Has anyone brewed a Classic American Pilsner?

I’m doing some reading on the style, such as this

http://morebeer.com/brewingtechniques/l ... l#footnote

and I have never been more excited to brew a beer. It is likely going to be a few brews out, as I am first going to make a steam, and a helles, as starters (detailed here viewtopic.php?f=1&t=113070).

has anyone brewed one of these, or moreover, had a commercial example? I know the above article says it is pretty much a dead style, but the article was also written in 1995. Also, the REVISED BJCP guidelines say that the only commercial examples are ‘occasional microbrewery specials’.

Any tips would be well-received!

the closest i’ve come is a clone of schlitz and it came out spot on. you have to really pay attention to the procedures, any little mistake will jump out at you

Is Schlitz a CAP or a standar/premium american lager?

Yeah, I do one a couple of times a year. I try for a pre-prohibition version with an O.G. of around 1.055. Pretty simple recipe, 80% 6 row malt and 20% corn grits (cereal mash). I hop it pretty heavily but it seems I’m always screwing around with the hopping. The last time I made it I dry hopped it with Saaz plus there was quite a bit of late hopping as well. I have tried Clusters (historial I guess but not my favorite hop) but I generally bitter with Magnum or similar German higher alpha hop then use a bunch of Saaz (right now I shoot for an IBU in the low 40’s).

You will find that if you use alot of corn that it affects the taste. I rather like it but in competitions that corn flavor can be mistaken for DMS by judges who don’t know what they are doing. I suppose you could try using rice as the adjunct but I have not tried that since I’m ok with the corn flavor. If you enjoy CAPs and historial American beers you might also enjoy making a Ballentines XXX clone or perhaps the IPA (haven’t tried that one yet). Both beers have heavy corn additions and I just love to cereal mash grits since it makes the beer unique (it’s work but I think it makes the beer better over say using flaked corn or corn sugar which I really don’t recommend). My great grand father was an old German guy who brewed during prohibition so it’s sort of a family tradition.

an american lager

[quote=“Barley Water”] My great grand father was an old German guy who brewed during prohibition so it’s sort of a family tradition.[/quote]that’s funny, my great grandpa ran booze during prohibition.

You don’t recommend corn sugar OR flaked maize? I made a cream ale with flaked maize once and it was good and crisp, but a little weird. almost more of a diacetyl characteristic(which is unlikely as I pitched low (60) and raised the temp for a week to 70).

I’ve got one on tap right now. Pretty much followed Norther Brewer’s recipe for a Pre-Prohibition Lager which certainly falls in the style guidelines for Classic American Pils. All that I used is 6-row, flaked maize and cluster. I loved how it turned out and will certainly be doing it again though I may go for a different hop, not awful but there seems to be a reason no one uses cluster any more, kind of harsh or maybe unrefined would be a better term. I still love the beer though and the firm bitterness against the bit of sweetness from the corn coming through is quite tasty. :cheers:

Sorry, I’m not on this site much. Can you tell me:

-yeast/pitch rate (I’m guessing a huge lager pitch and any high-attenuation lager yeast would work as that’s what the people invented this did)
-fermentation temp / time (50 degrees, 2-4 weeks primary?)
-lagering/conditioning temp/time?

I know the famous recipe “Your Father’s Moustache” in HTB has a friggin cereal mash and I think is either single or double-decocted. I read a great study though that subbing in some melanoidin malt basically makes decoction obsolete.

I’m seriously really pumped to brew this.

Didn’t figure out the pitch rate but I had a pretty fresh pack of Wyeast #2007 Pilsen Lager Yeast and did a 2 step starter on a stir plate, 1.75 liters each time. I fermented for 3 weeks at 50 degrees at which point i moved it to a keg and have been lagering at 31 degrees for 4 weeks though I admit to pulling a pint every week to give it a taste. :smiley:

I didn’t do a cereal mash, used flaked maize and followed the NB instructions for a mash; 20 minutes at 122 for a protein rest and then up 150 degrees for 1 hr (did it via infusion since I batch sparge). It seems to be taking a really long time to clear, usually my ales are crystal clear by now, not sure if it is just the yeast, something about the 6-row or something else but I’m not too concerned. Maybe I’ll use a fining like gelatin next time.

Quite happy with how it turned out and I’ll certainly brew it again before too long (want to get to a Munich Helles and Bohemian Pilsner first) though as I mentioned I’ll probably try a different hop.

hmmm…maybe Saaz or Sterling?

I know Jamil recommended Saaz in Brewing Classic Styles for the Classic American Pilsner over Cluster. Just wish I would have read his recipe before I brewed mine. While I’m glad I tried it ‘authentic’ with Cluster I’ll be using Saaz next time. :cheers:

I know Jamil recommended Saaz in Brewing Classic Styles for the Classic American Pilsner over Cluster. Just wish I would have read his recipe before I brewed mine. While I’m glad I tried it ‘authentic’ with Cluster I’ll be using Saaz next time. :cheers: [/quote]

I also recall Jamil saying he hopped the living hell out of this beer, and the more he added, the more he liked it!

+1 to this formula. You need some corn. The preprohibition lager is really nice. Also, I use Cluster in mine. American Hops for an American beer. I think you have better chances of getting higher quality American hops than European varieties.

I did use a lot of corn, 30%. Still may do a noble derived american hop next time, maybe one like the BJCP guideline suggests (ultra, liberty or crystal) For me a lot of the fun was brewing a style that I have never tasted and capturing a bit of history in doing so.

If you want to use corn grits, you need to do a ceral mash otherwise the starches won’t gelatinize. A buddy of mine made essentially the same beer using grits in one and flakes in the other. Although close in taste, we determined through a blind tasting that the beer with the grits was better. So to summerize I would say grits is best, flakes is a good second and corn sugar is a lousy third. Actually, after you have done a couple of ceral mashes it is really no big deal, the first time however, like most things in life, is a pain in the butt.

I currently have about 20 pounds of American two row pils malt which needs to go into a beer. Although I usually use 6 row for this this, I believe I’ll try using some of this malt on my next attempt (hopefully is has enough enzymes to convert 20% corn, I guess I’ll find out). Between a CAP and a California Common I should be able to use up the malt in appropriate beers. I just need to figure out how I am going to hop the stuff.

wouldn’t corn sugar (glucose) just dry it out? My understanding is corn sugar is a monosaccharide, and yeast will just chew through it, which is why we add it to bottle condition/prime. I thought the idea was to extract some non-fermentables from the corn to give it body and residual sweetness?

Exactly, that is why it’s a lousy third.

This is an excellent reference on the style by George Fix. I modified it a bit and made it twice. Good stuff. You’ll need to do some calculations. http://morebeer.com/brewingtechniques/l … 3/fix.html

I followed the advice contained in the Fix article and I concur, it makes nice beer. I bet I have made 10 batches or so and although I have fooled around with the recipe it usually turns out well.