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Old 11-12-2012, 05:14 PM   #1
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Default Kolsch yeast fermentation time dilemma

Well I think I've gotten myself in a bind...

My intent was to make a Oktoberfest-ish Ale and have it drinkable by the time my brother visits for Christmas. The catch... I'm leaving for Chicago on Nov. 21 and will be back on Nov. 27th.

I brewed and began fermenting yesterday (Nov. 11) On a recommendation I used the White labs German Ale/Kolsch yeast in vial form. That would be fine If I didn't have to leave for Thanksgiving. From what I've read, the ideal temp and fermentation time would be in the mid to upper 60's for about 2 weeks. That means I wont be home when it's ready to bottle.

Maybe dropping the temp to sit at 66F for the week, switching to secondary and bottling when I get home on the 27th? Does that sound like to long to sit in the fermentor?

Or should I up the temp to 69F, skip the secondary and hope it's fermented before I leave so I can bottle it?

Any recommendations or solutions? Thanks!

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Old 11-12-2012, 05:17 PM   #2
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Just leave it. It will be fine with the extra time in primary.

[EDIT] I use this yeast all the time, love it. It clears slowly, so the extra time is good.

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Old 11-12-2012, 05:36 PM   #3
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You're not even scratching the surface of a long time in primary. I gave a Kolsch with this yeast 3-4 weeks at 65°F, then lagered for a month.

As a Kolsch yeast, this one would do well with a couple weeks of lagering post-primary. This will help a lot with clarity, since the yeast is not terribly flocculant on its own. It doesn't need to be racked, just dropped down to 40°F (or whatever). I did mine for a month, but I would think that a week would fit well on your schedule and still give you 3 weeks for carbonation.

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Old 11-13-2012, 01:20 AM   #4
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So you're saying skip the secondary? Just ferment in the primary until I get back on the 27th and then check the FG and bottle?

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Old 11-13-2012, 02:26 AM   #5
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If the WL kolsch is anything like Wyeast kolsch, you'll want to use gelatin to clarify it on your short notice. These yeasties don't drop out well. Good news is that it doesn't need lagering time, just a couple weeks to clarify. If you kegged, you can go grain to glass in <3 weeks, assuming you pitched enough yeast. Can't you use the bottling time for clarifying as well?

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Old 11-13-2012, 02:51 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottyb332 View Post
So you're saying skip the secondary? Just ferment in the primary until I get back on the 27th and then check the FG and bottle?
Yes, I don't see any reason to go to secondary.

I would suggest leaving it at 65 or so until the 27th, then dropping it as close to freezing as you can get it until at least the following weekend (1st or 2nd) before bottling. This will hopefully help it clear a bit more---you could try gelatin or other finings as an alternative, but I've not gone that route.

Basically, I would figure out the date you need the bottle, count back three weeks, and cold crash/"lager" until then. (Scare quotes because a brief cold stage isn't really lagering.) If you're already past that point, then either go the finings route, or cold crash anyway and accept the risk that you may have not-fully-carbonated beer when you're ready for it. That's probably the approach I'd take, as I prefer undercarbonation to oversedimentation, but that's a matter of personal preference.
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Old 11-13-2012, 04:39 AM   #7
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Skip secondary, you can use Isinglass to clarify if necessary. Use the fining about 3 days prior to bottling, works great.

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Old 11-13-2012, 01:10 PM   #8
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I admit to kegging Kolsch yeast batches before they are fully cleared, and enjoying every sip. When it fully clears it is almost lager like, but with a bit of yeast suspended it has a light wheat-beer kind of flavor. Yummy.

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Old 11-13-2012, 03:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
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I admit to kegging Kolsch yeast batches before they are fully cleared, and enjoying every sip. When it fully clears it is almost lager like, but with a bit of yeast suspended it has a light wheat-beer kind of flavor. Yummy.
Totally agreed. IMHO the easiest & quickest is to simply finish fermentation, cold crash, then rack into a keg with gelatin. After a week or two, it's pretty clear. And yep, it's incredibly lager-like.
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Old 11-13-2012, 07:46 PM   #10
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I would also recommend fermenting this beer much cooler. Kolsch yeasts will give you much cleaner products in the high 50's to 60F.

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