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Old 11-23-2009, 06:42 PM   #1
schuwa
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Default 2nd lager attempt

I have been brewing ales for years, but this is only my second attempt at a lager. I am doing a Kolsch, following a recipe from my local HBS. The recipe states to start in a primary at 68-ish degrees for 5-7 days, then rack into a secondary, cool to 50-55 degrees, and lager for 2-3 weeks before bottling.

I have a few questions:
1. I get the nagging sense that I should actually have the primary at a colder temperature range when I lager. Is this true, or I am doing right with the written recipe? I *do* know that if I primary ferment at a colder temp, I am supposed to raise the temperature of the primary up before racking to decrease the diacetyls.

2. When conditioning in bottles (for a lager yeast), should this be done at room temp or lagering (cold) temp?

Thanks!
Josh

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Old 11-23-2009, 06:51 PM   #2
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Please note that a Koelsch actually is an ale, not a lager. (Meaning, it uses top-fermenting yeasts.) The fermentation is done at cooler temps than normal, and the beer is cold aged, but it is a little different than a trasditional lager.

My point is that you have to be careful about what you've read when thinking about a Koelsch. If the info you have is really specific to bottom fermenting yeasts, it might not apply to your top-fermenting Koelsch.

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Old 11-23-2009, 06:54 PM   #3
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Sorry.. I did not mean to post yet. I had more to say.....

I made a Koelsch and I fermented at about 60-65 degrees, then lowered to about 40 after transferring to the secondary.

Unfortunately, I was trying to hurry the beer along a little and took it off the yeast in primary too early. The fermentation was done, but I did not give the yeast time to clean up after themselves and I was left with some green-apple flavors that just would not go away. I ended up dumping it. The beer that was behind this apple taste was very light, very clear, and crisp, but that damn apple flavor on the nose of it made it undrinkable.

I'm going to do it again some time and be more patient and let it sit in the primary for longer than I did the last time.

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Old 11-23-2009, 07:07 PM   #4
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i would agree with your notion of fermenting the kolsch lower than 68. this yeast can produce a very lager-like beer, but you will notice some fruity esters, even if you ferment it down in the 64 range, which is where i've done my kolsches. i think 68 would make it much more 'ale-like' (even though it is an ale).

if you're going to lager colder than 50-55, you MIGHT have to pitch some new yeast to get it to properly bottle condition... although this yeast is notorious for low flocculation, so you might be OK if it's still a little hazy when you go to bottle. and i'd bottle condition it like normal (70 deg for 3 weeks) and then make sure it gets a solid few days in a cold fridge before cracking one open...

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