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The Placebo Pilsner

Marissa Saurer 7/7/17

Sometimes curve balls DO get knocked out of the park. The old adage of “being thrown a curve ball” is usually a reference of being overwhelmed or taken aback by the unexpected. Our Master Brewer Ted Briggs was thrown a curve ball when brewing a Pilsner last month. Like a typical traditional pilsner, Ted started with soft Lake Superior water, which just happens to be the best for this style beer outside the village of Pilsen in Bohemia.  Noble hops, in this case Saaz, and per usual, bottom fermenting lager yeast. All the elements for a great classic pilsner.

Here is where the curve ball comes in. The lager yeast didn’t seem to want to do their job. So how does a brewer adjust on the fly to this unfortunate happenstance? Enter ALE yeast. I know, I know, a proper pilsner does not ferment with ale yeast. The adjustment needed to be made, so Ted introduced the ale yeast into the wort and this time, the yeast did do its job. The beer started to ferment and chowed down on malt sugars releasing alcohol and carbination. Then, the batch was left to condition at cooler lager temperatures. So… what started out as a Pilsner, ultimately finished as a Kölsch which is an entirely different traditional style beer. Hence the name “Placebo Pils”.

None the less, this beer is both clean and complex, deep and refreshing. If you’re in the Duluth area, stop in at The Brewhouse and give it a try. If you’re a fan of traditional beer styles, we’re sure you’ll love it.