Alemans Effin Bohemian Pilsner

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Alemans Effin Bohemian Pilsner

Postby Aleman » Thu Apr 03, 2014 13:01

Following on from this thread for my Erdinger recipe and the interest Rob created regarding a new Czech Floor malted grain here i suspect its time to start and create this thread.
I was asked via PM to wrote:Be so kind as to share your recipe and method for your version of your celebrated Bohemian Pilsner....

Bohemian pilsner is the archetypal pilsner beer. . . Created in the early to mid 1800's in the town of Plzen in the Czech republic by Josef Grolle who created it (so the story goes) to use up some poor malt that had been made in the breweries malt kilns. . . . If you believe the story, I would bet that even in those times a brewer would reject any bad malt, although given the fact that the brewery owned the maltings there could be some truth to the story.

So a golden crystal clear beer, with a rich malty mouth feel, and a crisp lingering bitterness from the hops. A typical Bohemian Pils would be around 10-12 Plato (1 degree plato ~= 4 gravity points) and a BU:GU ratio of around 0.9-1.0. In the good old days I would have said that Pilsner Urquell would be a good example of style, sadly today that is not the case . . . Budweis is a good example of the 'weaker' 10 plato beer, and Herold or Bernard Pilsner Svetly Lezak/Celebration Svatecni Lezak are better examples of the stronger beer.

Traditionally they would have been made using Moravian spring sown barley, which would have been under modified (and steely), which would have been 'wind dried' and therefore very pale . . . and also the reason why the malting and brewery was located very close to each other . . . the stuff would not have kept well so was malted and dried as required. While Rob has yet to release any specifications of the malt, I an really hoping that this is a less modified malt, and given that he has said that it requires step mashing this could be the case. . . . And gives me the opportunity to revisit decoction mashing. The only other ingredient was Zatec Red tzotz hops ( Zatec is a province of the Czech republic, and Tzotz is pronounced Saaz )

So scaling down to a 5 gallon (23L) batch at 1.048 (12º Plato) and 40IBU and assuming a triple decoction mash

4.6Kg Bohemian Floor Malted pilsner malt

50g Czech Saaz - First Wort Hops
38g Czech Saaz - 75 Minutes
13g Czech Saaz - 15 minutes
13g Czech Saaz - Switch Off / 80ºC Steep

Of course rather than being boiled hard . . . a bohemian pilsner is 'simmered' for as long as three hours which extracts a 'more agreeable' bitterness. . . Also note that a hop flavour/aroma is not a characteristic of the style, but having been given a bucketful of the stickiest green Totz hops by a Czech brewmaster to throw into the copper at switch off I know its there . . . but still clean.

Yeast wise

Whitelabs WLP800 is a classic . . .
Whitelabs WLP802 Czech Budejovice Lager Yeast which is more suited to the 10 Plato beers
Wyeast 2124 Bohemian Lager
Wyeast 2278 Czech Pils

and I've not used the 2000/2001 or 2007 Wyeast strains but I suspect they would be suitable as well.

Dry yeast wise is a more difficult choice as it is difficult to get a clean enough fermentation with dry yeast unless you pitch huge (75g in a 5 gallon batch is not over the top). I would probably recommend

Saflager W34/70
Saflager S-23 (at a push)

and stay away from S-189

Fermentation regime . . . Pitch cold at 9C . . . yes 9C that is why you need lots of yeast! it will take about 1 day per degree Plato to ferment (1.048 = 12 Plato = 12 days) . . . and may take a day or two to show signs of fermentation at this point do not panic, just leave it all alone (covered of course) . . . Once fermented transfer it to a lager chest and lager it for a week per degree Plato . . . Yes that's 12 weeks for our 1.048 beer. . . Then Rack to keg/bottle and serve. Also be aware that some of these strains do throw diacetyl, and while it is characteristic of the style, it should be just around the flavour threshold, so a diacetyl rest may need t be thrown in at the end of the fermentation.

That's just to whet your appetite . . . . more will follow later . . . I'll cover the Decoction process . . . and also how to cheat using suitable malts and a stepped mash

please note:The use of punctuation, bold, underlining, italics, and different sized type, follows the convention used in writing, for many years, to place emphasis on the point being made, and to highlight the importance of that point in the opinion of the author. It is not the intention of the author to shout, if that was the case the author would adopt the, much more recent, convention of using all capital letters.
Albert Einstein wrote:Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.
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The Art of Decoction Mashing - Part I

Postby Aleman » Thu Apr 03, 2014 13:14

This is going to be a difficult one to condense down so please bear with me for waffling on . . . After all Greg Noonan wrote 363 pages on it

Basically a decoction mash is a temperature stepped mash, the 'jump' to the next temperature step is achieved, by removing a portion of the mash to a seperate vessel (the decoction kettle), and then heating this portion through the remaining rest temperatures and times . . . until all the remaining rests have been achieved for the decoction . . . then you take the decoction up to boiling and boil for a period . . . the decoction is then returned to the main mash whereby it raises the temperature of the main mash up to the next rest temperature. The process then continues throughout the remaining steps.

