Many of the first reviews were of Troegs Brewing Company. The reasons for this are two fold 1.) They make lot of good beer, and 2.) They were the most accessible craft beer when I first got into craft beer. Since that time they have been in my regular buying rotation as I still have a fondness for their beers. Sunshine Pils is a spring/summer seasonal release of theirs that I never actually tried until this year. Generally when I am looking for a good PA pilsner, I go for Victory’s Prima Pils, but seeing as this was a new beer to me, I grabbed it.
According to the bottle, Sunshine Pils comes in at 5.3% but Troegs website says 4.5%. In any case this beer looks exactly like a pilsner should. It is a golden straw color and has a brilliant clarity to it. A thin white head sits atop the beer below and slowly absorbs back into the liquid. The nose is a bit more complex then what I was expected. The first thing that gets you is a good solid malt, which has a grainy, fresh quality to it. The odor is on the sweet side with some bits on honey mixed in there. I didn’t get any hops in my attempts to find them.
The taste very much follows what the nose promised. It starts off with a honey sweetness that has some notes for grain as it goes over the back third of your tongue. There is a really nice earthiness to this beer which I wasn’t expected. It has a real handcrafted quality to it that I have not found in many pilsners. The hops finally make their appearance at the very end of this one and give a slight noble hop spiciness that dries everything out enough to keep this beer from being too sweet.
With the exception of the earthiness, this is a pretty standard pilsner. It was nice, balanced, and refreshing; all things that a pilsner should be. I wish I had tried this beer soon as it would have really helped those summer classes in my college days. Continue reading
It’s no secret that I dig Victory Brewing Company. In my book they make some of the best beers on the
east coast and I am constantly amazed at the number of different beers they put out each year. They are actually working on adding a second location as the home base in Downingtown, PA can no longer be expanded. When I first started drinking craft beer, today’s beer, Prima Pils, is one of the beers that I immediately gravitated to.
Just as any pilsner should, Prima Pils pours a nice clear golden color with a fluffy white head. The nose has a decent amount of malt and sweetness. There are bits of biscuit in there along with some prevalent honey odors. I also get some nice hop aroma, but not overpoweringly so. These hops sit in the background but promise to show themselves at a more convenient time. If I had to describe the hops in a broad way, I would call them “noble smelling.” One big difference with this pilsner is that there is no lager sulfur smell. I don’t know if the brief wisp of hops mask it or if it is brewed so cleanly that the sulfur doesn’t come. In any case, it’s nice not to have it there.
On the first taste I got a nice sweetness that felt authentic. It reminded me deeply of a German pilsner that I had last summer. The honey flavors come back in along with some nice solid bread. Just as all of the malt flavors are wrapping themselves up, a nice does of hops kick in. Again, these hops are strong compared to a pale ale, but they are assertive for a pilsner. I’m guessing that people who are used to drinking light American lagers will not like this one at first because the hops are bold compared to their former beers. I want to stress that this isn’t a hoppy beer in a bitterness sense, but the hops add a great balancing force.
I fell in love with this beer several years ago and I still love it to this day. While this one is more hoppy than most pilsners, I still find it to strike a nice balance. It is very drinkable and I find myself being a regular consumer of this beer. Continue reading
I’ve said it more than once before but I am a sucker for good marketing and a beer with the name of Eurotrash is right up my alley. I’ve often refereed to beers that haven’t been treated right as having a “Euro skunk” flavor to them. I’m glad that Southern Tier Brewing Company of Lakewood, New York gets the joke. I’ve been on a bit of a pilsner kick recently and I have purchased a number of them and even brewed one to fill by desire for pilsner beer.
Today’s beer pours a pale golden color and has a wispy white head. It is perfectly clear as is expected in this style of beer. The nose is pretty complex for such a simple beer. There is some honey-like sweetness upfront with a slight noble hop kick that comes in. Behind the honey sweetness is some general beer sweetness and some slight sulfur.
The taste is very clean on this beer. The malt is wonderfully balanced with the hops and all of the sweetness that was promised in the nose carries through to the beer. The noble hops are excellent on this beer. They provide a clean and solid bittering component that cleans out the sweetness and dries out the beer.
