Author Topic: Kolsch or Cream Ale?  (Read 415 times)

Offline goschman

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Kolsch or Cream Ale?
« on: July 11, 2018, 04:53:45 PM »
92% Weyermann Pilsner
8% Weyermann Munich 6L

3.9 SRM

Yellow Balanced Water
Mash pH = 5.22
Single infusion mash at 150F for 75 minutes

FWH Magnum/Mittelfruh ~21 IBU

Wyeast 2565
59F for 72 hours then ramped to 64F until FG reached

1.046
1.009

So this was designed to be a Kolsch however I think it may do better as a Cream Ale for a competition in a few weeks. When compared to Kolschs I enjoy, it is missing that subtle fruit character from the yeast and has sort of a grainy malt quality. I'm not too familiar with the Cream Ale style but it seems to fit the bill more accurately. To be honest, the sample I had last night reminded me more of an American Lager...

Anyone have any feedback? Can you provide some things to look for when comparing Kolsch to Cream Ale.

I am very good at misentering beers in competitions
« Last Edit: July 11, 2018, 04:56:51 PM by goschman »
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Offline dannyjed

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Re: Kolsch or Cream Ale?
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2018, 05:08:51 PM »
I like a Kolsch to have a subtle white wine flavor from the yeast. Cream Ales can have corn in them, but not necessary. Maybe have some others taste it as well and I think you’re on the right track with entering it on how it tastes.


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Offline goschman

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Re: Kolsch or Cream Ale?
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2018, 05:16:15 PM »
I like a Kolsch to have a subtle white wine flavor from the yeast. Cream Ales can have corn in them, but not necessary. Maybe have some others taste it as well and I think you’re on the right track with entering it on how it tastes.


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Thanks. Definitely missing the white wine character that I enjoy as well.

Not in a brew club so I don't really have access to anyone who would know what they were talking about.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Kolsch or Cream Ale?
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2018, 05:46:24 PM »
Maybe it's a helles.  If it is very clean, not fruity, not winey, maybe it's a helles.  Doesn't matter that you didn't use a lager yeast -- if it doesn't taste like an ale, then for the purposes of entering comps, maybe it will score best as a lager.  I've gone the opposite direction before, entered a lager as an ale, and it medaled.
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Offline goschman

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Re: Kolsch or Cream Ale?
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2018, 05:48:37 PM »
Maybe it's a helles.  If it is very clean, not fruity, not winey, maybe it's a helles.  Doesn't matter that you didn't use a lager yeast -- if it doesn't taste like an ale, then for the purposes of entering comps, maybe it will score best as a lager.  I've gone the opposite direction before, entered a lager as an ale, and it medaled.

Good thought. It looks like they aren't accepting Helles so I guess I don't have to worry about that.
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Offline James K

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Re: Kolsch or Cream Ale?
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2018, 06:38:11 PM »
I think you may want to look into your hops for how you submit this. Cream ale has low to none in the aroma but the mittelfrüh you used is probably acceptable in the flavor. If you get more citrus I would enter it as a kölsch. Grainy is also ok for a kölsch.  It might come off as too bitter for a cream ale, even though it is at the maximum of the threshold.
Personally I think your primary starting fermentation was to low and not enough esters produced before you ramped up the temp. I have tricked ale yeasts into being more like a lager by fermenting at low temperatures (the very bottom of the threshold, as dmtaylor is talking about.
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Offline goschman

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Re: Kolsch or Cream Ale?
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2018, 07:36:31 PM »
I think you may want to look into your hops for how you submit this. Cream ale has low to none in the aroma but the mittelfrüh you used is probably acceptable in the flavor. If you get more citrus I would enter it as a kölsch. Grainy is also ok for a kölsch.  It might come off as too bitter for a cream ale, even though it is at the maximum of the threshold.
Personally I think your primary starting fermentation was to low and not enough esters produced before you ramped up the temp. I have tricked ale yeasts into being more like a lager by fermenting at low temperatures (the very bottom of the threshold, as dmtaylor is talking about.

Thanks for your input.

There is little to no hop flavor/aroma. I would say the character is very balanced between bitterness and malt.

I was given the fermentation schedule and yeast strain by a local brewery that does a kolsch that I love. I was hoping to get the character they do. Next time, I probably would ferment higher. It had a lemon thing going on when it was young (that I assume was a byproduct of fermentation) and has since dissipated completely.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2018, 07:38:37 PM by goschman »
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Offline goschman

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Re: Kolsch or Cream Ale?
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2018, 08:05:34 PM »
Thanks for all of the help guys. The funny thing is I bet Kolsch and Cream Ale end up getting grouped together as part of Light Hybrid Ales. I will wait a couple more weeks before the deadline to evaluate further and make a choice.
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Offline Steve Ruch

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Re: Kolsch or Cream Ale?
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2018, 09:36:40 PM »
Enter it in both?
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Offline goschman

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Re: Kolsch or Cream Ale?
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2018, 09:39:59 PM »
Enter it in both?

Now that's a great idea! I need 3 bottles per entry and these were bottle conditioned after transferring during kegging. My process for bottling from the keg needs some work but I will consider it.
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Offline James K

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Re: Kolsch or Cream Ale?
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2018, 03:39:44 AM »
Enter it in both?

Now that's a great idea! I need 3 bottles per entry and these were bottle conditioned after transferring during kegging. My process for bottling from the keg needs some work but I will consider it.

If you did do this essentially you are hoping to get the judging notes for both beers and how the judges think your beer holds up to both styles. At that point you could make minor adjustments to make either beers in the future.
If there is an entry fee it may or may not be worth it to do this. Typically my hbc give a cheaper price for 2nd and 3rd entries.
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Offline goschman

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Re: Kolsch or Cream Ale?
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2018, 10:02:59 PM »
Had a full pour last night. This is definitely a kolsch. Thanks for entertaining my doubt. Apparently it changed significantly after a couple days and I was evaluating too soon.
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