Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Victory Prima Pils Clone Brew At Bitter & Esters

WFMU's Beer Hear! Victory Prima Pils Clone podcast
On a cold snowy October 29th Saturday... wait -- what?! Yes, snow!

You can make beer with snow... or at least write it.
For the first installment of the "Brew Like a Pro" series at homebrew supply/brew on premises shop Bitter & Esters, Sean from Victory Brewing was on hand to help Tim, Douglas and John guide a group of homebrewers through a very special brewing session -- making a clone of Prima Pils.
Sean/Victory arrives, in from the driven snow.
That, in and of itself, sounds cool, but homebrewers try to replicate their favorite beers all the time. So, what's the big deal? Well, what if the brew session leader -- Tim, in this instance -- spent a day with the master brewer of Victory, was given all the brewing materials directly from the brewery, and then given the brewery's recipe and brewing instructions? Believe it or not, that's exactly what happened! And if that wasn't enough, a representative from the brewery was on hand as well!
Preparing the strike water for dough in.
About six homebrewers signed up for the morning session (there was an afternoon session, as well) to brew Prima Pils on Bitter & Esters three-tier HERMS brewing system. Below are chronological photos of the first part of the brew session.

The idea behind the "Brew Like a Pro" series is to get not only detailed technical advice from a subject beer's brewer, but, if possible, the exact same ingredients as well -- the same malt and the same hops (probably not the exact same water, though). And, if possible, have a representative from the brewery on hand to assist with the brew, and provide general information about the brewery and specific information about the beer being brewed.

Tim, who is spearheading the program, said that one of the goals is to showcase the best examples of established commercial styles by the breweries considered to be exceptional in brewing those styles. It also demonstrates an interesting point -- homebrewers can make exceptional beers. You don't have to be a pro to brew like a pro!
Sean of Victory gave the group the "Victory story" [bonus podcast], about how Bill and Ron started the brewery. He also spoke about Prima Pils and the pilsner style.
Victory's History bonus podcast

Tim said that he's looking forward to approaching other breweries about having their beers cloned at the Bitter & Esters laBREWtory, maybe even some from Europe and Scandinavia. Keep an eye on their website and Facebook page for updates, and for the locations and dates when the Prima Pils clone will be available.
Soon the water will be hot enough for dough in.
While we wait...beer.
Books on brewing at Bitter & Esters.
Douglas on the ones-and-twos. Sort of.
Almost ready.
Dough in!
Step infusion mashing -- step 1, protein rest at about 122.
Sean (L) tells the tale of Victory as Tim (R) looks on.
John hacks into A-B, as the group plots.
Tim, Michigan James and Corduroy Kurt.
Is it a DEA photo op, or Victory photo hop?
Beer in the morning, beer in the evening, even at supper time...
Trust these guys -- they're professionals.
OK, maybe not this guy.
Step infusion mashing -- after the protein rest, it's a raise
in temperature for step 2, a beta-amylase rest.
Ari, a first time homebrewer, plans on his own brewing sessions. 
Hear Ari's plans for future brewing sessions.
Step infusion mashing -- step 3, alpha-amylase rest.
Mash it up.
Foggy windows -- tell tale sign that a brew is in progress.