Our Next Collaboration: A Pilsner?

One of the things we love about craft brewing is the great sense of camaraderie. The best craft brewers are more focused on expanding the market than competing against each other, and that’s why we love collaborating. Collaboration brings brewers with different attitudes, philosophies, and techniques together with the sole purpose of furthering our craft (ok, and having fun and sharing beers too!). Our last two collaboration beers were great successes, and testaments to the incredible talent of all involved.

When it came time to plan our next collaboration, Scottish brewery BrewDog seemed like a natural choice for Greg Koch and Mitch Steele. “Greg and I were introduced to James’ and Martin’s (BrewDog’s two business partners) beers about a year ago, when we traveled through Scotland,” said Mitch. “We were blown away by their ability to brew hoppy, assertive beers and get away with it in the UK.” James and Martin were inspired to start brewing by the American craft beer scene, and were stoked to take part.

From left to right: Brewmaster James Watt from BrewDog, Head Brewer Mitch Steele from Stone, and Brewmaster Will Meyers from Cambridge Brewing Co.

Brewmaster James Watt from BrewDog (left), Head Brewer Mitch Steele from Stone (middle), and Brewmaster Will Meyers from Cambridge Brewing Co. (right) hanging out at our "Collaboration Eve: Meet the Brewmasters" event in the Gardens

As soon as BrewDog was on board, Mitch made a phone call to Will Meyers from Cambridge Brewing Co. Will and Mitch had known each other for about nine years and always thought it would be cool to brew together someday. When Will got a message from Mitch asking him to participate in the collaboration, he reacted accordingly. “After I got done doing a little beer dance around the cellar I called him back and the rest is history,” said Will. “I was familiar with BrewDog as I’d stumbled across their beer in England last June, and was psyched to be offered the opportunity to work with two other forward-thinking, ballsy brewers.”

Once both brewmasters were committed, the next step was to brew a pilot batch. The distance between the brewers provided a bit of a logistical challenge, so they opted to collaborate over email to brew the pilot batch here. Being the innovative brewers they are, they eventually decided to try something that none of them have ever brewed before, and for that matter, something that NO ONE has ever brewed before.

When Will and James flew in last Thursday and tried the pilot, they confirmed what they suspected—we had something very special on our hands. After agreeing to use a bit more dark malt, the brewmasters went over their game plan for the next day, then retreated to the Bistro where we celebrated with the help of local beer fans at our “Pilot-Palooza” event. It was a fitting start to an epic collaboration.

The next day the brewmasters got down to business, putting in a long hard day of brewing. They started by mash-hopping the brew, which is a first at Stone. The brewmasters adhered to their initial recipe for the most part, but were afforded the luxury of tweaking the recipe during the process (who says you can’t build a car while driving it?). For example, they decided to make a last minute hop addition to balance the bitterness. Will explains the reason for the decision in the clip below:

The immense scale of the batch amazed Will, who brews on a 10-barrel system back in his brewpub in Cambridge. Aside from using 10,000 lbs of malt, the batch required ten separate kettle hop additions, resulting in 326 lbs. total hops (3 lbs. per barrel!). Will remarked that he added more hops in one kettle addition than he uses in an entire batch at home. We’re no strangers to obscene amounts of hops, but according to Mitch, this is the HOPPIEST beer we’ve ever brewed.

At the end of the arduous brew day the brewmasters were satisfied with their creation. It turned out even better than they anticipated. It’s our pleasure to introduce the fruits of their labor, and the first lager EVER brewed at Stone: BrewDog / Cambridge / Stone Juxtaposition Black Pilsner.

