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Kolsch Questions

This is the one I posted on earlier where I got 87% efficiency.

-10.3# pils
-0.5# vienna
-Magnum at 60 minutes to 23 IBU (I had read that magnums are derivative of hallertauer, so I thought it would be ok to use them for bittering)
-2000ml starter of WLP029

Questions:
-I did a 90 minute boil, as is recommended in BCS, but now I’m listening to Jamil’s podcast on kolsch, and he said you should only do a 65 minute boil to limit melanoidin formation (forgetting that there is an s-load of pils malt in this that likely has a ton of SMM). The weird thing is, I had to add water to the boil a couple of times, as my efficiency was really good and I didn’t want to end up with an “imperial kolsch”, and I still feel like its a bit dark. Only time will tell I guess, but was looking to see if anyone else did a 90 minute boil (I also turned my burner way down so it was a slow rolling boil)

-Fermentation - I typically go by the maxim that the first few days is really the critical time to control fermentation, so it is chugging nicely, held at 60*, about 20 hours after pitching at 58 degrees. I was thinking of raising it up to 65 (ambient temp of my house) for another week at the first signs of slow down, maybe around day 4.

Part of the reason for this is we are heading on vacation for 10 days on March 15, and I wanted to use that time to start lagering this beer and my biere de mars. I’m thinking I should easily be at my terminal gravity by March 14 (10 day primary), particularly if I let the temp rise up, and it would be ok to start lagering it.

-I have heard that you shouldn’t technically ‘lager’ beer while on the yeast, and have only really done one proper lager (which I racked to a keg first), but I don’t really see what the problem is with keeping this on the yeast while I’m crashing it whilst on vacation.

Thoughts are appreciated!

You were right in boiling this for 90 minutes. You won’t get much for melanoidins just from a 90-minute boil. If you had done a decoction mash, then that would generate more melanoidins. But who cares. In my experience, beers always look darker during fermentation than they really turn out at the end anyway. If your beer seems just a tad too dark right now, just wait. It will probably be just fine when it’s all done.

I just did a fermentation with WLP029. I fermented at about 58 to 60 F just like you have, and then I let it finish at about 60 to 62 F, and if memory serves, this took about 4 or 5 weeks. There is no need to bring the temperature up or down. This yeast is perfectly happy and perfectly capable of good fermentation if you just leave it alone in the lower 60s. It is a somewhat slow fermenter, so be sure to give it all the time it needs to get the job done. You’ll know it’s done when it drops clear. Just takes a few weeks longer than you might think. But in the end, it turns out the most crystal clear that you have ever seen – it is a good flocculator, unlike it’s sister Wyeast 2565 which takes friggin forever to settle out. Along with this…

Definitely do NOT rack the beer at all. Keep all your yeast in the primary so they can finish their job. You can safely keg or bottle directly off the yeast cake when it goes clear, with no secondary.

Bottom line: Relax. You’ve done everything right. Now leave your beer alone. It is going to turn out excellent with no additional actions required on your part.

[quote=“dmtaylo2”]

Definitely do NOT rack the beer at all. Keep all your yeast in the primary so they can finish their job. You can safely keg or bottle directly off the yeast cake when it goes clear, with no secondary.

Bottom line: Relax. You’ve done everything right. Now leave your beer alone. It is going to turn out excellent with no additional actions required on your part.[/quote]

wow, so no clarifying/lagering step at all for you huh?

I know you can’t rush beers, ‘they are done when they’re done’, etc, etc, but 4-5 weeks!!?? I mean I will definitely let it do its thing, but that seems really long. I have found that if I am pitching enough yeast, pitching at lowish temp then ramping up, the vast majority of my beers are completely done (not just at terminal gravity, but have cleaned up and went to bed) by 10 days or so.

Now I will say that on 90% of my beers, I am either using Chico/S-05, Nottingham, or WY3711, which are high attenuators and for the most part, high flocculators, so I will defer to your experience. Part of the other reason I want to raise the temp up is to free up my fermentation fridge.

Yes, Pietro. This is Kolsch yeast we’re talking about. They like it cool, and they like it slow. But much like a fine lager, your patience will be well rewarded.

GOD#@@!$ned meticulous German critters!

I’m about as patient as a 4-year old with a severe case of ADD if you can’t tell. The ultimate irony is that I choose homebrewing and golf as my hobbies.

[quote=“Pietro”]
I’m about as patient as a 4-year old with a severe case of ADD if you can’t tell. The ultimate irony is that I choose homebrewing and golf as my hobbies.[/quote]

At least with golf you know you mucked up pretty quickly. :slight_smile:

My wife is from Koln, so I brew kolsch 4-5 times a year and her family comes over 1-2 times a year. The best series of kolsch I’ve made was fermented at 64F. Crated more of an authentic kolsch character which is all yeast derived.

The closest I’ve come to recreating the ONLY style of beer she’ll drink.

Wazzup! Not across the finish line yet, but pulled a sample of my kolsch at lunch (don’t tell my boss) and it was awesome!

Did the following schedule with WLP029:

-5 days at 60*
-10 days at 65/67/ambient

got down to terminal gravity right around day 10 (after 5 days @ ambient temp)…can’t recall the FG…I marked it down, but can’t remember, but it was around 80-85% app. attenuation

Turned the fridge down to lagering temps before our trip, had a solid 4 weeks of lagering.

It might be a TOUCH on the fruity side, but not having drunk many kolsch’s, I’m not sure. Clean, bready malt, faint vinuous, sulfur kick. I’m thinking when it gets carbed, it will have the perfect amount of bitterness/bite.

Cheers!

Hmmmm…Dave I may eat my words.

