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Old 01-05-2011, 09:13 PM   #1
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Default Identify that taste: kolsch-style

Hello,

I'm trying to find out what grain provides the after taste in some kolsch style ales. I know that's vague so let me give two examples of commercial versions that I'm trying to replicate and see if that helps.

The first is from a smaller, lesser known Bay Area brewpub called Sonoma Chicken Coop in Campbell, CA. This is my favorite kolsch style beer of all time.

The second is probably a little more known but is an average example. It is BJs Brewery Blonde.

In each of these there is a faint/prominent taste that lingers on the tongue that I am having trouble describing and attributing to an ingredient. At first I thought it was wheat, but I've since made 4 or 5 batches and can not get even a semblance of that flavor.

Anyone familiar with either of these two enough to help me describe/identify?

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Old 01-05-2011, 09:21 PM   #2
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Does it taste... almost creamy? Is it a rich grain flavor, yet subtle and easy-drinking at the same time?

I don't know about those specific two breweries, but if you mistook it for wheat I'd guess it's German Pilsner malt flavor, which gets washed out by things like excessive late addition hops. Do German examples of Kolsch (Sunner is the one that I drink) or Alaskan Summer Ale share this same flavor?

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Old 01-05-2011, 09:25 PM   #3
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I've tried Alaskn and it's not the same. I think the maltiness overtakes the flavor I'm looking for if it's present. It is very much a grain flavor (I think) and is subtle and very easy to drink. Hope this helps

I don't know how else to describe it so this may sound silly. After a sipand swallow if I were to breathe out sort of into my mouth and out through nose at same time the grainy flavor is highly accentuated.

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Old 01-05-2011, 09:31 PM   #4
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Hmmm.. my only other guess would be maybe a hint of Munich or Crystal10L. I've seen those ingredients in a few homebrewed kolsch recipes, ranging from 1/2 to a full pound. I'll have to try those kolsches you drinking, it's one of my favorite styles. Some people also use 4oz of melanoiden or equivelant aromatic malt to simulate the flavor of decoction mashing. Or maybe these microbreweries are doing decoction mashes, I guess there's a lot of options now that I think of it.

But if you're brewing your kolsch with american 2-row or pilsner malt and it isn't satisfying, give it a go with german pilsner, it has a different kind of maltiness to it.

anyone else have ideas?

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Old 01-09-2011, 06:49 PM   #5
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It's my favorite too. I'll have to give it a try with german pils because I have been using the american version.

Thanks for the tips.

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Old 01-09-2011, 07:49 PM   #6
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http://www.bjsrestaurants.com/bj-bee...e-blonde%C2%AE
Looks like they use pale malt, vienna and wheat.

My guess is you're tasting the vienna malt.
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Old 01-10-2011, 07:03 PM   #7
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I was in town and decided to ask the head brewer for the grist, and he said 2 row and 8% or so wheat. Dang it.

I think I'm going to make a 2 row, 8% wheat, 5% Vienna batch. Or would you all recommend something different to try and issue that flavor I'm looking for?

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Old 01-11-2011, 12:30 AM   #8
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I hate the term 2-row, it's so vague. I have a brewing book dedicated entirely to Bavarian Helles and the author writes that 2-row barley malt is the malt that is used, when all the German breweries are using pilsner. I think technically pilsner malt is made from 2-row barley, so he's not wrong, but it's still confusing as hell. Someone correct me if i'm the guy whose wrong .

A batch with vienna would probably be a good idea.

Subtle tasting beers like kolsch are tough to nail down, it could likely be that their balance of the ordinary, standard kolsch ingredients are in perfect harmony and it isn't a particular ingredient at all you're tasting. In beers like kolsch, the absence of certain additions might as well be their own flavors because the base malt, bittering hop and yeast all get to do more of the heavy lifting than say, an APA.

I'd recommend you try that formula, along with 10 or so other formulas over the next few months to get your recipe nailed down on your system. Can you post the base recipe and process of the kolsches you've been brewing? We may be able to find something missing in your recipe, or something there that could be masking the flavor you're looking for. I need to get out to BJ's and try it, there's one like 15 minutes way from my house. No excuse =[.

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Old 01-11-2011, 02:09 AM   #9
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I've always found that a Kolsch kind of has the taste of my mash collections after mashout and sparging. It's not sweet, mind you, but it is very reminiscent of that.

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Old 01-28-2011, 06:01 PM   #10
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I just brewed this:

9# German Pilsen Malt
.5# White Wheat
.5# Munich Malt

I agree with jgourd in that the mash collections do retain some of that flavor I'm looking for, but the aroma smells a lot more like the flavor. We'll see what happens.

After this I'll swap out the Munich for Vienna and compare.

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