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A few questions on my first Kolsch

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J2W2

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Hi,

I brew extract/partial mash, and for all my previous beers I've used tap water. I fill the kettle the night before and add a crushed 1/4 Campden tablet. I usually let fermentation run for two weeks, starting on the low end of the desired temperature and letting it rise to around 70 near the end. Then I cold crash to 34 degrees over a three-day period - dropping the temperature 6 degrees every 12 hours. That's mainly to let my mini-fridge "rest" so it isn't running constantly during the 36 degree drop. Once it hits 34 I add gelatin finings and let it sit for a week or so before kegging.

I'm going to brew an extract kit Kolsch for my next beer, using Imperial Dieter yeast. This will be the "lightest" beer I've brewed, and I have a few questions.

1) Per recommendations in this forum, I'll be using distilled water instead of tap - should I still add a 1/4 Campden tablet?

2) The instructions say to secondary condition for 2-4 weeks. I plan to let it sit at 34 degrees for four weeks and I intend to add gelatin finings as always. Does it matter at all if I add the finings as soon as the beer reaches 34 degrees like I usually do?

3) In reading about true lagering, I've seen recommendations of lowering the temperature gradually; perhaps only five degrees or so a day. Since Dieter is an ale yeast, I was planning to do my standard twelve degree a day drop. Is that alright or should I do a more gradual decrease for this beer?

Thanks as always for your help!
 

VikeMan

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1) Per recommendations in this forum, I'll be using distilled water instead of tap - should I still add a 1/4 Campden tablet?
No, there's no chlorine/chloramines in distilled water.

2) The instructions say to secondary condition for 2-4 weeks. I plan to let it sit at 34 degrees for four weeks and I intend to add gelatin finings as always. Does it matter at all if I add the finings as soon as the beer reaches 34 degrees like I usually do?
If you are fining with gelatin, go ahead and do it as soon as the finished beer (no off flavors, etc.) is cold. It won't interfere with anything else happening.

3) In reading about true lagering, I've seen recommendations of lowering the temperature gradually; perhaps only five degrees or so a day. Since Dieter is an ale yeast, I was planning to do my standard twelve degree a day drop. Is that alright or should I do a more gradual decrease for this beer?
It's probably fine. Even with true lagers, faster temp drops are ok, assuming fermentation was already healthy and complete.
 

Jim R

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I just finished a Kolsch (all grain). I fermented with the same yeast for 2 weeks. I just used a whirlfloc tablet at the end of the boil and it turned out amazingly clear. I kegged on day 14 and carbonated in the keg at 12 psi for 1 week at 39 degrees (my serving temp). I always do a pressure transfer to minimize oxidation. I started drinking it on day 21 and it was very good. I don't think it was any better 1-2 weeks later. I will do it exactly the same next time I make it.
 

wepeeler

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Adding to what @VikeMan said, skip the secondary. Do it all in the primary vessel. As far as fining agents go, do it directly in the keg, that way you're not introducing oxygen. @Jim R process looks good. That's basically what I do for my Kolsch. Skip the campden tablet, but add a whirlfloc tablet @15. You'll be surprised at how clear the wort is going into the fermenter. Personally, for fining, I use biofine. I never had any luck with gelatin, even though I read that everyone and their mother swears by the stuff. Biofine is easier. It's already liquid. Add it to the keg when kegging, and you'll get brilliantly clear beer.
 
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J2W2

J2W2

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Forget the gelatin all you'll be adding is oxygen that will kill the delicate flavors. Kölsch should lager for a couple weeks at near freezing temperatures and will clear up nicely on it's own at these temperatures with a little time.
I was kind of thinking the same thing. I've used Whirlfloc for years, ever since I graduated from Irish Moss.

I also use Clarity Ferm, made by White Labs. I really like that product as it's just a little vial of clear liquid that you just dump it in the fermenter along with your yeast. It's supposed to greatly reduce the gluten in the beer, which reduces or eliminates chill haze. The October issue of Brew Your Own has an interesting article on exogenous enzymes. While a lot of it is over my head, one enzyme they mention is beta-glucanase, which is supposed to reduce precipitates and hazes by up to 90%. I'm not sure, but I'm thinking that may be what Clarity Ferm is.

Using Whirlfloc, Clarity Ferm, cold crashing and adding gelatin finings is probably way over kill, but I do love the crystal clear beer I get. I'll give the Kolsch a try without the gelatin and see if I notice any difference.

I'm timing the cold crash so that week two occurs Thanksgiving week, so I'm probably going to keg it the week after, which will give it three weeks of cold crashing.

Thanks to everyone for the great advice!
 

NewJersey

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Adding to what @VikeMan said, skip the secondary. Do it all in the primary vessel. As far as fining agents go, do it directly in the keg, that way you're not introducing oxygen. @Jim R process looks good. That's basically what I do for my Kolsch. Skip the campden tablet, but add a whirlfloc tablet @15. You'll be surprised at how clear the wort is going into the fermenter. Personally, for fining, I use biofine. I never had any luck with gelatin, even though I read that everyone and their mother swears by the stuff. Biofine is easier. It's already liquid. Add it to the keg when kegging, and you'll get brilliantly clear beer.
Where do you buy biofine?
I searched on Amazon and couldn't find it
 

VikeMan

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Where do you buy biofine?
I searched on Amazon and couldn't find it
Pretty much any homebrew store, both on-line and brick & mortar.
 

wepeeler

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Where do you buy biofine?
I searched on Amazon and couldn't find it

AMAZING stuff. Some people add it to the fermenter, I add it to the keg when kegging.
 
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Dog House Brew

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Forget the gelatin all you'll be adding is oxygen that will kill the delicate flavors. Kölsch should lager for a couple weeks at near freezing temperatures and will clear up nicely on it's own at these temperatures with a little time.
Plus gelatin coats my teeth, haven't used in years.
 

Conehead

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I use gelatin all the time. I add it to my keg when I keg my beer. I purge it with C02 and when filled, shake it to get it all mixed up, purge it again and toss it in the keezer to cool.
 

Tyler B

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I've brewed two batches of kolsch, one with gelatin added to the keg and one without. The one with gelatin was abviously more clear and it tasted a bit more clean and crisp. The one without gelatin was more hazy and tasted a bit more creamy and smooth. Both were good. Depends what you're looking for. I preferred the non gelatin batch. My wife preferred the crispy gelatin batch.
 

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