A sunny tulip of this German-style pilsner on a recent late winter afternoon:
Looks: Gold with fine bubbles and pure white bead; it’s quite, quite clear – here’s a shot, taken through the beer, of the logo on the front of the glass:
Nose: mild, with a mixture of pastry-dough malt, herbal hops, and a trace of yeasty sulfur.
Flavor: The aroma of the three hop additions is subdued, but the flavor leaps forward with tangy, puckering green herbs, hay, and spice; it actually builds in intensity as the sip progresses towards the finish. Partly attributable, I think, to the first-wort hopping, but also to the 20′ addition – with such a light wort and malt, the hops don’t need to be extremely late additions to shine through.
There are flashes of malt at the end – clean and sweet by association (more of that pastry dough or butter cookie suggestion) but very dry. Lingering hop-bitter aftertaste with a last modest burp of hop spice and sulfur.
Texture: Very lean and crisp, although I think I need to goose up the CO2 on the keg – it could stand to be a bit more sparkly.
I’ll return the compliment: handsome. Question: I had a conversation recently with a BJCP-type about perceived sweetness for light colored lagers that attenuate well (i.e. south of 1.012 from OGs of ca. 1.050). I argued that the sulfur profile of a particular yeast strain plays a role. He wasn’t buying my assertion. Thoughts? Am I full of sh*t (loaded question) or is there something to that?
Thanks, DK! Excellent question – I will have to do some digging to support this, but my gut reaction is to agree with you. Some volatile sulfur compounds in wine reduce perception of sweetness and body, so it stands to reason that similar yeast-derived compounds in beer would have a similar effect; other, non-yeast related compounds (thinking specifically of DMS) I guess would actually have the opposite effect. The ability of any lager yeast, sulfur bomb or not, to ferment trisaccharides makes it kind of a moving target … it’d be an interesting experiment to compare two worts with identical OG & FG that were fermented with a sulfury and non-sulfury lager strain …
Challenge accepted. When I get around to it.
Looks and sounds delicious.
At 148F mash for 75 minutes, was it a bit dry and thin (maybe “lean and crisp” means this?). I have been moving my initial mash temp up slightly to 150F to get a bit more body as my repitched yeasts are taking my lagers lower in FG and thinning them out…maybe that 75 min mash is the answer, followed by the 170F mash out. I have been mashing 90 minutes and batch sparging to boil kettle with no mash out….you got me thinking.
It finished out at 1.009 and was absolutely dry, but not thin – I find that a bit of Carafoam/dextrin malt really helps out the perception of body, even in light or highly-attenuated beers. I think the conventional wisdom is that without a mashout, there can still be amylolytic activity going on in the kettle, and the overall fermentability of the wort can keep changing.
Forgot to add – beauty beer there MD!
Cheers! It drank purty good.
Looks great! Do you have a suggestion for maybe a lager workaround type pilsner. It’s my favorite beer style and I’ve never made one??? Love the blog, keep em coming!
Cheers, Richie! For a warm-fermented version of a lager, I would just pick a recipe you like and substitute either – a, 2124 Bohemian Lager and ferment in the 60s; or b, a “neutral” ale yeast of your choice (1007, 1056, 2575, anything like that) and ferment toward the low end of its temp range.
If I could throw my two cents at that, 2112 has made a real clean lager for me even in the low 70s. I know a lot of folks express attenuation concerns with this yeast but it took my sustainor2 from 1.062 down to 1.010. And like I said, it was super clean.
And some guys are intentionally doing lagers in the 70’s! There us a farmhouse brewery in WI doing it with great results. Me? I am going to check it out this summer for grins….
I get great results with the Weihenstephan lager strain fermented in a cold water bath during active fermentation (2-3 days) and later left at room temperature (70F for me) for four weeks. After the four weeks are up I fine with gelatin for four days and have recently found I can skip secondary lagering and instead keep the carbed bottles (2-4 weeks at room temp with fresh yeast and priming sugar, no keg in my house yet) in the refrigerator for a week or two and the yeast will continue to work in the bottle for me cleaning up anything undesireable from the warm fermentation.
I am curious if this is similar to Don O’s technique – Don?
German Pils is one of my favorite styles. I would be interested in you skipping the specialty malts and instead add body with a 30 min alpha rest at 158 following a lower beta rest of 146 for 30 min, and maybe a single 10 min decoction with a 10 min 158 rest on ramp-up in between with a final 170 mash out for 10 to compare to these tasting notes, leaving all other variables the same (pilsner malt, your yeast, hops additions).