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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: dano14041 on April 05, 2011, 02:21:36 AM

Title: Kolsch question
Post by: dano14041 on April 05, 2011, 02:21:36 AM
How hard is it to brew a kolsch? Another brewer was telling me about brewing one and having to do multiple rest and hop infusions.

With today's highly modified malts can a kolsch be brewed using a single infusion/batch sparge?

Does anyone have a recipe they would like to share?

Thanks!
Dano.
Title: Re: Kolsch question
Post by: euge on April 05, 2011, 02:56:07 AM
I've been drinking on my first. It's not hard and I encourage you to leap in and do it. Since this was my first the grain bill was straight 2-row mashed at 150. Fermented in the 60's and cold-conditioned for about 10 days.

Was thinking maybe a bit of munich or vienna malt might improve it a bit. That easy.
Title: Re: Kolsch question
Post by: corkybstewart on April 05, 2011, 03:33:38 AM
The lower the temp you can ferment at the better it will be, but it's no harder than any other beer to brew.  That said I'm still not satisfied with my last 2 Kolsch recipes.
Title: Re: Kolsch question
Post by: oscarvan on April 05, 2011, 08:09:35 AM
Don't have the grain bill on me..... but the wife LOVES my Kölsch. Two weeks at 65, cold crashed and kegged. A week later it was clear and tasty.
Title: Re: Kolsch question
Post by: majorvices on April 05, 2011, 12:29:15 PM
With today's malts single infusion is generally fine. I only ever single infuse mine at around 150-152. The 3 tricky parts are 1) getting the pH right on the mash (not a problem if you brew extract, but in that case go with 100% German pils extract 2) Pitching enough yeast - you need a pitch larger than a standard ale, but not quite as big as a lager, see pitching calc  www.mrmalty.com for more info) and 3) temp control - you need to ferment in the high 50's, very low 60s. Also, as a little something extra, the ability to resist the temptation to 'much up" the recipe. 100% pils is you base recipe. A little munich or wheat can work but nothing else really is needed.
Title: Re: Kolsch question
Post by: bluesman on April 05, 2011, 02:34:07 PM
With today's malts single infusion is generally fine. I only ever single infuse mine at around 150-152. The 3 tricky parts are 1) getting the pH right on the mash (not a problem if you brew extract, but in that case go with 100% German pils extract 2) Pitching enough yeast - you need a pitch larger than a standard ale, but not quite as big as a lager, see pitching calc  www.mrmalty.com for more info) and 3) temp control - you need to ferment in the high 50's, very low 60s. Also, as a little something extra, the ability to resist the temptation to 'much up" the recipe. 100% pils is you base recipe. A little munich or wheat can work but nothing else really is needed.

I will echo what Keith has stated and also add that WLP029 or Wyeast 2565 are very good yeast strain choices. Plan to make a starter and ferment no higher than 60F. This beer also benefits by a lagering period of four weeks or so.
Title: Re: Kolsch question
Post by: dano14041 on April 05, 2011, 02:56:35 PM
Thanks for the replies!

I do have the temperature control needed and have started making starters. (Just ordered a stir plate)

I looked over some recipes I found on the internet and the most of the grain bills are similar to what Keith posted, Pils with some Munich or Vienna. The next question is what about the hop schedule? It looks like Saaz is the hop of choice, but there are conflicts on if there should be just a bittering addition, or bittering addition with a minimal flavor and aroma additions, or a more normal hop schedule.

Thanks again!
Dano
Title: Re: Kolsch question
Post by: majorvices on April 05, 2011, 03:05:22 PM
Saaz is not a very good choice IMO. Can;t go wrong with hallertauer mittelfruh. Also a combination of Hallertauer and Tettnanger. I really like some of the American Hallertauer lineage hops with a kolsch. One of the best kolsches I ever made was an all FWH made with crystal hops.
Title: Re: Kolsch question
Post by: bluesman on April 05, 2011, 03:09:59 PM
I try to stick with German Noble hops as this is the case witht the traditional recipes. They really make this beer come together and shine. A nice crisp finish is key to making this beer.
Title: Re: Kolsch question
Post by: tygo on April 05, 2011, 03:35:12 PM
Saaz is not a very good choice IMO. Can;t go wrong with hallertauer mittelfruh. Also a combination of Hallertauer and Tettnanger. I really like some of the American Hallertauer lineage hops with a kolsch. One of the best kolsches I ever made was an all FWH made with crystal hops.

