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Old 09-14-2012, 12:19 AM   #1
Matt3989
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Default WLP029 - Kolsch questions.

Alright, so I'm still new to brewing, I was going to try a cream ale for my third brew. I don't know much about yeast but I was thinking about using WLP029 for it. My question is do I have to skim this yeast off the top and switch to a lager yeast when I bottle? I've heard this strain will never sediment to the bottom, but it'll form clumps that float on top.

Also, how's the flavor? I've read that it has a tendency to produce banana and clove notes (which I'd like to stay away from for this beer). Anyone have any experience with this strain, or would like to pass on any general advice.
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Old 09-14-2012, 02:03 AM   #2
zeg
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I've used it for a couple of beers and found no banana or clove character at all. It's intended to be a very, very clean ale yeast, with perhaps a bit of fruitiness, but I've never thought of Kölsches as having "banana" flavors.

It's a bit of a specialty yeast, though, and does require fairly careful temperature control. For a Kölsch yeast, it tolerates relatively high temperatures, but you really want to keep it in the mid-to-low 60s during the active fermentation to avoid the center of the fermenter running up in to the 70s. It might produce some of the off flavors if the temperature runs high.

Also, as I've now said three times, it's intended for Kölsch brewing. This traditionally involves a month-long or longer lagering after fermentation completes, which helps to achieve the clean lager-like character of the hybrid ale style. I've always (both times) done a month at about 40°F so I can't say first-hand what effect it has, except that my beers came out great. The manufacturer quite firmly recommends this step. With this step, I got two almost completely sediment-free beers. I've heard reports of flocculation problems, though, so I suspect that the lagering is important to achieving this.

http://www.whitelabs.com/beer/strains_wlp029.html

I used it for my third beer, but I had also fermented a mead and a cider in between, the mead in particular which required some relatively close attention to the process. It worked out quite well for me, but I don't know that this is necessarily the best choice if you're not confident in your techniques. You want to be sure you can control your temperatures, and you would be advised to make a starter with this (or most) liquid yeasts. That's not hard, but it's additional steps. (I don't mean to put you off the idea, just giving you my thoughts.)
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Old 09-14-2012, 02:08 AM   #3
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None of the things you mentioned about this yeast I have experienced. I've used it many times, for everything from IPAs to kolsch to a stout. It drops clear, and doesn't produce any banana esters if used in the proper temperature range, but it is a high sulfur producer - the ol' rhino farts. This will age out but ends in an overall slightly mineral character that I find very complimentary to certain styles. Also the sulfur accentuates hops big time. A chinook (harsh) IPA that I fermented with this was the most raspy thing ever. Just something to consider if you are going to use it to make a hoppy beer.
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Old 09-14-2012, 02:13 AM   #4
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I've used this yeast several times for Kolsch. I ferment at 62F and it always produces a clear, clean beer! Control your ferment temps and it should work well for your cream ale.
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Old 09-14-2012, 02:17 AM   #5
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I've produced three very clean lager-esque beers with my repitch of wlp029. All have been incredibly clear. I use a tab of whirlfloc in each batch. Currently conditioning a mock-toberfest with it that I kept at 62 for a week then ramped to 68 over the course of a week. At bottling time it was superb.
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Old 09-14-2012, 02:32 AM   #6
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I recently make a Kolsch using WLP029 on an 80/20 Pale malt/Pilsner Malt grain bill. Fermented at 62 degrees, it came out pretty much like it was supposed to. Very clear with a very subtle fruitiness on the back end. I don't see any reason not to use it to make a Blond Ale.
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Old 09-14-2012, 02:37 AM   #7
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Great, thanks for the info everyone, i actually was reading an article about German yeasts and got one mixed up, the banana and clove flavors came from a weizenbier yeast... But they still said that kolsch doesn't settle very well so a more flocculent yeast is used during bottling.

But if you all have good experiences, that's enough to put my concerns to rest. Thanks for the quick responces.
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Old 09-14-2012, 03:23 AM   #8
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My first all grain batch was a honey kolsch. I forgot to modify my recipe for the 3 lbs of honey I used. I ended up with a 9% abv honey kolsch. It tasted quite clean but had a hot finish. I know this yeast can handle a high amount of alcohol now! This aged in the bottle for 3 months and mellowed out a bit.
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Old 09-14-2012, 04:16 AM   #9
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That's wheat beer strains as well that keep a proud cap of yeast until you knock the thing down with a shovel. Not that bad really, but it can hang out for quite a while. You can either rack from under it, or rock the fermenter to break it loose.
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Old 09-14-2012, 04:34 AM   #10
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This yeast is fantastic for all sorts of styles. I use it for APA, IPA, wheat, rye, and... kolsch. I pretty much always have something on it.
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