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Messages - kylekohlmorgen

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: commercial examples of Kolsch
« on: January 22, 2014, 11:59:51 AM »
This is another style who's finer points can get lost in translation on the trip from Germany. Domestic examples are best (when done well).

If you're in CO, find a good Rock Bottom location. Several locations make a kolsch, most of which are well done. The Indy College Park location brews the best kolsch I've ever had. Foreign or domestic.

Do you get Schlafly in Colorado? They make a GREAT kolsch.

I haven't had the Gordon-Biersch kolsch, but there other offerings are pretty authentic. Worth a shot. Same goes for Victory.

Trader Joe's makes a fair example (Summer Brew), but freshness counts since they don't refrigerate. Its seasonal (I think), so pick one up when it first hits the shelf.

Rogue makes a honey kolsch that is quite nice. If you can segregate the honey character in your head, its a good example of the BJCP style.

Goose Island Summertime used to be a decent example, but I haven't had it since ABI started brewing it.

If you find yourself in the Indiana/Chicago area, Calumet Queen by 3Floyds is superb.

Reissdorf is widely available but is on the bitter end of the style IMO. I usually have it on draft, so the bottle version may be less bitter (but also more skunky/oxidized).

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: preboil vs postboil gravity
« on: January 22, 2014, 11:39:49 AM »
Thanks. This makes the most sense to me. I am usually determining what my final volume should be by using preboil vol, preboil gravity and postboil gravity. This is obviously not accurate for me and I probably have incorrect approximations in beersmith for estimating volumes.

I think I need to work on calibrating a stick to put in the kettle for volumes...

The boiloff / losses entered in the volumes tab are what got me! I had entered some numbers that weren't always constant and, depending on the beer/brewday, would throw off my expected SG/volume. It took a bit of playing with the numbers (and reading about efficiency calcs) to dial it in.

Now I account for mash efficiency and evaporation in the software, but trub losses manually. I increased my batch size to 6 gallons post-boil, not including trub/hop losses.

YMMV - I adopted this procedure because of my system's quirks: evaporation rate changes radically with the season and my losses to trub are different based on style.

For getting your kettle volumes: I use a tape measure to find the height of liquid in the kettle, then plug the height into a spreadsheet to get volume.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Cross Contamination Question
« on: January 22, 2014, 11:26:40 AM »

people have had infections spread by co2 line, just ask beersk. so it's something to think about.

Been there done that.  I had a low level infection a few years ago that drove me nuts. I replaced nearly everything plastic, with no luck, and the light bulb finally came on to sanitize the CO2 line. There was no visible sign of anything in the CO2 line, but a soak in starsan later and the problem was gone. I make a point to sanitize it at least once a year now.

I don't understand this one without accidentally getting beer in the line. I've had this happen (or at least a scare) when I connected the gas QD to a liquid post on a pressurized keg.

If that's not the case, the only other thing I can think of is a stretch:

Maybe you had both a sour and a clean keg hooked up to CO2, closed both the main valve and branch valve to the clean keg, depressurized the clean keg, then opened the branch valve before the main. This would equalize pressure with the sour keg and *could* carry over microbes.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Cross Contamination Question
« on: January 22, 2014, 11:15:30 AM »
...There is bacteria and wild yeast everywhere. If one is getting an infection then it is most likely coming from unclean/unsanitized equipment or somewhere in the environment...


Use separate soft parts on the cold side and you can stash lagers and lambics in the same room/kegerator.

From past threads on this forum, there are some items brewers forget to segregate:
 - Thief
 - Lid of plastic fermenter
 - Carboy/starter flask bungs
 - plastic tubing for oxygenation stone
 - ALL of the auto-siphon (don't get the inner tube or end cap mixed up)
 - muslin bag for straining/spicing/dry hops
 - keg o-rings and poppets
 - Liquid Quick Disconnect

EVERYTHING that you use on brett/sour beers should be segregated and marked. Permanent marker is okay but can wear off. Red tape is better.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: preboil vs postboil gravity
« on: January 22, 2014, 11:02:22 AM »
...Beer Smith uses Brewhouse in the eff field...

You can calculate both mash and brewhouse efficiency in your recipe.

I personally don't like "Brewhouse Efficiency" on the homebrew scale. Since it is affected by so many unrelated variables, it doesn't really tell you anything on its own. You end up looking at mash efficiency + other numbers to diagnose an unexpected result.

Either way, its more important to understand the numbers and what they mean to you. If you change your process or change your recipe, can you still get accurate numbers from the software?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: WL Brett C. Starter questions
« on: January 22, 2014, 10:48:19 AM »
As of this morning, there is a 1/2" pellicle forming on the outside of the starter. I put the numbers in Yeast Calc and the Jamil calcs are worlds apart from K's? I tend to run Jamils numbers after I had a few batches that came up short using K's in the past?  Albeit shy from lager quantities,I may just decant and run another 5L on top of it next week and call it good? I really need to get this in a fermenter by mid Feb?

