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Kolsch Yeast Explosion

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Bugaboo

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Brewed yesterday. Put 11 gals of octoberfest on a kolsch yeast cake in a 50L rogue keg. Thats something like 2.3 gallons of head space. Apparently not enough. Airlock was all goed up. Pulled it off quick like a ninja and replaced it with a blow off. Beasty Yeasty
 

GNBrews

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Before your next brew, pick up a bottle of Fermcap-S from your LHBS. The stuff is absolute magic for helping prevent boilovers and plugged airlocks, all without any negative effect on head-retention or flavor.
 

duboman

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Yup, Kolsch yeast is pretty explosive stuff as it is a top cropping yeast, always use a blow off tube and you'll have no problems, same with yeast for weiss/weizen/wheat yeasts.
 

solbes

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Before your next brew, pick up a bottle of Fermcap-S from your LHBS. The stuff is absolute magic for helping prevent boilovers and plugged airlocks, all without any negative effect on head-retention or flavor.
+1. Does not do much for some of the aggressive top cropping Belgian yeasts like 3787 though. I still tip-toe around that yeast so as not to anger it!
 
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Bugaboo

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I have femcap from when I used to no chill in cornies and I use blowoff tubes when I feel the need. This time I was suprised by a yeast I haven't used before. It' like a sleeping giant this yeast. Memories of it's overflowing krausen will haunt me for the rest of my days. All kidding aside, I'd rather have to wipe up some blowoff then sit and stare at a fermentation that doesn't seem to want to start.
 

cmybeer

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That a lot of head space allowed. What are your temps at? Maybe I should go downstairs and check on my Kolsch. But then again, I just pitched a starter and not a whole yeastcake. I don't think I haven't had a blowoff when pitching on a full cake.
 

weirdboy

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Before your next brew, pick up a bottle of Fermcap-S from your LHBS. The stuff is absolute magic for helping prevent boilovers and plugged airlocks, all without any negative effect on head-retention or flavor.
Speaking from personal experience, it doesn't work well enough on that yeast to keep it from foaming all over the place, though.

I had exactly the same issue with my Kolsch last month, and I used Fermcap in the starter, in the main boil, and in the fermentation. Both the starter and the batch had explosive fermentation.
 

thetragichero

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this yeast is a BEAST
have like a 1.040 ordinary bitter that's been in the carboy for almost two weeks with 2565 and there's still a 1/2 inch layer of krausen on top!
 

zeg

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I had something like that with some WLP029 Kolsch yeast that I reused for an Altbier this week. In my case it was just half a gallon of headspace on a 5.5 gallon batch, but that carboy was churning like I've never seen. It blew out enough foam that some was peaked out the top of the blow-off jar.
 
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Bugaboo

Bugaboo

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That a lot of head space allowed. What are your temps at? Maybe I should go downstairs and check on my Kolsch. But then again, I just pitched a starter and not a whole yeastcake. I don't think I haven't had a blowoff when pitching on a full cake.
Fermenting a 61 deg. Fun to hear that rhythmic thump from the blowoff tube. Like the Balrog from the Lord of the Rings is gonna appear from the dark of my basement. Going to do Death y Dunkel next batch with this yeast. Will definitely pull the yeast out of the fermenter and add a measured amount of slurry this time.
 

cherrob123

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I made a starter for my kolsch yeast. I had a 2565 smack pack. I made the starter a week ago tonight. I didn't pitch the yeast until yesterday. I brought it to room temp twice before pitching.

Anyway, I pitched yesterday afternoon and I haven't seen any signs of fermentation yet. I had the fermenter in a 58 deg. freezer. I turned the temp up to 62 and we'll see what happens.

This is my first kolsch. Is it unusual for the fermentation to take this long to start?

With all of the ales I have made, fermentation always started within 6-8 hours of pitching.

One more detail. When I pitched the yeast, I stirred the heck out of the beer for about 5 minutes. I really aerated it. Did I mess up by doing that?
 

cherrob123

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The pack was old, almost out of date, and that was one of the reasons why I made a starter. I used DME, 1/4 tsp of yeast food and water. I left it in a 70 deg. refrigerator for three days. I stirred twice a day for the three days.

Then I moved it to a much colder refrigerator. I was unable to pitch on the day I did my boil.

Once I was ready to pitch, I pulled the starter out of the cold fridge and brought to room temp in order to pitch.

