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Rain Water For A Pilsner?

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SJW

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My next brew will be a Pilsner Urquell, the recipe from the "Brew Classic European Beers at Home". I got 2 questions:

1- I understand the saying "if tap water is good enough drink its good enough to brew with" and i always use tap water. But i do have a rain water tank and was wondering if a Pilsner style beer would be the style to use it with?

2- The book "Brew Classic European Beers at Home" says the Urquell should be simered not boiled for 2.5 hours for a nice smooth bitter finish. What are your thoughts on this. I understand i could not fit enough water in my 50 litre boiler to account for all the evaporation losses so i would need to top up the fermenter (as i only brew for min. 25 litres in the fermenter) but is this worth doing?


stephen
 

SJW

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Also if u have a better Urqell recipe than the one in "Brew Classic European Beers at Home" please let me know.
 

Gulf Brewery

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SJW said:
But i do have a rain water tank and was wondering if a Pilsner style beer would be the style to use it with?

2- The book "Brew Classic European Beers at Home" says the Urquell should be simered not boiled for 2.5 hours for a nice smooth bitter finish.
[post="54062"][/post]​
Hi Stephen

I use rainwater for my lighter beers like the pils. I add a small amount of Calcium Chloride to add the calcium for the yeast. You need about 50ppm of calcium which is about 5g in the mash and 7g in the sparge in a 50 litre batch.

I do not simmer my beers, I find that they clear better with a good rolling boil for 1 hour, although I haven't tried the simmer for 2 1/2 hours (I think I have tried about 90 minutes).

Cheers
Pedro
 
J

Jovial_Monk

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I think the simmering is not to darken the beer very much

Jovial Monk
 

pint of lager

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For some more background to the style, have a read of Brewing Techniques - History of Pilsner Urquel

The statement "good enough to drink, good enough to brew with" is fine for kit and extract brewers, and for beginner all grainers, but really needs further attention for more advanced brewing. Beer is 85% water, and the associated minerals and pH govern many of the brewing processes. Tap water is one of those things one gets used to, abit like the air you breathe, until someone says, yuk, that tastes hard, or reaks of chlorine.

After drinking tank water for the last 5 years, we have become "water snobs" and take our own water to consume when travelling.

So you are definitely on the right track using your tank water for brewing, follow Pedro's directions. Treaure your water, you have a headstart on other brewers.

Boiling the wort is a very important and complex part of brewing. Get a hold of either "New Brewing Lager Beer," by Gregory Nonan, or "Principles of Brewing Science'" by George Fix. They both have sections on boiling.

Very briefly, boiling promotes maillard reactions, removes DMS and coagulates protiens. Low intensity boiling means that the beer may be hazy and have long term instability. Boiling too long breaks down proteins.

High intensity boiling (NASA at full bore) will promote browning, burning, and maillard reactions.

So boiling is a balance of all these processes.

When I started AG brewing, I was given the well intentioned advice to do low intensity boils for 60 minutes to give pale beer. My beers suffered from hazes till I moved to a proper full boil for 90 minutes. This is what I recommend for fellow brewers.

To get a smooth bitter finish, use good fresh low alpha noble hops from front to back in the brew, and include 30% of the bittering hops as FWH.
 

dicko

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Hi SJW,

With all the above comments taken into consideration I would like to add that IMO the rainwater should be boiled and cooled first, if you are going to use it to top up your fermenter.
This will reduce any chance if infection from that source.

Cheers
 

SJW

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I was going to boil hard for 30 min's. then simmer for 2.5 hours. The story behind this simmering is a long slow simmer, in theory, should not extract excesive amounts of bitterness thus leaving smooth round bittering. My simple thinking mind tells me to go light on the first hop additions and add more at the 30min & 15min marks.
Anyway I will think about using the rainwater + Calcium Chloride.
 

Gulf Brewery

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SJW

One thing that comes to mind after re-reading this is that a good rolling boil with wort motion in the kettle is needed to fully extract the bitterness from the hops (its a complex process, but that's what it comes down to). A slow simmer may reduce your hop extraction and reduce your bitterness levels.

Boiling hard for 30 minutes may help in extracting the bitterness. Guess there is only one way to find out :D.

Cheers
Pedro
 

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