Killing me, Kölsch.

I went ahead and brewed a Kölsch, and the brew day went off without a hitch.  I knew there would be a problem getting this beer to clear properly but I didn’t realize how stubborn this yeast can be.  As I mentioned before, I used this yeast to make a cream ale and it was relatively clear when I racked it to the keg.  What I failed to fully grasp was that I actually let that beer sit untouched for over three months at my parents’ farm in Pennsylvania before I finally made it back to check on the beer.

When I brewed the classic Kölsch recently, I allotted roughly one month of dedicated lagering before I would even touch the beer.  I thought it would be plenty of  time to fully clear this beer.  After two months of lagering near freezing temps, the beer was still cloudy and smelled of fresh yeast.  Finally, fed up, I broke out my plate filter that I had purchased a while ago but eventually imagined I would never really use.

I had already carbonated the Kölsch which causes problems during filtration so I left the pressure relief valve open on the keg for three days but I left it in the keezer so most of the carbonation stayed in solution.  Running out of time, I had to begin filtering.  What should have taken 45 mins turned into a 3 hour ordeal because I had to lower the pressure in the keg to 3 PSI to allow the CO2 to escape.  When I helped out recently at Carton Brewing, where they brew their flagship Boat beer with the 2565, the head brewer Jesse told me how tough it is to clear this yeast even with a diatomaceous earth filter so he only filters half the batch.

I will say it was worth it.  I’ve never had a beer this clear.  I used the coarsest filter and I do think some body was stripped from the beer and in turn some of the hop bitterness.  When I brew it again I will bump of the bittering addition just a bit (really for my personal preference and not to keep it within style guidelines).

Recipe follows:

Kyky’s Kölsch
6-C Kölsch
Author: Kyler
Date: 9/23/11
Size: 5.52 gal
Efficiency: 84.0%
Attenuation: 75.0%
Calories: 177.83 kcal per 12.0 fl oz
Original Gravity: 1.053 (1.044 – 1.050)
Terminal Gravity: 1.013 (1.007 – 1.011)
Color: 3.42 (4.0 – 5.0)
Alcohol: 5.26% (4.4% – 5.2%)
Bitterness: 26.3 (20.0 – 30.0)
9.5 lb Pilsen 2RS Malt
.5 lb Vienna Malt
2 oz Crystal (3.5%) – added during boil, boiled 60 m
1.5 g Columbus (14.5%) – added during boil, boiled 60 m
0.5 ea Whirlfloc Tablets (Irish moss) – added during boil, boiled 10 m
.5 tsp Wyeast Nutrient – added during boil, boiled 10 m
1300 mL WYeast 2565 Kolsch
00:04:05 Dough In – Liquor: 3.75 gal; Strike: 159.11 °F; Target: 149.0 °F
01:04:05 Sacch Rest – Rest: 60 m; Final: 149.0 °F
01:24:05 Sparge – Saprge 1: 2.25 gal sparge @ 189 °F, 10 m; Sparge #2: 2.25 gal sparge @ 189 °F, 10 m; Total Runoff: 7.26 gal
Yeast starter made the night before
2g gypsum, 3 CaCl, 1 Bake Soda (mash)
1.043 pre boil gravity, 7.25 G volume
Short on Crystal hops, used Columbus
Ferment @ 59F, raised to 60F after three days
Filtered after 2.5 months lagering


2 thoughts on “Killing me, Kölsch.

  1. […] as it may seem, my Standard American Lager and Kolsch were both being judged right in front of me. Both beers took gold in their categories and […]

  2. […] the high amount of wheat in the grist.  This beer was as clear if not clearer than my filtered kolsch by the time it was judged.  The cleared beer had plenty of flavor though, even without the […]

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