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I like to use different resources whenever I'm looking for beer recipes. This recipe is from Brew Your Own magazine and was orginally published in November 2000.

Bitburger Pils Clone
by Scott Russell

Ahh, Bitburger. It’s a long-time favorite of U.S. servicemen stationed in Germany. This beer is made in the town of Bitburg in the Eifel Lake region of Germany’s Rhineland. Bright gold in color, with a flashy carbonation and lasting pearly-white head, “Bit” is a classic northern German and Scandinavian style pilsner. All-malt Bitburger uses a proprietary yeast strain that gives the beer a super-clean finish.

I also had difficulty getting information from the brewery. They would only tell me that they use deep well water, their own yeast, summer barley, Hallertau and local hops. We can guess at Bitburger’s recipe and brewing process. Some German pilsners use a decoction mash procedure. I include a simple step-mash procedure for all-grain brewers who aren’t ready to tackle decoction mashing. For those who are, see “Starter Guide to Decoction Mashing” (BYO, October 1997) or “New Brewing Lager Beer” by Greg Noonan (Brewers’ Publications, 1996) for the best general explanation of this procedure.

Fermentation takes place at cold temperatures (45° to 50° F). The beer is then lagered at near-freezing temperatures (33° to 35° F) for three months or so.

Bitburger Premium

(5 gallons, extract and steeping grains)

OG = 1.045 FG = 1.008 IBU = 38


1 lb. carapils malt
6 lbs. Muntons extra-light malt extract syrup
6 AAU Perle hops (0.75 oz. at 8% alpha acid)
6 AAU Hallertau hops (1.5 oz. at 4% alpha acid)
German lager or pilsner yeast (Wyeast 2007 or White Labs WLP830)
7/8 cup corn sugar for priming

Step by Step

Steep the carapils (cracked) in a grain bag in 3 gallons of water at 150° F for 45 minutes. Remove grains, add malt extract and stir well. Bring to a boil, add Perle hops, boil 45 minutes. Add 4 AAU Hallertau hops, boil 40 minutes. Add remaining 2 AAU Hallertau, boil 5 minutes. Remove from heat, remove hops.

Cool and top up to 5.25 gallons with pre-boiled, chilled water. At 68° F, pitch yeast. Ferment at 68° F for two days, or until bubbling is sustained. Move fermenter to cooler location, near 50° F, and continue primary fermentation for seven days. Rack to secondary and lager at 35° to 38° F, for six weeks. Warm up to room temperature for a day, prime with corn sugar and bottle. Bottle condition warm for two days, then lager in bottles at 38° to 40° F for four to six weeks.

All-grain option

Crack 1 lb. carapils and 7 lbs. lager malt. Heat 8 quarts water to 136° F, mix in grains and hold at 127° F for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat 5 more quarts to 165° F, add after the 30 minutes are up and hold mash at 150° F for 60 minutes longer.

Sparge with 16 quarts at 168° F and proceed from boiling, timing your boil to reduce volume to 5.25 gallons (add more water to the kettle during the boil, if necessary).

Partial-mash option

Mash 1 lb. carapils and 3.5 lbs. lager malt in 6 quarts at 127° F (heat to 136° F) for 30 minutes. Raise temperature to 150° F by adding 3 quarts at 165° F, hold 60 minutes. Sparge with 12 quarts at 168° F. Add 3 lbs. malt extract, proceed as above from boiling.