How about Mt. Hood?  I've got a couple pounds I need to use up somehow.
Title: Re: Kolsch question
Post by: denny on April 05, 2011, 03:38:31 PM
Saaz is not a very good choice IMO. Can;t go wrong with hallertauer mittelfruh. Also a combination of Hallertauer and Tettnanger. I really like some of the American Hallertauer lineage hops with a kolsch. One of the best kolsches I ever made was an all FWH made with crystal hops.

How about Mt. Hood?  I've got a couple pounds I need to use up somehow.

IMO, Mt. Hood is a great sub for Hallertauer.
Title: Re: Kolsch question
Post by: Bret on April 05, 2011, 03:43:57 PM
I always use Spalt Select in my kolsch.  Isn't this the traditional kolsch hop?
Title: Re: Kolsch question
Post by: denny on April 05, 2011, 03:47:46 PM
I always use Spalt Select in my kolsch.  Isn't this the traditional kolsch hop?

I don't know if it's traditional, but it's a great choice.
Title: Re: Kolsch question
Post by: realbeerguy on April 05, 2011, 04:13:57 PM
Here's Sunday's recipe.  Didn't have any Munich, so pulled a decoction.  We'll see..........

Kolsch
Kolsch

 
Type: All Grain
 Date: 4/3/2011
Batch Size: 11.00 gal
 Brewer: Mike Tripka
Boil Size: 13.69 gal Asst Brewer: Pepper
Boil Time: 60 min  Equipment: Brew Pot (15 Gal) and Igloo/Gott Cooler (10 Gal) 
Taste Rating(out of 50): 35.0  Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00
Taste Notes: 
 
Ingredients
 
Amount Item Type % or IBU
18.00 lb Pilsner (2 Row) Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain 92.31 %
1.50 lb White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM) Grain 7.69 %
1.00 oz Tettnang [4.50 %] (60 min) Hops 7.5 IBU
4.00 oz Hallertauer Hersbrucker [2.40 %] (60 min) Hops 15.9 IBU
0.55 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 min) Misc 
2 Pkgs Kolsch Yeast (Wyeast Labs #2565) Yeast-Ale  1600ml starter

 
 
Beer Profile
 
Est Original Gravity: 1.050 SG
 Measured Original Gravity: 1.050 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.012 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.005 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 4.92 %  Actual Alcohol by Vol: 5.86 %
Bitterness: 23.4 IBU Calories: 217 cal/pint
Est Color: 3.6 SRM Color: Color 
 
 
Mash Profile
 
Mash Name: Decoction Mash, Single Total Grain Weight: 19.50 lb
Sparge Water: 16.83 gal Grain Temperature: 72.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F TunTemperature: 72.0 F
Adjust Temp for Equipment: FALSE Mash PH: 5.4 PH
 
Decoction Mash, Single Step Time Name Description Step Temp
45 min Saccharification Decoction Error: Must have some water in mash to Decoct it! 155.0 F
10 min Mash Out Heat to 168.0 F over 10 min 168.0 F
Main mash @ 149dF
 
 
Title: Re: Kolsch question
Post by: euge on April 05, 2011, 04:59:54 PM
Saaz is not a very good choice IMO. Can;t go wrong with hallertauer mittelfruh. Also a combination of Hallertauer and Tettnanger. I really like some of the American Hallertauer lineage hops with a kolsch. One of the best kolsches I ever made was an all FWH made with crystal hops.

How about Mt. Hood?  I've got a couple pounds I need to use up somehow.

IMO, Mt. Hood is a great sub for Hallertauer.

