Author Topic: Tell me about Kolsch please  (Read 6595 times)

Offline darren

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Re: Tell me about Kolsch please
« Reply #30 on: June 30, 2011, 04:09:30 PM »
For those of you looking for a commercial example of a Kolsch, Trader Joe's SummerBrau is a Kolsch and is quite good.  It's a private label of a brewery that focuses on German beers. 

Offline malzig

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Re: Tell me about Kolsch please
« Reply #31 on: June 30, 2011, 05:42:47 PM »
Trader Joe's is Gordon Biersch's.  Can't go wrong there.

Personally, I think I prefer Sünner Kölsch, of the two German one's available readily in the US.  When I've had it it's been less winey and cidery than Reissdorf Kölsch.

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Tell me about Kolsch please
« Reply #32 on: June 30, 2011, 07:53:01 PM »
I've never seen Sünner, but I can get Gaffel.  I prefer it to Reissdorf, but it seemed to be in better condition too.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline euge

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Re: Tell me about Kolsch please
« Reply #33 on: June 30, 2011, 10:36:08 PM »
The only import I can get is Sünner.

I'm developing the opinion that kolsch might be drinkable in several weeks but it's definitely worth waiting for it to fully clear. Yeah buddy.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline oscarvan

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Re: Tell me about Kolsch please
« Reply #34 on: June 30, 2011, 10:39:11 PM »
Kölsch, or German ale (same recipe, different WL yeast) is THE beer I brew that the wife drinks, and loves. Three weeks in the bucket, another week to chill and carb. Week five you can read a newspaper through it. GREAT lawn mowing beer.
Wooden Shoe Brew Works (not a commercial operation) Bethlehem, PA
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I brew WITH style..... not necessarily TO style.....

Offline gmac

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Re: Tell me about Kolsch please
« Reply #35 on: July 03, 2011, 11:08:08 AM »
Well, the Wyeast kolsch yeast is on order (LHBS closed all weekend - must be off to the cottage).  I ordered 10 lbs of Pilsner malt.  Not sure what brand and I'm sure it's domestic but it's a start. German seems to be hard to find for some reason although I'm probably just not looking in the right places.

I'm going to use the recipe that Majorvices posted this first time unless someone can suggest a reason that I should modify it in some way.  I'm pretty sure it will be a good starting point. 
Here's a really dumb question.  What would happen if I used it as written for 10 gallons and split it and pitched Kolsch yeast in one half and Wyeast French Saison in the other?  Are they similar enough in ingredients that this would work?  Just trying to do the most with my time.  I also thought of removing 1 gallon of wort and adding candied ginger/pepper or whatever to that and boiling it on the stove seperately and then adding it to the saison.  Or, am I just making things too complicated?  I just want to maximize my time and splitting 10 gals will save me a lot of time versus brewing two days in a row.
Thanks.

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Tell me about Kolsch please
« Reply #36 on: July 03, 2011, 12:39:13 PM »
I think you're good either way (boiling some with spices separately or not).

And remember, brewing 10 gallons will save you time AND you brew two days in a row and have more beer. ;)
Tom Schmidlin

Offline majorvices

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Re: Tell me about Kolsch please
« Reply #37 on: July 03, 2011, 01:41:12 PM »
The recipe makes a great kolsch, but I will point you to water chemistry and pH. I used to but RO water and cut my water 3:1 RO to Tap and add Calcium Chloride back in to bring my clacium back up and adjust pH. You obviously want the pH to be between 5.4 and 5.6 and the light malt with no buffers can lead to a high pH.

Lately I have been brewing kolsch on a monthly basis on teh homebrew level down at the brewery (mostly to keep the wife happy) and I have been eschewing the RO water and using straight tap with lactic acid and calcium additions and, while certainly drinkable, it just isn't as good as with the softer water. If you know your water chemistry well you will be able to pull the style off better than if not.

That said, looks like the water in Cologne is fairly hard from my research so who knows.
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Offline gmac

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Re: Tell me about Kolsch please
« Reply #38 on: July 03, 2011, 02:12:12 PM »
My water is fairly hard (Carbonate = 216 if I remember right) and I was going to brew this as I'd brew most other lighter beers with a 50/50 split with distilled water (I found out that my local pharmacy carries distilled water for some reason).  I'm not sure if this will be enough so I do occasionally add a gram or two of citric acid to it as well if necessary (I admit, I'm sort of haphazard with this but my results have been good so far).  My pH meter is just an aquarium one and I had to replace the batteries and I don't think it is any longer calibrated.  I don't have any calibration solution but if I was to put it in plain distilled water, shouldn't that read 7?  I did that and it read 8.3 which is why I am confident it is not calibrated. 

