Kolsch fermentation has me worried

My Kolsch fermentation has me worried.

I freed up my carboy after bottling today, so I decided to secondary my Kolsch into it. I had been fermenting at 61 for 2 weeks and the air lock was super slow.

The gravity was at 1.020 and I thought that the WYeast 2565 yeast should do better than that by now. There was still a lot of foam in the primary. The beer was cloudier than any beer I have made. I know this style takes time to settle. When I saved the yeast, it foamed out of the mason jar as I opened to wash, it then foamed over the second smaller jar too.

Questions: Hey Kolsch guys, will the beer dry up to the expected gravity in the secondary or should I take additional steps such as warmer location or pitch new yeast ? Did the saved yeast foam up because it came to room temp or due to added oxygen or was it still too active to save?

Maybe I should have stirred the yeast to roust it in the primary instead of putting the beer into be secondary.

All advice is appreciated.

You need patience with this yeast. I would pitch your harvested yeast back in there, and/or warm up the fermenter a couple of degrees. It just needs a lot of time to do its thing. Your patience will be well rewarded.

The Kolsch yeast seems to get a ton of inquires on here. It does behave pretty uniquely compared to others. I’d try warming it up at first, see if that works. If not pitch back what you got, maybe even try making a starter first and pitch at high krausen.

Thanks guys. Just checked the Kolsch before bed. The airlock was every 30 to 45 sec in the Basement 6 hours later at 61. It was well over a minute b4 I racked it- wierd yeast indeed. I wonder if an alternate yeast would make a good Kolsch without the fuss, maybe one of those steam lager yeasts.

I’m taking your advice and warming it a few degrees up to 64 or 65 - retest gravity in a few days. If its still under attenuated then I will repitch some of the harvested yeast or make a starter.

Thing is that this I my only 5 gal glass carboy and I intended on conditioning off yeast for weeks. The rest of my buckets are 6.5. I will need a conditioning game plan if I repitch into my secondary. If I do this beer again I might rouse the yeast every week or so and primary up to 4 weeks -Then secondary.

Seems like a long wait for a session beer. I This better be good.


Kolsch in secondary sort of
English IPA -Nottingham -carbing
English Best Bitter - Wyeast 1469 -carbed and conditioning
On Last bottles of Heife, Eng bitter1, Belgian Patrsbier

Update. Swirled then Warmed the Kolsch to 63 and Blamo it went crazy. Came home from work was blowing by the airlock. Not much room in that 5 gal carboy for foam.

I think this is a good sign that it will finish now. Perhaps a couple weeks in the secondary then cold crash when it’s below 1.014.

You could drink this one young and save yourself the time and trouble of cold crashing and storing. But if you do you’ll regret it when that last bottle is gone and your thinking to yourself how much better it got with a little time. I’d say it’s worth the wait, I love a good Kolsch. Nothing fancy, but nice. Really nice if done right.

Kolsch is a style beer that requires patience especially since it has lager like characteristics. In fact it is not unusual to lager it once in secondary. When I made my Kolsch I allowed it to sit in primary for a month before moving it to secondary.

If you find that beers just don’t seem to cooperate with your need to rack them to secondary…then you need more primaries. A Kolsch isn’t really a Kolsch if you don’t use Kolsch yeast.


After a vigorous restart in the secondary for about 5 days at 63, things are slowing again. I am going to take it back to the basement for a week at 61 then test the gravity. I feel confident that its not stuck at 1.020 now.

After I’m sure it’s done fermenting 100%, I will decide whether to cold condition in the beer fridge right in the carboy then bottle… or bottle, carb, then cold condition in bottles.

Any conditioning advice Kolsch lovers?