I used Magnum and Mt Hood in mine. A little earthy and lightly spicy.
Title: Re: Kolsch question
Post by: gmwren on April 05, 2011, 05:17:00 PM
How would Sterling be?
Title: Re: Kolsch question
Post by: gordonstrong on April 05, 2011, 08:50:19 PM
How would Sterling be?

I've used it before in a Kolsch.  I like it.
Title: Re: Kolsch question
Post by: gordonstrong on April 05, 2011, 08:50:51 PM
I always use Spalt Select in my kolsch.  Isn't this the traditional kolsch hop?

I think you're thinking of altbier.
Title: Re: Kolsch question
Post by: gordonstrong on April 05, 2011, 08:57:33 PM
I tend to step mash my Kolsch.  I most often use Durst pils, and I find it helps the clarity to do a short rest at 131F/55C.  Then I'll usually do something around 144F/62C for the main conversion and then a short rest at 158F/70C to give it a little body.  It's sort of what I do as rests for decoctions, but I step Alts and Kolsches (Kolschen?).

Wheat is not present in most commercial examples in Koln.  I only found a few of them.

I've had beers made this way advance to the 2nd round several times.

Do you have to do this?  No.  Does it make it better?  I don't know; I haven't made them side by side.  But I know this way tastes good, and I have been to Koln.
Title: Re: Kolsch question
Post by: malzig on April 06, 2011, 11:30:53 AM
Kolsches (Kolschen?).
I'm pretty sure Kölsch is like deer, both singular and plural.  Sometimes you might hear someone say "drei Kölsche", which is something like "3 of those things from Köln".  If you don't use the umlaut, though, you should add an "e"; so it's Kölsch or Koelsch,  not Kolsch (sic), which would be pronounced incorrectly.
Title: Re: Kolsch question
Post by: tygo on April 06, 2011, 11:59:48 AM
If I remember my German correctly this should be pronounced something like "kerlsh", correct?

What about the water profile for this one?  Should it be kept to a low mineral content?
Title: Re: Kolsch question
Post by: gordonstrong on April 06, 2011, 12:20:16 PM
If I remember my German correctly this should be pronounced something like "kerlsh", correct?

What about the water profile for this one?  Should it be kept to a low mineral content?

Yeah, that's close.  Sort of shape your mouth to make the 'e' sound but then shape your lips to make the 'o' sound.  It adds a kind of ooo to the e that puts it in the ballpark.  At least that's how it sounds to me.

I usually make it with relatively low mineral content, but I like most of my beers that way.  I use 50/50 CaCl2 and CaSO4 and keep the total amount fairly low.
Title: Re: Kolsch question
Post by: johnf on April 06, 2011, 12:51:19 PM
Gordon's description is pretty close to how they say it in Köln as I recall. On the other hand in an English conversation with a native German speaker in Bamberg about the rest of our trip, he said it a lot closer to how Americans typically say it.

Kinda like "how do you pronounce Louisville?" Do you want to know how they pronounce it there or how they pronounce it in, say, Chicago which is thought to be a neutral US accent.
Title: Re: Kolsch question
Post by: Hokerer on April 06, 2011, 01:16:48 PM
Yeah, that's close.  Sort of shape your mouth to make the 'e' sound but then shape your lips to make the 'o' sound.  It adds a kind of ooo to the e that puts it in the ballpark.  At least that's how it sounds to me.

Yep, that "lips trick" is how we learned it in German class too.  Good old Frau Eck.
Title: Re: Kolsch question
Post by: hopfenundmalz on April 06, 2011, 01:24:41 PM
Gordon's description is pretty close to how they say it in Köln as I recall. On the other hand in an English conversation with a native German speaker in Bamberg about the rest of our trip, he said it a lot closer to how Americans typically say it.

Kinda like "how do you pronounce Louisville?" Do you want to know how they pronounce it there or how they pronounce it in, say, Chicago which is thought to be a neutral US accent.

I think of the "oe" in German as how we say it in shoe.  But that is me and my poor Deutsch.

