This Is Pilsner

Friday, June 22, 2007

Until about 1840, most beers (including those from what would become the Czech Republic were top fermented. In Bohemia specifically, consumers were dissatisfied with the quality of their local beer.

The citizens of Pilsen in Bohemia founded a brewery of their own; the Burgess' Brewery. They experimented with paler malts, cold storage and bottom-fermenting yeasts. And thus, Pilsner was born. Clearer, crisper, and with less yeast-induced characteristics than ales, the Pilsner took off like a rocket in Bohemia and quickly spread around the world.

Pilsners are lagers. Really, "lager" is German for "storage" but is now used to classify any bottom-fermented beer. Pilsner, in this case a Czech, or, Bohemian Pilsner (according to how the BJCP classifies beer) is one of many types of lagers and is the focus of today's delicious offering. Another lawnmower beer to be sure, but I like this particular beer on a hot summer evening on my back deck.

While Pilsner Urqell (meaning "Original Pilsner") is the most classic example of this type of delicious beer, today's offering is Sierra Nevada's Summerfest. Indeed we can brew a fine example of a classic beer.


As I poured into my lovely Pilsner glass, the beer quickly frothed to a creamy white head, which subsided to a thin but very sticky lacing down the glass. It has what could be described as an almost shimmering clarity to the beautiful golden-straw color.

I had to resist the urge to chug the beer so I could appropriately treat my nose to a lovely bouquet. Summerfest smelled clean, with some fresh cut hay and that lovely, complex Saaz hop that is characteristic of this style. In fact, I am sure the Saaz hop is at least partially responsible for the fresh hay scent, as well as the more common spiciness and floral scent. By spiciness, it's almost like a pepper, but not peppery. It is truly its own thing, but you know spicy when you smell it.

Like a Kölsch, this beer is simply clean (the main difference being that a Kölsch is an ale and we are speaking of a lager). Summerfest is crispand gives a truly refreshing sensation. It has a clean but dry, rich maltiness with a hint of lemon in that simply amazing Saaz spicy hop character that gives Summerfest a nice bitter bite. The beer finishes on a well-balanced hop and grain husk and is quite dry. The bitterness in the middle doesn't linger throughout the beer, but just strikes a great balance at the end.

This beer, while being medium-bodies and dry, is truly a refreshing libation. Sierra Nevada truly did the style justice in a well-executed nod to the Czech Pilsner.

13 comments:

Rickey Henderson 10:30 AM  

Good stuff there Smitty--I need to try it out. Someone at my office referred to it as "logger" today. I was tempted to attack them with a log.

George 11:14 AM  

Since Sierra Nevada is so everywhere out here in CA it's easy to belittle them, but for a relatively large brewery that make lots of good beer.

I have to try me some of this.

Roger,  12:32 AM  

SN is an excellent brewery.

I'm brewing a batch of Rye IPA tomorrow. Anyone else brewing?

Smitty 9:10 AM  

Actually, Roger, I am! I am brewing a dubbel. Just got the final ingredient - the dark cadi syrup - delivered yesterday from UPS. My local brew shop didn't carry it, but Morebeer.com got it to me in 4 days.

A Rye IPA? Color me intrigued...

Mike 7:04 AM  

Cool. I have to give this one a shot.

Bob 1:57 PM  

As is becoming my usual routine, I picked up a 6 of Smitty's recent review on Friday and proceeded to drink 5 of them by Sunday PM.

Not sure if I love this beer, but it's definately a good beer to drink when doing landscaping. (I moved 3 yards of topsoil around my yard on Sat. and Sun.) This one should be served ice cold in my opinion.

This beer is a little more bitter than I expected and doesn't offer that much more flavor than some of the more mass produced Pilsners.

Not bad though. I would have preferred Blue Star Wheat for this weekend, but Beer Mecca was out.

Next weekend will include more hard work in the hot heat, so please review another appropriate "lawnmower" beer.

Roger,  4:24 PM  

Yeah, the Rye IPA is an internets favorite from a dude named Denny Conn. His recipe is:

68% Pale Malt (USA)
19% Rye Malt
7% Crystal 60
3% Carapils
3% Wheat Malt

70 minute boil

15IBU Mt. Hood FWH
54IBU Columbus 60
6IBU Mt. Hood 30
1.5oz per 5gal Mt. Hood at Flame Out
1oz Columbus per 5gal Dry Hop

Denny uses CL-50, a hard to find yeast. He recommends Wyeast American Ale II, but I have brewed it many times with the Chico strain.

First Wort Hopping (FWH) is adding the hops to your boil kettle as you begin your runoff from the mash tun. I calculate the IBUs as if they were added at 20 minutes left in the boil.

is rather archaic, but has some good recipes (SSOS!!!) and info on batch sparging.

roger,  4:25 PM  

Ack. I didn't close the tag!

Roger,  4:26 PM  

And it won't let me do it after the fact...

Well, I hope you like Denny's website.

Roger,  4:27 PM  

Ah, sweet success!

Roger,  4:28 PM  

Sweet Mother of pearl, another post from me. I forgot the OG on that recipe.

1.073

Smitty 8:57 PM  

Awesome recipe, roger.

Unfortunately, life happened this weekend, so I didn't get to brew. But will add the recipe to the comments in a little while.

Bob 12:53 AM  

Denny uses CL-50, a hard to find yeast. He recommends Wyeast American Ale II, but I have brewed it many times with the Chico strain.

First Wort Hopping (FWH) is adding the hops to your boil kettle as you begin your runoff from the mash tun. I calculate the IBUs as if they were added at 20 minutes left in the boil.


Uh, was that english? Sorry, I don't speak brewer.

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