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[Review] Brewer's Choice Ultimate Czech Pilsner kit

Started by LordEoin, October 08, 2013, 12:21:28 AM

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October 08, 2013, 12:21:28 AM Last Edit: October 30, 2013, 05:27:01 AM by LordEoin
October 8th
First of all, a big thanks to HomeBrewWest for putting this kit up for raffle :)

The kit is the Brewers Choice Ultimate Czech Pilsner
Its a bit more expensive than your normal kit, but it seems to be a quality piece of work that includes all ingredients (apart from priming sugar)

Included is
  • 3kg of Dry malt extract (that's one hell of a big bag of malt :))
  • 2 'teabags' of speciality grains
  • 2 'teabags' of pre-isomerized hop pellets (pre-isomerized so you can get the required bitterness without any boil)
  • a 12g sachet of BrewFerm true Lager yeast
  • all wrapped up in a handy 5L bucket.

    The instructions on the bucket are the exact same as I posted on the Traditional IPA review here, but sachet of yeast specifies that you should rehydrate it before pitching and ferment between 12C and 15C.
    I'll ferment at the lower end for a cleaner beer.

    You basically just steep the grain and hops in 2L of boiling water for 20 minutes, strain and steep in another 2L boiling water for 20 minutes, strain and step a third and final time in boiling water for 20 minutes.
    The steep gets lighter each time as the goodness is leached out of the teabags.

    When I did the IPA I freaked out at the 3kg DME, thinking it would clump badly and make a mess. I was wrong.
    I followed the instructions to the letter this time and there was no problem with clumping.
    The 6 liters of hot steeping water was at about 45C when it came to add the DME and it disolved with no problems (i added it in 3 goes to be safe).

    Warning! Do not play with the 'teabags'! they're thin and break easily. Just leave them alone or use a spoon to pick them up.
    I started dunking them like real teabags and one broke. Luckily I was able to fix it with a stapler and there was no problem.
    It didn't stop me from dunking though, and I broke another one. I love that stapler!

    After topping up to 23L it was sitting at 28C so I bunged the whole sealed FV into the deep freeze for a half an hour until it was at 22C.
    Pitched the rehydrated yeast, sealed it all up again, and put it to rest in the brewfridge at 12C.

    The whole thing took 2 hours from start to finish, including sanitisation and clean-up.

    OG - 1.046

    I probably will not follow the time guide though as 7 days primary and 2 days secondary doesn't seem enough for a proper lager yeast.
    I'll think about it more over the week, but for now I'll just sit back and wait for the lovely rotten egg small of lager yeast!   ;D

    October 28th
    I ended leaving it 3 weeks in primary because I was busy, but 2 would have been fine. Most activity was done by then
    I'maising the temperature to 16C for for a couple of days for a diacetyl rest. It probably doesn't need it, but best to be safe as the yeast was pitched a bit warm.

    October 30th
    Racked this to Secondary for lagering. I'll give it a couple of weeks as low as the fridge can go, then bottle.
    It tastes nice and it's a good fairly light colour and clear so far :)
    SG 1.012


Eoin gave me a bottle of this tack to try out.

It's a very clear yellow colour. Malty aroma and a little bit of yeast aroma! No hop aroma. White head at the start but it doesn't last, maybe it's a bit young yet? Malty sweet taste. Not much bitterness coming through, so I'm not sure I'd call it a pil's? Still a good beer though.

Maybe steep some carapils to help head retention and you'd have a crowd pleaser. Add some german hops to please the beer geeks.


Ooh, I totally forgot to follow up on this. Thought i already had...

THis one sure is a crowd pleaser, but you're right on every point.
Very light yellowy colour and pretty clear, malty, lacking aroma, and not quite a pilsener.
I've given a few bottles of this to friends and family (general heathens) and they all love it.
It's kinda yeasty and reminds me more of a witbier than a pilsener, something along the lines of Hoegaarden