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Old 05-23-2010, 04:04 PM   #1
ChiN8
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Default Help! Kolsh Brewers

Well,
It doesn't look like I'm going to be able to pick up a refrigerator today so here is my question.

I purchased a Cologne Kolsh kit from Midwest Supplies, no where does it talk about lagering or having to ferment in the secondary at a low temperature.

However, I did some research before my purchase and it said a Kolsh is lagered, or chilled in the secondary.

I have my house set to 75 and was planning on placing my fermenter in my spare bathroom bathtub and could probably lower the temperature of my secondary using ice packs and water.......

Is this possible? or am I doomed for failure without lagering a Kolsh

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Old 05-23-2010, 04:07 PM   #2
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To keep it true to style it should be lagered or cold conditioned for a while, but a lot of people brew a kolsch without the chilling phase. If you can't chill the best thing you can do is ferment in the 60s if you can.

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Old 05-23-2010, 04:23 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by marubozo View Post
To keep it true to style it should be lagered or cold conditioned for a while, but a lot of people brew a kolsch without the chilling phase. If you can't chill the best thing you can do is ferment in the 60s if you can.
First, thanks for the fast response.

second, Is this lagering/cold conditioning only in the secondary?
If I could ferement in the primary at around 70-75 as mentioned above, I can get a fridge in a week to allow me to lager/cold condition at a low temp.
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Old 05-23-2010, 04:54 PM   #4
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Right. Primary fermentation takes place at your typical ale fermentation range. It's after that has completed in a week or two that you'd move to secondary and then put it in cold temps for another few weeks. So there's really no need for a fridge right now anyway and if you can get one in a few weeks that would be perfect

And what yeast are you using, WLP029? If possible you should really try to keep it under 70 with an ice bath or swamp cooler type setup for at least the first few days. It will help you really achieve that crisp kolsch taste.

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Old 05-23-2010, 05:00 PM   #5
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Right. Primary fermentation takes place at your typical ale fermentation range. It's after that has completed in a week or two that you'd move to secondary and then put it in cold temps for another few weeks. So there's really no need for a fridge right now anyway and if you can get one in a few weeks that would be perfect

And what yeast are you using, WLP029? If possible you should really try to keep it under 70 with an ice bath or swamp cooler type setup for at least the first few days. It will help you really achieve that crisp kolsch taste.
I'm not using the White Labs, but the Wyeast w/ Activator
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Old 05-23-2010, 05:29 PM   #6
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I just cracked the first bottle of a Kolsch batch I brewed last month. I fermented at around 65-70 and left it at that temperature for a couple weeks. I'm very pleased with how the beer came out...Lagering it after fermentation would add a more crisp taste, but it is not necessary to produce a good beer!

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Old 05-23-2010, 05:33 PM   #7
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A good Kolsch should be fermented around 60-62F of the wort not ambient temp. Then a good long cold conditioning phase at 30-35f and you would have a wonderful beer.

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Old 05-23-2010, 05:42 PM   #8
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For a cheaper solution, you can use an igloo ice cube cooler filled partially w/ water and rotate in frozen water bottles. This doesn't work so well for buckets, just carboys (unless you have a bucket w/ no spigot- as the spigot would be under water). after primary, you can actually get this method down to lagering temps and hold it w/ only 1 ice addition per day.

here's a link to the project (w/ pics) http://bayareamashers.org/Gadgets.asp
it's the 'Dave's Cheap and Easy Fermentation Chiller' gadget

The most important time for temperature control is in the initial 4-5 days of active fermentation, where you want it as close to 60º as possible, after that it doesn't matter so much, the yeast will only clean themselves up.

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Old 05-23-2010, 06:23 PM   #9
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I brewed a Kolsch on Friday night and have it around 70-75 right now (it's actively bubbling). I don't have much money to spend on equipment right now, but reading this I'm a little worried that I'll need to move it somehow to cooler temps. I have it fermenting in a bucket and have another beer in my 5 gallon carboy right now.

I was going to let it sit in the primary at the 70-75 temps and then move it to a cooler or ice bath for secondary. Is this a bad idea?

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Old 05-23-2010, 06:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by william146 View Post
I brewed a Kolsch on Friday night and have it around 70-75 right now (it's actively bubbling). I don't have much money to spend on equipment right now, but reading this I'm a little worried that I'll need to move it somehow to cooler temps. I have it fermenting in a bucket and have another beer in my 5 gallon carboy right now.

I was going to let it sit in the primary at the 70-75 temps and then move it to a cooler or ice bath for secondary. Is this a bad idea?
I think it's better to do the reverse- ferment at 62-66 degrees, then you can secondary at a higher temperature if you must. The reason is this- most of the flavor from a too-warm fermentation happens in the first 24-48 hours or so of fermentation. That's when the yeast is most active, and the yeast of the fermentation causes the temperature inside the fermenter to get even higher. So, in a room that is 75 degrees, the beer temperature can be 85 degrees! That's almost 20 degrees too warm for the best flavors from most ale yeast. A too-warm fermentation can have fruity (banana) flavors, as well as some "hot" fusel alcohols. Keeping the temperature (again, beer temperature, not room temperature!) under 70 degrees is probably the single best thing you can do to make good beer.

Here's what I did to help control the temperatures:


It's just a wheeled cooler. I took off the lid (it's hollow, so it's not a good insulator, plus I can use it again as a cooler since I saved the lid and it just snaps back on), and made a new foam lid. The airlock can poke through, and I fill the cooler with water. If I need it cooler, I add frozen water bottles to chill the water, which in turns cools down the fermenter. It cost about $20 for the cooler on sale, and about $10 for the sheet of foam insulation. You could probably do something similar with a cooler you already have, and a few blankets over top if you don't want to spend any money. I float a thermometer in the water bath, to monitor the temperature. It works great!

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