So why doesn't this destroy the saccharification enzymes . . . well it does, but because most of the enzymes are retained in the liquid wort and for most of the decoctions you only take mostly grain (Thick Decoction), the majority of the enzymes are left behind in the liquid, and as good quality base malt contains enough enzymes to convert itself and and additional 100% of adjuncts everything is cool.

There are two accepted decoction mash schedules depending on the soluble nitrogen content of the malt.

For malts below 37% Soluble Nitrogen

Protein Rest at 50C
Saccharification at 65-70C

For malts with 37-40% Soluble Protein

Protein /saccharification rest at 55C
Dextrinisation at 70-72C

Note that these are different to the Hochkurz mash temps of 62 and 68C, which are really for well modified malts.

Having crushed the malt we are now ready to prepare for the decoction mash

please note:The use of punctuation, bold, underlining, italics, and different sized type, follows the convention used in writing, for many years, to place emphasis on the point being made, and to highlight the importance of that point in the opinion of the author. It is not the intention of the author to shout, if that was the case the author would adopt the, much more recent, convention of using all capital letters.
Albert Einstein wrote:Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.
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The Art of Decoction Mashing - Part II

Postby Aleman » Thu Apr 03, 2014 13:15

Mashing In

Dough in the grain with between 1.5L/Kg and 1.75L/Kg of liquor at between 14 and 21C (Yes you read correctly!!). For a thin mash when brewing thin quickly fermenting beer use 2 to 2.5L/Kg . . . . still at between 14 and 21C!!, you should just have a sheen of moisture on the grains if there is any liquid above them then you have probably used too much, but don't worry (of course with the thin mash then there will be standing liquor above the grain) Put the lid on and forget about it for 15-30 minutes . .. stirring occasionally. It is at this stage that the enzymes move from the aleurone layer of the barley kernel into the liquor so there is no need to rush. Make sure there are no dry pockets or grain balls in the mash.

The Acid Rest

Bring Between 750 ml /Kg and 850ml / Kg (thin mash 1L to 1.25l) of liquor to a boil and add it to the main mash mixing it well which should raise the mash temp to 40C, after 20 minutes check the mash pH, if it is at or below 5.8 (It should ideally be between 5.2 and 5.5) proceed with the first decoction. If it is higher than pH 5.8 add some acid malt to the mash (IIRC 1% acid malt lowers the mash pH by 0.1) . . . wait another 20 minutes, check the mash pH again and if it is in the ball park. . . move on.

The First decoction

Take the heaviest 30% (by volume) of the mash and put it in the decoction kettle . . . use a sieve to remove mostly grain with as little liquor that you can get away with, and bring it up to 50C in 10 minutes (or as rapidly as possible). Hold it there for 20 - 30 minutes, then again apply heat and take it up to 66C in 10 minutes (or as rapidly as possible) and again rest there for another 20-30 minutes to allow dextrinisation to occur, before taking it to 75C over 5 minutes a short 15 minute rest and then bring it to the boil for 10 to 15 minutes. Those quite foresighted among you will be thinking "If it is mostly grain why does it not scorch?", Well it will, unless it is continually stirred. The Czech Brewers employ a little trick, which is to put enough hot water (80C) into the decoction kettle) to raise the first decoction from 40C straight up to 50C (the first rest point) with no heating (They do end up with a thin mash, possibly as high as 6L/Kg but this is not a problem).

Return the darkened decoction to the main mash, gradually stirring well to ensure even temperature distribution and little thermal shock to the enzymes in the 'cold' main mash, this stage should take around 5 to 10 minutes. and the mash should settle to a temperature of around 50C (48 to 53C is acceptable), and the main mash enters the protein rest. This can be for up to 30-60 minutes, but in general practice as short as 5 minutes can elapse before the second decoction is taken

The Second Decoction

Take the heaviest third to 45% of the mash to the decoction kettle and heat it up to 66C in 10 minutes (or as rapidly as possible) rest for 20-30 minutes then up to 75C over 10 to 15 minutes, a short 15 minute rest and then bring it to the boil for up to 20 minutes. Again use the Czech trick to make sure the wort doesn't scorch.

