Pilsner Water profile questions!

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by TomKzn, Jul 6, 2016.

  1. TomKzn

    TomKzn New Member

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    I brewed 2 all grain Pilsners last year and they failed dismally. My end result was perfect clarity and carbonation, but the flavour was metallic and somewhat chlorinated and unpleasant in both batches. I still have a few bottles left and nothing has changed.
    My (well) water pH is about 7.8 and I used a one step infusion mash on all grain light malts, so I think the pH would've adjusted to about 5.4-5.6 (I didn't have test strips at the time).
    My big mistake was that the fermentation temperature was 22-24˚C which is obviously not ideal for a lager yeast but I thought nothing of it (rookie error)...
    Would the fermentation temp contribute this unpleasant metallic taste?
    I used Miltons steriliser (in South Africa its a baby bottle sanitiser that's also not ideal, has a chlorine-type odour and is hard on steel pots) - my thinking is it might have added the unpleasant flavours but I used it before and it wasn't an issue...
    I had a new SS pot at the time - could using it to boil for the first time contribute metallic flavours?
    I can't really get a water profile report from the municipality as they are unreliable and, well, its useless!
    My water doesn't feel/taste hard and is actually very nice water, so I thought it would make a good pilsner.
    I currently have a new pilsner fermenting at the correct temperature now and will lager it correctly over the next week or two. I used a small amount of acidulated malt and tested mash pH to about 4.8 and did a triple decoction mash (I wanted to try it out - it went well). Taste results I will post back to this thread.
     
  2. i drink to forget

    i drink to forget New Member

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    i assume you rinsed off the sanitiser if it has a smell?
    If so yea my guess is temperature although usually metal and chlorine taste is only coming from metal and chlorine...

    Dont think you can really do a pilsner without pilsner style water, but you can make a decent lager with a variety of waters. if it is very hard though that might possibly come through as kind of metallic/mineral tasting in a light beer. I have water fresh off the sky here on the west of scotland and its perfect for pils... not that thats any consolation..
     
  3. TomKzn

    TomKzn New Member

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    Lucky you with the fresh Scottish sky water :D I spent some time on the Isle of Raasay, had a blast! Beautiful part of Scotland - the east isn't nearly as spectacular.

    Right, on the Pilsner story - I didn't rinse the sanitiser off (it was a non-rinse). It worked fine with some lager and weiss I bottled before, so no damage there.
    It could well be the water I use. I used it for a stout and it worked fine.
    I used it before with lager and it was great, considering I used extract.
    A little mystery for now until I test my current pilsner in a couple weeks.
    If its the same result, then I'll try distilled water ratio mix.
     
  4. TomKzn

    TomKzn New Member

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    Bottom line, Pilsner yeast is sensitive to water. My batch came out much improved but with banana smell and slight metallic taste. Soooo, I'll do a Pilsner when I can get a RO filter and mix the waters...
    On a brighter note, my American Pale Ale is absolutely delicious. Entering it into local homebrew competition. Best I stick to ales with the borehole water.
     
  5. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Guessing here, the metallic taste was from the well water, the chlorine taste from the sanitizer unless that is there's chlorine used to disinfect the well water. Pilsner is sensitive to water, very sensitive, so sensitive I have to replace at least half of our very good drinking water with distilled water and add back the calcium the yeast needs. My recommendation for doing a pilsner would be to walk down to the local liquor store and find a good German variety (note I don't follow my own recommendation, instead I drive down to the Dry Dock and drink Tim Evon's wonderful pils). Barring that, use distilled water from the supermarket and add in 50 ppm calcium. Because I like malty pils, I'd use calcium chloride.

    The Pilsner I most often try to brew is the Classic American style, pre-prohibition, pre-Budweiser "America", pre-rice adjunct. I don't see a good reason to frustrate myself trying to reproduce a Bitburger, even from back when it was a good, independent beer (or even better, a Kirner, a brand that had disappeared last time I was in Germany). Distilled water is the way to go, unless you live in Plsen (or Ashville, North Carolina).

    Fermentation temperature is not related to metallic or chlorophenolic taste, by the way. Those are pure water. The stainless steel vessel would not contribute metallic flavor but if you didn't clean it well, you could have gotten some grease or other production left-overs and those could contribute a metallic off flavor. The fermentation temperature would have contributed fruity-estery flavors but not what you describe.

    Sounds like your water would be better suited to dark beers.
     

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