BrewDog / Cambridge / Stone Juxtaposition Black Pilsner

BrewDog / Cambridge / Stone Juxtaposition Black Pilsner

That’s right…a Black Pilsner (and at 10% abv, one might be tempted to call it a Double Black Pilsner…but we’re not…we’ll let the style zealots start endless discussion threads on their own on that…we’re just brewing the damn beer…everyone will have to figure out for themselves what the hell style it is…just sayin’). Aside from being the first lager ever brewed at Stone (and using Bohemian lager yeast no less), this beer represents several other Stone “firsts.” This is the first time we’ve used Japanese Sorachi Ace hops and Motueka hops from New Zealand (there are no American hops in this beer). It’s also our first time both mash-hopping and mash-wort hopping a brew, as well as our first time using more than two kettle hop additions (there were 9 hop additions throughout the wort boiling process).

Of course, as a lager, BrewDog / Cambridge / Stone Juxtaposition Black Pilsner will have to sit in the fermenter tanks several more weeks than a typical batch, so we won’t be able to enjoy the final for a while. We haven’t picked a release date, but rest assured that we’ll let you know the second we do.

Will put it best when he said “We have a big freaking beer on our hands.” It’s bold, black, 10% abv, and over 100 IBU’s in wort. This beer isn’t for sissies. And if you’re saying “there’s no such thing as a Black Pilsner,” let us correct you—there is now. We just brewed it, and it will be amazing (so says us).

Check out the YouTube playlist below. We’ll be adding more videos from the brewing process soon! While you’re at it, check out the flickr set too!

-Matt Steele


  1. Pingback: BrewDog / Cambridge / Stone Juxtaposition Black Pilsner | Beer N Bikes

  2. If this is fake, it’s about the most elaborate joke I’ve seen all day. :)

  3. This sounds great, can’t wait to try. Hope this isn’t an April Fools thing.

  4. Bill Anderson
    / Reply

    I brewed many thousand barrels of Ballantine Ale. I thought it was hoppy with Bullion Hops @ kettle,dry hops and oil but 3lbls/bbl what are the IBU’s?

    Bill Anderson
    Retired Master Brewer

  5. C’mon….really?? its april 1st people, stone is notorious for their participitation in april fools day…unless thats what they’re expecting everyone to think, and they really are coming out with a dark pilsner…hmmm…damn my paranoia…

  6. I hope this is not a joke because a brewery in Oregon, Bridgeport or Deschutes brewery I (can’t remember) made a Pilsner and hopped it up and that’s when I became a Pilsner fan. A perfect summer BBQ beer.

  7. I love how Stone constantly pushes the envelope and their creative nature with these collaborative brews. I’m definitely looking forward to trying this beer for sure. Unique hops for a one of a kind black Pils. How awesome. ;)

  8. This sounds rad. vey much loooking forward to the release.. I like the bottle too! great work guys

  9. A reverse-april fools joke? One where they actually brew the beer? Maybe the joke will be how fast it sells out! That would NOT be funny..

  10. Magic by Mark
    / Reply

    Please consider me for the position of “Official Magician” of Stone Brewery. April Fools!!!

  11. When can we get a real Southern German Pils? Now, that
    would be a treat! Maybe the water here isn’t right
    for that though?

  12. I can’t wait to try a Black and Tan made from this and Stone Justification Ale!

  13. I hope this is not an April Fools joke as this sounds like a great beer!!! I have always enjoyed all of Stone’s beers and releases. Keep them coming!!! I just wish they were easier to get here in Moses Lake, WA(I either have to mail order or go out of town to pick some up).

  14. D. G. Spencer Ludgate
    / Reply

    I’ll read this when it is sent on or after April 2nd…

  15. I’ve been looking forward to an American style light beer from Stone for some time. Most of the other beers are too heavy for me. I hope Stone makes a light (or ultra light!) beer soon. It would go good with a scone.

  16. Pingback: BrewDog Cambridge Stone Juxtaposition Black Pilsner coming this summer | Beernews.org

  17. Well, Stone was always known for their malty beers. It’s about time, jk. Please keep the hops coming….

  18. Julie Hendricks
    / Reply

    Any chance you can bring some to SAVOR in CD next month? This sounds terrific and I can’t wait to try it!

  19. I think people who are beer advocates are a little more mature that a april fools joke to this magnitude. I guess we will find out tomorrow.

