Success and questions

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I checked my newest batch (Octoberfest) and it has turned out wonderfully.
Well carbonated, holds head, pretty tasty. It only did a primary for 2 wks
and I bottled it 8 days ago. I suspect it will get better with time. Nice
clean fresh taste. Took a couple to the chili party yesterday to let people
sample and everyone seemed to like it, or at least they said they did. This
was my second ever attempt at making beer, so I am quite happy with it. It
was an extract kit. While my first beer was pretty disastrous (if you
remember the black licorice flavored weiss), I managed to avoid the same
mistakes this time around. I did make a rookie mistake while pouring
yesterday. Didn't leave the last oz. in the bottle and wound up with a glass
full of yeast flakes. Still tasted fine and didn't kill me yet! Most of them
settled anyway.
Sat. morn was a gorgeous day so I decided to brew a Pilsner kit I had
waiting. I is an all malt pilsner, so the box says anyway. The instructions
were for a half hour boil adding hop pellets at 20 min. and leaf hops at
final 1 minute. Box directions are not the best I'm told, so I did what I
have read in books and elsewhere and did a 60 min boil. I like a stronger
bitter to pilsner and this recipe only called for hops later in the boil.
Aren't the hops added at start of boil for bittering, last 20 minutes for
aroma, and final few for flavor? So I thought anyway and decided to split
the pellet hops in half and add .5 oz at boil start and .5 oz at last 20
min. with the leaf bag at last minute. Think this was a mistake? I also used
2 pkgs of muntons dry yeast mixed with 2/3 cup boiled but cooled to room
temp water for pitching. I aerated by shaking after pitching yeast instead
of before, not sure who's right on this one, but the beer seemed to start
fine. Woke up next morning and thought my freezer was broken and knocking,
but it was the airlock banging away. By that (Sun.) evening movement had all
but ceased and this am it has ceased. Should this be? The other two beers I
made went on for at least a week.

This is what is in the wort:

2 lbs Muntons Light DME
3.3 lb can Light Malt Extract
1 oz Cascade hop pellet
1 oz Cascade leaf hops

Pitched yeast at 75F, stirred for a couple of minutes and shook on lap for a
solid 5 minutes. I'm looking into some sort of stirrer I can do with a
portable drill.

thanks for any help or suggestions.

Re: Success and questions
You're right about the bittering hops. They're boiled longer to impart
bitterness. Switch the order on aroma/flavor. Flavor hops would come at
20 minutes (or there abouts), and aroma hops are added near the end or
via dry hopping.

The hop instructions do sound odd. Did the ingredients say anything
about the malt extract already being hopped? Some kits use such extract,
claiming one doesn't need to hop since they're already in there. (Some
would disagree, however, and even prefer unhopped extract. That way, you
have total control and know what you're getting.)


dadand1 wrote:

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Re: Success and questions
dadand1 wrote:
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Just gotta say that at that temp. and with that yeast, you ain't making
a pilsner, no matter what the kit calls itself.  But you should get a
tasty brew out of it, anyway.

Life begins at 60 - 1.060, that is.

Reply to denny_dot_g_dot_conn_at_ci_dot_eugene_dot_or_dot_us

Re: Success and questions

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HI Denny,
So is pilsner a lager then and not an ale?

Re: Success and questions
dadand1 says on
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I'm still new but let me take a stab.  Yes, pilsner's are lagers, which
means you would need a lager yeast and much cooler temperatures (35-55).  
And I don't know how much of a big deal it is, but for style it falls
short of an American Pilsner.  You didn't say if it was Classic American,
Bohemian, or Northern German.  For a Classic American, you should have a
minimum OG of 1.044.  I calculate yours at 1.043 <close>.  Promash gives
you an estimated SRM of 9.5 on color.  This style calls for 3-6.  You
should have a IBU between 25-40 for this style.  You didn't say what it
was, but using 5.5 as your alpha % your kit comes in at around 16.1.  
Calculating the hops, using your actual procedure, comes in at 21.3.  I
ran this through Promash.  Take all of this with a grain of salt though.  
I could be wrong and others will surely correct me <I hope>.

Breakdown of all 3 Pilsners with yours

    American    Bohemian    N. German    Yours
OG    1.044-1.06    1.044-1.056    1.044-1.050    1.043
SRM    3-6        3-5        2-4        9
IBU    25-40        35-45        25-45        16.1

Vsevo Khoroshego,

Re: Success and questions

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lol, I'm a rookie with a kit soooo....
It's a True Blue kit called All Malt Pilsner.
I'm finding out these kits are pretty much a collection of ingredients that
will make a drinkable beer regardless of what they are called. I don't mind
right now as I am making a beer that tastes pretty good.

 For a Classic American, you should have a
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I did not measure OG as it never comes out as listed in the kit, by a bunch!
So I have started to trust the literature adn go from there. I do need to
learn to calculate this stuff though. So, it says
OG 1.042-1.044
FG 1.010-1.012
IBU 11.5
The change in your calculations for IBU I assume is because I added half the
hops at start of boil? Thus the higher IBU number.
I am learning, but have a long way to go. Thanks for your help.
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Re: Success and questions
says on
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Not because you halved it but because you lengthened the boil.
You said their instructions were for a 30 minute boil but you boiled for
60 minutes. For instance, you boil 1 oz of your Cascade pellets at 5.5%
alpha for 30 minutes full boil, you come up with 25 IBU <28.5 if you
lengthen it to 40 minutes>.  However, if you boil .5 oz of the same
Cascade for 60 minutes adding the other .5 oz with 20 minutes to go <as
you said, IIRC>, you come up with 26.1, a slightly more bitter beer. <Your
#'s may vary depending on which formula you go by.  I use Tinseth's.>  

Then of course you added the leaf with 1 minute to go.  The leaf probably
didn't add any flavoring <I think it should be more than 10 minutes?>.  It
should have added only aroma.

Again, if I am wrong, Dennis, please correct me.  I'm 3 months and 6
batches new.  I figure if I try to explain something, someone can correct
me so I'll learn as well.

Vsevo Khoroshego,

Re: Success and questions
dadand1 wrote:

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That's correct...there are _many_ kits out there that call themselves
pilsner without even being in the ballpark.  I think it's because new
brewers can relate to the name.  In truth, brewing a decent lager is
much more labor and equipment intensive than brewing ales, but kit
makers don't want to scare off new brewers.  So they call their kits
"pilsners" when they taste nothing like any pilsner the new brewer's
ever had...then we get questions about "what's wrong with my beer" when
there really isn't anything wrong at all!  Just a case of misguided

Life begins at 60 - 1.060, that is.

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