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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: ccfoo242 on February 24, 2012, 03:01:00 AM

Title: Just had my first kolsh...
Post by: ccfoo242 on February 24, 2012, 03:01:00 AM
...and I'm wondering why I've NEVER had this kind of beer before? It's awesome! And I love big, hoppy, bitter beers...so it surprises me that I would like this.

So, can anyone suggest a good homebrew recipe for a kolsh?
Title: Re: Just had my first kolsh...
Post by: corkybstewart on February 24, 2012, 03:17:36 AM
Kolsch is a hard style to homebrew, I've tried for 3 years and haven't gotten it right yet.  But I'm not giving up, I'll try again soon.
Title: Re: Just had my first kolsh...
Post by: gmac on February 24, 2012, 03:29:03 AM
I call this 5K kolsch because I brewed it in honour of my wife and her friends completing their first 5K run (notice that they ran, I brewed...).  This won a gold at the CABA All About Ales competition.  Only downside is that it takes a long, long time to clear.

10 gals
20lbs Weyerman Pils Malt
1 lb Dark Munich
2 oz Cascade Pellets at 60
1 oz Hallertau at 30
phosphoric acid to adjust pH to 5.3
1 tsp Irish Moss
Wyeast 2565 Kolsch Yeast
I use 1/2 distilled water and 1/2 tap water with 1/4 Campden tablet because my water is pretty hard.

I mashed at 150F for 75 mins.  I've got a batch on right now.
I'll be doing a bigger batch when this one's done to have a good supply for summer.
Title: Re: Just had my first kolsh...
Post by: ccfoo242 on February 24, 2012, 03:48:46 AM
I call this 5K kolsch because I brewed it in honour of my wife and her friends completing their first 5K run (notice that they ran, I brewed...).  This won a gold at the CABA All About Ales competition.  Only downside is that it takes a long, long time to clear.
Thanks!

Kolsch is a hard style to homebrew, I've tried for 3 years and haven't gotten it right yet.  But I'm not giving up, I'll try again soon.
So would it not be a good choice for someone who has, say, only done 1 AG batch?  ???
Title: Re: Just had my first kolsh...
Post by: gmac on February 24, 2012, 03:57:57 AM
Why?  I'd go for it.  It may not be perfect but you have to start somewhere.  With only 1 AG done, nothing you do will likely be "perfect" cause you're likely still getting your process down but it can be damn good.
Look for a thread entitled "Tell me about Kolsch" that I started a while ago.  I probably only had 10 AG under my belt when I first started playing with it.  The keys from what I was told were noble hops and kolsch yeast.  Make it and then let it lager cold for a month or so. 
Title: Re: Just had my first kolsh...
Post by: ccfoo242 on February 24, 2012, 04:14:28 AM
Make it and then let it lager cold for a month or so.

I guess I'll have to wait until I improve the cold side of things in my gear. Right now the best I can do is about 68 F with a wet t-shirt over the carboy. But I do plan to build some kind of temperature controlled box in the next few months.
Title: Re: Just had my first kolsh...
Post by: gmac on February 24, 2012, 04:28:21 AM
Just to be clear, lager as in store, not ferment as a lager.  If you have a fridge, you can "lager".  It just needs time to clear after it's done fermenting.  And you can put your carboy in a bucket with that shirt over it and add frozen pop bottles a couple times a day if you need to ferment colder. 
Title: Re: Just had my first kolsh...
Post by: corkybstewart on February 24, 2012, 05:30:30 AM
I call this 5K kolsch because I brewed it in honour of my wife and her friends completing their first 5K run (notice that they ran, I brewed...).  This won a gold at the CABA All About Ales competition.  Only downside is that it takes a long, long time to clear.
Thanks!

