Ty Cobb’s Georgia Peach Pilsner
(5 gallons/19 L, partial mash)
OG = 1.054 FG = 1.012
IBU = 25 SRM = 5 ABV = 5.5%
2 lbs. (0.91 kg) continental Pilsner malt (preferably German)
0.5 lb. (0.23 kg) caramel pils malt
0.5 lb. (0.23 kg) Vienna malt
5 lbs. (2.3 kg) golden liquid light malt extract
1 lb. (0.45 kg) rice syrup solids
3 lbs. (1.4 kg) fresh peaches
8 AAU Tettnanger hops (35 min.) (2 oz./57 g at 4% alpha acids)
1 oz. (28 g) Hallertauer hops (5 min.)
Clean American lager yeast culture (such as Wyeast 2035)
7/8 cup corn sugar (if priming)
Step by Step
Heat 1 gal. (3.7 L) of water to 166 °F (74 °C), crush grains and add to the water, stirring in gently. Your mash should be about 154 °F (68 °C). Hold at this temperature for 90 min. Test with iodine for starch conversion, then begin runoff. Wash grains with 2 gal. (7.6 L) of water at 169 °F (76 °C). Add the malt extract and rice syrup solids to the kettle and bring to a boil. (Total boil time is 50 min.) Boil 15 min. and add Tettnanger hops. Boil 30 min. more.
Add Hallertauer hops (tied into a cheesecloth bag) and boil 5 min. more. Turn off heat and let cool 30 min. Add to your primary fermenter with enough pre-boiled cold water to make 5.25 gal. (20 L). When wort is cooled to 65 °F (18 °C), pitch your yeast culture. Allow fermentation to begin at 65 °F (18 °C), then gradually cool to 55 °F (13 °C) over the course of a couple of days (once fermentation has begun).
Hold fermenter at 55 °F (13 °C) for 10 days, then rack into secondary in which you have already placed the peaches, washed and cut up into small cubes. Lager at 50 °F (10 °C) on the peaches for 15 days and then you can rack again to a third vessel Lager at 40 °F (4 °C) for three to four weeks. Warm up to 65 °F (18 °C) for a day, then prime with corn sugar and bottle. Bottle condition at 45 to 50 °F (7 to 10 °C) for three to four weeks, then play ball!
Variations and Options:
Same temperature mash, but increase the Pilsner malt to 9 lbs. (4.1 kg), caramel Pils to 1 lb. (0.45 kg), and use 1 lb. whole brewer’s rice. Pre-cook the rice to gelatinize the starches for ease in conversion. You can also use flaked rice, if your supplier carries it, which doesn’t need to be pre-cooked. Increase the mash water to 3.75 gal. (14.2 L) and the sparge water to 3.75 gal (14.2 L). Be sure to test for conversion on this mash.
Use a clean, fresh lager yeast culture, and pitch big to get off to a good start. Any so-called pilsner yeast will work, but Wyeast’s American lager strains are particularly suited to the style.
Fresh? Well, use what you can find. But don’t use canned, syrup-laden cling peaches, okay? No preservatives, no additives, no sugar. Just fresh fruit. To get more flavor and aroma extraction, try cutting it up, then freezing it for the time the beer is lagering, then microwaving it before you put it in the fermenter. Many homebrew suppliers carry, or can order, canned fruits for winemaking, which are preserved in their own juice only. These will certainly work fine too, although I haven’t used the peaches that come this way. Also available are a couple different kinds of peach (and other fruit) flavor essence. These are not usually flavorful enough to really pack a zing, but they can help if the result at bottling just doesn’t have enough to it. They can be added with the priming sugar, an ounce or two for five gallons.
Written by Scott Russell
Finding fresh, ripe peach to even slightly over-ripe peaches are key here. If you notice that there still is not enough peach character, you can add a little peach extract in the fermenter. Be sparing as you don’t want that character to overwhelm the base beer.