My German friends say the broadcasters there all have the Hanover accent.
Title: Re: Kolsch question
Post by: tygo on April 06, 2011, 03:46:49 PM
I'm definitely going to add one of these to my brewing schedule soon.  Sounds like a great beer to have on tap for the hot summer months.
Title: Re: Kolsch question
Post by: tschmidlin on April 06, 2011, 03:50:48 PM
In Köln it also sounded to my ears a little bit like it starts with a really hard G, like a regular American hard G ending with a harder K sound.
Title: Re: Kolsch question
Post by: oscarvan on April 06, 2011, 03:58:00 PM
FWIW mine:

German 2 row pilsner 7.5
German Wheat 1
German Munich .75

Tettnanger @60 1.5
Spalt @15 .5
Spalt @ 5 .25
Czech Saaz @5 .25

Wyeast 2565

65º two weeks, another week at 34º, Keg and drink, although it will continue to clear for another two weeks in the kegerator to where you can read a newspaper through it.

No medals..... just raving reactions from the wife, and from my colleagues that have spent enough time drinking various iterations of it in Köln.

When you order beer you don't use the plural. You order "two beer" not "two beers" so in this case "zwei Kölsch".... If you were to describe many Kölsches as in "there are many different Kölsches brewed in Köln" I think it would be Kölschen.... but German is my third language and I am only abou 65% proficient. I defer to Kai on this one.
Title: Re: Kolsch question
Post by: euge on April 06, 2011, 04:56:13 PM
Kolsch will most likely become one of my house beers. The simplicity coupled with great flavor won me over immediately. Now that we're going into summer a big batch is in order.
Title: Re: Kolsch question
Post by: bluesman on April 06, 2011, 05:02:21 PM
Kolsch will most likely become one of my house beers. The simplicity coupled with great flavor won me over immediately. Now that we're going into summer a big batch is in order.


+1

I need to brew one up for the summer. Great on a hot day.
Title: Re: Kolsch question
Post by: gordonstrong on April 06, 2011, 06:18:51 PM
Kolsch will most likely become one of my house beers. The simplicity coupled with great flavor won me over immediately. Now that we're going into summer a big batch is in order.


+1

I need to brew one up for the summer. Great on a hot day.

+1, or a cream ale.  Which I make depends on the ambient fermentation temp.  Warmer, I make the cream ale.  Cooler, I make the Kolsch. (Yes, I've always known it needs an umlaut; how do you insert one in this interface?  HTML codes and alt codes don't seem to work)
Title: Re: Kolsch question
Post by: tschmidlin on April 06, 2011, 07:03:00 PM
(Yes, I've always known it needs an umlaut; how do you insert one in this interface?  HTML codes and alt codes don't seem to work)
I find it easiest to just copy and paste it from somewhere. ;)
Title: Re: Kolsch question
Post by: oscarvan on April 06, 2011, 07:46:43 PM
Alt U works for me..... But it's a Staples USB keyboard on a MAC..... :-\
Title: Re: Kolsch question
Post by: gordonstrong on April 06, 2011, 09:01:03 PM
(Yes, I've always known it needs an umlaut; how do you insert one in this interface?  HTML codes and alt codes don't seem to work)
I find it easiest to just copy and paste it from somewhere. ;)

"When in doubt, use brute force."  -- Ken Thompson
Title: Re: Kolsch question
Post by: anthony on April 06, 2011, 10:09:41 PM
Last summer/fall, I had the opportunity to taste all of the "classic" examples of pub Kolsch in Koln and I think the biggest difference between most homebrew versions and those versions is the clarity...

I only wish more judges would make this trip because the style does have a lot more range (not in appearance/color so much as flavor/esters) than most judges (or their scoresheets) would have you believe....
Title: Re: Kolsch question
Post by: hopfenundmalz on April 06, 2011, 11:40:53 PM
Yes, Koelsch can be very different between the breweries.  Altbier can also be very different from place to place in Duesseldorf.

