Imperial (Double) Pilsener

Source: Mike Prilla
Recipe added: 01/05/06

Tasting: This is the best beer I have ever tasted or made. And that includes both homebrews and commercial beers. You are going to like it a lot. Everyone you know will want more and want to start homebrewing after drinking this beer. In fact don't let anyone else drink it save it all for yourself this is the height of beer making right here the best ever no one else deserves to have this beer but you. Except maybe other home brewers who do supply you with good homebrew. Non Home brewers are not worthy of drinking this beer it is that good. Don't waste a bottle on the unwashed public mass's that doesn't know what a really good beer is or isn't. I have to point out now that this last bit was and is a joke. It was never meant to be taken seriously. So develop a sense of humor it's good for you.


Recipe type: Extract
Batch Size: 5.25
Starting Gravity: 1.080
Finishing Gravity: 1.014
Time in Boil: 60 Min
Primary Fermentation: 6 to 14 days
Secondary Fermentation: 6 to 14 days
Additional Fermentation: 4 to 8 weeks



Imperial (Double) Pilsener This beer is inspired firstly by the Real Czech Pilsener's and secondly the Imperial (Double) Pilsener's made by Sam Adams and Rogue's. This beer is not a clone of any beer but is meant to be an Imperial (Double) Pilsener in the Czech style just bigger, a little hoppier and stronger. For max authenticity all Saas hops are used. If however you find 16 oz of Saaz hops to be too expensive then 6 oz of Northern Brewer will work just use 1 oz of Northern Brewer at each hop addition rather than 2.66 oz of Saaz it will work out nearly the same in IBU's. Keep in mind due to this beer needing a lot of hops and the expense of a full pound of Saaz hops being needed this is not a cheap beer at all. This beer isn't as hoppy in bitterness as commercial examples of this beer are because it focuses on Saaz hops aroma to balance the bitterness and is the opposite of what an India Pale ale is which focuses on hop bitterness. It is important that you use the lightest preferably extra light malts and the lightest Dextrine Cara-Pils grains you can find as a pilsener should be very light in color. This is a lager mirror immage answer to an Imperial Pale Ale or India Pale Ale. Brewer: Mike Prilla Email: Beer: Imperial (Double) Pilsener Style: Bohemian Pilsener Type: Extract w/grain Size: 5.25 gallons Color: 10 HCU (~7 SRM) Bitterness: 46 IBU OG: 1.080 FG: 1.014 Alcohol: 8.5% v/v (6.7% w/w) Water: I use Distilled water and add 1/2 tsp acid blend 1/16 tsp Gypsum 1/16 tsp Epsom salts 1/16 tsp non iodized salt. Alternately just use 1/2 tsp acid blend and 1/8 tsp Burton water salts. Don't use both. Whatever you do make sure your water is SOFT VERY SOFT as that is the Czech Pilsner style and free of chemicals. Grain: 2 lb. Dextrine malt (Cara-Pils) Steep: Pour three gallons of Distilled water into a 4 or 5 gallon or larger pot. Add 1/2 tsp acid blend, 1/16 tsp Gypsum, 1/16 tsp Epsom salts and 1/16 tsp non iodized salt or use 1/2 tsp acid blend and 1/8 tsp Burton water salts. Put crushed grains into a muslin bag and tie the end into a knot to close it. Heat the water to approximately 150 F - 170 F. Place the grain- filled bag into the brew pot water for 30 minutes DO NOT BOIL THE GRAINS just maintain that temperature. Carefully remove the grain bag and allow it to drain into the brew pot without squeezing. Save grain bags for later cold water sparging with the water you will add to get up to 5 gallons this will get more out of your grains than you would otherwise and increase the flavor and gravity of this beer do not squeeze the bag during sparging. I know sparging is normally a hot water thing but this will work to a good enough extent in an extract with specialty grains recipe. Boil: 60 minutes SG 1.140 3 gallons 6.6 lb. Extra Light malt extract 3 lb. Extra Light dry malt extract Heat the brew pot water to boiling. 1 Add 1 cup of your malt extract (syrup or powder) You are not adding all the malt for several reasons. Add first hop addition (2.66 oz Saaz in a hop bag) (Alternately you can use 1 oz of Nothern Brewer hops for each addition of 2.66 oz of Saaz hops) Stir constantly until it returns to a boil. Be careful not to let the pot boil over. 2 Boil for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally do not let it boil over Add another 2.66 oz of Saaz hops in a hop bag. 3 Boil for an aditional 15 minutes, stirring occasionally do not let it boil over add another 2.66 oz of Saaz hops in a hop bag and add the 1 tsp Irish moss. I know you were told to add the Irish Moss at the last 15 minutes disregard your past life this is the better method. 4 Boil for another 15 Minuets and add another 2.66 oz of Saaz hops in a hop bag. 5 Boil for 10 more minutes Add finishing aroma hops (2.66 oz Saaz in their own hop bag) 5 minutes prior to end of boil (total boiling time is 60 minutes). 