Plzensky Prazdroj’s Pilsner Urquell clone

(5 gallons/19 L, all- grain)
OG = 1.048 FG = 1.015
IBU = 40 SRM = 4 ABV = 4.4%

Brewed in Plzen, Czech Republic, Pilsner Urquell is the original Pilsner beer. Brew this clone with soft water.

8 lbs. (3.6 kg) continental Pilsner malt
1 lb. (0.45 kg) Vienna malt
0.5 lb. (0.23 kg) Munich malt (6 °L)
0.5 lb. (0.23 kg) Carafoam® malt
5.2 AAU Saaz hops (80 min.) (1.3 oz./38 g at 4% alpha acids)
3.2 AAU Saaz hops (45 min.) (0.8 oz./23 g at 4% alpha acids)
3 AAU Saaz hops (25 min.) (0.75 oz./21 g at 4% alpha acids)
1 tsp. Irish moss
Wyeast 2001 (Pilsner Urquell H-strain) or White Labs WLP800 (Pilsner Lager) yeast (3 qt./3 L starter)
3/4 cup (150 g) dextrose (if priming)

Step by Step
The traditional Pilsner Urquell utilizes an undermodified Pilsner malt that is malted by the brewery. The mash is subsequently triple decocted to help break down the protein matrix that is still present in the undermodified malts. For three reasons we have decided to change up the classic recipe. First homebrewers don’t often have access to undermodified Pilsner malts these days. Second, a triple decoction means a long and rigorous brew day for the brewer. Finally adding in a protein rest could be detrimental to the beer’s body and head retention. So we’ve simplified the mash procedure and added some malts to help adjust the color and add a slight toasted character that the triple decoction should otherwise add to the beer’s profile. Mash grains with 15 qts. (14.2 L) soft water at 142 °F (61 °C) and hold for 30 minutes. Perform a decoction, pull 1/3 thick portion of the mash (~1.5 gallons/5.7 L) and bringing to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes being sure not to scorch the grain mix. Stir the decocted portion back into the main mash. The main mash should now settle at 155 °F (68 °C). Hold for a 30 minute rest. Mash out, vorlauf, and then sparge at 170 °F (77 °C) to collect enough wort to result in 5 gallons (19 L) after a 90-minute boil. Boil 90 minutes, adding hops at times indicated. Cool, aerate, and pitch yeast. Ferment at 50 °F (10 °C) until signs of fermentation have slowed considerably. Some diacetyl is noted in Pilsner Urqell, but if there is a strong diacetyl presence at this point, 2-4 days at 65 °F (18 °C) is advised. Rack to secondary and lager for 4-6 weeks at 40 °F (4 °C). After lagering is complete, bottle or keg as usual.

Partial mash option:
Replace grains in all-grain recipe with 1.4 lb. (0.64 kg) Pilsen dried malt extract, 3.3 lbs. (1.5 kg) Pilsen light liquid malt extract, 1.75 lbs. (0.79 kg) Pilsner malt, 0.5 lb. (0.23 kg) Vienna malt, 0.25 lb. Munich malt (10 °L), and 0.5 lb. (0.23 kg) Carapils malt. In a large soup pot, heat 4.5 quarts (4.3 L) of water to 169 °F (76 °C). Add crushed grains to grain bag. Submerge bag and let grains steep around 158 °F (70 °C) for 45 minutes. While grains steep, begin heating 2.1 gallons (7.8 L) of water in your brewpot. When steep is over, remove 1.5 qts. (1.4 L) of water from brewpot and add to the “grain tea” in steeping pot. Place colander over brewpot and place steeping bag in it. Pour grain tea (with water added) through grain bag. This will strain out any solid bits of grain and rinse some sugar from the grains. Heat liquid in brewpot to a boil, then stir in dried malt extract. Boil 60 minutes, adding liquid malt extract with 15 minutes remaining and hops as indicated. Cool and top off to 5 gallons (19 L). Follow the remaining portion of the all-grain recipe.

Issue: May-June 2005

Brewed in Plzen, Czech Republic, Pilsner Urquell is the original Pilsner beer. Brew this clone with soft water.