I had a very nice slurry in the bottom of my container and in my opinion, I had probably three times the slurry I would have had if I just pitched the smack pack by itself.

Does anyone think that pitching more yeast food now would be a good idea?
 

cmybeer

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Well I thought I was in the "safe" zone in terms of a blowoff but I went downstairs this morning to do some laundry and there was the airlock laying a few feet from the carboy and bucket of water....

I should be alright, it was really still bubbling away so I don't think anything got in there.
 

zeg

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Well I thought I was in the "safe" zone in terms of a blowoff but I went downstairs this morning to do some laundry and there was the airlock laying a few feet from the carboy and bucket of water....

I should be alright, it was really still bubbling away so I don't think anything got in there.
This is why I usually keep my blow-off in place for the entire primary.
 
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Bugaboo

Bugaboo

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The pack was old, almost out of date, and that was one of the reasons why I made a starter. I used DME, 1/4 tsp of yeast food and water. I left it in a 70 deg. refrigerator for three days. I stirred twice a day for the three days.

Then I moved it to a much colder refrigerator. I was unable to pitch on the day I did my boil.

Once I was ready to pitch, I pulled the starter out of the cold fridge and brought to room temp in order to pitch.

I had a very nice slurry in the bottom of my container and in my opinion, I had probably three times the slurry I would have had if I just pitched the smack pack by itself.

Does anyone think that pitching more yeast food now would be a good idea?
Any update on this? If your slurry increased I don't see there being a problem. Only thing that is coming to mind is pitching while the wort is still too hot. Have you taken hydrometer readings?
 

cherrob123

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Hey Bug....thanks for asking.

I have kept it in the fermenter in my cold storage for a full week now at 62 deg. I am going out there at some point today to take my first hydrometer reading since transferring. I snuck peek yesterday and it didn't look like there was any activity in my air lock. I'll also look for increases in my slurry. This wort was for sure room temp as I waited about three or four days to pitch. Because I brought the yeast from refrigerator to room temps three times before being able to pitch, that's what makes me think I might have killed it.

I'll update this afternoon.
 
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Bugaboo

Bugaboo

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Just tried the kolsch I made. I had a little bit more beer than would fit in two cornys so I put some in a bomber bottle and fed it some sugar with cooper sugar drops. Not sure if that's the brand name for those. Anyways the beer tastes almost dead on to steven points three kings kolsch. Haven't done a side-by-side comparison. Kegs are being force carbed now.

Transferring my octfest tomorrow and harvesting half of the yeast cake and leaving the other half for Death by Dunkel. Gonna skip washing the yeast and simply put into 12 oz beer bottles for future use. Just going to rack from the bottom to suck the cake into bottles until my yeast stops running then move the siphon to my cornies.
 

cherrob123

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Update.......

I went to look at the fermenter again and still no sign or air lock activity. I decided to open it up and dump the beer in there and start again. When I opened it, I was very surprised to see signs of fermenting. There was a very thick layer of Kraeusen on the surface of the beer. The gravity had fallen significantly, but not quite far enough for racking and lagering. I have had it in the fermenter for 13 days now. I am going to give it until the end of the week and I'll probably rack over to the secondary and start lagering.

No one is more surprised than me that this wort actually is fermenting.
 
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Bugaboo

Bugaboo

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Lack of airlock activity does not equally lack of fermentation. Seen that typed on this forum many times. And have been in your situation before. i just hate opening my fermenter to take samples until I think it's done. Therefore I leave my primary go for longer then necessary and try not to open unless I suspect a problem like this one.

cherrob123, Let me know what your final gravity and your pitching rate was. Be interesting to get more info on this yeast. If I can pull it off, I'll start making all sorts of lagers with kolsch yeast.
 

rhamilton

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Had to ferment my kolsch almost 10°F below optimal to keep from blowing out the first day. Slowly let temp back up as fermentation processed.
 

cherrob123

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Bugaboo

My pitch rate was at close to 150 billion. I built my starter for that amount off of mr. malty. I kept the starter in my fermenting fridge at about 65 degrees. I heard that warmer temps for the starter was better for growth, but flocculation would suffer. So I chose the cooler temps. I also fermented at the same temp.