Kolsch is a hard style to homebrew, I've tried for 3 years and haven't gotten it right yet.  But I'm not giving up, I'll try again soon.
I thought I had a good Kolsch until I went to Germany and drank the real stuff.  For years my Kolsch-like beer was my house standard.  It's hard to nail perfectly but even near misses made a great beer so go for it.  The secret is fresh ingredients, a big starter so you can ferment it cool, and then as gmac says a long lagering period.  BTW my Kolsch like beer was my first AG recipe.
So would it not be a good choice for someone who has, say, only done 1 AG batch?  ???
Title: Re: Just had my first kolsh...
Post by: majorvices on February 24, 2012, 03:31:10 PM
I used to brew a lot of kolsch, especially for my wife. She loves it. Get your water and pH right, use the right yeast (you need to use a kolsch specific yeast) and you can nail the style pretty easily. The two yeasts that are the easiest to find are WLP029 and WY2565. The WY2565 ferments a little better at cooler temps but is a b**** to get to clear. The WLP029 can be a bit more temperamental  during fermentation as it tends to stall under 62 degrees near the end, but it is much easier to get to clear. Both make excellent kolsches.

Here's one of my recipes

Kolsch

12 Gallons
OG 1.050-1.052
IBU 23

20.5 lbs German Pils
2lbs German Munich

.75oz Magnum (14.9) 60 min
1oz Mittlefruh (3) 30 min
.5oz Mittlefruh (3) 10 min

WLP029 or WY2565 Starter or slurry (I make a 2.5 liter stirred starter or slurry from a previous batch. be sure to pitch enough yeast)

Boil 90 minutes to alleviate concerns about DMS

Aerate and pitch at 56 degrees. Ferment 58-60 for 3 days and then let rise to 62-64 until finished.
Title: Re: Just had my first kolsh...
Post by: nateo on February 24, 2012, 03:47:46 PM
Just thought I'd chime in with my version. Probably the best beer I've ever brewed. It's in metric because I really don't understand how pounds and ounces / quarts and gallons work.

38L batch
OG: 1.050
FG: 1.010
44% US 2-row - 3.5kg
44% Rahr Pils - 3.5kg
12% Red wheat malt - 1kg

Single infusion at 149*F
Mashout at 160*

@ -60min - 60g US Vanguard 5.2%AA ~ 20 IBU
@ -10min - 15g of the same ~ 2 IBU
@ -0min - 35g of the same ~ 0 IBU

ferment with WY2565 at 58* for 8 days
Raise to 68* for another 8 days
40* for 3 weeks, then bottle.

Bottle at 2.5vol
Title: Re: Just had my first kolsh...
Post by: erockrph on February 24, 2012, 04:08:38 PM
I'm actually planning on doing a Kölsch for my first AG batch (Mini-BIAB). I know that it's going to be tough to nail, especially as my first AG, and seeing as I don't really have fridge space to cold-condition it properly. But I want to do something that's close to a Pils in style and flavor without having a setup for lagering yet.

I figure it will be a good learning experience and I'll always have something to improve on for next time. Plus, I doubt I could ever hit that beautiful light-gold color using extract. If it's a total miss on the Kolsch style I'll just call it a "Summer Ale" and leave it like that.

One thing I was wondering with doing a Kolsch using BIAB was whether you have a harder time getting it to clear since you don't vorlauf with BIAB. It's going to be tough enough to clear it without being to do a proper cold-crash. Plus, I want to serve it to my vegan friends, so gelatin and isinglass are out. Anyone have any experience with this?

Here's a recipe for a half-batch that I was planning on using. (Based on this recipe (http://www.free90free.com/peshchat/viewtopic.php?t=2824&highlight=kolsch+hood+spalt)) I'm waffling between Mt Hood/Tettnang or maybe using something more Saaz-like to go for that spicy Pils note.

Brew Method: BIAB - Brew In A Bag
Style Name: Kölsch
Boil Time: 90 min
Batch Size: 2.5 gallons
Boil Size: 3.5 gallons
Efficiency: 70%

STATS:
Original Gravity: 1.047
Final Gravity: 1.012
ABV (standard): 4.59%
IBU (rager): 29.06
SRM (morey): 3.12

FERMENTABLES:
4 lb - Pilsner (91.43%)
0.25 lb - White Wheat  (5.71%)
0.125 lb - CaraFoam (2.86%)

HOPS:
0.5 oz - Mount Hood (AA 4.8 ) for 60 min, Type: Leaf/Whole, Use: Boil
0.25 oz - Hersbrucker (AA 4) for 20 min, Type: Leaf/Whole, Use: Boil
0.25 oz - Mount Hood (AA 4.8 ) for 20 min, Type: Leaf/Whole, Use: Boil

