Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Review: 3rd Place Pilsner

This beer has been a ride.  I started out with an overnight mash that dropped in temp quite a bit and smelled a little bit like a sour mash.  I thought for sure it would be ruined.  On brew day I thought I didn't have enough hops to brew it since I was missing the bittering hops I had planned on using.  I ended up swapping out for an older package of homegrown hops from a buddy that ended up not bittering the beer enough, and I had 1oz of Liberty and 2oz Saaz left over by the end and could've used them instead.  The hop strainer clogged shut on me rendering my pump useless and leaving the wort warmer than I had wanted for a lager.  It took nearly 2 hours to drain the 10 gallons of beer through the ball-valve with some creative positioning of the keggle.  Fermentation seemed a little sluggish to start.  The beer took forever to reach FG.  The hop aroma was very light.  The bitterness not pronounced.  The finish a little sweet, and not snappy like it should be.  My buddy who makes lots of lagers and Pilsners said the Munich made it too much like a Helles.  I ended up entering it in a BJCP competition just to get some feedback and was very surprised when it placed 3rd.  A few days ago I thought I had ruined it when my CO2 tank blew and I thought that oxygen had gotten into the keg and ruined the beer (it seemed a little off like an aging firkin beer, but not wet cardboard).  Surprisingly enough after a few days on CO2 again and a few burps of the keg, I finally reviewed it and found it to be okay (not oxidized).

Crystal clear!  You can read through this bad boy.  Pours a super clear pale gold with a thick white head that persists and then fades to a thick cap that stays throughout the entire glass leaving generous lace all the way down.  You can see how big each gulp is just by looking at the lacing.  Sparkles with tiny bubbles fluttering throughout.  This is the first beer I have made in 2.5 years of brewing now that has made me truly appreciate the power of how a beer looks when presented.

Light noble hops present over a sweet malt and a bit of toast.  Floral hops, elegant and light.  Hint of sulfur.  No DMS or diacetyl.

Starts with sweet malts and floral hops, lightly grainy.  Very low level of toasted bread.  Noble hops are low.  No DMS or diacetyl, sulfur from the nose is not evident in the mouth.  Bitterness is low.  Malty beer.  And no lactic twang at all from the drop in temp on the overnight mash.

Light body, creamy, semi-dry finish.  Doesn't snap on the finish like a Pilsner should.  Bitterness is very restrained, at times seems to linger a little but then fades quick.

It is a good beer, very beautiful, clean fermentation, no esters, light hops, elegant malt, would be a great Helles, but it is not a Pilsner (regardless of what place it took in the judging).  It is very quaffable, but not what I was hoping for.  As far as a Pils goes, it is too malty, the FG is good, but the maltiness and missing bitterness make it finish too sweet, and the hops aren't as pronounced in aroma, flavor, or bitterness as I would have liked.  I may save this recipe for a future Helles with a light tweek, but am shooting for an all new recipe for my next Pilsner (which I am hoping to brew very soon).

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