6 Turn off heat. Remove your pot from your heat source, Remove the hop bags and let drain in a strainer above your cooling wort you will sparge these as well as your specialty grains with the rest of the water you will add to get up to 5 gallons again this will get more out of them than if you didn't sparge them. And yes a cold water sparge is better than no sparge at all. Add the rest of your malt sugars to the wort. This will let your malt not turn darker and will also sanitize it, be part of the cooling process and get more out of your hops than if you boiled them with your malt in the mix. It keeps your malt from caramelizing and tasting like a malt based beer. People might even not be able to tell you used malt extract to make this beer and will think just by tasting it that you made an all grain beer if you do it this way. Boil the hops not the malt see the article about that on-line if you have questions just do a search for "boil the hops not the malt". Add the dry malt extract first then the malt extract syrup after the dry malt has dissolved. Stir the malt sugars to dissolve into the beer. The temperature of your wort will drop to about 170 Let the beer sit at this relativly high temperature for 10 minutes (no more no less) to sanitize the malt sugars you just added to the beer. You do not need to boil your malt to sanitize it. In any event the canned malt is already pasteurized and only the dry malt needs any sanitizing anyway. Cool your wort as you would do normally with an ice bath or wort chiller. Cool the wort rapidly to 70 F or even cooler. Cooling can be done quickly by immersing the brew pot into a tub of cold water and ice. Be careful to make sure none of the cooling water/ice contacts the wort at all. During cooling sparge hop bags and Grain bags with a gallon or more of cold distilled water in a strainer over the cooling wort. All sparging is for this recipe is pouring some cool water through the grain and hop bags in a strainer over your wort. This isn't a real all grain sparge here and it is not meant to be. This will help the cooling and get more out of your hops and grains as well. Yes a cold water sparging isn't so bad especially in an extract with grains recipe. Discard the grain and hops from inside the bags. Save the bags and wash them out and sanitize for next time. Once cooled keep wort covered in freezer 6 to 8 hours (don't actually freeze it) this is so that the cold trub settles. Cold trub settles better the colder and longer you let it be. I realize you may want to start the fermentation right away and might not want to wait that is your choice but letting the trub settle out and never adding it to your primary will make a better beer. Hops: 2.66 oz. Saaz (3.75% AA, 60 min.) 2.66 oz. Saaz (3.75% AA, 45 min.) 2.66 oz. Saaz (3.75% AA, 30 min.) 2.66 oz. Saaz (3.75% AA, 15 min.) 2.66 oz. Saaz (aroma) Yeast: The best yeasts to use are one of the following White labs WLP800, WLP802 or Wyeast 2000, 2001 or 2278. They are all real Czech Pilsener yeast strains. Other lager type yeasts are acceptable and even dry lager yeasts will do in a pinch but I would use two packs of dry lager yeast since this is a high gravity beer. Especially for a lager using a Pilsener strain of yeast. They are not as high rated as you think for alcohol tolerance in fact lager yeasts are not in general as high rated as many ale yeasts are so keep that in mind. My babying of a beer like it is a very high gravity beer that is only 8.5% may seem silly but I am using yeast strains made to produce 5% to 5.5% products and caution is warranted. A yeast starter is preferred since this is a pretty high gravity beer when using a pilsener yeast strain. Alternately you can rather than make a starter use two different strains of pilsener yeast say WLP800 and WLP8002 together. That is more expensive but the blend of the two yeasts will make a very fine beer indeed. Of course if you make this a pseudo Lager and use an ale yeast caution may not be needed at all. Log: Pour brew pot contents into a sanitized 6.5 gallon food grade plastic Fermenter, leaving sediment (trub) behind and running it through a strainer especially if you did not put your hops in a hop bag. Add 1 tsp Amylase enzyme (this will ensure most of the complex sugars are fermented) many people may want to skip the Amylase enzyme though since for some people it leads to a never ending secondary fermentation depending on what type of Amylase enzyme you use, 1 tsp Super Ferment or other yeast nutrient (this will ensure your fermentation will go well). Remove 1 Gallon of Concentrated wort (before you add the yeast or any more water) into an empty distilled water jug and store in the fridge to be used later to pump up your primary fermentation with a pseudo krausening. This will make your beer better than you realize and ensure your yeast is able to ferment a higher gravity beer than it could otherwise. Add 70 F distilled water until the level reaches the 4 1/2 gallon mark on the bucket. The saved concentrated wort makes your batch really 5 1/2 gallons but you will lose a lot to sedimentation of yeast and trub so don't worry about it. Aerate the mix by splashing it around or better yet by an air hose but only do this before you have added the yeast. Whatever your method of Aeration do it well since this is a high gravity beer for a pilsener yeast strain. Once yeast is in the mix do not aerate anymore. Don't bother taking the Original Gravity (O.G.) reading (you heard me) because you don't have all the wort in the