Return the decoction back to the main mash evenly, aiming for a rest temp of 68C if the beer is to be fully lagered or 65-66c for a lighter drier beer. . . . rest for 30-60 minutes, before taking the third decoction.

The Third Decoction

This one is completely different, remove 40-50% (by volume) of the thinnest part of the mash . . . yes the liquid . . . and add it to the boil kettle . . Raise it to 75C over 10 minutes (or as quickly as possible), and rest it for 10-15 minutes. then raise to boiling and boil for 10-15 minutes before returning it to the tun for the lauter rest.

The mash should now be at around 75-77C and rather thin, give it a good stir for 5 minutes and then allow it to rest and settle out to form the mash bed for 10 minutes. After which you should see a thick layer of grey sludge on top of the grain bed, this is denatured protein.

Lauter and sparge as you would normally do. Expect to take between 3 and 9 hours to do a triple decoction mash . . . .At Plzen they can take up to 12 hours!

Next time I feel in a 'waxing lyrical' mood I'll cover Infusion and HERMS/RIMS step mashing

please note:The use of punctuation, bold, underlining, italics, and different sized type, follows the convention used in writing, for many years, to place emphasis on the point being made, and to highlight the importance of that point in the opinion of the author. It is not the intention of the author to shout, if that was the case the author would adopt the, much more recent, convention of using all capital letters.
Albert Einstein wrote:Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.
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Treating Tesco's Ashbeck Water

Postby Aleman » Thu Apr 03, 2014 13:17

Being a really Lazy @rse I've merged the ashbeck water thread with this one to try and keep all the relevant information in one place.

Via PM wrote:I am intending making 25 L batches of Kolsch and Bohemian Pilsener Lagers soon..I am buying Tesco Ashbeck Water as its very soft...and my water here is just too hard!

Ashbeck Water:
Bicarbonate (Alkalinity) - 25ppm
Calcium - 10ppm
Magnesium - 2.5ppm
Sodium - 9ppm
Chloride - 12ppm
Sulphate - 10ppm

Which is an analysis very similar to Aqua Pura Cumbrian Water being sold in Morrisons

I understand from reading another article on Jim's that my additions should be as follows: -
Bicarbonate (Alkalinity) - 16.4ppm
Calcium - 76ppm
Magnesium - 2.5ppm
Sodium - 9ppm
Chloride - 109ppm
Sulphate - 38ppm

Which just goes to show that people still adhere to the 'old' idea of treating to an ideal water profile which is complete and total cobblers!!

There is no need to add sodium (sodium chloride/table salt) at all to any brewing liquor . . . keep it for your chips . . . While chloride is desirable sodium is not, and using sodium bicarb to raise the alkalinity for a 'lager' is just complete crap, you need the alkalinity as low as possible . . . why buy low alkalinity water in the first place, then add alkalinity to it!!

Sulphate accentuates hop bitterness which is just wrong for beers with the high hopping rates of bohemian pilsners and beers like Koelsch which have a very soft malty palate.

So we are not adding Sodium, Bicarbonate or sulphate, which really leaves us with Calcium, Magnesium and Chloride . . . . . Magnesium is easy as it is only required in trace amounts and there is more than enough provided from the malt that it does not require worrying about . . . like 2.5 mg per litre . . . . equates to something like 0.1g in 45l of liquor

Can you please tell me how much Calcium Chloride Flakes and Gypsum I need to add? Do I add this to the bulk 45 Litre HLT..or is it added to the grist?
So after all that what does that leave us with . . . . Calcium (for the mash reactions) and Chloride (to up the malt ) . . . Personally What I do is to add an additional 150mg/l of calcium to ensure there is sufficient in the mash to correct the mash pH . . . although anything above 100mg/l is fine so I went with that, and to increase the calcium level to 100mg/l from the 10mg/l that it already is means that you need to add 14.9g (Call it 15g) of calcium chloride flakes to the 45L of liquor.