According to the label this beer uses two varieties of hops and two types of malt. At 5.2% ABV I could easily down a few of theses at a sitting. This beer is super drinkable, as a pilsner should be. It is very balanced and is loaded with flavor. If you are looking for a good example of a pilsner I suggest that you try this one out. I don’t think that you will be disappointed. This is a solid beer. Continue reading
I brewed my Pilsner last Saturday, just as the snow ended. The snow setting made brewing a real treat compared to the normal blustery winter brew day. The recipe for this beer was pretty simple and the grain crush went quickly. Even though it was cold out, my mash water heated up quickly. My goal was to use a high water to grain ratio at low temperatures to get as much sugar out of the grain as possible, I ended up putting four gallons of water into ten pounds of grain. This gave me a 1.6:1 quart to pound of grain ratio. Typically this ratio is closer to 1.25:1. I have been doing these higher ratios recently and I have found that my efficiency has gone up, so I’m sticking with it.
I mashed for 90 minutes hitting my target of 151 °F through the whole mash. I then added my strike water at 175°F and let the whole thing rest for another ten minutes. Once everything was completed I began my boil. I went for a 75 minute boil this time around as I collected a bit more wort than I was anticipating. I added my whole leaf Hallertau hops at 60 minutes as you can see below.
I rarely use whole leaf hops, but they look awesome in the beer. For the next 45 minutes I read my book while waiting for the next hop addition. At 15 minutes I added the Sterling hops (pellets), my wort chiller, and the Irish moss. At 10 minutes I added a yeast nutrient that I have had good success with. Come fame out I turned on the wort chiller water. At this time I also begin transferring a different lager beer from the fermentor to the keg. Doing two things at once is nice, but also hectic.
I had to switch between checking on the beer transfer and stirring the wort to help it cool more quickly. As the completed beer finished its transfer, I put the airlock back on the fermentor in order to protect the yeast cake from the air. The wort cooled down to 60 °F in about 20 minutes and I decided to put it in the fermentor. The whole leaf hops tried to clog my auto-siphon but they did not succeed. After all of the wort was in the fermentor I shook it up to make sure that the yeast mixed with the beer and to make sure that it was properly oxygenated.
My target goal of 1.053 was hit dead on. I really love hitting my goals and I am going to continue to do a looser mash and longer mash time as the success that I have had with it continues to impress. Within six hours this beer was producing bubbles in the airlock. I plan on leaving it in my basement for a month at 55 °F. From there I will keg it and lager it at colder temperatures for two to four weeks. I’ll let you know how it turns out when I transfer it over to the keg. Continue reading
Now that I am living in a place big enough to brew more beer, I have done just that. My “new” (moved in July) place has an unfinished basement that is perfect for all of my brewing supplies. One of the other benefits that I have found to having a basement was that it stays at a consistent 55 degrees in the winter, perfect temperatures for lagers. In my 5+ years of brewing, I have only attempted one lager before, but in 2012 alone I have brewed 3 and have plans for a few more before the weather warms up.
One of the first lagers that I brewed this year is a pilsner. I’m a big fan of a well done pilsner . I’ve only reviewed one pilsner on this site, but I have a few in the pipeline that need to get posted. Victory and Stoudts both make an excellent pilsner and I wanted to try my hand at making one. I also had a few lovely pilsners while I was in Germany last summer, so my intentions for this recipe is to make a mix of the examples that I enjoy with the southern German examples that I had.
There are many ways to do a pilsner, but I wanted to keep it simple with only two malts: pilsner and Munich. The idea behind the Munich malt is that it gives many of the same characteristics to a pilsner as what a traditional decoction would, without all of the work. I wanted to use only a touch of Munich so that the pilsner would retain its light color. I also wanted my pilsner to be a slightly more hops and ABV than a traditional one. I managed to stick within style, but on the extreme high side of the style. My recipe is below:
- 9.5 lbs. Pilsner Malt
- 1/2 lb. Munich Malt
- 2 oz. Hallertau (3.3% AA) @ 60 minutes
- 1 oz. Sterling (7% AA) @ 15 minutes
- WLP 838 Southern German Lager
The expected outcomes for this beer are:
- 5.2% ABV
- 37 IBUs
- 4.75 SRM
I really like Hallertau hops, but I wanted something a bit “punchier” for the aroma hop addition. Sterling is basically a strong version of Hallertau and has all of the same characteristics, but just intensified. I wanted to stay traditional with the ingredients as well, so I kept everything in line with that thinking.
The main reason I went with the Southern German Lager yeast is because I had a yeast cake of it from a previous batch of beer ready to go and I also like the flavor profile that it gives. The bready flavors seem to really come out with this yeast strain, and I thought that they would compliment the recipe. I also wanted to emulate the southern German pilsners that I had last summer.