German-style pilsners are a style of beer which I enjoy, but which are also often challenging to get just right. Because of the simple grain bill (generally just pilsner malt), there isn’t much to hide behind, and even slight mis-balance in hopping, or a bit too much fermentation character, can throw it off. A few months ago I posted a recipe for a SmaSH-style pilsner Die Hand Die Verletzt. It was pretty good, but was lacking a little in the hop character.
Since then I’ve iterated this recipe a few times. Some changes made it worse, but I’ve finally hit on a near-perfect (to my palate) recipe. I had to deviate slightly from a SMaSH (Single Malt and Single Hop) recipe, but still kept it as simple recipe for a style of beer defined by its beautiful simplicity.
Recipe – Die Hand Die Verletzt Pilsner
- Volume: 23 L
- IBU: 31.5
- SRM: 3.3
- OG: 1.049
- FG: 1.010
- ABV: 5.1%
|4.8 kg||Pilsner Malt||100%|
|18 g||Warrior, 14.20%, 60 min||27.2 IBU|
|18 g||Hallertauer Mittelfrueh, 4.40%, 10 min||2.4 IBU|
|18 g||Hallertauer Mittelfrueh, 4.40%, 0 min||0 IBU|
|1 packet||W-34/70 Saflager yeast|
- I diluted my tap water 1:1 with distilled water to bring the bicarbonate down to ~50 PPM, then added gypsum to bring the sulfate level back up to 150 PPM sulfate, and CaCl2 to get ~25 PPM chloride.
- Beer was mashed for 75 min at 65.0 C, and sparged to collect 32.5 L of pre-boil wort.
- Wort was boiled for 60 min, with hops added as indicated. Whirflock was added alongside the 10 min hop addition.
- After the boil the wort was chilled to cellar temperature (~15 C) and the yeast pitched.
- The beer was fermented at cellar temperature (15 C), swapping the blow-off tube for an airlock after ~1 week of fermentation.
- The beer was kegged and carbonated at 30 PSI for 24 hours, for ~2.4 volumes of CO2.
Appearance: Pours with a dark-straw body and crisp white head. The beer has a very slight haze which should clear up with a bit more lagering time.
Aroma: This beer is the epitome of a traditional German Pils aroma. The hop aroma is herbaceous and floral, with a bit of wood. Underneath of that is the wonderful bready aroma of pilsner malt.
Flavour: A wonderful bready and slightly sweet malt note forms the backbone of the beer. The sweetness is nicely balanced with a very crisp and clean hop bitterness, with the late additions providing a herbal, almost woodruff-like note to the beer.
Mouthfeel: Crisp and clean. Upfront the beer is whetting and thirst-quenching. The aftertaste is a lingering hop bitterness and herbal note.
Overall: A fantastic German-style pilsner. Easy and enjoyable to drink, but with enough subtle complexity to keep things interesting. To my palate, this is the embodiment of a German pilsner. Simple, but with a subtle complexity provided by the hops. I don’t think I’d change anything in this recipe, except perhaps adding a bit of carapils or something similar, to help give the beer a finer and longer lasting head.