Any thoughts on putting it in distilled water and adjusting it to 7?  I know a low and high are better to form a curve but this is what I have.  I could use plain 5% acetic acid vinegar for the low end if someone can tell me what the pH of that is.

Offline majorvices

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Re: Tell me about Kolsch please
« Reply #39 on: July 03, 2011, 02:18:17 PM »
distilled water is supposed to be at 7, but I have had it read lower than this before, so I dunno. the ColorpHast strips work "ok". I use them in case I break my probe or my batter goes dead. You can get a decent bench type pH meter for around 60 bucks. Worth in IMO.
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Offline oscarvan

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Re: Tell me about Kolsch please
« Reply #40 on: July 03, 2011, 03:08:58 PM »
My water is very devoid of minerals, I use it un-modified. As for base grain..... American two row, the house malt..... ::) Tastes great.
Wooden Shoe Brew Works (not a commercial operation) Bethlehem, PA
http://www.woodenshoemusic.com/WSBW/WSBW_All_grain_Setup.html
I brew WITH style..... not necessarily TO style.....

Offline euge

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Re: Tell me about Kolsch please
« Reply #41 on: July 03, 2011, 04:22:36 PM »
Ideally pure distilled is at 7 pH but any impurities will skew the pH. The stuff that comes out of my distiller is 5.2 pH.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline oscarvan

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Re: Tell me about Kolsch please
« Reply #42 on: July 03, 2011, 06:17:25 PM »
Ideally pure distilled is at 7 pH but any impurities will skew the pH. The stuff that comes out of my distiller is 5.2 pH.

Aaah, youz have a distiller eh amigo.... I know, just for the water.
Wooden Shoe Brew Works (not a commercial operation) Bethlehem, PA
http://www.woodenshoemusic.com/WSBW/WSBW_All_grain_Setup.html
I brew WITH style..... not necessarily TO style.....

Offline gmac

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Re: Tell me about Kolsch please
« Reply #43 on: July 03, 2011, 08:05:58 PM »
You can get a decent bench type pH meter for around 60 bucks. Worth in IMO.
I agree, worth it but where can you find one for that price?  Remember, they have to ship to Canada, the duty can't be too much and the exchange needs to be close to make it worthwhile.  See, that's my problem.  I can find all kinds of great stuff on-line but most of it doesn't ship out of the US. 
I also need a new flask for starters having broken my 1 gal jug, a stir plate would be great.  Some smaller flasks for stepping up starters, bottles for storing yeast slants, an autoclave, a large hadron collider and some other miscellaneous lab gear that I can't brew without.

Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: Tell me about Kolsch please
« Reply #44 on: July 06, 2011, 01:04:23 AM »
I've never seen Sünner, but I can get Gaffel.  I prefer it to Reissdorf, but it seemed to be in better condition too.

Drinking bottled Koelsch is like eating canned peas. It can be decent, but it's not nearly as good as fresh from the brewery/garden.

A well-made, absolutely brewery-fresh draught Koelsch is amazing. There are loads of delicate, tongue-teasing fruity esters (apple, pear, fresh cherry), subtle floral noble hop aromas and flavors and a subtle vinous finish, combined with a slight creaminess and effervescence in the mouthfeel. Bottling Koelsch somehow reduces the delicate yeast and hop notes. Letting Koelsch age for any length of time also kills it, turning it into nothing more than a vaguely funky Blonde Ale.
 
My experience is that most imported Koelsch isn't worth drinking. Even if it's treated well, unless it's kept very cold, it's lost a lot of character by the time it gets to shelves in the U.S. Also, retailers generally don't understand the style so they keep it around long after its "best by" date. There's nothing sadder than going into your local bottle shop and seeing bottles of Gaffel or Reisdorf with a thick layer of dust on their shoulders.

Even American-brewed Koelsch-style beers can lose a lot, especially if they've been pasteurized or heavily filtered. Since many are summer seasonals, they might also sit around in warehouses which are just a bit too warm on their way to the consumer.

Is that if you can't get to Cologne, your second best strategy is to find a good beer bar which has a well-made, fresh, domestically-brewed Koelsch on draught.

On the East Coast, you should be able to get Harpoon Summer Beer and possibly Capitol City Capitol Kölsch and/or Goose Island Summertime. I haven't had it, but apparently Gordon Biersch Sommerbrau is also good.