Kolsch Questions

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by Spider889, Mar 11, 2012.

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  1. Spider889

    Spider889 Savant (978) Mar 24, 2010 Ohio
    Industry Beer Trader

    I want to brew my first Kolsch later this month and had a couple of questions.

    The recipe I was looking to for guidance mentions a "cold secondary." Should the secondary and/or bottle conditioning periods be even cooler than the primary? I'll likely just be using Wyeast 2565 which has a range of 56-64 degrees. I don't know if I can maintain those temperatures on bottles without putting them in the fridge at a much lower temperature.

    Any suggestions on this issue are very welcome.

    The second question is to ask for suggestions based on your experience with the proper malt. The recipe calls for 9lbs German Pilsner with several protein rests during the mash. As someone who both only has done single infusion mashes and likes to play with specialty malt (and enjoys a really nice malty/bready flavor in my beer) what do you suggest?

    Others I am considering alongside or instead of the German Pilsner are:
    • Weyermann Floor Malted Bohemian Pilsner
    • Or the non floor malted Weyermann Bohemian Pilsner
    • German Kolsch Malt (not 100% due to the Lovibond rating)
    Again suggestions are welcome.

    Thanks for any advice on this - sadly Kolsch is a style I have little experience with drinking and obviously none with brewing.
  2. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,386) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Weyermann's regular German Pilsner malt works great with a single infusion mash.
  3. scurvy311

    scurvy311 Disciple (343) Dec 3, 2005 Louisiana

    Short answer- Kolsch style beers should basically be lagered for a short period of time after primary. I lagered mine at 36 degrees in the bottle and can't tell the difference between 3 weeks and 6 weeks. So now I try to wait 3. In full disclosure I've only done about 4 kolsches. The last 2 after listening to the brewing network podcast.

    Use quality German pilsner and go single infusion.

    Look for "The brewing network" podcast series and go to the kolsch/alt. beer show. Jamil has some great recipe info and experiment data from different temps and lager times.
  4. Spider889

    Spider889 Savant (978) Mar 24, 2010 Ohio
    Industry Beer Trader

    I will definitely check it out. I assume they touch on the multiple infusion mash since you guys seem to be advocating a single infusion? I definitely do not mind doing the extra work if it will yield a more complex beer...
  5. scurvy311

    scurvy311 Disciple (343) Dec 3, 2005 Louisiana

    It's been a few months since I listened to it. It is almost 2 hours but half of it deals with German alts. It will be some extra work, but probably more geared towards the little things that give kolsch it's subtle complexity. JZ covers many of them.
  6. BigAB

    BigAB Initiate (0) Aug 4, 2008 Iowa

    To add onto what's already been mentioned - any of those malts would serve you well, although you would proly want to do a protein rest with the floor-malted Pils. If you're really looking for a well-rounded malt profile (with those bready flavors we all crave) and want to stick with a single-infusion mash, you may want to consider adding a hint of Weyermann melanoidin malt to make up 3-4% of the grist. Prost!
  7. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,935) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I have brewed several Kolsch beers using Wyeast 2565. I personally have never conducted a formal lagering while making this beer but I think lagering would be a benefit for this particular yeast strain.

    My ‘process’ for brewing Kolsch beers using 2565 is:

    · Primary ferment for 1-2 weeks around 60°F

    · Bottle Condition at room temperature for 2 weeks

    · Place the two cases of beer in a cool area (my basement) for a month to further ‘condition’

    My experience with 2565 is that the taste of the beer is ‘muddled’ just after the beer is carbonated. Additional conditioning time in the bottle greatly aids in the maturation of this beer; it takes quite some time for this beer to get to a ‘drinkable’ state. I suspect that lagering would perhaps get this beer to a ‘drinkable’ state more quickly (although the lagering will take some time so maybe not).

    I think the ‘issue’ is that 2565 is a non-flocculent strain. Additional conditioning time (and/or lagering) permits this yeast strain to finally flocculate and the beer tastes ‘better’. I really like 2565 since it makes a tasty beer: clean but with a noticeable winey taste that I really like. You just need to be patient and wait a bit before really drinking this beer.

    Below is the description that Wyeast provides for this yeast.

    Good luck with your Kolsch. A well made Kolsch is a very tasty beer.


    “YEAST STRAIN: 2565 | Kölsch™

    This strain is a classic, true top cropping yeast strain from a traditional brewery in Cologne, Germany. Beers will exhibit some of the fruity character of an ale, with a clean lager like profile. It produces low or no detectable levels of diacetyl. This yeast may also be used to produce quick-conditioning pseudo-lager beers and ferments well at cold 55-60°F (13-16°C) range. This powdery strain results in yeast that remain in suspension post fermentation. It requires filtration or additional settling time to produce bright beers.”
  8. BigAB

    BigAB Initiate (0) Aug 4, 2008 Iowa

    Thanks for sharing - my Bro and I have a Spotted Cow clone using this yeast that was just kegged. Sounds like a few weeks of cold-conditioning would serve it well.
  9. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,935) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    “Sounds like a few weeks of cold-conditioning would serve it well.” From my perspective (based upon my experiences) I think a few weeks of cold conditioning will be a benefit.

    I don’t know what your kegging setup is but you could potentially also take the course of putting your beer in your kegerator and periodically sample it over those few weeks. If you do this, I would encourage you to demonstrate some willpower and only drink a little bit during the beginning and consume the majority of the beer for when it is properly conditioned. Having stated that, maybe it would be ‘better’ to not put this keg on tap but condition it elsewhere. If you guy are anything like my buddy John (who is a homebrewer) all of the beer will be gone before it reaches its peak. :wink:

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