Now you can either add this to all of the liquor, but I prefer to add 2/3 (10g) to the grist, and 1/3 (5g) to the boiler before running off the wort. Reasoning is that calcium is used up in the mash and will stay behind as an insoluble salt . . . adding more through the mash (in the sparge liquor) simply means that some of that could be trapped as well . . . adding it tot he boiler forestalls this.

please note:The use of punctuation, bold, underlining, italics, and different sized type, follows the convention used in writing, for many years, to place emphasis on the point being made, and to highlight the importance of that point in the opinion of the author. It is not the intention of the author to shout, if that was the case the author would adopt the, much more recent, convention of using all capital letters.
Albert Einstein wrote:Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.
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Re: Alemans Effin Bohemian Pilsner

Postby Aleman » Thu Apr 03, 2014 13:18

Well time moves on, and methods and materials change. So is there a need to perform a decoction mash? The short answer is, probably not. Given that most malts are well modified, the requirement for a decoction mash is very much reduced. The technique does introduce certain characteristics to a beer that used to be difficult to replicate with any other techniques, but with the range of malts available from Weyermann this is no longer the case. Indeed in an email conversation I had with Greg Noonan a few years ago he admitted that he never does a triple decoction any more, at most it is a single decoction to go from a single temperature infusion rest to a mash out rest to 'fluidise the glucans'.

So that throws the technique open to HERMS / RIMS/ and Step infusion mashing. I'm going to make the assumption that you are not going to do a single decoction for the final temperature step, and if this is the case, then there has to be a tweak to the grain bill.

Instead of 4600g of lovely Czech Floor malted barley we need to use 4100g, and 500g of melanoidin malt. Melanoidin malt is a great standby to have in your arsenal as it really throws a huge malt profile and makes a beer appear much larger than its gravity would suggest. Another possibility would be to use 1200g of Munich Malt and 3400g of pilsner malt instead. again Munich malts are great for adding melanoidins.

OK so what about a mash schedule, my personal preference is

35ºC for 20 minutes (Acid Rest)
55ºC for 30 minutes (Protein rest)
70ºC for 60 minutes (Protein rest)

Where I try and aim for a 1-2ºC per minute temperature rise between steps . . . which are not included in the actual step time. . . . I also consider removing a thin decoction to go from 70ºC to 78C for lautering and sparging . . . to help build the decoction profile. Fix does suggest 50 /60 /70C (for 30 / 30 / 60 minutes), the worry I have about that is that the proteases are still active at 60C and so you are likely to get excessive protein digestion and a weak short lasting head formation/retention. Another possibility is the Hochkurz schedule I mentioned in an earlier post, but I will say that that should really be considered for normal well modified lager malts rather than this unique Czech pilsner malt.

Infusion mashing is going to be somewhat tricky as you do need excessive amounts of room in the mash tun. If you start out with a fairly thick mash (2L/kg) and then add boiling water to the mash (gradually over 5-10 minutes while stirring) you can easily and simply hit the mash temperatures required. . . The mash might end up a bit thin, but if the Czech brewers of Plzen can end up with 6L/Kg then why should we worry?

please note:The use of punctuation, bold, underlining, italics, and different sized type, follows the convention used in writing, for many years, to place emphasis on the point being made, and to highlight the importance of that point in the opinion of the author. It is not the intention of the author to shout, if that was the case the author would adopt the, much more recent, convention of using all capital letters.
Albert Einstein wrote:Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.
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Re: Alemans Effin Bohemian Pilsner

Postby wallybrew » Thu Apr 03, 2014 16:59

Aleman wrote:So is there a need to perform a decoction mash? The short answer is, probably not.


DMS (available in most German beer)

As it is searchable - Charlie Bamforth in the Brewers Guardian

will not upload a pdf so Charlie on decoction
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Re: Alemans Effin Bohemian Pilsner

Postby BarnsleyBrewer » Fri Jun 13, 2014 08:56

Thanks' for re-posting on here :thumb:
Will have a dabble with this one day!! :drink:

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Re: Alemans Effin Bohemian Pilsner

Postby BeerBloke » Thu Oct 09, 2014 08:55

wallybrew wrote:
Aleman wrote:So is there a need to perform a decoction mash? The short answer is, probably not.


DMS (available in most German beer)

As it is searchable - Charlie Bamforth in the Brewers Guardian

will not upload a pdf so Charlie on decoction


Interesting read, I've always wondered why people still bothered to do this with the modern well modified malt we now get.

Homebrewing since 1991
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Re: Alemans Effin Bohemian Pilsner

Postby krazypara3165 » Sun Jan 17, 2016 12:19

Getting ready to brew this one on monday after work!

Kegged:
Simecoe APA (HBF Donation)

Bottled:
Galaxy Pale Ale, Woodfordes Wherry, Bella Brew Pale Ale, Strawberry and vanilla Pale Ale, Mixed fruits cider, Elderflower and grapefruit fizz.

Maturing:
Rhubarb Wine, WOW rose', Elderberry wine, Mixed berries wine, Elderflower and grapefruit wine, Elderberry wine.

Next Up:
German Pilsner, Guinness Clone, Chateau De Roi selection kit, Strawberry and lime cider.
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