I p-rst most bers for 5-10 minutes and usually have very good head formation and retention).

You can alter your regime to make the p-rest shorter (essentially just raise the temp from 53 -65 after 10 mins by means other than decoction) but you may not replicate PU as much as you would like.


For example: Mash in 35, hold 40 mins. Pull first decoction, bring to 60-68 degrees and hold 10 minutes, bring to boil.
Raise to 53, hold 10 mins. Pull second decoction, bring to 60-70, hold 5-10 minutes, bring to boil
Add first decoction back to main mash to raise to 62, hold 40 mins. Add slowly and use extra heat if need be to hit 62. After 10 minutes, pull third decoction and bring straight to boil.
Add second decoction, use to raise main mash to 73, hold 10 mins
Add third decoction, raise to 78.

Just a rough schedule based on what I do - Monday I did a triple decoction with one pulled at 63 and one pulled at 68. Thin decoction pulled at 72, mash out at 78. Easy to do if you are not relying purely on decoction for heating your steps and I figure you have other means.

Still doing multiple decoctions for flavour and to help push temp steps, avoiding excessive p-rest and associated potential problems and still allowing starch conversion for each step.

I've read that decoction is supposed to replicate enzymatic starch conversion in poorly modified malt but since we have good stuff and can avoid worrying about whether we will or won't, I reckon the sacch rest for decoction steps is worth the peace of mind.

Thanks for the detailed reply Manticle. That's a very clever method. So with your method you have decoction 1 and 2 on the go at the same time?
Re your last sentence, does that mean that you don't actually have to do a sacch rest during the decoction?
 

manticle

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There will be crossover with the decoctions yes. I do them on my indoor stove so there are several burners.

As to the last sentence - it's only something I've read very recently in regards to traditional decoctions and in regards to poorly modified malt when decoction was actually necessary. I need to do more reading before I can espouse that as fact - it's just something I thought was interesting - the idea that boiling the malt would break the starch down into shorter carbohydrate chains in a similar way to enzymes.

Using well modified malt and having the means to measure temp accurately, I would always do a 10 minute minimum sacch rest for my decoctions before boiling unless experimenting with the above idea to see for myself.
 

aaronpetersen

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That's not how it works. If you boil for 120 min you will get the same amount of bitterness with or without FWH.
Your bitterness might be perceived a little different, but it will still be bitter, a lot, lot more than 20 min.

The 20 min part is meant to apply for aroma/flavour, not bitterness. You're 'meant' to get aroma/flavour components similar to a 20 min addition of your hop.

Find out for yourself how that works for you as opinions vary wildly and a far from 'scientific'.
Thanks for pointing out my error Florian. You're right, I was confused between the bittering and aroma effects of FWH. I could have had a very bitter pilsner on my hands.
 

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