Saturday, April 28, 2012

Brew Day, Batch 363: Classic American Pils

Some years back, our gentleman friend and fellow dashiki-wearin' dude Jeff Renner led a campaign to resurrect an indigenous beer that had been largely killed off by Prohibition.

Blame this guy.
The beer, once lost, can be considered successfully revived. Commercial producers have picked up on the crisp, bitter lager as something worth celebrating, and one can find some nice examples out there; I recommend Craftsman's 1903 from Pasadena, CA. Capsule history: Pilsener beer was the 'It Girl' of the brewing world in the mid-late 19th century, and European immigrant brewers, mainly from Bohemia and Germany, sought to make a pils-type beer from the ingredients they found in their new home. The biggest problem was that American barley malt, typically made from 6 row barley, was significantly higher in protein and husk material than the 2 row barley of Pilsner's place of birth. The protein created potential haze problems for a beer celebrated for its brilliant clarity, and the grainy flavors from the husky 6 row were not desirable. The silver lining of the husk issue is that that's where the enzymes in malt are found, and 6 row malt has enough spare enzymatic power to convert added starch in the mash to fermentable sugar without breaking a sweat. Thus, American brewers cut the 6 row malt with corn grits, which are almost pure starch, comparatively speaking, to thin out the protein rich wort. Hop profiles were similar to the original Pils in terms of perceived bitterness, although American hop varieties were frequently used. So goes the story, anyway. Today's story proceeds thusly:

(10 gallon recipe)

12  lbs. Briess 6 row malt
3   lbs. Flaked maize
1.8 oz.  Cluster hops, 8.7%AA (kettle addition, 60 min.)
1   oz.  Saaz hops, 5.1% AA (flavor addition, 20 min.)
1/2  t   Calcium Chloride in mash liquor
Wyeast 2308 Munich lager slurry

Simple decoction mash-

Doughed in 1 qt./lb. at 130F for 123F strike. Rested 30 min.
Pulled 8 1/2 qt. thickest mash for 1st decoction. Heated to 155F, rested 15. Heated to boil, held 10.
Returned to main mash for 146F, rested 20 min. Infused to 150F with 2 qt. boiling liquor, rested 20.
After a negative starch test, pulled 8 qt. thin mash and boiled 5 min. Returned for 166F mashout.

Vorlauf/lauter/sparge until runoff drops to 1.009; collect 12 gallons sweet wort.

Boil/hop as noted above. Chill to 55Fish and pitch yeast. Rack and lager like the dickens when fermentation subsides. (Note: with this yeast, a diacetyl rest is necessary; allow temp to rise to mid-60s for the last few days of primary fermentation.)


I am writing about this as if I am some sort of authority, when in fact this is the first CAP I have ever brewed. Plus I mostly pulled the recipe out of my hinder parts. You may want to disregard this entire post....

1 comment:

  1. I love a good CAP! Says "Summer" to me (sorry, Oberon)
    Just cries out for a charcoal grill and a game of Jarts!