This is the Classic Pilsner kit available from Midwest Homebrewing Supply. I changed it a bit by adding an extra pound of extra light DME a slight change in the boiling time of the flavor hops. I had made a yeast starter using some extra light DME and I used the leftover DME in the boil. It is my first attempt at a partial mash recipe, not to mention my first attempt at lagering.
- 3.5# extra light DME
- 3.5 # Weyermann Pilsner malt
- 8 oz Carapils malt
- 8 oz Munich 10L malt
- 1 oz Saaz (boiling - boiled for 60")
- 1 oz Saaz (boiling-flavor)
- 1 oz Saaz (aroma)
- 1t Irish moss
- 3/4 c corn sugar (priming)
- Wyeast 2001 Pils Urquell liquid yeast in a smack-pack
- 4 oz extra light DME (yeast starter)
- Culligan pure water
Two days prior to brewing, I made a yeast starter using 4 oz extra light DME and 8 oz of water. I mixed the DME and the water and boiled the mixture for 10". I cooled it in an ice bath to about 80 degrees F, poured the wort into a beaker (no, not that kind... that would ruin the brew), and added yeast. I put the starter into a dark closet for two days.
I heated 1.5 gallons of water to 156 degrees and added the grains directly to the water. This brought the temperature of the mash to about 149 degrees. At this time I turned on my timer for 75 minutes. I turned my burner to 7 intending to heat the mash to 151-154 degrees. I didn't realize this would create some hot spots in the mash, but I found that some parts of the mash were at 180 degrees (parts that, fortunately, were mostly water - the parts of the mash that were mostly grains kept at around 151-154). I added approximately 2 pints of room temperature Culligan water to bring the mash back to 151-154 degrees. The temperature was still uneven, so I took the mash off the burner and kept stirring it slowly. After bringing the mash to 151-154 degrees, I put it back on the burner and fluctuated its setting between Lo and 3, turning on the "sure simmer" button at times for further temperature control. I had to remove the pot from the burner one more time when the temperature at one spot got up to 160, but for the most part kept the grains per-se at around 151-154 degrees.
After mashing, I poured the grains into a colander and the liquid into a second 5 gallon pot. My regular colander was too small to hold all the grains, so I used a second smaller pot (one of my Revere Ware sauce pots) to hold the rest of the wort and I placed the rest of the grains into its colander. I sparged both colanders with the grains with 170 degrees of sparge water (2 gallons) and sparged the grains slowly. When the small pot got full, I poured the wort over the larger colander to further sparge those grains.
I added enough water to make 4 gallons of wort and brought the wort to a rolling boil. Keeping the burner set on 7 assured, as usual, a nice rolling boil. I added the boiling hops to a fine mesh nylon hops bag and added the bag to the wort at the beginning of the boil. I boiled the wort for 30 minutes.
After this initial boiling period, I added another 1 oz of Saaz hops to the hop bag and boiled for an additional 15 minutes. I decided to boil the Saaz hops for a total of 30 minutes to offset the additional 1/2# of DME used in the boil.
At the end of this period I added the Irish moss to the boil and sanitized my wort chiller in the boil. I I had already soaked the chiller in hot water mixed with One Step, but the boil time assures sanitation. I boiled the wort for an additional 15 minutes.
I then added the aroma hops to the hop bag, took the wort of the burner, and let sit for two minutes. Total boil time is 60" plus two minutes of resting after the addition of the aroma hops.
I then ran cold tap water through the chiller and brought my wort to about 75-78 degrees. I poured it into the primary through a funnel with a strainer in it to further strain the wort and to aerate it. I added enough Culligan water (about 2 gallons) to make 5 gallons of wort. I swished the starter around, being careful not to splash it, and then added the yeast starter to the wort. I placed it in my basement bathroom, where the temperature is about 68 degrees.
Summary: overall the process went smoothly. The main problem I had as noted above was keeping the mash at the desired temperature. Electric stoves are notoriously difficult to use in mashing, and many (most) brewers use propane burners in their mashing process. I have a propane burner but because this is a partial mash recipe and I since I am making a gradual move to all-grain brewing, its use was one extra step that I did not want to mess with this time around.
Update 4/8/2008: I placed the fermenter into my 43-45 degree fridge approximately 41-43 hours after pitching the yeast and about 24 hours after I first noticed a fully-formed krauesen. The recipe that came with the kit said to move the fermenter to lagering temperature when the krauesen had formed, but I wasn't able to until this morning (about one day late). Hopefully this will not affect the quality of the beer.
Update 4/15/2008: I racked the beer to the secondary fermenter and put it back in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks. Sp. Gr. measured at about 1.015 and the sample I used to measured the specific gravity tasted nice a "pilsnery." Carbonation was also apparent, something I've not found with the multitudes of ales I've brewed. This looks to bee a good beer.
My fridge kept the temperature inside at around 42 degrees or so. That seems low, but the beer has fermented nicely over the past week.
Update 5/07/2008: Bottling day: I mixed 1 cup of water and 3/4 (5 oz) corn sugar in a sauce pan, brought to a slow boil, and boiled for 5 minutes.
I began racking the beer to a bottling bucket using a siphon starter. Its specific gravity was 1.014 or so. The beer still had a lagery-yeasty smell to it, but it tasted nice. Once conditioned and chilled in the bottle, it will make a nice after-mowing beer. My lawn is surely to get mowed 7 times weekly, eh? Damn the gas prices, full speed ahead!
I added the corn sugar just before the siphoning stage and then bottled 40 12 oz bottles and 3 bombers (22 oz bottles). I tasted the brew from which I took the hydrometer reading and it tasted very good. The bottling process was messy. One bottle tipped over after filling and my bottle filler leaked badly tonight. Now my kitchen floor smells like Swiffer and beer. A nice song for a country singer, but a bad scent for my house.