Author Topic: What is going on with my Kolsch??  (Read 1427 times)

Offline ajrock87

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What is going on with my Kolsch??
« on: May 01, 2014, 07:16:50 PM »
Hello everyone,

New to the forums here. Was hoping to get a little friendly advice. I brewed my first all-grain on 4/8/14, which was the 3 gallon BIAB 100% kolsch. I had a starting gravity of 1.034, which was a little lower than required (hopefully it was either due to having more than the 4 gallon pre-boil or taking the sample directly from the top of the wort while in the fermenter). Either way, it calls for 1-2 weeks in the primary, 1 week secondary. With tomorrow being exactly 2 weeks in the primary, does anyone have any insight to what the spec. gravity or brix should be before transferring to the secondary? Or for debate purposes, is a secondary ferment even necessary? My only concern is that I have quite a bit of headspace in my 6 1/2 gallon big mouth bubbler so I am worried about some off flavors. I understand with it being my first all-grain there will be some undesirables and things to work out, but any advice from here on forward is greatly appreciated.

Cheers!

Alex

Offline gmac

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Re: What is going on with my Kolsch??
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2014, 07:30:23 PM »
Most of the folks on here would say not to bother with secondary, myself included. Others might say differently though.
No idea what the final would be with such a low starting gravity. Thing to do is sample a couple days apart and when the hydrometer is consistent, it's done. No matter what it should be, it will be done when it stays steady.

Offline gmac

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Re: What is going on with my Kolsch??
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2014, 07:30:56 PM »
Oh and welcome to the forum!!

Offline euge

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Re: What is going on with my Kolsch??
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2014, 07:54:59 PM »
Popular convention has drifted from a use of secondary to just a bit more time in primary. It may be useful to drop any additional crud out to help clear the beer for a few days.

Anyway, the beer should be at final gravity before attempting a secondary vessel.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline swlusk

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Re: What is going on with my Kolsch??
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2014, 01:38:59 AM »
Welcome! My last kolsch I left in primary for the duration of fermentation through lagering. I only secondary if I have to add fruit or some other post fermentation addition, otherwise I don't like to introduce any opportunity to oxidize mah beer.
My best advice I can offer from the last kolsch I did is to let it go for 3 weeks in primary. Maybe even raise the temps to the upper fermentation temp range for your yeast strain you're using, for the last week. That will help clean it up a bit more. Then if you can I'd get the temp down as low as you can and lager it for at least a couple more weeks. Kolsch is a pale style and can benefit from some extra time in the fermenter IMO. all in all though I'd leave it in primary the whole time. Welcome to all grain madness! ;D
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Offline majorvices

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Re: What is going on with my Kolsch??
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2014, 04:02:08 AM »
Welcome to the forum!

Don't worry about the instructions on racking. The beer will be ready to rack when the yeast are done fermenting. You certainly don't want to rack when the beer is still in fermentation. As others have said, you really don't need to rack to a secondary at all. You can lager right on the yeast. If you do intend to frack to secondary make sure you purge the secondary with co2, otherwise you will cause oxidation of the beer.

I wouldn't worry about the headspace in your primary fermentor because it will be purged with co2 from the fermentation, but I would certainly worry about headspace in a secondary if you can't get rid of the o2.
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Offline nateo

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Re: What is going on with my Kolsch??
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2014, 07:03:21 AM »
The problem is, you brewed a Kolsch. That's the unruly American cousin of the well-behaved, proper Kölsch. No wait, that's the other thread. . .
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Offline ajrock87

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Re: What is going on with my Kolsch??
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2014, 10:02:23 AM »
Thanks all! Great advice. I checked the spec gravity a couple days ago. From what I have been hearing, it is right on the money for what it should be. I am going to check again today to ensure the consistency. I am just a little bit worried however that the OG was 0.020 lower than what it should have been..


Offline Jeff M

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Re: What is going on with my Kolsch??
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2014, 10:13:26 AM »
Thanks all! Great advice. I checked the spec gravity a couple days ago. From what I have been hearing, it is right on the money for what it should be. I am going to check again today to ensure the consistency. I am just a little bit worried however that the OG was 0.020 lower than what it should have been..

List the Recipe you used.  IT is most likely an efficiency issue, with the recipe putting more sugars into the Boil kettle then you did.  There is some math we can coach you threw once you list your recipe, OG, final volume and temperature of your sample while you where measuring for gravity.

Cheers,
Jeff
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Building a clone of The Electric Brewery to use as a pilot system for new recipes!

Offline ajrock87

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Re: What is going on with my Kolsch??
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2014, 07:52:35 PM »
Alright I got home and checked my notes. Turns out on the 1st, so 4 days ago, my SG was 1.017, so an attenuation of 50%. I just checked it again a little while ago, same SG, 1.017. How am I only getting an attenuation of 50%? Any advice where to go from here?

Offline majorvices

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Re: What is going on with my Kolsch??
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2014, 11:55:17 AM »
Make sure your thermometer is calibrated. Sounds like high mash temp to me.
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Offline S. cerevisiae

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Re: What is going on with my Kolsch??
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2014, 12:34:27 PM »
If you do intend to frack to secondary make sure you purge the secondary with co2, otherwise you will cause oxidation of the beer.

Oxidation during transfer is only a major problem after beer has been filtered.  It is difficult to oxidize beer that contains an active yeast culture, as the culture will rapidly scrub any oxygen that is picked up during the transfer and use it via the respirative metabolic pathway.   

Offline majorvices

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Re: What is going on with my Kolsch??
« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2014, 12:40:58 PM »

If you do intend to frack to secondary make sure you purge the secondary with co2, otherwise you will cause oxidation of the beer.

Oxidation during transfer is only a major problem after beer has been filtered.  It is difficult to oxidize beer that contains an active yeast culture, as the culture will rapidly scrub any oxygen that is picked up during the transfer and use it via the respirative metabolic pathway.

If the yeast aren't active they won't scrub the oxygen.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: What is going on with my Kolsch??
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2014, 12:58:18 PM »
Patience is required with a kolsch, especially if you used the 2565 yeast.  My standard practice would be 4-5 weeks in primary, minimum, with that yeast.  WLP029 finishes faster, maybe 2.5-3 weeks.  Patience.  If it ain't done fermenting, then racking to secondary is truly the WORST thing you could do.  Let it do its thing for as long as it takes.  Then you can think about racking or adding gelatin or whatever you want to do to clean it up.

Swirling the fermenter often will keep the yeast active longer and help them to finish before they all settle down for a nap.  Warming things up a few degrees will also help keep them awake and help them finish.

I'm one of those who doesn't secondary hardly at all anymore.  I've had my ESB in primary for like 5 weeks now.  Tastes great, but it's cloudy for some reason.  Just added gelatin a few days ago and now it's clear as a bell.  The 2565 would benefit from the same treatment.  WLP029 will clear up on its own.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2014, 01:00:55 PM by dmtaylor »
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Offline S. cerevisiae

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Re: What is going on with my Kolsch??
« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2014, 03:40:07 PM »
If the yeast aren't active they won't scrub the oxygen.

Like hot-side aeration, oxidation while racking from a primary fermentation vessel to a secondary fermentation vessel in a home brewing environment is little more than myth.  There are more than enough yeast cells in suspension to rapidly consume any oxygen that is picked up during the transfer.  Yeast cells do not need unfermented extract to use oxygen.  They will happily switch to using ethanol as their carbon source in the presence of oxygen via diauxic shift.