mix (remember the concentrated wort we removed) it won't be accurate anyway. Don't worry about having 5 1/2 gallons of wort total a 5 gallon secondary can hold 5 1/4 to 5 1/2 anyway and you will still lose some volume to more trub and sediment of yeast. In the end you will probably end up with a 5.25 gallon batch of beer anyway because of sedimentation and that is just fine trust me on that. Your primary Fermenter will be able to handle this volume of wort so don't get excited about that either. Add your yeast (a yeast starter will help this higher gravity beer) into the wort and stir well. Secure the lid on the Fermenter with the airlock in place (approximately half filled with distilled water, glycerine or vodka). Place the Fermenter in a warm area to maintain a temperature of 65-75 F. Keep the Fermenter away from sunlight and fluorescent lights. You should notice bubbling in the airlock within 24 hours probably sooner if you have aerated well and used a starter. When fermenting starts place the primary in a colder location 48 to 58 F for the duration of primary fermentation. In any case follow your yeast strains guidelines for temperatures not mine. The primary should only be in a room temperature area until fermentation starts no longer than that. Bubbling will slow down significantly and then nearly stop after 6 to 14 days maybe less. A full day at least or more after rapid bubbling has slowed down to a crawl and the krausen (foamy head) has settled, remove the lid add the concentrated wort (this saved wort has no yeast in it) you saved in the refrigerator into the primary Fermenter leaving any trub in that gallon container behind. You may want to pour this concentrated wort into another gallon container leaving sediment behind first then aerate just the gallon of trub free unfermented concentrated wort before adding it to the primary that will help and you can aerate it since it has no yeast in it. Also if it bothers you having trub in your primary at this time you can siphon your fermenting beer off the trub, clean out your primary and then siphon it back and then add the concentrated saved wort. Seal it up and let it work another 6 to 14 days probably less until it is done with rapid fermentation. Why are we using the primary Fermenter for this? Because it will start a violent fermentation again because we are pseudo krausening. This is a true secondary fermentation even though we are doing it in the primary Fermenter. We are doing it that way in order to not blow out the air lock with beer and make a mess in and around the secondary. You will need the head space a primary Fermenter provides to do this if you do it in the secondary a mess will ensue. This will ferment more of the sugars even the complex sugars than if you didn't do this and it will clarify and smooth out the beer and lessen the harsh off flavors that are possible if we did not do this. It will also enable your yeast to work a higher gravity beer than it could or should do if you did not do this. Trust me you will love doing this and it's effects. It also makes fermenting higher gravity beers much easier. You will love this so much I predict if you do it once you will do it on all your beers from then on. A full day at least or more after rapid bubbling has stopped or slowed down to a crawl, and any Krausen (foamy head) if there was a second one (there isn't always a second huge foamy head don't worry if there is or isn't one) is down. Remove the lid siphon the beer into the secondary Fermenter being careful to leave behind any trub and yeast sediment and don't stir it up at all no aeration at this point. Add 2.66 oz of Saaz hops to dry hop in a hop bag (Alternately you can use 1 oz of Nothern Brewer hops for each addition of 2.66 oz of Saaz hops) and 2 to 6 oz of steamed or boiled sanitized medium toasted oak chips or cubes. Put your Secondary Fermenter into an even colder place if you can 38 to 48 F if possible for the next 4 to 8 weeks. One week after putting it into the Secondary start rousing your yeast once a day until you add fining's shake up or stir your secondary to rouse your yeast this will ferment out what sugars are left better than if you didn't do this. Rousing your yeast will help a higher gravity beer fully ferment. When rousing the yeast no longer has any effect on fermentation and all signs of fermentation are gone or one week before (or however your directions say to do it) bottling time add some fining's gelatin, Isinglass or Polyclar whatever you use to clear the beer. Stop rousing the yeast after adding any fining's to let it settle and clear. If you have never used finings before start now. They help a lot. Carbonation: 2.5 volumes Dried Malt Extract: 6.10 oz. for 5.25 gallons @ 48F Bottle or keg as you would normally but let it age and carbonate 4 to 8 weeks in the bottle or keg before drinking it at all. This is a high gravity lager and it should be aged longer than you would age a normal gravity lager. Let it age you won't regret it. I know you are thinking but it is only 8.5% but that is high for a lager and lagers even of a lower gravity should age a lot. Don't rush things you are making a masterpiece here.
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