Homebrew DC: Classic American Pilsner

Photo courtesy of Tony DeFilippo
courtesy of Tony DeFilippo

My homebrewing club  at Kena Shriners was asked to make a batch of beer for another club, and was given little direction on what type of homebrew recipe I should use. We did a little reconnaissance work and learned that this other club loves light lagers such as Bud Light, so I decided to make something similar enough that they would be familiar with it, but also different enough that it would be a bit more interesting than their usual brews.

I got this recipe from Brew Your Own, which labeled it “Your Father’s Mustache.” I have adapted the recipe a bit to accommodate for my timeframe and equipment. Specifically, I am using an ale yeast because I need the beer to be done and in a keg in a little more than a month. Making a true pilsner takes a bit longer than an ale because it requires a lager yeast, which ferments slowly, and at a low temperature.

I will be serving this beer on Monday at a Memorial Day cookout. If you go to the Falls Church Memorial Day Parade and see those guys in the little cars, they are the ones who requested this special brew. They will have it after the parade, mind you, so go enjoy all your fine fezzed friends driving their precision patterns.

Specialty Grains: 1 lb 9 oz 6-row malt 6.5 oz flaked maize (you call it corn)

Malt Base: 3 lb 11 oz. light dried malt extract

Other Ingredients:

  • 15 oz corn sugar
  • 1.0 oz Cluster hops – 60 min
  • 1.0 oz Styrian Goldings hops – 15 min
  • Wyeast 1272 American Ale II or White Labs WLP023 Burton Ale Yeast

Recipe: Steep the specialty grain in 155-degree water for 60 minutes. Remove the grains, add the male extract and corn sugar, and bring the wort to a boil. Add water to reach 3.5 gallons. Add the hops at the specified schedule. Cool to room temperature, add the yeast, and let it bubble away. If doing a single-stage fermentation, bottle it after 10-14 days. If doing two-stage fermentation, let it bubble in the primary for two weeks and then in a secondary fermenter for two weeks, and then bottle or keg.

The original recipe also had an all-grain version, using 9.0 pounds of 6-row pale malt and 2.25 pounds of brewer’s grits instead of the extract fermentables. Someday, when I have more time, I mean to make this all-grain homebrew recipe. If making this as a real pilsner, use White Labs WLP833 or Wyeast 2487 yeast and lager according to the yeast’s specifications.

This post first appeared at RealHomebrew.com.

Carl Weaver is a writer and brewer for RealHomebrew.com and has been making beer and wine for more than 20 years. He is also an avid photographer and writer and just finished his first book, about a trip he took to Thailand to live in Buddhist monasteries. He considers himself the last of the Renaissance men and the luckiest darned guy in the world. Follow him on Twitter.

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