American Pilsner Master Recipe

Start you foray into beer brewing with this simple, extract American Pilsner recipe that’ll yield a wonderful, light beer.

| May 2019


For years, I thought that “beer” meant only the pale, yellow pilsner that was enjoyed by the adults around me. I remember stealing sips as a kid and deciding that it was awful and that I would never like beer.

So, it is with a wry laugh that I present a classic American pilsner for our first foray into beer-brewing together. It is low in alcohol, pale in color and has almost no bitterness. This is a light, refreshing lunch beer, the perfect beer for mowing the lawn and the easiest of all of my beer recipes to share with you.

For the Beer

  • 1-1/2 gal (5.7 L) water
  • 4 oz (115 g) Pale 2-row (specialty grain)
  • 12 oz (340 g) Pilsen light dried malt extract
  • 4 oz (115 g) rice syrup solids (fermentable sugar)
  • 2 g Cascade hops pellets
  • 1 tsp (2.5 g) Safale S-04 dry ale yeast

For Bottling

  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) water
  • 1 oz (28 g) priming sugar


1.) Gather and sanitize equipment: Gather your ingredients and sanitize your equipment. You’ll need a 2-gallon (7.5-L) stockpot, a thermometer, a grain bag, a long spoon, a strainer, a bowl, a 2-gallon (7.5-L) brew bucket, a racking cane or siphon tube, a gallon (3.8-L) carboy and a bung and airlock.

2.) For the beer, steep the grains: Heat the water in the stockpot until it reaches 150 to 160°F (65 to 71°C). If the water gets hotter, you run the risk of leaching bitter flavors from the grain. Pour the Pale 2-row grains into the grain bag, tie a loose knot at the top and put them into the pot to steep. Stir the water regularly to ensure that the grain bag is not getting stuck at the bottom of the hot pot. After 30 minutes, remove the grain bag, and let it drain back into the pot while you prepare for the next steps. For draining, I tie the grain bag to the pot handle or the long spoon, set over the pot. When you remove the grains from the bag, you can put them in the strainer set over the bowl to dry for use in other recipes (page 148). The liquid left in the stockpot is your wort.

3.) Boil the wort: Bring your wort to a gentle, rolling boil. Add the dried malt extract and the rice syrup solids and stir until the wort returns to a gentle boil. Next, you’ll add the hops. You’ll sometimes have to add ingredients, such as multiple hops and spices, at different times. With this master recipe, there’s only one round. Add the hops and let them boil for an hour. Near the end of the hour, fill a sink with ice water. Remove the pot from the heat and place it in the ice water in the sink. Let the wort cool until it is near 70°F (21°C).



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