Hoppy Pils


  • literally means from the town/area of Plzeň in Bohemia
  • Human beings did what they do with that and now virtually every pale lager is a "Pilsner"
    • Looking at you Miller Lite "Taste a True Pilsner"
    • "Pils"

Lager History

as near as we can tell

Some Lager Facts

  • German word for "store"
  • Summer brewing produced bad beer due to microbiology (100+ years before the "cell", 200+ before Pasteur)
  • Bavaria banned brewing from April 23-Sept 29 for 300 years
  • Winter brewing favored cold fermentation yeasts
  • The cold storage reputedly produced cleaner, drier, "finer" beers (and selected for some unique yeasts)
  • Thank lager brewing for refrigeration and a/c (Spaten)

The Yeasts

  • The old ways of classifying it
    • raffinose
    • bottom fermenting
  • Today, genetics are showing
    • most of that earlier stuff was rubbish
    • S. pastoranius is a hybrid of S. cerevisiae and S. eubayanus (from Tibet/China)
    • Different strains demonstrate different levels of their parent characteristics.
    • S carlbergensis name is deprecated (Emil Hansen)

The Story of Pilsner

  • Starts in Bavaria
    • Jealously guarding their yeast strain
    • Making lager version of Einbeck beers
    • Beers were much like Dunkel or darker
  • Josef Groll - November 11, 1842
    • Combined Bavarian Lager yeast and know how with English pale malting techniques to generate Pilsner
  • Within a few decades, Pilsner style beers are everywhere


  • Pilsner was unlike anything seen before on a mass scale.
    • Light, golden, clear and...
  • The Rise of Cheap Glassware
    • Who wants murky beer when you can see it? 
      • hmmm....
  • As we'll see brewing since has been in response
  • Also, very importantly - the Czechs have a ton of varieties of lagers... we just obsess over Pilsner

Hoppy Pils

Not a Pale, Not an IPA

American Craft Pils

  • A lager evolution on the base Blond ale
  • Lots of domestic pilsner malt
  • Other malts brought on board to "enrich"
  • Hops approach either:
    • Noblish/Neutral
    • Damn the torpedos
    • West Coast "Lager", "Pils"

Italian Pils

  • German Pils based, but suffused with hops
  • Low pH target for Mash/Sparge (sparge at 5.5)
  • Warm ferment
  • Restrained hand with dry hops, but twice dosed
    • Primary (0.25 oz)
    • Secondary (0.5-0.75)
  • Birrificio Italiano’s Tipopils / Firestone Walker Pivo

New Zealand Pils

  • Half between a Pils and a Kolsch
  • Warm ferment typical
  • Bursting with NZ specific hops on the aroma. Bitterness is firm, but not overwhelming.
  • Emerson’s Pilsner (originator of the style)

Hoppy Pils Ingredient


  • Water usually oriented to "Hoppy"
  • Malt - simple bills - this is where you make an impact
    • Pale choices 
    • Some folks get fancy with German malts
  • Hops
    • Depends on the style, but lots of late additions
  • Yeast - 34/70 strains
  • So many schedules
  • Classic - Pitch at 50°F, run for 2 weeks, raise to 65°F for a few days (D-rest), slowly crash to 35°F and lager for 2-6 weeks
  • Speed - Pitch at 50°F, raise to 55°F after 2-3 days, raise to 60°F for another run and then to 65°F for 1-3 days before crashing.
    • Very yeast strain dependent
  • Dry Hops for short times at cool temps

The Ferment/Yeast

Jack's Abby Braü

Batch Size: 5.5
Boil Time: 60 minutes
Original Gravity: 1.050
Est Final Gravity: 1.008
IBUs: 30
ABV: 5.5%


5.25 lbs

Pale 2-Row malt


5.25 lbs

Pilsner malt


0.25 lbs

Carafoam 2.4%

Water Profile

Bru’n Water: Dry Yellow (pH -5.3/5.4


Main Rest – 150°F for 60 minutes


30 IBUs worth of the desired hop for flameout (2 minutes at end of boil – whirlpool for 30 minutes)

1.5 oz of hop in the fermenter at knockout

5 oz (142 g) of your favorite hop at second dry hop for 1 week


Wyeast 2124 Bohemian Lager, Fermentis SafLager W-34/70, or favored lager strain



Pitch and add first dry hops at 50F (10-14 days)

After hitting terminal gravity, add second dry hops for 7 days at 50°F

Cool to 32°F and rest until brew hits 28 days.

Copy of Pilsner

By Drew Beechum

Copy of Pilsner

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