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Old 11-21-2012, 01:03 PM   #1
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Default Assistance in tweaking Kolsch recipe

Hi all,

I stepped up to all grain about a year ago, and started entering competitions soon after to help me improve. One Kolsch recipe I put together in particular has done very well (scoring from 32-44), and I'd like to use the judge's advice to improve it even more, if I can. First, here's the recipe:

7 lbs German 2-row pilsner malt
2 lbs Kolsch malt
1 lb flaked wheat
single infusion 60 minute mash at 152 deg.
2 oz German spalt hops @90 min (26.5 IBU)
Wyeast 2565 from starter
10 days primary at 58 deg
30 days secondary at 40 deg

And here are the comments I'm trying to use to improve this recipe:

"A bit too bitter and dry - finishes sharply rather than being soft and rounded. Alcohol warming is a bit too high. Otherwise excellent."

"Attenuation could be a bit lower - check yeast pitching rate"

Both judges from the competition where it scored lowest knocked it for DMS as well, which surprised me as I did a 90 minute boil.

So from this feedback, I'm guessing I need to dial back the hops just a bit (maybe 1.5 oz instead of 2), and mash a degree or two higher? Anyone have any other thoughts or advice? The comp where it scored 44 qualified me to enter it in MCAB, so I want to perfect it as much as I can before then.

Thanks!

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Old 11-21-2012, 01:23 PM   #2
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Can a beer be too dry and under-attenuated? Sounds like they've got you chasing your own tail!

Maybe move the hop addition to 60 or split between 60 & 30?

I just bottled a Kolsch this weekend. Love the 2565 - used it again for a Biere de Mars and just realized I still have some in the fridge.

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Old 11-21-2012, 02:43 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. If the judge was saying the attenuation "could be lower", wouldn't that mean he thought it was over attenuated? One of the things I really don't understand yet is how pitch rate affects attenuation. That comment was from a professional brewer so I'm sure he knows what he's talking about.

another question I forgot to ask - could doing a traditional step mash improve this beer, or is that a bad idea here? I've read that step mashing with fully modified malts can hurt body and head retention. Then again, the description if the Kolsch malt I used says " We've had good results using a multi-temp step mash with Kölsch malt, but a single infusion — although not traditional — works as well"

I had no idea there was so much to learn when I decided to go AG....

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Old 11-21-2012, 02:44 PM   #4
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Oh yeah, and maybe a 120 minute boil to be sure to get rid of all the DMS?

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Old 11-21-2012, 06:19 PM   #5
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What did the beer finish at? I guess 'lower attenuation' could mean higher OG.

90 is the quoted standard boil to cut down DMS with pils.

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Old 11-21-2012, 06:45 PM   #6
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I've made two batches of it so far:

The first OG 1.045 FG 1.010
The second OG 1.048 FG 1.011

Maybe I'll shoot for about 1.050 the next time, mash at 153 or so and add the hops at 60 rather than 90. WHat do you think?

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Old 11-21-2012, 07:54 PM   #7
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I tihnk judge A might have mistaken the hop flavor for dryness and judge B thought the beer should finish lower. I shoot for 1.006 on Kolsch, well really that or below for most beers. I like well attenuated beers.

Also, I'm not sure what differenece lagering temp makes, but I think I've read to lager closer to 32.

This thread is making me want some Kolsch (-style ale, of course. Felt silly to type that out every time). One of these days I'll start kegging some of my beers and not have to wait!

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Old 11-21-2012, 09:51 PM   #8
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Here is the recipe that I use for a Kolsch

16 lbs 8.0 oz Heidelberg Malt (Best Malz) (1.5 SRM)
1 lbs Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM)
2.75 oz Spalter [4.50 %] - Boil 60.0 min
1.15 Items Break Bright Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins)

I mash at 150 deg for 60 min

A hard rolling boil for 90 min

Primary at 60 deg
Lager at 32 deg for 30 days

OG 1.046
FG 1.010

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Old 11-22-2012, 10:52 AM   #9
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I'm just going of Designing Great Beers, but I think the Vienna malt would make that not to style. Should be 100% pils, with a small optional portion of wheat.

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Old 11-22-2012, 12:22 PM   #10
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You should check out the classic styles book. That is one of the recipes they list. According to that book none of the commercial Kolsch breweries use wheat.

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