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May 7, 2018
Last updated

Pre Prohibition Home Brew Beer Recipe

Owner of Clawhammer Supply
pre prohibition

My first ever all-grain beer was a pre-prohibition pilsner. Due to nostalgia, i've always been interested in brewing another one. What's a pre-prohibition beer, you might ask? Well, it's a lot like a normal, no-frills beer, but made exclusively with 6 row malt, a bit of corn, and cluster hops. We used lager yeast and fermented it cool, because we brewed it mid-winter and figured that it would have been fermented cool, "back in they day." And we went the extra mile by collecting spring water from the top of a mountain (literally) because we figured that'd make the recipe even more "old timey." This beer was really fun to brew and it tastes great too.

the mountains the water for this beer came from

The mountains the water for this beer came from

Brew Day Video

FYI: Full recipe details are below

Pre-Prohibition Lager Recipe

Water Volume

collecting natural spring water

This is where our water came from, a natural spring on the side of a mountain

  • Beginning water volume: 7.86 gallons (29.8 liters)

adding spring water to kettle

Adding spring water to our kettle

Water Chemistry

Chemistry adjusted with lactic acid to reduce pH to 5.3. Note, we don't generally adjust the pH of our tap water but we brewed this with spring water and needed a bit of help.


  • Pale Malt (6 row) - 8lbs. 4oz. (3kg 742.1g) (83.8%)
  • Flaked Corn - 1lb. 1.5oz (496.1g) (11.1%)
  • Cara-Pils - 8oz. (226.8g) (5.1%)

Note: The cara-pils is definitely not old timey, but we added it to create a bit of foam and head retention. You know, to make the beer look a bit prettier.

adding grain to mill

We finely crushed all of our malts in a mill before mashing


  • 122F (50C) for 20 minutes - protein rest (to reduce haze in final beer)
  • 150F (65.5C) for 60 minutes - saccharification (convert starch to sugar)

mashing in

Mashing in

Boil & Boil Additions, Etc.

After the mash, we heated to boil temp and boiled for 60 minutes. 

boiling wort

Our wort had a nice golden color to it while boiling

Here are the additions

  • 60 minutes (start of boil) - 1.3oz. (36.9 grams) Cluster Hops

1st hop addition of cluster hops

Our first hop addition

  • 10 minutes - 0.5oz. (14.2 grams) cluster hops

Cooling & Hopstand / Whirlpool Additions, Etc.

None for this beer.


At the end of the boil we cooled the beer down and added 1 package of Pilsen Lager Yeast (Wyeast Labs #2007).

pitching yeast

Pitching yeast

yeast floating in wort

Yeast floating in wort

We fermented at 53F (11.7C) for two weeks. We then bumped the temperature up to 70F (21.1C) for about 10 days to complete a diacetyl rest. The D-Rest should have only taken two days, but for some reason ours took much longer. We smelled and visually inspected the beer, letting it rest until all traces of diacetyl were gone and yeast activity (bubbling) had ceased.

beer in fermenter

Our beer in a fermenter just after the brew day

Dry Hops

None to speak of for this beer.


  • Starting gravity - 1.042
  • Volume into the fermenter - 5.4 gallons (20.4 liters)
  • Final Gravity - 1.010
  • ABV - 4.20%

Tasting Notes / Rating

This one is a winner for sure. We think that the modern take on lagers is better (they're more crisp and less "grainy.") But this beer is great for what it is. It's actually been pretty popular with the friends who stop by our office to help drain the taps!

Kyle Brown is the owner of Clawhammer Supply, a small scale distillation and brewing equipment company which he founded in 2009. His passion is teaching people about the many uses of distillation equipment as well as how to make beer at home. When he isn't brewing beer or writing about it, you can find him at his local gym or on the running trail.

  • “At the end of the boil we cooled the beer down and added 1 package of Pilsen Lager Yeast (Wyeast Labs #2007).”

    Looks like you’re using white labs in the image.

    Can you clarify the best yeast for this style?

    Posted by Ty on December 22, 2020
  • Any suggestions on a ale temp lager yeast? I don’t have temp controlled chamber.. thanks!

    Posted by Wally on March 22, 2019

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