Batch# 24 – Bohemian Pilsner
We got this recipe from BYO oct 2001.
Chris really likes Pilsner Urquell, so we wanted to try to clone that.
This was a stovetop brew at Ross’ house. Notes are lacking, but it looks like we did not use a campden tablet, we did a side mash (?) at 135. We had a 54 minute boil, and it looks like we did use the wort chiller.
Lager yeast, strain was not recorded.
This was the first temperature-controlled brew. It was brought down to 60 for 1 day, 54 for 1 day, then 16 days at 40. Then we had a flood and power was cut, so it rose to 60 for a day, and then back down to 40 for a month.
This beer has a good base, but strongly smells like vinyl. It is overpowering. The flavor is very similar to our last batch – abbeygash – but that batch was definitely fermented too warm. Perhaps we have something bad in our plastics, or perhaps we simply aren’t ready to brew lagers!
This will not get bottled except for a few reference samples. Common belief states that vinyl is caused by too hot of a ferm temp. I do not think that was the case here. We have been using campden tablets on and off to remove chlorine / chloramines but haven’t seen any clear results. Perhaps this is a light enough beer so taste the chlorine in the end product. Maybe we should use bottled water for a few brews to see if it is the source. We also need to keep better notes. It’s tough to diagnose this beer because there is so much missing info.
11/22/2014 I let this beer lager for a few months and it didn’t clean up one bit. We didn’t want to bottle it and end up with a lot of vinyl beer in bottles, so we took a leap and pitched a sour blend into it. I racked it from the bucket into a co2 flushed corny keg and pitched the wlp 655 belgian sour mix into it. That mix has everything in it. Brettanomyces, Saccharomyces, and the bacterial strains Lactobacillus and Pediococcus. I’m unsure what the gravity was before adding the bugs, but this is all a big experiment anyways, so here goes nothing.
12/29/2014 I put fermwrap around the keg and insulated it. My basement temps were averaging 55, so that’s pretty chilly. I’m using a stc-1000+ to regulate the temperature to 72.5, because it simply isn’t warm enough down there for anything but lager yeast to thrive.
1/1/2015 I did my first sampling and it seemed that very little had happened yet. I’m assuming that the combo of low temperatures and very little fermentables prevented anything from growing. I pitched in a half pound of cane sugar as a way to kickstart some activity.
6/1/2015 I sampled again. Almost no change. No sourness and no funk. Maybe the vinyl is slightly fading, but it will take a lifetime at this rate.
6/13/2015 I put the corny keg outside on the back porch as a way to give it a bit of heat. I don’t think this will make anything better, but at least it may make it change. I have read that lacto likes it hot, so hopefully some 80-100 heat will get something chewing on this beer.