Wanting to continue down the path of "bigger brews" to combat the crazy weather we were experiencing here in Pennsylvania, I decided to take a stab at a Mr. Beer styled pilsner (which was about 6% ABV!). The thing with extracts (that I have learned) is that while they can make a great beer, they will often miss the desired color level if you are aiming on the light side. I had Golden Light DME on hand, so I used it! However, most DME manufacturers make a pilsner extract that is very pale (as it should be), so as you can see in the picture above, this one was off of the inteded pale straw color by a mile!
Big Fly Pilsner - brewed on 3/28/2010 assissted by: Ant
- 1 can of Mr Beer High Country Canadian Draft - 1 lb. of Golden Light DME - 1 pouch MB Booster - 1/2 oz Sterling hop pellets
Keeping with my practice, I used around 5-6 cups of water and about 1/3 of the DME for my boil. The hops (boiled commando) were split about 70/30 for 18 minutes (flavor) & 6 minutes (aroma). After the boil I added the MB HCCD, rest of the DME, and the Booster. Cooled the wort and pitched MB yeast around 74 degrees. Then things got a little tricky.
The fermentation period went through 4/13/2010, however, due to the crazy temperature changes, I thought that it may have stalled a bit. When I brewed and for the following 2 days the temperature outside was really nice and pushing 70 degrees, so I kept the keg in a cooler and was using ice packs to keep the ferm temp in check. Then, overnight, the outside temperature dropped into the upper 40s! After the "wow it got friggin' cold out!" moment...I remembered my poor little keg sitting on the basement floor...with ice packs around it. So I ran to check on it, and sure enough, the krausen layer was completely gone, it felt almost cold to the touch, and I panicked thinking that I was about to experience my first ruined batch. After consulting the good people at MBFANS , I moved the keg into my kitchen next to a window (still in the cooler though) and started using heat packs in an attempt to bring the temperature back up. Slowly but surely, it came back into the upper 60s, and all was going well...until I went to sleep again.
This time, the outside temperature jumped back up into the upper 60s while I was at work, and the keg started cooking in its little sun bath. By the time I got home, the internal temperature was over 80 degrees, and I was pretty much resigned to this batch being totally funked up. I was able to find a sweet spot on the landing between my upstairs and downstairs, and brought the temperature back into a zone where it hovered in the in low 70s & some light bubbling ensued. At the end of the fermentation period the trub did not seem like a lot, but the sample I took at bottling tasted okay. So in true home brewer fashion, I bottled it up and hoped for the best!
The carbing went through 4/27/2010 And I let it room temperature condition through 5/23/2010 & then put a few in the fridge
As June rolled around I had a few bottles and was pleased to update the status of Big Fly as being smooth and easy to drink! There is bit of sweetness, and not much of a hop presence as I thought there should be. While "light, clean, and crisp" isn't the description, my good friend described the beer as "Miller Lite on 'roids." I would definitely try this recipe again, but this time maybe add a little more (1/4 oz) hops, pilsner DME, and try to control the fermentation temperature better and see what this brew was intended to taste like. ~Next recipe~