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Old 12-22-2008, 03:09 PM   #1
goofiefoot
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Default Talk me through Kölsch

First off: Howdy! New brewer from Austin, TX here. This forum is awesome and has already been an immense help.

So, we're going to be bottling our first batch this weekend, and plan to brew our second while we're bottling. First brew is a AHB California Pale Ale mini-mash kit - and so far, so good. We hit our target 1.012 FG in 10 days and transferred over to secondary to clear it up. Tasted the sample, and were completely blown away by how good it was even in that stage. But I digress...

Second brew - we're looking at trying to replicate a hopped Kölsch my buddy tried at Double Mountain on a trip this fall. I've seen all sort of different Kölsch recipes on this site, and none of them seem consistent.

Can I successfully ferment Kölsch in my 64-68° house? Can I get away with not crash cooling?

Since the grain mixture is so simple for this beer, would a mini-mash be worthwhile, or should we just go all extract?

Any good "beginner" Kölsch recipes that can be hopped up? Any hopping advice for something like this?

We're going to try to get our ingredients this Friday, so any advice would be great!

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Old 12-22-2008, 03:27 PM   #2
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Traditionally, Kölsch is not very hoppy, but you can do what you want of course! If you ferment a Kölsch strain at that high of an ambient temp., you will get a lot more esters than would be desirable in a Kölsch, but again, try it out if you want.

I would look into a swamp cooler to lower your ferment temps.

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Old 12-22-2008, 03:35 PM   #3
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If I where to do a Kölsch I'd prolly do a simple extract, yet I dont have equip to do ag yet. (if you dont have beersmith, download the trial or buy it, invaluable piece of software for homebrewers) One of the microbrews where I live serves a no hop Kölsch and it tastes like arse. Hop it to your flavor, its your beer

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Old 12-22-2008, 03:39 PM   #4
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WAIT... no hops....? When I said, Kölsch is not very hoppy, I mean it has low IBU, not NO hops!

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Old 12-22-2008, 03:44 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Boerderij_Kabouter View Post
WAIT... no hops....? When I said, Kölsch is not very hoppy, I mean it has low IBU, not NO hops!
Yeah, its the worst 'beer' I think I've ever had. Albeit that place doesn't have many beers I do like.
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Old 12-22-2008, 04:03 PM   #6
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<--- Complete newbie, so hopefully these aren't too dumb of questions.

Yeah, I'm thinking a heavier late hop addition will keep the IBU lower, but give a nice flavor/aroma. That sound about right?

I got this handy-dandy poster from White Labs with all sorts of yeast, the types of beers they're ideal for, etc. and the 3 types of yeast they recommend for German-Style Kölsch are all ±65-69° optimal ferment temps. They're all listed under Ale Yeasts, which is what got me thinking we could get this one working.

So, what am I missing? What steps make a great Kölsch?

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Old 12-22-2008, 04:08 PM   #7
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Your hops additions sound good to me, any idea on what hops you're going to use? A Kölsch is a lighter colored beer so if you're doing extract use light or extra light dme and steep some good German light grains in it while your heating your water.

It all really depends on what you want your Kölsch like. Like I said earlier beersmith is a great help for playing around with your recipes, it may even come with a Kölsch recipe in it.

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Old 12-22-2008, 04:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goofiefoot View Post
<--- Complete newbie, so hopefully these aren't too dumb of questions.

Yeah, I'm thinking a heavier late hop addition will keep the IBU lower, but give a nice flavor/aroma. That sound about right?

I got this handy-dandy poster from White Labs with all sorts of yeast, the types of beers they're ideal for, etc. and the 3 types of yeast they recommend for German-Style Kölsch are all ±65-69° optimal ferment temps. They're all listed under Ale Yeasts, which is what got me thinking we could get this one working.

So, what am I missing? What steps make a great Kölsch?
Koelsch traditionally doesn't have any late hops additions. Bittering is all it gets. Some people add very small amounts for flavor and aroma, but you'll want to keep those amounts low if you want to stay true to the style.
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Old 12-22-2008, 04:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goofiefoot View Post
<--- Complete newbie, so hopefully these aren't too dumb of questions.

Yeah, I'm thinking a heavier late hop addition will keep the IBU lower, but give a nice flavor/aroma. That sound about right?

I got this handy-dandy poster from White Labs with all sorts of yeast, the types of beers they're ideal for, etc. and the 3 types of yeast they recommend for German-Style Kölsch are all ±65-69° optimal ferment temps. They're all listed under Ale Yeasts, which is what got me thinking we could get this one working.

So, what am I missing? What steps make a great Kölsch?
Kolsch is an ale and with a proper German Ale yeast you will be fine at 66 degrees (wort temp, not ambient temp.) As far as hops schedule, ANY time you are brewing you are free to brew to whatever specs you want but to be clear, if you are wanting to stick within style guidelines they tend to be a very simple grainbill with 85-90% base malt and 10-15% Wheat or Crystal. Highly fermentable, so mash temps under 150 and as far as Hops;

the IBUs are low (25ish) and nearly ALL bittering with almost zero flavor or aroma hops. Most award winners add no hops in the last 30 minutes. Americanized kolsch's tend to have a small addition of flavoring hops. Use any German hop. I prefer Spalt, but Tettnang, Hallertau, Tradition or even Vanguard will do.
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Old 12-22-2008, 04:53 PM   #10
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Yet another Austin brewer! Welcome!

For a very simple Kolsch, try 5# Extra Pale LME and 2# Wheat LME. Use 1oz of Hallertau for 60 minutes. White Labs WLP029 Kolsch yeast. This yeast is a notoriously slow starter, I recommend using a small yeast starter with it and pitching the whole starter once it gets to high krausen (eg make the starter two days before your brew day). Keep the primary as close to 64*F as you can throughout active fermentation. Then give it a nice long secondary to clear up, 3 weeks is probably about right for it to clear.

Most homebrewed Kolsches I have tried are awful because they are fermented too warm, this yeast strain produces some pretty weird fruity flavors if you let the fermentation climb much above 66*F. I keep my fermenters partially submerged in a water bath and use frozen soda bottles to drop the temp if it starts to get too high. I have a blonde on tap I fermented with the WLP029 at 62*F, it is so clean it tastes like a lager beer!

Here's a pic of that beer, your Kolsch should look like this after it has time to clear up (that yeast takes awhile to clear):

dsc01715.jpg

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