I think the major discrepancy comes from significant extrapolation of Jamil and Kai's growth models. Generally, you want your propagations to start with 25-100 million cells / mL. You started with about 0.8 million cells / mL. I doubt either model was fitted with data at such low inoc rates.

Kai's model generally predicts higher growth rates than Jamil's, so I use Jamil's (with great results). If I'm not doing multiple steps, I use the calculator on

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: AHA Financials
« on: January 21, 2014, 11:35:35 AM »
Is the NHC a profitable event for the AHA?

I always assumed they struggled to break even. In comparison to other (professional) conferences I've attended, the NHC seems to occupy a LOT of space for its relatively small attendance.

As a response to the complaining: the full package really isn't THAT much more expensive in the grand scheme of things. Either pout about the small change OR submit seminar/daytime activity ideas that interest you. You've made the trip; might as well dive in during the day!

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: WL Brett C. Starter questions
« on: January 21, 2014, 10:45:40 AM »
Some clarification on brett cell counts from WL vials:

White Labs website gives 50 million cells/mL for Brett cultures, or 1.75 billion cells in one vial (35 mL).

Compare that to 100 billion cells in one vial for sacch strains.

Using, you should be able to hit your cell counts with another 4L step. I assumed 10 gal of 1.050 wort, 3.5 billion cells at 95% viability (viability doesn't drop off as quickly with brett).

After 8-10 days, allow the yeast to drop for a week or two before decanting. I've kept this strain around in growlers, and it takes awhile to drop out.

DO NOT crash cool or store in the refrigerator. Brett can stay quite viable for long periods (months-years) at room temp, but viability drops off a cliff when cooled. (per Chad Y. and my own experience).

What kind of wort are you pitching into? What do you hope the finished beer will be like? Keep us updated on your progress!

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: WL Brett C. Starter questions
« on: January 21, 2014, 07:59:45 AM »
I agree that brett fermentation dynamics are different (and a bit slower) than sacch. You might need a full week on a stir plate. You may not see krausen on a stir plate, but you should eventually notice more slurry in the flask (just like with any sacch starter).

You're right on in your starter prep. I couldn't find it in a quick search, but half the amount of cells in brett vials vs. sacch vials sounds right.

Chad Yakobson's interview with the Brewing Network is absolute GOLD - if you have an interest in brewing 100% brett beers, start with this reference.

Beer Recipes / Re: Basic Recipes help
« on: January 20, 2014, 03:20:03 PM »
The software just helps you crunch the numbers. You visualize the beer, brew the beer, taste the beer, and adjust the recipe accordingly.

Its more important to figure out how to get what you want out of your ingredients and process. What good is your own recipe if the resulting beer isn't what you wanted?

When I started branching out from kits, I would brew one kit several times, tweaking one ingredient at a time. This way, you can learn what individual ingredients bring to a beer while being fairly confident the result will be worth drinking. You can also start learning the software this way. Input the kit ingredients into a recipe and explore a change before brewday.

If you're brave, you can brew a beer with one malt (or type of malt extract), one hop, and one type of yeast. Then, brew the beer again, and add a steeping grain, or change the type of base malt (extract), and see how the beer changes. IMO this is the best way to learn ingredients, but its tough to commit to one type of beer!

Either way - its a fun time in your journey as a homebrewer! Embrace it and dive in!

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Bottle fermentation/refermentation
« on: January 20, 2014, 12:58:10 PM »
This is referring to bottle conditioning. I assume they mean it is 'rarely used' in commercial brewing.

I've heard Garrett Oliver describe Brooklyn's bottle conditioning technique as follows:

They run fermentation/bulk conditioning as normal, then filter out the primary yeast, then dose the filtered beer with priming sugar and bottling yeast immediately before packaging.

They filter the primary yeast first to control the amount of sediment in the bottle (and for clarity).

The beer is described as '100% re-fermented in the bottle' because all carbonation comes from bottle conditioning. The beer is completely flat when it is bottled.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Beer minus hops
« on: January 20, 2014, 09:18:53 AM »
Radical Brewing has information about other herbs/spices that can be used in place of hops to add bitterness.

I've had a few gruits - some were pleasant, none were worth recreating.

I've brewed sours sans hops to increase lacto activity. The results have varied, but normally I ended up with a beer that was too sour to stand on its own. Great for blending.

I have the idea to brew a low-gravity coffee stout without hops, using cold-brewed coffee for flavor and well-made espresso for bitterness. Its on the list - just haven't gotten there yet.

Why the need to sanitize? Hot wort should do the trick...

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Wow!
« on: January 17, 2014, 12:29:57 PM »

Google "forced diacetyl test" and save yourself a week.  ;)


Ingredients / Re: Schilll Kolsch Malt
« on: January 16, 2014, 03:10:49 PM »
Our LHBS did a side-by-side with 100% kolsch malt and 100% Weyermann Pils.

Definitely too dark for a kolsch. I also thought the kolsch malt didn't have the flavor impact I expect from a continental malt. The pilsner malt gave more overall malt character than the kolsch malt.

Possibly Vienna is a "Super" kolsch malt?

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