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I need some SERIOUS help here

I am stumped here, I brewed the following beer, it came out tasting like a nice chardonnay. To top it off, it’s not not carbing in the bottle-after 2 weeks, nothing and absolutrely no sediment. It looks like a belgian I’ve done in the past that took a month or so to carb…so here’s the recipe. I performed a starter, but it was very warm in my kitchen where the stir plate was (been a very warm fall here in the east). I fermented in the low 60’s for 4 weeks, and when I tell you this beer was clear, ma this beer was clear-but that’s what I was looking for. So my questions.
the off flavor-probably a result of the kolch yeast being fermented too 1. high, I can live with that, but it wasn;t like it was 80…but maybe the starter was, but did I pitch to much yeast and kill it?
2. is it possible an infection would cause this? There was no evidence of that
3. I’m told that the fruitiness is classis with this strain, but it wasn;t that bad with an octoberfest I did. Also, I didn;t crash cool this, and I never has a problem carbonating beer after only 4 weeks in the carboy, especially since I did not secondary this and definitely picked up some yeast when transferring to the bottling bucket…where the heck is it? I’ve seen nothing on the bottom of the bottles and just a tiny psst when I open one…this is driving me nuts, but also concerning me that I have an infection somewhere and I have a saison to bottle tonight.

Funniest part about all this, is that I named this beer “What the Helles”…and that’s what I’ve been saying about it ever since.

7.5 lb Pilsner (2 Row) Ger (2.0 SRM)
.50 lb Munich Malt (9.0 SRM)
.50 lb Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM)
0.25 lb Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM)
1.5 oz Tettnang [3.20%] (60 min)
1 tube German Ale/Kolsch (White Labs #WLP029) Yeast-Ale in a 600ml starter-24hr

Mash in 2.85 gallons 165 degree water for 90 minutes, target 154
Mash out with 2 gallons 180 degree water
Sparge with 3.50 gallons 170 degree water

*Pilsner malt, boil 90 minutes
Mash at 154 for 90 minutes.
Super easy beer to make, should be a crowd pleaser for the macro crowd over the upcoming holidays.
Target OG 1.042 Actual OG 1.048

Maybe it was too cold of a fermentation? NB’s catalog says this strain doesn’t like it below 62F. Its also possible that the starter gave the beer some fruitiness, or your fermentation got warm and then dropped off. Stress can cause it to kick out esters, and then cooling to a non-optimal temp might be why it dropped so clear. What was the FG?

Might also need to age awhile to mellow out. And a helles is a fairly tricky beer to make, it is simple looking but without bold flavors any little thing that is off will be detected. I don’t have a lot of experience with the kolsch yeast, it sounds like a possible alternative to a lager. Might try an alt yeast as an alternative.

It doesn’t sound like an infection to me.

I brewed a helles some time ago, and it was a little spicy at first but after eight weeks of lagering it is very nice. Easily the best lager beer I’ve made, and I wouldn’t have said that right after I carbonated it before lagering.

sorry, should have posted the FG. It was 1.011 and I bottled at room temp (around 68 degrres). That’s what confuses me with this batch. I usually crash cool my beer to drop some yeast out and clear the beer a bit, but this sucker was so clear after three weeks, I didn’t feel the need. I just bottled it around 4 weeks. This is crazy strange to me, the only thing I can think of if it’s not an infection is that Ioverpitched and the yeastcake was basically spent. so when i bottled, even though I picked up yeast, it’s not carbonating the beer…but I would think it would have started to settle in the botle by now-nothing. this is just really strange and something I’ve never encountered before. I’ve probably brewed and bottled 40 or so 5 galon batches.

Is it chardonnay-like as in buttery? As in diacetyl?

With a 600 mL starter I doubt you over-pitched. Regardless, you reached a normal FG, so there was some viable yeast left at the end of fermentation, and it will probably carbonate given enough time.

This sounds typical of the Kölsch yeast, to me. 1007 makes a better faux-lager, in my opinion, without the “distinctive” wine-like flavors.

Hard to say why its not carbonating. You surely didn’t harm the yeast with a 1.048 OG. Might have dropped so clean there wasn’t enough yeast transferred to the bottles.

[quote=“a10t2”]Is it chardonnay-like as in buttery? As in diacetyl?

With a 600 mL starter I doubt you over-pitched. Regardless, you reached a normal FG, so there was some viable yeast left at the end of fermentation, and it will probably carbonate given enough time.[/quote]

+1 This was the first thing that came to my mind as well.

This is probably a dumb thing to ask, but you didn’t forget to prime it, did you?

nope…almost fully carb’d now, finally, but it still tastes ridicuously fruity…has to be the starter temp, b/c my fermentation temp was controlled …sucks…

i have zero (zero) experience with Kolsch yeast so take this post as you will.

the latest zymurgy had an article about wheat and kolsch yeast and fermentation temps. i don’t know if you get it or can get a copy but the guy made two batches with WLP029 strain and did warm and cold fermentations for ea. then did side by side. essentially, he said that warm ferment (68-70°F) had a definite wine like character, and the cold ferment (54-56°F) had a more pear like character.

i guess you could let your batch mellow, and have a good spring/summer beer?

I’m doubting the starter temp is what caused this. I think it’s prolly just the yeast. Give it some time to cold condition and it will likely mellow out. Try the same recipe with WY1007.

I think Kolsch needs to be fermented cooler than many ale yeasts, NB lists the Wyeast version as needing 56-64F and I usually ferment on the lower end of their recommendations just because the wort is always going to heat up a little more than ambient temp. Thats got to be the source of the fruitiness, I agree that the starter isn’t likely to have been the sole source of something so pronounced. And I also agree that it might mellow out some with aging.

When I think of Chardonnay I think of Oak, Apple and Pear. Kolsch yeast can throw a white wine flavor but it should be very subtle.

Does it taste like a green apple flavor?

I recently had great fermentation with Kolsch (White Labs) yeast, but it didn’t carbonate well in the bottle either. It took a long time, and it didn’t clear very well. On the bottles that carbonated well, the taste was great with a proper Kolsch head on it, but the bottles that didn’t carbonate well were overly sweet from the priming sugar. Don’t know what happened, I’ve had good results in the past.

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