No, really...are Pilsner and 2-row really that different?

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by J A, Jan 26, 2017.

  1. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Google-wisdom aside, what's been your experience in using the two grains?
    I'm finding that if I want a light base for blondes and pales, Pilsner is easily as good as standard 2-row. When I want more saturated malt flavor and bigger backbone, I want Pale 2-row. My local pale malt is Blackland Pale Moon- it's pretty awesome.
    I've taken to buying by the bag and try to keep German Pilsner as well as the Blackland on hand. I don't think I'm missing anything except maybe economy by skipping the standard American 2-row.
    Thoughts?
     
  2. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

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    all I can say is 2-row is fine for a pils beer or a lite, used it many times, I don't buy pilsner malt any more
     
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  3. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    The few times I've brewed with 2 row I got great efficiency and nearly a boil over with a 30lt boil in a 50lt keg! I've brewed just Pilsner for the last few months and I love this light kilned malt it is very versatile I love that it lets specialty caramel malts shine through but it can be unforgiving if you get slack on sanitation. But I really don't have a heap of brewing experience with 2 row so can't make a justifiable comparison :).
     
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  4. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

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    Lovibond and you can taste a little difference if you chew on a few grains IMO
    very similar though
     
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  5. newmanwell

    newmanwell Active Member

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    Do a lightly hopped smash of each and find out.
     
  6. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    The BF calculator lists German Pilsner at 1.6 and American Pilsner and 2-row both at 1.8. Breiss lists Pilsner at 1.2 and the Brewers malt at 1.8 with the same DP. I suspect that the difference between grain from different maltsters and from different regions is probably more than the difference between the style designations.

    That's what I'm thinking. I'm not sure it's going to change how I brew but It'd be interesting. I've got a SMASH workshop series going with my brew club and I think maybe I'll try to work in that head-to-head comparison in the brew schedule. Several guys doing the same thing with half using Pilsner and half 2-row would give us a good sample size.
     
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  7. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I generally like two-row a bit better, a rounder, sweeter flavor.
     
  8. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    I use Rahr Premium Pilsner in a lot of lighter beers. It supposed to be from Montana and have lower protein and better malt flavor. But I'm not sure can I tell the difference in the finished beer from standard two row.

    But hey, it has to be better, it's more expensive.
     
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  9. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

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    #9 Head First, Jan 28, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2017

    The golden triangle!
    Malteurope malts there . I used to get Great Western local but I think Malteurope bought into the malting in Great Falls.
    2 row is $45 a sack at LHBS
     
  10. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    And 2 row is @ $36. Is it worth it? For 9 bucks I could give a s$&@. But I've got a couple beers in me, so in the morning I might have a different opinion.

    Brew on!
     
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  11. GaryR

    GaryR New Member

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    From what I understand, these are base malts and there are differences in the finish as in crispness that is not as evident in two row due to the complexities, fermentability and other idiosyncrasies of the different malts.
    Just my two cents this morning..
     
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  12. Mark D Pirate

    Mark D Pirate Well-Known Member

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    My LHBS has no listing at all for a 2 row , nearly all the grain used is a 2 row kernal but its just a generic term here
     
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  13. newmanwell

    newmanwell Active Member

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    One thing I could add is that beers I make with two row malt seem to clear much faster than pilsner malt
     
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  14. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Exactly...Pilsner is German 2-row malt and is sometimes modified to a slightly lesser degree and is kilned to an extremely light color. Regional differences and varieties may play quite a role in the characteristics, but American 2-row tends to be a little higher in protein, slightly better converted than some German malts and kilned just a shade darker.
    As I said earlier, I think it's likely that differences between the products of different malsters may be more than the differences between the two types. I think it's likely that there's, on average, more "dry, grainy" finish in the German Pilsners and slightly sweeter, "malty" notes in good American 2-row.
    Basically, adding some Crystal 20 to a Pilsner base malt should do about the same thing as starting with 2-row and will probably lend a more complex flavor and slightly crisper finish.
     
  15. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Two row is European barley. Six row is American barley. If it's not specified as six-row it's likely two row. I love six-row in my pre-Prohibition styles, particularly my Kentucky Common. It gives a slightly coarser flavor and converts the heck out of adjuncts - I generally use flaked maize for the flavor and to cut six-row's high protein content, reducing haze. The difference between pilsner malt and pale malt has nothing to do with whether it's six-row or two-row, both are generally two-row unless noted. The difference is the degree of kilning after the malt is sprouted - pale malt is slightly darker and to me slightly richer in flavor. I know it isn't canon but my next Pilsner will have some pale malt in the mix, likely the Colorado Malting Company pale ale malt which has a sweet, rich bread flavor.
     
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  16. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    That's like my local Pale Ale malt. Definitely darker than standard "Pale" 2-row and with flavor that's really similar to Maris Otter.
     
  17. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    JA, where are you located? Go private if you don't want your location public. I'm in Aurora, CO.
     
  18. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    I'm in Austin, TX.
     
  19. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Cool! Wife went to college there. I just didn't realize Colorado Malting distributed that far and thought you might be local.
     
  20. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    I think you misunderstood...my local malt is Blacklands. It's flavor is similar to your description of Colo. Malt.
     

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