  20. April fools… right?
    Didn’t Sam Adams do this already?

  21. It would be hilarious if this was an April fools joke. It would just be another thing to love about stone. Although I would be a little disappointed as this sounds like an awesome beer.

  22. I don’t recall any new brew that Stone announced on April Fools Day that wasn’t a HOAX!! As I recall past efforts included some sort of fruity beer and God Forbid “Stone Light”!!

  23. Mr. Anderson,
    Nice to hear from you. I wish I could have had the pleasure of enjoying a fresh Ballantine’s IPA when you were brewing.
    Our Collaboration Beer – Juxtaposition – is calculated to over 120IBU in the kettle, and we anticipate it will have a final IBU of 100. The three pounds of hops per barrel were for kettle wort only, and when we factor in the massive losses of wort to trub and hop matter plus huge dryhop additions, we predict we’ll be pushing close to 5#/barrel in the final yield. Hope you have the oppotunity to try it!

    Will Meyers
    Cambridge Brewing Company

  24. Eric Gins
    / Reply

    Only after I read the whole blog and got amazingly excited did I realize that today is 4/1. April Fools.


    In either case I am amazingly excited to try the new collaboration.

  25. Tony Humphrey
    / Reply

    This same anouncment has been made on the BrewDog website in the UK on 2nd April. Dark lagers are common in Germany. When are we going to get AB in the UK (Arogant Bastard – not that rice beer stuff!)

  26. Isn’t a “black Pilsener” actually what is known as a Czech Dark? Obviously this uses different hops and has more ABV. Looking forward to czeching it out.

  27. I’ve never been a big pils fan but I can’t wait ot try it. Please send some to North OC and SGV. A list of places that will carry would be nice. I’ll spread the word…..

  28. Dude’s you guys just ROCK!!! Why cant you ship up to Canada? Anyway, I’, going down to visit family in SFO and I’ll load up for another few weeks.

  29. Pingback: The Stone Blog » Juxtaposition Video Posted and News on our Next Collaboration As Well!

  30. wow…sounds great. As stated above plenty of times…can’t wait to try it.

    Keep up the good work.


  31. Leave the pilsners to Bud & Miller. There are enough of them now. Good Ales rock. Stick to what you do best. What is next…Stone Light?

  32. Way to sack up and think outside the box and actually evolve as all craft brewers should and constantly challenge themselves!! It must have been a blast…can’t wait to taste it!!

    Astoria OR

  33. Kevin O'Reilly
    / Reply

    OK, it’s now the 7th and Stone hasn’t come out and said this is a hoax. So I’m going with the theory, they’ve got a new beer brewing. I’m really amazed at the detail the brewers James, Mitch and Will shared in the videos. But I guess they left enough info out, so that anyone trying to copy them would probably end up with some sad brown concoction, tasting of sulfur with an overly sweet but bitter hoppiness and too much citrus. In their hands, I’m expecting something unexpected and delicious- a Stone worthy black pilsner :-)

  34. Kevin O'Reilly
    / Reply

    oh well, I was wrong. The world isn’t ready for a black pilsner. Cool idea though.

  35. Pingback: The Stone Blog » Washington Approves Stone’s Pilsner Stimulus Plan

  36. tony Jaeggi
    / Reply

    Hahah! Like this year’s april fools joke kids. You almost had me this time.

  37. Pingback: The Stone Blog » What the Hell is Stone Bombastic Lager?

  38. Pingback: The Stone Blog » Stone 13th Anniversary Ale Will Put a Hop in Your Step

  39. Pingback: The Stone Blog » The Best Damn (only?) Black Pilsner Ever Hits Shelves on Monday

  40. stuart mcluckie
    / Reply

    Schwarzpils is described in “Heimbrauen für Fortgeschrittene“ by Dr.Hagen Rudolph (2003). Black Pilsner has been brewed in Germany for some time now.

  41. Pingback: agirlandherbeer.com » Juxtaposition Black Pilsner

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