I'm wanting to brew a Koelsch but...

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Jsmith82

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I have a simple AG recipe, brewing is not the problem here, lagering is. I've read a couple topics where I see people get away with not cold crashing their Koelsch so I feel pretty good just going for it but I had an idea, I'm curious if anyone else here has ever tried it.

Ferment my beer out till it's complete then...

Get a small circular new trashcan and place a clean carboy in it (I would be looking for a can that left about 4 inches free space around the edges of the carboy), then rack the beer into the carboy and cap it off with a CO2 lock. Fill the trashcan with water till the carboy is about 3/5 the way submerged. Take 12 bottles of water pre-frozen, grab 6 and put them in the water and cap the can, then everyday for 2 weeks before work and in the evenings take 6 frozen bottles and place them in the can, pull the 6 melted out and toss them back in the freezer, 12hrs later repeat, 12hrs later repeat, etc..

I've brewed the DFH120 so being a slave to a beer is nothing new to me nor do I mind it but would this benifit me at all or would it be a complete waste of time? I have no hard data to go by but I'm guessing in my basement tucked out of light, lid on, I could probably get that water to stay constant between 50/55 degrees, a couple more bottles, I could probably get it even colder.

I've been weighing the pros and cons to myself and I keep going back and forth, I need some new input, I've almost talked myself into trying it. I'd love to eventually modify a deep freezer but until I have the money, it's DIY on the cheaper side..
 

asterix404

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I would never tell someone to lager without a chest freezer, but what you are talking about doing should work okay. I think that would get it to the low to mid 40's, which is the upper range of lagering, but typically it takes a lot longer then 2 weeks to cold condition. Also a Kolsh is suppose to be crystal clear and the only way I can see getting that to work is like, 4-6 weeks at near freezing. You can using a finishing agent too.

I would try to find a used chest freezer and you can prolly get one for really a short amount of money. I bought mine new, and it was about 200 + 50$ for the thermostat for the 9cf one with free delivery at lowes. I love mine and I highly recommend picking one up if you want to do lagers more often.
 

ehedge20

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You would want to ferment the beer at around 50 deg in the primary as typical with a lager yeast. The problem is that lagering temps are usually between 32 and 40 deg. Also the temperature is usually lowered gradually 5-10 deg a day and raised to 67 deg for a D rest right before the lager phase for around 2 days. You could cut a hole in your freezer, get some small duct and pipe it into a insulated box with your carboy in it lol. I would say if that is all you have then go for it!
 
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Jsmith82

Jsmith82

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You could cut a hole in your freezer, get some small duct and pipe it into a insulated box with your carboy in it lol.
Haha.. Oooh boy, SWMBO would have me sleeping out back with the dog :p

The chest freezer ultimately will be an investment of mine, I just can't swing it for a couple more months. I'm thinking I may do a little experiment though, we need a new kitchen trash can anyway so I could justify this not working. I'll fill a carboy with 5 gallons water and proceed as planned but with 18 frozen bottles of water using 2 methods: 9 bottles switching every 12 hours, then I'll try 6 bottles switching every 8 hours. I'll check the temps and see what I get with each in the end as a constant.

To assist in clarifying the beer as well if I do go this method, I would obviously beef up the irish moss but I've also read around that plain gelatin helps before bottling, also an agent called "polyclar" which I don't know much about but it seems like it would do a good job.. Need more research on it.

Thanks for chiming in
 

paraordnance

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you will have hell of a time keeping temps at proper level with swamp cooler. Kolsch yeast is low floccer it takes forever to drop out. If you plan to get a freezer in near future, just brew some other ales. I noticed first hand that cutting corners in homebrewing not always works.
Irish Moss has nothing to do with dropping your yeast out. Gelatin will do that, but again for gelatin to be effective you have to chill your beer below 40F
 

asterix404

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You can use isinglass to clear the beer if you really wanted to. Again, this is where you can make really stellar ales before you buy more stuff, and then you can make really stellar lagers. I could REALLY use another chest freezer because I converted mine into a kegerator but you really do want to be able to hold constant temps for long periods of time.

You know what you could do, make a steam ale, use the California common yeast and ferment it at 55 and swamp cool for a week in the mid to high 40's. That could work out well.
 
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I made a kolsch in which I kept the temperature in the low 60s. I don't have any way to cold crash it. I used irish moss as a fining agent. I try to keep bottles in the fridge for a couple of weeks before they are opened so they clear out a bit more.

It turned out pretty good. It has a lot of yeast flavor, maybe a lot more than is normally appropriate for the style, but no bad flavors. It is fairly clear, although not crystal clear. My wife is a kolsch fan and that's why I brewed it. She really likes it, so that's all that matters to me.
 
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Jsmith82

Jsmith82

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I read up on the California Common beers, that does seem like an appropriate yeast if I were to try and get a lager without the proper equipment. I also have read up on a dry yeast: "SafLager German Lager (DCL Yeast#S-189)". Supposedly it is a standard German lager yeast but can also ferment in range of 60-69 degrees without a ton of off flavore, off scent elements. Has anyone every tried using this yeast?

R.A.M. - How clear was your kolsch in the end and did you notice anything "off" from it? Obviously you said you both like it and agreed, in the end that is the most important part. I'm just curious what about it you found flawed..
 
