St. Louis, Missouri’s 2nd Shift Brewing has developed a reputation for characterful beer of a high technical quality, without pretensions. This homebrew-scale recipe is based on the brewery’s popular Czech-influenced pilsner, which features a big smack of Saaz hops flavor. It gets a simple single-infusion mash with a dextrin boost (for foam and body) from a handful of Carafoam malt.
Steve Crider, 2nd Shift’s founder and brewer, explains how he decided to brew Technical Ecstasy after a visit to Czechia: “I went to the Urquell and Budvar breweries in 2008 and had the best beer I’ve ever tasted, talked to some brewers there, and formulated recipes based on what they talked about. Water is number one. Good malt is also number one, and so are yeast and hops for that matter.”
Batch size: 5 gallons (19 liters)
Brewhouse efficiency: 72%
9.2 lb (4.2 kg) Weyermann Bohemian Pilsner
1 lb (454 g) Weyermann Carafoam
0.4 oz (11 g) Hallertauer Magnum [14% AA] at 60 minutes
1 oz (28 g) Saaz [3.4% AA] at 60 minutes
0.7 oz (20 g) Saaz [3.4% AA] at 15 minutes
1.2 oz (34 g) Saaz [3.4% AA] at 1 minute
Wyeast 2000 Budvar Lager
Mill the grains and mash for 1 hour at 152°F (67°C). Lauter and sparge to get about 5.7 pre-boil gallons (21.6 liters) of wort. Boil for 60 minutes, following the hops schedule. Chill to 51°F (11°C) and pitch the yeast. Ferment for 1 week at 51°F (11°C), allow the temperature to rise to 60°F (16°C), and hold there for 2 days, then drop by 3°F per day (about 2°C per day) for 1 week until it reaches 38°F (3°C). Lager at 33°F (0.5°C) until the beer is finished, between 2 and 3 months.
BREWER'S NOTES About that water: "I try to keep everything under 30 ppm," Crider says. "Just got to keep the water really soft. Most people add salts to water without knowing what they are starting with—you would be surprised how many professional brewers do this. All you have to do is send in a small sample to a lab to get an exact water report. I use Ward labs, and it costs about $30 and a few days.
"Then use brewing water software to figure out how to blend RO water and add salts as needed."