Summer is here! Not much goes better with the warm weather then a cold crisp refreshing beer. Each time this season comes around I get excited to brew some of the styles that help cut the heat. Lighter pale ales, Belgian whites, and blondes. To me, there has always been one style missing from this picture though-- the nice clean pilsner.
But this presents a problem: a pilsner is a lager and thus, pretty difficult to pull off for the average homebrewer. Lagers need to be fermented at 45-55°F and since most do not keep their home that cool, it makes temperature control challenging. Without the extra space for a 3rd refrigerator in my apartment, I decided to take a different approach to achieve a similar flavor with a more manageable process.
Instead of going against the grain and fighting mother nature, I decided to try to make an ale (which ferments at 65-70°F) with the same flavors and body as a pilsner. The first step was to visit the homebrew store and come up with a recipe. With some help from my friends at SF Brewcraft I was on my way.
I started with the same grains as a pilsner recipe would use (2.5 pounds Vienna, and 1/2 pound oats) for a partial mash. Then 5 pounds of light malt and an additional pound of dextrose to lighten the body. The recipe is smoothly hopped with Czech Saaz hops for bittering and finished with German Spalt hops at the end of the boil for a spicy pungent aroma.
I completed the boil this Sunday and its already fermenting away. In 6 weeks or so I will report back and let you know how the recipe went!