Saturday, April 28, 2007

Czech Pilsner - Final Results

This beer was lot of fun to make. Tons of Saaz hops. All German malts. Czech yeast. Steady fermentation temperatures. Good long lagering in the ice box.

I had expectations, but only based on commercial examples and the descriptions from various recipes and books. I've never used any of the ingredients before. So I guess I was venturing into the unknown. In the end, I'm very pleased I did it. I love the flavor of Saaz hops. The Wyeast 2278 Czech Pilsner yeast strain, though very sulfuric during fermentation, performed very well with great attenuation and malt flavor. I think the German malts helped give it the right kind of flavors.

First signs of fermentation appeared at around 20 hours after pitching the yeast. Pitching temp was around 52*F, the temp dropped to around 48-50 over night, then the temp rose to around 53-54 withing 24 hours. Fermentation went smoothly over a 2 week period. I was very surprised by the intense odor of sulfur during primary fermentation. It was more intense than the Munich strain and filled the whole porch with its rotten egg stench.

Finished Results

OG: 1.056
FG: 1.013
SRM: 4
ABV: 5.5%
IBU: 45

Tasting Notes & Photo

Appearance: Beautiful pale yellow/straw color. Very clear considering that it was unusually hazy all the way through fermentation, lagering and bottling, and no Irish moss. Slight haze especially at colder temps. 1 inch white foam head forms, and slowly diminishes to a small rind of bubbles around the glass edge.

Aroma: Hoppy, sweet maltiness, floral.

Taste: Bold and bright hop presence from both solid bittering and flavor/aroma additions. The hops carry a full flavor with mild citrus and spiciness. Malts do balance the hop assertiveness, and has a smooth & clean sweet taste. There is definitely a "crisp" character to this beer. Attenuation was very good, and the residual sweetness is not too low nor high. There is also a nice dryness in the aftertaste. I'm quite pleased to sense a slight presence diacetyl (buttery taste) because I think it adds more character/complexity to this light colored beer with bold flavors. Also, all the flavors held up for a good years and smoothed out nicely over time.

After-taste: A definite mild 2%AA Saaz hop bitterness lingers long on the tongue. There also seems to be a small alcoholic presence.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, soft, attenuated, very good carbonation (on the lower side).

Drinkability: Even though it has a bold taste, the smoothness in the malts and lighter carbonation make this lager very drinkable. After one pint, I found myself wanting another one right away.

Overall Impression: An all-around attractive beer. It has great color, aroma, taste and mouthfeel. It is a little over the top with hop presence, but that's what my intentions were. I get a sense of pride drinking this beer and rank it as one of my finest.


This beer tasting guide has been helpful...www.alabev.com/taste.htm

Notes for future brewing: It was very difficult getting the wort to boil after adding even half the hops. The total weight of hops was 13 ounces in 6 gallons of post boiled wort. I think Brian would agree that it was an armful stirring and chilling both pots. I question the hop utilization, and perhaps using higher Alpha hop pellets for bittering would help. Also, I would like to try bringing the OG to about 1.050 and scaling down the IBU's to about 38. I'd like to improve upon this beers already smooth flavor and make it a very balanced, more refined, and delicate.

Click here for earlier Czech Pilsner posts - Conception and Recipe & Brewday Stats

4 comments:

sierrajuliettromeo said...

All I have to say is...If you drink my Tripel Karmeliet while I'm at work, there will be hell to pay.

Oh wait. You bought me that bottle. In that case, I guess I'll just sent you out to the corner for another bottle. I can't believe our local liquor store sells Tripel Karmeliet!

Ted Danyluk said...

With all this fantastic new pilsner and schwarzbier bottled, I have pelnty to drink during the morning, day and night. No worries dear, I've put your Triple next to my aging geueze beers. Cant wait till we can kick back with our fine beers of choice.

Orange Loren said...

You make me want to drink this beer! I tell you; your reviews, they're thorough, but enticing too. Congrats on getting what you aimed for. That's truly a victory! cheers!

Ted Danyluk said...

Well thanks Lauren. That means a lot to me. Especially coming from a super straight-edge girl like you. I think you would fall in love with the hop aroma. I'm getting into hop teas, and I think that might be something you could be intrested in too. Just steep hops like for about 5 minutes. Dried and aged cones/leaves have a sedative chemical (2-methyl-3-butene-2ol), and is an especially calming tea before naps/bedtime (2tsp/cup). A hop/mint blend could be wonderful.

The pale ale I'm planning for your wedding will have a serious hop profile with good bitterness, flavor and BIG aroma. If you don't try it, you will at least love its bouqet.