Kolsch Quesion(s)

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Kolsch Quesion(s)

Postby river water brewing » Sun Dec 20, 2009 3:25 pm

Hello, I am thinking about doing my first Kolsch. I am considering using the WLP029 or Wyeast 2565 dose anyone have a preference?

Also i am reading recipes that include a lagering step and others do not. from what i read on white labs' and Wyeast's web sites this seems more like an alt strain and would not require a lagering step. i understand that with a lower ferment temp of say in the low 60's my fermentation time might stretch to 14 days or so. But is a 4 week lagering step required? i would plan on doing a "D" rest at the end of fermentation.

also i want to try a decoction mash, would this be a good style to try this? and if so what temps would you recommend? all the recipes i have found are one step / temp mash schedules. can i do a decoction mash with only one step? I want to mash at about 148° for about 90 min, so should i maybe add a dough in step at about 104° then use the decoction process to bring up the temp to 148°?

As always thank you all so very much for sharing your knowledge with me!!
JG
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re: Kölsch questions

Postby slothrob » Mon Dec 21, 2009 6:31 pm

I've used WLP029 a number of times, which makes a Kölsch that tastes just like Reissdorf. It's a bit too fruity for my tastes, but no one will argue that it doesn't taste like a Kölsch. Other brewers have told me WY2565 is the better yeast, but I haven't had a chance to try it. I sometimes use WY1007 for a Kölsch, because I prefer them cleaner and the yeast cake is useful for so many other beers, afterward. I'd use one of the proper yeasts for your first one.

WLP029 tends to throw a lot of acetaldehyde and a bit of sulfur, in my experience, so don't hurry the beer and give it a little extra time to finish (the D rest should help). I ferment them in the low 60's, and they do take longer than a week to finish.

I don't know about 4 weeks of lagering, but they will probably need a couple weeks relatively cold to get the yeast to drop, as it really likes to stay in suspension. I cellar mine, not lager them properly, around 50F, and a couple weeks seems to do the trick. However, I find that the beer improves significantly with a month or more of aging at those temperatures. So, I guess my point is that a Kölsch may not need lagering, but it will probably make it a better beer. On the other hand, I "lager" my Alts, as well.

I've never decocted a Kölsch, but it might be nice if you wanted to try. I approach a Kölsch as a really pale Alt. One of my favorite mash schedules for an Alt is to infuse at 148F, rest for 45' (pulling a decoction at 30'), then decoct to 155-158F for 15-30'. This gives me a beer that is simultaneously dry tasting beer with a decent body that isn't sweet or cloying.

I think either would be fine, but I'd recommend that over a low temperature rest and a decoction to 148F, both because I like the result and because it will be difficult to get all the way from 104F to 148F without 2 decoctions. You could try going from 133F to 148F, but I don't think this beer would benefit from a protein rest in any way other than (potentially) clarity and it might make the beer thin.

The mash schedule I use circumvents some other potential complexities with decoction mashing, as well, by allowing significant conversion before you pull the decoction. It makes a nice simple first decoction that doesn't leave much room for anything to go wrong if you miss your target temperature.
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As always....

Postby river water brewing » Tue Dec 22, 2009 1:40 am

slothrob, you always have great info to share!! THANKS!!
JG
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You're welcome

Postby slothrob » Tue Dec 22, 2009 7:48 am

Enjoy the Kölsch!

If you want to test the effect of lagering this beer, you can always stick a six-pack in the back of the fridge for a few weeks.

The two problems I've had in making a good Kölsch are getting the yeast to clean up after itself and then getting that yeast to drop clear. A larger than usual yeast pitch and good aeration followed by a little patience in primary help the first. Cold and time aid the latter. Be careful about moving the beer to the cold too quickly, though, or you might end up with more esters and sulfur than you would like.

By the way, the airlock outgassing from the Kölsch yeast can stink, so put it somewhere your wife won't smell it.[/list]
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