Over the last few years, dessert beers have really had their time to shine. Pastry stouts, fruited sours, milkshake IPAs....but what about those of us born and bred in the Midwest who prefer something a little more savory? Where’s the umami? Where’s the crisp? Where’s the char? You know, something you can really sink your teeth into.
Our team of homebrewers brainstormed long and hard and finally landed on an option that’s not only tasty, but pairs perfectly with your summertime backyard gatherings. The Brat Pilsner! Now we know what you are thinking, but this new recipe is not only revolutionary, but it’s also a real time saver. Let’s face it, brewing is a time intensive hobby, so anytime you can score some time savings and make beer, it’s a win-win!
Enter the Brat Pilsner. This Midwestern Masterpiece features North Star Pils as the bready backbone, the bun if you will, and utilizes locally sourced natural casing brats for an authentic Minnesota experience. It took a lot of experimentation, but we feel confident that this new recipe has achieved the optimal BPG (Brats Per Gallon) for just the right amount of salt and fat content (Minnesota Gose anyone?). We’re also using the Lutra yeast for a clean fermentation that will really let the natural brat flavor profile pop through.
As mentioned before this recipe is also a real time-saver since you will be grilling and brewing AT THE SAME TIME! To make things even easier for this recipe we are utilizing the BIAB or Brat in a Bag Method.
Here’s what you’ll need to gather before you get started on your very own 5 gallon batch of North Star Brat Pilsner:
- 10 grilled brats - You'll need to scale your bratwurst addition to increase the batch size. We found that a BPG of 2 is optimal.
- 7 gallons of water
- 12 lbs North Star Pils (the bread to your brats!)
- 1 oz hops - German Hallertau
- 1 liter starter of Omega Yeast Labs Lutra Kveik
- Brew Bag and Pulley System
- 10 Gallon MegaPot
- Propane Burner
- A ravenous appetite
- Add seven gallons of strike water to the kettle and heat to approximately 160F.
- At the same time start coals on your grill. Arrange coals for two-zone grilling with hot direct heat side and cooler indirect heat side.
- Bring your brats to the grill and sear on all sides over direct heat. Really let that outer casing get a nice char, but try to avoid letting the juices flow too much as you want to save all of that flavor for the kettle. Move to indirect heat to cook thoroughly.
- Line boil kettle with brew bag.
- Add grilled brats to bag. Stir to loosen and char bits and fully incorporate rendered brat juice.
- Add malt, stirring well to avoid dough balls. Stir brat mash well to incorporate.
- Mash those grains and brats for 60 minutes at 152F degrees.
- Once the 60 minutes are up, slowly raise the grain bag out of the kettle using BIAB pulley system and let drain. Pour 1 gallon of hot water over the grain bag to rinse out all those yummy umami infused sugars.
- Now that your brats have the added sweetness of the wort, remove them from the bag and give them one last kiss on the grill to caramelize the mash sugars.
- Now they’re ready to eat!
- While you’re chowing down. Bring wurst wort to a boil.
- Add 1 oz German Hallertau hops and boil for 60 minutes.
- Cool wort in your preferred method (immersion chiller or other method) until it’s about 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature range for Omega’s Lutra kveik strain is 68-95F. We found that fermenting in the mid-70s encourages a very aggressive fermentation and a clean profile that accentuates the Pilsner malt and brats heartiness.
- Transfer wort to a sanitized fermenter.
- We’ve decided to use Lutra yeast here for a fast fermentation since this beer is best enjoyed on April 1.
We recommend serving this unique brat libation with your next round of grilled brats. Or heck, maybe even boil some brats in the brat beer? Woah, so meta!
Pro-tips: You can take your brat beer to the next level by adding any of these authentic midwestern flavors. Add sauerkraut into the mash for flavor and to lower the pH (it’s a win/win). Worried about your vegetarian or vegan friends not getting in on the brat beer action? Use one of the many vegan brats out there! But make sure to double up on your BPG to compensate for the reduced fat and sodium content. If you’re a fan of Micheladas (and who isn’t) grab a handful of those ketchup packets you’ve got shoved in your junk drawer - the acidity of the tomatoes and added sugar make a great addition to this umami packed delight.