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You would want to ferment the beer at around 50 deg in the primary as typical with a lager yeast. The problem is that lagering temps are usually between 32 and 40 deg. Also the temperature is usually lowered gradually 5-10 deg a day and raised to 67 deg for a D rest right before the lager phase for around 2 days. You could cut a hole in your freezer, get some small duct and pipe it into a insulated box with your carboy in it lol. I would say if that is all you have then go for it!
Actually Wyeast Kolsch yeast does better in low to mid-60's. http://www.wyeastlab.com/hb_yeaststrain_detail.cfm?ID=144

I've seen some brewers use WY 1007 German Ale with great results. Got to stay at 68F or under,though http://www.wyeastlab.com/hb_yeaststrain_detail.cfm?ID=150 .

M_C
 

Quadrupled

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Although I've been brewing for only a year, the extract Kolsch I brewed turned out great.

I used Wyeast Kolsch 2565 and a Son of Fermentation chiller - 4 weeks primary at 62F and 3 weeks at 45F. I've had good luck using this system thus far, but it does seem near-impossible to get to real lager temperatures without the fan running constantly.
 

Mikethepoolguy

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A swamp cooler works great to keep temps down to 10F below ambient but it is not easy. Insulate it with a big comforter and change the ice a as often as possible. But unless your ambient is 60 you wont be able to maintain 50 without a lot of ice and free time.(get a second fridge)
 
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Jsmith82

Jsmith82

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So going by majority here, it's just apparent that without the proper temps this beer just wouldn't turn out correct so as of this morning I was going to just move on to a light ale, then I saw this post below:

Son of Fermentation chiller
This. Thank you! I Googled it, this looks like a fun project and very affordable to me. I have a 4 day weekend coming up, this looks like a good way to spend my Saturday morning and day. I think I'm going to modify it to my own design to fit my needs but I can definitely swing a sheet of foam, a sheet of 1/2in plywood, some wood glue and screws, a 25 dollar thermostat, and some wiring.

Should work well for the now dubbed, "Sumpf Koelsch." :mug:

Still going to brew a light ale this weekend (I may even use the swamp cooler still just to see how it differs the flavor) instead of going for the gusto like I wanted to but once I get this DIY up and running, I'll definitely be going back and getting my revenge on my Koelsch recipe. Probably will be a couple of months but I'll definitely update this topic with results..

Always open to more suggestions so if anyone else has 2 cents to add, throw it in.
 

Quadrupled

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When you build the chiller, I would strongly recommend triple-checking the cuts and placement of the molding/weatherstripping before cutting or gluing anything. This will save you a lot of time shaving the insulation on high spots and filling in low spots with extra weatherstripping.

Good Luck!
 
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Jsmith82

Jsmith82

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Went to Lowes last night, priced everything out, looking like I could do this for roughly 50 dollars. I was going to make them do the cuts for me b/c I currently don't own a circular or table saw but due to the small size of some cuts and inaccuracies of their saw, I decided to come back and purchase the wood Friday then drink some beers with a buddy Friday night while building it. What type of wood did you use? I was looking at 1/2 x 4 x 8 pieces of particle board for the build itself, they had fancier, also had 3ply that looked absolutely terrible.. I'm thinking particle will be the way for me to go (I don't care much about appearance, as long as it's not hideous).. Advice? Also confirmed they carry the insulation sheets I would need, both 1 and 2 inch 4 x 8 sheets.

I'm really looking forward to this, I've drawn out what you can see below. Should be a fun build.



Looks strange if you don't understand the design but basically my closet will harbor a single bucket / carboy instead of 2, also it will not open from the front but from the top. This would be an inconvenience to some but I'm 6'6, lifting in and out would not be an issue, especially with carboy strap. The shelf below will open the same as the original design, 3 chambers for ice, air flow powered by a 3inch PC fan wired to a DC adapter, again though I switched the measurements so I could use 2 liter bottles filled with ice instead of 1 gallon milk jugs or a Rubbermaid container, etc.. Once built I'll paint it then trim the sides.

Should probably add in I plan on running a digital wired thermometer in through the side of the upper chamber to gauge temperature, the thermometer itself taped up against the carboy like the original design suggested. I'd like to eventually wire the fan to the thermometer so it would kick on and off as needed on its own but I'm not good with electronics, not sure where to start for that.
 
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Jsmith82

Jsmith82

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Well I built a lager closet.. Got to love days off of work. Once I finish applying the insulation I'll post the build pictures.

Ol kolsch thought he had me beat, little did he know I have some extra cash and a four day weekend :) total price, 52 dollars.
 
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Jsmith82

Jsmith82

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Okay, so I went for it on Sunday, and so far so good! Everything is constructed, I just need to take off a 1/2 inch from the top of the front piece (the one measurement I missed, but at least I went long on it) and glue in my insulation, then caulk everything.

The redrawn plans and measurements to get all pieces from a single 4 x 8 sheet:


12v DC computer cooling fan wired to a 12v DC wall adapter:


Making cuts:


Ready for assembly:


Assembling:










What you can't see, I have a lid for the top with a matte black handle attached, also I have a cover for the chambers where the ice will go that also has a matte black handle. The fan works like a champ, it is mounted to the back already. I'm working on finishing the insulation tonight, then I'm going to caulk every crease from the inside. I'll update with more pics tomorrow or Friday depending on when I get everything else finished.

Beer may have temporarily won the battle of the kolsch, but I'll be damned if beer will win the war. I'm brewing my kolsch and soon! :D
 

boomtown25

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OP-
I have no experience lagering yet, so no help there,but in your statement about the chest freezer soon, just wanted to point out that my Lowe's has a 7.5 cubic foot Holiday cooler for sale right now for $178. You can get a 5 cubic foot freezer for $150.
 
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