MASH STEPS:
1) Temp: 149 F, Time: 90 min

YEAST:
White Labs - German Ale/ Kölsch Yeast WLP029
Title: Re: Just had my first kolsh...
Post by: nateo on February 24, 2012, 04:23:49 PM
IBU (rager): 29.06

Have you seen this chart? http://cigarsinreviewtony.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/image99.gif?w=690

I can't find the article I originally saw that chart on, but it basically talked about how the Rager formula looks pretty weird, and not much like any other organic chemical curve. Garetz and Tinseth look much more like natural curves. That's not a good explanation but the article was pretty convincing.
Title: Re: Just had my first kolsh...
Post by: udubdawg on February 24, 2012, 05:32:35 PM
erockrph:  can you lager this in a keg or some other vessel with CO2 over the top of it?
If it's going to be lagered in a 3g fermenter I'd increase the batch size until I had a completely full secondary fermenter.

good luck.  I made my first attempt at a Kolsch last fall, loved it, won a couple medals with it, and will be tweaking/brewing it again in the next few weeks.

cheers--
--Michael
Title: Re: Just had my first kolsh...
Post by: erockrph on February 24, 2012, 05:51:34 PM
erockrph:  can you lager this in a keg or some other vessel with CO2 over the top of it?
If it's going to be lagered in a 3g fermenter I'd increase the batch size until I had a completely full secondary fermenter.

No, that's the thing. I only have one fridge and it's full of garbage like milk, juice, eggs, meat, etc. The beer crisper is pretty full at the moment too.

Right now I'm just looking at a primary followed by bottle conditioning. Is it worth my while to do the swamp-cooler thing for a week or two after the primary is finished (I doubt I'd be able to get much lower than 50F ish), or should I just bottle right after primary has finished up, let it carb for 2 weeks at room temp, then cellar-condition for a month or two?
Title: Re: Just had my first kolsh...
Post by: euge on February 24, 2012, 06:17:32 PM
I was making a lot of Kolsch last year at this time. You need to have your water and pH under control if you are going to mash. If you use extra light or pilsner extract you can make a nice Kolsch very easily. I use wlp029 in the mid 60's and then lager for a few weeks in the keg.

The style isn't very forgiving to off flavors as there is no place for them to hide. But with healthy yeast, a proper pitch and fermentation temps Kolsch is very attainable for the homebrewer.
Title: Re: Just had my first kolsh...
Post by: garc_mall on February 25, 2012, 06:20:22 AM
I don't have any experience on kolsch, so I am not going to comment on any of the recipes. However, I did just brew a Altbier that was on the light side (more Munich next time). Its currently lagering outside on my back patio, covered in a towel, and sitting in big bucket full of water. As far as I have noticed, the beer is down around 45 degrees or so, and I don't have too many temperature swings with the large amount of liquid (close to 15 gals) creating a lot of thermal mass. YMMV, especially if you live in warm areas.
Title: Re: Just had my first kolsh...
Post by: majorvices on February 25, 2012, 02:13:27 PM
well, although dusseldorf and kohln are neighbors those two styles are vastly different. Regardless, 45 degrees is not technically lagering. You need to get down to 38 degrees at least, and preferably closer to freezing to lager. The problem is most german ale and lager strains are not very flocculant and you really need those cold temps to get the yeasts to crash in any reasonable amount of time. If you can knock the temp down closer to 38 or colder you will probably see better results as far as clarity goes.
Title: Re: Just had my first kolsh...
Post by: corkybstewart on February 25, 2012, 07:39:40 PM
I was making a lot of Kolsch last year at this time. You need to have your water and pH under control if you are going to mash. If you use extra light or pilsner extract you can make a nice Kolsch very easily. I use wlp029 in the mid 60's and then lager for a few weeks in the keg.

The style isn't very forgiving to off flavors as there is no place for them to hide. But with healthy yeast, a proper pitch and fermentation temps Kolsch is very attainable for the homebrewer.
Water is probably my biggest issue.  If I started with RO water what would I need to add to make it good?
Title: Re: Just had my first kolsh...
Post by: nateo on February 25, 2012, 07:51:15 PM
Water is probably my biggest issue.  If I started with RO water what would I need to add to make it good?