Once I decided which day I was going to boil, I pulled it out and put it in a very cold fridge and let it sit over night. On brew day, I pulled it out and brought it up to room temp over about 6 hours. Due to circumstances, I ended up repeating that move two more times before actually pitching.

OG on this beer was 1.056 My gravity reading last night was 1.018-1.020.

I am going to rack it to a carboy for lagering if I can get it down to 1.014 or lower.

I too had heard about air lock activity being a bad indicator of fermenting activity. But, I always thought it would happen to someone else and not me.

It just goes to show, beer is harder to kill than you think.
 

solbes

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If I were you, I'd consider warming it up 6 or 7 degrees F for 2-3 days prior to racking/lagering to accomplish 2 goals: to give it a short diacetyl rest, and to make sure it ferments to completion. I think you can get lower than 1.014 if you give it some time and temp.

I took a look at my notes for Kolsch w/ 2565. Extract #1 had an OG of 1.048 and a FG of 1.010 (5.0% ABV). Partial mash #2 had an OG of 1.051 and an FG of 1.008 (5.6% ABV). I have an all grain Kolsch going right now, OG was 1.050 and its not done yet so no FG. Fermentation temps for the first batch were 56-57 (very clean). Temps for batch #2 were 60 (just a tad too vinous/fruity). I've targeted 58 for the first 2 days on #3, 59 for the next 2 days, and will let it finish in the mid 60's soon. Then rack to carboy/keg for lagering/clearing at 38F.
 
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Bugaboo

Bugaboo

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Nice info solbes. I'm not seeing too much benefit in lagering with this yeast if lagering means fermenting at say around 40. For me i'm thinking fermentation is done at primary temps and lagering temps are just for cold crashing. It's not a lager yeast so it isn't eating melibiose.

Are you looking for a certian sg before you ramp the temperature up to mid
60's solbes?
 

EllisTX

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I just had a 2L starter in a gallon jug go nuts all over the counter last night! This yeast us crazy.
 

solbes

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Nothing as precise as a lager where I take daily gravity measurements near the end primary. With the Kolsch yeast I just want to see a greatly reduced airlock activity. Maybe a burp every 10 seconds?

I agree its not really lagering per se with a Kolsch, but there is a taste benefit for sure. Could just be the yeast dropping out as you are eluding to.
 

cherrob123

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Just racked my Kolsch over to the carboy. Ended up with a 1.012 FG. It started out at 1.056 SG.

Not bad considering that I never saw the air lock bubble once. Not even once.

I boiled this beer up on 5/03 on National Brew day and it took every bit of a month to ferment.

I racked it and set my freezer for 35 degrees just in case the thermostat is a little goofy and ends up bringing it down a degree or cooler than I set it.

Should I let it lager for more than 30 days, or is 30 days enough. I'm very anxious to get to this one as it smelled awesome as I was racking it.
 

JonM

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duboman said:
Yup, Kolsch yeast is pretty explosive stuff as it is a top cropping yeast, always use a blow off tube and you'll have no problems, same with yeast for weiss/weizen/wheat yeasts.
This!
I had a 3068 wheat beer go completely bonkers on me last weekend. Within 10 hours I had a huge krausen and lots of activity.
 

jbsg02

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JonM said:
This!
I had a 3068 wheat beer go completely bonkers on me last weekend. Within 10 hours I had a huge krausen and lots of activity.
I'm experiencing the same thing right now
 

solbes

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3 Kolsch fermentations for me and no explosive/top cropping behavior yet. The last one only had 1/2 gallon of headspace too. Maybe I'm just lucky? This one had an active 1.5 Qt yeast starter pitched @ 58. Was pretty much done fermenting in 4 days, 1.050 OG, 1.010 FG. No krausen left on top when I racked to secondary yesterday (2 weeks in primary), but I had dropped the temp to 42 for 3 days prior.
 
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3 Kolsch fermentations for me and no explosive/top cropping behavior yet. The last one only had 1/2 gallon of headspace too. Maybe I'm just lucky? This one had an active 1.5 Qt yeast starter pitched @ 58. Was pretty much done fermenting in 4 days, 1.050 OG, 1.010 FG. No krausen left on top when I racked to secondary yesterday (2 weeks in primary), but I had dropped the temp to 42 for 3 days prior.
Odd. I've used this yeast (Wy 2565) at least 5 times and every single carboy had a fat meringue on top that never dropped until I shook the hell out of the carboy.
 
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