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Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Pilz that Killz (Pilz Brothers Collaboration)

I know it's been a while since I've update the blog and there are a lot of reasons for that.  The biggest is my new job that has kept me a lot busier than I had been in the past.  The other big reason for the lack of posts has been a lack of brewing.  A couple months back I took the plunge to start construction of an all new brewhouse.  The project is taking slightly longer than I would like and since I stripped several pieces of my old set up for the new one the result has been an out of commission brewery.  Hopefully the project can get back on track in December...

Meanwhile, I've been having the itch to brew as the last time I actually produced a beer was the last time I brewed with my mentor and good friend Shawn O on the Same Grain, Same Style, Different Brewer group collaboration which produced my Sour Citra Saison. Shawn and I had been talking for several months about going a Bohemian Pilsner using decoction, I even bought a sack of grain in August time frame just for it. Unfortunately scheduling the actual collaboration proved to be about as easy as building a brewhouse.

When it was looking like we were going to brew in October I bought a vial of WLP800 (Pilsner Lager) to use seeing as how it had a mid November expiration, however by the time we nailed down a post Thanksgiving brewday I needed to buy another vial.  Stock issues lead me to grab a vial of WLP830 (German Lager).

For hops I went out on a limb and used two New Zealand hops one of which I'd never heard of.  For bittering and half of my flavor charge I went with Pacific Gem. For the other half of flavor and a larger whirlpool of Aroma I selected Wakatu.  Here are the descriptors

Pacific Gem - New Zealand 
Alpha: 15.00 % Beta: 8.20 %
Usage: Bittering 
High alpha smoothcone cross developed at DSIR in 1987.
Used for: Bittering - produces a cask-oak woody flavor.
Aroma: Pleasant - some blackberry aroma.
Wakatu - New Zealand 
Alpha: 9.00 % Beta: 8.50 %  
Usage: Dual
Characterized by restrained floral notes atop freshly zested lime Description: Formerly called Hallertau Aroma. Similar to German Hallertau but Higher alpha. Excellent Dual Purpose hop, rounded floral aroma with hints of lime.
Typical Beer Styles: Lager, Pils, Bock, Wheat, Kolsch, Helles, Belgian Ales.
The one thing I really wanted to use was my new 15 Gallon Boil Kettle with Tangential Inlet I bought from Brewers Hardware back in October.  The thing was an absolute beast!  Once we sparged into Shawn's kettle we drained off half of it into mine and started heating.  I was amazed at how fast it came to a solid boil. The tangential inlet also worked better than I could have imagined and after a 30 minute whirlpool had created a wonderful island of trub in the center of the kettle.

I'm really looking forward to trying this one in a couple of months and can't wait till my brewhouse is completed.  For our next collaboration / Scott education project we are looking at doing a turbid mash to brew some lambics.  Until next time.



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