Drank a few of these during the Masters this weekend. First off, still pretty cloudy after 5 weeks of lagering and gelatin. Its definitely a good beer, but I’m not sure its the best Kolsch. I feel like all of the flavors are a little too big (bready, faint pear/apple, slightly vinous/sulfury finish, not overly dry or bitter, but a slight dryness and balancing bitterness). I really should grab a bottle of Fruh to taste side by side.

Also, separate issue, but I have the reg set to 10.1 psi, and it comes out really fast, and generates a big head, so I feel like I’m not quite at the “medium-to-medium-high” level of carbonation, which might be part of the problem with the flavor.

May try hitting with gelatin again in the keg, and giving it another week at subarctic temperatures.

Interesting fermentation schedule you conducted.

I usually go at 62F-64F (really no higher!) in my keezer for 14 days and ramp up to 68F for one day before crash chilling.

I’m surprised the gelatin didn’t clear it up crystal clear? Did you add it to cold beer or before you chilled it? I Tablespoon in 1 cup of water heated to 180F should have done the trick.

At 10psi and shooting out at you, sounds like your lines are too short. But FWIW, usually the first pour into a Kolsch stange is half beer/half foam. Which then settles and topped up to create that puff of foam right on top you see in all the pictures.

I should really go buy a Kolsch and try it. Second batch of it I have brewed, and to me, both turned out great, but I have no idea if they are even close to being authentic. Kept both in a swamp cooler for over 5 weeks, with temp sitting at 62 for the entire time. No gelatin, and came out decently clear. Bottled, no kegs yet.

[quote=“brewingdan”]Interesting fermentation schedule you conducted.

I usually go at 62F-64F (really no higher!) in my keezer for 14 days and ramp up to 68F for one day before crash chilling.

I’m surprised the gelatin didn’t clear it up crystal clear? Did you add it to cold beer or before you chilled it? I Tablespoon in 1 cup of water heated to 180F should have done the trick.

At 10psi and shooting out at you, sounds like your lines are too short. But FWIW, usually the first pour into a Kolsch stange is half beer/half foam. Which then settles and topped up to create that puff of foam right on top you see in all the pictures.[/quote]

I did the gelatin according to the “grandmother” method posted on this forum somewhere (google ‘northern brewer gelatin grandmother’, it will come up). I actually added another slug of gelatin to the keg yesterday. Added to it cooled, but only waited 1 day before racking to the keg. I think it probably needed 2-3 minimum.

I probably was a bit impatient with this kolsch, but up until this brew, I was always a believer that the first few days of fermentation was really the most important time to control temps. After that, you can let the temp rise, let the yeast run wild and they will continue to attenuate, but not really produce notable esters/fusels/phenolics. Bear in mind that 90% of the beers I make, I am using Chico, Notty, or 3711, all of which respond well to this type of schedule.

Maybe WLP029/WY equivalent really just need it low 'n slow.

Also, I have a picnic tap on about 2-3’ of the small ID beer line. Is that too short?

If you’re happy with them that’s what really counts. You may be in for a let down if you buy one. The best kolsch I ever had was from a home brewed batch.

I think it might have been the carb level. I turned my gas way down to 1-2 psi to serve, and had a few last night during Zero Dark Thirty (awwwesommmme.).

Equally awesome was the beer. The carb/carbonic acid really helped mellow out the yeast character, so its really nice and subtle all around, really crisp (and it cleared up!). Going to take some to a brew club meeting tonight and get some honest feedback.

I sadly haven’t found any stateside kolsch thàt compare to fresh ones in koln, such a delicate beer.

If you’re having to turn the psi down that low, you might need longer lines. Try a six foot line and cut down from there keeping the psi at your target carbonating psi. The up, down, up, down is not necessary.

Do enjoy your Koln Kolsch though and brew more very soon. In fact, order some traditional stange glassware to really feel authentic.

http://www.kegworks.com/stange-kolsch-g ... 02-p176823

[quote=“brewingdan”]I sadly haven’t found any stateside kolsch thàt compare to fresh ones in koln, such a delicate beer.

If you’re having to turn the psi down that low, you might need longer lines. Try a six foot line and cut down from there keeping the psi at your target carbonating psi. The up, down, up, down is not necessary.

Do enjoy your Koln Kolsch though and brew more very soon. In fact, order some traditional stange glassware to really feel authentic.

http://www.kegworks.com/stange-kolsch-g ... 02-p176823[/quote]

nice. going to try a longer line. I kind of switched over to kegging (sometimes) on a whim, and didn’t really research how to property set everything up.

It really is amazing how carbonation (and temperature) affect the perception of beer (especially this style). IPA/APA/bitters/stouts, etc. have a really wide range. They can warm up a little bit, lose some carb, etc., and still be fantastic.

I brought a growler of this kolsch to my brew club meeting last night. CO2-purged the growler, kept it cold before filling to minimize carb loss. The beer was exceptional at the beginning of the meeting - crisp, flavorful, everything subtle. By the end (our president is somewhat ‘verbose’), it had warmed to about 50 degrees and lost some carb. Apple juice.

I do like this style, but its kind of a gigantic pain in the toucas to do it right…but hey, I guess thats homebrewing!

I’m don’t remember the original poster to credit for this tip, but these guys seem to have a really good price on Stange:

http://www.leevalley.com/US/gifts/page. ... 68&p=45168

However now I keep getting woodworking tool catalogs :smiley:

[quote=“bucketbiochemist”]I’m don’t remember the original poster to credit for this tip, but these guys seem to have a really good price on Stange:

http://www.leevalley.com/US/gifts/page. ... 68&p=45168

However now I keep getting woodworking tool catalogs :smiley: [/quote]

Nice find!

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