How bad is your water? I made my last batch of Koelsch with 7dH general hardness and 6dH karbonate hardness. That's about 35ppm Ca, 9ppm Mg, and 106ppm alkalinity. My water has very little of anything else.  I usually add 1-2g of CaCl to get the calcium around 50ppm, and then add a bit of acid to knock the alkalinity out.

So if you're just going with RO, I'd probably treat the water the same as mine, only you'd need more CaCl and less acid. Or you could use 3% acidulated malt if that's easier.
Title: Re: Just had my first kolsh...
Post by: euge on February 25, 2012, 07:53:15 PM
I was making a lot of Kolsch last year at this time. You need to have your water and pH under control if you are going to mash. If you use extra light or pilsner extract you can make a nice Kolsch very easily. I use wlp029 in the mid 60's and then lager for a few weeks in the keg.

The style isn't very forgiving to off flavors as there is no place for them to hide. But with healthy yeast, a proper pitch and fermentation temps Kolsch is very attainable for the homebrewer.
Water is probably my biggest issue.  If I started with RO water what would I need to add to make it good?

Extract. :)

How about 1 gallon tap and the rest RO if mashing. We have fairly hard water and I'm sure you do as well.
Title: Re: Just had my first kolsh...
Post by: corkybstewart on February 25, 2012, 09:11:41 PM
Fairly hard doesn't begin to describe it.  Maybe i should get a water analysis, but about every 6 months our water co-op changes water wells and the water is different, it even tastes different.
Title: Re: Just had my first kolsh...
Post by: euge on February 25, 2012, 10:17:46 PM
Fairly hard doesn't begin to describe it.  Maybe i should get a water analysis, but about every 6 months our water co-op changes water wells and the water is different, it even tastes different.

Can you get ozarka? Their spring water makes good beer.
Title: Re: Just had my first kolsh...
Post by: majorvices on February 25, 2012, 11:30:59 PM
Water is probably my biggest issue.  If I started with RO water what would I need to add to make it good?

Soft water and bump your calcium up above 50 ppm and you should be good. I cut my tap water with RO water 50/50.
Title: Re: Just had my first kolsh...
Post by: oscarvan on February 27, 2012, 06:50:03 PM
I'll chime in here. It's the wife's beer and I've made a total of about 40 or gallons of it. Three weeks in the bucket, and then in the keggerator. Starts clearing after two weeks, you can read a newspaper through it after four. I use the Wyeast Kölsch and ferment around 66º-68º It comes out really nice. Here's my very simple recipe:

http://hopville.com/recipe/1033643/klsch-recipes/wooden-shoe-klsch

Batch infusion at 148º, batch sparge around 165º. As far as water, mine is very soft, all I do is treat it for the chlorine/chloramine the city puts in there with a carbon filter and a Campden tablet. If your water is hard, Euge's suggestion of 20% tap with 80% bottled/RO would probably work well.

Title: Re: Just had my first kolsh...
Post by: ccfoo242 on February 27, 2012, 07:07:01 PM
I'll chime in here. It's the wife's beer and I've made a total of about 40 or gallons of it. Three weeks in the bucket, and then in the keggerator. Starts clearing after two weeks, you can read a newspaper through it after four. I use the Wyeast Kölsch and ferment around 66º-68º It comes out really nice. Here's my very simple recipe:

http://hopville.com/recipe/1033643/klsch-recipes/wooden-shoe-klsch

Batch infusion at 148º, batch sparge around 165º. As far as water, mine is very soft, all I do is treat it for the chlorine/chloramine the city puts in there with a carbon filter and a Campden tablet. If your water is hard, Euge's suggestion of 20% tap with 80% bottled/RO would probably work well.

Thanks for the info.

I'm currently listening to an old episode of the Jamil Show where he discusses the style.

I ordered a freezer and temp controller this week so I can improve the fermentation side...  ;D
Title: Re: Just had my first kolsh...
Post by: euge on February 28, 2012, 04:21:55 AM
That's a good move there. Wish I had bought mine sooner.