In the past year, however, I have learned that when adding malts that give beer a darker color than yellow, most of the time, this results in some sweetness in the beer. While it's true you can get darker beers to finish dry, the idea behind a pilsner is to have it be dry without the excess flavor of any other malt, like roasted malt in a dry stout. Mostly, I wanted to make a pilsner, but have it attain more color.
It came to a point where I was nearing the end of my 50-lb bag of 2-Row Malt and my 55-lb bag of Franco-Belges Pilsner malt. I also had some extra dark munich left over, some honey malt, and more Carafa III than I could probably use to make several Schwarzbiers. So I started experimenting and came up with the following recipe:
E.T.I (Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence)
Imperial Red Pilsner
Batch Size (Gal): 5.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 18.38
Anticipated OG: 1.087 (20.85)
Anticipated IBU: 109.8
Brewhouse Efficiency: 68 %
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes
9.00 lbs. Pilsener (Franco-Belges)
6.00 lbs. Pale Ale Malt
Malt (Dark, Northern Brewer)
1.00 lbs. Honey (Orange Blossom)
0.25 lbs. Honey Malt
0.13 lbs. Carafa III (Dehusked)
1.00 oz. Warrior (15.40%AA) First WH
1.25 oz. ETI Hops (6.83%AA) @45 min.
1.00 oz. ETI Hops (6.83%AA) @15 min.
1.50 oz. ETI Hops (6.83%AA) @10 min.
5.25 oz. ETI Hops (6.83%AA) @0 min.
WYeast 2124 Bohemian Lager (cake from Esper Dark Czech Lager)
I should explain about the ETI Hops. I had some leftover hops that I wanted to use. This ended up being 1.25 oz Czech Saaz, 2.75 oz Mt. Hood, and 3 oz of Tettnang. In addition to this, I added 2 oz of Warrior hops. I mixed all of these up in a bowl and then randomly started pouring the weights for the last 4 additions into the scale bowl and bagging them. I also used a Bohemian Lager yeast cake from the Esper. If you are making this from scratch, I would recommend making a HUGE starter using the Budvar yeast (both Wyeast and White Labs make it).
Note that I started this out as an Imperial Red Pilsner. I was shooting for a dry, hoppy red pilsner at about 9% ABV. Instead, it finished at 1.025 OG. I didn't add the Orange Blossom honey until after 3 days of primary fermentation. I put a half a cup of water in a pan, the honey, and brought it to a boil for 5 minutes and poured it right into the lager. Still, it's 7.0% ABV, which is pretty good.
Turns out, I should have called this a honey lager, and I should have let it lager for 3 months. Instead, I let it lager for a month, a keg came open, and I kegged it. The orange blossom honey was overwhelming the first month in the keg. I decided to avoid it for a while, and now the overpowering orange aroma has faded (although there was something nice about that - it was somewhat off-putting).
It actually turned out pretty decent, but I learned that lagering "bigger" beers is important.
As far as the artwork, that's from the Blue Oyster Cult album, "Extra-Terrestrial Live" which was my first BOC album. I still love that album. While the song, "E.T.I." is awesome, whenever I pull a beer from this keg, I think of "Hot Rails to Hell." TWELVE-SEVEN-SEVEN EXPRESS TO HEAVEN!