Herr Strong may have something to add. 
Title: Re: Kolsch question
Post by: malzig on April 07, 2011, 12:58:30 AM
(Yes, I've always known it needs an umlaut; how do you insert one in this interface?  HTML codes and alt codes don't seem to work)
I use "option-u", then "o", but I've never been able to find a way to do it in Windows within a browser without cutting and pasting from Word.  However, "Koelsch" is perfectly acceptable by German spelling conventions and not uncommon.
Title: Re: Kolsch question
Post by: anthony on April 07, 2011, 01:34:39 AM
Yes, Koelsch can be very different between the breweries.  Altbier can also be very different from place to place in Duesseldorf.

Herr Strong may have something to add. 

Yep. We hit all of the classic pub Alts in Dusseldorf too.. I'd highly recommend anyone visiting one of the two cities consider just visiting both since they are just a short train ride from each other.
Title: Re: Kolsch question
Post by: pfooti on April 07, 2011, 03:54:16 AM
(Yes, I've always known it needs an umlaut; how do you insert one in this interface?  HTML codes and alt codes don't seem to work)
I use "option-u", then "o", but I've never been able to find a way to do it in Windows within a browser without cutting and pasting from Word.  However, "Koelsch" is perfectly acceptable by German spelling conventions and not uncommon.

Windows extended character set entry is a lot less intuitive. What you have to do is make sure your numlock is on, hold down alt, and hit 148 on the numpad. Then release the alt, that should stick in a ö at the insertion point. 153 gets you Ö. There are tables on the interwebs for alt kepad entry codes for ascii characters.
Title: Re: Kolsch question
Post by: gordonstrong on April 07, 2011, 12:12:07 PM
(Yes, I've always known it needs an umlaut; how do you insert one in this interface?  HTML codes and alt codes don't seem to work)
I use "option-u", then "o", but I've never been able to find a way to do it in Windows within a browser without cutting and pasting from Word.  However, "Koelsch" is perfectly acceptable by German spelling conventions and not uncommon.

Windows extended character set entry is a lot less intuitive. What you have to do is make sure your numlock is on, hold down alt, and hit 148 on the numpad. Then release the alt, that should stick in a ö at the insertion point. 153 gets you Ö. There are tables on the interwebs for alt kepad entry codes for ascii characters.

Using a windows laptop without a separate numbers pad.  Tried using function keys to get the alternate keypad, but that didn't work.

I have it set up in Word to do an autocorrect whenever I type Koln, Kolsch, Dusseldorf, etc.  So I'm used to typing them that way.  Adding an e after everything is something I'll almost always forget to do.  On a Mac at home right now, so the option-u/o works: see ö.  So Köln, Kölsch, Düsseldorf...  Windows sucks but I don't get a choice to use what I want where I work.
Title: Re: Kolsch question
Post by: gordonstrong on April 07, 2011, 12:17:31 PM
Yes, Koelsch can be very different between the breweries.  Altbier can also be very different from place to place in Duesseldorf.

Herr Strong may have something to add. 

+1

OK, I guess you wanted something more?  Yes, they were all quite different.  I was amazed at how different Kölsch was from place to place.  There were a few attributes that people would change, but they would only vary by small amounts.  However, those changes would make a completely different beer.  I took very detailed notes because I was trying to bound those various attributes to put into the 2008 BJCP guidelines.  So if you look at things like hop aroma, hop flavor, esters, malt flavor, body, dryness, etc., you'll see ranges.  That's what I learned from going around to all the various breweries in Köln.  Same thing in Düsseldorf.  Same trip.  The interesting thing there was that most breweries had small variations like in Köln, except for Zum Uerige.  They were way different.  The older (pre-2004) BJCP guidelines were written for that one beer, but most examples there aren't like it.  It's an amazing beer, but it's sort of like the Fuller's ESB of Düsseldorf.

So basically what I learned in those two cities shows up in the 2008 BJCP guidelines.  If you see the changes between 2004 and 2008, the difference was that I went there to validate what was actually produced at the source.