Homebrew: HG Pilsner

Last Friday we brewed a Pilsner, featuring a simple malt bill (95% Pilsner and 5% CaraPils), a single hop variety (Saaz) and W-34/70 yeast. The twist was that we decided to try out a technique commonly used by many (especially larger) commercial breweries: High Gravity Brewing. The idea is to brew the beer with higher original gravity (and increased hopping) than intended, and then after fermentation dilute the beer with boiled water to the desired ABV% level. The benefits of doing this, is that the brewhouse utilization is maximized and batch sizes can be increased past what the equipment allows for. Also, the amount of esters, higher alcohols and other (in a lager) undesired yeast flavors may be decreased in the final beer, compared to if the water addition would have been added prior to fermentation. We ended up with 40 liters of 1.070 wort, hopped with 350 g of Saaz for an IBU of around 50. We are hoping to dilute the final beer to around 60 liters of 4.5-5% ABV beer, depending on how dry the beer ferments. The beer is now fermenting along happily at 10C, where we will keep it for three weeks, before a 1-2 month lagering period.

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